King Uther Pendragon was the King of Camelot and the father of Arthur and Morgana Pendragon. He was seen as an immutable ruler, with his laws upholding duty and tradition while defying the use of magic. All magic users and people suspected of using magic were killed under Uther's command. It was his hatred of magic and severe punishment of those who used it that ultimately caused Morgana to turn against him. Her subsequent betrayal proved to be an emotional blow that Uther never overcame, leaving him a broken man in the final stretch of his reign. He later died at her hand after having been mortally wounded by an assassin, with Merlin's healing spell backfired by Morgana's enchantment. After his death, he became the father-in-law of Arthur's wife, Guinevere.
As a young man, Uther conquered Camelot and became its king. Uther's new dominion was allied with Gawant, the kingdom of his old friend Lord Godwyn. Sometime after becoming King of Camelot, Uther married Ygraine de Bois, thus making her his queen. A traditional jousting tournament was held in Camelot before Uther's marriage to Ygraine.
After discovering Ygraine was unable to have children, Uther asked Nimueh to help them. Nimueh agreed and used magic to allow Ygraine to conceive a child, thus producing a son and heir, Arthur Pendragon. Although Nimueh knew that by using magic to create a life, another life had to be taken in exchange, she claimed that she had not foreseen that it would be Ygraine's life. This was raised to question later when Merlin fought Nimueh and claimed that she was the one who chooses those who have to die in exchange for saving another life. Ygraine died in childbirth and the grief-stricken Uther turned on Nimueh, accusing her of treason and banishing her from Camelot. Consequently, Ygraine's brother, Tristan de Bois, blamed Uther for her death and challenged him to a duel. Uther won the duel but, before he died, Tristan swore that he would rise from the dead and avenge Ygraine. Shortly thereafter Uther began the Great Purge, ordering the executions of hundreds of sorcerers regardless of how they used their magic. At the start of the Great Purge, Uther gave Gaius a list of all people suspected of using Magic to be killed. When Gaius discovered his beloved Alice on the list, he struck her name off, thus giving her time to escape.
Years before the Great Purge, Morgause, who supposedly had her mother Vivienne's powers, was smuggled out of Camelot as a baby by Gaius because he had sworn a solemn oath and gave her to the High Priestesses of the Old Religion on the Isle of the Blessed. Uther was led to believe that Morgause had died shortly after her birth. However, it is unknown to whom Gaius had sworn the oath. It is also unknown whether Uther wanted Morgause dead or if he was just led to believe she had died due to other reasons. Morgause was born at a time when Uther did not have a problem with magic, yet.
During the Great Purge, Uther ordered many people to be drowned, including children who had inherited magic from their parents.Jaden Muirden and her husband suffered the fate of being Uther's victims and were sentenced to be burned at the stake by Uther. Their son, Edwin, tried to save his parents but only ended up disfigured by the fire. Alvarr's parents ware captured by Uther's forces and were burned at the stake (apparently Alvarr witnessed this happen). He was sentenced to death as well, but shortly before his execution, whether by magic or non-magical means, he escaped and fled from Camelot.
When Gorlois was fighting on the Northern Plains, Vivienne had a brief affair with Uther, resulting in the birth of Morgana Pendragon. She let Gorlois believe that he was the father of her second child. Uther, during the Great Purge, hunted almost all the Blood Guards and killed them. He also took The Crystal of Neahtid from the High Priestesses on the Isle of the Blessed and locked into the vaults of Camelot. At the end of the Purge, Uther also pursued and slaughtered all dragons except for the Great Dragon, Kilgharrah. Uther tricked one Dragonlord, Balinor, to lure Kilgharrah to Camelot under the pretense of wanting to make peace with him, only to capture and imprison him in a cave beneath the castle. Uther then had all the Dragonlords rounded up and killed, though Gaius helped Balinor escape Camelot and flee to Ealdor, where he took refuge with a woman named Hunith. They fell in love, but Uther's relentless persecution forced them apart as Balinor fled Ealdor. Some ten years later, Uther sent Gorlois into battle and promised him reinforcements. He later failed to send them, resulting in Gorlois's death. Uther promised Gorlois that he would look after Morgana and subsequently took her in as his ward. Gorlois's resting place was a grave on a hilltop near the Darkling Woods just outside the citadel of the palace.
Ruler of Camelot
When it came to magic, Uther was a tyrannical ruler who would stop at nothing to set things right in his eyes. He believed that all magic was evil, and that all those who practiced magic were evil. Despite his fear, Uther sometimes did not realise when sorcery was being practised, even when presented with evidence (Valiant).When he believed that magic was being used, he would deal with it decisively, such as when he sentenced Gwen to death after she was suspected of creating a plague with dark magic when all evidence was against her (The Mark of Nimueh). Similarly, he executed the Druid, Cerdan and attempted to kill Cerdan's young apprentice, Mordred (The Beginning of the End); he believed that the Druids were plotting his downfall. However, it was not only his crusade against magic that let Uther himself, his family, and his kingdom under constant threat by enemies who were out to take their revenge on him, but Camelot had indeed to face numerous sorcerers and magic-users who threatened the kingdom and its people because of other reasons that did not have to do with Uther or with taking revenge on him. He barely escaped death on three occasions during the first series (A Remedy to Cure All Ills; Excalibur; and To Kill the King).
Despite his often harsh and tyrannical display of temper, Uther was protective of his son and deeply loved him. When he realised that Arthur was going to fight a wraith, a creature that could not be killed by any mortal weapon, Uther decided to sacrifice himself and fight the wraith in Arthur's stead so that his son would live. He also cared deeply for Morgana, and though he locked her in the dungeons when she defied him, he later apologised to her, admitting he was wrong, and told her that she was like a daughter to him. He also cared for the well being of the people, even those outside his kingdom. He sympathised with Hunith when she asked for his help in protecting Ealdor against raiders, but could not send his knights to help the village as King Cenred would have interpreted any rescue attempt by him as an act of war.
A troll later used magic to cause Uther to become infatuated with her and make her his wife. The enchantment was such that when presented with clear evidence of the troll's plans, he still refused to believe it. Eventually Merlin and Gaius faked Arthur's death and Uther's tears broke the spell, causing him to realize that his wife was a troll (Beauty and the Beast).
