Divorce is About Power – Even in Fantasy Literature

divorce is about power - tornadoDisclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

A few weeks back Tor.com published an article written by Anise K. Strong called Beyond Happily Ever After Divorce Should be an Option in Fantasy Fiction. It was an excellent article, and it got me thinking about power, about who has it and who doesn’t, and how this is depicted and communicated in story. At its core, divorce is about power, and as such, is well worth consideration when building a world.

At the same time, patriarchy and sexism have actual societal consequences; you cannot just create a world where women can become fighters and everyone wears a magic birth control necklace and expect that nothing else will change.

The question of who has power and who doesn’t in the world you are building has a profound impact on the characters that move through it. Battle hardened women in control of their own reproductive fates are not likely to tolerate a governing system that treats them as second class citizens or attempts to control who they can have sex with. Abusive partners might think twice before battering a woman that is just as gifted with a sword as he is. Raping and pillaging takes a decided turn when those you want to rape and pillage fight back with equal vigor and strength, either physically or by turning the political or economic might of a nation against you for your transgressions.

There is no shortage of discussion these days about diversity in fantasy, and even in the realms of epic and high fantasy, the tides are changing in response. We see a lot of kick-ass women and people of varying races these days. But we’re not seeing a lot of divorces to go along with these changes, and we should be.

Anise K. Strong has a new book out called Prostitutes and Matrons in the Roman World. (Affiliate Link, see below.) It looks like an excellent reference book for anyone looking to bring additional dimension to their writing. As well, of course, as for anyone interested in Roman history!

I frequently use folklore, mythology, and history as inspiration for my books. My book shelves are lined with texts such as this one, so I have no reservation about recommending this book. And YES, this is an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy using this link I get some pie money. 🙂

 

 

 

Farasi Bahari – An Entirely Different Sort of Sea Horse

farasi bahari image
Source: http://mythicsummer.blogspot.com/2012/01/farasi-bahari-and-haetae.html

This next tale on the Farasi Bahari I found deep in the Pacific hidden in a nook inhabited by an eel. The eel put up a bit of a fight, but I prevailed, and introduce you now to the farasi bahari.

Emerald green hides, and fins for mane and tail, the farasi bahari are magical horses that live deep in the Indian Ocean. They have no need for air, and thus have no lungs and are never short of breath. They flee at the the faintest scent of human and are impossible to capture, but any offspring beget on normal mares inherent their speed and endurance. Read more

Eikthyrnir, The Giver of Water

An image if Eikthyrnir
Found on vallume.deviantart.com

The Eikthyrnir I found on page 321 of a stained tome called The Dictionary of Mythology. The story of Eikthyrnir is likely familiar to some of you, anyone with a fascination in Nordic Mythology will likely have encountered it. It might not be quite as uncommon as the others I’m presenting here in this series, but its imagery is so compelling I had to share it here. Read more

Dinnshenchas, Guardian of Cattle, Avenger of Women

dinnshenchas
Image Courtesy of: http://bit.ly/1yBtfbD

I found this story of the Dinnshenchas riding about on the back of an enormous bull grazing in a field in western Colorado. Which is odd, considering it originates in Ireland. Then again, Aine is Goddess of cattle and protector of women, and would thusly be anywhere they are.

The myths tell a tale of violence and rape, and out of Aine’s grief and anger, the Dinnshenchas were born, dwarf fairies able to take any shape to guard cattle and to help avenge women harmed by men. Read more

Camazotz, the Destroyer of Life

Camazotz Statue MayanAt the bottom of the Amazon, deep in the belly of an Arapaima, I found this Central American story of the second people, and of the giant bird Camazotz who has a bottomless appetite for the heads of people.

The Mayan gods Tepeu and Gucamatz sought out the help of magic adepts, and through incantation found that man should be made of wood, and woman of the pith of bulrush. They set to work and soon found success, and while able to speak and beget children these wooden people had neither fat nor blood nor intelligence. The gods sent four huge birds to destroy their creation. Xecotcovuch tore out their eyes, Camulotz cut off their heads, Cotzbalam ate their flesh, and Tecumbalam crushed their bones. Read more

Baku, The Eater of Dreams

Baku, creatures of MythI found the story of the Baku while wandering the dreams of children scattered across China and Japan. They cried out in the night. Tossed violently in their beds. Caught in the talons of the monstrous beasts that tread the pale blue threads attaching their souls to their dreaming mortal forms. When these children awoke, sweat soaked and shaking, they chanted under their breaths: Baku-san, come eat my dream. Baku-san, come eat my dream. Baku-san, come eat my dream. Read more

Abiku, the Taker of Children

abiku

I make a habit of poking around in the gloomy places of the world seeking stories of monsters, beasts, and mythical creatures. Bookshelves, heavily guarded with bastions of eight-leggeds, weighted with books that’ve not felt the touch of human hands for decades. Perhaps millennia. Strange transitory zones between sea and land with creatures both webbed and legged. In places with darkness so absolute I began to wonder if the sun had yet been birthed or if it were only some strange dream I’d had. And I’ve found things. Read more