A History Of Magic

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British Magical History: Merlin And King Arthur

Chapter 20

Muggle Version

To Muggles, the stories of King Arthur (including
Merlin) are thought to be a myth. Muggles believe that Merlin was only granted
the gift of magic because his mother was raped by a demon while still a virgin.
The Muggles’ legend continues that Merlin found himself to be King Uther
Pendragon’s personal sorcerer. Uther desired Igraine, the wife of his enemy,
with whom he was attempting to create peace. Uther desired the woman so much,
that he persuaded Merlin to enchant him so that he sounded and looked like her
husband King Gorlois, in order to have one night with her. This happened to be
the night Arthur was conceived. After he was born, Merlin rushed Arthur away to
a village where he secretly entrusted the child to another family. Arthur grew
up without knowledge of his heritage, until Uther was killed by his daughter
Morgan Le Fey. She grew bitter and evil towards her father, because now that
her mother and Gorlois were both dead, Uther was able to marry Igraine and take
Gorlois’ land for his own. Morgana, as she was sometimes known, desired the
kingdom and power for herself. Unfortunately she knew nothing about Uther’s
illegitimate son. After Uther was killed, Merlin rushed to the village where he
had placed Arthur in the care of Sir Ector. Arthur, now a grown man, followed
Merlin back to take his rightful place as king and to rid his evil half-sister
of power. This proved to be harder than anticipated because Morgan Le Fey had

Merlin eventually became Arthur’s greatest advisor
and helped him become king. The kingdom, though, was torn between loyalty to
Morgana and loyatly to Arthur. Merlin, many years previously, enchanted a
sword, Excalibur, to be stuck in a stone until the rightful owner tried to take
it for his own. People did not know it was Merlin’s doing, but instead that the
sword was placed in the stone by the Gods. Arthur manages to pull Excalibur
from the stone. People all around the different kingdoms hear about this and
they flock to him for leadership. Arthur is quickly thereafter crowned as king
of all of England, with his throne in the castle of Camelot.

Later, barons and knights suggested it was time
for Arthur to get a wife and Arthur chooses a woman by the name of Guinevere.
However, Merlin foresees that Guinevere will betray Arthur, because one of
Arthur’s own knight’s, Sir Lancelot, will fall in love with her. But Arthur
would not listen and soon the two of them were married. Merlin’s prediction
would become a reality later on.

One day, King Pellinor, brings a lady to King Arthur’s
court. A lady, by the name of Nimue. She is today known as the Damsel of the
Lake. Merlin falls in love with Nimue, and he doesn’t leave her side at any
time possible. Nimue is interested in Merlin’s magical gift and Merlin teaches
her all the magic he knows. Nimue later accommodates him to the land of Benwick
were Merlin saw Lancelot, and predicted, that he would one day be known as the
most honourable and noble knights in all of England. On their travels, Nimue
realises the affections Merlin has for her and she sees the potential in this.
They came to a cave were she saw her great chance to be rid of Merlin. She uses
his own magic against him, and trapped him inside the cave, never to see the
brightness of the sun ever again.

However, we as witches and wizards, knows the true
story of mighty Merlin:

Wizard Version

It is true that Merlin had magic, but the Muggles
just didn’t know to what extent. Merlin was accepted to Hogwarts School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry when he was young, just like many other witches and
wizards. Muggles in the Middle Ages believed magic was something that one was
taught, and surely enough one could be taught certain types like potions.
However, there also exists a certain kind of magic that comes from within, some
kind of magic that cannot be taught. Merlin was one of a kind.

He was sorted into Slytherin, and it soon became
apparent that Merlin was meant for something great.

Merlin’s mother was no virgin, nor was she raped
by a demon. His mother was actually a witch, who fell in love with a Muggle. In
order not to implicate her love or herself, she lied about Merlin’s origins.

Merlin did extraordinary things at Hogwarts, and
he would soon be acknowledged as the greatest and most talented wizard Hogwarts
had ever seen. Not much is known about Merlin’s school years, but there are a
few things we do know.

Merlin’s wand is said to have been made of oak,
although this cannot be proven because neither his wand nor his grave has ever
been found.

Supposedly, Merlin became the trusted
advisor/sorcerer to Uther Pendragon because a dragon had revealed parts of the
future to Merlin. Uther had captured this dragon as a young man, and kept it
prisoner deep in the underground of his castle.

Only dragonlords can speak with and understand dragons,
and Merlin was fortunate to have this special gift. The dragon told him that
one day Uther Pendragon would become the father of a boy who would be named
Arthur, and together Arthur and he would build a world called Albion, where
magic would once again flourish throughout the land. Uther had previously
forbidden magic in his kingdom because he was afraid that if magic was
permitted, he would lose his power to a warlock or witch. Only Merlin was
permitted to use his magic, in order to help Uther in every way possible.

Merlin indeed helped Uther to change his
appearance so he could steal a night with the married Igraine. This is the
first known usage of what later came to be called the Polyjuice Potion.

Arthur was born and hidden by Merlin in a nearby
town so that he would later become the king that the dragon had prophesized.

As told in the Muggle myths of Merlin and Arthur,
Uther was killed by his daughter Morgan Le Fey (sometimes known as Morgana),
mainly because she wanted the kingdom and power for herself. (Morgana also
attended Hogwarts as a child, but it is unknown to what house she belonged.)
Merlin brought Arthur back to claim his rightful place on the throne, but in
the process gained an enemy in Morgana forever.

Merlin did indeed place the sword Excalibur in the
stone for the rightful king of England to claim, and when Arthur pulled the
sword from the stone, he won the trust of the citizens of England. They
answered to his leadership rather than Morgana’s.

When Uther died, Merlin released the dragon from
its prison, but kept a close friendship with the creature. Merlin was no seer,
like the Muggles believed him to be. It was the dragon who told Merlin about
Guinevere’s eventual fleshly betrayal of Arthur with Sir Lancelot. However, as
in the Muggle legend, Arthur would not listen to Merlin and decided to marry
Guinevere after all. It was true that both Sir Lancelot and Guinevere betrayed
King Arthur. However, this was primarily due to a spell that Morgana cast on
Guinevere. She was drawn to Sir Lancelot and ended up kissing him. King Arthur
found out and almost had burned Guinevere at the stake and Sir Lancelot exiled,
but Merlin discovered the truth and explained everything to Arthur. Merlin was
able to undo the spell and everything remained in peace at Camelot. Arthur’s
and Guinevere’s relationship was never the same though. After the episode, Sir
Lancelot did everything he could to restore his honour and was later known as
the greatest and noblest knight of Arthur’s court.

It is also true that King Pellinor once brought a
young woman to court named Nimue, known as the Damsel of the Lake. Merlin was
an old man by then, but he was besotted with her. She was also born with the
gift of magic, but had never attended Hogwarts. It is not known why. She sought
to learn magic from Merlin, and he taught her everything she knew. They even
travelled to find a wand for her. When they finally found the right quality for
her wand, Nimue believed that she did not need Merlin any more. She realised
that she could be even greater than him and did not want him around. Nimue
tricked Merlin into a cave, broke his wand in half, used his own magic against
him and forced him to die a merciless death in the cave.

Nimue later bragged of her accomplishment against the greatest wizard in
history, but she never did reveal the location of the cave.

There are stories that claim that Merlin escaped
the cave and returned to Arthur’s court, albeit wandless and unable to perform
magic anymore. However, these are believed to be just rumour.

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