Chicks with Swords: A Book Club discussion

Why are you a chick with a sword?

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Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 684 comments I got into fantasy because my friend got me into it when I was 15 years old and it is the genre I read most. I always go back to Fantasy. My first fantasy was "The Magician's Apprentice" by Raymond E Feist and I have read almost everything about the world of Midkenia(sp?). I have gone on to read Mercedes Lackey Valdemir series and Anne McCaffrey's Accorna series and Marion Zimmerman Bradley's Avalon. I love the world of magic and medieval.

Why I am a chick with a sword? Interesting question, I don't really see myself as a heroine. I just want to see female protagonists fairly represented. That moved on to people with disabilities fairly represented because there aren't many characters who have a "disability" represented in fantasy and if there are, it isn't in a positive light. The only character in a fantasy series that is represented in a remotely positive manner is Tyrion Lannister from "Game of Thrones". Also, I am no damsel in distress. I don't count on the prince/knight to come and save me because as much as I want him to, he don't exist.

message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 20, 2012 02:03PM) (new)

I don't remember my first fantasy book. I've been reading the genre for as long as I remember. However some of my favorite early fantasy books would be the Redwall series when I was nine or ten(every kid that age should read them, girl or boy). Some of my favorites now are the Damar and Tortall books.

Why am i a chick with a sword? Hmmm...while I have no objection to male protagonists, there's something about heroines... it seems to me that most female main characters always have to put up with more. it's fine to battle a dragon, but try battling a dragon while a bunch of men are in the sidelines telling you that you can't do it because you're a weakling woman. And when you eventually kill the dragon and save all those guy's butts, only half of them begin to respect you. What I mean is that heroines do what heroes do while everyone tells them they can't. Therefore they conquer not only their enemies, but their sniveling allies as well. All the heroes have to deal with is the enemies. But, like I said, I don't have anything against them (I mean, I love Harry Potter and everything).
I guess I'm a chick with a sword because females have always been capable of great things, it's just that they have always been beaten down. And when I read about a character who's a powerful woman, it's like... Yes.

Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 684 comments I agree Maria.

message 4: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Harvey (sandrasstories) | 3 comments Lord of the Rings! Eowyn is a great female warrior! I also like Briony from Shadowmarch. She is such a great character. She really grows into a strong heroine throughout the entire series.

message 5: by Craig (last edited Apr 11, 2012 09:38PM) (new)

Craig Howdy, I'm new to the group. More to the point, I'm not a chick, with or withour a sword. But I've read several good books about chicks w/swords and enjoyed them. A few that I might suggest to others.'

The Woman Warrior Rather like Amy Tan's novels, mostly provoking in me the reaction of being glad I wasn't born the daughter of a Chinese mother. That aside and more to the point, in the chapter "White Tigers," the protagonist indulges in an escapist fantasy in which as a young girl she's trained to be a warrior by Taoist mystics in the mountains of feudal China. Just in my opinion, that section of the book was exceptionally well done in the context of chicks w/sword, giving a rather well detailed cultural history of The Middle Kingdom deeply embued with a lot of mythological motifs.

Last of the Amazons and The Bull from the Sea both dealing with the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and his Amazon queen. The first by Steven Pressfield is ultra brutal and the second by Mary Rennault is eloquent and lyrical. Both feature very well done charater sketches and both are well worth reading if a strong female protagonist bearing bladed steel is desirable.

message 6: by Craig (new)

Craig Another suggestion of sword chicks (or onna-mushas) was Heaven's Net is Wide , a fantasy epic and prequel to the "Otori" series, all of which were based on Japanese feudal culture. Heaven's Net has, among other characters, Suzuzka, a female (ninja) assassin and spy who becomes conflicted by the acts she's required to perform in her murderous profession and the good she sees in Shigeru, a compassionate feudal lord and his desire to build a more positive society.

message 7: by Craig (new)

Craig Maeve wrote: "Ooh... love Amazonian and Greek Legend!

Another great female lead is Saba from Blood Red Road. She gets a goal, she keeps it in mind, and she does it. She's stubborn, she's reliable, and she's no..."

