Recent Entries 
6th-Jan-2014 09:34 pm Until He Be Eased, by joan_waterhouse
Characters/Pairings: Richard II of England, Henry Bolingbroke
Length: 1909 words
Author on LJ: unknown
Author Website: on Ao3
Why this must be read: This is an AU of Richard II, where Richard is a patient in a mental institution but believes he is a king. You get a true sense of his confusion, his inability to tell what's real and what isn't, and the pain of everyone around him, especially Bolingbroke, is very palpable as well. Good AUs manage to boil characters down to their essence, and this manages to do just that; to capture why Richard's story is tragic in any universe. It's quite short, but it really manages to create an engaging world of its own.

Until He Be Eased
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31st-Dec-2013 03:56 pm "The Time is Out of Joint", by lizzie-marie-23
Characters/Pairing: All cast, Hamlet-centric
Length: 2945 words
Author on LJ:
Author Website: (or a link to where more of their fic is archived)
Why this must be read: Hamlet and time travel fix-its are two great tastes that taste great together, and this relatively short fic manages to deliver on the emotional side because every attempt to fix things only makes it worse, and that is how the tragedy is shaped. It's second person, which pulls you straight into the narrative, it goes into backstory quite a bit, and it "explains" a lot of things that are a bit odd about Hamlet's behaviour. It's also structurally interesting.

The Time is out of Joint
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17th-Dec-2013 09:10 pm "Wittenberg Days" by Norah
Fandom: Hamlet/Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Pairing/Characters: Hamlet/Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern
Length: 4615 words
Author on AO3: norah
Why this must be read: This is a cross between Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in iambic pentameter, which would be awesome enough to merit a rec. It also nails both the Shakespearean and the Stoppard voice so it reads like a missing scene from R&GAD, complete with stage directions. It's also got a lot of humour - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are hysterical in it, and Hamlet and Horatio are extremely sweet. It's very clever in what it does and how it does it and deserves to be read more widely.

Wittenberg Days
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9th-Dec-2013 10:43 pm "Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart" by Aris Merquoni
So here's a Shakespeare rec from yours truly, hopefully I'll remember to do these a couple times a week now.

Fandom Category: Richard II/The Hollow Crown
Pairing/Characters: Henry IV/Richard II, Aumerle/Richard II
Length: 3011 words
Author Website: AO3

Why this must be read: Richard/Henry is a doomed ship within the confines of the canon, and as I have many ships that are similarly doomed, every once in a while, I just want to read something where people survive at the end and are happily ever after. This fic uses the trope of soulbonding to great effect and with no small helping of humour (and a shipper on deck). The way it fits with the canon and explains a lot of things is lovely. It is a somewhat cracky piece but there is real emotion underneath, and the resolution left me smiling.

Soulbonds between men and women are the most romantic form of marriage in the known world. Soulbonds between men and men make bards and poets salivate with the prospect of terrible, epic tragedy. Richard and Henry think that bards and poets are assholes.
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31st-Oct-2009 05:56 am Henry's Journey by Hyarrowen (PG-13)
And thus ends my month of Shakespeare recs. I am thrilled to have had the chance to do this, and I hope that someone else takes up the reins. I've given you twelve of my favorite stories, but there are so many more good ones out there. You just have to know where to look. In the meantime, as our Star Du Jour would say, once more into the breach, dear friends!

Pairing: Henry V/French Herald (Montjoy)
Length: 21,000 words
Author on LJ: [ profile] hyarrowen
Author Website:
Why this must be read: Oh, my. So much to be said here. Hyarrowen writes engaging, meticulously researched, lively AUs involving Henry V and the French herald. Her writing was what led me to watch Kenneth Branagh's 1989 Henry V, a modern classic. Hyarrowen's Henry is, as he should be, a highly charismatic kind of a guy, brilliant both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. He's the sort of guy who just naturally steamrolls almost everyone in his path, but can make them think that the steamrolling was their idea in the first place if he has to. And he's utterly taken with the herald, a quiet, perceptive Frenchman much wiser than he lets on. Together, these two men are a fantastic match, and Henry's Journey gives them literally the world to play with.

