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Women In the Three Seas posted 18 July 2004 in Author Q & AWomen In the Three Seas by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Maybe some Spoilers below.......


I don’t think that the female character or gender portrayal in Earwa is one dimensional. I do wonder if we can consider all of the Three Seas one society. In the end, you are the author, but can the Kian and the Scylvendi be meshed in the with different groups of Inrithi?

I just wanted to call into question the general tone of the thread which seems to assume that most of the history that we have of the past with regard to women is reality or accurate. I don’t personally believe in an objective history, but there are women’s personal realities. It’s not that I question women’s position in various structures of hierarchy, but that history writing itself is part of that system of patriarchy and has been configured as a way of seeing to render women as invisible and powerless chattel, or as evil, unnatural and corrupt. The former as the presentation of the good, normal woman that constitutes the majority and the latter as the anomalies that should serve as a warning. A large part of feminist historiography seeks to do intervention and rewrite this general (read: masculine) history and also to find new ways of writing history to deal with the fact that history has been created for the texts of men, which are by in large the only texts that exist.

I love your books. But I did find myself becoming a little wary of the archetypes. The woman in power, the harridan, is so thoroughly gross. The waif is totally demented. My favorite female character is Esmi, which is why I adopted her archetype in an oblique way. She seems to me the most multi-layered and complex character of all the women. The most real. Her relationship to Kellhus is reminiscent of a Gnostic view of Mary Magdalene and Jesus. I was totally blown away by what Kellhus says to her in the bit about how she has internalized the patriarchal order. I just feel that barring her, the archetypes run the risk of someone like the harridan becoming the woman made ruthless because she is has stepped into a position of power unnatural to her gender. I’m not saying you do this, but it is a risk of handling archetypes.

That said, I fully agree with you that the power of eunuchs in the Persian Empire certainly does not reduce the bite of institutional slavery, but the meaning and form of the bite is not as we understand it now and that must be taken into account. That kind of slavery is not the same as triangle trade slavery and that distinction is as key as the fact of slavery itself.

I read TWP too fast the first time and have to do a second read. (I was just too greedy!) But I can tell you that I am all for the de-sanitizing. I see your worry about Esmi, the only potential problem might be her feelings and recollections about her time as a prostitute. But I think you deal with that in TWP.

Woe to my length! view post


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