There are many varying stories of Merlin. Some have him as a child, others as a wild man, or maybe a bard, however in the middle ages as part of Arthurian legend he was a sorcerer, prophet or magician and an adviser to King Arthur.
Merlin is based on a Welsh legend, the bard Myrddin who was based in Carmarthen, Wales.
He was first an advisor to Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s father and Arthur was placed into Merlin’s care as a baby for his own protection.
As a prophet, Merlin was able to predict the future and he predicted that Arthur would become king. When Uther Pendragon died, many nobles believed they had the right to the throne and began fighting for it. Nobody was aware that Uther Pendragon had a son that still lived.
Merlin came up with a way to determine the valid heir to the throne. He erected an anvil atop a stone. Stuck into the anvil was a sword with an inscription ‘Whoso pullet out this sword of this stone is the right wise born king of all England”.
Many tried to remove the sword, but none were able and the stone lay for years. One day Arthur arrived, Merlin knew he was to be king and waited while Arthur removed the sword with ease; he was then proclaimed king.
Merlin then became adviser to the young king. When Arthur broke his sword, Merlin took Arthur to see the Lady in the Lake. She gave Arthur a new sword, Excalibur and Merlin informed Arthur that the scabbard was more important than the sword as the scabbard had magical powers and could protect Arthur in battle.
There are many versions of Merlin’s ultimate death, one is that Merlin became obsessed with the Lady in the Lake, and taught her all his powers, however she was to use his own powers against him and Merlin was imprisoned.
Another variation is that Merlin falls in love with Niviane, the daughter of the king of Northumberland. Niviane becomes frightened that Merlin might take advantage of her by using his spells, she then tells him that she will never love him unless he teaches her all of his magic. Merlin was in love and believed her, but she was to use his magic against him.
While Merlin was asleep, Niviane casts a spell over him and places him in a tomb that he can never escape from, causing his death.