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The Geralt of Rivia Saga and the way it deals with the Subject of Abortion: An Overview

Warning: this post has spoilers


The Witcher is the Netflix tv show that came out in December of 2019. It became a huge success, and it's what personally made me gain interest in the books. Some people knew about it beforehand because of the videogames, and some other fans were avid readers of the books. Before we all advance, I'd like to repeat the warning above: this post will contain spoilers of the books.

The Witcher we all know and love started as a series of short stories written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, published in different fantasy magazines during the '80s and later recompiled in two books: The Last Wish (1993) and Sword of Destiny (1992). English translations wouldn't appear until much later.

So, why am I writing this blog entry? Because something I loved from reading the books was how the author consistently insisted on a woman's right to choose concerning the subject of motherhood. No one would have expected that in a fantasy series about a grim man who kills monsters, right?

But the theme is repeatedly touched upon in the books. And in the end, motherhood is a very important theme for the plot towards the end of the saga and Cirilla's life. In this blog entry, I'll talk about how Andrzej Sapkowski consistently makes clear that a woman's choice concerning her body and reproductive rights is her own business, and no one else's.

So, let's start with an excerpt from the short story 'A Little Sacrifice' from The Sword of Destiny:


‘Dammit, is only the Trial of the Grasses hazardous? Do only potential witchers take risks? Life is full of hazards, selection also occurs in life, Geralt. Misfortune, sicknesses and wars also select. Defying destiny may be just as hazardous as succumbing to it. Geralt… I would give you the child. But… I’m afraid, too.’
‘I wouldn’t take the child. I couldn’t assume the responsibility. I wouldn’t agree to burden you with it. I wouldn’t want the child to tell you one day… As I’m telling you—’
‘Do you hate that woman, Geralt?’
‘My mother? No, Calanthe. I presume she had a choice… Or perhaps she didn’t? No, but she did; a suitable spell or elixir would have been sufficient… A choice. A choice which should be respected, for it is the holy and irrefutable right of every woman. Emotions are unimportant here. She had the irrefutable right to her decision and she took it. But I think that an encounter with her, the face she would make then… Would give me something of a perverse pleasure, if you know what I mean.’
‘I know perfectly well what you mean,’ she smiled. ‘But you have slim chances of enjoying such a pleasure. I cannot judge your age, Witcher, but I suppose you’re much, much older than your appearance would indicate. So, that woman—’
‘That woman,’ he interrupted coldly, ‘probably looks much, much younger than I do now.’
‘A sorceress?’
‘Yes.’ ‘Interesting. I thought sorceresses couldn’t…?’
‘She probably thought so too.’ ‘
Yes. But you’re right, let’s not discuss a woman’s right to this decision, because it is a matter beyond debate. Let us return to our problem. You will not take the child? Definitely?’


This excerpt comes from the moment in which Geralt is tricked by Calanthe by showing him a double for the original Cirilla. Geralt understands he was tricked and goes on to have a conversation with Calanthe; the scene was played very differently in the series, where the adaptation had him imprisoned and skipped this discussion.

Geralt is perfectly capable of separating his own resentment towards Visenya (his mother) from all women's right to choose. He says it himself:


''A choice which should be respected, for it is the holy and irrefutable right of every woman.''

Some media doesn't touch the subject even to this day, and yet, you have Sapkowski openly saying women should choose whether to advance with a pregnancy or not, that's their decision only. For a series of stories written between the end of the '80s and the beginnings of the '90s, the author was way ahead of his times.

Geralt's adventures go forward in the books and our witcher finds himself surrounded by a group of companions, his own hansa. As with many works before and after, Geralt's hansa is composed of a ragtag bunch of misfits, a trope listed in TV Tropes used to name a group of designated heroes who aren't exactly your Lawful Good characters, but, as the name states, a group of weirdos assembled together with the task of saving the world.

