Chapter 4:

When we last left Romilly, she was watching her EVVIL misogynistic father torture her pussy of a brother by making him fly hawks. Wow-wee. Anyways, we skip ahead to the Midsummer festival, and that’s when Romilly is supposed to first fly her hawk/falcon/bird thing completely free, with the risk that it’ll fly away and never be seen again. With how she’s been treating it and not being around the bloody bird all the time, plus the fact that there’s no such thing as taming a wild bird, what should have happened should have been just that—the bird vanishes, never to be seen again and this crappy book ends.

Anyways, there’s some description of the traditional midsummer festivities: Romilly is given three baskets of sweets and apples from her family, and after that she meets Alderic and Darren to go out hawking. Of course, her amazing you-shall-love-me mental powers have forced the bird to accept her with minimal contact and time, much like all those crappy romances I keep on seeing not just in paranormal romances, but in the genre as a whole:

It was sheer ecstasy to be on a horse again in proper riding clothes, feeling the cool morning wind against her face, and Preciosa before her on the saddle, hooded but alert. She could feel a trickle of awareness from the bird which was blended of emotions Romilly herself could not identify…not quite fear as she had come to know it, not quite excitement, but to her great relief it was wholly unmixed with the terrifying rage she had felt when she began training the hawk. (Pg. 442-443)

In any case, they go to one of the horse pastures, and there’s a gratituous “I love animals, so I must be good” scene:

One small filly flung up her head and came trotting, on spindly legs, toward them; Romilly laughed, slid from her horse and went to nuzzle the baby horse; she came not much higher than Romilly’s shoulder.

“This is Angel,” she said to the young men, “She was born last winter, and I used to feed her with apple scraps—no, Angel, that’s my breakfast,” she added, slapping the soft muzzle away from the pocket where the horse was trying to rummage. But she relented and pulled her knife, cutting a small slice of apple for the filly.

“No more, now, it will give you a belly ache,” she said, and the little animal, evidently taking her word for it, trotted off on her long spindly legs. (Pg. 443)

Is it just me, or does the great MZB use a few too many commas? But again like her bird, the so-called relationship is laughable. She’s not the one who feeds and waters her hawk and horse; she’s not the one who mucks them out, she’s not the one to be by their side and care for them when the going gets tough. She just takes them out for her own pleasure and they’re supposed to LOVE HER SO, and when she’s done with them she chucks them away.

Really, fits the disgusting animal companion clause to a T.

Lenka has basically described the whole acclimatisation process of a bird to me: you take the bird with you everywhere you can conceivably and reasonably take it. You touch it, yes, with your HANDS, preferably all over since as an eyass it isn’t going to be flying anywhere yet, and if it reacts badly you do it very gently until it realises you aren’t intending to hurt it. You talk to it all the time, get it used to the sound of your voice, perhaps even go to the length to put it in your bedroom and sing it to sleep. You are around the bird as much as possible, and that is the number one important thing—the bird has to know you, and you know the bird. Not chuck it somewhere after you’ve “tamed” it and forget all about it until it’s convenient.

In any case, they come across an old horse that’s to be put down in the spring, and there’s some philosophy from our dear friends:

“He had a good life, and will make a good end,” said Alderic, “Unlike men, horses are not allowed to live till they are senile and half mad…if they gave men such mercy as that, I should not—there would not now be a usurper king on the throne in Hali and—and the king would not now be wandering in his exile.” (Pg 444)

All right, you’ve made your stand for euthanasia. Clap. Clap. Clap. There’s some backstory by Alderic on this so-called usurper king:

“You are not old enough to remember when King Felix died? He was more than a hundred and fifty, an emmasca, very old and without sons; and he had long outlived sense and wit, so he sought to put the eldest son of his younger brother on the throne, rather than his next brother’s eldest son, who was rightfully Heir And so the Lord Rakhal, who flattered and cozened an old and senile king and got the Regents all in his hand with bribes and lies, an aged lecher from whom no woman is safe, nor, ‘tis said, the young son of any courtier who would like to curry favor, sits on the throne of the Hasturs at Hali.” (Pg. 444)

I don’t know this Darkover setting, but frankly, if this is an absolute monarchy, then whatever the king damn well says is going to be law, whether they like it or not. And if the king suddenly changes his mind as to who is going to be his heir, no matter who was going to suceed him before, then this new guy would damn well be the rightful heir, because the king would damn well have the final say. Of course, note the horrible arm-twisting: he not only rapes women, but boys as well. Whoopee. Hurrah. And of course, since they’re coming out of the mouth of a Good character, the chance that they are lies spread by his opponents to undermine this new king is pretty much nonexistent.

