Questions from Readers About Merlin
When I began my magical journey with Merlin many years ago, I had no way of knowing that the world would be as intrigued and enthralled by his origin story as I was.
I hoped, of course, that it would resonate with readers and draw each of you into the labyrinthine journey with me, but I truly didn’t fully understand the impact that the story of his boyhood adventures and self-discovery would have on so many people. I believe it is his relatability, the manner in which we all discern fragments of ourselves in his moments of vulnerability, and his fortitude in rising above adversity, that connects us so strongly to his tale.
We all want to believe that magic and miracles can (and sometimes do!) win in the end.
Even as his stories have taken us through many lands and 13 full-length novels, I still receive so many questions about Merlin, my experiences with him, and the elements of his story that still seem unfinished.
Questions We All Have About Merlin and His Magic
It seems natural that since I’ve written many books about Merlin (and I’m also working on Merlin: The Movie!), you all have many questions for me about Merlin and his magic. I love answering your questions, so here are some of the best answers I can give about Merlin and my relationship with the Great Wizard.
Q. Why did you choose to write about Merlin?
A. More than anything else, it’s Merlin’s love of Nature. As he learns the language of trees and rivers, flies as a hawk, hears the rumbling voices of ancient stones, and runs gracefully with the deer he discovers that Nature is his best friend. His true healer. His ultimate source of magic and inspiration.
Q. Are you going to write more about Merlin?
A. Merlin and I have had a great long journey together (more than 25 years!). With lots of help from the wizard and his friends like Rhia, Shim, and Basil, I have written The Lost Years of Merlin epic, the Merlin’s Dragon trilogy, The Great Tree of Avalon trilogy, and GIANT — along with an illustrated compendium that was published in 2011 — totaling 13 books set in Merlin’s magical worlds.
If anyone had ever told me, way back when it all began with a dream about a strange boy who washed ashore, that the journey would lead to all these adventures, plus international editions and excitement about a movie, I wouldn’t have believed it! (Then again, who would believe that that young boy would become the greatest wizard of all time? Or that a bizarre creature as tiny as Basil would become Avalon’s most powerful dragon and Merlin’s best friend?)
Q. What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from Merlin?
A. That his journey is one anybody can share. All of us feel washed ashore at times. And yet all of us have some magic down inside ourselves—magic that we, too, can share with the world.
Q. We’ve heard so much about the movie. Do you know when we will finally get to see it?
A. I wish I did! The movie creation process is an intricate one that I still don’t fully understand, but I do know that a lot of work is being put into the film and telling Merlin’s story in a way we will all be proud of.
Q. Was Merlin real?
A. I don’t think it really matters whether Arthur and Merlin actually lived — because they are so totally alive now, in the hearts and minds of so many. All around the world, people cherish their stories! And if that’s not alive, what is?
Q. Is magic real?
A. Yes! In the realm of the spirit, anything is possible. Every person has great potential, great gifts, down inside themselves — no less than Merlin.
When it looked like only Merlin could provide answers to the questions that my readers had, it only seemed logical that I would reach out to this dear friend of mine to share a bit of his wisdom!
Merlin Answers Your Questions
My goodness! When my good friend T. A. Barron told me that he had recently gathered several questions for me from around the world, I never expected quite such an overwhelming number. I must tell you all that it has been truly delightful to read your many queries; some of you are so curious, it puts me in mind of myself when I was a boy. Sadly, it’s beyond my powers to answer every single one; predicting winning lottery numbers isn’t really the domain of a wizard — a fact which I have found decidedly inconvenient on more than one occasion. But I did read several thoughtful entries, which I will answer as best I can for you now.
Q. What does magic feel like from inside?
A. Magic feels like an inner rain shower, rising from some mysterious place inside me and powered by winds from nature all around. As soon as I release the magic, the rain transforms into light that illuminates my entire being.
Q. If you were ever given the chance to turn back Time and do everything over again, with the chance of correcting any regrettable mistakes, . . . Would you?
A. Although turning back Time is highly dangerous and fraught with risk…I confess that I couldn’t resist doing it to fix some of my worst mistakes. I’m just human enough to want desperately to make things right, whatever the cost. If I could only change one thing, I would have acted faster to save the love of my life, Hallia, who heroically sacrificed herself to save my miserable life. (That sad story is told in the final book of The Great Tree of Avalon trilogy, The Eternal Flame, which is Book 11 of The Merlin Saga.)
Q. In the solitude of the Crystal cave, while reflecting, what was the one regret that shaped your story the most?
A. Ah, regret. The most piercing sword blade of all! Although my life has been full of many more blessings than regrets… the one sadness that hurts the most is that it took me until my father’s dying breath to forgive him. While he had done many terrible things in his life – to me, my mother Elen, and our beloved magical isle of Fincayra – he still possessed some goodness down inside. Although that goodness was buried several layers deep under great pain and brutality, he found it at the very end when he courageously saved Elen’s life and finally redeemed himself.
Q. What do the animals know that we don’t?
A. Animals know how to be completely and contentedly present in every moment. That shows enormous wisdom. I strive to be so fully present, so fully alive, every day of my life.
Q. If evil forces were to totally control magic, would you be able to or willing to destroy all magic to keep the world in balance?
A. This is, perhaps, the most difficult question of all. To tell you the truth, as much as I would agonize over the answer, I simply could not bring myself to destroy all magic! Instead, I would place my faith in the possibility that somewhere in those evil forces would arise a person with the love and wisdom to return magic to the good. (And just to make sure…I would also hide several bits of powerful magic in the most unlikely places. This magic would lie in wait – for ages if necessary – until that person came along to discover it.)
Q. How does one get to your level of understanding of humanity, nature, compassion and the things that really matter?
A. All I really know, even after all these centuries, is how much more I have to learn. I do believe that true wisdom comes from something deeper than magic. It comes from living a life fully open to the miracles all around us. And from drinking as often as possible from the wells of gratitude, humility, courage, perseverance, humor, knowledge, wonder, belief, generosity, compassion, and love.
In addition, I will tell you that nature has always been my truest source of wisdom. Wild nature has the unique power of making us feel both very small and very large at once – humbled as well as inspired. In nature, we can be dwarfed by the grand sweep of the stars or oceans or mountains, and yet still be part of it all—connected to the changing seasons, the tracks of a fox, the birth of a sapling, and the flight of geese. So we may be a very small part of the universe—but we are still very much part of it, enhanced by all that grandeur and mystery.
Q. How can I see beyond the physical world to see the beauty you saw without your eyes? That is, how can one survive in the darkest of times?
A. You must strive to see not with your eyes, but with your heart. When I rushed into that blaze to save my mother’s life, I was powered by my deep love for her. And when I endured those terrible days of suffering and blindness, I was saved by a tiny sprig of hope that was even then still growing in my soul. When my magical sight took hold, it enabled me forever after to see not just the surface of things, but what lies beneath the surface – the underlying truth, the hidden magic.
Q. Does a great wizard such as yourself have the power to solve the world’s problems? And if you did, would you do that? And if you wouldn’t do that, why?
A. As tempting as it would be to solve the world’s problems (and it is hugely tempting!), I would refrain from doing so. The reason? Humanity will never truly grow unless they can learn to use their marvelous power of free will. They must discover they have the true power of choice — even if that means sometimes making some horrible and destructive choices. If humanity can grow in the ways they must to live in a peaceful and sustainable world, that will be more powerful than the magic of a million wizards!