‘Behind every great man there is a great woman’; 1940’s or 1960’s idiom it doesn’t matter, what matters is that there isn’t a similar saying linked to great women. Of course our idea of great women may differ; some may think Madonna is a great woman due to her contribution to popular music while others may ask, “Who is Madonna?” There are many great woman throughout history; how we view them often differs from how we view historical male figures.
For example mention Che Guevara, and it is likely that most people will know of him and his association with the Cuban revolution; but mention someone like Edith Cavell, the red cross nurse who saved the lives of soldiers from both side of the first world war as well as smuggling over two hundred out of Belgium . She was punished severely when at the age of 49 she was sentenced to death and shot by firing squad for the act of treason. Mary Seacole, a true heroine of the Crimean war was all but forgotten until quite recently; to say that they don’t appear as much in history books, is an understatement yet their contribution to world events; in this case medicine is vital.
In order for men to reach their goals they must have a “great” woman in the background doing the house work, looking after the children and cooking to free their men to achieve greatness. Yet this is not the same for women, they still do most of the house work and caring for children all the while carving out their career simultaneously and achieving greatness on their own terms.
In the first of book Battle for the Four Realms trilogy’ Dragon Bone, we find our heroine; Aliedori’ searching to find her place and make a mark for herself. She has a raft of great men behind her, her father, her brother, and even the court physician but ultimately she is on her own. She must find her worth to save the realm but before she can do that she has to believe in herself and know that she is a great woman, or will become a great woman.
There are many great women in fantasy fiction who are regarded as such without a thought for their gender, women such as Galadriel from Lord of the Rings and many more are coming to the fore as more and more women join the fantasy genre. Whether Aliedori will stand the test of time and earn the right to stand beside the greats in fantasy fiction is up to the reader. She has many more adventures in store for her in the next two books in the trilogy Battle For The Four Realms which I hope you enjoy as much as I do.
I would like to think that showing a strong female protagonist will help to heighten the awareness in the general population that we do not need to stand behind a man to achieve greatness, we can be great on our own.