Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fandom Hopping - MerlinL The Student Prince


Some may say we’re easily distracted.

We say, “Why limit ourselves to just one fandom full of smut when there are soooo many other possibilities out there?!?!” And so we give you Fandom Hopping, a place to poke your nose into another universe, meet some new characters, and enjoy all the pervy possibilities when a writer fucks with the canon someone else created.

by: FayJay

A Modern day Merlin AU set at the University of St Andrews, featuring teetotal kickboxers, secret wizards, magnificent bodyguards of various genders, irate fairies, imprisoned dragons, crumbling gothic architecture, arrogant princes, adorable engineering students, stolen gold, magical doorways, attempted assassination, drunken students, shaving foam fights, embarrassing mornings after, The Hammer Dance, duty, responsibility, friendship and true love..

This story was inspired by the thought of Prince William of Wales (and indeed the current Max von Hapsburg) studying at the University of St Andrews; it is also, as the title suggests, at least a little inspired by the operetta 'The Student Prince'.

I don’t remember, unfortunately, who originally recommended me The Student Prince by FayJay, because if I knew I would surely snog that person madly in thanks! (It might have been Fr333bird ;)

First of all, I refuse to call The Student Prince a fic. For me it’s a full-blown novel. It’s so well planned, and the whole world, as well as the main and secondary characters, are well greatly developed that it stands out from all the other fics I’ve read. It is as much a fanfiction as the BBC Merlin series itself – it’s rather an interpretation of Arthurian legends.

The beginning of The Student Prince is a real treat for all Harry Potter fans. We get to know Merlin – a young ‘secret’ wizard travelling to school (University of St Andrews) in a train where he meets a slightly Hermione-like Gwen – soon to be his best friend. Merlin even mentions that he feels like Harry Potter and then both he and Gwen discuss whether Harry and Draco were gay and secretly ‘doing it’. FayJay is winking at her readers here and giving us a hint that we may expect some amusing references to popular culture, myths, real life events and people (like Lady Gaga Viva), as well as works of fiction, fanfiction included.

The humor in this story is incredible! I totally agree with Chele who says this fic has some of the best banters that’s out there. I believe it is connected to the fact that not only the main pair (whose conversations are hilarious), but also the secondary characters are perfectly portrayed by FayJay – especially the totally brilliant Morgana, who in my head should be played by a young Helena Bonham Carter.

Of course the main characters are just as perfect and reflect those from the show. Merlin is sensitive, intelligent, courageous, self-sacrificing and heartbreaking in his secret pining over his prince. Arthur is a prat, but a sweet, honorable and good-hearted one – a real future king to die for. Together they make an amazing pair, even though all odds are against them.

I adore everything about this story – the beautiful and intelligent use of powerful magic, the adventurous part of conspiracies, sabotages, and assassins, the incredibly postmodern Dragon who glues the whole magical world together, listens to an iPod, pilots a hijacked plane and craves a Twitter account (seriously - this is the best dragon ever!), the amazingly described University and fraternity customs which make you feel like you participate in Merlin’s student’s life, and finally – the touching love story.

The gentle slash in this story is deeply moving and gorgeous. We witness the evolution of true love, of course underlined with almost touchable desire (after all we are talking about very young and horny guys here!), but with a deep meaning and the heavy weight of fate (because The Student Prince is in fact a reincarnation fic). Although hot sex is present here I believe this is a story which can be read even by people who’ve never read slash, and who wouldn’t even consider reading it before. Love is love in this story and this is it.

PhotobucketAnd we are talking about a love which is not an easy one. Arthur, as the Prince of Wales is the heir to the throne and even the thought of him being gay is a blasphemy. Merlin knows there is no way his dreams can come true, but it doesn’t mean he stops hoping. It is heartbreaking to follow Merlin who tries so hard to spare himself the heartache and fails at each step. FayJay depicts this in little bits – sometimes just in single words scattered here and there which make the reader’s guts clench. A perfect example is the end of the shaving-foam fight between Merlin and Arthur:

[Arthur] let go of Merlin's wrists and pushed himself away as if Merlin had suddenly become contagious, and Merlin felt all the sunlight vanish from the day with that jerky, horrified rejection. He just lay there in the grass for a couple of minutes, staring up at the sky after Arthur had skidded away from him, and asked himself just what the hell he thought he was playing at.

