Chapter 11:

In the last chapter, we learnt that homosexual men are cleaner, more kind and caring, and make better caregivers than heterosexual men. Oh, and that rape is perfectly fine and loving if it leads to homosexual sex. This is what the great MZB has taught us.

Sometimes I think the only way to get through this bloody book is to pretend I’m Blockhead’s Conscience, and I’m going to have to go through this stupid shit for the rest of my long and unfairly tortured life.

So it’s the next morning, and Orain’s taken Romilly to the “hotel” of the Sisterhood of the Sword, although I think and great and mighty MZB meast “hostel”. Conveniently, he has a cousin who’s a member of this…I don’t have a better word for it, but “organisation” will do just fine. Anyways, yeah, he has relatives there (must run in the family), and ushers Romilly into the front hall where he tells the guard on duty that he’s come to visit. So they get to wait in the main hall, and we get our first look at what these Sisters of the Sword, apparently the epitome of what young women should be, are like:

Two young women, wearing crimson tunics, their hair all tucked under red caps, went through the hallway arm in arm. They were obviously not what Romilly’s stepmother would have called ladies; one of them had great red hands like a milkmaid’s, and were wearing loose long trousers and boots. (Pg. 605)

Before we start on this excerpt, let’s just take a little quote from Wikipedia on the great MZB:

“During the 1950s she was introduced to the cultural and campaigning lesbian group the Daughters of Bilitis.”

Let’s just keep this in mind; I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a lecture on the wonders of lesbianism before the book’s out. I already have a sinking feeling from this first paragraph, but maybe I’m extrapolating our experience with Orain too far and jumping to conclusions. Still, note the fixation on the trappings of the so-called problem, as if the mere act of putting on pants and boots somehow makes you do a 180-degree turn and become a so-called independent, free-spirited woman.


So Orain’s cousin comes out to see him, and she’s described as about forty or more, with short hair (duh) and slender and pretty (duh, considering…oh, never mind). So her name is Janni, and she’s barely gotten there when Orain starts praising Romilly out the wazoo:

“Don’t mock her, Janni, she traveled with us through the worst climate and country in the Hellers and not one of us, not even myself, knew her for a girl. She did her full share and cared for our sentry-bird, which I’d never known a woman could do. She brought them through alive and in good condition, and the horses too. I thought she was a capable lad, but it’s even more extraordinary that I thought. So I brought her to you—”

“Having no use for her once ye’ found she wasna’ one of your lads,” said Jandria, with an ironical grin. (Pg. 605-606)

An “ironical grin”? Wait, what? Does she even know what irony…no, let’s not go there. And wait, when did her name turn to Jandria? Maybe Orain was calling her by a pet name earlier on? Maybe? Maybe? In any case, Jandria asks Romilly why she ran away from home, and this is the vomit-inducing answer:

Her sharp tone put Romilly on the defensive. She said, “I left my home because my father took the hawk I trained myself, with my own hands, and gave it to my brother; and I thought that not fair. Also, I had no will to marry the Heir to Scathfell, who would have wanted me to sit indoors and embroider cushions and bear his ugly children!”

Jandria’s eyes were sharp on her. “Afraid of the marriage-bed and childbirth, hey?”

“No, that’s not it,” Romilly said sharply, “but I like horses and hounds and hawks and if I should ever marry—” she did not know she was going to say this until she said it, “I would want to marry a man who wants me as I am, not a pretty painted doll he can call wife without ever thinking what or who she is! And I would rather marry a man who does not think his manhood threatened if his wife can sit in a saddle and carry a hawk! But I would rather not marry at all, or not now. I want to travel, and to see the world, and to do things—” (Pg. 606)

Repeat after me:


1. Know-it-all.

“First, you must be convinced of your own self-importance, and you must be under the delusion that everyone else is an idiot except for you. It helps to be a college student, so you should all do just fine.”

2. Spoiled

“Second, you must be obsessed with your own rights and freedoms, have a sense of undeserved entitlement, and suffer from a disease called ‘I-can-do-whatever-the-f***-I-want-becau

Now let’s take this particular whine to pieces:

— It’s hard to like Romilly when she’s clearly misrepresenting the situation between her and Darren. Here, her wording makes it seem as if her brother was evil, resented her having a hawk and got their father to make her hand it over—blah blah, evil conspiracy amongst men, blah blah.

