When I was younger I used to resent tamorapierce for creating the character of Briar Moss because I felt she had raised my expectations of boys/men to be too high. He was my first childhood fictional crush, and even the older men in her books set a standard that I felt later on in my teen years was unrealistically high.
Now that I’m in my late twenties, happily married and re-reading her books, I realise that instead she raised my expectations and my standards to accept nothing less than what I deserve: respect. And that all the boys/men in my life at that point were assholes.
My family taught me “boys will be boys” and that boys being mean was the same thing as boys with a sense of humour.
tamorapierce taught me that respect is mutual, cruelty and humour are not the same thing, sex can be about more than just love, love comes in many different forms, and that you can choose your family. And thank the gods that you can.
Those faithful to Mithos and The Goddess when their god appears before them:
*shakes in fear* *falls to knees* *covers ears and quivers*
Those faithful to Kyprioth when their god appears before them:
you come inTO MY HOUSE no doN'T YOU TELL ME TO PUT MY KNIFE AWAY i swear to you that there hadbetter be a GOOD REASON for interrupting my diNNER
My interpretation of Alanna of Trebond (from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet).
She started out nude, cause I hate drawing clothes, but then I thought, eh, why the heck not.
I imagine this time to be after her reveal as a female, possibly after her time with the Bazir (hence copious amounts of freckles). I didn’t quite get the androgynous look down (she’s not passing for a boy) but hopefully she looks scrappy. Like Roger of Conte had better look out!
just finished reading steve's sorting and omg i LOVED it. i think i aspire to be that exact combination of gryffinpuff. anyways have you guys sorted the tortall heroines yet? i'm especially excited to read about kel cause she's my fave :)
(don’t tell; she’s my favorite too)
Alanna the Lioness is brash, fiercely stubborn, forward; she charges; and she inspires people to follow and to glorify her. This is the superpower of the Gryffindor Secondary and Alanna uses it well. People want to fall in step behind her, to tie their lives to hers. She is repeatedly flabbergasted by it—when Jon and his friends take her as one of their own, when the other pages see her as a “very small squire,” when she finds loyalty among the thieves of George’s court, among the Bazhir and her students, and when Liam follows her back to Tortall and fights for her king’s sake.
Yes, Jon, George, and Liam are all in love with Alanna, but they’re hardly alone in the way they want to follow, fight for her, and stand with her. It’s not about love—it’s about trust, a bit, and about awe. She is bright and brave and more herself than most people ever will be. It doesn’t make people feel safe, but there’s something about that genuineness that makes people want to be better.
When people hate her it’s almost always because they realize they can’t change her (Roger, the shaman in WwRlaM).
As shining bright as the lion on her shield and sleeve is, however, Alanna is a Slytherin Primary. Alanna’s knighthood isn’t, as it will be for Kel years later, about helping people. This isn’t about doing right, or good, or kindly—this is about what Alanna wants. It is ambition, selfishness, and strength. People have told her what she is allowed and what she isn’t and Alanna’s whole life has had an edge of one big long “screw you.” A well-adjusted Slytherdor, charging at what they want, tends to get it — and to leave the world changed in their wake.
Daine Sarrasri, the Wildmage, is a Ravenclaw Primary who borrows other peoples’ systems wholesale. Her greatest terror is often that she is insane, her mind and thoughts untrustworthy. This isn’t a unique fear to Ravenclaw Primaries, but it’s certain a point in favor of that sorting. She has a Gryffindor Secondary—she charges and she hates holding her tongue.
Daine’s Ravenclaw Primary doesn’t build itself, but rather borrows from the people she loves and trusts. As a girl, she takes on her mom’s Puff system but views it as a deal—you help your community and they will help you. A social contract. When her home is attacked, no one comes to help in the aftermath even though her mother would’ve helped them. This is the first broken system that sends her spiralling. She is reticent and lost until she gains enough faith in and camaraderie with her people in Tortall to begin taking on their systems of how the world should work.
And once she accepts a system, she can be confused and horrified when other people don’t also subscribe to it. In Realms, when her parents and then the dragons hesitate to help her friends back in Tortall, she tears into them with fervor.
Daine ‘Falls’ after her mother’s death— and then she falls again when Numair “dies” in Emperor Mage. That Daine’s greatest spirals come after personal loss looks rather Slytherin, actually— but Daine is not petrifying. This is not a Slytherin’s fall. She’s not terrified of losing people or of giving herself emotional vulnerabilities. In both these cases, the system she was trusting betrays her.
