I don’t know about you, but one of the main reasons I read fantasy is to escape reality. I want to be transported into worlds that are full of magic and excitement. I want to know that I can be an elf with perfect aim or a magician with the power to control the weather. Unfortunately, as a queer person I often run into a problem—I apparently don’t exist in most of the worlds I want to visit. There is enough bigotry and ignorance in the real world. The point of a fantasy world is that it’s different from the real one. But how different is it, really, if there is no place for LGBTQ+ people in it? (Same goes for many other minorities, but that’s a topic for another post, perhaps.) And I’m so tired of it.
I just want to find myself in there (art by liang91)
I am also particularly tired of people trying to justify the lack of LGBTQ+ characters in fantasy. Setting aside arguments about “the gay agenda” and queer characters being “distracting”, which you see in any kind of fiction, one of the most common and frustrating lines that comes up when discussing fantasy is “labels such as gay, lesbian, etc. wouldn’t make sense in a fantasy world”. All this argument does, in my opinion, is betray a lack of creativity and abundance of bigotry in both the readers and the authors. Not only do these labels make sense, they’re extremely easy to add in.
Spoilers for the Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce and Pantomime by Laura Lam below the jump.
I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m a sucker for stories in which two people who hate each other are forced together by extenuating circumstances and need to learn to get along. And that is exactly what we get in Of Sand and Snow by lj_todd. This is also the story that has single-handedly made me a shipper of, of all things, Oberyn Martell and Lyanna Stark.
This was not how it was supposed to be. But one mistake, one stupid mistake, has changed everything. Neither Lyanna nor Oberyn are happy with the demands of their families, neither wish to be married, most certainly not to each other, but they’ve little choice in the matter. They are expected to marry. To be husband and wife. Yet how can they be when they can barely be civil with one another? Dorne has seen its share of conflict, but nothing could have prepared the nation for the clash of wolf and viper that this union will bring about.
I can’t say that I ever thought about shipping Oberyn and Lyanna together until reading this fic, but now I’m obsessed with them—and mourning that they can sadly never be together in canon. Of Sand and Snow is yet another uncompleted work, but unlike many others I’ve recommended, this one is not abandoned. It’s also quite possibly my favorite piece of A Song of Ice and Fire fanfiction to date.
I’m not the only one on this site excited for the new season of Game of Thrones, so I’m in good company with people who understand my burning need to see a new episode as soon as I can. You know, before Tumblr spoils me on everything in convenient gif format. There’s a lot to look forward to this season: more Jaime and Brienne, more Joffrey getting slapped, more Tyrell ladies being badasses. However, something that caught my attention straight away—and something that didn’t escape the watchful eye of the internet—was the appearance of House Martell. Before any trailers, the character of Oberyn had already been making waves due to fandom crying foul over whitewashing the Dornish prince. And while people were rightfully put off by the ethnicity swap (despite reassurances from author George R.R. Martin), it seems another issue could rise; an issue that, in the same vein, has everything to do with the television adaptation and not so much the novelization. That is, of course, Oberyn’s bisexuality.
Being one of the many who only has enough drive to watch the show and not hunker down to read the massive tomes, I’m at a distinct disadvantage when considering whether or not parts of Oberyn’s sexuality were changed to make it more palatable to Game of Thrones’s audience. Also, being bisexual myself, I feel that despite the former “not reading the books” thing, being the latter still allows me a pretty good say in how said sexuality comes across. And what did I think? Well… it was adequate representation.