Wow I’m suddenly reblogging a whole bunch of Circle of Magic stuff. For so many reasons.

Actually, I’m surprised Circle of Magic and the subsequent books set in the same universe aren’t more popular among the tumblr crowd. They’ve got badass women and canon lesbians and so many POCs that of the main eight characters (the four kids and their teachers) I think maybe three are white.

Also, of those same eight characters, five are women, one is gay, two are either gay or bi but are in a committed gay relationship with each other, and don’t even get me started on their differing backgrounds.

Whoops, too late: one came from nobility, one came from the streets, one was a merchant, one was a trader, one was a nomad, one came from a farm, one graduated from a mages’ college, and one came from a poor rural village.

And the whole Circle of Magic book series is basically about them becoming friends and then becoming a family and the four kids start to say they’re foster-siblings and Lark and Rosethorn are their foster-parents and it’s basically two quartets and three extra novels about eight unrelated people who eventually consider each other family and…

Seriously more people should read it.

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…If I tell you my friend is a lady, then you - you had best start lapping, kitty.

Best of Sandry

Credit to Minuiko and Pillar of Zereshk

* * * * * 

Best of Briar (x)

Best of Tris (x)

Best of Daja (x)

So I got a bit behind on these since I’ve been gallivanting off to Brighton and Norfolk the last couple of weekends, but here is my fourth watercolour for Sandry’s Book/The Magic In The Weaving. First Second Third

I have officially broken the scanner I have at work so you’ll have to forgive the poor quality of the iphone photo here I’m afraid!

I’m pretty happy with this: I may have a way to go with really using watercolour to its best advantage, but I’m getting results I;m actually pleased with now. So the project is working: I’m getting my head around a new medium.

I may do one last painting for Sandry’s Book, or I might sign the book off with something a bit different. Otherwise, Tris’s Book here we come!

Sandrilene fa Toren

I’m in the middle of listening to the Emelan books and am currently on Magic Steps ( Sandry’s Circle Opens book) and am continually impressed with how Tamora Pierce writes a heavily privileged character, who is also trapped by some of her privileges while also blind to them. I think “The Will of the Empress” most explicitly shows Sandry’s blindness to her privilege and position as nobility related to royalty, but it’s subtly all over “ Dancing Steps” too.

Sandry occasionally has to assert her authority in order to view crime scenes and convince Pasco’s family that he does indeed have dancing magic. She does have to assert it but there’s never any instance where she might be in danger for asserting it with a guard, policing force or government official unlike Briar and Tris in their Circle Opens books. No one is going to hit her or torture her for interfering. She never has to count coppers , as seen when she and the provost mages need more silk. The Mage even tells her how nice ( and different) it is for them to just buy what they need for their work. It’s the mage, a middle class harrier mage, who notices that Sandry just gets what she needs, not Sandry herself. Sandry is a step away from royalty and it brings her money and protection.

At the same time, Tamora Pierce also throws in subtle hints abou how Sandry is trapped by her position of privilege. Sandry has to sit ramrod straight as is ladylike. After ripping Captain Quais a new one she knows she must send him a letter of apology later since she is Sandrilene fa Toren and noble ladies are not rude to Provost captains. Tellingly, when Sandry loses her temper and is rude to him, she is behaving like her friend Tris who has the freedom to be as rude as she likes to a jackass without then being expected to apologize ( stepping back into the role of dove like, ladylike behavior). People continually see Sandry as Sandrilene fa Toren the noble before they see her as Sandry a powerful mage. In the original circle books Sandry was constantly coming up against the idea that noble girls don’t spin or weave and even while people don’t say that to her anymore, she’s still coming up against the idea that noble girls are good for naught but to wait on and be married.

I find Sandry a really fascinating character because she is written this way. Tamora Pierce has created a character who is kind, practical, and hard working and then put her in a position of highest privilege. That character then uses that privilege and is occasionally oblivious to it but Pierce also shows how Sandry is also occasionally oppressed by her good fortune ( without ever implying that Sandry’s struggles with her class as an aristocrat negate the many benefits it grants her). It’s a complicated portrait of social class.

