King's Quest Omnipedia


Harlin the Malevolent was an evil wizard of Serenia. He lived in a castle in a land somewhere north of the continent of Serenia in the northern Sea. He was defeated by the legendary individual only known as The Wanderer. In a paradox he was the one created his own demise, for in the future he was the one who found the wanderer in the first place and sent him back in time.


Harlin once kidnapped the fair Princess Priscilla of Serenia, locking her in a tower of his castle (and turned her into a frog). He called on the elements and created deserts and mountains to cross, oceans to sail and chasms to span to prevent others from rescuing the princess. His magic had divided most of Serenia from the continent of Daventry transporting it north and creating an ocean in between. He left only a small portion of the former kingdom of Serenia behind, but this he surrounded by the Endless Desert, and created chasm to the north dividing the desert from the woods on the way to the ocean.

The princess' father King George IV sent out a proclamation offering half his kingdom for anyone who would save his daughter. Many adventurers challenged the wizard in order to save the princess, but few came close to success. Finally, a happy wandering barbarian from the future (known only as the Wanderer), entered the into the village of Serenia. There he heard the proclamation, and decided to journey to Harlin's Castle.

However, Harlin had underestimated the wanderer's resourcefulness. Through logic and luck, he overcame his magical obstacles. He plotted his path meticulously, leaving no avenue unturned, no setting unexamined. He learned the passwords that magically opened paths where none existed. Although Harlin had conjured up all the evil and dangerous creatures within his powers to block his way, the wanderer still he pressed onward. His possessions were few to begin, but he learned quickly to use what he found along his way - sticks and stones, apples and crackers - to defeat Harlin's beasts of diversion. Finally, Harlin took shelter behind his magic. At last, he believed, the wanderer was defeated. He rested too easily. In the final hours of his search, the wanderer made his way through the corridors of Harlin's castle and solved his magical mysteries. The wizard's spells fell to bravery and cunning, and the fair Princess Priscilla was rescued. The evil wizard was beaten; he turned into a bird, and the warrior turned into a cat, jumped into the air and ate him. But Harlin did not accept defeat forever! His magical powers remained intact - just as strong, just as evil.

Far into the distant future, when history had become legend. He set his plan into motion, using his power to reverse his original defeat. Finding an adventurer, he offered him the challenge (that many had previously failed and only the adventurer had succeeded). When the adventurer accepted, he reversed the sands of time with a single spell sending adventurer back to the time before his defeat, giving him only a few supplies including a knife, a flask of water, a loaf of bread and a blanket. This time Harlin believed he would win. Then the wizard faded into time. The princess appeared before the hero in a vision, offering him a computer and a few words of encouragement and advice, and telling him he was 'the wanderer' of legend. The adventurer entered the village.

The rest is history (and history was fated to repeat). For Harlin had sealed his own fate, as the progenitor of his own destruction. He had set events into motion which would lead to his eventual rejuvenation, discovery of the barbarian who would become the wanderer, and turning back the sands of time.

Personality and traits[]

The wizard is powerful. Through his power he is able to control the elements, change and shape the world to his whim, he is also able to change his shape and that of others. Things are not always as they appear, and sometimes there is beauty behind ugliness and evil behind beauty in his abilities. He is also able to manipulate time using the sands of time (send others back in time), even after his own destruction. Either he is able to regenerate or even his spiritual form holds great power.

Titles and nicknames[]

  • Harlin the Malevolent
  • Wizard Harlin
  • The Wizard

See also[]

Behind the scenes[]

Harlin is mentioned in the prologue on the back of the box of all the Atari 400/800 and Apple II releases. He appears briefly during the game. His role was somewhat extended in the additional prologue added in later re-releases of the game on Apple II and Atari 400/800 (and the c64 re-release).

According to manual prologue story included in Wizard and the Princess manual in later re-releases on Apple II and Atari 400/800 (including the C64 version) and later reprinted in the Roberta Williams Anthology manual; Harlin somehow regenerated from having been defeated by the Wanderer. In the distant future, he using the sands of time he turned back time in hopes he could prevent that outcome from happening again. He sent an adventurer into the past who became 'the wanderer' of legend. This lead into the prologue of the back of the box of the original and re-releases (all Apple II and Atari 400/800 versions). History had been fulfilled, as he had inadvertently created the means of his own defeat.

In all versions this wanderer is 'you' the player, and given the background of being a barbarian in the King's Quest Companion.

This created a classic grandfather paradox with a causal loop (predestination paradox or bootstrap paradox). The events only happened once, but on a non-linear order of events spanning time.

In the original release of Wizard and the Princess, Harlin wears the clothing resembling that of the Magician's Guild, and looks much like the sorcerer on the boxart of KQ1SMS. He also has been portrayed different ways on boxart and advertisements. One of these may have been fanart Sierra chose to use officially for their catalogue/advertisement for the game. See Harlin's wardrobe