I have another deleted Sword of the Guardian scene for you this week, my friends! This one is a bit longer, and goes into more detail regarding the deal that Soltran makes with Talon. Stay here, be my daughter’s bodyguard, NO BOYS, and if Shasta gets hurt so do your sisters… plus a bonus privy chamber and fighting lessons!
A couple of constructive-critical reviews of SotG question the somewhat dubious nature of Soltran’s decision to make a girl-disguised-as-a-boy into a bodyguard for his daughter, in spite of what his unknowing court or populace might think. This scene provides a little more insight as to his reasoning (the soundness of which, dear readers, you may evaluate for yourselves.) In fact, this entire scene provides a much deeper look at Soltran’s character, in general. There’s a bit part for Nurse, too, and she’s always fun to write.
One of the more problematic bits with this scene is the way Talon’s crossdressing is perceived by the King, who immediately labels it as heresy against the Goddess. There will be readers who just don’t like that in their fantasy, and that is okay. Truth is, I don’t LIKE it either, but that’s how Ithyria is at this point in its history. Some readers have noted similarity between the Ithyrian religion and traditional Catholicism/Christianity, and they are not wrong. Goddess or not, the Ithyrian religion has evolved over a thousand years into something that depends heavily on ritual, ceremony, strict rules of conduct and censure of anything that doesn’t conform to majority norms. And in a medieval setting where men’s physical strength is needed for war and women are typically sidelined with the task of keeping future generations alive, misogyny is a somewhat hard-to-avoid consequence. (Which is ridiculous, because one could argue that dying in battle is a much easier feat than living a long life of heavy labor in the support of others – but that’s an entirely different blog.)
Anyway, Prayer of the Handmaiden will shed some light on some of the rotten things that are being attributed to the Goddess’s name. And the third Ithyria book, which I am in the early stages of writing, is going to take it further. So bear with our poor dark-ages Ithyrians for a bit, if you will. They have as much learning and growing to do as a people as we have. ♥