Bakker and Women

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The Sharmat

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« on: August 04, 2017, 04:24:27 pm »
I promise this isn't gonna be a discussion of feminism and misogyny and all that stuff. Just a simple question: Has anyone here actually known a woman that read this series and liked it?

Woden

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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 04:52:12 pm »
Not me. But I only know two friends that have read the first three books - the main problem here in Spain is that only the first trilogy is published in spanish.
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Baztek

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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 05:34:45 pm »
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« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 06:59:48 pm by Wilshire »

Wilshire

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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 07:05:55 pm »
My wife disliked TDTCB, too dark for her taste.
I have only had 3 people read and enjoy TSA that I have recommended it too, out of about 10-12, probably 8ish were male and 3 female. All those that enjoyed it were male.
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MSJ

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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 07:14:20 pm »
As i said, my wife liked it and never got any of the mysogenic critics. She just though of it as the dark ages. Its co.plete now and she has picked the books back up. Reading TTT at the mmoment. She wants to know whats so good about these books that consume so much of my time and my fascination with them.
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H

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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 07:24:44 pm »
My wife read Darkness and liked it.  With more free time she'd alkready have read TWP.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

Wilshire

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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 07:25:20 pm »
She wants to know whats so good about these books that consume so much of my time and my fascination with them.
If you figure out how to answer that question effectively, please let me know. My loved ones ask this all the time ;).
One of the other conditions of possibility.

MSJ

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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 07:31:32 pm »
Quote from:  Wilshire
If you figure out how to answer that question effectively, please let me know. My loved ones ask this all the time ;).

The meat? The logos? My want to reach the Absolute? I have no answer. But, ill tell you i have curbed when and where i do this forum thing at. Tired of the arguing. ;)
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 08:20:07 pm »
I promise this isn't gonna be a discussion of feminism and misogyny and all that stuff. Just a simple question: Has anyone here actually known a woman that read this series and liked it?

I am a woman who has read this series and likes it. ;)

Don't personally know any others, but then again, I don't know anyone in real life that has read these books.

When it comes to the books themselves, when reading, I tend not to mind too much if the setting is misogynistic, and/or only a few of the important characters are women if I really like the story overall. Of course, most works of literature will be problematic in certain ways if you look deeper, but like you said, this is not a thread for that conversation. :) I personally don't feel that this series is misogynistic beyond the setting itself, and I like most of the female characters we get in the story (but that's just my opinion).
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 08:21:41 pm by ThoughtsOfThelli »
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solipsisticurge

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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 09:27:16 pm »
Unfortunately, no.

My mother gave me the great gift of introducing me to Dune when I was fourteen, so I tried to return the favor by introducing her to Bakker a few years back. She read TDTCB and gave up there. She's an old-school feminist, but found no fault with the "misogynistic" elements (figuring it was probably a fairly realistic take for the time period being mimicked)... though she did hazard a guess that Bakker probably got laid a little bit less than he'd have liked when he was fifteen or sixteen, and it still casts a shadow on his psyche now.

All in all, she liked some of the philosophical elements and some of Bakker's writing style, but fantasy in general just isn't her cup of tea. (The only fantasy I've known her to read is Pratchett.) The convoluted character names and Earwan lore (rampant in all fantasy, but taken up to twelve by Bakker), along with the unapologetic dark tone prevented her from enjoying it. She also wanted someone to root for, and of course couldn't find anyone. (To paraphrase a quote from her conversational review... "so the sociopathic Ubermensch, rapist Conan, drunk pretentious wizard and the Mormon fundamentalist have forged an alliance to seize the Crusades, and I don't think I want anyone to survive.") Dark, misanthropic series is dark and misanthropic.
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The Sharmat

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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 09:55:53 pm »
I probably tainted this by mentioning feminism and misogyny in the first place since I'm not sure varying perspectives on those are remotely the only barrier to most women getting into the series.

I am a woman who has read this series and likes it. ;)

Don't personally know any others, but then again, I don't know anyone in real life that has read these books.

When it comes to the books themselves, when reading, I tend not to mind too much if the setting is misogynistic, and/or only a few of the important characters are women if I really like the story overall. Of course, most works of literature will be problematic in certain ways if you look deeper, but like you said, this is not a thread for that conversation. :) I personally don't feel that this series is misogynistic beyond the setting itself, and I like most of the female characters we get in the story (but that's just my opinion).
So you actually liked the characters?

locke

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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 10:02:48 pm »
She wants to know whats so good about these books that consume so much of my time and my fascination with them.
If you figure out how to answer that question effectively, please let me know. My loved ones ask this all the time ;).
I tell them that my brain is hard wired with circuits to detect meaning (scripture) and that like game of thrones or lord of the rings, the inherently meaningful nature of the Mileau activates those brain circuits.

You're not one bit different from an evangelical Christian actually, just different scripture sets about meaningful worlds activating identical brain modules in both yourself and the evangelical.

