Today, Mathew Reuther hosts me on his blog to talk about female warriors in fantasy once again. This time I talked about some of the common "tropes" or archetypes of…
One of the first lady warriors that I was introduced to as a child was Alanna of Trebond, from the Song of the Lioness Quartet and other Tortall stories by Tamora Pierce. Alanna lives in the fantasy kingdom of Tortall, where only men are allowed to become knights. She swaps places with her twin brother, Thom, and disguises herself as the boy “Alan” so she can train as a knight. Although her true identity is eventually discovered, she manages to become one of the king’s most decorated knights and actually changes the laws of the kingdom so that other women can become knights as well.
Since we see Alanna grow from a young girl into a woman, we get to watch her overcome a lot of her flaws. She struggles to accept herself as a woman and as a wielder of magic, and eventually embraces all of her gifts, not just her talent for fighting. She also has to learn how to control her temper and her stubbornness. Along the way, she learns about friendship and love. (more…)
One of my favorite literary heroes of all time is Aerin-sol of Damar, also known as the Dragonkiller. She’s the main character of Robin McKinley’s fantasy novel, The Hero and the Crown. The book tells the story of how Aerin goes from an awkward princess who would rather be ignored by the Royal Court, due the dubious heritage of her late mother, to a warrior who wields a magical sword and saves her entire kingdom from the invasion of a demon army.
There are many things that I love about Aerin. She does many brave things, sometimes foolhardy, but often they are backed up by careful thought. She learns how to fight dragons effectively from studying an ancient history text in the library while she is recovering from an illness. Then she tests her methods with scientific precision until she perfects them. Any warrior who uses her brains as much as her strength is inspiring. (more…)