Each Thursday, our copy of ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.
This week’s topic is PRINCESSES
PRINCESSES come in two main kinds:
2 Spirited and wilful. Spirited Princesses often disguise themselves as boys and invariably marry commoners of sterling worth.
Of course the second option is a lot more interesting, though it turns out once again this week was harder than I though. Turns out I could have named about a million queens, but not that many Princesses. Oh well.
Princess Cimorene– Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede –Curretnly my favorite Princess by a long shot because she does everything she can to improve her station. Unhappy with being ‘just a princess’ she first tries small acts of rebellion. You know, things like learning Latin, basic sword play, cooking, and other dangerous things for a princess to know. But thwarted time and again she breaks out the big gun.
She runs away to the dragons. Everyone knows dragons like to steal princesses so a brave knight can rescue them right? Well Cimorene has to figure out how to keep those pesky knights away. And she meets other, more stereotypical princesses while being ‘held’ as well. So this is a story just FULL of princesses of all different types. Snotty, practical, and bad ass all in one story.
Terez –The First Law by Joe Abercrombie – I bring up this princess not because she is a shining example of agency, awesomeness, or great story telling. Her life in fact sucks; she is forced into marriage with her lover held hostage. Her story line has been criticized from all corners, and probably derserves a lot of the criticism.
I include her though because I foresee some pretty cool things in Half a World happening because Abercrombie is an author who not only reads his critics, but actually seems to pay attention to it. Terez had little agency and was used as a plot device; but we know ahead of time that Half a World will feature a female protagonist/co-protagonist. Perhaps a certain slighted queen who was forced into an arranged marriage only to have everything fall down on her? Oh, all I can do is hope.
Leia –Star Wars – Ok she was pretty cool in the movies. But everyone’s favorite sci-fi princess really stepped it up in the expanded universe. She because a mama bear who saw the whole galaxy as her cub. Plus she slowly worked on her Jedi powers to become not just a politician and tactician, but occasionally a damn fine fighter to have on your side.
One of the endearing things about the EU is the way Han and Leia take turns rescuing each other, over and over. Want a great example of awesome Leia that doesn’t require huge amounts of backstory? Read Martha Well’s recent Star Wars release. And watch Han Solo squirm.
Various – A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin – I honestly don’t know who to pick here! Do I go with Dany? Daughter of a the disposed king of Westeros and eventual war cheafton. Her story arc has gone on and on though, kind of getting tired of it. INVADE ALREADY. But still, DRAGONS. She has Dragons.
On the other side there is Margaery Tyrell. Who now that I think of it jumps strait to Queen and is never a princess. That leave Arianne Martell. Who was cool but I need to reread both AFFC and ADWD so my memory isn’t real clear on. So let’s go with Dany here.
Yes, Dany is the choice.
Join us next week as we take a look at QUEST OBJECTS
QUEST OBJECTS can be various, but are quite strictly defined by the Rules. They are:
1. Material Objects. Cups, jewels, orbs, rings, scepters, stones, and swords.
2. Places. Hidden Kingdomes, islands, old ruined cities, stones, temples, valleys and fountains.
3. Persons. Apprentices, hardship, princes.
4. Knowledge. Usually for birthright or magic or both.
As always thanks for joining, feel free to join along at anytime, and please check out my fellow travelers!