Jun. 20th, 2011

azn_jack_fiend: (Fragments)
I haven't seen the Game of Thrones finale yet but damn am I looking forward to it! I have to say I've been enjoying the television show more than I have the books. Aside from that one awful faux-lesbian scene with Littlefinger, there hasn't been a single misstep in the nine hours I've seen so far (I don't count the racial stuff because it doesn't strike me personally as any worse than the books themselves).

One thing that I love about the show is that it doesn't really follow some of the fantasy AND general tropes about women as victims.  Of course, the women characters are often victims; it's a very sexist society and that's presented in quite a realistic way, in keeping with the tone of the show.  But women have a fairly complicated range of relationships to suffering and adversity:

vague spoilers except for the one big one that everyone knows by now I think  )

Whew! Anyway, that analysis of women in GoT made me think about THH, our own novel, and how we're handling women characters. THH is a romance, first and foremost, and I don't want to fall into the insulting paradigm of saying "But it's MORE than a romance!" The relationship is at the core of the story.  However, I think of it more as a romance in the old-time or French version... as a big sweeping story with love and struggle and all the stuff that makes your heart beat faster. And the two leads, Sean and Cormac, are men, but their story is set against a very specific place (Ireland) and also against a vast sweep of history, and to make them come alive and the story come alive we had to make the setting come alive with people.

As a detour, I just want to brag and say that one thing both [livejournal.com profile] heddychaa and I have always been very good at in fanfiction is creating original characters. And I personally find it hard to read longer fanfiction without original characters. I start to feel claustrophobic, as if the two characters are squeezed into a featureless box and I'm squeezed in there with them. I don't think minor characters should ever be an afterthought, but woven into the story to make the setting and the path of the protagonist richer and more interesting. Even if they're only appearing for a few sentences, they're meaningful, and I care about them.

Anyway, we have some significant female characters in the story, and I care about them a lot. One of them goes through some really, really incredible development, but I can't say more without spoilers. And their relationship to the protagonists is very complicated. There are familial ties. Cormac has a large family that he's very close to, whereas Sean is more isolated, but his women relatives have been a crucial and positive influence on his life. There are other ties that again, I can't go into for fear of spoilers. But I'll just say that saving women, and not saving women, and being saved by women, are three paths that weave back and forth in the story. And there is a lot of saving because the stakes are so high. We've got dream quests, Viking raids, freaky giant monsters, torture-happy British paramilitaries, bondage-happy Sidhe lords... basically, a ton of mind-bending adversities is being rained down on our heroes from our furiously clacking keyboards of doom.

I wanted to mention this because some m/m romances have no women at all, or just one or two stereotypical and very minor characters, and our book is definitely not like that. It's very realistic, exhaustively researched and true to history -- once we set up the supporting website you'll see that -- and part of the realism means having a balanced and well thought-out supporting cast inhabiting a fascinating setting. In fact, you could say that Ireland is a character. And history is a character, not just Irish history, because Sean identifies much, much more as Latino than as Irish-American and we delve pretty deeply into his family history.

I've also been getting more and more promotional ideas. I'd like to start doing some cross-interviews where [livejournal.com profile] heddychaa  and I interview each other about the book, and lob some softball questions at each other and post the interviews here and eventually at the dedicated website. And to forestall the inevitable questions, we are close to the end but no it is not done yet, you cannot read it! Soon, soon. I am also trying to figure out some way of promoting this among Labyrinth fandom and at events such as this because this book is also soaking with supernatural (mostly gay) sex and has an interesting and unexpected focus on certain elements of clothing. I will say no more!

I hope to have cable when I get home today. The sage of cable is pretty long and honestly, I've written so much about GoT and our own book that I've run out of juice to describe it in an interesting way. So, umm, cable.


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