The major point of fantasy novels is, of course, showing a world that is different from ours, where magic is alive and where people have amazing powers. Despite the fact that I read them to escape my mundane life, I’m often annoyed when fantasy books include people experiencing real-life issues, such as trauma, and then gloss over said issues instead of addressing and dealing with them. Other big offenders are the lack of inclusion of LGBTQ+ people and examination of mental illness. Authors and readers seem to think that you cannot address such topics because you cannot use modern-day vocabulary in a fantasy setting. However, once in a while I find a fantasy series which doesn’t shy away from using its medium to examine issues we deal with in real life. As such, today I want to talk about the Graceling trilogy by Kristin Cashore, and in particular its final book—Bitterblue.
Spoilers for the Graceling trilogy below. Also, content warnings for abuse, mental illness, PTSD, and rape.
The other week, I went to Steel City Con, the Pittsburgh Area’s valiant attempt at a comic con. Lots of vendors, bunch of B- and C-list TV celebs, usually two or three A-listers (last year I got autographs from Shannen Doherty AND Holly Marie Combs!!!), and of course: tons of passionate, weird, lovable pop culture junkies, God love ’em. As I went through through my loot, I realized I had had a gay ol’ time. My two biggest gems? Action figures of Willow and Tara, and All New X-Men #17: aka newly-out Iceman’s first, big (I’m talking full-page panel) gay kiss. This is exceptional, you guys: Iceman has been part of the X-Verse since its very beginnings in 1963, one of the original five X-Men. So how did we get to this place 54 years later? It’s the long line of the quirkiest comic team family expanding its inherent diversity. Let’s take a look.
From my personal collection. After searching all the comic vendors at Steel City Con, my efforts were rewarded. Makes my gay, mutant-loving heart so happy!
I wasn’t planning to see the new Power Rangers movie. I was certainly not planning to love the new Power Rangers movie. Having read Ace’s trailer review without actually watching the trailer itself, I figured I’d put the price of a New York City movie ticket toward something else. Then a friend asked me if I wanted to see it with her, and, on a whim, I agreed. And holy shit, am I glad I did. Was the movie good? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Was it immensely fun and everything I didn’t know I wanted in a movie experience, on top of being more inclusive than pretty much any big-budget ensemble movie I can think of? Absolutely.
Too fragile a portal into another dimension, a dimension which is probably Hell? IDK. I… I’m not a religious studies major, although if I were, I bet I would have graduated by now.
When I listened to this quote from Maureen in the Welcome to Night Vale episode “Things Fall Apart”, I took it as a little bit of a challenge. I am a religious studies major, and I started to look at some of the past episodes, trying to figure out what the latest plotline of Welcome to Night Vale was leading us to. It wasn’t until I listened to the episode “Who’s a Good Boy?” that I managed to finally figure it out.
Spoilers for Episodes 85 to 89 of Welcome to Night Vale after the jump.
Over the past several weeks I have become hopelessly obsessed with Magnus Bane. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this fabulous bisexual character, Magnus Bane is a warlock in The Shadowhunter Chronicles books by Cassandra Clare and the ShadowhuntersTV show. I liked him even before I started reading the books a while back, but it is his wonderful TV portrayal and finally reading The Bane Chronicles that has elevated Magnus to one of my favorite bisexual characters ever. Not only is he the leader of a warlock community, he is a good and caring person, always ready to help others and to fall in love despite the many heartbreaks he’s had before. He is glittery and flamboyant and unapologetically bisexual, but he’s not hypersexual and he doesn’t use his sexuality as a tool to get what he wants. This may not seem like much, but such a combination of character traits is pretty darn unusual in a bisexual character.
Some spoilers for the Shadowhunters TV show, as well as The Shadowhunter Chronicles books, below.
Lost Girl may not be the greatest show out there, but it had quite a lot going for it with the intricate urban fantasy world of Fae and lovable characters, quite a few of whom are LGBTQ+, B in particular. The representation wasn’t without its problems, of course, as in any other show, but over the course of it, we were introduced to Bo, Vex, Tamsin, and Mark, all of whom are bisexual main/recurring characters with compelling character arcs, including the female protagonist. And, sadly, you hardly ever see this much bi (or even generally queer) representation in fiction that’s not specifically LGBTQ-themed.
I love female superheroes, I love female heroes with tragic backstories and redemption arcs. Basically, I love female heroes. They’re great because they don’t conform to traditional female character roles of being quiet damsels in distress, and they show women as complex characters with stories and goals. However, while they break the mold of traditional female character narratives, these characters still overwhelmingly conform to heteronormative societal standards of beauty, gender presentation and sexuality.
So, while we should celebrate all awesome female characters, we should also be mindful of the heteronormative ideas that these characters reinforce and what type of character could challenge them even further. To put it bluntly, I want to see butch queer (super)heroines, but they‘re near impossible to find.