Geralt's hansa is formed by Jaskier/Dandelion, our favorite flamboyant bard; Milva, an orphan girl raised by the Dryads of Brokylon; Cahir, a Nilfgaardian soldier boy who is way more understanding than he lets on; Raegis, the Brain of the group, and one of my favourite characters despite his moments of assholery; and our very tsundere witcher.

A moment of drama comes when the characters discover (during different moments of the trip) Milva was pregnant and hiding her condition. In a wartorn land, no one is sure about what to do. And Raegis (who behaved in a way I didn't like at all) keeps pushing for the group to make a decision about what to do. And this very interesting dialogue occurs:


‘We understand,’ Dandelion said finally. ‘We have a problem, gentlemen, husbands and fathers.’
‘More than you think,’ said the vampire. ‘Or less. Everything depends on your point of view.’
‘I don’t understand.’ ‘Well, you should,’ murmured Cahir. ‘She demanded,’ Regis said, ‘that I prepare her a strong and effective… medication. She considers this to be the remedy to her problem. She is determined.’
‘Did you give it to her?’ Regis smiled. ‘Without the agreement of the other fathers?’
‘The medicine that she is asking for,’ Cahir said quietly, ‘is not a miracle cure. I have three sisters; I know what I’m talking about. She seems to think that she will drink the decoction and the next day will continue to ride with us on our journey. This is not so. It will be at least ten days before she can even dream about sitting on a horse. Before you give her the medicine, Regis, you have to tell her. And you can only give her the medicine when we can find her a bed. A clean bed.’
‘I understand,’ Regis nodded. ‘One vote in favour. And you, Geralt?’
‘What about me?’
‘My lords,’ the vampire fixed them with his dark eyes. ‘Do not pretend you do not understand.’
‘In Nilfgaard,’ Cahir said, blushing and lowering his head, ‘such matters are determined solely by the woman. Nobody has the right to influence her decision. Regis said that Milva is determined to take the… medicine. Therefore I think of this fact as accomplished. And the consequences of this fact. But I am a foreigner and not familiar with… I should not have spoken at all. Forgive me.’
‘For what?’ the troubadour said with surprise. ‘Do you think of us as savages, Nilfgaardian? As primitive tribes, adhering to shamanic taboo? It is obvious that only a woman could make such a decision, it is their inherent right! If Milva decides to…’
‘Shut up, Dandelion,’ the Witcher growled. ‘Be so kind as to shut up.’
‘Do you believe otherwise?’ the poet raised his voice. ‘Would you forbid…’
‘Shut up, damn it, because I will not vouch for myself! Regis, I get the feeling you are conducting a poll between us, why? You’re the doctor. The measure which she asks for... Yes, measure because I don’t think the term medicine is suitable here... Only you can prepare the measure and give it to her. And you will do so when asked again. Do not refuse.’
‘The measure has already been prepared,’ Regis held up a small bottle of dark glass. ‘If she asks again, I will not refuse. If she asks again.’
‘So what is this? About our unanimity? The universal consent? What are you waiting for?’


This excerpt has a lot of ideas going on. We learn about Cahir's hidden depths. Dandelion/Jaskier has issues catching on the topic, but once he does, we surprisingly see he can be understanding too. Geralt just wants Raegis to go on with Milva's request, despite Raegis' insistence on not solving the topic. Because Raegis knows what is going on with Milva, he just needs someone to kick some sense back into her.

But then, they are in the worst of situations. In the middle of searching for a lost princess, during Nilfgaard's imperialist invasion, refugees looking for safety, surprise attacks, ambushes here and there. The danger is everywhere.

But we learn Jaskier/Dandelion is not just a cynical bard, Cahir is sensitive to women's issues and we surprisingly learn a bit of Nilfgaard culture, only seen as the creepy Empire beforehand. They get that a woman can AND has to choose for herself.

Later, Raegis gets Geralt to talk with Milva. We learn of the ugly conditions during which she got pregnant: having grief sex with an elf after Milva's team got ambushed and they were among the few survivors. Add that to the lack of sexual education that comes from living in spurious conditions during medieval-esque times and the violence Milva had to live with at her house.