When Gaius was accused of being a sorcerer by the Witchfinder Aredian, Uther refused to believe it until Gaius confessed in order to save Morgana and Merlin. He sentenced his old friend to death but was clearly reluctant and upset about the thought of killing Gaius, even though he had told him he was a sorcerer. When Merlin later proved that Gaius was framed by Aredian, whom Uther now believed to be the sorcerer due to Merlin's intervention, he went to apologise to Gaius for the suffering he endured at Aredian's hands. Gaius, however, pointed out that he had not suffered at Aredian's hands but at Uther's since Aredian had been free to continue his investigation at his own discretion. Shocked, the King told Gaius that he had been tricked, but Gaius replied that his hatred of magic and obsession with destroying it that caused his friends to become foes and his servants to become sorcerers. He then asked for solitude and the King left without further question, clearly shaken by Gaius' words and the thought of the many other innocents he had put to death in his quest to destroy magic.
Morgause and Morgana's RebellionWhen Arthur was defeated in combat by a woman named Morgause, he was spared only on the condition that he come to her and accept another challenge. When Uther learned that Morgause knew something of Ygraine, he refused to allow Arthur to go, fearing what she would tell him. However, with Merlin's help, Arthur managed to break out of Camelot and go to Morgause. Uther later learned that Morgause was Morgana's half-sister, which Uther wanted kept from Morgana to prevent her loyalties from being divided. Arthur and Merlin reached Morgause who revealed that Ygraine had died in childbirth because Uther had turned to magic to conceive an heir. Arthur was furious and returned to Camelot to confront his father. After a heated confrontation Arthur challenged Uther to fight to the death in the throne room. When Uther refused, Arthur said he would simply kill him where he stood if he didn't defend himself. Uther said Arthur would never do it and was shocked when Arthur proved him wrong by attacking. Uther was forced to fight his son, but was ultimately disarmed and at his mercy. Before Arthur could deal the death blow, Merlin managed to convince him that Morgause had lied to him.
Uther's guards later captured Alvarr, a sorcerer who was plotting against him. Uther tried him and had him condemned to death. Morgana, who had secretly been swayed to Alvarr's side, furiously disowned him and told him he would "go to hell." Morgana then freed Alvarr and Uther suspected her, but had no proof and so merely delivered a stark warning that whoever had done the deed would come to regret it, directing his words at Morgana who remained impassive. Some time later, Morgana was taken from Camelot by Morgause after the latter attempted to destroy the kingdom. Uther was devastated and became determined to find his ward, refusing to stop sending his soldiers to search for her. He remained unaware that Morgana was part of Morgause's conspiracy and that she had been utterly turned against him.
Uther vowed to find Morgana and spent almost a year, sending soldiers to look for her, refusing to give up no matter how many knights were lost. He declared he would never give up searching despite being told by Gaius that, after an entire year, he should call off the search and accept that Morgana was gone. However, she was eventually found one day alone in the woods by Merlin, Arthur and his men and returned to Camelot. After Morgana recovered, she went to see Uther. The King was overjoyed. Morgana thanked him for taking care of her as if she was his own daughter and apologised for her previous attitude towards him. However, Morgana was in fact lying to maintain Uther's favour and allow herself to carry out her plans to kill him since during her year away from Camelot she had been fully corrupted by Morgause.
Morgana later met with Morgause and gave her a handkerchief that contained his tears, which they used, along with a mandrake root, to prepare a spell that would cause Uther to lose his mind by bringing his worst fears to life. Morgana later placed the mandrake root under Uther's bed and activated the spell, and Uther soon experienced a hallucination of his late wife, Ygraine, calling to him from inside a well. Uther, terrified, was deemed unwell and taken to his rooms, leading to rumours about his health and leaving Camelot vulnerable.
Cenred was notified of Uther's condition and that Camelot was in a weak position. Cenred remained unsure, stating that even with Uther incapacitated, an assault on Camelot was not to be taken lightly. Eventually, he was convinced to undertake the attack. Arthur and Sir Leon then alerted Uther to the fact that mercenaries were flooding into Cenred's kingdom; they feared he was raising an army. Uther then had another hallucination, this time of a young victim of the Great Purge, which no one else could see. He shouted at the boy to leave, leading to concerns that he was losing his mind. Uther was again taken to his chambers.
As Cenred's army entered Camelot in their thousands, Gaius and Merlin went to Uther's rooms, not knowing that Morgana was there before them and had used the enchantment to worsen the curse. When Gaius and Merlin entered, they found him hunched in a corner, crying and tormented by the ghosts of his past. Merlin eventually realised what had been done to Uther and removed the mandrake root from under the bed, burning it and immediately breaking the enchantment. Uther therefore immediately regained his sanity. After leaving Uther to sleep and recover from his ordeal, Merlin insisted they tell Uther that Morgana had been responsible, but Gaius replied that Uther would never believe their word against his beloved ward.
When Cenred's forces arrived, Uther, despite being in less than peak physical condition, threw himself into the battle but was struck in the leg by a crossbow bolt. Camelot's army was then attacked from behind by an undead skeleton army summoned by Morgana using the Rowan Staff but Merlin managed to thwart her and destroy the army. In the battle's aftermath, Morgana told Uther and Arthur that it was she who destroyed the staff and stopped the skeletons. At a ceremony to recognise her bravery and that of all those who fought and died in the battle, Uther again asserted vigilance in Camelot against magic (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).
A Goblin in CamelotWhen a Goblin was accidentally released by Merlin, it possessed Gaius and played cruel tricks on Uther, first causing him to become bald. The goblin then 'remedied' the baldness it had caused by slapping the King's head, much to his chagrin, claiming it would stimulate hair growth. Arthur then informed Uther of vandalism in the castle, at which point the entire court began to suffer flatulence. Later, the goblin, posing as Gaius, accused Merlin of being a sorcerer with a spellbook as evidence. Uther therefore sentenced him to death, leaving Merlin frantic to prove that Gaius had in fact been possessed by a goblin. Eventually, Merlin was able to force the goblin out of Gaius and so Gaius informed Uther of Merlin's innocence. Uther pardoned Merlin and ordered that the goblin's lead-sealed box be sealed in the vaults to prevent further mishaps. Uther did not discover who had released the creature in the first place (Goblin's Gold).
