FanFiction ID: 12509765
Status: Ongoing (10 Chapters)
My rating: 5 of 5
King Arthur has had all too much experience dealing with both sorcerers and traitors, so when it is revealed that his best friend and personal servant Merlin is a liar and a sorcerer himself, Arthur thinks he knows what he’s dealing with. He demands that Merlin reveal his secret plans, his desire for power or revenge or whatever it is that sorcerers usually want. But what Merlin says in response shakes him to the core and forces him to re-evaluate his most basic beliefs about the nature of magic and those who use it . . . because Merlin asks nothing for himself, only for the good of other magic users and for Arthur’s own safety. And what is a king and a friend supposed to do when faced with a request like that?
M1ssUnd3rst4nd1ng is such a great writer of Merlin fanfic, and Please Help My People in particular is a fabulous, moving piece. It’s not so much a reveal fic (although the associated reveal itself is available as a separate fic, which I may review in the future); rather, it’s a thoughtful, rich development of the aftermath of the reveal. I love, love, love that the author actually takes into account all the various political and personal pressures that Arthur must consider when making his decisions about Merlin’s fate and about the laws regarding magic in general. Because yes, those fics where Arthur’s just like “Merlin’s my best friend, magic’s legal now, deal with it,” are adorable and sweet, but stories like Please Help My People show us the great, wise king that Arthur has always shown promise of being. The pacing in this story is slower because of the development, but the deliberation is part of the story’s charm rather than a detraction from it. I feel like the author absolutely nailed the characters, Arthur, Gwen, and Gwaine in particular. Merlin’s character feels different from normal, but seems in character considering the circumstances in which he is placed; no, really, if anything his character is richer for bringing out aspects that you don’t see as much of sometimes. And no, the story’s not all just political conversation; the balance of angst, whump, bromance, and humor is perfect. Of note, since humor isn’t really something I’ve mentioned above, I particularly love the part where the knights (sent by the king and coached on what not to do by Leon) exact revenge on the guards who hurt Merlin–satisfyingly vindictive and quite funny as well. I would highly recommend this story to all Merlin fans.
Note: You can find Please Help My People at https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12509765/1/Please-Help-My-People.