Long story short: Geralt learns Milva joined his expedition because she wasn't sure about the pregnancy but it was too advanced by the time the plot catches onto them. And she joined the team because she thought of saving Ciri as a way to compensate for the abortion of her baby and just... Geralt couldn't know about it. And the choice was a matter of Milva's choice.

Geralt understands he can't force Milva to abort it for the sake of the mission. And he also understands he can't force her to have it.

So, there is this dialogue:


‘That is why you came with me,’ he said raising his head. ‘For this reason.’
She bowered her head.
‘That’s why you came with me,’ he repeated. ‘You wanted to help save someone else’s child. You wanted to pay. To pay off a debt and you were determined to do it at the time, when we left… Someone else’s child for you own. And I promised to help when you needed it. Milva, I cannot help you. Believe me, I cannot.’
This time she was silent. He no longer felt that he could be silent.
‘Then, in Brokilon, I contracted a debt with you and I promised you I would pay. It was not reasonable. I was a fool. You offered me help when I needed urgent help. There is no way to pay that debt. You cannot put a price on something priceless. Some say that absolutely everything in the world has its price. It is not true. Some things are priceless, and you cannot pay. There is an easy way to recognize those things because once lost, they are lost forever. I have lost many of those things. So today I cannot help you.’
‘You just did,’ she said calmly. ‘You do not know how much. Now go, please. Leave me alone. Go away, witcher. Go away, before you shatter my world completely.’


Milva slowly has to understand she can't put Geralt into her issues. No one had a way to know about Milva's hidden pregnancy, except for Raegis and Cahir who caught up on what was going on with Milva before Geralt and Dandelion/Jaskier did. If the show ever adapts this moment (and I believe they will, it's integral for Milva's character development and to slowly deconstruct Cahir's inscrutable military persona), I really hope they can convey the complexity of the situation, because I can foresee the polemics online and the fighting on Tumblr. Milva lacked the necessary tools to make a proper decision, she lives in a conflictive land and has to manage with what is thrown at her. Emotional turmoil, a lack of contention, and both internalized and externalized misogyny, the smurfette principle: Milva's character deserves an analysis of its own. But that may be a subject to another post.

In 2013, Andrzej Sapkowski released another book of the saga: Season of Storms, which was published in 2018 for English-speaking countries. Geralt travels to a new land and meets a sorceress who has a verbal exchange with the king of the land she works at. And they give us this gem:


Coral raised a hand and ostentatiously examined her fingernails. It was meant to signal that she couldn’t give a shit about Belohun’s proviso. The king didn’t decode the signal. Or if he did he concealed it skilfully.
“It has reached our ears,” he puffed angrily, “that the Honourable Madam Neyd makes magical concoctions available to womenfolk who don’t want children. And helps those who are already pregnant to abort the foetus. We, here in Kerack, consider such a practice immoral.”
“What a woman has a natural right to,” replied Coral, dryly, “cannot—ipso facto—be immoral.”
“A woman—” the king straightened up his skinny frame on the throne “—has the right to expect only two gifts from a man: a child in the summer and thin bast slippers in the winter. Both the former and the latter gifts are intended to keep the woman at home, since the home is the proper place for a woman—ascribed to her by nature. A woman with a swollen belly and offspring clinging to her frock will not stray from the home and no foolish ideas will occur to her, which guarantees her man peace of mind. A man with peace of mind can labour hard for the purpose of increasing the wealth and prosperity of his king. Neither do any foolish ideas occur to a man confident of his marriage while toiling by the sweat of his brow and with his nose to the grindstone. But if someone tells a woman she can have a child when she wants and when she doesn’t she mustn’t, and when to cap it all someone offers a method and passes her a physick, then, Honourable Lady, then the social order begins to totter.”
“That’s right,” interjected Prince Xander, who had been waiting for some time for a chance to interject. “Precisely!”
“A woman who is averse to motherhood,” continued Belohun, “a woman whose belly, the cradle and a host of brats don’t imprison her in the homestead, soon yields to carnal urges. The matter is, indeed, obvious and inevitable. Then a man loses his inner calm and balanced state of mind, something suddenly goes out of kilter and stinks in his former harmony, nay, it turns out that there is no harmony or order. In particular, there is none of the order that justifies the daily grind. And the truth is I appropriate the results of that hard work. And from such thoughts it’s but a single step to upheaval. To sedition, rebellion, revolt. Do you see, Neyd? Whoever gives womenfolk contraceptive agents or enables pregnancies to be terminated undermines the social order and incites riots and rebellion.”
“That is so,” interjected Xander. “Absolutely!”
Lytta didn’t care about Belohun’s outer trappings of authority and imperiousness. She knew perfectly well that as a sorceress she was immune and that all the king could do was talk. However, she refrained from bluntly bringing to his attention that things had been out of kilter and stinking in his kingdom for ages, that there was next to no order in it, and that the only “Harmony” known to his subjects was a harlot of the same name at the portside brothel. And mixing up in it women and motherhood—or aversion to motherhood—was evidence not only of misogyny, but also imbecility.