She was following her mother’s system of caring and community building and then her community turned on her. In Ozorne’s court she tries on the system of diplomacy and statework that the ambassadors from Tortall promise her will work. She sits on her Gryffindor Secondary and her dislike for the situation, trusting that they know what they’re doing and that they have a valid model of the world for her to follow. If they follow all the rules of the diplomatic party, everything will be alright. And then Ozorne executes Numair and Daine snaps.
She drops that system and goes on a roaring rampage of revenge, letting nothing but her fury and her Gryffindor Secondary decide her moves. Getting Numair back calms her and brings her back from her Fall—but she doesn’t reclaim the ambassador’s trust-the-system mindset.
Daine finally ends up with a model that seems to be an updated version of her mother’s Puff— the service and the defense of the people who need it, but without the ‘fair trade’ expectation she had had in her youth. She no longer expects people to fight for her the way she fights for them. Tortall is hers and she will defend her new home through any struggle.
This isn’t a deal, a back and forth. This is about doing your best for the people around you. This system is self-contained, relying only on her actions and not on anyone else’s reciprocation or honor, which makes it much stabler than her previous models. Daine takes Tortall as her own and surrounds herself with brave, fervent people just as willing to spend their lives in its defense.
Alanna’s greatest climaxes were all personal—she saved Jon. She lost Faithful, lost Thom, killed Roger. It was about those close connections, about the way she wanted her life to be (not the way she thinks it *should* be)—but Kel’s battles will all be for other people, for wider swathes of people who are “hers” because she owes them something.
Kel’s greatest crises are about bullies, being there for Lalasa, scorning the Chamber for its undignified heartlessness, saving her people. She fights different battles than Alanna—Raoul even has that speech about it. Alanna is a hero, but Kel is a commander. Alanna is a Slytherin Primary, and Kel is a Hufflepuff.
Kel’s morality is comprehensive and intuitive and it’s based completely and entirely on people. She will betray her sworn lord, her word, and even the greater cause of the war in order to save the “small” she feels responsible for. In Lady Knight, she even insists on honoring and humanizing the enemy dead — learning to see some people as not worth her empathy was almost part of Kel’s growth.
Like Alanna, she is an inspiration without any attempt to be that kind of symbol. She changes the face of page training, and not just because of her gender—when Kel starts fighting against the hazing, the other pages rise up with her. When she goes after her people in Lady Knight, she ends up with a whole army she didn’t ask for at her back. She wins over the King’s Own without trying to do anything more than a good job, coming out after four years with not just their camaraderie but their respect and allegiance. For all that communities spontaneously form around Kel, she’s no Puff Secondary. She leads.
Kel is a good example of the potential of the Gryffindor Secondary to be subtle. She is quiet. She holds her tongue and her emotions in check so much that her bullies nickname her ‘The Lump.”
This reticence is something that comes from the cultural context of her childhood, growing up in the Yamani Isles. It’s something she finds useful but she puts aside her quiet, seeming calm when her need to speak out or act against injustice rises its head—standing up and demanding an explanation at Joren’s trial is a good example.
She is quiet, careful, often respectful, but she is always and entirely herself. It’s why she considers turning down Wyldon’s offer at the start of First Test. It’s not a fair offer, and by accepting the probation she feels like she is accepting and complicit with the system. What finally changes her mind is an appeal to her Hufflepuff Primary: this will make her better able to help people who need helping, and that’s more important than anything. So she accepts the offer and wears dresses (which she hates) to the pages’ hall to show the world she is unashamed of being a girl.
Aly is a Slytherin/Slytherin, which I’m sure everyone’s just shocked about. When Aly decides to stay for the rebellion, it’s not because her understanding of the raka’s oppression has deepened—Aly has fallen in love with Ulasim, Junai, Chenoal, Sarai, and Dove and that is what makes her little Slytherin heart finally dedicate itself wholly and forever to the cause.
It’s about people— these specific faces and what they want and need— and it’s about the challenge. The House of ambition, remember? Kyprioth, a wily old Slytherin/Slytherin himself, knew exactly what buttons to press on little old Aly.
(Kyprioth is a good example of a Slytherin with a massive inner circle—he’s not bonded to a handful of individuals, but a whole people. This seeming group-bonding does not make him a Hufflepuff—this is not about community, about service, about need, or about the basic humanity of all. This is about possession. They are his and they will be great again).
