I keep seeing tweets like “okay so america is a dystopian novel now wheres the 16 year old girl to save us” and other condescending shit like that and i just….
where are the girls who are saving us you ask?
oh i don’t know, they are at the Oceti Sakowin camp fighting for the right to clean water and treaty rights. They are protecting their land and water against heavily militarized police forces.
They are and have been at many Black Lives Matter protests. Girls have fought against police brutality in black communities. Women, in fact, are among the top leaders of that movement.
They are the muslim girls who continue to fearlessly wear their hijabs in public despite rampant islamophobia.
And there were plenty of teenage girls at the women’s marches across the country.
So while a single Katniss Everdeen figure has yet to emerge, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist. Because young women are protesting every day. They are the Katnisses and the Laia of Serras and the Aelins and the Mare Barrows and the Nehemia Ytgers and the Lihn Cinders that you’ve all read about. These girls exist.
Realize that the fallacy of most dystopians, and many books, is that they often presents a single cohesive narrative of revolt and change. And in our huge, wide world, that is not how change works. But the books themselves are not incorrect in assuming that young women will be the arbiters of change. They are spot fucking on.
I took way too long to read Crown of Midnight (reader’s block is a thing, apparently), but I finally finished it and I loved it. As promised, one portrait per book, so here’s my second portrait of Celaena, but I couldn’t do it without Nehemia this time.
They tell the story around campfires. In great halls. In kitchens. And in taverns. In the skies, on the desert plains, and in the howling mountains. They tell the stories to little girls and little boys. They tell the stories to future kings and queens. They tell the story of a ragtag band of misfits, mercenaries, thieves, and assassins. Of royal born and street urchins who fought side by side. They tell the story of the Queen who was promised.
They tell the legend of a mystical queen who could burn the world with her flames. Who had scars on her back and hands from her time as a slave. Who lived a double life as an assassin but came back for her people. Who banished the dark queen and brought back the light.
They tell the story of a long-awaited king who had powers the likes of which had not been seen for over a decade. Who defeated his predecessor and saved his subjects. Who was just and merciful and who had a penchant for knowledge. Who had once worn a collar around his neck and who had a phantom haunt him from the moment it came off.
They tell the story of a rejected lord who was once a guard. Who was the most loyal friend a man could ask for. Who believed in right and wrong. Who went on the run but stayed to help the people. Who went to the south unable to walk and returned with an army.
They tell the story of a warrior prince who was the fiercest in all the lands. Who once was the lackey of the dark queen but was the first to leave her side. Who had ice and wind running through his veins. And who wore the story of his shame for all the world to see.
They tell the story of a deadly queen who drank the blood of men. Who was spared by her enemy and waged war against her family. Who guided her people to peace and into a new age. And who united two races who wared for over a century.
They tell the stories of the women. Beauties and fighters. One who could change her skin like some put on a different outfit. One who always aimed her arrow straight and true. One who was saved by a queen in an alleyway and in turn saved another and then another and then another. One who was a beacon for her people from the moment she was born until the moment her life was snuffed out. One who ended the suffering of many and who saved thousands. One who trecked across the continent to find her lost queen and never gave up hope. And one who gave her life for a better world.
They tell the stories of the men. Legends and tall tales. Men who were the fiercest warriors in all the lands. Who once served the dark queen but left her for a brighter flame. A man who let the world think the worst of him, but always stood by his family. A man who rode the skies like some men walk the earth. A man who gave his life and heart for a woman he never indeed knew. But loved none the less.
They tell the stories of these men and women. These kings and queens. These gods and goddesses. They whisper them as the candlesticks melt into nothing. They chant them as rain stomps on the roofs. They murmur them on days when the winds are so loud they rattle the worlds. They recount them on nights when the snow is so thick you can’t even see your hand in front of you. They recite these stories on the killing fields bathed in blood. They quote these stories in books and by word of mouth to anyone who will listen. They hiss these stories in lands whose names have been forgotten. They proclaim these stories to their children and their children and their children. They remember the stories of Aelin Ashryver Galathynius and the sacrifices she made until night descends upon the realms.