Science has rendered our real world mileau to no longer possess meaning (scriptural) and my brain rebels against that reality by seeking out mileaus that satisfy my brains profound desire for meaning.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2017, 04:31:39 am by locke »

The Sharmat

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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 10:21:12 pm »
I just like the worldbuilding, the angst, and the prose. My needs are simple.

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2017, 11:21:59 pm »
So you actually liked the characters?

I did, I'm not sure I can explain exactly why I liked/disliked these characters, but I'll try:
-Esmenet: From the very beginning, I found her to be quite likeable: she's a sympathetic character, she's clever, she's a survivor and always tries to make the most of her circumstances no matter what happens. And despite romantic relationships being far from something I tend to be invested on when reading (rather than the characters themselves), I liked hers and Achamian's, their whole dynamic and how she dealt with his worries about the Consult resurfacing (that "I was his morning" line gets me every time...). And in TAE, she's dealing with dire circumstances once more even if she's starting out in a position of power this time - I know some people think her POVs in TAE are boring, but I disagree. How can you not feel for her, having to deal with the collapse of the Empire and all of Kelmomas' machinations, her feelings over being overshadowed and overwhelmed by all the Dûnyain and half-Dûnyain in her extended family? It's no wonder she was unable to see anything was wrong with Kelmomas, she needed to believe he was a normal, loving boy so much just to have something to keep her sane in her increasingly insane life.
-Mimara: I think this is a character we're already supposed to feel some sympathy for going into TAE given her backstory. This was true for me, but I also found myself liking her as a character despite that. We get to see the contrast between her self-hatred, conflicting feelings for her mother and need to find something to define herself (via learning sorcery) and what she saw with the Judging Eye and how it affected the rest. And even if Bakker has said he deliberately picked specific character archetypes for his female characters (can't remember if it was just for PON, though), a female true prophet in this kind of setting is not something you'd expect, and is definitely a good addition.
-Serwë: I admit that, while I don't dislike her, her character is not among my favourites either. I feel sorry for what she's endured in her backstory. I feel sad for her for the way she dies after being manipulated by Kellhus. Yet that's pretty much all there is, unlike with Esmenet and Mimara. Serwë doesn't feel that interesting as a character. (Why does it work for some and not for others? Maybe it's just a matter of opinion, different people will like different characters.)
-Istriya: Should I even count her? It's likely that we never meet the real Istriya in the series, but then again, the skin-spy was (mostly) behaving like she would have. Here I think that the "archetype" doesn't really go beyond that, but that might be because the character, skin-spy or not, doesn't get the same prominence in PON that Esmenet and Serwë do.
-Theliopa: I actually have her name as part of my username, but when reading TJE, I didn't like her much - can't really explain why either. Then I started paying more attention to her appearances in TWLW and TGO (and what others thought of her), and realized she was not just an emotionless automation, there was more to her than that. Suddenly, I found myself really liking her, how she was the "Eärwa wiki" for Esmenet et al., how she put this insane amount of work in her gowns and didn't care about what fashion dictated, how she kept watching Kelmomas and figuring out what he was up to while he had no clue, how she had give ruthless advice to Esmenet regarding Naree because an Empress can't show weakness. And then there was that whole situation with Inrilatas that is revealed only after his death, and not only did she leave tracks on the snow, she possibly mentioned he could read Maithanet's face to Esmenet as a means to get him killed (granted, this might be highly speculative on my part, but I got that feeling after rereading TAE). By the time she died in TGO, I was quite sad over it, and hated Kelmomas so much for getting away with all of it.
-Serwa: (You know what? I have a small criticism to make - it's not (just) that Bakker doesn't have many important female characters in this series, but most of them are related to Esmenet. It would have been nice if he had introduced some others at some point.) Like what happened with Thelli, I didn't care much for Serwa at first. I tended to agree with Mimara's view of her as cold and arrogant, and thought she was sort of boring in the same way as Kayûtas - Anasûrimbor Lite (just with sorcery in her case). I had this same opinion throughout TJE, TWLW and TGO, and it was only TUC that made me think "maybe there's more depth to this character than I thought". With the help of a reread, I realized there was indeed more to her character (like Thelli...but in a different way in Serwa's case). (TUC spoilers:)
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I'm not even going to go into any detail about Psatma Nannaferi, she, even more than Istriya, is practically an archetypal crone/mother character. Makes sense in the story, of course, but there's not much to add to that.

So I hope this comment made some sense. I might not be looking at these characters from a feminist perspective, but that was not the point anyway - this is how I feel about them, and at the end of the day these are just the opinions of one person. :)
Sorry if it's not too detailed either, I often have a hard time articulating even to myself why precisely do I like or dislike character X, most of the time it's sort of instinctive.
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2017, 11:35:29 pm »
An ex of mine for the same reasons as SO mentioned above. She read all the way through to WLW and still follows the series, as far as I know. She loved Kelmomas and hated Mimara for *reasons.*

Another very good friend of mine growing up thinks Neuropath is one of the most amazing books ever... but she very well might be the Female Neil so there's that.

Not that the thread's gone there yet but I really hope this community can conduct itself without gender identifications making a difference...
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