— Earlier on, Romilly was clearly whining about how ugly and deformed Garris was and how she didn’t want to share his bed, and of course, how his other wives died in childbed. Liar.

— Next great MZB lesson for the day: the only reason why a man would deny you, a woman, anything is that they’re secretly afraid for their masculinity, god forbid that they might actually have a legitimate reason you don’t agree with.

— And of course, I’ve seen this echoed about stupid speshul heroines leading their stupid speshul lives and whining about how oppressive everything and everyone is. It’s really hard for me to give a shit about Romilly when she deceives, flat-out lies, and says nothing new or interesting at all.

But wait, there’s more. They talk about Orain:

“He liked me well enough till he found out I was a woman,” Romilly said, prickled again by that thought, and Janni laughed again and said, “that is what I mean. Now that he knows, he will never see anything about you except that you should be wearing skirts and sending out signs, so that he will not be led unwitting into trusting you. He let down his guard before you, I doubt not, thinking it safe, and now he will never forgive you for it—isn’t that it?” (Pg. 606-607)

Yes, yes. Men are evil and do not trust you because you do not have a penis. Yeah. Great. So Orain tells her that Caryl needs to be escorted back to Thendara (I have no idea where that is). Her reaction?

“No,” Jandrai [sic] said, “you certainly cannot; for all your head’s stuffed with old rubbish and ugly as sin, it adorns your shoulders better than it would adorn a pike outside Lyondri’s den!” (Pg. 607)

So she offers to take the child there for Orain as soon as the passes are open, and what really grates on me is that she keeps on mocking Orain with every sentence she directs at him. Maybe it’s meant to be taken as playful jibing between people familiar with each other, but even then EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE? I mean:

“And now you must go, kinsman—what of my reputation, if it is known I entertain a man here? Worse, what of yours, if it is found out you can speak civilly to a woman?” (Pg. 607)

Wait, what, so non-homosexual men cannot speak civilly to women? Wtf is this shit? And I won’t say what the first part of this escerpt signifies—figure it out for yourself. Bah.

And another important point—this is debatable, but E. E. Knight basically states that in order to avoid confusing the readers and preserve continuity as best as possible, it’s best that the authorative narrative refer to the same character using the same handle. Of course, this does not apply to characters. But it’s interesting to note here, we get flips in the authorative narrative between “Janni” “Jandria” and “Jandrai”. Ugh, especially that last one. Goodness, did this ever pass a copyeditor? I mean…how…oh, I forgot, the GREAT and MIGHTY author needs no pitiful copyeditor.

Anyways, Jandria shoos Orain away, closes the door behind him, then pulls Romilly aside and confirms without a doubt, if you still have any, that Orain is a homosexual:

After the door closed behind Orain, she said, “well, and what happened? Did he try to lure ye’ to bed, and recoil in unholy horror when he found out you were a woman?” (Pg. 608)

Essentially, Romilly defends Orain, then asks what she must do to be initiated into this Sisterhood. Jandria basically states a few rules:

-All rank from outside the Sisterhood must be shed.
-Do her share of work without question or complaint.
-While celibacy is encouraged, if she must have a lover it must be discreet.
-Oh, and she’s to “defend her sisters, in peace or war, should any man lay a hand on one who does not wish for it”.

Fine, fair enough, even that last bit. I’d have expected “protect the weak” or “uphold justice” or something more neutral for something along those lines, but fine. Can’t really complain, even though it grates me the wrong way, but then, this whole bloody book grates me the wrong way.

After that, Jandria can’t help but belittle Orain AGAIN:

“Did that dolt Orain remember to give you breakfast, or was he in so much of a hurry to hustle you away from the camp that he forgot that women get hungry too?” (Pg. 609)

This is supposed to be a positive role model? Belittling people without end? Whatever. So before Romilly goes gets her noms, Jandria explains what she’s to expect: Romilly can live with the Sisterhood for a year, for three more, and for life. Conveniently, the person who used to take care and train the horses has just died, so there’s a job opening for her. Oh, and her ears are to be pierced and she’s to wear earrings, identifying her as an initiate of the Sisterhood.