This moment was savage. Years later, Sapkowski still keeps the same ideas and gives them depth. The association of the idea of motherhood and feminity, the way it's used to control the population -but women in specific-, the way the whole exchange reeks of misogyny. Coral's patience is tested and she reacts in a predictable tired way. I know Coral's actions are morally ambiguous in the book, but we can't deny she has a firm stance concerning the topic of motherhood. And it has to be wanted.

Sapkowski writes about diverse women: evil women, nuanced women, good women, and weak women. We can't deny he writes about strong-willed women. And despite all the drama, he keeps on with a general idea:

The choice of continuing with a pregnancy or not it's up to the woman in question.

No one's else.


Sources:

Andrzej Sapkowski, written and published by Culture.Pl Available on: https://culture.pl/en/artist/andrzej-sapkowski

Creator: Andrzej Sapkowski. Tv Tropes. Available on: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/AndrzejSapkowski

Franchise / The Witcher. Tv Tropes. Available on: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Franchise/TheWitcher

Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. Tv Tropes. Available on: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RagtagBunchOfMisfits

Sword of Destiny (2015), by Andrzej Sapkowski. You can buy it here.

Baptism of Fire (2014), by Andrzej Sapkowski. You can buy it here.

Season of Storms, (2018) by Andrzej Sapkowski. You can buy it here.


Nov. 28, 2021, 8:27 p.m. 0 Report Embed 0
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Plastic Hearts: Inspirations and references

Plastic Hearts is a Miley Cyrus' album released in November of last year. It has strong influences from the '80s and '90s music: pop, ballad, hard rock, folk and more. Miley's deep, raspy voice together gives it a uniqueness and, while I am not a music expert myself, I can say it definitely matches the rock-inspired melodies.


The songs are profound, with lyrics about independence, self-love but also about acknowledging our flaws, and proudly waving them. It was a huge surprise for me (the truth is the epiphany came this year thanks to a friend's suggestion) because I liked all the songs. I don't know if it was the type of album I wanted but it was what I needed to hear without being fully aware of it.

Last year was bad due to many public and private reasons. And, while I am terribly sure Taylor Swift's Folklore and Evermore twin albums are the informal soundtrack's of life under the Coronavirus pandemic, Plastic Hearts became a huge balance towards the melancholic and introspection of Folklore and Evermore. Plastic Hearts is about letting the past behind and taking strength to move forward.

Folklore & Evermore are us with our internal thoughts. Plastic Hearts is that energetic person in your life who comes slaps your back, and tells you to stop suffering and leave your house. I really hope everybody can have someone like that in their lives.

So, this post is about some of the influences and references in this album. Some are things I noticed while listening to it, others are about the previous musical works and artists to whom Miley and her team paid homage in this album.


Source


'Edge of Seventeen' is a remix between the songs Midnight Sky and Edge of Seventeen, the last being a well-known rock song by Stevie Nicks.

