The Student Prince

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Title: The Student Prince
Author(s): FayJay
Date(s): 03 June 2010 - 10 July 2010
Length: 147,000 words, 15:09:00 hours
Genre: slash, Modern Royal Family AU
Fandom: Merlin
External Links: The Student Prince (AO3)
The Student Prince, Chapter 35 (Dreamwidth)
The Student Prince (Podfic)
The Student Prince (Ebook Library)
manip by ladyflowdi

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The Student Prince is a popular Merlin/Arthur college and modern royal family AU by FayJay. It was written and posted in 35 chapters as a work in progress with a new part every day.

Summary: "A Modern day Merlin AU set at the University of St Andrews, featuring teetotal kickboxers, secret wizards, magnificent bodyguards of various genders, irate fairies, imprisoned dragons, crumbling gothic architecture, arrogant princes, adorable engineering students, stolen gold, magical doorways, attempted assassination, drunken students, shaving foam fights, embarrassing mornings after, The Hammer Dance, duty, responsibility, friendship and true love..."

The original summary read: "A modern AU, in which Merlin goes up to the University of St Andrews, to study Physics, Philosophy and History (with a secret dash of sorcery on the side) and finds himself with a most unlikely roommate who happens to be the Prince of Wales."

The serial format contributed to the popularity of the novel because people were talking about it after every new part which created a lot of buzz so that more and more people checked it out. As of January 2012, the AO3 version had more than 800 comments and over 90,000 hits, which made it the second most popular story in the archive.[1] When it comes to Modern AUs, the story often gets described as "right up there with Drastically Redefining Protocol".[2] Given the similar premises, the comparison is not particularly surprising.

It is now one of the most popular fanfiction in the Merlin fandom, often being referred to as a "Merlin classic".


FayJay podficced her own novel in three parts[3] and cybel turned it into an audiobook. The complete work is more than 15 hours long and both mp3 and audiobook are available at the Audiofic Archive. The podbook cover is a manip by ladyflowdi.[4] The original artwork shows a "CEO and Assistant" version of AU!Merlin/Arthur but it works for the characters from The Student Prince just as well.

Recs and Reviews

"Merlin is entering his first year of St Andrews University to study sorcery and gets 'stuck' with The Prince of Wales as his roommate. Which is a horrid twist of fate for poor crushing-on-Arthur!Merlin, but no exactly a coincidence. Morgana and Gwen are brilliant. Arthur is trying very hard to be straight, bless him. The Merlin/Arthur UST/Bromance/BFF is totally is brilliant. Excellent all around."[5]
"Probably everyone interested was already reading along while it was a WIP, but in case you missed it, pandarus has just finished her modern Merlin/Arthur AU, The Student Prince. It's really a lovely story - it's funny, and it's adorably British, and it has an ending that literally makes you want to get up and cheer."[6]
"the best thing about the fic, though, is all the little details. the author is really an unbelievable writer. she wrote the entire thing in five weeks and posted a chapter a day. everything -- the setting descriptions, the action, the dialogue -- could not have been more realistic. some of the monologues towards the end are just fantastic (arthur gives a speech that legitimately made me burst out in tears)."[2]
"It's lengthy and plotty and incredibly fun - there is a lovely achingly long build-up of UST, transforming antagonism into something more, with just enough obliviousness from both Arthur and Merlin to keep me happy. [...] The dragon is A+ gold comedy and really this is just shiny and lovely and fun and hot and sweet. The ending! The entire ride!"[7]
"In which Arthur is the Prince of Wales, Merlin is studying to be a wizard, and they end up as roommates at St. Andrew's College. An adorable romance story set at an old British college for maximum atmosphere, with royalty, a well-built wizarding world under modern Britain (codenamed World of Warcraft), a dragon who wants a iPod, lots of brilliant secondary characters, and one of the most amazing public coming-out scenes ever."[8]
"Broadly speaking, it's an AU ("alternate universe") fic set in modern-day England, largely at St. Andrews University, the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland, where all the major players are first-year students at university. Arthur is the only son of the nation's ruling monarch, Uther Pendragon, whose mother died in childbirth. Merlin is a scholarship student from Cardiff studying Physics and (a bit more covertly) Magic. Gwen, a fellow first-year Merlin meets on the train to Edinburgh, is an Engineering student who is nursing a major crush for third-year student and kick-boxing instructor Lance. Morgana, reading Magic alongside Merlin, is Arthur's cousin the Duchess of Edinburgh and next in line after him for the throne. There's a dragon. There's a kitten. There's Raisin Weekend, evil plots, skipped lectures, stolen kisses, not-so-stolen kisses ... [...] "The Student Prince is quite adorable most of the way through, then it gets smokin' hot, then angsty, then adorable again."[9]
Possibly the best of the rich and excellent genre of “AU where Arthur is the modern prince of England” fics, this combines it with the best of the classic genre of college AUs – that feeling in college that everything is possible and nothing could ever feel so real as the rush of first love. (And it also comes in an exquisite podfic read by the author!) [10]

The One That Will Keep Me Eyeing the Skies Warily, Waiting for a Great Metal Dragon with Worrying Taste in Entertainment to Fly By. The Student Prince, by FayJay, aka pandarus. Merlin, Arthur Pendragon/Merlin.

