An Overview of Merlin
by Lori J. Fitzgerald-- @MedievalLit
"He walked with dreams and darkness,"
Merlin and Vivien, Idylls of the King, Alfred Lord Tennyson
The most shadowy and complex figure in Arthurian legend is Merlin, a composite not only of roles but of people, both historical and literary. Enchanter, political advisor, teacher, prophet, poet: Once Upon a Time has a plethora of characterization to choose from for its undoubtedly unique portrayal of the Sorcerer coming up in Season 5. The Apprentice’s reveal of the Sorcerer’s name in the Season 4 Finale was an enchanting moment; however, one thing that research has shown about this enigmatic wizard is that "Merlin" was probably not his real name.
Names have power, as we know from Rumplestiltskin. The Ancient Celts believed that the name of a person and his soul were connected, and as thus, tied into power and control. Names should be kept hidden. The great Bard Taliesin formally forbade all teachers in the Celtic realm from revealing personal names, as they held the keys to the sacred stories. So "The Merlin" was probably either a nickname or a title. A merlin is a type of falcon, small, swift, and dark: a hunter of other birds. As such, it seems appropriate for a person who was powerful enough to be a Maker of Kings.
Explore the Arthurian legend surrounding Lancelot, take a trip into the woods to discover the mythology behind Red Riding Hood or learn more about a modern day hero called Snow White. Origins provides unique insights and perspectives from talented writers into the characters we know and love, going far beyond the boundaries of Storybrooke.