Edge of Seventeen came out in the year 1982 and was inspired by many events.

According to an interview, Stevie Nicks explained the name of the song came from a conversation she had with Jane Benyo, the first wife of Tom Petty: the pair first met when they were seventeen years old and Jane was from the south of the USA and her accent made the word 'age' sound like 'edge'. Stevie Nicks liked the phonetic sound of the phrase 'Edge of Seventeen', told Jane about it and used it for the song.

The other events that inspired the lyrics were the deads of her uncle Jonathan and Jonh Lennon... in the same week.

During those years, Jimmy Levine was Stevie's lover and a very close friend of John. His murder left Jimmy devastated and Stevie found herself struggling to console him in his grief. Stevie had to travel to visit her favourite uncle, Johnatan in the hospital because the man was in the last phases of his fight against Cancer; the man passed away in the company of his son and Stevie.



The song 'High' has these interesting lyrics:


And you, like a rolling stone

Always building cities on the hearts that you broke


The expression 'rolling stone' is very well known in the world in the history of Blues, Rock and Folk music because many artists have used it.

The first thing that came to my mind was The Rolling Stones band, one of the most famous Rock'n'Roll bands in the world. But upon further research, more interesting information appeared.

The famous folk artist Bob Dylan has a song called 'Like a Rolling Stone' and Muddy Waters, a famous Blues composer, has an album named 'Rolling Stone Blues'.

According to The Current, The Rolling Stones were inspired by Muddy Water's album to name the band. We all should remember that one of the biggest influences and inspirations behind the birth of Brit-rock was the Afro Blues in the USA. Meanwhile, between the appearance of The Rolling Stones and Muddy Water's music (whose first single was called 'Rollin' Stone') Bob Dylan released the song 'Like a Rolling Stone' in 1968.

The expression 'rollin' stone' left a deep imprint in music history. According to Cambridge Dictionary, it comes from the popular proverb: ''A rollin' stone gathers no moss'', used to talk about people who always travel and change jobs so they lack responsibilities but also ties to people and places.


One of my favourite things from 'Plastic Hearts' was the cover Miley made of the song 'Zombie' by The Cranberries. This performance by Miley in Whisky Go-Go is epic.

The song 'Zombie' was inspired by The Troubles/Na Trioblóidí, an ethnic-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted until the year 1998 (By the way, Netflix series' Derry Girls shows an empathetic portrayal of those years).

On March 20th of the year 1993, the IRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) put a bomb in the town of Warrington, England. It killed two children: Tim Parry, aged 12 years old and Johnatan Ball, aged 3.

Dolores O'Riordan, The Cranberries' vocalist (who passed on 2018) expresses grief and anger in her song. 'Zombie' is a protest song against war and violence that doesn't lose relevance these years... considering what is happening in the Near East.


Now, the song 'Plastic Hearts' has these lyrics in the chorus:


I've been California dreamin'

Plastic hearts are bleedin'


'Carlifornia dreamin' is a shot-out to the album (and homonymous single) of The Mama's and The Papa's. It was one of the most influential songs of the '60s and it talks about the nostalgia Michelle Phillips (a member of the band) felt while she lived in New York's winter, since she missed California.


Miley Cyrus also did a cover of the song 'Heart of Glass' from the band Blondie. It's one of the first songs written by the band, in an interview Debbie Harry talks about how the band couldn't decide on a genre: they tried it as a ballad, as a reggae song until and experimented with synthesizers until they came to the result was all know and love nowadays.


In conclusion, Plastic Hearts is an album that draws influence from many genres and artists with different backgrounds. I feel Miley has the potential to do what few pop artists could: to fully shift towards Rock'n'Roll. Her voice allows it, so I hope for the best of her. With the passing of so many rock legends, a new voice would be refreshing. Rock'n'Roll's a genre that could welcome a new voice.