The older I get the more I appreciate the circle universe books and the more I am astounded ( and appreciative) that Pierce created complex portraits of social class in a book for children.


Tris, Sandry, Briar, and Daja.

Graphite, 9x16 for a cinematic ratio. Did some minor level adjustment in Gimp (I know, I know…it hurts me). I’d like to go back into Sandry’s later and fix it up since I’m not happy with the texture in it. But I’m really happy with how the other three turned out, even if they do still need some work.


Okay, so this is gonna require a bit of explanation. I recently began rereading Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic books (and sketched the characters). But while I was home for Christmas I found these Circle drawings I did when I was about nine or ten. So for my next painting exercise I decided to do new interpretations of the covers featuring each character to see how far I’ve come, art-wise, in the last fifteen years.

Here’s Sandry, number 1 of 4.

sandrilene fa toren | imogen poots

“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… If I tell you my friend is a lady, then you had best start lapping, kitty.”

tamora pierce fancast.

Let's talk about Sandry....

After reading this post I feel the need to rant about Sandry.

I always felt that Sandry was kind of an underrated character. I mean Daja, Briar and especially Tris have very flashy magic and are really badass. But I felt Sandry’s power’s were never explored really except for in Magic Steps when she creates a net of unmagic and literally rips apart the killers.

So let’s take a moment to think about all the amazing possibilities her magic could have (especially if she was evil).

Besides the usual thread magic basics (which we could make an amazing list of such as weaving maps to find things), Sandry is the only known mage who can manipulate magic as thread. As the aforementioned post said that means she could probably ripped the life force out of a fellow mage given that their magic is connected to their life force.

That also means that maybe she could collect magic from others and store it for use (like Tris with weather and such). She could be like Rouge from the X-men borrowing others powers or using them to create some even stronger magical force like during the earthquake.

Another thing she could probably do is move people like puppets, especially given that muscles are made of incredibly microscopic threads, which also means she could probably have amazing healing potential.

And according to String Theory everything is made up of tiny strings! That just opens up a well of possibilities such as maybe giving her a sort of spidey-sense or a sensitivity to the world.

Like I just feel like there could be so much more to Sandry’s powers, and she’s such a fantastic character!

The more I think about it the more I feel like the Circle of Magic series would make a really amazing game. You could play as each of the four: Briar, Tris, Sandry or Daja. Their unique powers help you along your tasks and battles such as forging objects, changing the weather, gathering herbs/reviving plants (ala Okami). You would visit Lark, Rosethorn or the other teachers for advice on your quests and to learn new powers.

The storyline sets you to exploring Winding Circle and Summersea while you defeat the pirate attacks, solves crimes and stop the Blue Pox.

- “Why?” Sandry demanded, quivering as if she might yet flee him. “Why do you have such a distaste for it, when so many other men do not?”
- Ambros cleared his throat. “You judge us all by the actions of a few, Cousin.”
- Sandry made a face. “I’m sorry, Ambros,” she apologized, her voice still raspy. “I’m overwrought, I suppose.”
- Ealaga sighed. “Really, my dear husband, for a man who is so clever, you can be so shortsighted,” she said with unhappy patience. “What else is she supposed to do, when any unmarried woman of western Namorn must live her life and judge all men by those few who have successfully stolen women away? Each time a man succeeds, we place our daughters and our sisters under new safeguards. We give them new signs that a man in whose company they find themselves might plan to kidnap them. Don’t we teach our women to view all men according to the actions of a few?”
—  The Will of the Empress by her imperial majesty, Tamora Pierce, empress of amazing themes, tsarina of excellence, queen of fantasy, grand duchess of the superb, archduchess of intriguing plots, princess of fascinating characters, duchess of feminism, marchioness of diverse magics, countess of many realms, viscountess of charming villains, lady of stupendously written novels, baroness of perfection.