Fair enough, too. So we begin a few pages of standard fantasy training of the hero kind. Her living quarters are a dorm she shares with plenty of girls about her age, and she’s taught unarmed combat and swordsmanship, and while she’s not doing that, tends to the horses. But one day as spring is approaching, the REEL KEENG’s armies are marching through the streets, and Jandria decides it’s time to take Caryl back. Before that, though, we get an amysing typo:

“Let’s go inside and finish our work—I have seen horses enough before this and a king is am an like other men, Hastur or no.” (Pg. 612)

Copyeditor, copyeditor, wherefore art thou? So in an exchange that takes pretty much a page for no perceptible reason save filler, Jandria tells Caryl that she’ll take him back if he doesn’t try to escape, and of course Caryl agrees. Of course, Romilly gets to come along too, so we get a scene change where they saddle up the next morning and ride out with a small escort of Sisters who’re supposed to be delivering horses to the armies in the south.

So they stop in the evening to make camp, and Caryl has this to say:

“This is nice,” said Caryl admiringly, “men never make a camp as comfortable as this.”

Janni chuckled. “There is no reason they should not,” she said. “They are as good at cookery and hunting as we women are, and they would tell you so if you asked them; but maybe they think it unmanly to seek for comfort in the field, and enjoy hard living because it makes them feel tough and strong. As for me, I have no love for sleeping in the rain, and I am not ashamed to admit I like to be comfortable.” (Pg. 615)

Uh, what? First off, campcraft is hardly just cooking and hunting, and there might be a hundred different reasons why someone might be wanting to put up with a tent made out of two ponchos strung on a line instead of a foldable or even one with poles and stakes, such as being lightweight. But of course, the only possible reason someone with a dongle would want to rough it would be because they’re worried about their masculinity. Every single man’s motivation boils down to that.

Oh, and by the way, where did her accent vanish to? Oh wait, someone probably got bored of writing it, eh?

Hell, I suppose this book must be threatening my masculinity and that’s why I’m rubbishing it, instead of the fact that it’s simple trash that deserves to be given to a falcon chick to play with.

Anyways, one of the women gets out a flute and they sing mountain ballads, and then it’s time to sleep and Romilly goes to put Caryl to bed. Oh, wait, MZB’s trying to cover her ass by making some of the Sisters dumb and moronic:

Lauria said, grumbling, “let the boy wait on himself, Romy! Janni, why should one of our sisters wait on this young man, who is our prisoner? We’re no subjects or servants to the Hastur-kind!” (Pg. 615)

“Still, the Sisterhood are no slaves to one of these men,” grumbled Lauria, “I wonder at you, Janni, that for money you’d take a commission to escort some boy-child through the mountains—” (Pg. 615)

“Oh, a cristoforo,” sneered one of the younger women, “do you recite the Creed of Chastity before you sleep, then, Romy?” (Pg. 616)

“Are we to have a male in our tent to sleep with us?” the girl who had protested asked angrily, “this is a tent for women.” (Pg. 616)

To which Jandria has a supposedly witty retort:

“Then I hope you will never have the bad taste to bear a son instead of a daughter,” said Janni lightly, “or will you, out of principle, refuse to feed a male at your breast? Go to sleep, Mhari; the child can sleep between me and Romilly, and we’ll guard your virtue.”

I won’t detail the other stupidities, because the whole page and the next is filled with them, so I’ll just comment. This, essentially, is as bad as Alaric. MZB is clearly trying to cover her ass by pointing at them and saying “hey, I don’t condone these obvious and extremely unsubtle misandrist women, I must be a smart and moderate person!” the problem is that she’s made her attitude towards certain issues (if you have to ask what, you clearly haven’t been reading the sporks) very clear through her representation of the characters and events so far, so you’re not fooling anyone. And frankly, it doesn’t say very much for her ability at characterisation if all the bad guys are stupid caricatures. Like, EVERYONE, from Romilly’s father to Garris to Rory to Alaric to these bitches.

So what does Romilly think of all this?