Aly’s Slytherin Secondary is pretty self-explanatory— she delights in manuever, subterfuge, quick-thinking, espionage. The books are titled ‘Trickster.’ It’s hard to get much more Slytherin than Aly Homewood.
Beka Cooper is an Idealist Primary, not a loyalist. If one of her Rat breakfast buddies broke the law, she’d turn them in and not for a Hufflepuff’s ‘greater good.’ Arrest is what happens when you commit a crime and get caught. Beka would lose far more sleep over helping a beloved friend skip out on their arrest than she would locking them up in the first place. (This is supported also by the way she deals with *spoiler* in the last book. It doesn’t matter that they are one of hers). When she takes in the kids in the first book, it’s not out of empathy, pity, or kindness, but because she feels responsible.
But which Idealist? Gryffindor or Ravenclaw? Something that muddies the water here is her strong Ravenclaw Secondary. The very format of the story calls to that secondary— Beka is keeping her journal because she wants to practice and hone her skills of observation and maintaining data. She goes after things with deliberation and empiricism even inside her own head. She is not easily swayed by emotional appeals or smooth talkers. The strength of her Ravenclaw Secondary makes her idealist primary house look a bit more built than I think it is.
Beka’s got a powerful moral compass. It follows her from situation to situation and adjusts easily and well to new conflicts without seeming to have a rigorous pre-built structure. When she is presented with hard calls, she makes them. She knows what feels right in most situations and she goes after those aims with both a single-minded terrier stubborness and all her constructed, logical skills and data analysis. Gryffindor Primary, Ravenclaw Secondary.
Sunday of Katsucon I spent the morning and early afternoon as the cosplay I have wanted to do since long before I even knew it was such a huge community: Keladry of Mindelan, from the mind of author @tamorapierce.
These are some choice photos I got to take as her, with the help of my best friend and (soon to be) Nealen of Queenscove, @mysteryandcheekbones.
At some point I’ll actually take my griffin Squishable (@squishabledotcom) and reenact the cover of the book that this particular outfit is from.
I wanted to take a moment today to acknowledge that feminism and powerful women can come in many, many different forms. So I wanted to do a nowhere near complete list of characters who exemplify feminist behavior, and invite others to chime in on the rest.
Alanna of Trebond and Olau: Who takes no shit and makes her way in a man’s world the only way she can - then tries to help the next generation.
Myles of Olau: Who loved her just for what and who she was, and went on to run the spy network of both men and women in action.
George Cooper: Who stepped back and let Alanna choose, and never, ever held her back from her duties or tried to make her something she wasn’t.
Daine Sarrasri: Who challenges boys to archery and enjoys the clothing the Queen gave her and destroys the infrastructure of a kingdom.
Queen Thayet: Who institutes a policy that all children of both genders be educated, and starts her own branch of the military whom she then leads in battle.
Keladry of Mindelan: Who stubbornly claws her way through prejudice and hardship to win her shield, and then fosters and loves the people she protects.
Raoul of Goldenlake: Who teaches Kel to be the knight she becomes, and shuts down shitty behavior in people around him when he catches it.
Lalasa: Who grew from a timid girl scarred by abuses into a fierce and practical self employed woman that teaches self defense to city girls in the evenings.
I could go on, and on, and on, but I want to hear other people’s takes on it. Please chime in with other characters you embraced and loved from both Tortall and Emelan - I started here to let it carry onward.
in the very palm of your hand (an emelan kids story)
A series of moments for each of the Emelan kids and for each of their friendships. From age ten, through disasters together and disasters apart, they are a family and they have made a home.
The night they sent Sandrilene fa Toren to Discipline Cottage, there was a storm. As the dedicate dragged her through the courtyard, a small pine nearby lit up, shattering and blackening under a sudden lightning strike.
Sandry was alive, unburned, rain soaking into her slippers, so she took in that bright flash and made it into joy inside her chest. “Did you see that?” she exclaimed to the plump, scowling redhead who huddled in on herself in the waiting room the dedicate dragged her into.
Sandry had been in the dark so long. The light– it blinded, it hurt the eyes, it hurt– but it never occurred to her to be afraid of the light.
At ten, Tris had haggled down grown fishmongers and grocers because she knew what hell would come if she came back with less change than her aunt expected. She’d had to learn by trial and error what her aunt thought fish should cost–it depended on the type, the size, the smell, but it also depended on how well or poorly brewed the morning coffee had been and if her aunt had won the bridge game the night before.
