Day 3: Favorite male character

Briar Moss:

I started reading the Circle books less than three weeks ago, and Briar imprinted on me immediately. Some people ascribe their attachment to him to the fact that he’s Tamora Pierce’s only male protagonist, but I think that does our Briar a misservice. The truth is, I like him a lot mofr than some of her female protagonists, and not because he’s a boy.

I like Briar because he’s loyal, because he’s dependable, and because he is, in many ways, unselfishly good. He lost his mother (who was impoverished but loving, a rarity in fiction) grew up on the streets of Hajra, dependent on the uncaring thief lord. But in spite of the way street life is imprinted on him, he doesn’t resist Temple life the way so many “hardened” characters do. He isn’t inherently mistrustful of the adults who takes him in. Rather, he lets them care for him, and becomes adorably devoted to Rosethorn, his prickly maternal-figure. He also quickly becomes attached to his foster sisters. It’s here that we see the way he has retained many of the ideals held by those he knew as a “street rat,” but he transposes them. Rather than categorizing the ways of his old life as “bad” and his new life as “good,” Pierce allows him to repurpose the morality of street gangs into his deep understanding of family and loyalty. As he comes to understand the realities of the manipulatiom he suffered at the hands of the Thief Lord–serparting him current self from his former self–he also begins to discover ways in which he can use his privilege to care for those who don’t have it. This surfaces again and again, in Briar’s Book, in Street Magic, and even in The Will of the Empress

Not that he’s perfect or flawless–although he sort of is to me. He shuts himself off from his sisters, albeit of a desire to protect them, and I’m sure in Battle Magic we’ll see that he’s done some foolhardy things. But even his womanizing in The Will of the Empress is tempered by notions that are so decidedly Briar, those of a boy whose sisters have had a profound influence on him, in spite of their different backgrounds. Once he gets used to being surrounded by females, he quickly stops being judgemental of them, and the way he plays with them in The Will of the Empress clearly comes with a desire for full awareness on the womens’ parts. Although I’m not sure all of them understood that he wasn’t looking for deep connections, his PTSD was clearly his reason for doing so, and I loved that he recognized that this was symptopmatic once his sisters pointed it out, and came to see reason about the mindhealer when Tris. That’s another thing I like about him, he admits and adapts when he’s been called out. That said, I can’t wait to read Battle Magic to see the events that caused his, well-handled, PTSD.

I also love the way he is with Evvy. He reads her perfectly, and the way he lets her keep her cats is <i>perfect</i>. I basically just adore that he’s a brave, intelligent male protagonist with an inherent respect for the vibrant women he’s surrounded with. I’d love to see him pass this onto a male student, eventually, too. I think the comments he’s made about how there should be better identification of ambient mages, and the way he does all he can to help people who are impoverished without imposing his views on them suggests that we’ll see him start a school or identification organization at some point, something like what Nico does, except to a greater degree. After all, Nico was the one who found him, and the first adult male of the mage class who truly cared for him and whom he trusted. 

Also, superficially, I love his tattoos, and the way they symbolize the fact that he can’t totally get rid of his old life, it’s still there, under his skin, but his new life is growing over it, vibrantly. They also symbolize his impetuousness, and his willingness to take things–pain–onto himself to avoid making others uncomfortable. (Which is, to a degree, what the tattoos do, though they also attract attention he doesn’t want).

TL;DR: Briar Moss for everything


30 Days of Tamora Pierce

Day 2 - Favorite Female Character

Daine Sarrasri

It’s difficult to choose a favorite female character from Tamora Pierce’s amazing cast of female characters, but Daine has always been my favorite. She is strong in a different way than, for example, Alanna. Her struggles are internal, and that is something I identified with from a young age. Her characterization in Emperor Mage sealed the deal for me. It also doesn’t hurt that she has Wild Magic and all that that entails, which I’ve always thought was incredibly cool.

Runner ups: Daja Kisubo, Beka Cooper

Day 1: Tortall vs Emelan

This is hard because my first Tamora Pierce series was The Immortals quartet so I’m very nostalgic over Tortall, but I’m gonna have to go with Emelan.

Daja, a black lesbian, is a main character. 

Briar, a brown boy from the streets with a “checkered past”, is a main character.

Tris is a fat, Jewish coded, main character.

Sandry is a main character who is a typically feminine girl with cloth and thread magic and that’s treated as a powerful and COOL ability.

Frostpine is a huge black man and is portrayed as calm and easy going and wise.

Lark, Rosethorn, and Crane are poly. Lark and Rosethorn have a healthy same gender relationship. Rosethorn is disabled and still incredibly powerful and respected.

Evumeimei is east asian, homeless when we first meet her, and becomes a powerful mage at a very young age.

