I started watching Merlin and I've noticed that it isn't clear what law Uther exactly imposed.

  • Is being a magician outlawed (Gaius is still alive because he stopped using magic), or
  • Is using magic outlawed?
  • If using magic is outlawed, why did they look for Mordred, who was too young to use magic (it was said that Merlin is special because he can use magic instinctively and others need "years of study")?
  • Which series? There were several on Merlin.
    – MPelletier
    Jan 21, 2011 at 19:53
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    @DampeS8N: There is definitely no such consensus. See the relevant Meta thread.
    – user56
    Jan 21, 2011 at 20:27
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    @Gilles: I had looked back to meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/q/2/51 and didn't realize so much had happened to your link since I had last been there. (see the second answer on it, which was the top one when I had last seen it) So I stand corrected and will vote to reopen. However, in light of this we should probably specify something in the FAQ about this. I'll do so as soon as I am able to. (or @Bill the Lizard can, if he ends up beating me to the punch)
    – DampeS8N
    Jan 21, 2011 at 21:07
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    This question could use improvement in the grammar arena, but it's definitely on-topic for this site, and I hope someone with Powers(TM) will reopen it ASAP.
    – Martha
    Feb 4, 2011 at 6:05
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    I think he is referring to the TV Show Merlin. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_(TV_series) not sure since I have seen it, but my dad watches it. Feb 5, 2011 at 1:19

4 Answers 4


Magic use is banned in Camelot, but, in S3E5 I believe, Uther told Gaius that he wanted Morgana saved, no matter what it took (he was telling Gaius to use magic).

Since Gaius is so loyal to Uther, and isn't openly using it, he is relatively safe, except for one episode where Uther thought Gaius was using magic (he protected Merlin) and was arrested and going to be killed.


According to Uther, magic is outlawed completely.

That means:

  • If you can do magic, and are discovered, you are put to death.
  • If you do magic, and are discovered, you are put to death.
  • If you are magic, and are discovered, you are put to death.

Basically if there is anything magical about you, and you're found out, you're dead - no matter who you are, how old you are, or your intentions.

In Mordred's case, he was a child of the druids, and they're just dripping with magic according to Uther, and therefore a threat.

Gaius is a special case; I don't think Uther realizes that Gaius can do magic, but he does know that Gaius has ties to the magical community. I think he just assumes that Gaius will go seek out the black market magic in town when he says that he wants Gauis to use 'any means necessary' to cure Morgana. (I seem to recall that there's another case where he gives Gaius this imperative; perhaps when Arthur was dying? Everyone very nearly dies in this show so many times!) Plus, he has absolute faith in Gaius' loyalty, which allows him to overlook any magical leanings. Not to mention that whole using magic to have a son thing. His hypocrisy is just limitless...


Uther knows Gaius has studied and can do magic but he believes that Gaius came to realize magic was evil back when it was outlawed. It's not against the law to know magic if you learned before it was outlawed. As long as you have "realized the error of your ways" so to speak. It is just illegal to study or practice magic currently. And to be magic, like Merlin, Mordred, or Morgana.

  • You basically just contradicted both of the other answers. Or maybe you should clarify, because it's slightly vague what you're getting at.
    – The Fallen
    Sep 28, 2012 at 4:42

Also to note when Arthur becomes king he allows some places to use magic, but still has a relatively strong hold on the use of magic

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    Hi, could you please edit to expand on this answer a bit? At the moment it reads more like a comment ("Also to note ..."). At the very least, you should provide a reference, e.g. an exact quote, for Arthur doing this.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 7, 2017 at 19:34

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