And of course, like a good old Fisher King scenario, everything is horrible and in ruin just because the wrong ass is on the throne:

“Aye. That I do. And if some kindly courtier had relieved the ancient Felix of his life before ‘twas a burden to him, Carolin would now rule in Hali as a just king, rather than turning the holy city of the Hasturs into a—a cesspool of filth and indecencies, where no man dares to come for justice without a bribe in hand, and upstart lordlings and outlanders wrangle and divide our land among them!” (Pg. 444-445)

Time to quote Assistant Professor Evil again:

3. Despises authority

“And lastly, you must fancy yourself a rebel who stands against all forms of authority, and thinks that the government, corporations, and ‘the man’ are responsible for all the woes in the world, which of course isn’t very rebellious at all; it’s what every other twenty-something moron who thinks that he’s an individual with an original thought believes.”

After that not-so-subtle rant from Alderic on politics and the benefits of euthanasia, it’s now time for Romilly to fly her bloody bird. She lets it loose and it soars away into the distance, making her think it’s lost:

She shook her head. If she had lost the hawk, then she had never really possessed her. (Pg. 445)

Excuse the sobbing in the corner, that’s just Lenka crying at the blase effrontry of someone coming right out and not even disguising the fact that someone is in control here. But no! The bird comes flying back:

Romilly sat, with automatic habit, in the saddle, upright, silent, but the real part of her soared over the high pasture, keen with hunger, in the ecstasy of the flight. Supernaturally keen, her sight and senses, aware of the life of small birds, so that she felt she was smacking her ips (no typo here, this mispelling is verbatim from the book) and almost giggled and broke out of the rapport with the absurdity of it, sudden burning hunger and a desire almost sexual in its striking, blood bursting into her mouth, the sudden fierceness of bursting life and death…

Down. Wavering down. She had just enough of her self-hood left to hold out her fist rock-steady, under the sudden jarring stop of a heavy hawk laden with her kill. she felt tears streaming down her face, but there was no tome for emotion, her knife was in her free hand as she cut the head away, thrust her portion, headless rabbit, into her wallet with the freer hand; all her own awareness was feeding with the greedy hawk on her portion. (Pg. 446)

Jeopardy Think! music plays

My response? “How does one demonstrate shitty treatment of a supposedly equal relationship with an animal companion while proving you know nothing of falconry at the same time?” Seriously, though. The first paragraph is ALL about what the bird can do for Romilly, instead of it, y’know, being SHARED, and while maybe the bird doesn’t have the intelligence of a human and can’t speak, it can damn well still respond to her getting into its mind. But no, it’s not about that Romilly can do for the bird, it’s all about what the bird can do for Romilly.

Next up. The bird doesn’t carry its kill all the way to the falconer. No, instead the FALCONER runs all the way to the BIRD, instead of the other way around, and rewards it there with good fresh meat to distract the bird while covering up the kill. And god, Romilly is feeding her bird RABBIT HEADS. Which is actually good for the bird, since it’ll get to file its beak on the bones. Hmm.

In any case, Romilly’s overjoyed:

Preciosa had come back. She had returned of her free will, out of freedom into bondage and the hood. She choked back her tears as she stroked the hawk with the feather, and knew her hands were shaking.

What have I done to deserve this? How can I possibly be worthy of it? That a wild thing should give up her freedom for me…what can I possibly do to make me worthy enough for that gift? (Pg. 447)

I’ll tell you what you’ve done, bitch. You’re a Mary-Sue. Your bird was given to you by authorial intervention, since if you’d treated any REAL bird like that it’d have died, or much more likely, flown away at the earliest opportunity after savagely attacking you for daring to mistreat it. Is that an answer enough for you?

