(I’d like to start with an apology to my long-time followers who were convinced to read LM a long time ago and still see this post a few times a year)
RIGHT LADIES, GENTLEMEN, AND ALL THOSE WHO FIT INTO NEITHER CATEGORY. Who loves reading fanfic? I do, you do, the person who sat next to you on the bus that time who was smiling at their phone probably does!
Who loves Merlin the BBC show? I do, you probably do, and all the viewers from when it was first broadcast to now do.
Who loves well-written literature which includes fantastic characterisation? I do, you do, many people since the dawn of writing have and do. Your English teacher certainly does.
SO WHAT IF I WERE TO TELL YOU THAT THERE IS AN EPIC-LENGTH BUT STILL EASY AND ENJOYABLE TO READ FANFICTION BASED ON THE CHARACTERS OF MERLIN?
Well guys it is your lucky day.
Take my hand and allow me to introduce you to the wonderful world of Loaded March.
Loaded March is a fifteen part series (with the 15th and final part coming out soon!) set in a modern universe in which Arthur Pendragon and his knights are an SAS team called Excalibur and Merlin is a communications specialist assigned to them. I realise that the summary I just gave you really does not do this fic justice so just bear with me please.
But Cat, I don’t like military fics, is this really for me? Well friend, I have a confession to make: military fic is not my thing either. In fact, it’s why I didn’t read LM until after the 9th part was published and even then it was only because I was procrastinating revision and was running low on really good fic to read. So I thought what the hell and I have never looked back. The army setting is actually really easy to get your head around, and most terms are explained within the fic. For those that aren’t? There’s this page on the wiki (more on that later). warning, the rest of the wiki is not spoiler free.
I still don’t know though, it seems kind of long? Welll… yes. It is. BUT the first part is less than 35k. Easily read. It’s a series so you can take your time over it. Radioman (the first part) is wonderfully easy to read and really serves as an introduction to the world and the characters. The series doesn’t really feel all that long because you can take breaks between the parts if you want to. Plus, you get so into their world, you don’t really notice the time passing (a sign of good writing!).
Hang on, SAS team? Isn’t that like 16 characters already not including any off the team? Isn’t that a lot of characters to remember? Here we come to one of the best things about Loaded March. Each character is given the time and development needed for you to not only remember them, but care about them as well. How is this done? By not attempting to throw all of the characters in from the beginning. Radioman really focusses on the main characters – Arthur, Merlin, Leon, Perceval, Gwaine, Lance, with appearances from the others. Slowly, other characters are swirled into the mix. I think it’s not until maybe the 4th part that my personal favourite character, Kay, really starts to get his development. And it’s absolutely wonderful because it means that he isn’t rushed at all. None of them are.
The characters get brought in bit by bit, so we know each character in depth, before another one is brought to the limelight, so we remember each individual as just that: an individual. They are all written as real people. Which means that by the time that the drama really ramps up a few notches, you care about them. You care what happens to them. And a lot of what makes Loaded March so wonderful is the emotional connection you feel to the characters.
Okay, but I’m not really sure you’ve told me what it’s about. I know, I know, and I keep trying to work out how to describe it without giving the game away and I’ve decided that I just can’t do it justice. The best way to work out whether or not this is for you is to do what I did and just dive in and read it.
So go read it here.
Okay so I’ve read it and come back to this post to tell you how right you are about the wonderfulness of Loaded March. What now???
Now you get to really experience the Hive.
What’s the Hive? Some sort of allergic reaction?
The Loaded March Hive Mind (shortened to LM Hive Mind, or just simple Hive) is the name for the fandom, as named by Footloose herself. This wonderful mesh of individuals is the support system you find whilst going through the Loaded March experience. On tumblr, we use the tags loaded march and LM Hive Mind. Please please please be aware that these tags are not spoiler free. However you can still use them before you’ve finished reading. Simply make a post using either tag, and people will flock to support you and get to know you.
Occasionally, people say that they were intimidated to join the Hive as we all seem to know each other well, but I promise you, we love meeting new people and very quickly you will find yourself getting to know a lot of new people! We’re all very friendly I promise! Simply introduce yourself and say you like Loaded March and you’re accepted into the family with open arms.
They sound nice! So, is that the end of LM then?
Certainly not! Not only do you have many people to theorise with and talk about the characters in depth with (at one point, before Lucan was brought into the limelight, out headcanons provided more lines for him than the canon! Which ment that we were even more delighted when it was his turn to be developed!), but you also have the extras to look at!
What extras do you mean?
Well first of all, there’s the Extras with a capital E. These are the smaller fics which don’t fit tidily into the main narrative but Footloose has blessed us with sharing. They come from a range of times during and before LM is set. They are particularly wonderful and we enjoy them a lot.
Next, there’s the LM Wiki page. This is set up by the Hive and has both facts from the canon, and headcanons on it, as well as some recipes and reviews of LM.
This LJ page is updated by Footloose herself to give us updates on LM and some of the other fics she works on.
The website is so wonderfully put together and helpful and words cannot express how wonderful this is.
Finally, the deviant art page shows some of the beautiful fanart for the series.
THE FUN BEGINS WITH THE READING, AND DOESN’T END THERE, SO GO AND START YOUR LOVELY JOURNEY TODAY! And please feel free to drop by my ask to tell my that you’ve started to read! :)