People complain about Rick Riordan “beating a dead horse” but HE CAN BEAT ALL THE DEAD HORSES HE LIKES.
Rick Riordan has actively added diverse characters in all of his books to represent more kids. Characters in his books include:
a Arab-American, Muslim Valkyrie (Magnus Chase)
a deaf/mute elf who uses sign language (Magnus Chase)
a Hispanic son of Hephaestus (Heroes of Olympus)
a half-Cherokee daughter of Aphrodite (Heroes of Olympus)
a Chinese son of Mars (Heroes of Olympus)
a bisexual God/Teen (Trials of Apollo)
a happy and loving gay couple, Nico and Will (Trials of Apollo)
a black male dwarf that loves fashion and design (Magnus Chase)
a black daughter of Hades (Heroes of Olympus)
a genderfluid, transgender warrior of Odin (Magnus Chase)
kids with ADHD and dyslexia (All greek/roman demigods in Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus)
POC siblings of mixed heritage, Carter and Sadie Kane (The Kane Chronicles)
and that’s just off the top of my head! This is not at all a conclusive list!!
When Rick Riordan first revealed Nico, a son of Hades in his best-selling Heroes of Olympus series, as gay people asked him “why?” and he said because he wanted kids to see themselves in his books and that all kids need to be able to see themselves in literature and find reassurance that they’re fine just the way they are. HE PORTRAYS ALL OF THESE KIDS AS HEROES. This is SO SO IMPORTANT
So unlike some people who beat dead horses and don’t even try to be diverse (*cough*JKROWLING*cough*) at least Riordan is constantly adding more and more young heroes and heroines that are diverse, well-rounded, and important.
THAT’S GREAT AND I WILL BUY EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS DEAD HORSE BEATING NOVELS FIGHT ME
”Fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and staff comfort me. Preparest my table before my enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life. I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Which Austen book/movie do you think had the most sexual tension?
Persuasion, hands down.
Think about it: every other novel depends wholly upon the uncertainty of the heroine being unaware of the hero’s romantic interest for some portion of the novel, with misunderstandings and difficulties largely brought on by the structure of Proper Courtship where it was generally considered inappropriate for either party to display too much obvious inclination until a proposal was actually made. (Marianne’s quick and clear affection for Willoughby makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Fanny Price is commended for her placid response to Henry Crawford’s flirtations. Elizabeth Bennet doesn’t even begin to remotely consider Darcy as a marital prospect until after he’s proposed and been rejected with some of the sickest burns ever committed to the page.)
But Persuasion. Ah, Persuasion. Anne has already previously accepted and then rejected Wentworth before the novel even starts. The whole book already exists at the level of tension we see reached when Lizzy runs into Darcy unexpectedly on her visit to Pemberley. That’s the whole book.
And it gets better.
Anne didn’t reject Wentworth because she couldn’t fuckin’ stand him, the way Elizabeth chewed off Darcy’s ear for being a dillhole to Jane and (she thinks) to Wickham. Anne loved Wentworth, and he loved her. They were devoted to each other. It’s the fact that she broke off the engagement despite this that rankles, for both of them. The attraction was there. It was acknowledged. It was allowed to burn wild and bright for that brief, delicious time before Lady Russell’s doubts and concerns seized hold of Anne and persuaded her to wreck his happiness, and her own. No, they were both fully aware of how much they wanted each other, and they were like “yeah, let’s get married, it’ll be great, I love you so much, oh God you’re so attractive, you’re amazing, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, you’re everything I could ever want.”
It was real and undeniable. They cannot unsay any of it. And then it was over.
And that’s just the backstory.
So despite Wentworth being hella difficult for Anne to read, and her own shattered expectations and self-esteem leading her to believe that of course he’s over her and totally into Louisa Musgrove, why wouldn’t he be, she’s young and cute and so many things Anne is not…we still get to watch Anne burn for this man after eight years apart and know that that’s a fire that’s never going to go out for the rest of her life, if time and distance and hopelessness and even the attentions of other charming young men in Captain Benwick and Mr. Elliott haven’t managed to put out those flames.
And on the re-read we can pick up on every look and cue from Wentworth which we then know to be signs of the fact that he is as helplessly lost to his desire for this person as he was nearly a decade earlier. He wants to believe otherwise and tries to act as if it is–and in a classic case of over-compensation gives rise to hopes and expectations from Louisa Musgrove which then very nearly lock him into an attachment which would surely divide him from Anne forever. And even when he feels himself safe from that, he confronts the possibility of Anne being taken by a rival in Mr. Elliott, and can only watch, rather than give a clear sign of his intent. After all the time that has passed, he is now in the position Anne was in at the beginning of the book, and must painfully struggle to weigh his own doubts against his desires. The no-liking-each-other-too-much-until-you-pop-the-question courtship rules still apply, and an open and happy flirtation at this point is not in their natures as individuals–they’re older than most other heroes and all other heroines. They know the risks. They’ve seen happiness slip away, before, and wonder if it is lost forever. Their emotional stakes are higher. He cannot bear to ask again, face to face.
The misery. The agony. The helpless and resentful eyefucking. That LETTER.
Young girls (and boys) need more heroines like Jyn Erso: complex, messy, morally gray, angry, unsmiling, volatile women who fight and struggle and feel deeply without feeling the need to apologize for it.
We have enough heroines who are cinnamon rolls, too pure for this world and plenty of heroines who are stoic bad-ass archetypes out for revenge or whatever. We need more Jyns: ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances who don’t exist to be likable, who can be angry and wrong and passionate and sad and apathetic and selfish and righteous all in the same story.
And I say heroines because heroes have plenty of these characters who are admired and loved and understood. There needs to be more heroines like Jyn because there should be no one (or only two) right ways to be. You don’t have to be a virgin or a whore nor a damsel or a warrior. You can be somewhere in between, too.
Could you do prompts for a female villain who was the childhood friend of the female hero but the hero never picked up on any of the hints and now they're meeting for the first time in like 6 years and the villain still loves the hero and the hero doesn't recognize them.
1) “Why did you spare me!?” The hero nearly howled in her rage, feeling like her lungs and heart might burst right out of her chest with the force of her grief. She couldn’t stop shaking. She couldn’t stop crying, even if she didn’t want to give that monster the satisfaction of her tears.
The villain stared at her, expression frozen. “Because once, you saved me. I was trying to return the favour.”
The favour, as if any of this had been a favour!
2) “But you,” the hero spat. “No one would ever yield to the likes of you! You know nothing of kindness, or loyalty, or love.”
“And of course you are the expert of recognizing love and loving things. You have me all figured out. Clever you.”
3) A body flung her out of the way to safety, knocking the breath out of her, warm and armoured on top of her. Arms covered her head, as the shrapnel of the explosion missed them by inches. “Thanks.” She rolled over, expecting - not them. She stiffened. For a second, that unreadable, masked face seemed to study her. Fingers trailed over her lips with a tenderness not suited to either villainy or war. Then the villain was up and gone.
4) “So, they sent you to negotiate with me.”
“I’m told I’m very persuasive,” the hero flashed a smile.
“Yes, I’m sure that’s the reason they sent you. No.” The villain rose to her feet. “How dare you?”
She hadn’t even suggested anything yet!
5) “Do you know who I am?” “Someone who needs to be stopped.” The villain laughed, then - an oddly cracking, broken sound.