Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Which Wizard?

     Merlin, Gandalf, Harry Potter--who's your favorite?  Do you have a favorite?  I like all three, but I will admit that I if I HAD to choose, there would be no hesitation.  My favorite wizard is Merlin.  (NOTE: I can feel the energy from those readers who are thinking, "Why isn't Dumbledore on this list?" And my answer is: I'm trying to keep this simple and the books / films were called Harry Potter, not Albus Dumbledore, otherwise I would put Hermione Granger on the list since I think she could beat Harry in any Wizards' duel anytime if she so chose).  Okay, back on track: Merlin, Gandalf and Harry Potter are three of the most famous, iconic wizards of all time. Questions such as: Who would win--Harry or Merlin  / Gandalf or Harry--have been asked before, but I what I want to know is: of the three, who is the greatest / best wizard ever and why? 

     Now that may sound like a simple question, but it really isn't.  Why?  Because none of these three is a simple, linear character (this is part of why they're so memorable).  I've heard the question, "Who would win: Merlin or Harry Potter?" Bradley James, of the BBC series, Merlin, answered that Merlin would, of course, beat Harry because Potter has to use a wand and Merlin just uses his hand.  Good point--IF Merlin is the wizard as portrayed in that series.  Or if the Merlin involved in the duel is the character from Mary Stewart's Crystal Cave (or the rest of her Merlin trilogy) since he wins more often by using his wits rather than his magic.  Then again, if he's just using his wits, could Merlin win against a wand-wielding Harry?  Of course, the wizard of Arthurian legend has been known (in other incarnations) to use a staff like Gandalf (or more accurately, Gandalf uses a staff like Merlin). There are in fact so many versions of Merlin in literature, film and television that answering "Who would win: Merlin or...?" or "Who is the best wizard ever--Merlin, Potter or Gandalf?" requires the clarification question,"Which Merlin do you mean?"

     All right then, I'll be specific and just focus on the character from the BBC series as he is brilliantly portrayed by Colin Morgan.  Now the question can be answered, right?  Not really.  Are you talking about Merlin in Season One?  Season Three?  Season Five?  He is on a journey and he grows, so he's not the same wizard.

     Similar complications arise with Harry.  The twelve-year-old wizard in The Sorcerer's Stone (or The Philosopher's Stone) is obviously nowhere near as skilled or experienced as the eighteen-year-old who defeats Voldemort in The Deathly Hallows.

     Even talking about Gandalf isn't simple.  Do we mean Gandalf the Grey or Gandalf the White?

     So having acknowledged these complications, I ask again: Who is your favorite wizard ever and why?

     Five years ago, I would have said, "Merlin from The Crystal Cave," but now, I'd say Colin Morgan's Merlin, Season Four / Season Five.  Yes, I didn't answer the why part.  That'd be a whole other blog.
And just to stir things up a bit: Hermione or Harry--who's really more powerful?  Morgana, Hermione, Morgause, Bellatrix...do you notice that only one of these magical women is portrayed as "good"?  Oh wait! That's another blog too. In the meantime, think about it.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, such difficult questions to answer! I tend to think Merlin would win over Harry Potter ... Harry is scrappy, but Merlin is the most powerful magician of all time, whether it's Mary Stewart's Merlin, or Colin Morgan! :) Thanks for the intriguing post!