- “Centuries later... it never gets any easier.”
Merlin is one of the main stars in the Tales of Arcadia franchise, serving as the upcoming deuteragonist of Wizards, a major character in Part Three of Trollhunters, and a cameo/background character in Part One of 3Below.
According to legend, it is said that Merlin had mentored and aided Arthur Pendragon in taking his rightful place as ruler of Camelot.
He also had an apprentice, a young woman by the name of Morgan le Fay, and together they experimented with all sorts of magic, Merlin not realizing that his pupil was turning towards a dark path. It is uncertain what happened, but before long Morgana betrayed her former mentor, he took her left hand and used it to craft the Amulet of Daylight to help the Trolls in their struggle against Gunmar the Black and his army of Gumm-Gumms.
Merlin was present during the Battle of Killahead, dueling against his former student while the Trolls, led by Deya the Deliverer, fought Gunmar and his forces. Expending much of his magical powers, Merlin imprisoned Morgana and then retreated to his Tomb where he fell into a deep sleep, waiting for the day he would be needed again.
However, he did not realize that while he slumbered, Morgana remained awake and spent the next thousands of years plotting her revenge and ultimate conquest.
Trollhunters (Part Two)
Once the illusion progresses to the point where Draal fails to prevent Gunmar's escape from the Darklands, Jim finally ignores Unkar's pleas to think of himself, at which Merlin appears, pleased at the boy finally understanding the lesson he was trying to convey. Jim soon realized Merlin's identity when he revealed his connection to the amulet. After insisting that Jim kneel before him, Merlin stated that of all the creatures on Earth, he chose Jim as his Trollhunter and reminds him that in the real world, Gunmar is loose and Heartstone Trollmarket is in danger. As such, he encourages Jim to show the trolls why he's their Trollhunter before he ends the illusion.
Trollhunters (Part Three)
Gunmar, accompanied by Angor Rot and Draal the Deadly (still under Gunmar's control) journeyed to find Merlin's Tomb to obtain the Staff of Avalon in his plan to bring about the Eternal Night. Jim, Claire, Toby, Blinky, and AAARRRGGHH!!! tried to stop them but it ended with Gunmar successfully claiming the staff and Draal's death.
As the caves of Merlin's Tomb began to fracture, the heroes tried to find a way to escape. When they came upon the true tomb of Merlin and found the wizard himself, who awoke, having never been dead, to begin with.
Merlin, using an illusion spell, reveals he was there during the Battle of Killahead Bridge, fighting against Morgana, against whom he used most of his magic in order to imprison her and most importantly, her goal of bringing about the Eternal Night. Afterwards, with a flood bearing down on them, Merlin is show the shattered pieces of his amulet, which Jim was forced to smash to get to the stone disk inside to use the Gyre to reach his tomb. Despite his lack of magic, Merlin is able to piece it back together with one of Claire's hairclips, enabling Jim to armor up and use the Sword of Daylight to part the flood. He then tells Jim that he's capable of so much more. Afterwards, they escape the tomb and portal back to Arcadia, where Merlin is amazed by the changes and advancements of the modern world.
Jim's "True" Destiny
While he gets settled into the Lake Residence, Merlin sends Jim, Claire, Toby, Blinky, and AAARRRGGHH!!! out to find a list of ingredients, some of which he uses to craft suits of armor for Claire and Toby (albeit using Jim's Vespa).
He later reveals to the kids that he wants Morgana to be freed in order to not only end her threat forever, but also in hopes of regaining all of his magical powers. He comes to odds with Jim, whom Merlin easily defeats in a clash before subduing the young Trollhunter and revealing the ingredients he sent them out to collect weren't just so he could craft more armor, but also to make some kind of mysterious concoction.