Their very voices grated on her, and it seemed to her sometimes that in spite of their skill with sword and horsemanship, they were far too much like her sister Mallina, silly and narrow-minded. Only Janni seemed free of the pettiness she had always found in women. but was that only because Janni was like Orain and so less like a woman? (Pg. 619)


Reality check, please.

“Only 20% of lesbians had relationships that involved cohabitation for more than 3 years. Also, this study found that only 23% of lesbians reported positive relationships with their mothers as compared with 85% of heterosexual women. Source: M. T. Saghir and E. Robins, “ Male and female Homosexuality; A Comprehensive Investigation,” ( Baltimore: Williams Wilkins, 1973), p.57, table 4:14.p. 226, table 12.11.”

“A report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs indicates that of 3,327 domestic violence cases self-reported among homosexuals in 12 U.S. cities in 1997, about half involved lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. “ The fact is, gay men and lesbians are more likely to be injured by an intimate partner than a stranger,” said Susan Holt, program coordinator for domestic violence services at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center. Holt said that studies suggest that between 25% to 33% of all gay male and lesbian relationships involve abuse. Source: Rhonda Smith, “ Lesbians affected by domestic violence, reports says,” The Washington Blade, 16 October 1998.”

“Professor Lori B. Gishick, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, has worked for about 10 years in battered women’s organizations and has run a support group specifically for abused lesbians. The “myth that women are not violent,” is persistent and contributes to a denial of woman-to-woman sexual violence, not only among the general population but also among lesbians, says Girhick. “ We want to believe that our relationships are safe, that we have equality, and that we have ideal communities. But it’s not true.” The estimated incidence of domestic abuse in gay and lesbian relationships is one out of three. Girshick says a large number of her respondents, as children and adults, had also been sexually abused, and that the memories of these previous traumas often complicated their reaction to being assaulted by women. According to Grishick, many of these women read books about woman-to-woman sexual violence; they went into therapy; they volunteered at rape crisis centers. For people who are part of a small lesbian community, the social implications of speaking out against their abuser can be terrifying. Girshick reports that some women did become ostracized when they told others. “ I’ve heard stories of individuals who say ‘ My friends turned against me and protected her.’” There are only a handful of groups for women battered by other women in the country. Source: R. Morgan Griffin, “ Breaking the Silence: Sociologist Studies Woman-to-Woman Sexual Violence,”; May 10, 2000.”

That’s right, homosexuals are more kind and caring and generally all-round BETTER than YOU ugly breeders. The point that I’m getting at here is that like any so-called “protected” group, homosexuals are HUMANS too. There are good and bad homosexuals, just as there are good and bad people, and it is important to judge people on an individual basis, like I’ve been saying all this while. In using her power as an author in the author-reader relationship to blow her stupid little trumpet of homosexual superiority, MZB has not only warped her story, but she’s done so to tell a bloody LIE.

As if my opinion of her couldn’t go any lower. Oh wait, yes it can. So they ride five more days and are out of the mountains, and GUESS WHO’S BACK?

But that night, as they were making camp—the days were lengthening now perceptibly, it was still light when they had eaten supper—she had again the sharp sense that she was being watched, as if she were some small animal, prey huddling before the sharp eyes of a hovering hawk—she scanned the darkening sky, but could see nothing. Then, incredulous, a familiar sense of wildness, flight, contact, rapport—hardly knowing what she did, Romilly thrust up her hand, felt the familiar rush of wings, the grip of talons.

“Preciosa!” she sobbed aloud, feeling the claws close on her bare wrist. She opened her eyes to look at the bluish-black sheen of wings, the sharp eyes, and the old sense of closeness enveloped her. Against all hope, beyond belief, Preciosa had somehow marked her when she came out of the glacier country, had trailed her even through these unfamiliar hills and plains.

She was in good condition, sleek and trim and well-fed. Of course. There was better hunting on these plains than even in the Kilghard Hills where she was fledged. Wordless satisfaction flowed between them for a long space as she sat motionless, the hawk on her hand. (Pg. 619-620)

I think that pretty much sums up what I think of this shit. La dee da, appearing just when convenient, and still every bit as loving and wonderful after a whole winter away from her, as if nothing had happened. Oh, and conveniently slim and healthy, never mind the whole fact that falconers have to feed their birds carefully and watch their weight to keep them in proper flying condition. When Lenka feeds Danny a pigeon, his weight shoots up and he doesn’t go flying for two days. But don’t tell anyone that, because they might actually bother doing research! Come to think of it, this reminds me of a particularly aggravating scene from a certain Knaak the Hack’s Day of the Dragon :

He rubbed the gryphon’s leonine mane. “But a good beast you are, and deserving of water and food!”