It's a sprawling epic (a rare enough genre in Shakespeare fanfiction, which tends toward the short) that takes us from France to Jerusalem to India, China, and the Silk Road, still under the spell of the mysterious Tamburlaine. Henry and the herald are both changed profoundly by this journey and the people they meet along the way. To say more would simply ruin the pleasures of discovery.

You think this is hard work? You should try getting a giraffe to go on board. )

Henry's Journey
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30th-Oct-2009 07:59 am VID REC: Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) -- The Wings (Brokeback Mountain Theme)
Vidder: Civilwarchick1862
Musical artist: Gustavo Santaolalla, Brokeback Mountain
Pairing: Romeo/Mercutio, Romeo/Juliet
Vidder on LJ: N/A
Vidder's website: On YouTube
Why this vid kicks ass: This is a great example of a popular genre done exquisitely well, such that it really does seem like a fresh idea with something worth saying. Romeo and Juliet, of course, is the iconic love story of the Western world, and Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 movie of same is still the most popular version of it. Brokeback Mountain was about as popular as that movie, and its story is definitely in the same vein. A few years ago, you couldn't move on the Web for tripping over yet another slash fanvid set to the Brokeback Mountain theme, but "Brokeback Verona" stands out.

It's formatted as though it were a true movie trailer, even using intertitles just as the Brokeback Mountain trailer did. (That some of the intertitles are selections from Shakespeare's Sonnet 17 just adds to the awesomeness.) The clips from the movie are well chosen to highlight and enhance both relationships, the editing is nearly flawless, and Civilwarchick1862 weaves clips, music, and intertitles together to tell a real little story, not just revel in the pretty. Pay special attention to Juliet's role; every single bit of that is from the film, but in this context, her relationship with Romeo seems completely different.

Brokeback Verona
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27th-Oct-2009 09:43 am Unexpected by Shayheyred (R)
Pairing: Richard II/Bolingbroke
Length: 1790 words
Author on LJ: [ profile] shayheyred
Author Website: Today's Menu at Chez Shay
Why this must be read: Richard II is one of the Histories that doesn't get a whole lot of love. That's understandable; Richard II is sort of in the middle of the pack as far as colorful English royalty goes, and the play has a complicated plot that involves the niceties of feudal politics, and you have to know not only who the major characters are, but also how they're related to each other, who they're descended from, and a little something about the laws of medieval French succession. For people four hundred years from now, following the plot of Enron: The Smartest People In The Room will be like this.

Shayheyred neatly sidesteps all of this. She gives us two men caught up in a relationship as complicated personally as it is politically. They wrestle with love, jealousy, their own insecurities and weaknesses, and the bitterness of the way that they finally part. Richard and Bolingbroke are real, flesh-and-blood people whose attraction is almost palpable. It's also one of the very few stories written in the second person that I've ever really enjoyed. That's how good it is.

Richard is late )
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23rd-Oct-2009 08:20 am In Your Philosophy by Mod_Alcyone (PG)
Pairing: Hamlet/Horatio, sorta-kinda
Length: 2430 words
Author on LJ: [ profile] mod_alcyone
Author Website:
Why this must be read: Who would ever have thought to take the situation at the end of Hamlet and apply a coat of Latin American magical realism? Mod_Alcyone, that's who, and she does a brilliant job at it. Magical realism is a genre that tends toward the lyrical and elegiac, but also contains elements of horror and the fantastic, and that's exactly what this story does. For everyone who thinks that the most tragic character in Hamlet is not the title character (who, after all, gets to die and be released from his misery) but Horatio, the devoted friend left behind in a pile of bodies facing his country's conquest by a foreign power, this is for you. In the afterlife of death, Horatio's tragedy slowly overwhelms both Elsinore and himself as he discovers his particular kind of cruelty.