For you Maeve. In case you speak neither Finnish nor Swedish, the English subtitles are on the lower half of the screen.

message 8: by David (new)

David | 6 comments I'm actually a dude with a sword, but I love me some sword-swinging ladies. I got that from Robert E. Howard: Valeria of the Red Brotherhood, Dark Agnes, and of course Red Sonja of Rogatino are standouts in those old pulp adventure tales.

I take an interest in Amazon legends, either in Greek myth or as reflected in Skythian/Sarmatian culture. Lately I've been exploring the "shield-maiden" motif in Germanic/Scandinavian legend.

I also write Sword & Sorcery too, sometimes with female warriors as leading characters.

message 9: by Paige (new)

Paige | 9 comments I'm more of a chick with bow and arrow sorta girl (waaaaaay before Katniss breathed life) and I don't think I can remember the very first fantasy book I read. That's the genre I grew up with. Narnia might be the first. I loved Susan and her archery (although her fate still makes me angry enough to give a stern talking to to C.S. Lewis). Strong female main characters in fantasy novels are probably what made me such a bookworm. I was a girl who had an older brother and hung out with a bunch of dirty boys growing up, so I was always being challenged for being a girl. My real life favorite kick-arse woman is Joan of Arc.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) I've been a dreamer my all life. I love fantasy and made-up worlds. I love a strong female character who can take care of herself and others. I love UF, but also adventure epic fantasy.

message 11: by Maria (new)

Maria Schneider (bearmountainbooks) | 25 comments I love magic. Strong characters. Winning against the evil odds. And if it takes a chick with a sword to get there, well so be it. :>)

message 12: by ~Anita~ (last edited Nov 13, 2012 07:39PM) (new)

~Anita~ | 1 comments I really own a practice Tai Chi sword and I'm learning the first sword form (Beijing 32)....Does that count? Actually my obsession with sword wielding women began with Tamora Pierce. It also led directly to me learning first Karate then later Tai Chi.

I'm not sure what was the first fantasy book I read. I had both The Hobbit and Narnia read to me by my parents.

message 13: by Ulla (new)

Ulla | 12 comments I am a chick with a sword because I am a chick with a sword. ;) I own a rapier and a replica of a Viking era sword - the original was found in a woman's grave in Finland, and the story of that woman fascinates me. Who was she? Why was she buried with a sword? I definitely like strong female heroines, and although that strength can be (and in the best characters is) so much more than just physical strength, there's something about a woman who can hold her own that makes me admire and identify with these characters.

Historical fiction is my favourite genre, and there are many chicks with swords to be find there, too. There is no one quite like Breaca in Manda Scott's Boudica series!

message 14: by Maria (new)

Maria Schneider (bearmountainbooks) | 25 comments Ulla wrote: "I am a chick with a sword because I am a chick with a sword. ;) I own a rapier and a replica of a Viking era sword - the original was found in a woman's grave in Finland, and the story of that woma..."

Interesting story about the Finland woman. Very fascinating!

message 15: by Ulla (new)

Ulla | 12 comments Hi Maria,

It is, isn't it? There are other such finds around here, that is, women who have been buried with swords, and occasionally with other weapons. One can't help but speculate whether they were warrior women or whether the sword was an indication of an important status in the society, such as that of a chieftain. I suppose we'll never know (there are no written records from Finland of that time, all we have are the archeological finds) - but then, that certainly gives much room for one's imagination. :)

message 16: by Maria (new)

Maria Schneider (bearmountainbooks) | 25 comments Sometimes the imagination is better. It can fill in the exciting details!

A good archeological mystery (no chicks with swords, but a good read) The Crossing Places Was pretty good and had that mystique.

message 17: by Ulla (new)

Ulla | 12 comments Hmm, that looks very interesting, thank you for the recommendation! :)

message 18: by Maria (new)

Maria Schneider (bearmountainbooks) | 25 comments Ulla wrote: "Hmm, that looks very interesting, thank you for the recommendation! :)"

Sure! I'll be checking out Manda Scotts series!

Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 684 comments Welcome Maria to the group. :)

message 20: by Maria (new)

Maria Schneider (bearmountainbooks) | 25 comments Jayme(the ghost reader) wrote: "Welcome Maria to the group. :)"

Thanks. I'm a dagger girl myself. :>)

Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 684 comments I learned a little bo. I like to learn how to use a sword.

message 22: by Tara (new)

Tara Cardinal (taracardinal) | 8 comments I started training in sword play when I was 16. I started with fencing then moved on to broadsword. My sword master was a member of the SCA and had but one rule - don't get poked!

I found myself a much bigger fan of the broadsword (short of course) than the rapier which is too whipy for my tastes. I like a sword I can swing like club.

After a couple of theatre productions I graduated to film.
I've used swords in a couple of movies.

I currently study Samurai Katana under an Asian sword master.

Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 684 comments I took mixed martial arts karate for four years. I like to learn how to use a katana.

message 24: by Tara (new)

Tara Cardinal (taracardinal) | 8 comments Come train with me Jayme!

message 25: by Ulla (new)

Ulla | 12 comments Tara, I understand your preference of a broad sword over a rapier. I've always felt the same way, even though I've never actually trained in sword play. My rapier is a practice sword, but unfortunately no lessons in sword play are available where I live. My husband (who also has a couple of rapiers) and I tried learning some basics with the help of sword play instruction DVDs, but that's just not the same as having a teacher. Still, as far as I understand, rapier play involves intricate patterns of moves and counter-moves - some of it seems almost mathematical to me!

My other sword is a Viking sword, and somehow it just feels more natural to me. But then, I wouldn't know; it's "battle ready", that is, very sharp, so I wouldn't swing it around for practice. :P

Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 684 comments I am sure the Viking sword is really cool.

message 27: by Tara (new)

Tara Cardinal (taracardinal) | 8 comments Are you using Anthony Delongis' video Ulla?

And you're right - rapier IS the harder sword to master. Probably why I prefer the big clubby-one :)

My rapier is FOUR pounds. I need wrist braces to practice with them. When I was training in Katana my wooden swords weren't even 2 pounds and it took me 3 straight weeks before I could use them without wrist braces. Then when I got on set they gave me ONE plastic sword, and one metal one. I was so off balance! :)

message 28: by Ulla (new)

Ulla | 12 comments Thank you, Jayme. I'll try to attach a link to a picture of the sword. Some of you may recognise Albion's Valkyrja.

I know, Tara - my forearms tired easily with my rapier. I've tried to strengthen them, but don't know if it worked because I stopped "training" with the rapier for various reasons. But having to use different kind of swords while training and then on set doesn't sound ideal. :/

Well, I simply googled "Legend of the Red Reaper trailer" and watched the first one that came up. You mentioned in another thread that you don't like the trailers and are working on a new one. I hope it turns out to be something you like! And a book trailer sounds amazing. :)

Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 684 comments That's a nice looking sword, Ulla.

message 30: by Holly (new)

Holly | 1 comments I loved Fantasy and the Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword. I started writing and then got sidetracked doing research and then this happened:( (Run it with my husband after being in a number sword groups) Book lovers will know-reading leads to more reading so for anyone who wants a good source of historical sword manuals and research- I still love fantasy and anything with swords but take it as a warning that you too, may fall down the rabbit hole :)

message 31: by Gwendolyn (new)

Gwendolyn (lossecorme) | 1 comments I’m a chick with a sword because I’m a woman with a sword-fighting hobby (with the Society for Creative Anachronism). Aside from the rattan swords I fight with, I also have a replica of Éowyn’s sword.
I read mostly historical fiction growing up. My fantasy was limited to Narnia, and later Harry Potter. Reading The Lord of the Rings at 15 changed my world, and I quickly followed with the Silmarillion. But in university I read all the wrong fantasy (for me), and gave it up for a while. The pandemic forced me to pick up books again, and I’ve finally found the right books. I’ve been devouring books full of sword wielding heroines over the last year.

Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 684 comments Welcome Gwen. 🙂

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