And then Percy, in full Lando Calrissian regalia, tripped over him, and uttered a war cry as he got to his knees, and Merlin was scrambling to his feet, sticky and wigless and just a little bit broken, but hiding it well, and clutching at a can of shaving foam like it was a life line, and the battle was on.

So… if you haven’t started reading The Student Prince just yet – you need to do it right away!
It really doesn’t matter which fandom you usually like, if you read het, or slash, or poly, or only some specific kinks – this story is everything a modern fantasy fan can ask for. It’s perfectly written – in a language that screams ‘talent and skill!’ all over the pages. The plot is captivating and makes the reader anxiously step from one foot to another, begging “Please, let it be okay!”. I have to admit I was so nervous while reading this story I had to take a glance at the last pages to see what there was waiting for me in the end…

And if you add to all this a mythical kraken who comes to Merlin in the midst of his sorrow to cheer Merlin up with underwater travel and song-singing; a fairy-tale of curse-breaking true-love’s kiss and a memory-wiping spell which will make you snot-sob, then you’ll find yourself desperately trying to bend time in order to just read it, and then read some more – at work, at traffic lights, in an elevator, in a toilet… You won’t be able to break from it until you’ve finished. And then you’ll want to read it again.


The Student Prince is the story that convinced me I could be in love with the Merlin fandom despite never having seen the show. Armed with only the basic knowledge of Arthurian legend I plunged deep into this fiic. and quickly slipped down the rabbit hole of awesome that is this story.

This fic has some of the best banter I’ve ever read. I found myself legitimately laughing out loud while reading at times, and with a huge grin on my face for the vast majority of the duration. Merlin has a wicked, dry wit. Arthur is sweet and disarming, with his genuineness, but he’s also fast on the draw with a comback.

I love that Merlin’s crush on Arthur doesn’t stop him from being able to talk to him like a regular guy, which means that he fucks with him incessantly. The transition from fanboy to friend is smooth, and you can feel the pull in your navel as Merlin’s crush turns to genuine affection and finally, deep love.

PhotobucketThere is something for everyone in this fic, sexy college students, constant hilarity, intense UST, and beautiful sweet love. If you’ve been waiting for the right fic to seduce you into the Merlin fandom, this is the one.

I think the best thing about us reccing the The Student Prince, is that it gave me the desperate excuse to read it again!!! And it was only when I reread it that I realised how much I had missed it! I have our lovely guest reccer, MssDare to thank for reccing this story to me, when I was still pretty wet behind my ears in the Merlin fandom (although I still consider myself a newbie, I have now easily read a thousand fics of Merthur/Brolin!).

When I was telling Chele about how she had to read a fic of awesome aka The Student Prince and she said we had to Fandom Hop(ping) it, I was a little hesitant. Why? Not because of the quality of the fic, or HOW MUCH I ADORE IT! But because I thought that everyone had read it by now... But then the lovely Chele reminded me that the point of this feature is to introduce our lovely, pervy, smut loving chaps and chappettes into new realms, worlds, character and SMUT! And then Posy let me know that not everyone in love with Merthur fic had read, so we were doubly good to go!

So here you go loves. One of my all time favourite fics ever, in ANY FANDOM. Hopefully we can convince you with this post as to why you should read it. As the lovely MssDare said above, no matter what kind of fic you normally read, or whatever pairing of fic you normally read, you SHOULD read this fic!

