Syfy’s Merlin is magical in more ways than one. We love how the show follows the story of that legendary wizard; we see how his presence in Arthur’s life isn’t just coincidence, it is destiny. Merlin’s growing pains as a man and as a magic-man have been glorious to witness, as has his friendship with Arthur. Something else that’s truly magical? The men of Merlin. They’re simply stunning to look at. No lie. These guys are some of the hottest on TV. So we had to devote an entire article to the actors and the characters that they play. Yes, we’ve got sudden TV crushes on all of them. And what’s even better is we got to participate in a press conference call with Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table (the actors who play Sirs Gwaine, Elyan, Percival and Leon), so you’ll see what they have to say about the show and their co-stars as well.
Colin Morgan, Merlin
The Crush Factor: What’s not to like about Merlin? Colin Morgan’s uncanny ability to conjure up a twinkle in Merlin’s eye when he’s causing mischief is both amusing and exasperating (for Arthur). It’s because of Colin’s ability to do both the comedy and drama of this role so well that we love Merlin and want to see him succeed. And because of that we truly fell in love with this character. Maybe it’s the way Merlin’s willing to believe in anybody, especially if they have magic or are trying to make a better life for themselves. Maybe it’s Colin’s handsome face, great big smile, or the way his ears stick out (seriously, we love that). Or maybe it’s the way he imbues Merlin with so much heart, courage, and humor. According to his castmate, Adetomiwa Edun (Sir Elyan), “Colin is just like one of the warmest, nicest sort of most generous people you’ll ever meet.” Could Colin be any more adorable? We think not.
Bradley James, King Arthur
The Crush Factor: Bradley James as Arthur Pendragon totally rules. His Arthur is noble, honorable, heroic, athletic, slightly bratty, romantic, courageous, and funny. Through Merlin, we frequently see his sense of humor on display. And that’s nice. Of course, Arthur’s also shirtless a lot. More than a lot. And we’re grateful for that too. James does such a good job bringing the future — make that current — King of Camelot to life. Whether Arthur’s battling bad guys alongside his knights; showing mercy on someone who has saved his life; or he’s falling in love with Gwen we can’t get enough of him. Neither can his co-stars. They have such amazing things to say about both Morgan and James: “They’re the hardest-working people I’ve met,” says Rupert Young (Sir Leon). “I know it sounds like we’re sucking up to them, but they generally are brilliant. The show wouldn’t be the same without them.” You have to love a guy that garners such high praise, right?
Eoin Macken, Sir Gwaine
The Crush Factor: Eoin Macken turned heads the very second he came onto the scene in early Season 3. What fans probably noticed first was that devilish sparkle in his eyes, his magnificent smile, and his beautiful head of hair. It’s practically another character and we love that. The Merlin actors even get feedback about it. “I think a lot of girls are very jealous of Eoin Macken’s hair. I get a lot of questions about what products he uses — Pantene Pro-V, I believe,” joked Edun.Â Macken, like all his fellow Merlin knights, is very passionate about the show, which is supremely sexy in our book. He’ll even interact with fans on Twitter. “Being on Twitter and so forth allows you to engage with someone, and they’ve all said some — I’ve actually learned an awful lot more about Merlin and the show from them,” he said. “Because they do know everything about it. And when we don’t pay attention to what’s going on, they remind us.” Good to know.
Adetomiwa Edun, Sir Elyan
The Crush Factor: One of our favorite cast moves came when the show added Gwen’s brother, in the form of Adetomiwa Edun. Since his arrival, the character of Elyan has quickly developed from a long-lost sibling to a knight in King Arthur’s Court. Edun’s cute, talented, and he always looks like he’s having fun as the knights play pranks on Merlin together or when they face danger together: “It’s a lot of fun kind of getting stuck in with the action because we’ve got a couple of good ones in the mix in this season.” One of his favorite Season 4 scenes (so far) happened in the premiere: “Tom [Hopper, Sir Percival] and I did a little bit at the opening of the series which was quite fun, rescuing the children from the Derocha. That was good.” So he’s into action and playing the hero. That’s super hot.
Tom Hopper, Sir Percival
The Crush Factor: This is one mountain of a man we just want to summit. There’s something about those bulging biceps we like, but we’ve got to admit he’s got a very nice face too. We could make some highly inappropriate sword puns, but we won’t. The moment we fell in love with Percival was in the first episode of this season when he scooped up those children to save them from theÂ Derocha. Hopper, along with Edun said it was his “favorite” episode. Now that’s a man after our hearts. The combination of looks, strength, and heart gets us every time. Hopper says one of the things he finds the most fun about this role is “the physical stuff.” Although the series doesn’t delve too far into the personal lives of the knights, Hopper says episode 8 is knight-centric and we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
Rupert Young, Sir Leon
The Crush Factor: Rupert Young is highly crush-able. He’s handsome and built, of course. But we also love him for the character he gets to play on a yearly basis. He’s Sir Leon, Arthur’s most loyal knight. He’s been there for the young Pendragon through thick and thin. His devotion has never wavered. We’re immensely happy Young was chosen to play Leon. However, the way he tells it, he almost didn’t: “When I first auditioned, I was up for two parts. One was Sir Leon, which I now play — and the other was another part who actually died — another knight. Luckily, they cast me as Sir Leon. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be employed anymore.” Even then, Young says his character wasn’t supposed to stick around. “I was only meant to be in a couple of episodes and then they kept bringing me back. So I’ve kind of developed the character with the writers so it’s been quite exciting.” Thank you for keeping him around, Merlin producers. Thank you.
We know they’re no longer around but we want to take this opportunity to appreciate the hotness they brought to the show when their characters were still alive. RIP.
Santiago Cabrera, Sir Lancelot
The Crush Factor: We’ve been fans since Heroes and had no idea he had such a lovely English accent. And his face is pretty nice too. What this show does so well over and over again is present us with the myth we think we know and love and improve upon it. Not only do we love that Lancelot is British (although we appreciate a French accent too), but it’s refreshing that he was such good friends with Merlin – and even knew his secret. His flirtation with Gwen was fun and we liked that it made Arthur so jealous. We were looking forward to seeing him stick around for a while and become one of the true champions of Camelot, but he had to go and sacrifice himself for Merlin and Arthur. We were sad to see him go but because he made the ultimate sacrifice, Merlin and Arthur can live to fulfill their destinies. And that sacrifice made him (even more) beautiful.
Anthony Head, Uther Pendragon
The Crush Factor: We think we’ve got a thing for older, powerful men because we were crushing on Uther despite his hatred of magic. We’ve loved Anthony Head since his time as Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and were delighted to have him back in our lives on a weekly basis. In fact, after seeing him play such a buttoned up – and often unintentionally funny – character, it was a (mostly) welcome change to see him play such a tyrant. His intolerance of magic was trying, especially since we love Merlin so much. But one thing always came shining through: his love for his son. When Morgana betrayed him and he fell to pieces we were genuinely concerned. To see this once proud man brought so low was alarming. But when he made the ultimate sacrifice to save Arthur from an attack, we knew we’d always remember him fondly.
Merlin airs Fridays on Syfy at 10/9c.
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