Revelation of Morgana's HeritageWhen Morgana's birthday arrived the whole of Camelot celebrated. However when Morgana left Camelot to visit Morgause, Merlin accidentally used magic to send her falling down a flight of stairs badly wounding her. Uther was frantic and even went so far as to suggest using magic in order to cure her. He finally told Gaius a secret that he had been hiding for many years; he was Morgana's true father. Unfortunately Morgana, despite being near death's door, overheard him. When Morgana recovered Uther was overjoyed. However Morgana was furious that Uther had lied to her all her life, thinking he cared more about his reputation than he did about her. She attempted to murder her father in his sleep but was stopped by Merlin who woke Uther by smashing the window of his chamber. Morgana hastily dropped the knife she'd been holding and kicked it under the bed before telling Uther about the fire in her bedroom (which she had started) and saying he was the only person she felt safe with.
Morgana later had visions of a future where Gwen was crowned Queen of Camelot. Seeing this as a threat to her and Morgause's plans, Morgana revealed to Uther that Arthur and Gwen were courting. Uther, thinking that Arthur was merely having a fling, told his son to break off his relationship with Gwen. Arthur, however, insisted that he truly loved Gwen. Upon realising this, Uther banished Gwen from the kingdom. Morgana later learned that Arthur planned on leaving Camelot with Gwen only to return once Uther was dead so he and Gwen could reign.
Morgana, determined to stop Gwen from becoming queen, suggested to Uther, who could not understand why Arthur was in love with a serving girl, that Arthur was under an enchantment, planting false evidence in Arthur's room to prove it. Uther therefore sentenced Gwen to death and refused to heed Arthur's angry objections. However, Merlin managed to once again stop Morgana's plans using an aging spell to disguise himself as Dragoon the Great. Under this guise he declared that he had enchanted both Arthur and Gwen to fall in love in a plot to bring shame upon Camelot. This successfully convinced Uther of Gwen's innocence and he therefore released her.
Fall of a Tyrant
Uther eventually sent Arthur to retrieve the Cup of Life from the Druids in King Cenred's kingdom. However, Morgana overheard him and informed Morgause. Arthur and Merlin therefore failed in their mission and Morgause created an army of immortal soldiers from Cenred's army. Morgause, after killing Cenred, launched a full invasion of Camelot. When Leon returned and reported that the soldiers in Morgause's army could not be killed, Uther realised that Arthur had failed in his quest. Uther asked Gaius how Cenred could have known about the Cup, to which Gaius replied that the only explanation was the presence of a traitor in Camelot.
Morgause's army overwhelmed Camelot's defences and captured the city. Those who were not killed in the battle were imprisoned, including Uther. He was later dragged into the throne room where Morgause removed his crown, leading Uther to furiously declare that Morgause had no right to the throne, only for Morgana to reveal herself and remark that she did. Uther was both horrified and devastated to learn that the traitor Gaius spoke of was his own daughter and was forced to watch as Morgana was crowned Queen of Camelot.
Uther was then chained in a dungeon cell with a window to view the courtyard. About a week after Morgana's coronation, Uther watched as she had her soldiers slaughter a crowd of innocent bystanders in an attempt to get the remaining knights of Camelot to swear loyalty to her. He was later visited by Morgana who mockingly called him "Father". Uther told Morgana that the people she had just killed were innocent but Morgana retorted by saying that he had been equally cruel and unjust when he was ruling the kingdom. Uther then said that if Morgana wanted to kill someone than it ought to be him. Morgana replied that she intended to execute him, but only after she was satisfied that he has had endured the same amount of pain he had inflicted upon his victims, especially those with magic. As she left, a broken Uther asked his daughter if she truly hated him so much as to torture him as she was and was further devastated when Morgana coldly stated that he could never know how much she hated him.
Uther was later freed by Arthur but was so broken by his daughter's betrayal that he did not try to defend himself from Morgause's army of immortal soldiers. He only survived due to the protection of Arthur, Elyan, Gwaine, Percival, Lancelot, Leon, and the other surviving Knights of Camelot. Uther's mental state was so damaged that he did not recover from the ordeal and was subsequently unable to rule the kingdom as he had done, leaving his son, Arthur, to take over as regent.
A Broken Man
Over a year after Morgana's betrayal, Uther was badly weakened by his mental breakdown to the point that he was reduced to a broken man, spending most of the time mourning what his daughter had done and possible guilt that it was his own actions that turned her against him. Because Uther was still unable to rule Camelot, Arthur still remained in charge of the kingdom and trusted Gwen to look after him. When Morgana attempted to take revenge on Camelot again by summoning creatures known as the Dorocha, Arthur intended to sacrifice himself to defeat them and despite Uther begging him not to leave, he tearfully said goodbye to him. Uther, unaware that Arthur planned to sacrifice himself to defeat the Dorocha, asked Gwen if she knew where Arthur was but Gwen reassured him by telling him that Arthur went on a hunting trip and would be back in a few days. Arthur eventually returned to Camelot after Lancelot sacrificed himself to defeat the Dorocha (The Darkest Hour).
Upon Arthur's birthday, Uther began to recover from his breakdown. He joined them all in the great hall for Arthur's birthday feast and festivities, and enjoyed the acts and performances. However, while Uther regained some of his former strength, he still showed signs of his depression as Arthur claimed that Uther went quiet towards the end of his birthday. Later that night, Arthur visited Uther, who was sleeping, but was weakened by a sleeping drug, and was later attacked. Unable to fight due to the drug, Arthur fell. As Arthur's attacker was about to kill him however, Uther awoke upon realising the danger his son was in. He leapt to Arthur's defence and attacked the assassin with his sword. The two duelled, and still unwell Uther was knocked off balance and fell to the floor. Uther however, driven by the urge to save his son, continued the fight and ultimately disarmed the attacker and won. However just before he delivered the killing blow, the attacker pulled out a knife and stabbed him, at the same time as Uther killed the attacker.
Uther told Arthur that his time had come, and he hoped he had been a good father, as he had always put being king first, but he loved Arthur. Fatally wounded, Arthur decided to use magic to heal him, and Merlin seeing a chance to convince Arthur that not all magic is evil, helped while disguised as an elderly sorcerer. However Morgana hearing of this plot, enchanted a necklace that would cause Merlin's healing spell to backfire and magnify the effect of the spell tenfold. Merlin performed the spell for Uther and he awoke for a second, and in happiness saw his son, only to die moments later. Arthur spent the next night mourning over his passing, saddened at his loss of both his parents to magic. After Uther's death, Arthur was crowned King of Camelot.
