aerielpembroke: (erin)
[personal profile] aerielpembroke posting in [community profile] wheretheicarusnowroams
Like most people who read Gathering of Gargoyles and Pearl of the Soul of the World, I loved Erin and her friendship with Aeriel. But when I got older, in retrospect some things started to seem a bit... off. I recalled Erin always being mistaken for Aeriel's servant even though they both used to be slaves, and Erin putting herself in a supplicating position rather than as an equal, which started to make me uncomfortable as someone born and raised in the US who was also reading a book written by an American with a shared history of characters with dark skin serving characters with light skin. And skin is something mentioned quite a lot in the series.

What do you think? Did the relationship read this way to you? Have you found fics that dealt with the problem, if you saw one?

Date: 2013-04-14 05:16 pm (UTC)
minutia_r: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minutia_r
I think it's understandable that Erin would see herself in a lower position than Aeriel at first, certainly; while they both started out as slaves Aeriel had more time to get rid of the habits of thought that went with it, not to mention that she saved Erin and also Aeriel was already beginning to be The Aeriel by the time she and Erin met. I agree that the implications are a bit unfortunate though, and I've got no real in-universe explanation for Erin being mistaken for Aeriel's servant--did that happen more than once?

It is odd how white-coded Aeriel is, given a)the green-with-pink-polka-dots ethnic mix of moon people and b)the fact that none of her relatives (Lady Syllva and her children, the nameless suzerain of Pris, Roshka) are coded white at all. It's true that Aeriel grew up in a more European-flavored culture than her blood relatives, but it's not just her culture, it's her looks: blond hair, green eyes, and pale skin. Which pale skin she acquired (having started out with mauve skin) by . . . spending a lot of time in the sun? In the company of people (the Ma'ambai) who were definitely neither white-coded nor pale?

It's tempting to explain some of this by saying that Aeriel's appearance was fixed in the first book, while her non-white-coded relatives only appeared in the later books, and were therefore possibly some sort of attempt to address unfortunate racial implications from the first one? Only Erin and her unfortunate baggage were only introduced in the second book too.

(It is worth noting though that the only fully human character in the book, and thus the only one whom I'm comfortable assigning an actual ethnic designation rather than being coded this or that, is Ravenna, who is black.)

All that being said, Erin remains an awesome character, and an awesome character who is black-coded, and I would be sorry to lose her to the social justice warriors. Not that anyone was actually threatening her, of course.

(The way I have dealt with these issues in fic: totally ignored them. I'm not sure if there was any better way to do it.)

Date: 2013-04-15 02:14 pm (UTC)
minutia_r: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minutia_r
I really thought that Erin/Roshka was where the story was going in Gathering of Gargoyles; unsuccessfully toying with the idea of an OT4 was how I ended up with Roshka/Irrylath. I do think that what Roshka needs in a partner is someone who will somehow or other jostle him out of his path of least resistance, and I could see Erin doing that.

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On Avaric's White Plain/Where The Icarus Now Wings

August 2013

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