Briar had been pinching coins since the streets of Hajra– not just in a hungry spendthrift kind of way, but literally pinching them. He knew how to slip little hands in unwary purses and pockets and pull what he wanted out with careful fingers.
Sandry had spent her childhood in silks that would have fed Briar’s gang for months. Daja had been taught to haggle, to count coins and spend smartly. She was as skilled and practical in the market as they were–but Briar and Tris had learned the value of coin in hunger, in fear. Daja had had hard lessons but never cruel ones.
But that was not why a ten year old Briar had kept a ten year old Tris from falling off a Winding Circle wall overlooking a pirate fleet. That was not why she brought him a cartload of potted plants while he was stuck in quarantine with a withering Rosethorn. That was not why, in a cold storage room in Namorn, Briar and Tris reopened their connections first with each other.
It was not that they had both been born to cold homes, to the endless numbing fear of want and hunger.
Tris had taught him how to read.
When she saw Evvy’s careful pouches of alphabetized stones for the first time, Tris went still. She was suddenly small again, this caustic ex-urchin’s age, bending over a slate and some plucked herbs, telling a fidgety, attentive kid that B was for basil, botany, beet…
Briar caught her staring. He raised two cocky eyebrows at her and despite everything, despite years and miles, despite the silence between them, she knew he meant thank you.
Okay, so I finished the Beka Cooper trilogy (YES SHE'S GEORGE COOPER'S SIX TIMES GREAT-GRANDMOTHER) and Sandry's book. AND THERE'S THIS THING IN THE TRILOGY ABOUT THIS RELIGION INVOLVING "THE GENTLE MOTHER" AND I'M WONDERING IF THIS SHIT IS WHAT MAKES IT SO HARD FOR ALANNA AND KEL (who's stories I haven't yet read) TO BECOME KNIGHTS. BECAUSE THERE ARE LADY KNIGHTS IN BEKA'S TIME. IT'S NOT A WEIRD THING TO SEE. BUT IT IS IN ALANNA'S AND KEL'S
KEL IS MY FAVORITE KEL IS MY FAAAAAVORITE
um but so
yes! i do think the gentle mother cult is what led to the weaponless nonviolent femininity of alanna and kel’s time. i love that pierce put in cultural shifts like that– that beka’s time had lady knights (because it’s not an intrinsic truth of the universe that women should be nonviolent and pacified i’m talking to you, fantasy authors), that lady sabine (I LOVE SABINE) exists, and then pointing to this cultural/religious shift. mmmm delicious. yes.
So my roommate just adopted a little stray kitten, and upon research, we discovered that it actually has a proper breed (as opposed to just “mixed-breed housecat” which is what one usually gets in this situations), and that is the Bombay. They are pure black with very long legs and tails. They are also known for being very cuddly and affectionate and not liking when they’re left alone for long periods, being fans of human company. They also have exceptionally velvety coats, distinctive (very!) purrs and meows, and they like to play.
And as I sit here re-reading Terrier, I become more and more convinced that Pounce (and thus Faithful) was, in fact, a Bombay cat. Granted Bombays have yellow eyes, not purple ones – but Pounce/Faithful is a constellation, after all. There have to be some distinctions between the basic breed and the star-spanning variety. Aside from that, this cat is the spitting-image of everyone’s favorite Constellation Cat, and I believe this is exactly the type of cat that Pounce was. Nothing save word from Tamora Pierce herself will convince me otherwise.
Can I just say how important Tamora Pierce’s books are? I can’t say too much about Alanna’s, Kel’s, or Daine’s series at the moment because I haven’t read them in forever, but the Circle of Magic series? So so so so important, especially with representation!! If you look at the kids and their teachers, half of them are PoC (Lark, Briar, Daja, Frostpine). Lark has asthma, many of the characters have suffered from nightmares/PTSD (I believe it is Briar who has PTSD in the Circle Opens quartet? Don’t quote me. I’m rereading Circle Opens next!). And I'm pretty sure Niko has slight OCD? (Or perhaps germophobia? Actually, this seems more likely.)
I haven’t read this series in years, and now that I’m rereading it as an adult with much more comprehension about the problems of the real world and lack of representation in media, I’m re-realizing how fantastic Tamora’s writing is. Heck, one of the characters is a [SPOILERS] canon lesbian in one of the standalone books!! And her relationship is not the center of the plot! (Though someone does try to exploit her sexual orientation to get something from her… dick.)
I have a lot of feeling’s about Tamora’s writing okay.