On this last day of looking at Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather Saga, I thought I'd take the time to get on my feminist soapbox.
While this series seems intent on sharing "great values" as the creater of Veggie Tales described it. I had trouble with the way gender was constructed (most particularly in On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness).
Nia, the Igiby mother, and Leeli, the youngest child, are the two main featured female characters. Overall, they are described in terms of beaty, nurturing, victimization or in Leeli's case, her bad leg, which marks, restricts and makes her dependent on others more often than her brothers.
The only situations when Nia and Leelie aren't acting in passive ways are when cooking, cleaning, bribing or feelings of compassion are involved. When Nia finally becomes assertive in deciding where her family is going to go, she declares her authority as a mother and not as *SMALL SPOILER for the first book* the queen of a besieged country.
This got old. And by old, I mean I was ready to stop reading when Leelie was put in the position of being victim for the second time during the first book when she was kidnapped by a Fang into the forest as bait and made to wait for men to ride to her rescue (Nia similarly isn't considered as being a potential rescuer). But alas, I was only reading the first book to have a better understanding of the second book, which I hadn't even started yet. So I read on.
The second book initially seemed as though it would follow along in much the same way and I almost lost hope. That is, until the Igibys are captured by Stranders, or thieves. One in their number, Maraly, is pretty tough. The girl can fight. She becomes friends with Tink, but is still described with terms about her "meanness" and tendency to fight "dirty" (p. 118). If there'd been a few more positive implications, I'd have been happier.
Now, I'll admit, I grew up reading and loving literature that incorporated female warriors and women in roles traditionally reserved for men. I like it when the ladies kick ass. Always have, always will. So, I am bias. I'd love to read others' opinions on the way gender was presented in this series.
To find out more about Andrew Peterson and his books, you can check out his website, here or his blog, here. Also, be sure to find out what other bloggers have to say about North! Or Be Eaten:
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