The Sorcerer and the King

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Title: The Sorcerer and the King
Author(s): misswinterhill
Date(s): 03 September 2010
Length: 85,765 words
Genre: slash
Fandom: Merlin
External Links: The Sorcerer and the King (LiveJournal)
The Sorcerer and the King (AO3)
Art masterpost
vid adaptation by AnalystProductions

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The Sorcerer and the King is a Merlin/Arthur story by misswinterhill (~85,000 words). It was written for Paperlegends, the Merlin Big Bang challenge in 2010.

Summary: Canon AU -- Merlin's death is only the beginning; with no-one to protect the kingdom, Camelot falls to an enemy sorcerer and Arthur is forced to serve in the court that he once ruled. When an escape attempt goes horribly wrong, Arthur is rescued by someone he never expected to see again -- and it's their destiny to put things right.

The art for this story was created by lukita. It shows Merlin's journey for the first part of the fic. All the scenes happen offscreen in the story. The artist notes say, "It was a conscious decision to cover or show only a part of Merlin's face since he's suppose to be whispered rumors and stories that Arthur over hears."[1]

Recs and Reviews

  • "Completely wonderful & absorbing story--I loved how it began with Arthur failing his grand test, letting Merlin burn for sorcery and destiny is thrown askew, re-aligning slowly to a new reality that (YAY YAY YAY) follows traditional narratives of Arthurian legend: Arthur as the hidden king, pretending to be a servant; Gwen leaving him for Lancelot (but not in the shattering way that begets the fall of Camelot); pulling the sword from the stone! I'm a huge nerd for Arthurian myths so this made me very, very happy. Though my favorite part is the emotional narrative of Arthur learning from his initial mistake -- how he came to realize the horror of letting Merlin burn, the guilt and sadness, and wanting Merlin's forgiveness, only to stand with him in the end, having learned his lesson that he can't live without Merlin by his side. Always and forever."[2]
"I had a bit of trouble getting past the choice that Arthur makes at the beginning (and if you start reading, you'll immediately know the one I mean), but believe me, it's worth reading on, because this is bloody epic. It's very much the adult version of the show, the way you'd love to see it go, with real development of Arthur in particular and a beautiful romance to boot."[3]
  • "Merlin is burned at the stake; the kingdom falls to an evil sorcerer, Arthur is enslaved - and that's when things get interesting. Merlin/Arthur."[4]
"OMG THIS FIC. Right, so, if you are having a crappy day, I would suggest putting on some tea or grabbing a stiff drink before reading this fic. It's lovely beyond words but take that first sentence of the summary seriously because this fic will ground you into a numb pulp before reassembling you again in the most delicious of ways. If it wouldn't be terrifying to watch, this is one of the most plausible Canon!AUs I have read in an age, something you want to have happen before this show ends."[5]
  • "This one's become a particular favorite, I loved the beginning, the role reversal between Arthur and Merlin, the build up to their relationship, the whole political situation, and yeah... I just loved the entire thing!"[6]
"It's gorgeous. It's utterly, brilliantly gorgeous. It reads like you've come into your own with this one, like a novel. At times, I was reminded of the great fantasy novels I've read, with touches of JK Rowling, of Weiss & Hickman in their heyday, of Jacqueline Carey's great plots. But you're your own person, and you spun a story that was gripping and lasting and felt legendary. Your Merlin, his quiet calm, his fear, his beautifully haunting truth, was absolutely amazing. Human underneath a superhuman quality, he shone quietly, and I loved him. Arthur, growing from dense and entitled and sulky into the stuff of legends, you kept him human, too, and it was beautiful to watch. The love story, I adored it, it complemented the plot well without taking over. Subtle touch, there. The world you created; the magic contained in the pearl, the Sorcerer-King who was both eerie and fallible, the knights trying to hold out against the bandits and living on hope, the kitchen staff and the way their story, and Arthur's in turn, plays up the human side, the mechanical side of life... I loved it all and it read like a novel, a very, very good novel. You had the right touches overall, knowing when to hold back and tell the story subtly, and when to come out and say what was wrong. You never went overboard, and it made it one long, beautiful read. Amazing."[7]
  • "Merlin is executed by Uther and Arthur doesn't stop him. But that's only the beginning! Sorcerers take over Camelot and enslave Arthur, because they have no defense against magic. But? What's that? There's a mysteriously powerful sorcerer from the North interested in Camelot and Pendragons in particular? Hmmmm. An instant fandom classic from the 2010 Paper Legends Big Bang; long, plotty and beautifully written."[8]


Some fans said that they weren't sure if I they could read a story with an Arthur who originally does nothing to save Merlin but others remarked that "After watching S3, I've ended up thinking the author was more insightful about the character than we knew. Arthur not being proactive about halting Merlin's arrest is actually much more believable for me now than the other type of stories, where he does some crazy heroic rescue."[9]


AnalystProductions made a vid adaptation of the sad and tragic beginning of the story.[10]

Vidding notes: "Arthur deals with his emotions on having to watch Merlin burn on the pyre and Gwen leaves Camelot, believing that no-one can truly be safe anymore after this terrible deed. This video is all about the internal struggle of Arthur, drawing back on memories of his time with Merlin. -- I am planning to do a follow-up video which involves more of the story, but right now, I wanted to focus on the introduction. There are hints at what's to come within this video though :)"[11]


  1. ^ lukita. Art for Merlin BigBang, 03 September 2010. (Accessed 10 October 2010)
  2. ^ ladyagnew. Comment, 04 September 2010. (Accessed 10 October 2010)
  3. ^ lamardeuse. A couple of more big bang recs, 08 September 2010. (Accessed 10 October 2010)
  4. ^ giandujakiss. I have to break off reading and I'm only about halfway through, 27 September 2010. (Accessed 10 October 2010)
  5. ^ faynia. Rec Post, Or Something Like It (8 Merlin Big Bang Recs), 04 September 2010. (Accessed 10 October 2010)
  6. ^ bluejeans07. Comment, 06 September 2010. (Accessed 10 October 2010)
  7. ^ verasteine. Comment, 10 September 2010. (Accessed 10 October 2010)
  8. ^ jasmasson in crack_van. The Sorcerer and the King, 22 October 2011. (Accessed 29 October 2011)
  9. ^ Day Seven - User's Choice (Fanfic recs), 23/24 November 2010. See discussion in the comments. (Accessed 14 December 2010)
  10. ^ analyst_1. The Sorcerer & The King, LiveJournal: 27 February 2011. (Accessed 27 February 2011)
  11. ^ AnalystProductions. The Sorcerer and The King { Merlin & Arthur }, YouTube: 27 February 2011. (Accessed 27 February 2011)