Dark Fuck Prince

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)DFP, darkfuckprince
Related tropes/genresToplock, Darkfic
See alsoWoobie, Portrayals of Masculinity in Fanworks, Draco in Leather Pants
Related articles on Fanlore.

Dark Fuck Prince is a trope in which a character is portrayed as aggressive, domineering, obsessive, possessive violent, etc., usually counter to his characterization in canon. The term is used to describe slash fanfiction. DFP characterization is usually paired with the DFP's partner being very submissive, also counter to canon, and woobified or feminized. The dark fuck prince is always the top and is usually found in M/M works.

The term is facetious, used to criticized these portrayals for being excessively dark and edgy. Writers of DFPs usually don't identify their own writing as DFPs, and are often accused of romanticizing abuse through these characterizations and of focusing on such dynamics because it is their kink. Criticisms of dark fuck princes are related to issues in male slash fandom such as Portrayals of Masculinity in Fanworks, seme/uke archetypes, Slash Tropes, Women and Slash, and more.

It’s a fanfic trope where the character is dark, possessive, obsessive, and an ubertop who basically treats the object of his lust and desire like shit in the name of “love.” Someone began calling this type of character a Dark Fuck Prince (I believe this was the Sherlock fandom) and it stuck.[1]


The term "dark fuck prince" arose in Sherlock (BBC) fandom around early 2015, usually to refer to portrayals of Sherlock Holmes. In these fanworks, which were usually Johnlock, Sherlock was the more dominant top in the relationship and John Watson was portrayed as more passive and submissive.[2] These portrayals of the relationship got caught up in the Toplock discourse, disagreements between different factions of Johnlock shippers who preferred one or the other to top. The term "Dark Fuck Prince" was coined by Tumblr user kinklock and spread by Bottomlockers (shippers who preferred that Sherlock bottom) and associated with TJLC.

I'm sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but I keep seeing you and other tumblr users saying "dfp" and was wondering what it means? Like, you were talking about Sherlock trying to "DFP" the sorting hat?

so like we used to use toplock as shorthand for the wrongful characterization that some people had of sherlock wherein they think he is a cold unfeeling machine who is able to spare One Occasional Emotion. this characterization is like overwhelmingly present in fics where sherlock tops.

THEN ashleigh kinklock (bless her sweet non-wank mongering heart) made dark fuck prince (DFP™) a meme to dissociate the characterization from the sexual position because a lot of people refused to believe it was really the fics we were referencing and not us who were equating the two and were mad at us.

THEN dfp as an acronym became a transitive verb. To DFP something: to pull a dark fuck prince on them. Example: I tried to DFP my way into a party I wasn’t invited to but i got bottomlocked out of there.[3]

DFP means Dark Fuck Prince. It’s a term that was coined to describe the idea of Sherlock as an unfeeling/uncaring machine that fucks people to get what he wants (the character basis of most topl0ck fics). Think like Sherlock who is cold and calculating with lots of dubcon and poor relationship dynamics b/w him and John. Basically like a Moriarty version of Sherlock. Actually DFPlock is exactly the type of person to fuck Moriarty.[4]

It started out that TJLCers were objecting less to toplock itself than to the "Dark Fuck Prince" phenomenon. Basically, people running away with Sherlock's claim that he's a "high-functioning sociopath" and making him into this cold, dark, rapacious top who hits poor vanilla John's arse like a Category 5 sex hurricane. So what TLJCers were reacting to initially was what they saw as an out-of-character presentation of Sherlock -- a rejection/denial of the emotional vulnerability, and, for lack of a better word, gentleness shown by him in S3. But the vast majority of TJLCers now have their heads shoved so far up their asses that they think all toplock is DFP.[5]

By the early 2020s, the term was used tongue-in-cheek or ironically to refer to a twist on the DFP Sherlock characterization.

It’s an acronym for “dark fuck prince” Sherlock, where back in really early days of fandom, people portrayed Sherlock as this unemotional asshole who only topped, and was a large part of the “top vs bottom” discourse in the fandom back then. Nowadays I’ve seen it used in a “mocking” way where Sherlock uses it to PRETEND he’s OOO MYSTERIOUS AND FUCKABLE when in reality he’s a snugglebug who pines for John and needs a cuddle and positive affirmation, LOL.[6]


Characters that are prone to depictions as dark fuck princes:

Examples of use

[...] also, fyi, for those that keep track of these things, has some top!lock, but not in the “dark fuck prince” way.[8]

[...] For a long time this was pretty much the only bottom Thorin fic with D/s or BDSM overtones to it at all. It was certainly one of the very few that had dominant or top Bilbo, since the fandom was about 99% Dark Fuck Prince Thorin dominating poor little fragile weak shy uke Bilbo (*le sigh*). [9]



  1. ^ What's a "dark fuck prince"? by endingthemes, August 2015
  2. ^ The Great Toplock vs Bottomlock Debate
  3. ^ anonymous: I'm sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but I keep seeing you and other tumblr users saying "dfp" and was wondering what it means? Like, you were talking about Sherlock trying to "DFP" the sorting hat? - by thealogie, Feb 8 2015
  4. ^ [1] by isitbottomlock, 2015-10-14
  5. ^ Re: sherlock fandom wank (ongoing) by Anonymous on fail-fandomanon, 2015-04-16
  6. ^ "what is DFP Sherlock?". Archived from the original on 2024-01-23.
  7. ^ "Why is Drary so popular among HP fans but not Hinny? ask on olderthannetfic's tumblr". Archived from the original on 2024-01-23.
  8. ^ The Secrets of John Watson Series by tumbleweedchaser by theficpalace, Feb 16, 2015
  9. ^ Avelera’s Comprehensive Bottom Thorin Fic Rec List by avelera, March 14, 2015