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Order of Merlin

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Merlin, founder of the Order of Merlin, which was originally an organisation, not an award.

The Order of Merlin is an award bestowed upon wizards and witches who have achieved great deeds. It has three different levels: First Class, Second Class, and Third Class.


The Order of Merlin was founded by Merlin in the Middle Ages as an organisation with the goal of promoting laws to protect and benefit Muggles.[1] It is unknown when the Order changed from an organisation to an award or when its focus shifted from advocating Muggle rights to honouring great wizarding accomplishments in general.

Known recipients

Order of Merlin, First Class

  • Albus Dumbledore
    • During the campaign to discredit him, it was suggested by Remus Lupin that the Ministry would consider taking away the Order of Merlin from Dumbledore. Dumbledore claimed that he did not care as long as he is not taken off the Chocolate Frog Cards. However, when Dumbledore's credibility was restored, the Ministry's consideration to retract the medal was cancelled.
  • Peter Pettigrew
    • Awarded posthumously (or so it was believed at the time) for a "heroic confrontation" with Sirius Black. The medal was given to Pettigrew's mother. Pettigrew, not Black, was later revealed to have been the one who betrayed the Potter family, and it is possible his Order of Merlin was retracted as a result.

Order of Merlin, Second Class

Order of Merlin, Third Class

  • Gilderoy Lockhart
    • He received this award for his encounter with many dark creatures and instructing people on how to repel them. In 1993, it was revealed that he had only taken credit for these deeds and had not really done any of them. This might have led to his Order of Merlin's retraction.

Recipients of unknown class

Possible recipients

  • Cornelius Fudge promised to give Severus Snape the Order of Merlin, First Class, for capturing Sirius Black, then assumed to be a fugitive murderer, but Black escaped before Fudge could follow through on his word. It was later stated that the loss of this Order of Merlin hit Snape hard, and allegedly was the reason that he let it slip that Remus Lupin was a werewolf.

Behind the scenes

  • The "Muggle" counterpart to the Order of Merlin could include the Order of the British Empire, Victoria Cross, Medal of Honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom, or the Nobel Prize.
  • Since 1966, the International Brotherhood of Magicians has been awarding its own Order of Merlin to long-standing members.
  • Since Dumbledore was on the verge of losing his Order of Merlin during Fudge's campaign, it means that a certain level of disgrace is capable of causing a recipient to lose the Order of Merlin.
  • As Fudge was heavily disgraced for his lack of actions against Lord Voldemort's return, it is possible that his Order of Merlin has been retracted.
  • Due to Lockhart being a fraudulent crook who stole credits from other wizards and witches to boost his own fame, it is most likely he earned his Order of Merlin with deceit and trickery. It is unknown if it was retracted when his true colours were revealed.


Notes and references

  1. Famous Wizard Card (Merlin)
  2. Harry Potter Limited Edition - The Paintings of Hogwarts: Masterpieces from the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Sets
  3. Pottermore - New From J. K. Rowling - Remus Lupin
  4. Wonderbook: Book of Spells
  5. Horace Slughorn states in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7, "I was just telling young Marcus here that I had the pleasure of teaching his Uncle Damocles. Outstanding wizard, outstanding, and his Order of Merlin most well-deserved."

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