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"Merlin's beard..."
-- Amos Diggory (GF6)

A Charms specialist sometimes known as “The Prince of Enchanters;” Merlin is unquestionably the most famous wizard of all time (PS6, FW). Merlin was part of the Court of King Arthur (King Arthur once ruled the land that is now part of England). He believed that wizards should help Muggles and therefore created the Order of Merlin to support laws protecting and benefiting Muggles (FW, Pm). He was a friend of Sir Cadogan, the knight in the painting that protected Gryffindor House after the Fat Lady was slashed by Sirius Black (Pm).

Gender Male
Dates fl. 1000s
Species / Race Wizard
Other Names Prince of Enchanters
Distinguishing Features Famous beard often used as exclamation "Merlin's Beard!"
School Hogwarts - Slytherin
Affiliations Order of Merlin
Family Groups Merlin
First Introduced PS6



The Merlin of British legend is not a real person, but is based on various persons from before 1000 AD. However, since Rowling's Merlin was a Slytherin, we know that he must have lived after the school was founded circa 990AD.

According to Wikipedia, "(t)he standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136..." For the sake of argument, we'll assume that the Merlin of Rowling's world lived between the founding of Hogwarts a little before 1000 AD and Geoffrey of Monmouth's writing. Therefore we'll list the years for Merlin as the 1000s.

Pensieve (Comments)

  • kamion

    I had serious trouble with JKR’s post publishing canon (p.p.c)that Merlin was Sorted into Slytherin because of the time discrepancy. Whenever one reads a reference to Merlin in the HP-books one most logical assume this is the Arthurian Merlin. To make the p.p.c fit you have to invent a third Merlin next to the British Myrrdin Wylt and Myrddin Emrys. The last is already know in pre-Conquest literature connected to Vortigern .
    What strikes in the literature about Merlin is that he is ruthless to get his goals. He uses magic for the Greater Good.
    I have the impression that Merlin wasn’t a Slytherin, but that Salazar Slytherin was a Merlin-ian, follower of the ruthless approach of Merlin disregarding the consequences his acts had on Muggles.

    • Of course, as much as we’d like it to, Rowling’s world doesn’t have to follow the same timeline as the real world. So her version of Merlin isn’t the same as the one in our real history (not that there really WAS a specific Arthur or Merlin). Her Merlin lived much later, perhaps in the same timeframe as when Arthur’s legend was written down.

  • DARKastheRAIN

    Merlin is not Welsh for “hawk”. It comes from Myrddin which means something like “sea-hill”. There is a type of hawk called a merlin, but it has a completely different etymology (it derives from French not Welsh).

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