Women in epic fantasy romance

Assassins_Gambit_final_cover_smallerI’ve seen a number of other articles in the past few years talking about women in epic fantasy, and whether it would be historically accurate for women in fantasy novels to be in positions of power, as leaders, or warriors, or pirate queens, or whatever. The short answer is yes, and I’ll leave it to others more qualified than I to provide the supporting evidence.

That said, I don’t care if it’s historically accurate. I would write epic fantasy novels with women in positions in power even if no woman in history had ever held such a position. Why? Because it’s fantasy. In this genre, we make stuff up.

Magic isn’t historically accurate. Dragons aren’t historically accurate. Why should gender roles have to be historically accurate? We write speculative fiction. We speculate. We invent worlds. It’s vastly uncreative to model everything in one’s fantasy world on the real world (plus it’s ignorant, if one believes women in real life history did nothing but cook dinner and make babies).

I write women in all kinds of interesting roles. I write women as assassins, as political leaders, as warriors, as mathematicians. Why? Because I want to. Because I enjoy it. And because as a reader, I enjoy reading this kind of story. Neither I nor any other epic fantasy writes needs more justification than that.

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3 Responses to Women in epic fantasy romance

  1. Isabo Kelly says:

    Absolutely. Though there are tons of historical examples of strong women (from queens to spies to pirate queens), fantasy isn’t history. Our worlds, our rules! Great post.

  2. kyrahalland says:

    Exactly. If I was concerned about historical accuracy, I would read and write historical fiction. (I read some, don’t write it.) It’s more fun to have new worlds with new and different rules. I like to see women in different, interesting roles – scholars, pirates, doctors, wizards, etc – and I also like to see women being protrayed as strong in different ways from how men are strong. I’d also like to see more strong women who also embrace the roles of wife and mother without being/feeling diminished by those roles.

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