The mention of Merlin comes up in Harry Potter, but there is never any long discussion of his role at Hogwarts. Was Merlin ever an active student or teacher at Hogwarts?
It appears the mystery around Merlin even extends to this area. His chocolate frog card lists him as having been part of King Arthur’s court. Let’s take a look at what we do know about Merlin’s association with Hogwarts.
Does Merlin Ever Appear in Harry Potter?
There are several mentions of Merlin in Harry Potter. The first is the use of the expression “Merlin’s beard” as a kind of exclamation. This expression seemed to be used more by the older characters, but it was used more than once.
There was also a card depicting Merlin in the chocolate frog card collection, describing him as one of the most powerful wizards that ever lived. It is also something that Slytherin students take great pride in announcing, as it is believed, that Merlin was in the Slytherin House.
Who is Merlin in Harry Potter?
In Harry Potter, Merlin’s card depicts him as a wizard serving in King Arthur’s court. He was thought to have attended the very first class at Hogwarts and may have even studied under Salazar Slytherin himself.
The Order of Merlin is an award given to wizards and witches who achieve great tasks. This alone speaks of how important this wizard was in the Harry Potter series.
The Order of Merlin has three levels of awards bestowed on chosen recipients. The Order of Merlin First Class offers a green ribbon to represent Slytherin, marking the alleged House Merlin was selected to while attending Hogwarts.
Why Do They Say Merlin’s Beard in Harry Potter?
“Merlin’s beard” was used as an expression of dismay, much like the word “alas.” There was never any explanation as to how this expression came about.
It is possible that it refers to the long, flowing beard that Merlin had. It appears it was as impressive as the one Dumbledore had, but that is only conjecture.
Merlin vs. Dumbledore
It isn’t easy to judge whether Merlin or Dumbledore held greater power. Back when Merlin lived, wizards weren’t something that people had a lot of past to compare to.
Merlin was the most powerful wizard of his time, but the magic world expanded and became more advanced as time passed. It could mean that Dumbledore had the opportunity to become skilled in more areas than Merlin.
While Merlin was exceptional at the magic he performed, he didn’t have a skill set as large as Dumbledore.
This said, it is like comparing apples and oranges. Each wizard showed power beyond imagination for the time in which he lived.
The Hogwarts that Dumbledore ran was more advanced than that of the founding days simply because time has a way of adding things to our knowledge base that allows us to grow.
Merlin vs. Harry Potter
Comparing these two wizards is somewhat difficult. Merlin lived in a time when his magic had to be hidden from many. While Harry had to hide his ability from Muggles, he had the love and support of a whole community behind him.
In many cases, Merlin had to achieve extraordinary goals without help from anyone. Harry had his friends and mentors who stepped in to help him when needed.
All this being said, Harry has the potential to become an even greater wizard than Merlin. For now, Merlin would come out on top simply from years of practice. Age does have its advantages.
He was no doubt a great wizard, but the years have created a mystery around him that makes him larger than life. Legends have sprung up that show no actual basis.
Yet, as is the case with legends, they continue to grow and change. He will always be a goal that gives other wizards something to strive for. Perhaps in time, we will learn more about this wizard’s role at Hogwarts.
For now, there is only a brief mention and an indication that he may have been the same Merlin that we know from King Arthur’s court. It brings up a whole new set of questions.