This week’s Flashback Friday: Powerful Women in Daughter of the Empire by Robert E. Feist and Janny Wurts
I’d already read Magician by Feist as well as a few others in the Riftwar Saga, but Daughter of the Empire and its sequels gave me a taste of main characters being powerful women who seek and build their own agency.
It’s not that I hadn’t read powerful female characters before, but in this series, it was different. The world Mara lives is in based very heavily on feudalism Japan and Ancient Rome. It’s a patriarchy in the worst way as she is married off to a hellish brute for the sake of trade agreements and alliances.
While I didn’t grow up in that world, teenage me could identify with living in a world where one didn’t belong or fit in, a world where one was outspoken but only because one was forced into silence for so long. All I wanted was my own agency, my own control over my thoughts, beliefs, and body.
Mara plays the game to gain control of her life. She was a role-model for me in trying to overcome adversity and prejudice. She was one of many strong women who showed me that my self was mine. No one could take that from me without permission.
Adolescence is cruel enough without living in a place or home that wants to shut you down and punish you for being who you are. While I didn’t struggle through the same landmines that those in the LGBT community do, I faced my own battles as an atheist in the Bible Belt.
There are many family members who won’t speak to me because I chose the life that I lead, because I choose to fight for equality and embrace diversity.
But the family I have built for myself was formed brick by brick and book by book. I only hope that one day my books make as large an impact on someone as books like this did on me.