Why do flowers bloom knowing they are destined to wither? Their time of beauty is so short-lived.
— Merlina the Wizard, Sonic and the Black Knight
Merlina the Wizard (魔導師マリーナ Madōshi Marīna?, lit. "Mage Marina") is the main antagonist of Sonic and the Black Knight. She is a unique member of the townspeople from the world of Camelot and the granddaughter of the legendary wizard Merlin. An exceptional and talented young wizard, Merlina serves the Royal Court as the Royal Wizard of Camelot.
When Merlina learned that only ruin and warfare awaited her kingdom in the future, she sought to prevent this by seizing the scabbard of Excalibur from the corrupted King Arthur to make her world eternal. For this, she called Sonic the Hedgehog to her world and sent him on a quest to retrieve the scabbard. When Sonic succeeded, Merlina attempted her plan, but was stopped and redeemed by Sonic before her actions could destroy the kingdom.
Following in her grandfather's footsteps, Merlina became the Royal Wizard of Camelot where she served the Royal Court.
Sonic and the Black Knight
During the game's opening sequence, Merlina is being pursued by King Arthur and the Knights of the Underworld. The sorceress uses a summoning ritual to warp a "brave knight, swift as the wind" into the Arthurian world and Sonic promptly appeared. After the hedgehog dispatches the demon knights, Merlina stops him from attacking King Arthur immediately, and instead conjures a magical cyclone to teleport them away to the shores of Misty Lake.
After Sonic acquires Caliburn, Merlina explains that she cannot accompany them on their journey; as the Royal Wizard, she would attract unwanted attention from the residents of the kingdom. Merlina instead remains in hiding, while Sonic wanders around the world of Camelot to complete his knighthood training. After Sonic defeated Sir Percival, Merlina appears to meet him, having witnessed all of the events Sonic partook in and praised Sonic for his knighthood progress and then informed him that King Arthur is located at Avalon. When the hedgehog goes to battle King Arthur for the final time in Faraway Avalon, Merlina is finally tracked down by the Knights of the Round Table in Castle Camelot. The Blue Blur arrives back just in time to intervene and gave Merlina the scabbard of Excalibur—which then enables her to carry out her plans.
Merlina reveals that she had, all this time, been planning a double-cross. Summoning Sonic to the Kingdom was not a scheme to defeat King Arthur and bring peace and liberty to the land, but rather to take the power of Excalibur's scabbard for herself. Having foreseen the future of the storybook realm, Merlina realized that the Grand Kingdom was doomed to end in ruin and warfare—and is determined to stop these events from coming to pass, interpreting her grandfather's dream of a kingdom that lasts forever literally. The wizard intends to apply the scabbard's power of immortality to the realm itself by placing Grand Kingdom under a kind of magical stasis, fueled by the dark forces from the Underworld. As the castle falls apart around them, Sonic and the Knights flee through Knight's Passage. In order to save the Kingdom, the former lieutenants of King Arthur agree to work with Sonic and Nimue to halt the Dark Queen's magic by activating four sacred stones. Sir Lancelot rushes to Shrouded Forest, Sir Gawain to Great Megalith, Sir Percival to The Cauldron, and Sonic to Dragon's Lair.
Nimue's plan is, however, ineffective in halting the spread of Merlina's magic. Sonic and Caliburn head back to the castle to face Merlina in Dark Hollow (now transformed into the Dark Queen), where she explains her intentions. Enraged and disgusted, Sonic turns a deaf ear to Merlina's words and attacks her, but only suffers a severe beating. After being bisected by the crazed sorceress, Caliburn fuses with the other sacred swords of the Knights of the Round Table to become Excalibur–simultaneously encasing Sonic in a suit of gold armor: Excalibur Sonic and engages Merlina in a final battle.
After her defeat, Merlina returns to normal, but continues to lament the fate of her world. Sonic hands her a flower and comforts her, proclaiming the anarchic wisdom that while every world has to come to an end, they just have to live their lives to the fullest until that day comes. Reminiscing about her grandfather, Merlina takes the Blue Blur's words to heart. Though her reaction is not seen, she is also present when Caliburn reveals that Sonic is the one and true King Arthur.
