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An ancient superhero who shed tears - would that work?

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Tue August 2nd, 2011, 1:14 pm

If you read the primary sources from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, men are always shedding tears, so I'd say go with your character.
One of the most moving scenes in the 13thC Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal is when the great William Marshal is appointed regent of England during difficult times, and breaks down in front of his close friends and vassals and sobs his socks off.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Shield-of-Dardania
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Post by Shield-of-Dardania » Wed August 3rd, 2011, 7:38 am

Great posts again, girls. Thank you Diane, Michy, EC. Your responses will be very useful in guiding me toward my final decision.

Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not trying to hard sell the 'tearful warrior' theme here. Got no personal interest in that at all. It was merely an afterthought which started floating about in my mind a while after drafting the original.

Let me outline the background. You see, the character of concern was the last of a fallen dynasty of a defeated kingdom which had been in exile in the jungle highlands for 2 centuries.

He was just at the beginning stage of turning around his family's and his people's fortunes. His wife was the anchor of his life, the shining beacon of the community, which - under his strong and brave leadership - was only starting to find faith in themselves again after many, many decades of foreign oppression and occupation.

His family was the people's only great hope for a national resurgence. His good family friend, an elderly female seer, had just moments earlier prophesied that his daughter will one day be sovereign queen (meaning, eventual independence for his fallen ancestral kingdom).

He had wanted and expected his wife to be a part, an important and meaningful part, of a great future he foresaw for his family and his people. Her sudden, unexpected death was, therefore, a devastating blow to his then hopes, visions and ambitions.

This said scene was only a tiny part of the overall plot. I can go back to the original scene no sweat, make him Conanus Absolutus again, without impairing the story or the character one bit. ;)

But I just thought, why don't I play about with this new idea for a bit. You could say that it was really an outburst of extreme fury, frustration and hopelessness against an invisible, unfightable foe, i.e. the grim reaper, rather than just slimy mush.

BTW, only 2 women close to the family saw him shed some tears, in his own home. The family midwife-cum-healer and the elderly seer. He recovered real fast, even after having gone 7 nights without sleep, caring for his wife who had had a difficult delivery. He had no choice. To the local populace, every leading male of his dynasty had always had to be the invincible, indestructible 'Lord of the Mountain.'

We're not talking about your average run-of-the-mill warrior here. This fellow is pure thoroughbred. He can do four-limb boxing as slick as Jean-Claude Van Damme, wield sword and dagger like a hardcore samurai, and brawl and wrestle like the Rock. The ultimate killer-warrior. Achilles would have taken his helm off to him. :)
Last edited by Shield-of-Dardania on Thu August 4th, 2011, 12:53 am, edited 18 times in total.

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DianeL
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Post by DianeL » Sun August 14th, 2011, 3:47 pm

Without any actual intention to come off as a strident nutbar - how is it that you think you know me, or any of us here, well enough to call us "girls"? I am a professional, resonsible woman of forty-three, and people who don't know me aren't invited to consider me anything less.

You seem to see women as somehow being a distinct and separate thing from any standard audience your novel might have, and it is distancing you as an author and just a little bit offputting to me, for one, as a potential reader. Just saying.
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Mon August 15th, 2011, 3:41 pm

I thought Shield was a woman. I wasn't offended. Of course I wasn't included either so maybe I'm not one of the girls.

I can understand your point, Diane, if Shield is male. That would smack faintly of sexism, but I don't think it was intended as such regardless of the gender of the poster.

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Mon August 15th, 2011, 4:06 pm

I actually agree with Diane -- although I am pretty thick-skinned about such things, in most contexts being called a "girl" does feel patronizing. LH, perhaps the reason it didn't bother you has something to do with your age :) -- in my 20s I probably wouldn't have noticed it, either, but being now in my 40s it can be annoying (depending, again, on who is saying it and the context).

I do think that Shield should be more judicious in the use of the term "girl" (especially on a forum like this where the majority of participants are female) if he/she doesn't want to risk alienating potential female readers of his/her book.
Last edited by Michy on Mon August 15th, 2011, 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Tue August 16th, 2011, 8:40 am

I'm also 40something and wasn't offended at all....however as Michy says it can depend on who's saying it etc, but I don't mind the term in this instance.
Currently reading: "Unto us a son is Given" by Donna Leon

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DianeL
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Post by DianeL » Wed August 17th, 2011, 12:45 am

As a feminist, I'm not particularly big on some of the more marquee issues people presume to be a part of feminism - and its central core, to me, is choice. I have the right to choose who presumes a nickname, or identity, or even just a term of affection upon me. Quite apart from whether it's insulting in any way, being called "girl" is an intimacy I did not invite in this forum.

"Girl" in and of itself does not bug me in the least. But from someone who doesn't know a person? It's the presumption that makes it seem patronizing. A friend, whose face I can see, whose intention is clear to me - no problem. But in this case the intention can't be called unambiguous. And when someone appears to think of "women" as a separate an distinct category from "readers" - and on a site all about reading and writing (and populated, as Michy points out, by rather a lot of women!) - that just seems to me an unlikely point of view for woman to take, of other women. Call this presumptuous itself, but I presumed that'd be a male pattern of behavior, seeng as how "women" seem to be more a matter of curiosity than a persona identity.

I happen to love men simply to bits, and refuse to see people as categories (as the thread seems predicated upon). I *don't* love being strident. But I don't love being diminutized by a stranger, either. And the whole attitude toward women as somehow being different from simply one's audience - coming from a writer - is simply strange, and yes, offputting, to me. That is a personal issue I freely admit. If it weren't for that part, the "girls" thing probably would have just seemed like a very minor miscalcuation of tone, and not bothered me, but with that preceding all the "Girls"-talking, it gave a context to the term I (again personally) find to be unappealing.

My apologies if I am irritating anybody myself at this stage. I prefer not to let stuff like this go uncommented, even if I dont' want to rant and all the stereotypical things people like to think feminists need to be disliked for.

To the point of the thread, my original post stands. Cry, don't cry - it's got nothing to do with my plumbing nor my chromosomes whether that will work for me in a story. Whether it is presented well, in a story which engages me: THAT is the point. Not whether, culturally or stereotypically, women see men as pansies (or whether men do) for weeping. In this case, given Shield's statement that it doesn't matter one way or another, I'd be the sort of advocate for brevity who'd say, "Then does the scene itself matter? Whatever you don't cut needs to be vital." But then, I'm the sort who kills off my darling scenes and even more without much sentiment.
Last edited by DianeL on Wed August 17th, 2011, 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"

***

The pre-modern world was willing to attribute charisma to women well before it was willing to attribute sustained rationality to them.
---Medieval Kingship, Henry A. Myers

***

http://dianelmajor.blogspot.com/
I'm a Twit: @DianeLMajor

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