While I enjoyed Wonder Woman as much as the rest of this blog did, I did come out of the movie wishing for more of the Amazons. Not only did the scenes on Themyscira feature dozens of women of a Certain Age™, whom Hollywood would usually block from action scenes, being totally badass, I can’t remember the last time we saw a joyously matriarchal society portrayed on screen. I was also hoping against hope for some good old-fashioned Sapphic love, it being an all-female Greek-inspired island and all, but I guess I’ll keep waiting there. Thankfully, the internet, being the internet, is always happy to provide me with these things when Hollywood fails to. And while there is a very small contingent of femslash growing in the nascent Wonder Woman AO3 category, the one story that really struck a chord with me was a gen fic focused on Antiope, General of the Amazon army and Diana’s beloved aunt and mentor.
Diana crosses her vambraces and something erupts, a wave, a gust of wind hard enough and solid enough to be a wall, dropping everyone at the training field to the ground.
Antiope’s head is bleeding; she can feel her hair soaking up blood from the cut. Menalippe does not let Diana come closer, but between the ache all over her body and the dizzying nausea Antiope feels pride. This is the Diana unknown to anyone but Antiope, and had her body allowed her she would run and embrace her child.
All grown, and hers as much as Hippolyta’s. When Hippolyta was blinded by love and fear, it was Antiope that took Diana’s hand and taught her how to protect herself and her kin. For decades, she trained Diana for the inevitability, and today Diana has bested her and the rest of the island.
There is nothing more Antiope can teach Diana in the art of war.
Beginning while the war between Zeus and Ares is still ongoing and ending with the battle on the beach, author nire skillfully paints a picture of Antiope as a person, and her relationships with both her sister and her precious niece. It also shows us that someone can be a stern person, a fierce fighter, and a calculating general, and still feel love deeply and unconditionally. Her surrogate motherhood to Diana is especially important in this sense. After all, while Hippolyta was Diana’s mother from a creation standpoint and all of the Amazons had a part in raising her, it was Antiope’s training that made her ready to challenge Ares, and Antiope’s sacrifice that ensured she’d be alive to issue that challenge.
I especially enjoyed the opening of the fic, which gives us a look at Antiope’s relationship with Hippolyta that’s slightly less antagonistic than that of the movie, and gives us a glimpse at what they might have been like together when they were still fighting in Man’s World. While the movie didn’t make them enemies per se, they were often at odds, and it was nice to see a side of their sisterhood that was more based on mutual support than conflict. Just as the movie was a refreshing example of what female empowerment looks like when it’s not scummed over by the male gaze, this fic is a refreshing sampling of the powerful emotional bonds between strong women.
The Queen’s General is short and (bitter)sweet at just over 1,400 words. You can read it here at the AO3.
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