“I saw a stream nearby,” Vereesa offered. “It may have fish in it, too.”

“Then he’ll find it if he wants it.” Falstad removed the bridle and other gear from his mount. “And find it on his own.” He patted the gryphon on the rump and the beast leapt into the air, suddenly once more energetic now that his burdens had been taken from him.

“Is that wise?”

“My dear elven lady, fish don’t necessarily make a meal for one like him! Best to let him hunt on his own for something proper. He’ll come back when he’s satiated, and if anyone sees him…well, even Khaz Modan has some wild gryphons left.” When she did not look reassured, Falstad added, “He’ll only be gone for a short time. Just long enough for us to put together a meal for ourselves.” (Day of the Dragon, some bloody page I can’t be bothered with right now)

The attitude here, my friends, is exactly what sums up this so-called relationship between Romilly and her stupid bird. And look at it! It’s nothing but a bloody painted toy, there to lend powers to her and look pretty on her fucking arm! The very thing she’s been bitching about the whole book! I mean, even the other Sisters are agape and amazed at her fucking bird’s arrival:

“Well, will you look at that!” the voice of one of the girls broke through the mutual absorption, “where did the hawk come from? She is bewitched!” (Pg. 620)

Mhari demanded, “is it your own hawk—the one you trained?” and Janni said in a quet voice, “you told me your father took her from you, and gave her to your brother—”

With an effort, Romilly controlled her voice. she said, “I think Darren found out that Preciosa was not my father’s to give.” She looked up through her tears to the tree branch where Preciosa sat, motionless as a painted hawk on a painted tree, and again the thread of rapport touched her mind. Here, among strange women in a strange country, with all she had ever known behind her and past the border of a strange river, as she looked at the hawk and felt the familiar touch on her mind, she knew that she was no longer alone. (Pg. 620)

Remember: ask not what Romilly can do for you, but what you can do for Romilly. Liar, whiny brat and general-purpose Mary-Sue.

That’s enough for me. Goodnight.

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  1. Tolly on 11 March 2010, 05:48 said:

    How did this woman come to be thought of as a leading name in decent fantasy? HOW?

    Paolini would be ashamed to write some of that drek.

  2. Lilan Jaku on 11 March 2010, 08:59 said:

    OK, I just have to ask this. Why do you do this to yourself? WHY do you keep on reading this (sorry, but I couldn’t think of a better word) shit?!

  3. Nate Winchester on 11 March 2010, 12:23 said:

    Hell, I suppose this book must be threatening my masculinity and that’s why I’m rubbishing it, instead of the fact that it’s simple trash that deserves to be given to a falcon chick to play with.

    Do you mean a baby bird or Lenka? ;-)


    I feel the need to point out that, by the laws of natural selection, breeders will tend to win any debates by attrition alone.

    Knaak the Hack’s Day of the Dragon :

    Oh, someone doesn’t like Richard Knaak? (Hey, I’ve read Day of the Dragon and War of the Ancients.) We must discuss this sometime lccorp2.

  4. Danielle on 11 March 2010, 13:06 said:

    Yes, yes. Men are evil and do not trust you because you do not have a penis.

    Sooooo NSFW, but I laughed. Seems to me like that pretty much sums up this book, hm?

  5. dragonarya on 13 March 2010, 15:01 said:

    That girl thinks a CHILD is going to rob her of her virtue? I… Need pills.

  6. Zombie on 28 December 2010, 02:47 said:

    I get she’s trying to show the difference between Romilly/Jandria and these other chicks (the non feminists, I guess, feminazis?) But really, it’s just bad writing when you put up caricatures to place beside your characters to make yours seem better in comparison, not to mention lazy.

    Plus, from all Jandria has said and what Romilly thinks, I don’t see much difference between them.