Character: Guinevere (Gwen)
Pairings Included in Manifesto: Arthur/Gwen, Lancelot/Gwen
banner by the multi-talented and wonderful blackmamba_esq
Blurb: Guinevere, or Gwen as she's better known to her friends and loved ones, is the humble handmaiden to the Lady Morgana on BBC's Merlin. Though she's “only” a maid, she's kind, good, and a true and loyal friend. She possesses a quiet inner strength and has always soldiered valiantly on in the face of tragedy (including the unjust execution of her father by King Uther). Despite not having magical powers or great physical prowess on the battlefield, Gwen thinks on her feet and works to solve problems in her own way. It's this innate nobility, calm dignity, and her quick thinking that will make her an excellent queen.
Gwen's main het pairing is naturally Arthur/Gwen. As a fanfic writer myself for this pairing, it was hard to narrow down the choices and I will fully admit to overindulging. ;D The fics I have listed are all from writers whom I highly recommend on a general basis - go to their master lists/ljs, and find the best A/G fanfic written out there.
As for the pairing themselves, Gwen grounds Arthur's pratty-ness and helps guide him and supports him. While the first two seasons didn't focus much on how Arthur helps and supports her, Season 3 gave fans of this pairings some really nice moments where he did just that, like when Gwen's brother Elyan was kidnapped. From the aaaangst of how they can never be (because he's royalty and she's a commoner), to the cuteness and sweetness of their more light-hearted moments (she shows him how to start a campfire, he skips up stairs for her, they have clandestine picnics in the middle of the woods), to the more subtle scenes where you can tell they're two young kids becoming the future king and queen (he escorts her to the Round Table and helps her into her chair by his left hand side), they are a real joy.
While there are a lot of stories out there that feature Lancelot/Gwen as a sidepairing, usually to a Merlin/Arthur fic, I've chosen to focus my recs purely on stories that have Lancelot/Gwen front and center. They're quite a lovely pairing that I enjoy and I wish more people would write stories just about them. He's a humble commoner who longs to be a knight, who gives up his lady love because he thinks she deserves so much better. And he was her only hope when she was left to die in a dungeon cell thinking that no one was coming for her and no one in the world loved her to come for her. They're really a lovely couple in their own right.
Now, for some Arthur/Gwen . . .
Fic Rec #1: An Ancient Tale Where Later Words May Retell
Rating/Warning(s): Can't seem to find one
Why This Must Be Read: This was perhaps the first Arthur/Gwen story I ever read, and if push comes to shove, probably my favorite, ever. It's long, plotty, and a fantastic spin on Arthurian legend, with wonderful imagery, great dialogue and humor, and in the end, heartbreaking tragedy.
Fic Rec #2 Alone With You
Link: Link to Part 1 here, link to the rest is located at the author's master post, located here.
Rating/Warning(s): G. Later parts might get a bit graphic in terms of detailing birth.
Why This Must Be Read: imigination has a fantastic ability to craft fics with beautiful imagery. You feel like you're walking around in a cinematographer's dreamland as you're reading. She has a bunch of wonderful stories to read, so check out her masterlist, but I picked Alone With You because of its realistic portrayal of pregnancy. A lot of fic writers tend to sugarcoat pregnancy, making it the Most Wonderful Experience Evah, or have the woman a screaming harpy at the whims of her hormones and labor pains to play it for laughs, or have the pregnancy end in miscarriage to drum up unnecessary angst. I can't tell you how honestly refreshing it is to have a story that earnestly portrays the ups-and-downs of the married life of a young couple struggling with their first pregnancy – especially where the couple is Arthur, who has to deal with the shadows of his mother's death during childbirth, and Gwen, who really just needs the comfort and love of her own mother in such a new and exciting time.
Fic Rec #3: Clandestine
Why This Must Be Read: Quite possibly the hottest Arthur/Gwen fic I've ever read. Set after 2x04, it's chronicles a series of notes written between Arthur and Gwen and his gift to her – new stays for her dress. The tension, longing, and sensuality is absolutely stunning. Go read more of her stuff!