In any case, everyone finishes up their hawking and they head back to the castle. They notice that there’re strange horses at the gate, and surmise that the highest-ranking of the Midsummer guests have arrived. There’s some political talk, and about someone in particular:

Romilly, relieved that the tension had passed, began to recite the grown sons and daughters of the middle-aged lord of Scathfell; his heir, yet another Gareth (“But they call him Garris, in lowland fashion,” she added), “Dom Garris is not wed, he has buried three wives; I think he is only in is thirtieth year, but looks older, and is lame with a wasting disease of one leg.”

“And you dislike him,” said Alderic, and she grinned, her impish smile. “Why, how could you possibly know that, Lord Alderic? But it is true; he is always fumbling the maidens in corners, he was not above pawing at Mallina last year, when she had not even put up her hair…” (Pg. 447-448)

Hmm. Ugly, because everyone knows that someone ugly is EVVVVIL. Oh, and a lecher as well. And probably nasty to his wives. And not a virgin. And that’s just up front about this Dom Garris guy.

Any chance that he could be our EVVVVVIL Misogynistic Suitor for our EVVVVVIL Arranged Marriage? Anyone?

Nah, couldn’t be, right?

Right?

This hope is sadly crushed when when we see him for the first time when Romilly runs into him in the castle proper:

But, coming around a corridoor, she almost bumped into a tall, pale, fattish man with fair hair, coming from the big bathing-room with hot pools, fed by volcanic springs. He was wrapped in a loose robe and his hair as (yes, this is not another typo on my part. What was the copyeditor doing?) damp and mussed; he had evidently gone to soak away the fatigue of riding. Romilly curtseyed politely as she had been taught, then remembered that she was wearing breeches—curse it! If she had gone about her business he might simply have taken her for an out-of-place servant boy on some errand. Instead his pale flabby face tightened in a dimply creased smile.

“Mistress Romilly,” he said, his eyes sliding up and down her long legs. “An unexpected pleasure. Why, what a pair of legs you have, girl! And you have—grown,” he added, the pallid china-blue eyes resting on the straining laces of the old tunic pulled over her full breasts, “It will be a pleasure to dance with you tonight, now I have had the delights of seeing what so many women so carefully conceal from their admirers…” (Pg. 449)

Wait, so she has long legs (and presumably hips) and full breasts that STRAIN AT HER TUNIC, and she imagines that people will mistake her for a boy…because she’s wearing breeches.

Excuse me, but is everyone in this world blind?

A fat lecher. This is where I go out to take a deep breath, rub my arms from all the arm-twisting, and laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

Oh god, this is even worse than Bitterwood. And do you know what makes it even worse? MZB contradicts her own description of Romilly not more than a page ago:

She was still slender, her breasts scarcely rounded, the hips scarcely more flared than a boy’s, and the long legs were really boyish. But, she thought, if I ever wear boy’s clothes again, I shall be sure they fit me loosely enough that I truly look like a male. (Pg. 450)

Waaaait a second here. Her breasts are full and strain against her tunic, but at the same time they’re scarcely rounded? Her legs are shapely, yet at the same time they’re boyish? She wants to be able to perhaps, just perhaps, pass off as a boy to the untrained eye, yet god forbid that she be unattractive even if it means the author contradicting herself?

Sounds like a terminal case of “I want to have it all” to me. In any case, Romilly examines the smallest of her midsummer baskets, and behold, it’s from Alderic. There’re fresh flowers and exotic fruit all the way from Nevarsin, which is no doubt quite far away. How they managed to stay fresh without cooling or any sort of preservation at all I have no idea, but then again I’m not allowed to be asking stupid questions, am I? Even the EVIL sellout to the patriarchy is wetting her panties in excitement over Romilly’s find:

“Romy, who do you think he is? He looks so romantic—do you think Dom Alderic is trying to court one of us? I would be happy indeed to be betrothed to him, he is so handsome and gallant, like the hero of some fairy-tale—” (Pg. 450)

Aha. I suppose Alderic is the GOOD suitor, because he is 1) poor, 2) handsome, 3) holds views that coincide with the author’s, and 4) allows Romilly to do whatever she wants. Stunning combination compared to the fat old ugly misogynistic leper.

