© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Le Morte D'Arthur

Le Morte D'Arthur


by Sir Thomas Malory

Merlin Timeline and Summary

  • Merlin enchants Uther to look like Gorlois and helps him to sleep with Igrayne, conceiving Arthur in the process. He then arranges for Arthur to be fostered by Sir Ector.
  • When Merlin places the sword in the stone in a churchyard in London, he writes an inscription saying that the person who can pull it out is King of England.
  • In the guise of an old man, Merlin informs Arthur of his parentage. Then, disguised as a young boy, he tells Arthur about Mordred, who will one day be the downfall of Arthur's kingdom.
  • Merlin helps Arthur to find Excalibur, the sword that enables him to defeat whomever he wields it against.
  • In the "Tale of Balyn and Balan," Merlin warns Balyn that he will strike a dolorous stroke that will destroy a kingdom, and then rescues him from a castle when that very same dolorous stroke causes it to fall.
  • Despite his many misgivings, Merlin arranges for Arthur to marry Gwenyvere.
  • Finally, Merlin falls in love with Nenyve, who imprisons him in a rock when she tires of his attentions. And so goes Merlin.