Now I have had to reign myself in in this review, or you would have pages of me waxing lyrical about it and FayJay ‘s writing! As it really does have it all! It has the best use of Britishisms AND its use of its location in the East of Scotland. I am picky about both. And it uses humour brilliantly alongside this. For example GOLD BLEND! Gold fucking Blend for Uther?!! Genius! If anyone doesn’t know what I mean here, as it is a British thing. Just ping me on twitter or ask here in the comments! GENIUS though! This fic is genuinely funny. And the Dragon?
He gave the dragon a plaintive look, and it bridled. “Are you asking me to disregard my sacred trust and allow you to enter the private room of another wizard uninvited?” it asked. “A full wizard? So that you can persuade her to assist you in committing a crime against your anointed king?”
“Er…” said Merlin. It sounded a bit dodgy, when you put it like that. “Yes?”
“I should be delighted to oblige you, my dear boy,” said the dragon, settling back down onto its haunches and smiling broadly.
The DRAGON is fabby, so funny and such a clever use of the character and just another example of how FULL of humour The Student Prince is about being gay, being magic or being royal.

“I'm asking if you like cock. If you're a homosexual. Do you like to fuck other men, Merlin, in a deeply gay sort of way?"
And especially LOTS of humour about poor Merthur and his pinings for ‘His Royal Hotness’
“I wouldn’t want to fuck you if you had a ten inch knob made of solid gold and your arsehole was the gate to Nirvana, you massive pillock,” said Merlin, red faced and furious. “I can’t be friends with you because you’re a gibbering twatwaffle, not because I would ever, in a million years, want to shag you. Get over yourself!”
and how Arthur pushes his heritage and title in new ways with Merlin as Merlin makes him feel free somehow.

The chemistry between Merlin and Arthur is just magnificent, from humorous, bromantic, friendly, meaningful, considerate, to intense and sexual. Arthur relies on Merlin, without knowing just how much Merlin does for him, but he know he needs him in his life(HOW CANON?!):
“It is a bit of a stupid adventure,” Arthur admitted, his breath brushing warm against the nape of Merlin’s neck. “But it’s nice getting away for once. From everyone.”
“You didn’t get away from everyone,” Merlin said, shaking with laughter. ”You brought me along! I’m part of ‘everyone’, you great numpty!”
“No,” said Arthur, quietly, and his arm tightened around Merlin’s waist. ”No, you’re not.”
Arthur maintains his pratness, and his straight status, but yet Merlin cannot be imagining all that tension and undercurrents between them, can he? Can HE?
“Say uncle?” he said, pressing his advantage, and then there was a rather startling bendy flippy thing like something out of The Matrix (well, okay, like something out of a very low budget and quite tipsy version of The Matrix), and then suddenly Merlin was flat on his back with Arthur sitting on top of him, legs tangled together awkwardly and both of Merlin’s wrists pinned to the floor.
“Oh,” he said, blinking up at Arthur in astonishment. His chest was heaving from laughter and more than laughter, and Arthur had to be noticing the unfortunate warm bulge in Merlin’s jeans, since he was basically sitting on it.
“You say uncle!” said Arthur, smugly, his face very close to Merlin’s. His breath smelled like Jack Daniels and Coke, and Merlin was acutely aware that it would only take a little movement to brush his lips against Arthur’s mouth. Just a very little movement.
GAH! So adorable and at times through this fic you will be willing these boys to get it together. Poor Merlin has a tough time through it, throwing himself into dangerous situations willy-nilly to protect his prince whilst falling for him hard and trying to not let it bother him when he wants more than a friendship with the prince and gets all sorts of mixed signals.... There is one scene in partic I won’t spoil. But you WILL be shouting at Merlin, ‘WHY DID YOU DO THAT!??!!’ As he always puts Arthur first... It is his destiny after all......
Merlin knew it was probably pretty emo to go for a long, lonely walk down the West Sands on a cold November afternoon just because he knew that Arthur always went there for his morning run, but he did not care. If he wanted to be emo, he was bloody well going to be emo and nobody was going to stop him. There were plenty of black-clad teenagers with black-dyed hair and chipped black nail polish out there in the world who were listening to gloomy music and writing bad poetry with far less justification for being miserable than Merlin currently had.
This still is one of my favouritist of favouritist fics I have ever read. It has EVERYTHING you could want. A perfect portrayal of British, in fact Scottish (even harder!) Student life. THE BEST use of supporting cast ever! Mordred, Morgana, Kay et al are all used perfectly. And the connection and chemistry between Arthur and Merlin is perfection. So so so so good. The actual storyline is fabulous, engaging and gripping. Both with magic and with heartfail and love. The desire and lust and tension are unffff - especially as poor Merlin has to endure the perfect peachy arse of his Prince.... It has it all Please please please if you have never read Merlin before, read this fic. You will NOT regret it.. And you can come flail with us, as we will understand.

