Why are there no portraits of Merlin at Hogwarts? (Please note, I am referring to the Merlin from the Harry Potter series, who was alive around the 12th-16th centuries, not the Merlin of King Arthur's round table from the 5th-6th centuries.)

Merlin, in the Harry Potter series, was alive well after Hogwarts was founded and graduated from the school himself; as a Slytherin, might I add. He went on to become one of, if not the most famous and powerful wizard(s) of all time. He was also supposedly a friend of Sir Cadogan, a knight who was painted in Hogwarts.

So, if Merlin was a former student, a friend of, and therefore alive at the same time as, Sir Cadogan, and the most famous and powerful wizard of all time, how could there not be any portraits of him at Hogwarts?

  • 1
    I'll be surprised if there wasn't a portrait of him. But the books are written in Harry's perspective, and I don't think he knows how Merlin looks. So the picture might have been described as an old man or not at all, because in Harry's eyes it doesn't have any value or significance
    – MBEllis
    Aug 2, 2020 at 10:21
  • Or the portrait of Merlin was in the Slithern house dorms and Harry never went in there, so he wouldn't have known. Since the books are written from Harry's perspective, he couldn't see the painting to tell us about it.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 2, 2020 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


This moving portrait of Merlin appears on a Hogwarts staircase in the video game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. The caption (slightly off-screen in this picture) reads "Merlin"

Gif of the painting of Merlin; it's in a brown ornate frame hung upon the wall; Merlin stands in a grassy area next to a tree and mountains/hills can be seen in the background. He is bald with a long grey beard wearing a full length green rove with a black hood and should piece with white checkered edges; he has a brown satchel on either side of himself and he moves from side to side with his hands held together in front of himself

  • 5
    There was a Pottermore article which invited us to consider what a portrait of Merlin would do to keep occupied; Over time, perhaps the portraits would figure out which students were nursing crushes, and decide who was right for one another, or who was not-so right. You could even manipulate the circumstances. Imagine an ancient portrait of Merlin stopping a student for a chat because the boy she likes will be coming down the corridor any minute now…
    – Valorum
    Aug 2, 2020 at 8:41
  • Thank you, but I was asking about only the books and movies, which I consider to be more reliable when it comes to Harry Potter because they were made by or under the supervision of JK Rowling, as opposed to teams of people working for the Wizarding World franchise. Aug 3, 2020 at 3:36

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