Later, he has an honest yet tense conversation with Jim, revealing that Jim is not strong enough to defeat Gunmar even with the Sword of Eclipse, but he can be... if Jim becomes something more than human. He explains that the potion is meant to transform Jim, to make him half human and half troll, to increase his abilities. Although there is great tension between them, Merlin tells Jim that the choice is his of whether to use the potion or not, but also warns him that the transformation will be permanent and while half of Jim will stay the same the other half will change forever. That night, Jim starts to feel reluctant and scared about changing into a troll. He goes into the bathroom and pours the potion into the bathtub. While the others try to convince him not to go with the transformation, Jim begins to reflect on everything that has happened since he got the amulet. After thinking it over for a while, Jim goes into the tub, where he begins to transform into a troll.
When Jim becomes his new self, he begins to enjoy his new enhanced strength and speed. However, he also comes to realize that since he is not human anymore, he can't go out into the sun, eat human food, or go back to school with his friends. Jim becomes extremely depressed and begins to have an identity/existential crisis. The others become greatly concerned for Jim's well-being and chew Merlin out for convincing Jim to change his form, which barely fazed him. He claims that he just did what he had to do to save both worlds, and even though Jim was just as opposed to the idea of transforming himself as his friends and family were, he, too, believed that Merlin was telling the truth behind his manipulations all along.
Merlin, Barbara, Blinky, AAARRRGGHH!!!, Claire, and Toby go to the rooftop of the school to comfort Jim in this big change in his life. They explain to him that while he may look different and has lost half of his humanity, they still love and care for him, and he is the same person on the inside. Merlin then commends them for their loyalty and declares to prepare for the Eternal Night, which will happen at sunrise.
The Eternal Night War
As soon as the day comes, Merlin comes up with a plan to kill Morgana before the Eternal Night begins: he and Jim will infiltrate Trollmarket and attack her before she can gain full power. Blinky believes that it is a bad idea because while they are attacking Morgana, Angor, and Gunmar will be free to attack all of Arcadia. Jim stops the argument by saying that Toby and Claire will clear the Arcadia square (where everyone in town will be for the Battle of the Bands contest), while Merlin and AAARRRGGHH!!! go to Trollmarket to stop Morgana. Jim has to stay home until night falls, otherwise, he's likely to be burned to a crisp. While everyone preps up, Jim finds Merlin in the kitchen with NotEnrique, making another concoction. Merlin warns Jim that the earthquakes will crumbled the Darklands to bits, and notices that Jim is concerned about the changeling familiars still trapped there. Of course, being one step ahead, the wizard creates a Cradlestone for NotEnrique so he could safely transport the babies out before the dark realm is destroyed. NotEnrique then partners himself with Chompsky before the tiny duo venture back into the Darklands to save the babies, using the Fetch in Toby's bedroom to do so.
As soon as the Eternal Night War begins, Jim watches the sun being blocked and is ready to fight Angor and Gunmar. Merlin and AAARRRGGHH!!! sneak into Trollmarket to confront Morgana, only to encounter her minions, including Angor Rot. Even when Merlin regains the Staff of Avalon, he failed to realize that Morgana has taken all of its magic, including last of his own. With the help of the spirits of the past Trollhunters, they manage to defeat the Gumm-Gumms. After Morgana is banished into the Shadow Realm by Claire and Toby, Merlin returns in the last minute and regains his lost magic Morgana took from it, finally ending the Eternal Night once and for all (much to the Trollhunters' somewhat irritation after everything Morgana put them through).
With the Trollmarket rendered uninhabitable, Merlin senses another Hearthstone somewhere in New Jersey, so he has the trolls come with him to find their new home. While Blinky, Jim, and Claire tag along, Toby and AAARRRGGHH!!! stay behind to protect Arcadia in case more evil villains arrive.
3Below (Part One)
In "Party Crashers", Mary asks Darci where Jim, Claire, and Toby were. Darci said that they were visiting Toby's "Uncle Marlin" somewhere (as in consoling Merlin in his tomb as Jim redirects a rush of flooding water with his sword).
3Below (Part Two)
In the beginning of "Moving Day", Toby mentions to Eli that he's met a couple wizards, referring to Merlin and Morgana.