Stop pulling my arms, please. Because all character empathy has gone out of the window, and every antagonist is a horrible failure at everything they do and have absolutely no redeeming qualities, and when combined with the fact that Romilly appears to be the sole arbitrator of morality in the prose, and she isn’t doing a very good job of it…

In any case, Romilly reluctantly lets Maliina dress her in finery, and they go down to the feast hall for the midsummer feast, where everyone else is also dressed in their best. Of course, Romilly gets to be seated next to Dom Garris, and like a true evil misogynistic bastard he keeps on making not-quite-veiled lecherous remarks to her throughout the whole bloody feast and entertainment, and of course Romilly detests him because…well, he’s a fat fuck, and in a fantasy novel we all know what that entails.

There’s more talk of politics, and the MacAran restates that he’s not going to get involved in any civil war between this ursurper dude and the so-called rightful king. Afterwards, everyone goes out to dance, and Romilly manages to catch up with one of her old friends, Darissa, who’s gotten married and has had children with another one on the way:

Romilly nodded. She was shocked at her friend, who had been so pretty and graceful but three years ago; now she had grown heavy-footed, her small breasts swollen and thick beneath the laces of her gown, her waist clumsy. In three years, Darissa had had two children and now she was bearing another already! (Pg. 454)

I think it really says something about Romilly that the greatest negative aspect about motherhood she can think of is that she’ll lose her fine figure. Not the increased responsibilities, not the possible health repercussions in such a low-tech setting, or even the stock feminist concern that she’ll be tied to home and hearth, but that she’ll lose her pretty pretty body.

Anyways, Darissa’s very enthusiastic and happy about being married and a mother, and outwardly Romilly smiles and agrees, but in her thoughts she repeatedly rubbishes Darissa and thinks her a fool for spoiling her lovely body with babies:

Romilly said in shock, “But need you have another so soon? I should think two in three years was enough—”

Darissa shrugged and smiled. (Pg. 454)

“I do not dislike Cinhil,” Romilly said, but inwardly she shrank away; three years from now, then, would she be like Darissa, grown fat and short of breath, her skin blotched and her body misshapen from breeding? (Pg. 455)

So Lord Scathfell thought to marry her to Cinhil this year, so she could be fat and swollen with baby after baby like Darissa? Not likely! (Page 456)

Again, it’s the same problem with Mallina: women who don’t subscribe to Romilly’s exact philosophies are branded stupid, cowardly or traitors to womankind. You have the freedom to ride your horses and fly your hawks even as you mistreat them, but don’t rubbish the choices other individuals make in life. It doesn’t help one bit either that this so-called “feminism” that Romilly exhibits is based on a “me, me, me” attitude. What does she hope to do for OTHER women? Well, apparently nothing.

Bah. Anyways, it’s her turn to go out and dance, and she dances with a few people, but most of all Alderic:

When it came Alderic’s turn she reached confidently for his hands; they were square, hard and warm, not the soft hands of a scholar at all, but calloused and strong like a swordsman’s. An unlikely monk, indeed, she thought, and put her mind to the intricacies of the dance. (Pg. 456)

OOH! OOH! HE’S MORE THAN HE LOOKS! HE IS SO OBVIOUSLY GOING TO GET HER! Three coppers says he’s the exiled rightful heir to the throne in the bargain. I mean, it couldn’t be, right? RIIIIIGHT? In any case, Alderic dances wonderfully, as if he would do anything else. After the dance, Romilly chats with him over sweet fruit juice, since she’s not allowed to drink in public:

“You are fond of hawking?”

“I am; the women of our family train sentry-birds. Have you ever flown one, dami—Romy?”

She shook her head. She had seen the great fierce birds, but said “I knew not that they could be tamed! Why, they can bring down a rabbithorn! I should think they were no great sport—”

“They are not flown for sport,” Alderic said, “but trained for war, or fire-watch; it is done with laran. A sentry-bird in flight can spy out intruders into a peaceful country, or bandits, or a forest-fire. But it is no task for sport, and in truth the birds are fierce, and not easy to handle. Yet I think you could do it, Romilly, if your laran was trained.” (Pg. 458)

Bets that she’s going to train her bird to do the exact same thing, anyone? Bets? Two coppers? Three coppers? Oh, come on, I know there’s pretty much no doubt at all that she’s going to master this crap effortlessly, but it would be nice to imagine that she didn’t, or at the very least, took some real time and effort into making it happen. But no, we all know her inherent genetic magic is strong, so our pathetic little hopes are quashed.

