- ‘‘ If your mother is the Never the Storian wrote about . . . if your mother is the Never who made it into a storybook . . . then why is it Sophie’s mother who has a villain’s grave in our world? And if it’s your mother the School Master wanted, then why, after all these years, is it Sophie who’s the School Master’s queen . . . and not you? ’’
- —Merlin to Agatha
Merlin is a long, gangly nut-brown old man with a thick white beard and twisty white moustache. He wore a sweeping violet cape lined with fur tippets and stitched with the signs of the zodiac, a droopy, dented cone hat patterned with stars, large horn-rimmed spectacles, and a pair of plushy violet slippers when he first entered in The Last Ever After.
Merlin served as King Arthur's advisor for many years. He knew that Guinevere was unhappy so told Arthur to let her go out at night. This led to Guinevere running away with Lancelot. Merlin then disappeared and did not return until the events of The Last Ever After.
The Last Ever After
- Main article: The Last Ever After
Merlin helps Agatha and Tedros reach the transformed School for Old (Evil) and School for New (Evil), explaining to them that they need to convince Sophie to leave the School Master and also retrieve Excalibur from wherever it's been hidden. To disguise them, Merlin uses a spell that makes them swap their genders: Agatha becomes Edgar, while Tedros becomes Essa. He also tests them to decide which one of them is closer to Sophie, and decides it's Tedros, leaving Agatha/Edgar to find Excalibur.
After they succeed in these tasks, Merlin takes them (plus Hort) to a safe place in Avalon with Tedros's long-lost mother, Guinevere and her lover, Lancelot. He then leaves them for a time, returning with the remaining old heroes so the older heroes can help train the younger Evers and their allies. He also pieces together what the School Master is intending to do with Sophie in order to seal his Never-After with his true love Sophie. However, once the training starts, Merlin disappears again.
It's revealed much later that Merlin was working with Lady Lesso to provide training and help to the students within the School (as many were only there under threat of death or transmogrification) before the battle in the Stymph Forest. He rescues Hester, Dot, and Anadil before Sophie can send them to the Brig indefinitely as well. He is captured with Lancelot during the last moments of the battle, but it was his words to Agatha which finally helped her find the words to convince Sophie to help her friends rather than the School Master.
Merlin later jokes with Tedros that although he may be about to be crowned king, he and Agatha will eventually need him as a tutor for their future children. He goes with Tedros and Agatha when they leave the School for Good and Evil for Camelot at the end of The Last Ever After.
Merlin in Arthurian Legend
Merlin was a wizard who served Uther Pendragon, even using his magic to enable Uther to have his way with Igraine of Cornwall, which resulted in Arthur's eventual birth. When Arthur was born, Merlin took the boy away for over a dozen years, teaching him and also protecting him, while also placing him with a foster family who cared for Arthur in his childhood. After Arthur drew the Sword from the Stone, Merlin acts as his chief advisor for some time. However, when Arthur decides that he wishes to marry Guinevere, Merlin warns Arthur that this alliance will lead Arthur to much pain and misery. Arthur ignores his mentor, and not long after that, Merlin appeared to develop an intense infatuation with a young woman, sometimes called Nimue, sometimes called Vivien. Merlin taught the young woman everything he knew about magic, and she used his knowledge to seal him away, either within a tree or a cave or some other secret place. However, many believe that when Arthur returns one day to rule Britain once more, Merlin will emerge from his enchantment to take his place once again as Arthur's advisor.