[LMB] The Spirit Ring - Fiametta and Fawn

Peter Hews Peterhews at protonmail.com
Tue Sep 14 19:44:10 BST 2021

On Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 at 20:05, tidsel via Lois-Bujold <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk> wrote:

> I have not read up on all the mail yet, so do not know if anyone have brought this one up:
> I have had some 'trouble' with Fiametta, as I had with Fawn in the Sharing Knife series. In my head they are two female characters that do not really seem to go anywhere..
> they have talents and character, but both seems to have to live under very restricted rules in their societies. Fawn has some talents that all but drown in house work, and
> Fiametta can only work with a husband in the house and under the watchful eye of the church. In both these novels it felt like a bit of a let down, though the characters seem
> happy enough with their lot.
> How does this strike you - do you think they get their due, and also develop?

One of LMB's pet themes is women doing the best they can within the restrictions of a patriarchial society.  That's not a failing in the characters, it's the plot.  Both Cordelia and Ekaterin play out the same story; they have huge ability but can only achieve anything as a great man's wife.  Most painfully in Cordelia's case, because unlike the other three, she comes from an egalitarian society and knows how it should be.

Fiametta doesn't have time to develop as a character; the story only plays out over a few weeks, and all she has time to do is learn a bit about elementary politics and how to get along with a man.  Fawn, I'll grant you, is sometimes irritatingly content with her lot, when it looks so narrow to us, and when she's repeatedly demonstrated that she's capable of so much more.  But bear in mind that from her point of view, she's already found a wider and more challenging life than was ever on offer in her home village.  And one of the hardest things for campaigning feminists to accept is that not everyone wants more than the kitchen and the home.

Peter Hews

Oh better far to live and die under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part with a pirate head and a pirate heart.

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list