There are so many important characters and powerful stories in this series. For all her faults, Tamora Pierce did create a wonderful series with the Circle books.

30 Days of Tamora Pierce: Briar

Day 3: Favorite male character




Briar is the original book-boyfriend for me.  I can’t tell if he is everything I find sexy, or if he formed my idea of what sexiness should be.

But what’s not to love?  He’s funny, charming, respectful, snarky, smart, and badass all in one package.  He’s my favorite kind of bad boy: the kind that’s already reformed and ready to be a partner and not a fucking project.  And he’s got to be one of the best role-models I’ve seen for guys; every time I hear a guy go on about how he doesn’t know how to deal with such a “crazy, feminist” world and how to find a place in it I want to just be “LOOK AT THIS MARVELOUS MAN RIGHT HERE.  I KNOW HE’S FICTIONAL, BUT THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD ASPIRE TO BE.  HE’S NOT ABOVE OR BELOW ANY WOMAN, HE’S BESIDE THEM ALL BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT AWESOME LOOKS LIKE AND YOU SHOULD TRY TO IMITATE IT.”

This character has had such an influence on me that I only recently (as in, during the writing of this post) realized that a majority of my own sexy male characters (in the sense of “the ones I’m trying to portray as sexy”) also like flowers and he’s probably the reason I keep doing that.

30 Days of Tamora Pierce: Day 3

Favorite Male Character 

Numair. Tall, nerd, mage man who can juggle? Yes please. But seriously, I love the fact that he’s a big ole nerd who just loves to learn and talk explain things and he’s so excited and interested in it that he doesn’t realize that the people around him may not be quite so interested. Then he turns from this adorable juggling mage nerd to badass turning people into a tree guy. I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am about the upcoming series for him. 

Honorable mentions: George Cooper and Myles of Olau

Day 9: Favorite book

I feel I’ve been neglecting Emelan a bit in this, and because the Circle books standalone a bit better than anything in Tortall, I’m going to answer the next two questions with Emelan books rather than going on and on about the same Tortall series. 

Thus, my favorite Circle book is Briar’s Book. I’ve gone on and on about my love for Briar here, but that’s only partially the reason why I love this book. It’s less complex than other Circle books, sure, and we all know Tammy’s writing got better with time, but I still have a lot of reasons for adoring this one. 

First of all, I love the way in which it demonstrates that the addition of magic allows for integration of modern thought into a civilization that is generally modelled on medival society. Thus, Pierce is able to introduce scientific method and disease control to her audience without making it seem at all anachronistic.

I also love the way that this book allows Briar to come to terms with his life before coming to Winding Circle. I’ve said before that I adore the way in which he continually uses his street knowledge to improve conditions for those who still live in poverty, and here we see him begin to accept his privilege in order to do so. We also see how much he thrives on caring for others, particularly Rosethorn, and that highlights the fact that he is not becomin a carbon-copy of his maternal figure, which sometimes happens in books about teacher-student relationships. 

I also really like the idea of facing disease down as the big bad. It’s another fantastic application of “real world” challenges to a fantasy setting, something that Pierce does wonderfully, and continually, in the Circle books.

Finally, this is the last book that shows Briar, Tris, Sandry, and Daja together as children, still bonded, and still innocent. It hints at what’s to come by initially separating Briar from the girls–a foreshadowing of WIll of the Empress, in a way–but they’re back at Discipline in the end, a tied-up, comforting ending that we don’t get again for a while. 

30 Days of Tamora Pierce 17/30

Day 17: Favourite non-romantic relationship

So, the circle, all of them, because I mean, this entire serious is just based on the awesomeness of friendship, and their friendship is truly awesome. All of them would do anything for the others, It’s just really great


*awesome fanart used was made by the fabulous minuiko*

Kel and all of her friends were a close second

30 days of Tamora Pierce, day 12: favorite passage

“Sir, you’re the kind of Knight I want to be.”
He regarded her for a moment with the strangest expression in his eyes. “I am not,” he said. “But the fact that you believe it is the greatest compliment I will ever receive.”

That acknowledgement for Kel from someone who did not want to even give her a chance at the beginning is a huge step.  For both of them.  It shows how much Wyldon has grown in the six years since Kel came on as a page, and how his views have changed.  He may not accept all women as warriors, but he has come such a long way since First Test.  It’s an important reminder that everyone can learn from their students.  Sometimes more than they learn from you, even though they might never know it.

30 Days of Tamora Pierce

Day 30: Your perfect cast for your favorite book/series/world

Perfect for what I could Google, anyway. A perfect world would have people who actually looked like the characters, but alas I was unable to find an actor of mixed race leaning towards Asian but with green eyes like Briar.

Also in a perfect world, everyone would be age appropriate.