Fic Rec #4: Stokes the Very Fire That Burns You
Why This Must Be Read: A futurefic that details just how Gwen becomes a warrior queen, in her own way – dignified, quiet, and practical. Real. Just one lovely piece in a whole host of lovely stories this author has written for A/G.
Fic Rec #5: For Charity
Rating/Warning(s): PG (later parts go higher up in rating)
Why This Must Be Read: This is a fantastic modern AU where Arthur is the Prince of Wales and Gwen is his commoner girlfriend. What could be a cliched, common trope in fanfic is actually fresh and original, funny, charming, and utterly delightful. It deliberately pokes fun at today's obsession with the British royalty (especially Kate and William). These two are very much in character and just ... cute. I linked the first installment, For Charity, and the other parts can be read at the author's lj via her masterlist, located here.
Fic Rec #6: Freefall to Fate
Why This Must Be Read: This is a reverse-legend AU, in which Gwen is a princess and Arthur is a commoner knight and he must escort her to the kingdom of her betrothed, Lancelot. Along the way, complications arise. Gwen is strong and resourceful; Arthur, slightly less of a prat given the circumstances of this AU, but still very much in character at his core. Hot, sexy, and full of longing, it's unfortunately unfinished at this point, but hopefully the author will get back on track with it soon. Hint hint. HINT.
Fic Rec #7: If The Slipper Fits
Why This Must Be Read: A hilarious, sweet, and charming story where Gwen is Cinderella and Arthur is Prince Charming. It makes fun of all the stupidities and ridiculous turns of events in the fairy tale and manages to keep Gwen and Arthur perfectly in character and incredibly sweet with each other.
Fic Rec #8: Not Quite a Lady
Why This Must Be Read: A very hot bathtub sexytimes fic. But it's also more than that – it's about the loving dynamic between a young couple, about how that couple can be kind and sweet and respectful with one another, and still have mind-blowing, deliciously hot and heavy sex.
Fic Rec #9: Brave New World
Why This Must Be Read: This story was posted way back in Season 2, and is based on the premise that Uther remained enchanted under Catrina's spell, and woke up years later in the future to find his kingdom in a totally different state. It was an innovative concept, and the author writes so well. It'll be interesting to see if this is the direction that Season 4 will take, given the events of Season 3, and if any of what she wrote will come true. If it does, I will be very pleased, because this is such a well-written story.
Fic Rec #10: The War Is Over and We Are Beginning
Why This Must Be Read: A long epic read, this is a reincarnation fic that tracks the end of Arthur's reign and how four people (not just Gwen and Arthur) find their way back to each other in present-day Wales. It's got some background Merlin/Morgana and Lancelot/Gwen, and has wonderful OT4 elements as well. Just a very touching story about love and friendship and forgiveness.
And now, for some Lancelot and Gwen!
Fic Rec #11: Forever Kneel'd To A Lady In His Shield
Why This Must Be Read: A simply hot story where Gwen imagines Lancelot going down on her. With just a hit of Arthurian love triangle thrown in to make it even more interesting than it already is. ;D It's perhaps one of the first Merlin fics that I ever read.
Fic Rec #12 And Be Merry
Why This Must Be Read: A cute little scene that could've happened way back in Season 1's episode, “Lancelot.”
Fic Rec #3: Somnium
Why This Must Be Read: A coda to 2x04, Gwen imagines what would happen if Lancelot came back to her. Hot, sexy, and just so, so, achingly sad.
Fic Rec #4: These Moments, Again and Again
Why This Must Be Read: A short Gwen-focused piece where poor Gwen is faced with the prospect of Lancelot and Arthur before her. Painful and tragic and very well-written.
Fic Rec #5: Did Someone Send For The Fire Brigade?
Why This Must Be Read: A hilarious modern AU in which it's Gwen's bachelorette party, all of Arthur's ex-girlfriends are invited, and Lancelot is the stripper. Just read it. Trust me.