Horatio blames no one. )

In Your Philosophy
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21st-Oct-2009 08:19 am Then Dreams He Of Another Benefice by Sphinxvictorian (PG-13)
Pairing: Mercutio/Romeo
Length: 2200 words
Author on LJ: [ profile] sphinxvictorian
Author Website: [ profile] sphinxfic
Why this must be read: In 1947, Paul Scofield played Mercutio under the direction of Peter Brook, and his performance prompted the reviewer for the Sunday Times to describe him as "a Mercutio who really has seen the fairies, and wishes, perhaps, that he had not." Then Dreams He Of Another Benefice is a story along those lines, with an extra little spine-tingling jolt of classic horror: Mercutio hasn't just seen the fairies -- he's dead and permanently under their spell. And Queen Mab, who loves him, is prepared to give him exactly what he's always wanted . . .

Mab gave an exasperated sigh. )

Then Dreams He Of Another Benefice
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19th-Oct-2009 09:41 am Today by Honorbound (PG)
Pairing: Implied Antonio/Bassanio, even more implied Portia/Nerissa
Length: 720 words
Author on LJ: [ profile] honorbound
Author Website: Unknown
Why this must be read: There are lots of fanfics floating around the internet that come with mentions of the author having been assigned to write them in school. It's a more believable excuse for fic in some fandoms than in others, and in the case of Shakespeare fics, it's very plausible. Today is a story written to fulfill a teacher's prompt, which Honorbound includes at the beginning of the story. The assignment was to consider how the various marriages made in The Merchant of Venice under more or less deceptive circumstances might play out over the next five to ten years. In response, Honorbound gives us a series of vignettes exploring the futures of Jessica, Nerissa, Portia, and Bassanio. Some of these characters have happy futures, and some do not. Some of them have the futures one might expect for them, and some do not. But whether happy or sad, expected or unexpected, each vignette is thoughtfully and sparingly written, showing the compromises the characters have had to make with their "happy ending" over the course of the years.

He had been there, and he had plied her with sweet words and promises of devotion. )

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17th-Oct-2009 08:46 am Whom Stripes May Move, Not Kindness by airgiodslv (G)
Pairing: Caliban/Prospero, Caliban/Miranda
Length: 500 words
Author on LJ: [ profile] airgiodslv
Author Website: Airgiodslv's Memories
Why this must be read: Another short but powerful story. This one really digs into the darker side of The Tempest, exploring the controlling side of Prospero and even examining the racism inherent in a story set on a tropical island where the "natives" are somehow all either slaves or villains. The beauty of it is that it's done intensely, in a series of exquisitely crafted little snippets, rich with information and haunting in their simplicity.

He charmed Caliban with his own magic, with books and pictures, tricks of physics, and he forgot longing for women. )

Whom Stripes May Move, Not Kindness
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15th-Oct-2009 08:49 am Silmarillion/Shakespeare -- Macbeth (R)
Title: Giver of Gifts by Mirabehn
Pairing: Annatar/Macbeth
Author on LJ: [ profile] mirabehn
Author Website:
Why this must be read: There's not a whole lot of Shakespeare crossovers out there, and most of what is out there consists of crossovers between Shakespeare's plays. But this little snippet -- ahh! Mirabehn has pitted two British literary greats against each other, and it could not be more apropos, especially considering that Tolkien wrote the Ents into The Lord of the Rings precisely because he thought that the solution to Birnham Wood coming to Dunsinane in the Scottish Play was stupid. Mirabehn kind of goes along in that vein, using another of Tolkien's characters to explain the setup to the Scottish Play. Just how did the witches know to waylay Himself on the way home from battle after all?

Be forewarned . . . this is a dark, dark story.

He came to me in the darkness, on the first night of the MacDonwald campaign. )

Giver of Gifts
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13th-Oct-2009 09:09 am Miserably Afraid Of The Light by Voorishsign (G)
Pairing: Macbeth/Banquo
Length: 700 words
Author on LJ: [ profile] voorishsign
Author Website: [ profile] a_strange_fear
Why this must be read: The Scottish Play is a strange one, no doubt about that, and one of its strangest characters is the title character. Himself appears to be a basically good guy caught up in the throes of ambition -- and it isn't even clear that the ambition is necessarily his. The big guilt scenes in the play belong to Herself, of course, but Himself had to have been having his own private torment, too. Voorishsign gives us just a little snippet of how dreadful that guilt could be. It's vaguely Dickensian, certainly disturbing, and a fine read.

