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the island of conclusions

Hiatus: Or, Weekend Getaways in Other Fandoms

the island of conclusions

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Hiatus: Or, Weekend Getaways in Other Fandoms

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So now that my little jaunt into the ST_reboot fandom is fading away, I've been watching Merlin with my kids. Which is nice: we hardly ever watch TV together, since there's a limit to how long I can stay still for Pokemon or Hannah Montana (yes, my almost-eight-year-old son likes watching Hannah Montana. I try not to think about that too much...). It's on early enough for them, though the four-year-old sometimes faceplants into sleep halfway through.

And really, Merlin has something for everybody:
For the four-year-old: there’s sword fighting, and there’s nothing he likes better than SWORDS or FIGHTING.

For the almost eight-year-old: there’s the previously mentioned sword fighting, plus, he loves stories about magic.

And for me: Well, the boys are very pretty. Though they are incontrovertibly BOYS. I mean, they make Sam and Dean look like grizzled veterans (okay, maybe Sam and Dean are grizzled veterans these days, but you know what I mean). And after about the fourth episode, everyone seems to have twigged to the slash-tasticness of it all, and so they play that up. Plus, I kinda like sword fighting myself.

The show has tweaked the Arthur story in some fun ways, I think. It takes place while Uther is still king. Arthur is a brave, strong, good-hearted but arrogant and spoiled prince. Merlin is a poor boy from the country, very sweet, with extraordinary magical abilities. His mother has sent him to Camelot to keep him out of trouble (okay, that part doesn’t make sense, but just go with it). The twist is that for various backstory reasons, Uther has outlawed magic, so that Merlin must keep his talent UTTERLY SECRET (except from his kindly mentor, Gaius, the court physician). One thing leads to another, and Merlin ends up as Arthur’s manservant (I told you, slash-tastic). Of course, Merlin and Arthur are DESTINED to be the people they are in canon, so much bonding ensues. Oh, and Guinevere and Morgana are also present in similarly tweaked capacities.

It’s not much, except for the pretty, the slashy, and the sword fighting. It’s got legends and secrets, but it doesn’t pack the emotional or comic punch that SPN does on a good day. But, you know, it’s summer, and there are a lot of CGI beasties like dragons and griffins to distract one.

It’s also very English. For one thing, everyone loves the hell out of the whole servant/master relationship—it’s half the fun, really. For another, Merlin, like the best English hero stories, is about becoming a leader of men (you know, like canon-Arthur, Robin Hood and his Merry Men, or even Scott of the Antartic). In contrast, American heroes tend to be lone wolves (Superman) or bonded pairs (Batman and Robin, Leatherstocking and Chingachgook) or at most heads of families (Tony Soprano), all to some degree outside society. Huge generalizations, I know, and I don’t mean to offend anyone—feel free to tell me I’m wrong.

Anway, I’ve been poking around in the fic, not making much headway, but here are a couple bittersweet, pre-slash stories, both by writers you probably know from SPN/J2. (There’s plenty of porn out there, and flogging!fic, and flogging porn, but, people, I’m watching it with my kids!).

slán sábháilte by dotfic

To Be Known by sometimesophie

There have been a few SPN crossovers, but I’m waiting for the epic rewrite of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, aka A Couple of F**ked-up Boys from Kansas in King Uther’s Court.
  • As you've mentioned there's some crossover between the Merlin and SPN fandoms so I'd heard enough about the show to be looking forward to its premiere here in the U.S. Have to say I was really disappointed. It's far too tweaked for my tastes, I feel like they updated all the grandeur out of the story to create something more Harry Potterish and it really seemed more tailored to younger viewers. Maybe it got better after the first episode but I didn't stick around to find out.
    • tweaked or twinked? *g*

      No--I know what you mean--I only made it through the first three eps because it was fun to watch with the boys. From 1.04 it seems to have gotten better--more slash-y, for sure, and if not exactly more substantial, at least more interesting. I've watched a few of the later eps on youtube, and 1.10 seems to be the best, if you ever get curious again.

      For me, the grandeur of the story always had to do with the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot triangle: adults pulled different ways by responsibility and love (okay--I read TH White too early). And the series sure doesn't seem to be going in that direction.

      But mileage varies on these things. I had a different reaction to HP: read the books aloud to Son #1, saw bits of the movies with him, but never had any desire to venture into the HP fandom...total underage squick there.

      But one has limited to energy and time for TV, and there's no point in wasting it on shows that don't grab you. There are some actually good shows out there. (I say this eying the unwatched Madmen eps. in my itunes library--must watch them before S3 starts--not sure why I've forsaken them for mythical beasties--too much sunshine and chlorine lately, I'm sure).

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