On the anniversary of Uther's death, Arthur misses his father more than ever. Luckily, he comes into the possession of the Horn Of Cathbhadh, which can summon spirits of the dead. Against better judgement, Arthur uses the Horn to summon his father. Uther reveals that he has been watching his son from the afterlife and is appalled by all of Arthur's decisions since becoming king. Uther believes that Arthur has become weak and will destroy his legacy. The former king sends his son away nonetheless for fear that he will be trapped in the spirit world. With a final glance Arthur bids his father farewell. This act, however, allows Uther to escape the land of the dead and return to the living world. Soon after, Uther's vengeful phantom begins haunting the castle. He damages the Round Table and almost kills Percival and Guinevere. With some help from Gaius, Merlin and Arthur are able to see Uther's ghost and confront him. Merlin reveals his magic to an enraged Uther, who then attempts to kill the young warlock. He is prevented from doing so by Arthur. Though Arthur admits to loving and respecting his father, he says that Uther had his chance to rule but now it's his son's turn to be king. Arthur blows the Horn again and sends Uther back to the other side before he can reveal Merlin's magic.
PersonalityUther was portrayed as an iron-fisted, arrogant king who showed no mercy to those who showed any sign of defiance to his laws. He was far from flawless, but was ultimately a man dedicated to the protection and preservation of his kingdom, despite his actions being blinded by prejudice and bigotry. His gravest failing was his inability to admit to his responsibility in his wife's death and his refusal to consider an unbiased policy regarding magic users.
However, when it came to any form of magic, Uther was very much a tyrant. Before Uther came to the land, it was corrupted and endangered by evil sorcerers and their use of dark magic, as was stated by Gaius. However, Uther was friends with the powerful witch Nimueh whom he had trusted. Ygraine's death most likely finally convinced him of the uncontrollable danger of magic, and his grief permanently corrupted Uther's view of magic and led him to pursue a bloody and cruel pogrom against all types of magic, completely disregarding how the magic was used. Arthur commented that Uther would "stop listening" whenever magic was mentioned, such was his blind and prejudiced fixation on eradicating it. Uther showed poor judgement on various occasions regarding magic, selectively accusing and refusing to accuse people of sorcery but only sometimes wrongly identifying magic-users. Uther was swayed by personal bias regarding magic and through this showed an element of hypocrisy, condemning strangers such as Mary Collins' son and servants such as Merlin and Gwen to death while refusing to believe influential people including Valiant, Aredian or Gaius were using magic. Additionally, despite his vicious persecution of all magic forms, Uther hypocritically asked that Gaius use magic to save Morgana's life, such was his desire to protect his own interests, but he also faced his biggest fear, magic, at the same time in order to save the ones he loved the most.
Uther's harsh behaviour possibly represented the extensive guilt he suffered from the manner of Ygraine's death, which had been caused by his need for an heir, probably not caring that there would be grave consequences. At the same time, the death of his wife, caused by his trusted friend Nimueh, probably strengthened his opinion about magic corrupting and the unforeseen dangers that arouse from using it. He always refused to talk about Ygraine, which showed that he could not get over her death and probably couldn't bare to be reminded of her at all. Uther was evidently plagued by his past sins, as shown by the hallucinations he endured through the mandrake root enchantment, and displayed a worsening level of psychological damage as he grew older, eventually culminating in his full mental breakdown after Morgana's betrayal. Yet until that point, Uther was stubborn and determined to carry on his duties as a king and military leader, despite the physical risk to his person. He was prepared to fight the wraith Tristan de Bois in Arthur's stead and went into battle when Cenred invaded, sustaining an injury in the process. It was only under extreme psychological torment and emotional suffering that he began to lose his capabilities as a leader, and even in a state of severe depression he produced a final act of courage in saving his son from an assassin, becoming fatally wounded in doing so.
Uther, as a proud man, was very concerned about his public image as a king and was fixated on the idea of presenting himself as the 'perfect' king: strong, decisive, just and virile. He also thought that showing any kind of weakness would be a danger for the kingdom since Camelot's enemies would take advantage of it. This might have been one of the reasons why he kept Morgana's true paternity a secret for all her life, only revealing it under intense emotional upheaval, additionally to assumed other reasons. He was also unwilling to change his mind once a decision had been made, though on some occasions he did accept the wrongness of his actions and apologised for choosing poorly such as after killing Gwen's father and allowing Aredian to harm Gaius. Uther did not tolerate insolence, however, and frequently rebuked Arthur for shows of defiance. He demanded a lot from his son, insisting that he fit the mould for his idea of a good King of Camelot. Yet despite this, Uther evidently had a great deal of affection for Arthur and considered him the most important thing he had, on several occasions putting his own life at stake to save Arthur's.
Despite his heavy-handed and greatly misguided policy towards magic, Uther genuinely cared about Camelot and sought to be a good ruler. He had sympathy for Hunith when Ealdor was raided, but not enough to send aid to the innocent people who were hurt, although this was only because he didn't want to risk provoking a war with Cenred. In spite of Uther's phobia of magic and his tyrannical persecution, above all he desired to protect his family and always acted as he saw best, though this was not usually a just or effective policy. Uther was also the one who had brought peace and stability to the land, moreover prosperity so that its citizens didn't have to suffer from poverty.
While he was haunting Camelot as a ghost, Uther showed that he had become obsessed with protecting his legacy, to the point where he attempted to kill Percival and Guinevere and knocked out Arthur. He thought that Arthur had become weak and even said that Camelot was more important than Arthur. It should be noted that while he was alive, he considered Arthur to be more important than Camelot but after dying his opinion seemed to change. Since his personality and priorities changed to the complete opposite, it was probably his death that made him bitter and spending so long in the spirit world might have driven him mad and twisted his point of view even more than it already was, leading him to threaten his own son. He was outraged when he discovered that Merlin had magic, as would be expected for a man like him, and suddenly showed an unusual sadistic side by saying that he would take great pleasure in killing Merlin, contradictory to his former self that never took pleasure in killing sorcerers.