Amber Wallace - Trisana Chandler
Camille Winbush - Daja Kisubo
Michelle Trachtenberg - Sandreline fa Toren
Jesse Williams - Briar Moss

Day 20: Favorite enemy

Alex of Tirragen. You never quite got a grasp of what he wanted or what he was like, and it takes an amazing writer to pull that off without making it seem lazy or accidental. But the bottom line is there are always people that you feel like you just can’t quite get a read on them and you never really know where you stand. Alex wasn’t evil so much as he was competitive without remorse. Its an interesting characteristic that is different than the bad guy archetypes you see for frequently. 

You also have to remember he made it through the Ordeal, which I find even more interesting. 

30 Days of Tamora Pierce: Day 12 - favourite passage

Daja stopped by Rosethorn, looking up at her. After a moment she smiled, carefully, as if she were unsure Rosethorn would like it. Briar saw his teacher reach down and wrap her fingers around the Trader’s hand where she clutched her staff. Daja’s smile broadened, and Rosethorn let go.

OK it is kind of hard to explain why I like this passage so much but here goes:

At this point in the series the four children have all got a really strong bond (literally and metaphorically, since they are actually magically tied together.) From the beginning, they’ve known that Lark cares about them, since she’s so open and basically just a loving person. Of their other teachers, Frostpine wears his heart on his sleeve, and Niko tends to show his affection in his own way - usually by being bad-tempered when they get into trouble, but he’s not above giving praise where it’s due.

But Rosethorn is a whole nother kettle of fish. Briar, her special pupil, knows that she doesn’t like other people very much - he knows she cares about Lark and himself, but he suspects she’s still learning to care for the three girls. And for their part, the girls respect Rosethorn from day one, and quickly come to admire her, but she’s not an easy person to actually show affection to - it seems very likely that she would reject or downplay any displays, and for children like Daja and Tris who were abandoned by their own people, the fear of rejection is going to be pretty huge.

But now, almost a year after they first arrived at Discipline, the four children have been separated for the very first time when Rosethorn and Briar are quarantined after exposure to a deadly disease. Their boisterous greeting to Briar is a given, but their absence has made the girls realise how important Rosethorn is, too, and Daja - probably the least emotional of the children - is the one to take that step. And Rosethorn doesn’t shrug off the gesture - she responds in kind, showing that the girls are incredibly important to her, too.

And, on a slightly different line of thought, here we also have Daja looking up - literally - to another queer woman. It’s a lovely moment, showing love between two queer people that is neither romantic or platonic, but maternal/filial, something less often seen.

30 days of Tamora Pierce 26/30

Day 26: Favourite non-Emelan/non-Tortall country


one of the reasons for this is simply the fact that we don’t really get to see much of the other countries in this universe (and what we do see in the circle opens is not really the best those places have to offer)

Namorn has also was struck me in many ways as being beautiful but harsh, in both it landscape and society. 

30 Days of Tamora Pierce: Day 4

Favorite Animal Companion

This without a doubt has to go to Pounce/Faithful both amazing incarnations of the cat constellation.

When we’re first introduced to Faithful in the Alanna books it’s just magical. This little kitty with purple eyes that match Alanna’s own, and then the cat just keeps getting more magical and more amazing. I love his bravery and how he cares for his companions even if he is tasked to by The Goddess. In this incarnation, I love the loyalty which gets him his name and how he’s got a quiet since if snark that just seems so appropriate for a cat.

And it is absolutely heartwrenching in these books to see him die, so you can imagine I was beyond ecstatic when I realized Pounce in the Beka books was the exact same cat.

What’s great about Pounce is you can tell how much younger the cat is, considering there are two hundred years between the two stories. He’s got a more youthful vibe which is often shown in his independence and flat out disrespect for the orders given to him by both Beka and the gods. That same snark is still there if a bit more forceful as is the poise.

I think the best thing about the The Cat, though, in both incarnations is that he’s just that a cat. He behaves and acts as you expect a cat would and it’s marvelous to see. Pounce and Faithful are without a doubt my favorite animals and some of my favorite characters.

Honorable Mention: Keladry’s sparrrows. I lovve the idea of sparrows, that are a little bit smarter than the average sparrow because of Daine, getting attached to a particuular human because she’s nice to them and feeds them. I love how fierce they are in the books. It was just a really neat idea.

30 Days of Tamora Pierce

Day 28: Song that reminds you of a Tamora Pierce book and/or specific passage

This is the weirdest thing but I totally blame my brain for twining these wires together because the introduction of these books and this artist initially happened around the same time in my life.

So this song makes me think of the Emelan kids learning their crafts together and living (relatively) happy lives in Winding Circle (well, after that first rough year anyway)

30 Days of Tamora Pierce

Day 19 – A Minor Character You Wish Got More Time to Shine

Aniki! I absolutely love characters like her. Sword-totin’, criminal ladies who say things like ‘Who needs handsome idiots when we have kitties?!’

