Merlin, a powerful and intelligent wizard, accepted the responsibility of teaching and protecting the young boy named Arthur, who would one day be the Pendragon (warrior-king) of Britain. He did this not for personal power, but for the benefit of the Celtic people of this fledgling nation.
He advised, guided, taught, and manipulated the young king through his early days of leadership without usurping the respect, loyalty, and confidence the petty kings and nobles felt for Arthur, their true king.
Eventually, Arthur matured and grew apart from his mentor. We can rejoice for his growth and independence, and yet feel sad for his loss of the intimate friendship and sense of security he had with Merlin.
King Arthur’s tragic future could not be altered by Merlin’s magic arts, and we and Merlin must stand by helplessly watching Arthur’s glorious rise and tragic fall.