Now, most of the time I stay firmly in the Sherlock fandom, but I will stray into other fandoms, especially if a story is recommended like this one was. I started it, and I fell in love with it. It took a bit of time for me to realize what exactly this story is about. The frame story is obvious, "A modern day Merlin gets interviewed about his relationship with Arthur, Prince of Wales," but the understory is what makes this so compelling to me.
After the end of season five, most of the Merlin fandom was left out in the cold. There was just a promise of a future meeting, and a picture of a bearded Merlin in the modern day. We also have the words, "The once and future king". What exactly does this mean?
In this story, it means reincarnation.
The major characters are reincarnated into an alternate present day England. Uther is King, and a bratty Arthur is hounded by the press. When a chance meeting leads to Merlin saving the prince's life, a rocky romantic relationship is initiated.
I liked the fact that you could almost just make this into a future season of the story. In some parts, the language of the characters is good enough that you can just hear them saying it in your head. Some of the stories are recycled, but in the modern setting, they sound new. As in the original, just hearing the names of characters leads to anticipation of how they will fulfill their role in the story. It is a good read.
The main characters are Merlin and Arthur. Merlin is our POV character, and we are unsure of Arthur's feelings for him. As in the original, Merlin hides his magic from him. Merlin is a compelling character, if not a bit 'girly' at times.(Here I mean, blushy, hesitant, prize-like). All of the Royals fall for him for no apparent reason except his humor, engaging conversation and his charming manner. Oh and there is his bravery. I can't believe that it is his looks. I've seen Colin Morgan in a suit, and I did not think that he wore it well. He is an interesting character, however, and you can't always predict him except to know that he will always selflessly try to save Arthur.
Arthur here starts spoilt and rude and progresses to Shy-ish and misunderstood. His "I'm just Arthur" speech really helps explain a person bounded in by expectation who tries very hard to do what is expected of him, but at the cost of his own heart.
Gwen makes a nice confidant, although in this story she has no relationship with Arthur. Lance is brave but not well developed. Gwaine is a treat as the playboy who might just win Merlin for himself. Uthur is, thankfully, mostly a background character, but I feel that he is much more sympathetic than in the show because I get the feeling that he knows more than he is saying about Arthur's love life. Morgana is warm and charming.The playul, warm Morgana from early in the series that we all miss. I wanted her to stay this way and not turn into the evil Morgana, but...well we shall see.
The original characters Owain and Leon are a treat, especially Leon who I wanted to see much more of. I wondered about his relationship with Morgana, and would not be averse to reading a short with his version of the story.
I think that for the most part, the obstacles to the romance are clearly stated. Most people don't expect a gay crown prince, so they aren't looking for it in their relationship at first. Of course, a coming out is in order if Arthur is turning down marriage prospects because of it.
I found it interesting how Arthur wanted to wait before consummating the union, although I didn't know for what? Marriage? A more private venue? It was sweet in its way.
They have a sweet, angsty, mostly nonexplicit relationship with lots of kisses and sleeping together with sex implied later in the story.For the most part, I could deal with their on again off again love, but near the end I was starting to get tired of it and wanted to say "Just get it over with will ya?"
Episodes were chronological within the frame story of an interview, and most of what happened were never reported to the interviewer who we could tell was not sympathetic to their union.
I liked many things about this story. I liked the details of the life of Modern Arthur, such as how he would put on ratty clothes to go "slumming" but still had suited bodyguards following him everywhere. I liked how Merlin felt a bit put out that royals seemed to want to appropriate him as their personal (plaything) buddy without even asking a by your leave. I also liked how Morgana was affectionate to Merlin and Arthur and tried to help them find each other.
I also like how perils from the original series, and dialog were tossed in to add continuity and deepen the repeated destiny aspect of it.
I didn't like the abrupt change when the frame story started to move again. It confused me. I wasn't sure of everyone's location. I didn't like how some characters were a bit poorly developed like Owain and Percival (Percy),or how sometimes Arthur seemed very 'one note', but I can't help but be awed at the scope of the work. Retelling the story in modern day from first meeting while trying to keep true to characters and story. It is an awesome undertaking, and for the most part it is done remarkably well, therefore I highly recommend this work.
4.5 out of 5
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