In any case, Alderic’s telling Romilly all about how wonderful the hawk-women are at his home, and how they can see further than anyone else with their birds. As if we needed any more conformation as to who Romilly is going to end up with eventually, eh? However, Romilly’s EVVVIL stepmother comes up and complains that Romilly hasn’t danced with Dom Garris yet. Of course, Romilly doesn’t want to, but the EVVVIL suitor himself comes up to her and asks her for a dance. Now Romilly is obligated to comply, but the bugger naturally dances horribly, has sweaty palms, and his breath smells of alcohol.

Good lord, will the author stop at NOTHING to try and force me to dislike this man? Of course, Darissa and some other young women notice how Romilly’s dancing with him, and giggle and twitter to her in an appropriately stupid fashion (or at least, to Romilly) that she’s made yet another sexual conquest.

…Wait, YET ANOTHER sexual conquest? So how many…so, despite her conflicting looks, with her figure managing to be both boyish and amazingly feminine and attractive at the same time, men are falling head over heels for her? How often has this happened?

Take the pain pills. Take the pain pills. The whole bottle, please. That’s much better. Muuuuch better. Darissa even mentions how the EVVVVIL Dom Garris tried to screw her, even when she was his sister-in-law. And I’m wondering why exactly this noble family hasn’t done something about him already—

—Oh wait, he’s just there as a caricature and to torment Romilly. Do such men exist in real life? Why, there’re all sorts in a world; I wouldn’t be surprised to find someone as depraved as that. But do I want them in my fiction? No. In any case, the dancing continues well past midnight, and Romilly tries to stay away from EVVVIL misogynistic leper suitor. However, it’s only a matter of time before he finds her and tries to force himself upon her:

He whirled her about till she was dizzy, and she was conscious that his hands were no longer decorously on her sleeve but that he was holding her somewhat closer than was comfortable, and when she tried self-consciously to squirm away from them he only chuckled and eased her closer still.

“No, now you cannot tell me you are so shy as that.” he said, and she could tell from the flushed look of his face and the slight slurring of his words that he had drunk overlong of the stronger wine at the high table, “Not when you run about with those lovely long legs showing in those breeches and your breasts showing through a tunic three sizes too small, you cannot play Lady Modesty with me now!” He pulled her close and his lips nuzzled her cheek, but she twisted indignantly away. (Pg. 461-462)

Of course, our dear friendly neighbourhood misogynistic suitor isn’t going to give up so easily, and continues trying to paw Romilly until she threatens to scream for her brother, upon which he makes an excuse of testing her virtue and making a hurried retreat.

You know, normally I would side with someone in Romilly’s position, but unfortunately, I just can’t seem to summon up my sympathy in this case. Really. She’s THAT unlikable. Anyway, she runs off crying to bed and hides under her sheets. What a stunning example of a strong woman…

Fortunately, for us, that ends the chapter. Which is good, because the birds are clearly bored:

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Comment

  1. Nate Winchester on 10 February 2010, 22:41 said:

    Oh this is fun…

    “This is Angel,” she said to the young men, “She was born last winter, and I used to feed her with apple scraps—no, Angel, that’s my breakfast,” she added, slapping the soft muzzle away from the pocket where the horse was trying to rummage. But she relented and pulled her knife, cutting a small slice of apple for the filly.

    “No more, now, it will give you a belly ache,” she said, and the little animal, evidently taking her word for it, trotted off on her long spindly legs. (Pg. 443)

    When is this taking place? How long ago was last winter? The answer would tell me just how much fail is above. However, assuming the foal was comfortable enough with humans (maybe, but the mother should be VERY close by), you’re not going to get it away with a single slap. Horses will eat themselves to sick and when food is nearby, they start realizing the weight differences between you and them…

    “You are not old enough to remember when King Felix died? He was more than a hundred and fifty, an emmasca, very old and without sons; and he had long outlived sense and wit, so he sought to put the eldest son of his younger brother on the throne, rather than his next brother’s eldest son, who was rightfully Heir

    Wait!