A note: For this article, I tried adding links for the official artists works so everybody can get a chance to visit them. I don't own the picture used and especially encourage people to explore more of Muddy Waters' work (X XX XXX).


Sources:


- For Heart of Glass

- For Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones y Muddy Waters

- For Stevie Nicks and Edge of Midnight

- For Zombie y The Cranberries

- For the proverb


Edit (October 10th): I decided to post all my sources with titles and links inside since Inkspired won't let people copy and paste the adresses.

Oct. 2, 2021, 2:11 a.m. 0 Report Embed 0
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When Villainesses Take the Lead

We are the generation that grew up watching shows such as Digimon, Inuyasha and The Vision of Escaflowne. There is something attractive about works that involve journeys to other worlds with fantastical settings and exciting adventures. Let’s say, you have your normal fantastical plot: a common person falls into another world. There, they may develop or discover the possession of magical powers, live lots of magical occurrences and even may end up finding love! Magic Knight Rayearth, SAO and Zero no Tsukaima come to my mind, among others.

What’s so interesting about this type of fictional works? We receive the chance to explore themes of our interest, fulfil personal fantasies and escape from our common lives (the real world is already complicated on its own). This article shows how Escapism has its value.

There is a very interesting paradigm going on on Asiatic media concerning travels to other worlds. In fact, according to TV Tropes, this type of fictional work is called Isekai in Japanese media and it’s treated as a genre of its own. And yet, nowadays I find a very interesting twist in this type of media, a twist that makes things very entertaining.

The names of the works I’m talking about sound cliché and melodramatic: ‘My Next Live as a Villainess’, ‘Death is the Only Ending for the Villainess’, ‘The Villainess Lives Twice’, ‘The Villainess reverses the hourglass’. Others are more indirect, such as ‘The Abandoned Empress’ and ‘Your Throne’. Most are told from the point of view of females who have a traditional antagonist role.

I’ve always enjoyed ironic consumption, and these titles worked as magnets to me. What I ended up finding was a refreshing surprise: common women who fell into fantastical worlds made from the plots of novels and games they consumed in their free time, or more traditional ‘villainesses’ who travelled back in time to fix what was wrong in their first lives. In the first case, we would see normal girls who found themselves inside the bodies of ‘villainous’ characters and desperately trying to avoid their bad endings by the use of their knowledge of the plots while commenting on clichés and traditional tropes. In the second case, we see female characters who more or less identify with their ‘villainous’ role and try to change their bad outcomes while learning about themselves and what drove them to make their bad choices.

What do these types of works have in common? They are genre deconstructions. According to TV Tropes, deconstructions happen when a fictional work takes its elements apart and shows how certain elements would work in real life, by contrasting them to ‘real situations’ or parodying them. Sarcastic main characters help, too.

There is a very interesting trend among Asian Media (mainly works made by Korean authors, but there are Japanese too) concerning the deconstruction of traditional stories directed to the female public.

Why is this expression of the isekai genre so interesting?

First, because most stories deal with settings of historical fantasy, where we can indulge ourselves with beautiful Period dresses, gorgeous mansions and attractive love interests. One can’t help but remember the works of Jane Austen or the Brontë Sisters.

Second, because the twists of these works feel refreshing. We consider other points of view. We see why villains become what they become. We get to learn new plot points. Deconstructions give an interesting dose of realism and pragmatism to stories. They are refreshing because they give new angles to an old genre and we can identify with the situations.

But let’s not forget: the focus of this essay is villainesses. We get to see the story from the point of view of female characters who don’t portray themselves as good people and some even feel content with their roles.

Raised in a world where women receive lots of double standards, being pressured from young ages to be proper and good and yet receiving worse punishments than guys for doing the same things like them as a result of unrealistic expectations, along with some unhealthy extremes of social justice culture, where we are oddly pressured to change ourselves and learn from our mistakes yet we are not allowed to fully grow from them, it isn’t hard to identify with villainesses. After all, it is unavoidable to find ourselves as the villains of someone else’s life events. We are not perfect people and we fuck up sometimes. Especially when we are young.

