I’m a master procrastinator, so when I had to pack for a trip recently, I instead spent the entire week before I was to go rereading Tamora Pierce’s Tortallseries. (Well, almost; I didn’t have the Beka Cooper books on hand.) The Tortall universe is a book series made up of intersecting quartets about amazing female protagonists, set in the fictional kingdom of Tortall. Each quartet spans several years and there are long chronological gaps between each quartet; thus, the series has a chance to discuss some social trends in great depth. And it does just that with sexism.
Mild spoilers for the Tortall books through Protector of the Small after the jump.
Everybody wants to be a cat—but do they really? Animal transformations are a staple of our pop culture, from mega hits like Harry Potter to lesser-known but still awesome books like Holly Black’s The Curse Workers. We love seeing stories where the protagonists can turn into animals and hide from or attack their enemies. However, some of these properties gloss over the actual “transformation” part of an animal transformation, and I think the way the animal transformation is handled can add a lot to a story.
I want to discuss a strange one-sided trope I’ve noticed, and why I have a problem with it: immortal male characters who have a series of mortal girlfriends. For some reason, this trope appears in geek media fairly often, yet I can’t think of a single example of the reverse (i.e., immortal women with several mortal boyfriends) or of a queer version. In fact, immortal women tend to only be allowed to have a single male lover, and must spend the rest of their long lives alone after their lovers die—or else give up their immortality. This perpetuates the double standard that it’s okay for otherwise good men—heroic men, even—to have multiple lovers, while if women want to remain “pure” and upstanding, they can only ever love a single man. This whole issue is worse than a double standard; it’s a matter of differential power in relationships.
Slight spoilers for Doctor Who, Watchmen, Sandman, Lord of the Rings, Stardust, and The Last Unicorn below!
Yes, the Doctor is pretty much immortal… as long as he keeps making money for the BBC.