Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chapter 66: Fantasy Men and the Women Who Write Them and the Other Way Around

Dungeons and Dragons is going through another revamping called "The Sundering". I know it's been great so far because I've read some of the books and talked to Ed Greenwood and Erin M. Evans personally about it. While I was ooing and awing over the new books for D&D (which I am new to, I won't hide that little fact) I was hacking my way through a series that was supposed to be great. I heard from many of my friends that this series was great, you'll love it and "it's like Supernatural but better!"
Please... better than the Winchesters, Garth, Jo, and Bobby and Cas? Really?
Well, it's a popular genre and I want to write in that vein as well. Why not try Jim Butcher? He's been around for a while and dear ol' Dresden has had a TV series based on his adventures. MUST BE GOOD!
Or not...
Just popular because...well, I don't know honestly.
People: Read the first one (Storm Front). Me: Eeehh... People: It gets better in the next one! (Fool Moon). Me: Uuugghhh.... People: It gets better in the-- *PUNCH!*
No, it never gets better. I've heard that Butcher's latest one, "Cold Days" is supposed to be his masterpiece. Sure, it takes that many books to describe women's legs, waistlines, and especially those buxom breasts. What would a supernatural book/movie/game be without female legs and soft contours? Well, let's just say they would have to hold their own.
Fed up with that fiasco, I went to the other end of the spectrum just to see what was there. I picked up Margaret Mallory's Highlander series. Never had I read a Romance novel. My sister will tell you I have with Deanna Cameron's "The Belly Dancer", but more on that later. For Mallory, she is honestly just several aspects away from being a pretty good writer. Not going to lie, I felt gypped when the "The Scene" came around and I didn't even get the whole thing. That was for later it turns out. For Mallory though, the attraction for her highlanders comes in the form of their honor, bravery, patriotism, and of course, gleaming muscles. But not overly so. I can hear males disagreeing with me right now. But trust me, we read those book sot get he-man descriptions and Mallory makes us wait for it. We don't know that Alex's muscles are sharp and angular every time he enters a room. There times when Mallory will go PAGES without telling you a thing about this gorgeous guy.
Not male writers. No, the instant that woman walks into a room (or a darkened hall way in a few Butcher cases) we know from the warmth of her body, or the curve of her outline, or the longness of her legs that it's her. Those (always!) dangerous, dominating females of the fantasy genre.
So leading in to Erin M. Evans and D&D, we have Havi, Fari, and the demonic Lorcan. But just so you know, Lorcan is a hunk. A very evil, demon-y hunk. At first, as a female reader isn't that fond of dangerous-Edward-Vampire types, I thought "Oh, great, the evil sexy demon man is here to make you a deal you can't refuse." But Evans wouldn't have it.
Rather than slather Lorcan in sex and attraction, she makes you cringe every time the guy is on the page. He appears and you're like "Oh good, he saved Havi, but he needs to disappear again." No amount of his "good guy moves" makes you want him there. Yes, you remember him floating in the demon trap at the beginning and how much his red, muscled skin glowed in the flames. But you don't want him there like other sadist chicks want Vivian to chomp Aiden oh so hotly. Or how about that new Rid Riding Hood flick, eh? *Crepper grin*
Evans gives us a wonderful departure from those men. Of course, being female she doesn't sexualize her heroines either. Perhaps it is just be because I am female, but I really found Havi and Fari wonderful females. They were strong, but not independent. They depended on their dragon-born father (who was awesome, by the way!) to help them because they weren't perfect and got into trouble. And also something Evans doesn't let her girls get away with is getting into trouble and then apologizing their way out. Mehen let's them know when they've done wrong and they learn (usually) from their mistakes.
I use Evans because she seems to the only author doing genders right. The males look like they should be that guy, but they're not and they give us the creeps rather than making us desire them. Her girls are not sexualized or free to be stupid females either. Maybe she does this because she's a female and is just trying to stay away from stereotyping? Maybe, but I doubt it. She's just good at character and has realized we don't need all the sex to have a good fantasy adventure. Take it from me, the story needs to be able to stand on its own and not depend on females with dominatrix tendencies or males with sadist playmates on their minds. Let the story speak for itself.  

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