Wizards (Part One)
- “In designing Merlin, we wanted to make a wizard that had power and that's why we have him in very strong armor, rooted in technology.”
- ―The Team at Headless Studio[src]
Merlin is an old wizard with the stereotypical white beard and eyebrows. He has blue eyes and white hair with a silver skullcap on his head.
His armor is a green suit of knight's armor, complete with a breastplate (the chest area), pauldrons (the shoulder areas), vambraces (the forearm areas), cuisses (the thigh areas), poleyns (the knee areas), greaves (the leg areas), and sabatons (the feet areas) with green trimmings (white when in full power). Underneath the armor, there is gray inner layer. There is also a white diamond encrusted on his breastplate.
The color of Merlin's magic is lime green.
Merlin is a wise, yet eccentric wizard, even somewhat flirting with Claire, a 16-year-old girl. He has a tendency to make sarcastic remarks to the people around him, especially Blinky, and can easily get on the gang's nerves, as well as offend them very often. Despite his eccentric ways, Merlin is easily amazed by the wonders of the modern world, very competent in battle as he truly fights for the greater good of the world, and is proficient at magic spells and hexes. He also did appear to display an ounce of sympathy for Jim when he saw him mourning over Draal's death.
There is a dark side to Merlin, an arrogance to him where he believes his many years of experience means that he knows better and that any who disagree with him are just ignorant or too young to understand his jaded views and less than forthcoming methods, as he showed in a very tense heart-to-heart he had with Jim, in whom Merlin saw perhaps a younger and more optimistic version of himself. He claims he once had faith as pure as Jim's, but became jaded and harsh in his views, but also left a great decision in Jim's hands (although it can be argued that he manipulated Jim into doing so, though it's totally debatable). There's also the fact that he has trouble improvising at times when his long-term plans go sideways due to his own failure to foresee certain changes in circumstances, such as Morgana rendering his Staff of Avalon useless (albeit this is mostly because Merlin was asleep while Morgana was awake) or that a Trollhunter's abilities would be worthless against a wizard like her.
After regaining his magic after the Trollhunters managed to trap Morgana in the Shadow Realm, Merlin appears to have grown more kind and was genuinely proud of the Trollhunters for saving the world from Morgana's reign of tyranny (even if he was out of commission for most of the war). He assists the trolls in finding a new heartstone in New Jersey and even rebuilds Jim's sword for him.
Powers & Abilities
- Magically Enhanced Physiology: Merlin is among the most powerful beings in the series, as his magic enhances his physiology beyond that of an average human.
- Enhanced Strength: Merlin is clearly strong enough to overcome Jim, as well as lift him into the air and throw him several feet away with one hand, knocking over a table in the process. He was even able to hurtle his sword through Jim’s door enough to completely barricade it when Jim tries to escape.
- Supernatural Endurance: Merlin is able to endure almost anything, more so than a human and a troll. When he lost his magic, he could still endure many attacks, yet was clearly worn out when in battle. He was barely even able to stand against Angor Rot (a magically-enhanced troll) when he ambushes him. It's clear that he regained his endurance after returning to full power.
- Invulnerability: Despite losing most of his magic, Merlin has shown some form of invulnerability as he withstood many of Morgana's attacks, but he clearly showed agony when she completely overwhelms him.
- Enhanced Reflexes: Despite his old age, Merlin reacts much faster than an average human. He was able to catch one of Jim's glaives without even looking.
- Magic: Renowned by both humans and trolls as the greatest wielder of magic to ever live, Merlin is a wizard of great legend, known for his might and power. His knowledge of mystic lore and skill in wielding magic can only be challenged by his former pupil, Morgana. However, after his duel against Morgana in the Battle of Killahead, he lost much of his magic and went into a deep slumber. Even so, after waking up, he is still capable of some impressive magicks which he calls mere parlor tricks. After the Eternal Night War, Merlin manages to regain his full power.
- Spell Casting: As a wizard, Merlin is able to cast thousands of magic spells, due to years of studying the ancient art.
