The ideas behind the books
Merlin, son of a devil, fabulously powerful, all-seeing, adviser to the young King Arthur. Here's a great character who is just waiting for his moment to make a comeback! Did you know that at this very moment he lies in an enchantment under a great stone on a desolate moor somewhere in the old realm of King Arthur?
Sir Thomas Malory says in the great Le Morte Darthur (1485) that Merlin fell to doting on a young girl called Nimue. He followed her everywhere and would not leave her alone. She put up with this until she had learned from him all the craft that she needed to know. Nevertheless, she tired of him and wanted to be rid of him because he was a devil's son and she was afraid. One day Merlin showed her an enchanted rock. With her cunning she persuaded him to go under the stone and with her craft she trapped him there so that he could never come out again.
It seems strange, doesn't it, that such a powerful magician could be trapped so easily by an inferior. So prescient was Merlin that he actually discussed his own demise with King Arthur. He told Arthur that he would not be around much longer and Arthur asked him why he could not use his own power to avert the misadventure. Perhaps Merlin was blinded by his infatuation with the young Nimue. Perhaps it was his own decision to leave the world but he needed the help of Nimue to lock himself away safely in an enchanted place. Perhaps he was simply tired or perhaps he is waiting for a moment when his help is needed again in the great battle of good against evil.
Anyway, if you would like a little insight into what Merlin is actually doing at this very moment, you might like to have a look at:
- Merlin Dreams
by Peter Dickinson, who prefaces this book of short stories with his own very moving account of the enchantment of Merlin.
And since he is just lying around he may as well do something useful, and some authors have woven Merlin into their own stories. You could look at: