Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Genre Character of the Week: Raederle of An

One of the best parts of getting my Bachelors degree is that my free reading time has gone up significantly, so for the last couple months I’ve upped my fun reading from seven to ten books a month. As far as categories go I’ve simply added a second horror, fantasy, and Science Fiction (SF) novel to the roster each month. For horror and SF this means I get to read more authors, but for Fantasy, this means I can start working through some series I’ve been meaning to look into.

Case in Point: The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy by Patricia A McKillip. Having previously enjoyed her World Fantasy Award winning novel The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, I’d been meaning to check out this trilogy for a while now. Last month I read the first novel, The Riddle-Master of Hed, and this month I’ve been working through the rest of the trilogy. Today I’m going to be looking at the main character from book two, Heir of Sea and Fire, Raederle of An.

In quest-based Fantasy novels, the staple of the princess at the end of the quest is a long known one. Usually the hero must go through many journeys and dangers before he can claim the princess as his bride. There are two things I like a lot about the way these books work:

1) The hero, Morgan, begins the first book having already beaten a ghost king at a riddle contest, and therefore is owed the hand of Raederle of An, a princess. The problem is, as he is the ruler of a small farming community, he hasn’t told anyone he has beaten the ghost as he is unsure of whether or not the princess would like to spend the rest of her life on a farm.

2) Raederle does something that I wish I saw more of in Fantasy books, after waiting for the winner of the contest to claim her throughout the first book (which is told from Morgan’s point of view), she begins the second book by decided that she has waited long enough and begins her own quest to hunt her betrothed down.

In fact, throughout the entire second book we follow her, as well as a female warrior and Morgan’s sister as they quest to locate the missing ruler of Hed.

For me, the idea of the princess at the end of the quest being willing to meet you halfway was such an amazing idea I couldn’t stop smiling while I read the book (except in the scary parts, where there was a heck of a lot of danger going on).

I haven’t read the final book of the trilogy yet, Harpist of the Wind, but if it is anything like the first two, I’m definitely going to like it.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I loved this trilogy. Interesting point that you brought up, I never thought of the fact that the Raederle went after Morgon instead of waiting for him before ... and I'm sure you'll love the last book as well :-)