The worst part? We perpetuate this cycle without even knowing that we're doing it.
Patrick Rothfuss is a fantasy author best known for his series "The Kingkiller Chronicle."
He's also pretty well-known for generally being a badass bringer of real talk. Case in point: During a Q&A at a pop culture event in Chicago, he was asked the following question:
"What would you change about fantasy?"
"We have huge problems with how we portray women." YES.
The best part is, when he said this, the crowd went wild. In a good way.
#NotAllPrincesses. But OK, point taken.
Ugh, worst endless cycle ever.
And this is where he takes on Tolkien:
Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly in "The Hobbit" movies, does not exist in the book.
Excellent use of the word "vomit" here. 10/10 would use "vomit" again.
Rothfuss hit the nail on the head: Until an author purposely counteracts the fact that many fantasy stories (weirdly) don't feature female characters, the pattern is pretty boring and predictable. Not to mention sexist.
And, like he says, most authors don't even realize they're perpetuating it. But they do have the power to change it.
Don't miss the full recording of his answer below. My favorite part is where he admits to having written a fantasy novel in high school that didn't have a single female character. "Not even a serving girl. No one even thinks about their mom."
Think it's safe to say Rothfuss has since learned from that mistake? I'd say so.
FACT CHECK TIME!
- Just to be extra-super-duper clear, we're talking about "The Hobbit" the book.
- I wasn't sure I believed that there were no women in "The Hobbit" — I mean, I had never noticed that before ... surely there had to be someone. So I looked it up. And I found that there are three female characters mentioned in "The Hobbit": Bilbo's mother (Belladonna Took), the unnamed mother of Fili and Kili, and the unnamed wife of Girion of Dale. None of these female characters have active roles; they simply provide connections between other (male) characters.
- There may be mentions of other female characters, but they definitely don't get names or actual roles. And besides, if we're gonna get caught up in arguing the details of how many daughters Old Took may or may not have had ... then we're kind of missing the point.