So, why are villainesses so interesting? Because they fuck up, too. These characters don’t try to be saintly good girls and they acknowledge their situations. There is an interesting dose of cynicism underlying these works, in some, it’s more open than in others, such as ‘Your Throne’. Some female leads are noble demons who try to not drag third parties into their schemes, like Medea Belial in the work I previously mentioned. Others define themselves as villainess yet behave as anti-heroines are their worst, such as Aria Roscente in ‘The Villaines Reverses the Hourglass’. And others are heroes who still place themselves in the roles of villains, like Catarina Claes in ‘My Next Life as a Villainess!’’.

What do these three have in common? The leads also have internalized in themselves some moral standards about good and evil.

I don’t think it is surprising to find these types of works during the current fourth wave of Feminism we are living in. Terms such as internalized misogyny, double standards and deconstruction are concepts I learned these past years thanks to social media. So, why do I believe these types of Isekai novels that focus on villainesses are so relevant? Because we see other females’ points of view, we understand their positions and sometimes get to see that the true villains are other characters. Most of the villainesses of these works are, in fact, women with terrible social reputations who behave as anti-heroines at their worst.

There is a reason why the social settings of these stories are during past times. The authors of these works are deconstructing tropes from both old and new media. They are giving voices to Other Characters and show them in a realistic light, they write about flawed women who try to survive in a world full of unrealistic expectations, and that is true for both past and actual times.

It isn't hard for me to recall works such as Northanger Abbey or Jane Eyre. There are reasons why Period novels are still relevant these days, but that it’s not the topic I want to address in this essay. Here is this interesting article that analyses the success of Jane Austen works, while this note from the Guardian does the same for the Brontë sisters. Of course, experts and critics would get annoyed at me for putting Jane Austen and the Brontë Sisters on the same page, but please, bear with me: I’m talking about fictional works that deal with abuse, machismo, dysfunctional families and difficult childhoods, subjects still relevant to today. So, what’s so interesting about recalling these themes? It’s the way some Asian authors knew how to retake these stories, added some fantastical elements and still deconstructed others, providing us with a refreshing result.

Most of the isekai works I mentioned above are told from the point of view of young girls who are isolated for their social positions because they come from other worlds and know that their ‘new bodies’ are doomed to die and more.

Imagine being reincarnated as the pretty daughter of a noble family and yet... you find yourself hated and isolated from others, in a situation you cannot control. And you can be murdered in cold blood if you don’t make the right choices. These works make it very clear some situations are ugly and dangerous. They are not painted in a romantic light. And the main characters acknowledge it.

Naturally, there are aspects we could criticize of these works. For example, the main leads usually are white thin ladies in gorgeous period dresses, who despite their issues still benefit from privileged backgrounds. And few of these works address LGTBQ+ representation, as most of the endgames are attractive male leads.

But then, this is not about pitting people against each other. It’s about acknowledging a new paradigm in story-telling, one that subverts and parodies plots.

Change is brought over by small steps. And I think we are going on a good path.

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Even if Getinkspired allows you to post a blog, the menu asked of me to choose a genre and... the most similar thing I found was the section of life memories? So, sorry if you clicked this searching for some fictional work.


Sources:

- A Brief Note on the Value ofEscapism - July, 2014. By NICOLA @ THOUGHTS ON FANTASY Link: https://thoughtsonfantasy.com/2014/07/14/a-brief-note-on-the-value-of-escapism/

- Trapped in Another World - TV Tropes. Link: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TrappedInAnotherWorld

- Deconstruction - TV Tropes. Link: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Deconstruction

- What Makes Jane Austen Relevant to Modern Society? A Closer Look at the Adaptations of Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice. By Hannah Kingsley. Link: https://www.digitalausten.org/node/50

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Why those subversive Brontë sisters still hypnotise us - By: Sarah Hughes. The Observer, Sun 27 Mar 2016 00.05 GMT . Link: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/27/bronte-sisters-enduring-love-affair

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