|Trope · Genre|
|Related:||AU, Magic AU|
|See Also:||fantasy, The Inappropriate Elf Challenge|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Elf AUs are a type of alternate universe in which one or more canon characters is an elf. A variety of different fanworks have incorporated Elf AUs, including fanart and fanfiction. Elf AUs can appear in fanworks for both fantasy and non-fantasy universes. Elf AUs have been used both for serious fantasy and parody works.
In source materials that already feature fantasy or supernatural elements, an Elf AU may incorporate an identity reveal. These works often feature a character who has concealed their true nature and is, in fact, an elf. There are also works where a character is unaware of their elven heritage. In Elf AUs that feature slash pairings, often the shorter/thinner half of a popular pairing is an Elf, and they must reveal to their love interest that they are an elf.
Elf AUs are often an opportunity for Hair Fandom, which celebrates characters having long hair.
Fantasy AUs that don't include elves may be referred to as Magic AUs, though Elf AUs may also be considered a subgenre of Magic AUs.
I disagree that First Wave fans want only want stories that extend the series--if you mean to the exclusion of anything else. On the other had, I could accept a definition that a First Wave story would have to be set within the boundaries of the series. The point I made in the earlier Email was that as First Wavers are usually interested in the characters in the context of the show, and that for them, that is the natural place to start exploring the characters. Once they have done that, they may very well go looking for a new context such as an alternate universe. But they want to be true to the characters as they perceive them to be, or, in an AU, to make some change that further illuminates them in some way (as I did with my Spock who was raised as a human). By the time you get to the Fourth (Fifth?) Wave approach seems to be more, "Gee those guys are cute, I wonder what they'd look like with elf ears?" 
I personally find it a lot easier to read mediocre stories that are non-AU, simply because I only have to tolerate poor characterization and poor plot, without having to *additionally* put up with poorly-done archaic dialog, poorly-researched historical details, or poorly-depicted elves. 
I do believe I'll pass on the Doyle as an elf type stories. I've never found Blair Sandburg as an elf entertaining, so I doubt I'd find Doyle as one my cup of tea either. 
Ray Doyle: Elf
The earliest media elf AU story is El'Endu'il. It is a Professionals fic that was published in zine form in 1983, but circulated privately for a number of years before that date. Another very early Doyle-as-elf story is the Descent to Humanity, a 1980s circuit story series by Anne Carr.
Ray Doyle also co-stars in of the most famous early elf AUs from the mid-1980s: The Hunting by Jane of Australia, a multi-volume zine epic that cast Ray as a captured elf and Bodie as a human who frees him; they run away together and have five zines' worth of adventures.
from the The Hatstand Express #3, art by Jean, "For all of us who are getting tired of see Doyle getting elfed-out, all the time..." -- a commentary that, as early as 1984, there were enough Doyle-as-elf stories to have become, to some fans, a very tiresome trope
Other Epic Elf AUs
Epic elf AUs have a tradition in online fandoms as well.
The Magnificent Quest is a Magnificent Seven AU that has Vin as a half-elf who discovers the true meaning of his heritage when he and his friends are on a quest to warn the king of an evil that threatens the kingdom. In the Magnificent Seven Kings and Vagabonds  series it's Mary Travis who is an elf.
Popslash had Talliswood where both JC and Lance are elves and find their true love with Justin and Chris while saving the magic of the realm. The story was originally inspired by Helen's Guerillas series, but ultimately went in a very different direction.
The Crown of the Summer Court in Merlin fandom follows the tradition of high fantasy elves (in a fusion with the Merry Gentry series of books) and shows Merlin as a half-elven prince with Arthur as his champion and future king.
There are also Elf AUs that don't use high fantasy elves. For example, the SGA story A Wish For Wings by Caro has John Sheppard as one of Santa's elves who ran away to escape the exploitation of toy production.
story banner of the Magnificent Seven elf AU The Magnificent Quest, showing elf!Vin.
Gallery of Elf AU Fanart
from No Holds Barred #2, by Cat -- "Me, I don't see what's so bloody romantic about being an elf."
- The Descent to Humanity by Anne Carr (The Professionals) (1980s)
- El'Endu'il by Marilyn W. (Cory) with original plot help by Felicity M. Parkinson (The Sentinel) (1983)
- The Hunting by Jane of Australia (The Professionals) (1986)
- Dragons and Kings by Yvonne McCool (The Sentinel) (1997)
- Here Be Dragon-Flies by Julien (Due South) (1997)
- The Christmas Elf by Lady Ra (The Sentinel)
- Betwixt and Between by Maigret and Wolfling (The Sentinel) (2000)
- One Kind Deed by Dolimir (The Sentinel) (2001)
- Talliswood by Tarowen ('N Sync) (2002)
- The Magnificent Quest by Miz Nettie (Magnificent Seven)
- The Crown of the Summer Court by astolat (Merlin) (2009)
- Fly With The Wind, Stand On The Ground by andiheardthemplaying GOT7, K-pop) (2015)
- Right Off Target, Archived version by STARSdidathing (frostiron, MCU) (2016)
- Somewhere Only We Know by gmuhh (Haikyuu!!) (2016)
- A Blade of Grass by Lycoria (Voltron: Legendary Defender) (2017)
- Carpe Diem by HuntingHardyGirl (Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys) (2018)
- The Elven Boy With Rounded Ears by eldee (Druck | SKAM (Germany)) (2019)
- Elf Mayarah by ThymeButter (Supergirl (TV 2015)) (2021)
Rec Sites and Archives
- post by Gayle F to Virgule-L, quoted with permission (October 1, 1993), see more on this topic at The Wave Theory of Slash Revisited
- comments by Alexfandra at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (Oct 10, 1993)
- sc_fossil wrote in ci5hq, 7.17.2007
- Jean Graham. Kings and Vagabonds, 2000, 2004. (Accessed 20 October 2008)
- Tarowen. Talliswood, 2002. From the author's notes: "This series is set in a fantasy AU, in which only Joe is all human. Jayce and Lansten are elves, Justin (Joe's half-brother) is half sylph, and Chris has some wild blood running through his veins. They're on a quest through a dangerous wood full of restless magic. Read this if you like swords, sorcery, elves, quests, angst, and jeweled codpieces." (Accessed via wayback 20 October 2008)
- Selenay. Serpent in the Shadows, Jack/Daniel slash, 2004. (Accessed 20 October 2008)
- Natalie's Writing Nook (accessed 30 August 2009)
- Caro. A Wish For Wings, McKay/Sheppard slash, posted 9 December 2006. (Accessed 24 February 2009)