Monday, December 28, 2009
Our Heroes and Self-Rescuing Princesses.
But it wasn't just the heroes I liked to be action packed, adventurous and determined. I wanted the heroines to be the same.
Now I have a daughter I've been introducing her to a concept very dear to my heart - "the self-rescuing princess". Give me a girl who can take care of herself and yet still retain (or regain) the capacity to love. The Xenas of this world, or any other world for that matter. Strong women, women who can solve their own problems, women you can respect, admire and want to be like.
That doesn't mean I want my boys to be any less. I'm an equal opportunities writer. I still want my Robin Hood. I just want Maid Marian to be just as good as he is. And maybe rescue him as well every so often.
Let's face it, there is nothing so attractive in a couple as lovers who have each other's back, who will support each other through thick and thin, who are in fact, a perfect match.
Which takes me back to Robin of Sherwood and Judi Trott's Maid Marian. She started off as the shy and retiring medieval maid, but Marian ended up being as much a part of the gang as any of the others. In fact, she ended up being the heart and soul of Sherwood. And just as able to fight her own ground.
Eowyn of Rohan was another female character who stayed with me from the first moment I met her on the pages of The Lord of the Rings. The aspect of unrequited love, of helpless longing in spite of personal strength, just made her more attractive to me. Her relationship with Faramir develops out of their mutual loss, and their respect for each other. It isn't the grand, passionate drama. It's quiet and subtle, as strong and enduring as they are. It's profoundly moving.
"I love you.", "I know."
In Return of the Jedi those same lines are spoken, this time with Han leading, as they prepare to fight their way out of another hopeless situation. Those two scenes encapsulate their relationship for me. Strong, supportive, equal.
Where does this leave the hero? Well I have a theory on the heroes for these heroines. In order to match up to a self-rescuing princess, a hero has to be able to accept her as she is. She doesn't need him, doesn't have to rely on him, so the fact that she chooses to be with him is a great compliment. It also means that he has to be man enough to accept it. Relationships in stories like this are a marriage of equals. He matches her, she matches him. She's strong enough to stand her ground. He's strong enough to give her the emotional support she needs while at the same time accepting it from her. Oh, and fight at her side.
There's nothing more sexy than that.
So what do you think? What makes a modern hero work for you? Who is your favourite Self-Rescuing Princess?
R.F. Long always had a thing for fantasy, romance and ancient mysteries. The combination was bound to cause trouble. In university she studied English Literature, History of Religions and Celtic Civilisation, which just compounded the problem.
Her Holtlands Novella The Wolf’s Sister: a Tale of the Holtlands and her novels The Scroll Thief: a Tale of Ithian and the paranormal romance novel Soul Fire are now available from Samhain Publishing. The Wolf’s Mate, sequel to The Wolf’s Sister is due out on 19th January 2010. The Scroll Thief came out in print on 1st December 2009, and Soul Fire will follow suit in May 2010.