Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Favorite Fictional Character: Alanna

Posted by Simcha 6:08 PM, under | 6 comments

Favorite Fictional Character
Hosted by Ryan at Wordsmithonia

I've been thinking quite a lot lately about some of my favorite fantasy books from when I was younger, and there is one series of books that stands out in my mind in particular, because of how much I loved its main character, Alanna.

I used to read a lot of fantasies in which young boys went out into the world to fight evil and discover their magical capabilities, and sometimes a noble heritage as well. But Alanna, from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness series, was one of the first female characters that I came across who had the temerity to cross the boundaries set for her by society and leave home in search of adventure, though she did have to pretend to be a boy in order to do so.

Although in Alanna's homeland women were forbidden to become warriors, that was the only thing she wanted for herself, unlike her brother who hated fighting and wanted to learn magic. So the two siblings, who were practicably identical, traded places. Alanna went off to the castle to train as a warrior and her brother went to the monastery to study magic.

Living at the castle, Alanna had to remain on guard at all times keeping the truth of her identity hidden. At the same time she had to frequently defend herself against the larger and stronger boys who saw her small stature as a sign of weakness, and by never backing down from the bullies she eventually did manage to prove herself, gaining the friendship of the prince along the way.

I think I must have been about twelve when I first read these books and I just felt such a strong connection to Alanna that I would read these books over and over again. I loved her strength and bravery as well as her determination to achieve her dreams, despite all the sacrifices it required of her. Especially considering she was only ten when she left home. And even despite her deceptions Alanna managed to find love and become the knight that she set out to be.

Such strong female characters in fantasy were not as common when I was younger as they are now and my discovery of Alanna delighted me. It was a nice change of pace from all the young male heroes gallivanting about and is one of the reasons she has stayed with me after all these years.

6 comments:

i LOVE alanna too! i discovered the series in middle school and it opened the historical fantasy genre to me (before alanna i was reading sweet valley high/babysitters club books). i really wanted her to end up with prince jon though lol

I did a post on Lady Knights last year and in it I discussed my love for Alanna and McKinley's The Hero and the Crown precisely because the heroines were strong and proactive. What a fabulous series!

You know I'm not familiar with this series and I feel like I'm missing something. Thank you for brining this series and this character to my attention.

I loved Alanna when I first discovered Tamora Pierce, and then as I read her other books, I got fonder of her other characters. I liked Daine better, and I particularly liked the characters in the Circle of Magic series. Which I now kinda feel like rereading. :)

Sounds like a great character. The old switcheroo. :) I like this idea still. Sounds like it was a series you really enjoyed growing up. :) Thanks for introducing me to the character.

Chelleyreads: I actually wanted Alanna to get to keep both the prince and the king of thieves, but it wasn't that kind of book ;)

StephanieD: I also loved The Hero and the Crown! I'll have to check out that post of yours.

Ryan: While I loved these books I'm not sure if they are really books you would enjoy, though I could be wrong.

Jenny: I only tried one book in another Pierce's other series and I didn't really enjoy it as much, so I didn't try any of the other many books she has written since. The character just felt too young for me. But maybe I'll give a different one of the books a try.

Melissa: If you have the chance I think you should try these books. They are a fun and quick read and I think you would like them.

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