    Ok, so 150 at death.
    The next brother in line couldn’t be more than… well let’s say 5 years (3 children minimum, that is pushing a woman’s fertility in pre-modern times). That means the next brother was about… 145 when king died. Assuming the brother had his first legitimate child at 20 (reasonable), that means the “rightful” heir was 125 years old.

    How old was the king when he went mad? For all we know, the “rightful” heir was already mad himself or would be very near it soon. Gah! What the hell???

    Time to quote Assistant Professor Evil again:

    I found some of his very entertaining videos but I am at a lost where you have gained these 3 rules from. Might I plead with you to share the source?

    (yes, this is not another typo on my part. What was the copyeditor doing?)

    There is a term for that: [sic]

    Again, it’s the same problem with Mallina: women who don’t subscribe to Romilly’s exact philosophies are branded stupid, cowardly or traitors to womankind.

    Worse! They’re FAT! (anyone else notice that sometimes when trying to fight stereotypes, some feminists seem to reinforce them?)

    Of course, Darissa and some other young women notice how Romilly’s dancing with him, and giggle and twitter to her in an appropriately stupid fashion (or at least, to Romilly) that she’s made yet another sexual conquest.

    ZOMG! rom hrt brk #1842!
    (ack, I don’t do enough twitter to run this joke properly)

  2. Snow White Queen on 10 February 2010, 23:44 said:

    your breasts showing through a tunic three sizes too small, you cannot play Lady Modesty with me now!”

    Old Fat Lecher has somewhat of a point. O the horror!

  3. Gray Falcon on 11 February 2010, 11:30 said:

    I find it interesting that the author’s actually passed up an opportunity to make Romilly act like a “strong, independent woman”. She threatens to scream for her brother. Why not just trip up the guy, and make him look like the idiot he is?

    Of course, I’m sure someone like Dom Garris is very accident prone. With his history, I’m surprised he hadn’t accidentally stabbed himself in the back a few times…

    On a more serious note, this book is an insult to feminism. If you want to read about a woman being forced to fight against cultural norms, try “Monstrous Regiment” by Terry Pratchett.

  4. Danielle on 11 February 2010, 14:48 said:

    Wait, so she has long legs (and presumably hips) and full breasts that STRAIN AT HER TUNIC, and she imagines that people will mistake her for a boy…because she’s wearing breeches.

    Woah! I just had a flashback to Monsters vs. Aliens

    Link: Why couldn’t we have gotten a mummy man or something? You know…someone to play cards with?
    BOB (pointing at Susan): Of course it’s a boy! Just look at his boobies!
    Link: We need to have a talk.

    Of course, BOB has no brain. So that might explain EVIL MISOGYNIST’S confusion….

  5. lccorp2 on 12 February 2010, 16:13 said:

    @ Nate:

    -It’s midsummer, so that means the foal is 1/2 years old or thereabouts.

    -We meet the “rightful king” later. He’s a kid about Romilly’s age. Women start bearing children about Darissa’s age, which is around 16.

    -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYt1ZEmYbaM

    -Point taken.

    -I’ve read a bit ahead, and the only “good” women I’ve seen so far are the Sisters of the Sword, who never do anything traditionally feminine, take drugs to suppress their periods, prance about in breeches and swords…

    The only proper way for women to gain power is apparently to behave exactly like men, although we get at least one standard “all men are evil and women are inherently superior” speech later on. So, we people with dongles between our legs are evil…but the only way for those with ports to be liberated is to behave exactly like us.

    Am I the only one who sees how idiotic that is?

  6. Nate Winchester on 12 February 2010, 17:29 said:

    -It’s midsummer, so that means the foal is 1/2 years old or thereabouts.

    As I thought… lots of fail in the scene, just have to narrow down which one.

    Yeah, the foal’s mother alone should be very close to the kid and nervous about strangers.

    -We meet the “rightful king” later. He’s a kid about Romilly’s age. Women start bearing children about Darissa’s age, which is around 16.