Uther demanded a lot from his only son and heir, Arthur, spending a great deal of time giving him orders as a second-in-command. He often overruled Arthur's judgements and rebuked him for defiance, claiming he would only understand when he was king. As a consequence, Arthur routinely believed himself to be "a big disappointment", though this was untrue as Uther cared about Arthur more than anyone with the exception of Morgana, stating that he meant more to him than the entire kingdom and certainly more than his own life (Excalibur). Uther was proud of his son and acknowledged his finer qualities, including his courage, sense of justice and respect for him as his father.
The biggest point of conflict was after Morgause's scheme to turn Arthur against Uther by revealing the truth about his birth. Arthur made a serious attempt to kill his father but was ultimately persuaded out of his rage by Merlin, after which his relationship with Uther recovered (The Sins of the Father). Arthur clearly loved his father a great deal as he was devastated to see him broken down after Morgana and Morgause used magic to torment him to madness. Even though he frequently clashed with Uther, Arthur was willing to risk his life to protect his father and when Camelot was captured by an immortal army he was determined to find Uther even though he was wounded and facing immortal enemies. Arthur suffered to see Uther in a state of deep depression and psychological breakdown after Morgana's betrayal, but put on a brave face for his father, spending time with him in his chambers. However, having taken over as regent of the kingdom, Arthur informed Uther that he intended to sacrifice himself to save Camelot which resulted in Uther begging him not to leave.
Later, Uther displayed his deep protectiveness and love for his son by taking up his sword in his weakened state and defending him from an assassin. However, he sustained a fatal wound in doing so, leaving Arthur with the dilemma of whether or not to use magic to save him. Arthur ultimately displayed his love and attachment to his father by seeking a sorcerer's help, deciding that his father's life mattered above all else. However, Arthur unknowingly played a major part in his fathers death by telling his uncle Agravaine of his decision who was then given an enchanted bracelet by Morgana to cause healing spells to backfire, resulting in Uther's death. Arthur was both devastated and guilty when Uther died, feeling he had betrayed his father's memory and caused his death. After Uther's death, Arthur hid behind his father's back several times. When Uther was blamed of being responsible for the slaughter of a druid camp, Arthur admitted to Merlin that it was his own responsibility, yet he did not admit it to those who blamed Uther and thereby Arthur obviously betrayed his father's honour. He also blamed his father for Morgana's actions when Morgana confronted him. By doing so, he either intentionally or unintentionally took the blame from Morgana and himself, ignoring that it was Arthur's own conviction and decision to continue the ban of magic, furthermore he indirectly declared Morgana to be a victim of "his father's sins".
Uther was the one who appointed Merlin to be Arthur's servant, meant as a reward for saving Arthur's life (The Dragon's Call). He was unaware that Merlin secretly disliked him due to his views and persecution of magic and it's practitioner's. When Merlin disguised himself as an old man, he got the opportunity to secretly show his dislike of Uther, criticising and insulting him. Uther was also unaware that Merlin was a warlock because of Merlin and Gaius' constant cover-ups, which had given Uther the idea that Merlin was incompetent and even mentally deranged (The Gates of Avalon). However, he was very grateful and even impressed at Merlin for his devotion to Arthur, which he noticed went beyond that of a regular servant, and trusted Merlin to look after him (Excalibur).
In The Sins of the Father, he thanks Merlin for saving him from being slain by Arthur in his fit of anger and even states that Merlin is a trusted ally in fight against magic. However, whenever Merlin's life was in danger, Uther was indifferent and sometimes believed that Arthur's life was more important than Merlin's as he was the future king while Merlin was just a servant (The Poisoned Chalice). In "The Crystal Cave", Uther showed his desperation to Merlin when crying in front of him about Morgana's upcoming demise. He noticed that Merlin was "Gaius' boy" and told Merlin about his biggest fears regarding his children. In his desperate situation, Uther seemed to forget about the status quo that separates the king from the servant and showed clearly his vulnerability while talking to Merlin like an equal. Merlin did not like Uther for his deadly hatred for magic and admitted to Gaius that he has been tempted to let his enemies kill him (To Kill A King), (The Sins of the Father) but knew that it would not be right to kill Uther. Merlin in his old man disguise attempted to heal Uther when he was wounded while saving his son from an assassin but Merlin unknowingly killed Uther by trying to cure Uther which caused Morgana's necklace to repel the spell and magnify it tenfold, resulting in Uther's death. Merlin blamed himself for causing Uther's death but Gaius reassured him that Morgana killed Uther when she betrayed him. When Uther returned to Camelot as a ghost, he still thought that Merlin was just a serving boy and after Merlin reveals his Magic he even tries to kill him but is interrupted by Arthur, who sends him back to the spirit world, stopping him from revealing Merlin's magic to Arthur (The Death Song of Uther Pendragon).
MorganaUther had a somewhat strained relationship with his daughter Morgana. While he did care for her, he probably was still too proud to tell her he was her father. However, it is also possible that he had other reasons for not revealing that she was his daughter. His constant executions of people who used magic often put him at odds with her. He probably was also either unaware that she was a witch or he simply ignored it. After Morgana was found hiding a Druid boy he was trying to locate, Uther told her that he would not hesitate to break the promise he had made to Gorlois if she ever betrayed him again. On the occasion he executed Gwen's father for supposedly conspiring with a warlock and had her chained in the dungeons for speaking out against him, Morgana conspired to have him killed, though she changed her mind at the last minute when she realized that Uther honestly regretted his actions. From that moment on, Uther kept his promise and softened towards Morgana. However, Morgana eventually sided with Camelot's enemies and no longer saw Uther as her family. Uther had no idea that Morgana sided with her half sister. It remains unknown whether he knew of Morgana's magic or, at least, suspected her or not. If Morgana inherited her powers from her mother Vivienne, it is possible that Uther had an idea of Morgana's magical powers but chose to ignore them.
After Morgana was "kidnapped" by Morgause, Uther became obsessed with finding her, to the point that he nearly destroyed his army by sending them on repeated searches. It was eventually revealed that he was Morgana's true father after Morgana was badly wounded from falling down a flight of stairs. Despite the difficulties of their relationship and the fact that Morgana secretly hated him, Uther loved his daughter very much, though Morgana was either unaware, or simply ungrateful, of how much he cared about her as she attempted to kill him in his sleep. Morgana was enraged that Uther had never told her the truth about her heritage and thought that he cared more about his own reputation than he did about her. In fact, Uther loved Morgana so much that he was even hypocritically willing to use magic in order to save her.
