[LMB] Penric reread, the very beginning

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Fri Jul 5 22:09:03 BST 2019

Penric is clearly less exotic than Des, which is part of why we spend so
much time talking about her (them?) rather than him.  But I think that's
actually the key to the character.

Even in a fantasy world that has been made more acceptable to our modern
sensibilities, there will be lots of things that make us uncomfortable.
Penric is someone that we'll find familiar and comfortable to view
situations through, a perspective we can relate to.  He's what moderns
would call a nerd, and the audience for the books has strong nerdish
tendencies.  He's kinda bishonen, at least partly because the author seems
to appreciate it (and there's nothing wrong with that), but combined with
his nerdishness means he's effectively not limited to rigid gender roles,
which even in the 5GW are much less forgiving than we moderns are used to.
So his place in society is much closer to our relatively flexible places in
the modern world.  A little bit like the Aubrey-Maturin series, where the
protagonists have much more modern ideas and attitudes than would be
plausible in the setting's context, while the rest of the world is pretty
accurate (and thus is both exotically interesting and horrifying to modern

Since Pen is akin to the audience, there's less for us to talk about,
because in many ways we are him.

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