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This article is about the television series, Merlin. For other uses, please see Merlin (Disambiguation).



Image of the main cast of Merlin.

Merlin is a British television series which began airing on BBC One in September of 2008. It is loosely based around the Arthurian legends and tells the story of the wizard Merlin and his friendship as a youth with Prince Arthur. As it is intended primarily as a "Young Adventure" series, its mythology differs significantly from traditional versions of the Camelot tales and it has been compared by some to a Smallville-style "high school AU".

Almost immediately after its launch, the show has begun to garner a growing fandom base, including a very large following for the Merlin/Arthur slash pairing, although other ships are gaining in popularity as well.

Merlin fandom is very active on LiveJournal, where a great number of communities were created within the first weeks of the show's broadcast, some even before the series began to air. A number of fans migrated to this fandom community from other popular LiveJournal-heavy fandoms such as Smallville and Stargate: Atlantis, the latter of which happened to be nearing the end of its run at the same time. The usual host of LJ media fandom communities quickly evolved for the show, including those for capslock, macros, drabbles, icons, Secret Santa exchanges and every popular specific pairing. In contrast, very little fannish activity has been found to date on Yahoogroups or other mailing list services, nor on messageboards. How the fandom will evolve now that the show has been renewed for a second series remains to be seen.

Main Cast

The main cast features:

The Show

The series begins with Merlin's arrival in Camelot, where he discovers that the king, Uther Pendragon, has outlawed the practice of magic and imprisoned the last dragon. But Merlin's great abilities with magic lead him to becoming the apprentice of Gaius, the court physician who used to be a sorcerer. Merlin also learns from The Last Dragon of his destiny in protecting Prince Arthur.


Below is a list of terms and their definitions that are used in this fan community.

This section needs more information.


The following are some of the most popular ships in Merlin fandom:


Below is a partial timeline of events that took place in this fan community.


  • On September 21, 2008, the day after the first episode aired, the LiveJournal community merlinxarthur was created for Merlin/Arthur slash.[3] This would grow to become the largest Merlin community on the service, although numerous communities would rapidly spring up all throughout September, October, November and December of 2008.
  • On December 15, 2008, Merlin began airing in Italy on Italia 1. The BBC also confirmed that the show would be renewed for a second series.[8]
  • On December 25, 2008, the Yuletide archive opened and featured 24 stories based on Merlin, making it one of the most popular "obscure" fandoms for the year's exchange.[9]


  • More Merlin-focused LiveJournal communities continued to be created in the early months of 2009.
  • On May 3, 2009, Merlin premiered on Australian tv network Ten.[10] rating sixth overall, after the Logies and the news
  • On June 21, 2009, Merlin premiered on the U.S. tv network NBC.[11] It did not do particularly well in the ratings, coming in second in its timeslot behind a rerun of The Simpsons.[12]


Race and gender issues in Merlin

  • In early January through February of 2009, there was some discussion and debate on LiveJournal regarding the way issues of race and gender on the series are treated. Specifically, there was criticism of the way women who practiced magic were generally treated as "evil" whereas the male characters who did were heroic. Also raised was the point that the only character of color on the series so far was in a servant position. These points were raised to question whether fandom should embrace the series or not. In response, many argued that fandoms often followed shows with questionable race, gender and overall "quality" issues, and that individuals did not want the fandom "moral police" telling them which shows they should or should not be "allowed" to become fannish about.[13],[14],[15],[16]

Influential communities


Merlin fandom is well established on LiveJournal, with numerous communities devoted to every type of fan activity, pairing, character, and actor focused on the show. The largest community as of July 2009 is merlinxarthur for Merlin/Arthur slash. This community grew from 1,905 members in January 2009 to over 3200 by July 2009. The next largest communities are those devoted to general discussion, all slash pairings, and Merlin RPF, all of which have over 1,000 members as of July 2009.

See List of Merlin LiveJournal communities for more information.

Influential fanworks

This section needs more information.


Apparently popular themes in Merlin fan-fiction include AUs placing the characters in high school or college settings, removing the fantasy elements of the series.[17] This section needs more information.

Fandom members

See also Category:Merlin fans.

Fandom size

See also Merlin LiveJournal community size.

External links

Meta discussion

See also


Below is a partial list of articles and academic sources to help you continue to learn about this community.

This section needs more information.

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