Uther discovered Morgana's treachery when Morgause successfully conquered his kingdom. When Morgause took his crown from him, Morgana revealed that she was working with her half-sister to dethrone him so she could become Queen and told him that she hated him beyond understanding. Morgana than proceeded to torture him by forcing him to witness her slaughter innocent people, saying she was merely mirroring his own actions and that she was going to execute him once she was done torturing him. Uther was so devastated by Morgana's betrayal that when Arthur rescued him from the dungeons he didn't even attempt to defend himself from Morgause's army and only survived because Arthur and his allies were protecting him.
A year later, Morgana's betrayal had broken Uther to the point that he was weakened, mentally and physically, and still unable to rule Camelot. It was only until Arthur's birthday when he showed signs of recovering from her betrayal. He later protected Arthur from an assassin, becoming mortally wounded in the process. When Morgana learnt that Uther was mortally wounded, she rejoiced and hoped that her face would haunt him in his final moments. She also willingly caused her father's death when she was informed that Arthur was using magic to save Uther. She enchanted a necklace that would reverse any healing spell and worsen the ailment tenfold. Despite causing Uther's death, she was unsatisfied and said that there would only be a celebration when she seized control of Camelot. Despite her hatred for her father, she was clearly shaken when he died and commented that she had felt his pain and sensed his death.
Years before the Great Purge started, Morgause was smuggled out of Camelot by Gaius and given to the priestesses of the Old Religion due to an unknown reason. Uther was told that the girl had died and Gaius was sworn to secrecy. When Uther was told the truth after Morgause's reappearance, he was rightly afraid that the enchantress knew the truth about Arthur's birth. Uther also guessed correctly that Morgause would attempt to turn Morgana against her brother Arthur. He hated Morgause for taking Morgana away and later blamed her for poisoning his beloved daughter against him. It is unknown why Morgause was smuggled out of Camelot after her birth and why Uther was led to believe that she had died. It is also unknown who Morgause's parents were. While Gaius called her Morgana's half-sister before he knew about Uther being Morgana's real father, it was possible that they were related through Gorlois. Since Uther admitted that Morgana was his daughter and Morgause and Morgana kept calling each other "sister", chances are that they share the same mother, Vivienne. The identity of Morgause's father has never been revealed.
Gaius was a good servant to Uther and Uther looked on him as a friend, probably his closest since Morgana's father died (A Remedy to Cure All Ills, Excalibur). Despite this, Uther still sentenced him to death when he was accused of using magic by the Witchfinder, Aredian. Nevertheless Uther felt regret at the thought of killing his old friend and refused to believe that Gaius would use magic until Gaius told him so. Uther was too proud to admit that he was the one who had caused Gaius' suffering until Gaius told him so. Gaius wasn't afraid to stand up to Uther and was one of the few people brave enough to argue with him when necessary. Despite the creases in their relationship Gaius still remained loyal to the king and Uther's trust in him strengthened after discovering he was innocent (The Witchfinder). Uther trusted Gaius so much that he even suggested allowing Gaius to use magic to cure Morgana after she was seriously injured falling down a flight of stairs. The relationship seemed to have changed later when Uther was broken and devastated by the betrayal of Morgana. Gaius did not seem to care much about Uther's mental state, nor about his death. It is unknown why Gaius acted differently after Uther became a shell of himself and was no danger to anyone anymore, being incapable of doing anything, let alone ruling the kingdom.
Uther loved his queen greatly and was devastated when she died giving birth to Arthur. Nimueh warned Uther that there would be grave consequences, but he ignored her, not knowing that Ygraine would die in the process. Then, he began persecuting the thing that he blamed for her death, magic. Twenty years after her death he still mourned her loss, saying to Nimueh that Ygraine was his heart and soul, which showed that he fully emotionally depended on her. It is likely that Ygraine was also very much in love with him.
Uther truly did love Ygraine but he had a brief relationship with Vivienne, the wife of Gorlois, while Gorlois was away fighting a battle. This one time adultery resulted in the birth of his daughter Morgana. It is possible that the relationship with Vivienne happened before Uther was married to Ygraine, since Morgana is older than Arthur.
Interestingly, when Morgause summoned Ygraine's spirit to speak with Arthur, she vehemently claimed that Uther betrayed her by knowingly sacrificing her so Arthur could be born through magic. It remains unknown whether Ygraine's spirit was real or just an illusion created by Morgause to turn Arthur against his father. Uther didn't know that Ygraine would die in exchange for Arthur's life, so it is very unlikely that Ygraine really thought that Uther sacrificed her. However, in case it was really Ygraine's spirit and not just a trick or an illusion created by Morgause, she may have misinterpreted Uther's exact role in her death and overestimated his knowledge of the consequences his actions would have. Moreover, Uther's hatred of magic would not make sense if he had seen her death coming and willingly sacrificed his beloved wife, on whom, obviously, his whole personality was based. Ygraine's death left Uther a broken man.
Uther had a brief relationship with Vivienne, the wife of Gorlois, while Gorlois was fighting in a war, assumingly before his marriage with Ygraine. He told Gaius that Vivienne grew lonely. This resulted in the birth of Morgana. Uther did not reveal Morgana's true heritage until many years later, probably to save the reputations of Vivienne, Gorlois and himself. This affair would prove to ultimately be Uther's undoing since Morgana, the product of his crime, destroyed him. Little is known about Vivienne, whether she is still alive, nor if she had magical powers from who perhaps Morgana and Morgause inherited their powers.
Uther claimed that Morgana's [step-]father, Gorlois, was the greatest man he'd ever known. Uther said that Gorlois was extremely dedicated to defending his kingdom, Camelot, and unafraid to question his judgement, a trait that he had passed on to his [step-]daughter Morgana. When Gorlois died, Uther promised to take care of Morgana. However, he once threatened to break this promise. Considering Morgana was actually his daughter and not Gorlois', he was almost certainly bluffing. Uther once secretly betrayed Gorlois: while Gorlois was away from Camelot, fighting during the war against Magic, his wife grew lonely and turned to Uther. This affair resulted in the birth of Morgana. Whether Gorlois ever discovered his wife's unfaithfulness and her relationship with Uther is unknown, however Morgana viewed him as her father until he died in battle when she was ten.
