Fanfic Wednesday: “Tributes”

Title: Tributes

Author: TheAvalonian

Word Count: 87,355

Rating: M

Fandom: BBC Merlin/The Hunger Games Crossover

The Premise

In the author’s words:

It is the 57th annual Hunger Games, and Merlin Emrys stands at the Reaping ceremony with Guinevere Smith at his side, unable to hear the roar of the crowd over the ringing in his own ears. Because Merlin is about to face his best friend and twenty-two strangers in a fight to the death, where there can only be one victor.

In a twisted game where death seems the only certainty, Merlin will find himself tested in ways no one could have ever predicted – and may even find himself fighting for more than just his own life as he enters into an unlikely alliance with Arthur Pendragon, the Career tribute poised to win it all.

Merlin/Arthur AU, set in the Hunger Games universe.

My Thoughts

I’m not much for crossovers, but after recently have seen Catching Fire (twice) I remembered this fanfiction I came across a few months ago when I went on a binge of Merthur fanfiction. Now having read it for the second time, I appreciate it so much more. TheAvalonian really integrated the world, the culture, of Panem into her fanfiction, and I really felt as if it could have been one of the Hunger Games. The world-building was thorough (but not overwhelming) and the description of the Games was every bit as brutal, horrific, and nerve-wracking as watching the films.

And then there’s the Merthur.

I love all my ships, but Merthur…well…Merthur I love just a little bit more than 90% of them. The author here does a good job at capturing Merlin’s personality, and as we experience the Games through his eyes, we see the dog-eat-dog mentality of the Gamemakers and the other tributes, but, most importantly, we see the development of the relationship between Arthur and Merlin. This AU works particularly well for their personalities, since it becomes obvious fairly quickly that neither of them are willing to play by the Gamemakers rules. It’s a slow-burn, but oh so worth it.

Here’s a snippet:

“But if you kill me, you’ll let him live. Even if it means you won’t win the Games,” Morgana whispered, sounding as if she couldn’t quite believe it; as if she was waiting for Arthur to contradict her.

But Arthur said nothing. He merely kept his gaze level with Morgana’s, a stubborn and determined expression on his face.

And Merlin heard everything he wasn’t saying, everything he wasn’t denying, and felt something flutter weakly in his stomach… before he remembered where he was and what Arthur and Morgana were talking about. Whatever small warmth he had felt at Arthur’s apparent confirmation of Morgana’s assumption vanished as fast as it had come, to be replaced by ice cold dread.

My Rating

A for the plot, A for the characterization, and an overall A+ for it being one of the few fanfictions I’ve read more than once and enjoyed even more the second time round.