The Last Enchantment Themes

The Last Enchantment Themes


Love is a theme of the novel. Arthur is in love with Guinevere and trusts her when she tells him what happens when she is kidnapped by Melwas. He knows that being a woman is not easy and that she must use only what weapons she has as a woman to keep herself safe. He also trusts her relationship with Bedwyr. He loves Guinevere and Bedwyr and wants them to be happy. If she can find happiness with his best friend while he is away, Arthur gives it his blessing.

Merlin finds love with Nimue. She shares his abilities so understands him like no one else can. Even though there is a significant difference in their ages, the two share a great love. Merlin shares his past with her by taking her to all the places that have significant meaning to him and sharing his stories. Being with her is the happiest time in his life. When he comes back from the dead, he does not want to interrupt her life and tries to keep his returning from her. Nimue must see him even though she has married a King in the North.


Prejudice is a theme of the novel. Merlin refuses to teach woman his magical arts. He does not believe that a woman has the strength to handle the physical pain of Sight. His refusing to teach Morgause lead to her hatred of him and her poisoning him. His initial illness is very grave and Arthur fears that he will die. He does recover, but he is not the same. His powers have diminished. A second bout of the illness leads to Merlin’s being buried alive at Brynn Mryddin. Arthur believes Merlin to be dead, but the illness has only made it seem that way.

Merlin is so against teaching a woman that he does not see what is right in front of him. When he sees whom, he thinks is Ninian on the lake, he offers to teach him his gift. Thinking on it later, he realizes that it could not have been Ninian for if he survived drowning he would be much older. When the not Ninian appears at his cottage one day, Merlin feels a connection to him and makes him his student. Ninian as he prefers to be called has great ability and the gift of Sight. It is only when Arthur sees Ninian that he tells Merlin that Ninian is a girl. She confesses that her name is Niniane and she is called Nimue. She was given to become one of the Ladies of the Lake.

Merlin continues to teach her because he has fallen in love with her. She becomes more powerful as he begins to lose his powers. He knows that she will be a great source of power for Arthur when he is gone.


Faith is a theme of the novel. Merlin has faith in the God who gives him his visions. When he senses that he is losing the power of his Sight, he trusts that someone will be there for him to teach his arts so that Arthur will always have someone to look after him. He has faith in Nimue’s visions and trusts that she will be his successor.

The Ladies of the Lake have faith in their Goddess. The Queen of Summer County has faith in the Goddess and does not follow the Christian faith of Arthur and the Kingdom. She and her people believe in the protection of the Goddess and follow the old religion. Arthur follows the Christian faith, but by shows his respect to the Ladies of the Lake and the Goddess by attending their ceremony.

The people of the Kingdom have different faiths and Arthur respects them all. He and his court follow the Christian faith, but do not force the people to follow Christianity. He knows that there are many people who follow the old ways and have faith in the old gods. He shows his faith in his people by allowing them to practice as they wish.


Death is a theme of the novel. Merlin knows how he will die. He has seen that he will be buried alive at Bryn Myrddin. He tells Arthur and Nimue what he has seen of his death. Arthur is upset and believes that Merlin must be shaken by knowing when he will die. Merlin tells him that it is hard knowing, but he cannot escape what will happen. His death is always there with him as he lives his life. The cloud of it is always there, but it does not distract from Merlin living his life and helping Arthur become the King he is meant to be.

When he awakens in Bryn Myrddin on his funeral bed, he knows that his vision has been fulfilled. This is his death. It does not keep him from attempting to escape. Merlin is not ready for death and will fight to live as long as he is able. When he is rescued, he does not want anyone to know that he is back from the dead. His sudden appearance from the dead will be seen as magic and enhance his reputation as an enchanter. His death was the death of an era.


Renewal is a theme of the novel. When Merlin returns from the dead, he is renewed. He cannot take his place again at Arthur’s side because Nimue has taken his place there. He must find a new position to fill. He has always been Arthur’s confidant and advisor, but he feels he can no longer fulfill this role for him. Merlin must find his way on his own and discover what path his life should now take.

He has seen Arthur become High King and helped him succeed in battle against the Saxons. The country is at peace as Merlin had foreseen. He sees his time with Arthur as coming to an end and he must learn to pull back from him. He will always be part of Arthur’s life, but his death caused a separation that he feels must be kept. His death offers him a chance to reevaluate his life and what he wants from his life. He wants to be at Bryn Myrddin and help the people who otherwise would not have medical attention. Arthur does not need his help any longer, but these people will always need him.

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