Everything I ever had is yours, o king. )

Miserably Afraid Of The Light
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9th-Oct-2009 08:06 am Good Night, Sweet Prince by Meltha (R)
Pairing: Hamlet/Horatio
Length: 2500 words
Author on LJ: n/a
Author Website: Meltha's Blackberry Patch
Why this must be read: So what was Hamlet like before he became the Melancholy Dane? He certainly talks a great deal about his young and presumably cheerful past, and he does have his college buddies, including Horatio, who stands devotedly at his side all the way from Act I through the bitter end (Act V, for those who are counting). Just how close are they, and how did they get to be that way? Meltha gives us a glimpse at a happier time, with a teenage Hamlet and Horatio in that particular convergence of youth and status where the world really is their oyster . . . and yet they each want just one thing more.

Read more... )

Good Night, Sweet Prince
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7th-Oct-2009 08:32 am Nonpareil by Grendelity (R)
Pairing: Olivia/Viola
Length: 405 words
Author on LJ: [ profile] grendelity
Author Website: Grendelity's fic tag
Why this must be read: Fic for the Comedies is somewhat rarer than fic for the Tragedies and the Histories. Femmeslash is even rarer in Shakespeare fandom. Grendelity has given us both, and gives us a brief, tantalizing glimpse at some of the implied possibilities and potential tragedies in Shakespeare's gender-bent play.

Viola never possessed the occasion to consider what she would do, once truly alone. )

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5th-Oct-2009 07:58 am The Lamentations of Poor Anne by HDKingsbury (PG)
Pairing: Anne Neville/Richard III
Length: 2000 words
Author on LJ: n/a
Author Website:
Why this must be read: Writing fanfiction for Shakespeare's histories is hardly an easy task, considering that the histories are already pretty much fanfiction of recorded history. The good histories fanfic writer has to negotiate compressed timelines, legendary characters mixing with real ones, multiple historical personages conflated into a single character, Shakespeare's own strong opinions regarding past events, and an endless parade of people named Edward. HDKingsbury has not only done this, but she has also taken on one of Shakespeare's greatest villains, King Richard III.

Read more... )

The Lamentations of Poor Anne
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3rd-Oct-2009 09:01 am The Bastard's Portion by Sunfalling (PG-13)
Pairing: gen
Length: 2000 words
Author on LJ: [ profile] sunfalling
Author Website:
Why this must be read: For us who live in the modern world, being born out of wedlock isn't such a terrible thing. But in Shakespeare's day, it was an awful fate, one that condemned a child to a lifetime of second-class status, regardless of that child's own wishes or abilities. The Bastard's Portion shows one such child and his growing, futile rage over a destiny that he had no hand in choosing.

I last saw Cordelia at the wedding celebration for her sister, Regan. )

The Bastard's Portion
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1st-Oct-2009 08:43 am Love Lies Bleeding by Oenone-Jade (PG)
Welcome, gentle worthies! I am [ profile] pargoletta, and I will be bringing you a selection of Shakespeare fanfiction this month. Shakespeare fandom is heavily affected by Sturgeon's Law, but there are some gems if you know where to look.

Pairing: Benvolio/Mercutio
Length: 2500 words
Author on LJ: n/a
Author Website:
Why this must be read: Something simple and sweet to get you into Shakespeare fandom, in much the same way that Romeo and Juliet itself is used to get teenagers into Shakespeare.

"Love Lies Bleeding" is an older story in the fandom, and it's a combination of two relatively common sub-genres in Romeo and Juliet fanfic -- Benvolio/Mercutio slash and an exploration of just how Mercutio finally gives up the ghost, which he does offstage in the text. The combination here is sweet and affecting, as two lovers must part forever, suddenly and with no time to prepare, and have only a short time in which to improvise a meaningful farewell.

Read more... )

Love Lies Bleeding
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