Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Quote

Following up in a way on the Historically Accurate Sexism post, I want to take a look at the single sentence from my research - found years ago, actually, while working on "The Ax and the Vase" - which forms the basis and informs the context for Novel #2.

The pre-modern world was willing to attribute charisma to women well before it was willing to attribute sustained rationality to them.    --Medieval Kingship, Henry A. Myers

I've been calling the thing "Matrilineage", for the record - though I have zero attachment to this title, and would surmise no agent nor publisher in the world will go for it.  As I get more into the work, a new one may present itself.  And in any case, not all titles are allowed to stand (I will even accept it if "Ax" is changed).

The novel will follow the lives of Audofleda, Amalasuntha, and perhaps Matasuentha.  Audofleda was the sister of Clovis I - so it is perhaps obvious how I came across her.  She married Theodoric the Great, the Ostrogothic king who killed Odovakar - famed, himself, for putting an end to the Roman Empire.  Unlike "Ax", this work will focus on female characters.  It also isn't told in first person, which I am relishing quite a bit.

The quote above goes beyond much of the wisdom of research I've found up to this point, in that it takes the snapshot of "ass-kicking Ostrogoth women" and puts a frame on a greater context.  Amalasuntha bore the grandson of Theodoric, and when that child died, she became queen regnant in a time during which, shall we say, if not sexism, a certain lack of feminine monarchical opportunity marked the period.  Ama was educated, no beauty, a great nonconformist, and a woman with her own mind.

So the challenge not to write a Mary Sue is fascinating.

And the quote above is my guidepost.  Her education is irrelevant to everyone around her.  Her ABILITY is irrelevant.

But she is the child of Theodoric, and was mother of a king.

Her charisma will, I suspect as I work to build her character (at this point I am still in her teenage years), build on the same basis as her father:  Her Amal royal heritage, her lineage, her right - not by gender, but by charisma of the blood - is the glue by which she binds herself to the throne.

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