If you are looking for a charming, funny with a side of angst, modern AU Merlin to read, you have come to the right place. The Student Prince by FayJay is all of these things, and more.

Like so many other stories we rec, you’re going to want to clear your schedule for this one. It’s complete, and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if you can resist reading it in one go. Get a friend to read it too, so you can flail together. I’m very glad I had Emmy and Chele to listen to my swooning as I read.

As the other Pervs have said, there are so many layers of awesome in this story. FayJay cleverly weaves Arthurian legend into a modern setting. There are also subtle nods toward current events, and she will make you laugh throughout. Arthur and Merlin’s banter is fabulously sarcastic and cutting, but it is also heavy with UST.

Merlin is delightful and awkward as he starts to learn more about his magic, and as he tries to resist the feelings he increasingly has toward Arthur. Arthur is away from his father, and is figuring out who exactly he is in the world. I absolutely adore Gwen here--she’s a sweet, lovely university student, and a very dear friend for Merlin.

I’ll leave you with a bit of one of my favorite parts of the story, a pub crawl for charity.
"Say uncle?" he said, pressing his advantage, and then there was a rather startling bendy flippy thing like something out of The Matrix (well, okay, like something out of a very low budget and quite tipsy version of The Matrix), and then suddenly Merlin was flat on his back with Arthur sitting on top of him, legs tangled together awkwardly and both of Merlin's wrists pinned to the floor.

"Oh," he said, blinking up at Arthur in astonishment. His chest was heaving from laughter and more than laughter, and Arthur had to be noticing the unfortunate warm bulge in Merlin's jeans, since he was basically sitting on it.

"You say uncle!" said Arthur, smugly, his face very close to Merlin's. His breath smelled like Jack Daniels and Coke, and Merlin was acutely aware that it would only take a little movement to brush his lips against Arthur's mouth. Just a very little movement.

He met Arthur's eyes, and saw that same realisation there, and there was a shocky little instant where the whole world seemed to freeze – although not in the silent, bugs-in-amber way that Merlin had experienced on The Pier, thank God – and Merlin knew that he could change everything if he just leaned up an inch or two. Arthur's eyes widened.


I totally agree with the Pervs above. This is an amazing story that weaves so many threads together from history, the modern day, pop culture, and the TV show Merlin. I also felt a bit of Colin Morgan in mixed in with Merlin’s character. He’s so lovely and sweet and a bit shy and reserved, but then he brings out his wicked wit, much like the actor does in his interviews.

What got me more than anything was how palpable their attraction was. During a party where jello shots are being slurped off bellies by blindfolded people, FayJay uses such simple, yet beautiful imagery to suck you in to feel what Merlin feels, and Arthur, in turn.

And then Arthur's gaze drifted over to look at Merlin, sprawling shirtless on the floor, and stayed there. And stayed there. And stayed there. Arthur kept on looking at Merlin while Izzy explained the rules of the game, and while Morgana started it by ringing a little bell, and while Blanche's tongue slid blindly over Merlin's belly, and while she chased the shots of jelly over his skin, and while he gasped and squirmed, and while she squashed one jelly shot into pulp and had to eat it off him open-mouthed, her tongue swirling wetly into his belly button and chasing glistening blobs of strawberry goo over his hipbone. All through the longest three minutes of Merlin's life, Arthur never looked anywhere but at Merlin, his eyes sliding hotly from Merlin's hips to his belly to his chest and up to his face, where his cheeks were growing redder than the strawberry jelly, and he was biting his bottom lip helplessly and trying not to moan.

PhotobucketThat simply makes me squirm. Gah! I love this story so much that I need to re-read it. I’m so thankful to Archive Of Our Own for the easy download option because this story will be on my nook forever.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you're a busy perv and don't have much time to read, why not LISTEN to The Student Prince. There is a audio version of the fic as read by the author here.