Merlin: Ah, you know, lad, that love business is a powerful thing.

Arthur: Greater than gravity?
Lord Merlin: Well, yes, boy. In its way... I'd say it's the greatest force on Earth.

~ Lord Merlin to Arthur about love.

Lord Merlin (Merlin for short) is an old wise wizard and the deuteragonist of the 1963 Disney film, The Sword in the Stone. He helps a young Arthur become king but he also shows him the path of education and knowledge. He is tall, he wears all blue from head to foot and has a long white beard.

History

Lord Merlin is living in a forest with his owl Archimedes. He adapts with his magic. He predicts a small boy will be arriving soon and joining him for tea. Arthur, who is known as Wart, is travelling through the dark woods trying to find an arrow from his foster brother, Sir Kay, but falls through the roof of Merlin's cottage. Merlin quickly befriends Arthur and offers to tutor him all about education and learn all the courses of the world. Wart realizes he must return to his uncle's castle and Merlin decides to accompany him and pack up the cottage. With his magic, he stuffs everything in his suitcase and tallies off.

When they arrive at the castle, Merlin asks to be of service, but Arthur's foster father, Lord Ector, refuses, saying the boy has too many chores to have time to learn and asks Merlin to leave. Merlin disappears quickly which surprises Ector and convinces Merlin to stay. As a recurring gag, Lord Ector keeps calling Merlin "Marvin" and gives the highest room in an old decaying tower. Ector receives a visit from an old friend and Merlin sends Archimedes down to eavesdrop.

The owl disagrees and Merlin threatens to turn him into a human and he agrees. Archimedes learns that a jousting tournament will take place in London and the winner will be declared king, according to Ector's friend, Sir Pellinore. A few days go by and Merlin starts to see a bright future in Arthur and tries to help him. He turns Arthur into a fish and himself into a fish, and explores the wonders of the river in the castle moat. The two become attacked by a pike and Merlin becomes imprisoned in a knight's helmet, leaving Arthur to deal with the fish himself. With unintentional help from Archimedes, Arthur escapes, and he and Merlin become human again.

When Arthur returns to the castle, he tries to explain his true fish experience to Lord Ector and Sir Kay. However, they refused to listen and gives him double kitchen duties by cleaning up numerous pots and pans. Merlin appears and tells Arthur that they should explore the wonders of being a squirrel. He then uses his magic to have the pots and pans clean themselves while they go off. Merlin turns Arthur into a squirrel and turns himself into a rabbit and scurry around in the trees. A young female squirrel becomes infatuated with Arthur and starts chasing him around the tree to get him to love her. Merlin joyfully sings a matchmaking song and a giant female squirrel comes up behind him and becomes infatuated with him. He tries to explain that he is human but she joyfully pushes him around.

To escape her, he falls down into a pile of leaves and emerges from him as a human to show he wasn't lying and the fat squirrel runs off scared. He then turns Arthur back to normal which leaves the other squirrel heartbroken. Merlin then explains to Arthur that love is a force more powerful than gravity.

When they return to the castle, Lord Ector and Sir Kay are breaking the pots and pans in order to stop the magic, but Lord Merlin does so himself. Because of this, Ector berates Merlin for setting up magic in the kitchen, but Merlin disappears. However, Arthur is punished for defending Merlin and is no longer allowed to be Kay's squire for the jousting tournament. Merlin then appears before a distraught Arthur and apologizes for what happened. He then told Arthur that now he has a chance to be educated and Wart reluctantly agrees.

Archimedes volunteers to educate Arthur while Merlin works on a mini-flying machine. The machine fails and Archimedes laughs about it. Arthur tells how he fantasized about flying and Merlin turns him into a little sparrow. Archimedes shows Arthur how to fly, but Arthur ends up in the cottage of the nemesis of Lord Merlin, Mad Madam Mim. Mim prepares to kill Arthur, but Merlin abruptly storms in and accepts a duel with the witch.

Mim sets the rules saying that they can only turn into animals and cannot disappear. The duel begins with Mim turning into a crocodile and Merlin unintentionally turning into a turtle. To escape, Lord Merlin quickly becomes a rabbit and Mim becomes a badger, chasing him again.

They run into a tree and Merlin turns into a centipede and escapes through a little hole. Mim runs out as a rooster and she bites him and hurls him right up in the air. To avoid being eaten, Merlin becomes a walrus and crushes Mim. But she becomes an elephant and tries to strangle her with his trunk. Mim then turns into a mouse and scares Merlin away but dhe becomes a tiger and chases and captures him. Mim turns into a serpent and Merlin tricks her into biting herself. She chases him down a large hole and out of the other but he blocks the whole with a rock and she bangs her head. Then Merlin turns into a crab and tries to grab Mim as she pops out but keeps missing.

After a few failed attempts, he grabs something which was a horn as Mim was now a rhino. With Merlin holding on, she charges towards a tree but he escapes in time and she becomes stuck in the tree. Merlin then becomes a goat, charges towards her and then rams her into the ravine below. Mim turns into a giant fire-breathing purple dragon and chases Merlin to which he turns into a rabbit again and she captures him, declaring herself the winner. Merlin disappears, but his voice could be heard saying that he has turned into a germ of a rare disease and infected Mim with it. He explains the symptoms, saying she has giant red spots, followed by hot and cold flashes and with violent sneezing. She throws a tantrum and becomes bedridden until further notice. Lord Merlin suggests sunshine, opens up her roof and Mim yells saying she hates sunlight.

A few months later, Lord Ector changes his mind and makes Arthur as Kay's squire, due to Hobbs coming down with the mumps. Arthur becomes enthusiastic and rushes to tell Merlin. Archimedes congratulates him, but Lord Merlin becomes furious saying all that learning will go down the drain and being a squire will not get him anywhere. He then loses control and literally shoots off and Archimdes explains he went on vacation to blow off steam. During his absence, Arthur pulls the sword from the stone and is declared king. Afraid of the pressures of being a king, Arthur yells out Merlin's name, begging for help and the wizard returns in tropical clothing. He becomes proud of Arthur and promises to help his monarchy.

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