Welcome to another lesson of my Harry Potter Theory. In this short short story, I’m going to be discussing one of if not THE most powerful wizard to have ever lived – Merlin!. You’ve probably heard of Merlin before, and if not, I’m sure you’ve at least heard the expression ‘Merlin’s Beard’ which is commonly used by Dumbledore and expresses surprise. Merlin is a particularly interesting character because he didn’t only exist in Harry Potter folklore, he existed in our folklore as well. We see this same sort of thing with Nicholas Flamel. However, it should be mentioned that there are a few differences between the two Merlins. The Merlin from our own folklore was a legendary figure known across the lands as a prominent enchanter and wizard- he was most notably featured in Arthurian legend, but was also a prominent figure in medieval Welsh poetry. The concept of ‘Merlin’ that we’re most familiar with first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s famous work entitled: Historia Regum Britanniae. The book was first published in 1136 and is essentially a pseudo-historical account of British history- following the lives of the Kings of Briton over the millennia. Merlin was created when Geoffrey combined two prominent historical figures – Myrddin Wyltt, A north Brythonic prophet, and Ambrosius Aurelianus, a Romano-British war leader. However, The story that we most commonly associate with Merlin in our own culture is the story of King Arthur, and the knights of the round table. The story, which has been subject to copious adaptations over the years, tells the tales of King Arthur, his court, his kingdom, and his most trustworthy men. The Knights of the Round Table were a sub-order of the Knights of Camelot created by Arthur Pendragon, and they helped him with whatever quarrels he had to deal with. In one story, even helping him to combat his sister, Morgana Pendragon, and her attempts to conquer Camelot. In the realm of this universes ‘Merlin’, he is a powerful sorcerer, and the trusted and wise advisor of Arthur. However, what is most interesting about Merlin is that he’s such an enigmatic figure. He’s the subject of much discussion, widely because his existence has been adapted in so many ways, and slotted in to so many different stories. There’s a certain allure about Merlin, because he’s this figure that’s supposedly immensely wise and powerful, but there’s still so much that is unknown about him. The fact that he appears in so many different tales, myths and legends only adds to this mystique. I mean, he even ended up in Harry Potter. And though Merlin isn’t explicitly mentioned much in Harry Potter, he does pop up here and there. He’s the reason that the phrase ‘Merlins beard’ exists (as I mentioned earlier), he’s on a Hogwarts portrait, he’s on a Chocolate Frog Card, and he’s even the founder of an organization called ‘The Order of Merlin’. It has been expressed that The ‘Order of Merlin’ was founded by Merlin during the middle ages, created with the goal of promoting laws to protect and benefit muggles. While it was once an organization, it later became an award, honouring impressive accomplishment or good deeds. There are three different levels of the award: First Class, Second Class, and Third Class. The three levels of the award can be distinguished by the colour of the ribbon which holds up a large golden medal. First class was awarded for “acts of outstanding bravery or distinction” in magic, and was represented by a green ribbon. Second class was awarded for “achievement or endeavour beyond the ordinary.” and was represented by a purple ribbon, and Third Class was awarded for “contributions to knowledge or entertainment’ and was represented by a white ribbon. Being a recipient of the Order of Merlin was a huge honour, and can be compared to being knighted in our own world. Albus Dumbledore was the recipient of this award after his prominent defeat of Gellert Grindelwald in 1945. Merlin was a strong believer that the muggle and wizarding worlds should co-exist, and founded the original organization in an effort to help alleviate any complications associated with the coalescence of the two worlds. In the middle ages especially there was a lot of conflict between muggles and wizards.
The wizarding world was essentially wide open, and muggles knew that witches and wizards walked among them.