Tuesday, 11 January 2005

Eye on Girls

Am writing this with a broad grin on my face. Interviewing pretty girls always get me that way, especially when she is a former Miss Malaysia. :-D

In the true spirit of the moment, let's talk about girls then (Stop rolling your eyes, Erna).

After all, someone DID suggested previously that I have an Eye on Girls (Hur hur).

Ok, ok, to be more specific, let's talk about girls or heroines in fantasy books.

Sadly, females in fantasy novels tend to be kinda shallow. They are either weepy damsels in distress, or the stereotypical warrior princess with blond hair and skimpy clothes. Almost every one of them would fulfill at least three out of these characteristics:
  • Beautiful (or at least 'attractive')
  • Tall
  • Blonde
  • Long hair
  • Blue/Green eyes
  • Wears skimpy outfits
  • Good in bed

Of course, some heroines ARE not like that. But they are a rare breed. And less fun to read about. And the cover illustrations are less nice to look at.

So I'm shallow. So sue me.

One of my all-time favorite characters in a fantasy novel is Lord of the Rings' Eowyn. She's the best female character in the books, she kicks Witch-King butt, and at the very least, she doesn't sit around the house sewing standards. The movie made Eowyn look a bit too fragile and weepy, but I was happy with Miranda Otto's portrayal of her anyway. Better her than Arwen, I always say.

When I interviewed Glenda Larke about her Isles of Glory books, she mentioned that she specifically wanted a 'more mature' woman as her heroine, not some fawning damsel who fans herself all the time. As it turned out, Blaze Halfbreed was fairly entertaining to read about, I guess, but still a little too Amazonian though.

I somehow think that in children's fantasy novels, the female characters always turn out better. Probably because the author doesn't feel obligated to stick them in skimpy outfits (thank goodness for THAT). Also, they also seem a lot stronger than the male leads.

Heck, even in the Harry Potter books, Hermione was a far more interesting character than Harry himself. (Let's not mention Lucy and Susan in the Narnia (C.S. Lewis) books though. Yeech)

For children's fantasy, I like His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman) Lyra best. She was a nice character who you actually CARED about rather than just READ about. I also like Pratchett's Tiffany Aching, who in my book is a way better witch than Hermione.

Back to adult female heroines, one of the er.. 'shallower' (read: sexy outfits) female heroines I like are Catti'Brie from RA Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden books. Sure, she's a little shallow, but she shoots a mean arrow, and besides, which other character would have the guts to fall in love with a dark elf?

Oh, and since I mentioned Pratchett, let's also include Susan, Death's grandaughter. Very cool character. And to wrap things up, here are his BEST and most UNconventional heroines (Read: does not comply with above-mentioned criteria) from Discworld.

Take a bow, you Witches of Lancre. Grandma Weatherwax is THE greatest witch I've read about. And Nanny Ogg is just... well, Nanny Ogg is indescribable. Go read the books.

There you have it. My Eye on Girls (though I doubt the witches still qualify as 'girls'), in the true EoE spirit of books.

Now, let me drool over those (former) Miss Malaysia pictures in peace.


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