The History of Two Conversations (On Paper)

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Title: The History of Two Conversations (On Paper)
Author(s): takadainmate
Date(s): 20 January 2009
Length: 11,000 words
Genre: slash fanfiction
Fandom: Merlin
External Links: The History of Two Conversations (On Paper) (LiveJournal)
The History of Two Conversations (On Paper) (audiobook - threequarters)
История двух бесед (Russian translation)
podbook cover by cybel for the podfic version read by threequarters

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The History of Two Conversations (On Paper) is a Merlin/Arthur slash story by takadainmate (~11,000 words). It won the spring 2009 Merlin/Arthur Fanfic Awards in the category "Best Finding-Out Fic".

Summary: Books are defaced. But it's all for a good cause. Really.

threequarters podficced the story[1] and cybel turned it into an audiobook.[2] The podbook is 1:14:28 min long. such_heights repoded it for tanpopo03 for a charity fandom auction[3] and cybel turned this one into an audiobook too.[4] The podbook is 1 hour 6 minutes long. Никакун (Nikakun) translated the story into Russian for the Arthur/Merlin OTP fest "Две стороны одной медали" (Two sides of the same coin).[5]

In a discussion about the explicitness of fanfic in Merlin fandom someone mentioned the story as an example to support the POV that there does seem to be a pretty good body of non NC17 fics. "The History of Two Conversations on Paper" and "all I wanted was a white knight (i got a prince instead)" were two of my favorite stories getting into the fandom, and still are. They both have pretty low ratings.[6]

Recs and Reviews

podbook cover by cybel for the podfic version read by such_heights
  • "An amazing story that starts with a focus on a particular narrative device and evolves into something plotty and intricate and detailed and full of so many excellent things that I cannot recommend quickly enough that you read this, immediately."[7]
  • "where Merlin takes to writing marginalia in his magic book (for future generations!) and two people find his notes. Fabulous."[8]
  • "Merlin writes notes in the margins of his book of magic. When Arthur discovers his secret he's first angry but then gets in the habit of leaving his own notes. A funny fic, with some serious thoughts written between the lines."[9]
  • "I loved the plot, and I loved the comic timing even more. The annotations were clever, particularly Gaius's notes, both comedically and character-wise. Arthur's various loyalties to the rule of law and to the good of his people were well-handled, and the budding romance between Merlin and Arthur was sweet and refreshingly un-angsty. All in all, a brisk and highly enjoyable read."[10]
This was written just after season one ended, so it's got the innocence and optimism of the early days. It centers around hand written notes in Merlin's magic book, and I love that the book itself holds traditional Magic with a capital M ("Ways to curse a thousand generations of sons"), while notes in the margin reveal more down to earth concerns ("Spell for banishing Arthur's hand from my bum" and "You can clean almost anything with it, even though in this book it refers to badgers alone.") I'm a sucker for magic reveal of all kinds, but I particularly like this one and Merlin's subsequent need to cover for Gaius. The writing moves seamlessly between humor and some angst (in the wake of the reveal and with Merlin injured at one point). Both Merlin and Arthur are terrific here. It's funny, and it feels good, and it's one I reread.[11]


  1. ^ threequarters. A History of Two Conversations (On Paper) by takadainmate, 10 November 2010. (Accessed 11 November 2010)
  2. ^ cybel. Merlin Podbook: A History of 2 Conversations (On Paper) by takadainmate, performed by threequarters, 11 November 2010. (Accessed 11 November 2010)
  3. ^ such_heights. Podfic: The History of Two Conversations (On Paper), 01 April 2011. (Accessed 02 April 2011)
  4. ^ cybel in amplificathon. Merlin Podbook: The History of Two Conversations (On Paper) by takadainmate, read by such_heights, 01 April 2011. (Accessed 02 April 2011)
  5. ^ Артур/Мерлин ОТП Фест "Две стороны одной медали" - список работ, 29 June 2009. (Accessed 26 March 2011)
  6. ^ vanishing_cake. Merlin meta: (dis)proporntionality by glass_icarus - Comment, 14 May 2009. (Accessed 02 November 2010)
  7. ^ CRASH AND BURN: Fanfiction Recs. BBC's Merlin (2008). (Accessed 11 June 2010)
  8. ^ merrily. Sunday Links & Recs Post: Things I Found That You Might Like, 25 January 2009. (Accessed 11 June 2010)
  9. ^ rodneyscat. Multifandom fic and vid recs and linkage, 23 March 2009. (Accessed 11 June 2010)
  10. ^ missmaverick. Merlin: The History of Two Conversations (On Paper), by takadainmate (R), 04 March 2010. (Accessed 26 March 2011)
  11. ^ mothlights in epic_recs. The History of Two Conversations (On Paper) by takadainmate (PG-13), 26 November 2012. (Accessed 26 November 2012)