- Eternal Night Subduing Spell: After regaining his magic, Merlin was able to end the Eternal Night at the last minute before it could reach full scale.
- Magic Attacks: As a highly experienced wizard, Merlin is able to use his magic for various offensive attacks.
- Magic Blasts: Merlin is able to fire continuous blasts of green magic.
- Magic Absorption: Merlin was able to briefly absorb a little bit of Morgana's magic, albeit not enough to do serious damage to her.
- Flight: Like Morgana, Merlin is capable of levitating and flying at great speeds. However, when he lost most of his magic, he was unable to even levitate himself (though he eventually regains this ability after Morgana's defeat).
- Telekinesis: Merlin is able to move things without touching them, even locking doors with the flick of his fingers. While crafting the Amulet of Daylight, he is able to levitate the amulet's pieces by waving his hands.
- Illusion: Merlin is able to make a window to the past so he could illustrate the role he played in the Battle of Killahead. Even while he was asleep, he was also able to create/show Jim an alternate reality where he never found the amulet.
- Teleportation (apparently): Merlin once disappeared without a trace after he brewed Jim's potion.
- Pyrokinesis: While making the Amulet of Daylight, he was shown able to light up some fire with a wave of his hand.
- Sword Conjuring: Like Jim, Merlin is able to create his own sword with his magic.
- Precognition: Merlin has the gift of seeing the future, although he admits that it is not always an exact science and he mainly gets his visions wrong. He was able to foresee the arrival of Jim and his friends to his tomb 200 years before it happened.
- Astral Projection: While sleeping, Merlin was able to project himself as a green spiritual entity.
- Immortality: Like Morgana, Merlin is an ancient immortal wizard as he lived (as well as slept) for hundred of years without even dying. Likely, he also cannot be killed by any mortal weapons.
- Spell Casting: As a wizard, Merlin is able to cast thousands of magic spells, due to years of studying the ancient art.
- Swordsmanship: Despite his relatively old age, Merlin is a true warrior and swordsman, even without his magic. He can wield a sword of his own making and easily out-duel Jim (who is a skilled swordsman himself) to the point where it is clear that the wizard was toying with him.
- Craftsmanship: Besides his mastery of magic, Merlin is skilled in craftsmanship and blacksmithing, evident by his creation of the Trollhunter's Amulet of Daylight, the Trollhunter Armor, the Sword of Daylight, and later new suits of armor he crafted for Claire and Toby out of the parts of Jim's Vespa. It can also be said that he is an architect, evident by his lair and tomb beholding all manner of traps and mechanisms. Much of his work involves magic, such as how his tomb undid any foreign magicks that entered (such as the mind-control of Gunmar's Decimaar Blade over Draal).
- Alchemist: Merlin is also a skilled alchemist and potion-maker, as he made an elixir potion that would transform Jim into a human-troll hybrid. He was also capable of concocting a magical Cradlestone that would help NotEnrique safely transport all of the Changeling Familiars out of the Darklands.
- Skillful Orator: Despite his eccentric and rather jerky attitude, Merlin appears to be a skillful speaker, though it's totally debatable if he does this to help those see reason more clearly and/or to get them to agree with his plans. He was able to convince Jim to take a potion that changed him permanently into a human/troll hybrid, as it was the only way to stop Gunmar, Angor Rot and Morgana, and prove Jim that if he remains human, he could potentially risk the survival of the worlds (which in the novel, The Felled, proved to be the point after all).
- Magic Depletion: Despite the almost-limitless power of his magic, if Merlin expends almost all of his magic at once, he'll be left virtually powerless and incapable of performing feats beyond simple parlor tricks until he regains full strength.
- Lack of Magic (formerly): After the Battle of Killahead Bridge, Merlin sacrificed most of his magic to confine Morgana. Therefore, he was not as powerful as he was years ago as he was only capable of casting minor "parlor tricks". Later on, however, after Team Trollhunters managed to trap Morgana in the Shadow Realm, he regains all of his lost magic his former apprentice took from him.