    Ew! So the “rightful” heir was fathered by a 100+ year old man getting it on with a 16 year old girl? Anyone else feel like this violates the verisimilitude of the book? (why son? Why not grandson or great-grandson?)

    -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYt1ZEmYbaM

    Yay! Thanks!

    -Point taken.

    ;) I was trying to figure out whether you didn’t know that or was making a sort of meta joke.

    -I’ve read a bit ahead, and the only “good” women I’ve seen so far are the Sisters of the Sword, who never do anything traditionally feminine, take drugs to suppress their periods, prance about in breeches and swords…

    Oh this sounds great. I wonder where they get all those breeches from? Isn’t sewing a traditionally feminine task?

    Think people! Think about what you’re writing.

  7. Kyllorac on 12 February 2010, 17:52 said:

    take drugs to suppress their periods

    dies of laughter

    MZB obviously did not do research, else she would know that suppressing one’s period leads to major problems, namely accelerated bone loss and severely messed up hormones. I bet these women have absolutely no body fat on them either (which would naturally result in no periods, which also results in super brittle bones that constantly fracture, especially in the feet, from the stress of everyday walking, much less rigorous battle training/fighting). XD

    This book has so much fail, it deserves a ph.

  8. Danielle on 12 February 2010, 18:54 said:

    One of my biggest problems with the whole “women taking drugs to suppress their periods” thing is that…well, shouldn’t true feminism allow women to embrace their reproductive abilities AND do traditionally male activities? You’d think they’d at least take the fertility route: “We bear children, so we know how life works. Read it and weep, menfolk!” Instead, they all want to be men?

    Please tell me this is satire.

  9. Anonymous45 on 12 February 2010, 19:30 said:

    1) Maybe its has something to do with their lifestyle. If they are warriors they have to be very athletic ie. fight, ride horses, wat else…. You know, you can’t exactly be too athletic if you have cramps or are concerned over leaks etc.
    So if the enemy attacks when you are on your period you’re like, screwed.

    Actually in theory they would not need to take drugs—if they are very athletic they would lose body fat and their periods would stop. A lot of female athletes actually don’t get their periods.

    2) The filly is wrong: animals should not be born in winter, they would starve.

    3)Why do they let lepers wander around? Isn’t leprosy contagious? Didn’t people wrap them in white and give them a bell and send them to wander the world alone so they wouldn’t be near them? Didn’t people run away in fear from them?

  10. lccorp2 on 14 February 2010, 09:49 said:

    @Nate:

    Sorry, I had a brain fart. That kid is second in line for the throne after the real king, which we meet in chapter six and is so totally NOT the king, despite mysterious cryptic conversations. I haven’t come across the REAL KING’s age yet, but from all description he’s middle-aged.

  11. Emma on 16 September 2011, 11:20 said:

    he said, his eyes sliding up and down her long legs

    straining laces of the old tunic pulled over her full breasts.

    She was still slender, her breasts scarcely rounded, the hips scarcely more flared than a boy’s, and the long legs were really boyish.

    So, Romily’s an anamorphous humanoid blob then?

  12. swenson on 10 May 2012, 10:07 said:

    I’ve read and reread this (glorious) spork several times, but something struck me today as I read this—why do so many FEMINIST HEROINES have such great figures? If they’re supposed to be so independent and not buying into the patriarchal view that women all must be beautiful with lots of curves, why are they so darn attractive? You’d think it would be more in line with the theme to have the protagonist be strong, capable, and able to impress men even though she doesn’t conform to traditional standards of beauty.

    Or at least I, as a person of the feminine persuasion who can’t conform to traditional standards of beauty no matter how hard I try, would appreciate such a heroine.

  13. Tim on 10 May 2012, 10:35 said:

    The obvious answer is because there’s no point in being a Sue if you aren’t perfect. And perfect according to entirely conventional standards of beauty, no female warrior, say, would ever be proud of her strong body or impressive scars. Gotta be the useful stuff, like wide hips to not bear children with and big boobs to not feed them. And her collection of looted shoes.

    Mind you, the author of this seems to have some rather odd gender identity issues which result in her wanting to be a creature combining the positive stereotypical capabilities of both genders with the weaknesses of neither.