Before the Great Purge, Uther was friends with Nimueh and welcomed her into his kingdom. He asked her to use magic to allow his wife, Ygraine, to conceive a child resulting in the birth of Arthur. However, after Ygraine died, Uther thought that Nimueh had betrayed him, though Nimueh actually claimed that she hadn't intended for Ygraine to die and they had a heated dispute about this. Later, when Merlin fought and ultimately killed Nimueh, he doubted that it was the Old Religion that randomly chose a life in exchange for another but that it was Nimueh herself. Also Gaius told Nimueh when he confronted her that this time the price should be a fair one, when referring to the death of Ygraine. Nimueh was furious with Uther for killing so many people she cared about and became Uther's most dangerous enemy until her death at the hands of Merlin. However, it is implied that Nimueh did indeed chose Ygraine to die, since she was able to take Gaius' life in exchange for Merlin. Despite this, Nimueh refused to take responsibility for the hunt on magic and blamed Uther for the loss of so many of her kind. It is unknown if she chose Ygraine to make everything happen exactly the way it did and to fulfill a greater plan since some members of the Old Religion could foresee the future. The entire Nimueh-Uther situation is still open to debate and speculations.
Uther had very little to do with Guinevere while she was Morgana's maid. It is known that Uther thought of Gwen as nothing special as she was a mere servant. He sentenced Gwen to death for using sorcery to heal her dying father when it was really Merlin's doing. Uther had no idea of Arthur's secret relationship with Guinevere until Morgana meddled in Arthur and Gwen's secret relationship the year after she was taken from Camelot by her half-sister Morgause did the king find out about his son's secret love affair. He sentenced Gwen to death but she was later released when Merlin, disguised as Dragoon the Great 'confessed' to 'enchanting' Arthur. It is unknown what Uther thought of Gwen looking after him a year after Morgana's betrayal was revealed, since he was almost unresponsive in his broken mind. Three years after his death when Arthur summoned his spirit from the dead, Uther criticised Arthur's decision to marry a servant and claimed that Gwen had no idea how to be Queen of Camelot. He later attacked Gwen and tried to kill her by attempting to burn her alive.
Before becoming a king, Uther was a knight and a powerful warrior. He was a skilled swordsman and this was proven when he managed to slay Tristan de Bois' wraith using the sword Excalibur. However Arthur teased that Uther needed to improve on his footwork, saying that it had always been his weakness. Uther was also unable to defeat Arthur when he attempted to kill him though it should be noted that Arthur had the advantage of being younger and fitter and he was fuelled by rage over the death of his mother. Uther also fought during the siege of Camelot despite being weakened by a mandrake root placed by Morgana. However he did receive a wound and was taken to the infirmary.
Uther was also able to easily defeat all his opponents in a tournament, with the exception of Arthur (who allowed Uther to win) and Gilli (who was using magic) (Sorcerer's Shadow). However, Uther lost all his abilities after being broken by Morgana, as shown when he was unable to defend himself from the immortal army before Arthur rescued him. Just before his fatal wounding, upon seeing his son was in danger, Uther was able to regain some of his lost skills, and take on The Gleeman in sword combat. Although he won, his footwork weakness was once again displayed in this duel as he lost his balance a few times. Just before he killed the Gleeman, he was fatally wounded by his knife.
When he was a ghost, Uther was invisible unless a special potion was made in order to see him. He could go through walls and telekinetically lift objects, ironically being a magical creature himself when returning as a spirit, not having a choice when Arthur summoned his spirit with magical help. However it should be noted that when Uther tried to kill Merlin he was physically holding a sword, presumably as a way of showing Merlin how much he hated magic.
- Series 1
- A Remedy to Cure All Ills: When Edwin Muirden used magic to nearly kill him with Elanthia Beetles.
- Excalibur: When he fought an undead Wraith to the death.
- To Kill the King: When Tauren and Morgana worked together to make an attempt on his life.
- Series 2
- Beauty and the Beast: Part Two: When he saw the Troll for who she really is, the Troll Catrina tried to kill him.
- The Sins of the Father: When Arthur learnt the truth of his birth, it was his instinct to fight and defeat his father.
- The Fires of Idirsholas: When Morgana's presence in Camelot nearly killed the entire kingdom.
- Series 3
- The Tears of Uther Pendragon: Part Two: During the Great Battle for Camelot, he was nearly killed by Cenred's army.
- The Crystal Cave: After Morgana learnt about her true parentage, she attempted to kill Uther in his sleep.
- Love in the Time of Dragons: When the Manticore made Alice poison Uther.
- The Sorcerer's Shadow: When Gilli nearly killed him in a duel.
- The Coming of Arthur: Part Two: He was nearly killed by Morgana's army during Arthur's Rebellion of Camelot.
- Series 5
- The Death Song of Uther Pendragon: Uther returned as a ghost. He threatened Gwen, Arthur, and found out that Merlin has magic. Near the end of the episode Uther nearly tells Arthur that Merlin has magic before Arthur blows into the horn and made Uther's spirit disappear back to the Spirit World.
As magic was involved in Uther's death, Arthur began to hate magic more than ever, calling it pure evil and he vowed never to forget it (The Wicked Day). Arthur also began to follow Uther's ways which was shown when he learned of a dragon egg which he chose to destroy to wipe magic out of the kingdom, only for Merlin to get there first and protect it (Aithusa). However when Arthur learned from Gaius that "Dragoon the Great" did not actually kill Uther as he thought, his hatred towards magic decreased once more but showed no sign of wanting to return magic to Camelot (The Secret Sharer). However, when the ghost of a druid boy possessed Elyan and tried to kill Arthur, the young king confessed to be responsible for the boy's death and, out of pure remorse, swore to treat the druid people with the respect that they deserved, finally bringing the end of magic's persecution (A Herald of the New Age). Arthur's prejudice against magic seemed to have changed up to a certain point, but when Morgana confronted Arthur, he surprisingly mentioned his father by saying, "you can't blame me for my father's sins" (The Sword in the Stone), despite the fact that he himself still prohibited magic in Camelot. It remains unknown if he was referring to the ban of magic, which he indeed continued, or rather to the fact that Uther did not publicly acknowledge Morgana as his daughter. Arthur also obviously ignored that Uther was the father of both Morgana and himself when he said "my father" instead of "our father". However, the true meaning of Arthur's retort may be that he was accusing Morgana of not being innocent in comparison to Uther's behavior, as she was as even more vindictive as their father, thus betraying Uther's honour and blaming him for Morgana's and Arthur's own actions.
