Merlin is an ancient, eternal wizard who for over a thousand years has dedicated himself to preserving the goodness of Avalon and punishing those who want to use its magic for dark purposes. But as the show begins, Merlin gets banished into the wild magic by his upstart rival and former apprentice, the evil witch Lady Kale, so she can rule all the magic of Avalon.
Now, Merlin entrusts his current generation of young students—the titular Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders—to overcome the dark power of Kale's Dark Stone and rescue him in order to save the entire kingdom. In their mission, the girls are aided by Merlin's magic animal companion, a talking owl named Archie, and rely on Merlin's own infrequent advice.
"Darkness always returns, my child. But the strength and love of our friends will hold the darkness back."
In the show Edit
Merlin is the great and wise wizard that is over one thousand years old who has dedicated to preserve the goodness of the magical land of Avalon. He has long ago harnessed and bound the wild magic, so he could create a wondrous and beautiful place where humans and animals could work and live in harmony. As such, he is known as the "Father of Avalon". It was also him who planted the Travel Trees through the lands.
A millenium prior to the beginning of the story, the evil Queen Morgana and her ancient wizards plotted to betray and destroy Melin during the Friendship Ring ceremony, but their plan did not work and Merlin won. Since then, he has continued protecting the magic of Avalon, living in his home near New Camelot and making sure its magic cannot fall into wrong hands. Merlin looks like harmless old man and usually is wonderfully kind and compassionate, but has no tolerance for whoever wants to use Avalon's magic to harm.
Merlin is also a loving teacher who has trained the Jewel Riders in the use of the Enchanted Jewels and watched over the royal family for generations. Years ago, he had sensed darkness in the magically gifted young Princess Kale and so it was her kind sister, Anya, who has been chosen to inherit the royal Sun Stone and the throne of Avalon. The power-hungry Princess has never forgiven him for what she thought was denying her birthright. She began scheming to not only replace Anya (for which she has been banished from New Camelot) but also take all that is Merlin's and reign over Avalon, forever...
First season Edit
As the series begins, Merlin is suddenly overpowered by Lady Kale using her newly found Dark Stone (which was originally tuned by Morgana to destroy him) and caught in a glowing light sphere. After Merlin defiantly refuses to give her the power of magic of Avalon, she cruelly sends hurling into wild magic to be trapped forever entangled in its swirling chaos.
But this could not destroy the old wizard, and so he floated until the gliders found him and brought him to the relative safety of the Cloud City. Merlin soon appears in Avalon to prevent her from stealing the Crown Jewels from his Jewel Box, but now he cannot return until all seven Crown Jewels are collected again.
Merlin is forced to rely the three young Jewel Riders led by Queen Anya's daughter Princess Gwenevere, now accompanied by his faithful owl familiar Archimedes, better known as Archie, sending them on a great quest to restore harmony in the magic. With his guidance, the young heroines need to fight to stop the witch's power from growing stronger, and hopefully put an end to her dark ambition for good so they can bring back peace to the kingdom. After each of the Crown Jewels is secured by the girls, an image of Merlin appears for a short while to talk with them and say some words of advice.
Eventually (in the episode "Full Circle"), Merlin directly confronts the self-proclaimed 'Queen Kale' after she manages to take over Avalon, becoming seemingly invincible, and works to find him and finish him off so everything that is Merlin's would become hers. Merlin outsmarts her in a gamble, as he only feigns his complete defeat to trick Kale into thinking he is now gone and she can at last rule all of magic. The usurpress then ends up vanquished by the collected Crown Jewels and the great good magic of the Crystal Palace, which drives all traces of her evil from Avalon.
But saving the kingdom comes at the cost of his staff, and without it Merlin will remain exiled. ("Sometimes we make sacrifices for our friends.") This leaves Queen Anya and the Jewel Riders with the task to find a way to still get him out of the Wild Magic somehow...
Second season Edit
In the second season, Merlin is mostly absent. He is rarely able to communicate with the Jewel Riders or do anything until the very finale (the episodes "Morgana" and "Shadowsong" are two exceptions) as they fight his returning archenemy Morgana, who brings back Kale with her, to secure and collect the Wizard Jewels for him. But he sends back one of the ancient wizards, his former friend Derek, back to Avalon in a cat's form so Derek can redeem himself by ensuring the Jewel Riders get his jewel.
After Gwenevere takes down her wicked aunt for good, Merlin at last appears and confronts Morgana and the summoned ghosts of several evil wizards in the showdown at the Center of the Wild Magic. In the end, thanks to Gwen and her friends, he emerges victorious over his old enemies for the second and final time, and finally returns to Avalon with the incredibly powerful One Jewel as his new personal jewel.
Behind the scenes Edit
A different Merlin character, who however also served as the protagonists' mentor figure in their fight against Morgana, has previously appeared in King Arthur and the Knights of Justice, another Arthurian-themed animated series from the same production company. In Jewel Riders, Merlin was always shown with four fingers (including the thumb) in pre-production pictures, but has five fingers in the show. He is is bald under his cap.
In the Enchanted Camelot version scripts, Merlin is trapped in his bubble not by a deer apparition, but by a green cat. Kale does not just throw Merlin into the Wild Magic, she full on vaporizes him into "Wizard Pixie Dust." When he appears after Gwen gets her Sun Stone, Merlin says he now exists in the "spiritual plane, flowing within the wild magic of Camelot."
He was voiced by Bob Kaliban in English, Roger Carel in French, and Maurizio Scattorin in Italian.
Merlin from Jewel Riders inspired the Avalon: Web of Magic character of Henry Gardener. Gardener was supposed to be mentor to the current mages, but was kidnapped by the Dark Sorceress before the current party even discovered their jewels; they found a hologram of him, but were not taught about their powers or mage levels by the hologram.
Merlin’s speech in "Shadowsong" is actually a part of the books' Avalon prophecy. Furthermore, a character named Marlin also appears in the series.
- ↑ Greg Autore and the Toy Design of Jewel Riders - Part Two - The Jewel Riders Archive
- ↑ Character Comparison: Henry Gardener | The Avalon Archive