I love how in Terrier she and Sabine immediately become best friends while comparing swords. I would adore a backstory behind her, Kora and Rosto coming to Tortall, how they met, travelling there, EVERYTHING! I would read the hell out of that. 

30 Days of Tamora Pierce: Day 17 - Favourite Non-romantic Relationship

I actually don’t think I could love any friendship more than the one shared by Sandry and Daja. From the beginning, Sandry is determined to make friends with EVERYONE, and that’s something I love about her - but Daja is not only the first to reciprocate, but the first to see Sandry as a girl, not a noble with suspicious motives. I think, with her internalised disdain for “kaqs”, she finds it easier to see other people as her equals (apart from, while she is trangshi, other Traders.)

That’s one of the reason their fight at the beginning of The Will of the Empress seems so forced to me. They’re both so suspicious of each other, and they’re neither of them suspicious people, neither of them has any reason not to trust the other. It’s also the reason why their fight is so heart-breaking - because they are true saati, and I can’t believe they’d really be that reluctant to see each other, for any reason.

I hate that Daja is so wrapped up in her new love that she is the only one not to go to Sandry’s rescue. Again - really? This is the girl who gave up her chance to be a Trader again so she could stay with her new family. Bluh. It makes me grumpy just thinking about it.

Still my favourite friendship forever and ever though.

30 Days of Tamora Pierce 12/30

Day 12: Favourite Passage

“A girl nearby muttered,“If that’s a lady, I’m a cat.”
Reaching out, Sandry lifted the pitcher of milk from the table. Cradling it in both hands, she walked over to the mutterer.
I am Sandrilene fa Toren, daughter of Count Mattin fer Toren and his countess, Amiliane fa Landreg. I am the great-niece of his grace, Duke Vedris of this realm of Emelan, and cousin of her Imperial Highness, Empress Berenene of the Namorn Empire. You are Esmelle ei Pragin, daughter of Baron Witten en Pragin and his lady Colledia of House Wheelwright, a merchant house. If I tell you my friend is a lady, then you"- carefully she poured milk into Esmelle’s plate-“you had best start lapping, kitty.”
She set the pitcher down and returned to her chair.” 

This was really really hard to pick, but this passage has always stood out, it is such a spectacular introduction to Sandry as a character and the way that she used her nobility. It also struck 11-year old me as basically the cleverest thing ever. As it is I could go back and read this over and over again, because it is so great. 

Day 2: Favorite female character

Some of my answers to this thing might get repetitive, because as much as I love all of Tamora Pierce’s series, my favorite is the Trickster duology, and I love Aly to pieces. I adore how witty she is, I love the way her brain works, and I love that she is still able to be a romantic, flirty woman even though she can understand and manipulate politics. I also love that she is flawed, she doesn’t always understand the differences between The Copper Isles and Tortall, but she tries 

More than that, she starts off the series with a definite goal that goes against expectations for her–like her mother did–and she doesn’t let anything, not even kidnapping, get in the way of achieving it. 

30 Days of Tamora Pierce prompt

For some reason, the page listing the 30 Days prompt is not working. For those interested, here is the prompt.

Use the tag 30 Days of Tamora Pierce so we can repost your answers :)

Day 1: Tortall vs Emelan
Day 2: Favorite female character
Day 3: Favorite male character
Day 4: Favorite animal character 
Day 5: Least favorite character
Day 6: Favorite series
Day 7: Least favorite series
Day 8: Mithros, Mynoss, and Shakith! Who’s your favorite god/goddess?
Day 9: Favorite book
Day 10: Least favorite book
Day 11: For the Circle  fans: What kind of ambient magic would you have? For the Tortall fans: What color would your Gift be? (Answer both if you want.)
Day 12: Favorite passage 
Day 13: The part that made you want to throw the book at the wall
Day 14:  Favorite romantic relationship
Day 15: Least favorite relationship
Day 16: The relationship you wished had happened
Day 17: Favorite non-romantic relationship
Day 18: Favorite non-Tamora Pierce book
Day 19: A minor character you wish got more time to shine
Day 20: Favorite enemy
Day 21: Least favorite enemy
Day 22: Best WTF moment
Day 23: Saddest character death
Day 24: Favorite Immortal
Day 25: Least favorite Immortal
Day 26: Favorite non-Tortall country/ Favorite  non-Emelan country
Day 27: Pet (immortal or mammal) you wish was yours
Day 28: Song that reminds you of a Tamora Pierce book and/or specific passage
Day 29: The character you wish was your BFF
Day 30: Who would you cast to play your favorite characters/book/series/world?