- Impulsiveness: One of Merlin's quirks is that he has a tendency of not thinking his plans thoroughly enough. As Gunmar admitted, Merlin may have had centuries to devise his plans, but he never considered that Morgana would remain awake after being imprisoned for years. He never even stopped to realize that she could absorb his staff's magic enough to render it completely useless and use them as her own. Gunmar and even Morgana call him out on how impulsive he really is.
- Staff of Avalon: The Staff of Avalon is Merlin's most powerful relic and his chief weapon, which he built himself to channel the arcane energies of the universe itself. During his battle with Morgana, he uses it to trap her for thousands of years (costing him most of his magic in the process). It's implied that it's the only relic that is powerful enough to free Morgana from her prison. He also placed a safeguard within his relic: only human hands who can speak in a trollish tongue can wield it. Changelings can loophole this safeguard as they can speak trollish fluently in either forms.
- Broadsword: Merlin can conjure his own sword with his magic. Unlike Jim's sword, Merlin's is more thin and light.
- Armor: Merlin is always seen in his armor, which protects him whenever he's in any sort of combat.
"I once had a heart as pure as yours, I believe. In my rest, I saw a way to finally end this stalemate. To win this war, I must have a champion with a foot in both worlds." -Merlin to Jim in "A House Divided"
Jim had an awkward first impression when he finally meets the wizard who crafted his amulet. When Merlin prevents Jim from saving his mother, he accuses him of just wanting his magic back and that he doesn't care about the world. Merlin, however, confines that he cares, but he knows that Jim can't end the war with the Eclipse Blade and his humanity alone because there'll still be too much risk for a human young boy losing the war to Gunmar and Morgana. He creates a potion that would transform Jim into a human-troll hybrid, but he warns him that the effects are permanent, and he respects that it is still Jim's choice to make if he wants to use it or not.
In "For the Glory of Merlin", Merlin did show an ounce of sympathy for Jim when he saw him mourning over Draal's death. He even assists Jim in escorting the trolls to a new heartstone in New Jersey after stopping the Eternal Night.
When they first meet, Merlin seemed somewhat infatuated with Claire and her beauty. Claire is possibly one of the only people Merlin seems to tolerate more than the other Trollhunters. While in the midst of an argument in the beginning of "A House Divided", Claire somewhat aids Merlin's plan to attack Morgana as she openly admits that Merlin has always been right before and they should face-off Morgana to get rid of her forever (though this is likely because she wanted to face off against the witch after what she did to her).
Despite being somewhat more supportive to Merlin's opinions, Claire was visible distraught with Merlin after he made Jim transform himself into a troll, especially since her Shadow Staff can't find him.
AAARRRGGHH!!! is probably in fact one of the only trolls Merlin seems to respect, despite him previously being a Gumm-Gumm. He was clearly grateful that he volunteered to back up the wizard while they confront Morgana and Angor Rot in Trollmarket.
At first, like other good trolls, Blinky idolized Merlin.
However, when Merlin confesses that he's only helping because he wants to kill Morgana and regain his magic, Blinky begins to view the old wizard in a more negative light. He also becomes quite displeased with Merlin when he made Jim permanently turn himself into a human-troll hybrid. While they were planning a battle strategy in "The Eternal Knight: Part 1", Blinky and Merlin argue about who and where to attack first and who Jim should assist. Merlin criticizes Blinky's large vocabulary and poet-like words, which annoys Blinky.
In spite of their occasional clashes, it is clear that they still fight for a common cause, just through different methods.
Merlin and Toby sort have mixed feelings towards each other. Merlin once threatened to turn Toby into a cockroach if he kept calling him "Merle". He even claimed that he was lucky that he didn't eat him back in the cave (which is kinda unknown if it was really a joke or if he was being serious). Toby also finds Merlin's cannibalistic appetite disgusting.
In spite of this, they still fight together for a common cause and share common enemies.