You've seen this recommended everywhere. By everyone. And now I am going to join in the chorus, because, people, this is some serious comfort fic, right here. It's just - it is a supremely satisfying romance story, and I don't have any other way of explaining it.

Or maybe I do. [ profile] norah told me, long ago - I am sure I have mentioned this all to you many, many times - that once upon a time, she was sick and sad and traveling on a train in another country. And she cheered herself up by telling herself a well-loved epic story. (I, being me, immediately argued with her about her choice of well-loved epic story.) This is the kind of story that could make you feel better if you were sick on a train in a distant country, is what I'm saying. (And now I want to see everyone's top ten Sick on a Train stories. Hmmm.)

And I tell you what, having read this story, I am now deeply sorry that I didn't matriculate at a university founded in 1413. I mean, okay, that would have required me going to a different continent, and also it would have changed my entire life, which would seriously suck, but - but. My university only had, like, two hundred years to build up insane traditions, and it's just not the same. (No one tell me if St. Andrews doesn't really have all these traditions. I prefer to live in a world where they exist, not the least because I will now spend my life looking at famous UK people and wondering if the university they attended had a custom wherein you have to walk around in trousers with the ass cut out for your entire freshman year or whatever. If this story is anything to go by, there is such a school out there. And. Um. UK persons on my friends list, I am now also wondering this about you. Just FYI.)

So, yes, the setting is part of what makes this work for me. But there are so many other things. All of which, tragically, are spoilers. So, please, go read this, or if you've already read it (and, frankly, I have to think that at least 98.9% of you have, because this is a justly famous story), comment here, so I can squee with you about the many events in this story that made me bounce with joy. It is taking all my self-restraint not to do that here and now. [11]

There are several reviews of The Student Prince at Goodreads.[12] The M/M Romance Group, the largest M/M group on Goodreads, chose the story for one of its books of the month in January 2013.[13]

Fanart, Vids

trailer by GreenePearl

Go With The Kraken by ReniMilchstrasse is a fanart illustration of a scene "where Merlin is all emo and the kraken comes along to cheer him up by exploring the ocean all afternoon." The Kraken is a dangerous mystical being Merlin accidentally summoned once before, when he was a teenager.

starlit_morning made a fanvid based on the story:
And it was a labor of love, I tell you. Click the video above to watch “The Student Prince,” or at least what FayJay’s beloved fanfic *might* look like if they made it into a movie trailer. Apologies for anything that doesn’t make sense. This idea came to me months ago and I’ve FINALLY finished… so thanks to all of you who had suggestions/encouragement/squees of inspiration along the way! [14]

GreenePearl also made a vid trailer for the story.[15]


It’s a staple to the Merlin fandom, and Merlin/Arthur shippers, especially. It’s also a whopping 145k words and 35 chapters. However, since the new series of Merlin is a ways off, we think a reread of one of the most popular fics in the fandom is in order.

Every day, for 35 days, we will feature one chapter of TSP. On that day, we encourage everyone who is interested to make fanart, fanvideos, manips, photosets, etc., relating to the content of that particular chapter and tag it #TSP reread and we’ll reblog all the posts onto this blog for all the fans to enjoy.

The first chapter will be featured one week from now, on July 10.


  1. More recently, the story's popularity has been superseded by other stories on the archive. As of 4 March 2013, The Student Prince has 1,049 comments (ranked 31st place); 3,333 kudos (24th place); 1,103 bookmarks (roughly 479th place); and 203,968 total hits (7th place).
  2. 2.0 2.1 _pinkchocolate. Fic rec: The Student Prince, 10 July 2010. (Accessed 14 September)
  3. pandarus. Podfic: The Student Prince, 3/3, 14 September 2010. Length: 441 MB, 15:09:00 in 3 parts. (Accessed 14 September 2010)
  4. ladyflowdi. Merlin fanart: The CEO and the Assistant, 19 February 2010. (Accessed 14 September 2010)
  5. marguerite_26. Modern AU Arthur/Merlin Recs. (Accessed 14 September 2010)
  6. giandujakiss. Merlin fic rec!, 10 July 2010. (Accessed 14 September 2010)
  7. compartmental. Fic Rec Post #4, 31 July 2010. (Accessed 14 September 2010)
  8. melannen. Longfic recs for Stellar_dust (and anybody else who wants them), 12 January 2011. (Accessed 12 January 2011)
  9. the feminist librarian. ficnotes: the student prince, 22 March 2011. (Accessed 26 March 2011)
  10. eponis.tumblr
  11. rec by thefourthvine, August 15, 2010
  12. The Student Prince by FayJay. (Accessed 05 January 2013)
  13. Submitted by bigbustygeek to fy_merlinxarthur. The Student Prince chosen as a M/M Romance group Book of the Month on GoodReads. (Accessed 05 January 2013)
  14. starlit_morning. Dear fellow merthur fangirls and boys…, 02 July 2012. (Accessed 04 July 2012)
  15. GreenePearl. Modern Merlin & Arthur | The Student Prince trailer, 10 August 2012. (Accessed 24 August 2013)