Other game appearances
During the "Windy Hill in Spring Event", Merlina came to earth where she was introduced to Team Sonic by Omochao. After Merlina greeted them, Omochao asked Team Sonic to give her a tour while promising that her powers would be of use to them, to which Team Sonic gladly accepted.
Merlina is a person who loved the kingdom her grandfather had helped create with all her heart; from the winds that made the meadows dance, to the flowers by the wayside, to the melodious songbirds. After learning of her world's grim fate, Merlina's love was shattered and turned into an indescribable, one-sided sadness and sorrow which ran deeper that "the depths of the underworld". This gave Merlina a somewhat nihilistic perspective, making her occasionally question what the purpose of life is since everything is destined to die. Guided by her desire to protect the kingdom of her grandfather, Merlina became solely committed to making her kingdom eternal and preserve its beauty. However, she let her intentions corrupt her, turning her into a well-intentioned extremist; to her, every crime was a necessary evil, any manipulation was an end that justified the means and the sacrifice of countless lives was for the greater good. When confronted, Merlina would try making others sympathize with her, only to blame them for not understanding upon being rejected. As hinted by Caliburn however, Merlina's plot was less about preserving the beauty of her world for noble causes and more of a selfish attempt on her part to escape her own sorrow.
To the people around her, Merlina would appear as a kind, yet strong and wise soul with a strong sense of compassion and every bit of good intention for her kingdom. When letting others know of her true motives though, she would show herself as calm, cold, and utterly ruthless in achieving her goals.
Unlike most other villains, whose ambitions are driven through a lust for power and recognition, Merlina did not consider herself evil in the same sense, as her schemes were motivated to protect what she cherished the most. As such, she would berate Sonic's attempts to stop her as selfish struggles which would doom them all. Following her defeat, Merlina realized from Sonic's advice that life's brilliance came from knowing there is an end to it, which is why they must live their lives to the fullest in the time they have, thus curing her of her sorrow. These factors make Merlina one of the most three-dimensional villains in the series.
Powers and abilities
Merlina is a talented wizard of incredible power, wielding a potent form of magic referred to as "High Ancient magic." With it, Merlina can teleport herself and others, age at least plants, and even summon people from other dimensions through rituals. As a testament to her magical prowess, she was able to single-handedly force Castle Camelot into collapse and raise a new castle in its stead at the same time.
Merlina is surprisingly fast and strong, catching Sonic the Hedgehog just as he took off at high speed and hold him in a stationary position while he was running. She also have some knowledge of swordsmanship as she could teach Sonic the basics of swordplay during their time at Misty Lake.
By harnessing the powers of the scabbard of Excalibur, Merlina can transform into the Dark Queen. In this state, her magic is greatly enhanced and she can control the forces of the Underworld. She can also fly, form barriers, and use her shadow for combat. Additionally, she can assume a spectral form which can project energy, create barriers and engage in swordplay.
In other media
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs, Merlina appeared in the comics' adaptation of Sonic and the Black Knight. In this media, she is a being from another Zone connected to the reality of the In Another Time, In Another Place reality.
Merlina has four songs, a slow piano theme for when Sonic speaks with her "Merlina's Theme", "With Me" when she is the Dark Queen (shared as the theme for Excalibur Sonic). "Merlina- Her Wicked Smile" for when she reveals her true intentions and "Merlina- The Queen Of The Underworld" for when she starts to fight Sonic.
- "My name is Merlina, the court wizard. I wish to preserve this world: the winds that makes the meadows dance, the flowers that bloom by the wayside, the melodious songbirds. Please, help me stop the evil king"
- —Merlina's introduction in Sonic and the Black Knight's Gallery
- "Ifaras zaras yezaras, Ifaris zaris yezarik. O brave knight, swift as the wind! Heed my call."
- —Merlina summoning Sonic.
