Fandom: Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire
Pairing: Gendrya (kinda)
Word Count: 154,386
Summary: "Arya Stark wanted to be a knight; she wanted to find glory and adventure with Needle in her hand. But that is not an appropriate life for a highborn lady, and that was all Arya of House Stark was allowed to be."
I am obsessed with the plot of this fanfic. Honestly obsessed. To the point that when I finished it, I texted my friend a nearly 1,000-word synopsis of just the first half of it (because holy cow does the last half get complicated to explain) and she doesn't even read fanfiction.
This wasn't exactly the type of fic I was looking for when I wanted to fill my need for some nice, fun, maybe a little angsty Gendrya, but I'm not mad about it (but I would have appreciated a few more tags to let me know the emotional roller coaster I was in for).
I love fanfics where Gendry is legitimized or a true-born, and this is one of those where Gendry is the first-born son of Robert and Cersei, making him the future king. Too bad he's betrothed to Sansa and in love with Arya—who loves him back but doesn't want to be queen and doesn't want her sister to hate her for stealing her future husband.
I think I didn't pay enough attention to the listed pairings because where the fic ended up going completely surprised me.
vixleonard deserves an award for the originality of the plot and the creation of original characters that fit so well into the ASOIAF world while still managing to remain its own thing. While I started the fic wanting some Gendrya action, by the time I was about a third of the way in, I realized I was so worried about Arya's future and choices that the ongoing Gendrya subplot barely mattered anymore.
As someone who hasn't read all the ASOIAF books, my only idea of who Aegon is and what his whole deal is has come from fanfics and the extensive reading of A Wiki of Ice and Fire articles I've done. "No Featherbed" didn't rely on prior knowledge of Aegon—or other characters—and made him a character you love, then mistrust, then pity, then hate, then mourn.
There is a scene probably about 3/4 of the way in where wildfire claims the lives of many of the characters, and when I say I sobbed......I really sobbed. Then following the sadness of that chapter, you think everything will be at least a little okay from now on, and I guess it is, until the threat of the Others comes from the North, and we lose even more characters.
It's really the mark of a great author and story when you can make a reader feel for original characters in the same way that they feel for source material characters. There were characters I didn't love, only because I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to love them, but by the end, I was mourning them along with the others.
The ending of this fic was the first time I had seen a fan ending for ASOIAF that didn't end with someone on the Iron Throne and still made sense. The splitting of the Seven Kingdoms became my personal favorite headcanon for how the show/books should end. And when a fanfic is so good that it changes how you think about the source material, I think that really says something about the quality of the fic and the talent of the writer.