- Uther is shown to fight with his left hand in the episode The Sorcerer's Shadow.
- Before his son Arthur, Uther wielded the sword Excalibur, unaware that it was crafted specifically for Arthur and him alone.
- In the legend, Uther was long dead when Arthur met and later married Guinevere (who before her marriage to Arthur is a princess) while in the show, he is alive when he discovers (through Morgana's meddling) his son's secret relationship with Gwen (who is a servant in the show). It is known that if Uther was still alive when Arthur married Gwen that Uther would have done anything to prevent the marriage from taking place and this would have also prevented Gwen from becoming Arthur's Queen. This evidence is backed up in the episode The Death Song of Uther Pendragon when Gwen is greatly criticised by Uther for being a former servant and 'knowing nothing about what it takes to be Queen' and for marrying Arthur. This claim is said before and after Uther attacks Gwen and attempts to burn her alive.
- It was confirmed at Comic Con 2012 in San Diego that Uther will return in someway in order to comfort Arthur when he needs him in Series 5, which he did in the third episode of series 5.
- The Death Song of Uther Pendragon changed Uther's former personality when ignoring and contradicting his softer sides and love he showed towards his family and also strangers, and instead turning him into a callous and evil spirit that only cared about Camelot and even attacked his own son.
- Uther's sudden change into evil was explained by Julian Murphy and Bradley James who said that Uther has always been reputed to be a tyrannical, selfish and dictatorical king for his entire time on this Earth and that it is dangerous to make "villains" likable, thus simply changing his former multidimensional personality into a mere villainous character.
- Bizarrely, Uther didn't mention his magical daughter and the fact that she killed him with magic just once.
- "Beautiful, charming, witty. Strategic." - describing Elena
- "When I came to this land, this kingdom was mired in chaos, but with the people's help magic was driven from the realm. So I declare a festival to celebrate twenty years since the Great Dragon was captured and Camelot freed from the evil of sorcery. Let the celebrations begin." - to the people of Camelot
- "He's young, foolish and in love. Give it a week and he'll be chasing after the next girl that catches his eye." - Uther on Arthur
- "Could somebody tell me what happened? Someone with a brain." - excluding Merlin
- "Do you really hate me so much?" - to Morgana
- "This boy won't be the last to die on your behalf. You're going to be King. It's something you'll have to get used to." - to Arthur
- "I should have guessed. Really, Arthur, you should know better than to bet against Morgana." - to Arthur
- "I see the way he cares for you. You feel your child's every joy, and their pain. You watch their failings and you see your own. All you want is for their happiness, for them to escape the sufferings of life. Wh--why has this happened? I woul-- I would do anything. Anything..." - to Merlin
- "I know you will make me proud, as you always have. You will be a great King..." - to Arthur
- "I know I've not been a...a good father. I put my duty to Camelot first. I'm sorry. But know this one thing. I always loved you..." - to Arthur
- "Camelot must come before all else.... even you." - to Arthur
Uther Pendragon was the youngest son of Constantine and a brother of Aurelianus. As a one of the two younger brothers of the murdered King Constans, Uther apparently fled at a young age to the Royal Court of his cousin, King Budic I of Brittany where he was raised. As a young man, Uther returned to Britain with his elder brother, Ambrosius, and together they fought for their ancestral rights, eventually defeating the usurping Vortigern and placing Ambrosius on the throne.
Throughout Ambrosius' reign, Uther was his brother's staunchest ally. He commanded the King's forces in Ireland when, with Merlin, he acquired the "Giant's Ring" as a memorial to the dead of the "Night of the Long Knives". Later, it was Uther who was victorious over the rebellious King Pasgen of Buellt & Gwerthrynion at St. Davids.
Uther took the crown under the title of "Uther Pendragon" after a dragon-shaped comet appeared in the sky at the time of his brother's death. Most of his reign was taken up with campaigning against Saxon and Irish invaders in the North of Britain, where he held court at Pendragon Castle in Westmorland. He was, at first unsuccessful against the Angles of Bernicia. Osla, allied with the Jutish Octa, defeated Uther's armies at York. However, he soon turned the tables at the ensuing Battle of Mount Damen. Uther later travelled even further north to help the Kings of Strathclyde pacify the Scots.
It is at this point that the most famous episode in Uther's life is related. Returning to London, he met Igraine (spelt "Ygraine" in Merlin), the beautiful wife of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, and fell instantly in love with her. Determined to see her again he invited the Duke to return to the Royal Court, but Gorlois could see what was going on and flatly refused. The two quarrelled and Gorlois and his wife fled to Cornwall. Uther invaded the Duke's lands, but still impatient to be with his new love, he persuaded Merlin to use his powers to magic him into Igraine's bed. Thus, while Gorlois was being killed at nearby St. Dennis, Uther was transformed into his likeness. He walked straight into the lion's den at Tintagel Catsle and seduced the lovely Duchess. The price for this deception was that Uther's son, the future King Arthur who was conceived on that night, had to be given to Merlin to be brought up as he saw fit.
In old age, the sick and aging Uther was drawn into a renewed war with the Northern Angles. When his commander, King Lot of Lothian was unsuccessful, the King was carried to St. Albans to besiege the Anglian Princes himself. He won through, but the Germans poisoned the water supply and Uther, along with many of his men, died in the days that followed.
|Kingdom of Camelot|
| Queen: Guinevere Pendragon|
Court Physician: Gaius
Keeper of the Royal Library: Geoffrey of Monmouth
Knights: Sir Leon • Sir Percival • Sir Brennis • Sir Cador • Sir Geraint
Other Allies: Merlin • Annis • Odin • Rodor • Mithian • Godwyn • Bayard • Elena • Alined • The Euchdag • Vivian • Olaf
Former Allies: Morgana Pendragon † • Nimueh † • Cedric †? • Cornelius Sigan † • Tristan de Bois † • Lady Catrina † • Edwin Muirden † • Uther Pendragon † • Agravaine de Bois †• Sefa• Mordred †