Merlin first met the Creepslayerz in the book, Angor Reborn, and seems to have taken a liking to them. Merlin was clearly impressed by Eli's perspectives and resourceful tactics, like how he kept a jar of pixies as a "thank you gift" for Gunmar and how he described the Eternal Night as "unspectacular". It's unknown how Merlin feels about Steve.
Despite his more-or-less positive view of Steve and Eli, he still mind-wipes them of their night's events.
He later openly proclaims that the Creepslayerz will play a role beyond their wildest dreams, hinting their speculated major role which would most likely come into play in Wizards.
"Goodbye, old friend..." -Morgana to Merlin during their confrontation in "The Eternal Knight: Part 1"
Morgana was once Merlin's apprentice. It's currently unknown what their true backstory was before Morgana's betrayal. However, when Morgana begins to go down a dark path, he takes her left hand to create the Amulet of Daylight, which turns Morgana spiteful towards her former master and his own Trollhunters. During the Battle of Killahead Bridge, he traps Morgana underneath Heartstone Trollmarket for hundreds of years, expending most of his magic, and falls into a deep slumber within his tomb. Unaware to him, Morgana remained awake as she plotted her revenge to kill Merlin, his followers, and bring forth the Eternal Night.
When Morgana steals most of Merlin's magic, she brutally and mercilessly attacks and mocks him for his impulsiveness until she appears before the Trollhunters to kill Jim and his friends.
- Main article: Merlin/Quotes
|Trollhunters Part 1|
|"Becoming: Part 1"|
|"Becoming: Part 2"|
|"Wherefore Art Thou, Trollhunter?"|
|"Gnome Your Enemy"|
|"Win Lose or Draal"|
|"To Catch a Changeling"|
|"Adventures in Trollsitting"|
|"Recipe for Disaster"|
|"Claire and Present Danger"|
|"The Battle of Two Bridges"|
|"Return of the Trollhunter"|
|"Roaming Fees May Apply"|
|"Blinky's Day Out"|
|"The Shattered King"|
|"Where Is My Mind?"|
|"It's About Time"|
|"A Night to Remember"|
|"Something Rotten This Way Comes"|
|Trollhunters Part 2|
| "Escape from the Darklands"|
| "Grand Theft Otto"|
| "Hiss Hiss, Bang Bang"|
| "Hero with a Thousand Faces"|
| "Just Add Water"|
| "The Reckless Club"|
| "Mistrial and Error"|
| "In the Hall of the Gumm-Gumm King"|
|Trollhunters Part 3|
| "Night Patroll" |
| "Arcadia's Most Wanted"|
| "Bad Coffee"|
| "So I'm Dating a Sorceress"|
| "The Exorcism of Claire Nunez"|
| "Parental Guidance"|
| "The Oath"|
| "For the Glory of Merlin"|
| "In Good Hands"|
| "A House Divided"|
| "The Eternal Knight: Part 1"|
| "The Eternal Knight: Part 2"|
|3Below Part 1|
| "Terra Incognita Part One"|
| "Terra Incognita Part Two"|
| "Mind Over Matter"|
| "Beetle Mania"|
| "Collision Course"|
| "D'aja Vu"|
| "Flying the Coop"|
| "Party Crashers"|
| "Lightning in a Bottle"|
| "The Arcadian Job"|
| "Truth Be Told"|
| "Last Night on Earth"|
| "Bad Omen"|
- Since he is obviously a wizard himself, Merlin is confirmed to star in the upcoming series Wizards, the conclusion to the Tales of Arcadia trilogy.
- Merlin is based on the wizard of the same name from the Arthurian folklore.
- ↑ Race to Trollmarket
- ↑ The Adventure Begins
- ↑ Angor Reborn
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 TROLLHUNTERS Interview: Marc Guggenheim, From Epic to Epic más grande. Animation Scoop (May 18, 2018). Retrieved February 16, 2020.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 For the Glory of Merlin
- ↑ The Eternal Knight: Part 1
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Unbecoming
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 A House Divided
- ↑ The Oath