Author Topic: Favorite Character in Elantris  (Read 7881 times)

Princess_Luney

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #60 on: October 04, 2006, 04:44:48 PM »
Raoden!  I'm in love with the man.  Secondly...Sarene.  I rarely like girls in fantasy, (well in books in general) so good job with her!

:D

« Last Edit: October 04, 2006, 05:01:50 PM by Princess_Luney »
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Pemberley

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #61 on: October 06, 2006, 01:37:38 AM »
I like Sarene, but Raoden is a close second.  I like it that Sarene can be a strong women, but doesn't come off as masculine.  Funny, since she was written by a man ...

stacer

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #62 on: October 06, 2006, 03:19:24 AM »
That actually brings up a point that a lot of writers and literary people debate--whether someone can successfully write a character of the opposite gender. I think so. Sometimes it just takes a little more work than others. And then that debate gets extended or rehashed in the form of whether people can write well about other cultures, whether as a point of view character of a different race than the author, or of a character who interacts with another culture. That's actually one of the reasons I love fantasy, because then cultural trappings like that get at least a little less important. But gender remains.

We had a really great discussion here a while back about how to write an empowered feminine character who isn't just a man in a dress. Tamora Pierce came up as one of the early feminist versions of an empowered female character in fantasy, and at least in the first book or so, Alanna does pretend to be a man.

I've come to the conclusion, though, that it annoys me that certain acts are considered more "masculine" and that a woman is "pretending to be a man" if she does them. This is probably because I've had an exboyfriend tell me he thought I was too masculine in what I did--I could fix things for myself, knew my way around a car, that sort of thing. That's dumb. I just happen to be a farm girl, and girls on the farm have to be just as resourceful as boys. So what? Those kinds of things really should someday be considered gender-neutral, dang it, because I like knowing how to hammer a nail in straight, and I'm pretty proud of the fact that I helped my dad build two barns and several fencelines.

</resident semi-feminist rant, borne out of procrastination of work. Yes, it's 11 pm and I'm editing a book. Kind of.>
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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #63 on: October 06, 2006, 09:33:17 AM »
despite my usual disinterest in feminist arguments, the gender identity is the most interesting thing about Eowyn in Jackson's production of the Lord of the Rings. She spends the whole time trying to fight to defend her people, and not being allowed to do so, in her mind because she's a girl, though there are legitimate reasons not to let her on to the field of battle. She ultimately has to pretend to be a man. Yet, her biggest part in the movies she can accomplish exactly because she is *not* a man. Thus rejecting the entire "fighting is men's work" dogma.

dreamking47

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #64 on: October 06, 2006, 03:11:24 PM »
Quote
We had a really great discussion here a while back about how to write an empowered feminine character who isn't just a man in a dress.


Could you post a pointer to this previous thread?  It's of particular interest to me because I'm mid-way through writing My First Novel (tm) and my main POV character is a young woman.  I wouldn't say that the writing is any more difficult than when I write a male lead (writing is always difficult for me), but I am a little less sure, a little more aware that here be things that I may just be flat out wrong about.  The story required a young woman, though, so that's what I'm writing.

I can say that what I'm doing is writing a sparser first draft than I otherwise might, keeping the character focused on her goals.  Then I intend to solicit comments from my female friends about how believable my character is as a woman and things I could do to make her more-so (in the sense of perspectives, reactions and areas of concern, not "more scenes where she's applying lipstick"), without alienating a male audience in the process.  That to me is the key question: how can a writer best write a major POV character, make that character's gender matter, and yet not alienate the other gender?

I think a lot ultimately depends on the author's self-awareness, which leads into an awareness of others and overall imaginative faculties.  There are a lot of female writers who I think can't (or don't) write women, just Mary Sues, and male writers who can't or don't write believable men -- gender by itself guarantees nothing.  As far as my character goes, I am making sure she is "empowered" in the sense that she has real choices about her future, with relatively few financial, social, etc. constraints.  As you say, activities and skills are hardly ever gender-specific...the few that are mostly involve childbirth and rearing.  While some men are just threatened by "empowered" women, I do also think some feminists have helped create or at least support the "pretending to be a man" concept by equating "empowerment" with "empowered to choose traditionally male roles," rather than the broader, "empowered to choose whatever role they want."

Re: Lord of the Rings, I don't know, All Hallows E, if you're familiar with Neil Gaiman's concept that there are male and female stories, as well as characters (which would be another interesting topic for discussion), but one of the interesting things about LotR is that I think there's a very "male" story in the foreground overlaying a very "female" story in the background that peeks through every now and then.  I think that's part of why it has such cross-gender appeal.