- "Being from a distant world! Forgive my abrupt summons!"
- —Merlina greets Sonic.
- "Let me introduce myself, I am Merlina the Wizard."
- —Merlina introduces herself to Sonic.
- "The fate of our kingdom rests in your hands, do not fail us."
- —Merlina trusts Sonic with the fate of the Kingdom.
- "T-That was amazing! Defeating the Mist Dragon like it was nothing. The mark of a true knight..."
- —Merlina after witnessing Sonic's defeat over the Mist Dragon.
- "If you remove that sword and defeat King Arthur with it, you shall forever be the worst of knights, slayer of Kings."
- —Merlina warns Sonic of the consequences of his quest.
- "Your king was nothing more than an illusion my grandfather conjured up."
- —Merlina reveals who King Arthur really is to the Knights of the Round Table.
- "With this scabbard, I can erase my grandfather's greatest mistake."
- —Merlina reveals her intentions for the scabbard.
- "I shall make this kingdom eternal..."
- —Merlina, upon becoming the Dark Queen.
- Despite being related to Merlin, a prominent character in the real-world stories of King Arthur, Merlina is an original character created for the plot of Sonic and the Black Knight.
- Merlina bears a strong resemblance to Shahra in appearance except the latter's skin is ligher, has purple hair, a tiara with a red jewel in the middle, and a longer braided ponytail. They were both Sonic's companions and have also betrayed Sonic, who had forgiven them in their respective games' plots.
- When Merlina first summons Sonic, she uses the same incantation Erazor Djinn used to summon the Ifrit Golem in Sonic and the Secret Rings: "Ifalas zaras I e zaraq".
- Merlina is the first villain that Sonic faced who wanted to do good instead of evil, but she let her intentions corrupt her.
- Merlina's favorite flowers seems to be Carnations, for every time she had a flower in her hand, it was always a Carnation. She only held yellow/orange carnations, meaning disappointment or dejection. This relates to how she's disappointed with her world coming to an end someday or that she dejects its fate and decides to make a world that lasts forever.
- In the opening sequence of Sonic and Black Knight, when Merlina is running from King Arthur, a symbol on the bottom of her dress has an extremely close resemblance to the guild seal within the Fable franchise.
- Merlina is the only female human-like companion to not die in the story she is in. Maria was killed on Space Colony ARK, Elise was killed when Eggman's Egg Carrier crashed (though Sonic prevents this from happening by going back in time) and Shahra died when she took the fatal blow for Sonic (though Sonic used his first wish to revive her). Ironically, she is the only one of them to use a tool for immortality.
- Merlina is the first female primary antagonist in the Sonic series that Sonic has faced.
- She is also the first female final boss that Sonic has fought.
- Sonic Runners
- Sonic Team (March 13, 2009). Sonic and the Black Knight. Wii. Gallery. Vault 5. [Merlina] "This exceptional wizard served King Arthur. Rebelling against him, she summoned Sonic into the storybook world."
- Granddaughter of the legendary wizard Merlin, Merlina has followed in his footsteps and is the talented young Wizard, serving the Royal Court. However, now she's summoned Sonic into her storybook world so he can help her overthrow the corrupted king. - Sonic and the Black Knight Official US website.
- Sonic Team (March 13, 2009). Sonic and the Black Knight. Wii. Gallery. Vault 1. [Underworld Queen] "Merlina, changed into the Queen of the Underworld, guided by her desire to protect the kingdom of her grandfather."
- Sonic Team (March 13, 2009). Sonic and the Black Knight. Wii. Gallery. Vault 5. [The New King] "The Wizard's sadness at knowing the end of the story was cured by the hedgehog's golden light. Doesn't the brilliance of life come from knowing there is an end to the story? The new King, pure of heart, is set to make new legends."
- Sonic Team (13 March 2009). Sonic and the Black Knight. Nintendo Wii. Sega. Area: Knight's Passage. "Caliburn: This is no doubt the effect of Merlina's High Ancient magic."