Pairing: Catelyn Stark/Ned Stark
Title: Love And Honor
Rating/Warning(s): M, Sexual situations, violence, rape
Word Count/WIP?: 896058, No
Recced on LiveJournal By: skysamuelle
Why This Must Be Read: AU What if Ned wasn't beheaded in King's Landing and Catelyn didn't die at the Red Wedding? How the survival of two characters changes the events that affected Westeros after King Robert’s death?
Varys plots for Ned’s survival so he can use him, Catelyn ends up a prisoner at the Towers instead of dying… many events happen right like they do in canon, but the story focuses all on two people, their struggle to come back to each other, keep their marriage whole in a thorn country, and to reunite their family. It’s a terrible and yet uplifting adventure. At times I felt the author glossed a bit over Catelyn’s flaws and exasperated Danaerys’ ones in contrast… which felt partial, but overall did not detract from the many attractives of the fic. For one, it gives a fantastic example of how to keep two characters not-apart and still keep it interesting by showing the nuances of a marriage that lasted and worked over many years. To see the Stark family to gradually be reunited as the children too, eventually found their way to the parents too, was deeply moving. .. for Arya and Sansa in particular, it felt so very healing, rewarding, and well-deserved.
I appreciated the attention given to the direwolves too, and the warg heritage that lives inside the Starks. Truly, reading this story was like reading a Stark-centric, Stark-oriented version of ASOIAF. I cannot reccommend it enough.
Fandom: A Song Of Ice And Fire
Pairing: Lyanna Stark/Rhaegar Targaryen
Title: Hell is Hempty
Rating/Warning(s): M, sexual situations, some violence
Word Count/WIP?: 198,900, no
Recced on LiveJournal By: skysamuelle
Why This Must Be Read: It takes the canon snippets we have of Lyanna and Rhaegar’s personalities and brings them to life in a way that I feel it is the most close to what GRR Martin meant them to be than any other fic I read so far. It’s AU, and the premise is brilliant:
“ Still unmarried and unbetrothed, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen is urged to find a bride at the tourney at Harrenhal. With King Aerys growing more unhinged as each day passes, the Dragon Prince must secure his line in order to overthrow the Mad King.
Lyanna Stark is chosen to wed the prince, much to her displeasure, and must leave the North to play princess with the dragons. But she quickly learns that the fire burns deadly in the royal family, and winter has no place in King's Landing.
Hell, she finds, is empty and all the devils are at Court.”
As you see, the canon circumstances of Rhaegar and Lyanna’s story are completely upturned when, by a game of chance, Aerys becomes convinced that the Starks are plotting against him, and that having his son wed to their daughter will both punish and keep in check his enemies. Wild and young Lyanna recoils at the idea of leaving the Winterfell she loves for a marriage she doesn’t want, and it takes a lot of time for her to accept her new status, despite an auspicious prophecy she receives from…Maggy. Confronted with the king’s madness and a court that stifles her, Lyanna grows up, develops an awesome relationship with a long-suffering-but-proud Rhaella and a surprisingly endearing little Viserys (boy, I was surprised at how much I loved him in here considering my utter loathing of him in canon), a strangely deep friendship with Jaimie Lannister … and a fierce passion with her husband. Court intrigue constantly hinders our protagonists, of course. It all makes for a very satisfying read. The author has a knack for describing places and objects that gives you vivid images of the scene without boring you with excess – I always felt like I was poignant witnessing events like the coronation or the marriage as if I was right in the room with the characters. Rhaegar is a well rounded, complex character, cool headed but still with a dragon-like temper … very relatable in his way, just like Lyanna, stormy in temper but very compassionate underneath that. The plot is well paced, the occasional smut is fantastic, the first-generation Starks we meet fast become as old, dear friends. In other words – nothing is missing to paint a truly epic read.