I did wonder, though, whether Merry (who was male but not a man) or one of the Dead Men wouldn't also have been able to take out that Nazgul...

MattD
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Princess_Luney

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #65 on: October 06, 2006, 04:14:07 PM »
I'd be interested in that thread too, Stacer!

I have problems a lot of women in books, especially sci-fi, because they seem to have a (as my sisters and I are fond of calling it) Xena warrior princess personality.  Where, as Stacer called it,  a man in a dress.  

I think it's great if she kicks butt, repairs things, spits, whatever, so long as she retains some sense of femininity.  Sarene was tough, taught the women how to swordfight, but she was also quite distinctly female.  Same with Vin, from Mistborn.  Sure she grew up with a bunch of men, pretended to be one, can fight with the best of them....but grows to love pretty dresses and perfume.  I *love* that.  
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stacer

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #66 on: October 06, 2006, 04:28:59 PM »
Oh, goodness, I can't remember. I think it was one of EUOL's threads, actually, in which he asked us ladies about what it feels like to wear a dress. :) I'll look and see if I can find it.
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stacer

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #67 on: October 06, 2006, 04:35:25 PM »
Aha! Here it is. It was actually in an old "What's everyone reading?" thread, in which Izzy and I were talking about Patricia Wrede's Dragons series.

You'll have to scroll down a couple posts, then find Mistress of Darkness's question. It starts with "What do you think is antifeminist about Wrede's books?" or something like that.

I *think* this is the conversation.

http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=books;action=display;num=1035778613;start=160
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dreamking47

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #68 on: October 06, 2006, 06:35:20 PM »
Thanks much!

MattD
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Nessa

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #69 on: October 07, 2006, 11:56:29 AM »
Quote
I just happen to be a farm girl, and girls on the farm have to be just as resourceful as boys. So what? Those kinds of things really should someday be considered gender-neutral, dang it, because I like knowing how to hammer a nail in straight, and I'm pretty proud of the fact that I helped my dad build two barns and several fencelines.

I grew up on a farm, too. I've been doing some heavy-duty gardening at our new house (removing bushes, tilling, shoveling, etc etc) and everyone assumes that my husband did most of the work. Ha. Sure he helped remove the bushes but I did everything else and it was a ton of work. Women are perfectly capable of hard physical labor.
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Kuntrey_Pilgrum

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #70 on: October 07, 2006, 01:27:37 PM »
HA!  I live on a farm RIGHT NOW and just got back from moving cows!  It gets under my skin at cowshows and the like when people assume that being petite means you can't stick your fingers up a bull's nose, and "jen wur a purdy new outfeit" [In exact enunciation of a few]  a few hours later!

*ahem*After that rant, Sarene and Hrathen were my faves. Roaden was to perfect, but Hrathen and Sarene's flaws made them more real to me.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2006, 01:28:53 PM by Kuntry_Bumpken »
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the_mythsmyth

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #71 on: October 23, 2006, 09:38:21 PM »
Gender Roles eh? Well, I hate to toot my own horn in my very first post, but on my blog (mythsmyth.livejournal.com) I wrote my very first book review ever about Elantris, in which I mentioned the gender roles portrayed by the characters. Especially Sarene.

Now, I loved Elantris, and my favourite character was BY FAR Hrathen, because I feel the most attached to him (I get sent to topple monarchies all the time). Hrathen was identifiable with me because of his spiritual issues and firm belief in something. Sarene I liked because she was the kick-ass female type, but she retained her femininity at the same time (hated her hair loss, cared about her dresses, felt that she needed to liberate her ignorant gender-mates etc.)

Oh yeah, and Galadon rocked, of course.

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lehea

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #72 on: January 01, 2007, 11:19:17 PM »
my favorite characters... let's see:  Raoden, Sarene, Hrathen, Galladon, Katara, Duke Roial, Sarene's uncle (can't remember his name for the life of me... save "Hunkey Kay"), Lord Shuden, and a few others I can't think of thanks to lack of sleep and being sick.  :(
weee!

Pterath

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Re: Favorite Character in Elantris
« Reply #73 on: January 02, 2007, 01:00:03 AM »
"Hunkey Kay" is Sarene's Unkle Kiin.  And I have to say I really connected with Raoden's character best because I like the fact that he tried to be positive despite all of the negativity/pain/adversity and general malaise heaped on the Shoad.  He did not betray the person anyone thought him to be on outside of Elantris even if he did not give his name.  Staying true to form is important.

Sarene and Hrathen are tied but it took me a good bit longer to begin to care for them and in the end I cared for them very much.