View Full Version : Female Warriors

Ember Nickel
September 13th, 2005, 03:09 PM
Has the female warrior really changed that much from Mariel to Triss? And how important is their gender? Book by book: (watch for what might be considered spoilers)

Redwall: Cornflower gains recognition for starting the fire, but as the quote goes, "Last night's heroine. This morning's cook!" Her real role in the book seems to be a comfort to Matthias. (Warbeak is mentioned under "Mattimeo".)

Mossflower: Lady Amber is too minor, and "flat", to be analyzed at this point. Tsarmina, on the other hand, is indeed a developed warrior. The fact that she's female could be considered important from the point of the family dynamics: indeed, a brother and sister is more interesting than two brothers, such as in "The Long Patrol" or "Rakkety Tam". The Marlfoxes, of course, are in a class by themselves. Otherwise, Tsarmina's feminity takes second place to her insanity by the end of the book.

Mattimeo: Again, Cornflower and Constance help out by defending Redwall against Ironbeak, but the main battle has no female warriors except Warbeak. As proven in "Redwall", she's a character with legit strengths (battle prowess) and weaknesses (hot temper and prejudice, at first: I killee mouseworm!) I consider her the first developed female who is also a warrior. Notice that her family, too, is part of the plot of "Redwall".

Mariel of Redwall: There's no doubt that Mariel's a full and main character. She is washed up on the shoreline amnesiac and immediately becomes a fiesty warrior. When her memory is regained, it's shown that she fought Gabool and almost killed him, before being thrown into the sea. Before her capture, she had no sign of being a fighter, only a simple mousemaid. Her dramatic change and quest for revenge is a bit of a stretch, but by Redwall's standards, fairly normal. Her feminity is not much of an issue: it feels like Jacques wanted to prove that he could write about a female warrior just as he could write about Matthias etc. What stands out about Mariel is her dash to see Joseph. This moment defines her as something more than a warrior. (Hon Rosie is under "The Bellmaker".)

Salamandastron: Are there any females in this book who qualify as warriors? Arula is Samkim's sidekick, Mara doesn't do a great deal of fighting, and the hares are too minor.

Martin the Warrior: Martin and Felldoh take care of enough vermin between them, there's not a great cry for female warriors in this book.

The Bellmaker: Since Mariel was covered above, I'll mention Hon Rosie. Although she's certainly a "perilous hare", she's defined only by her singular, extreme trait, the "Whoohahahahoo!" that Brookflow apparently channels generations later. The use of the laugh so often flattens Rosie out and turns her into a comic, minor character.

Outcast of Redwall: Plenty of female vermin here, but none major, although Nightshade's poem at the beginning of the book was entertaining. On the goodbeast side, a definite lack of female warriors.

Pearls of Lutra: Grath, obviously, is a lead female warrior. Her journey seems a little typical: her family's slaughtered and she's out for revenge. However, the fact that she meets Inbar lends more depth to the story. Had the genders been reversed, the introduction of a female otter who was also a top-flight archer midway through the book might have seemed a little strained (to me at least), which is unfortunate, as it reflects my on sexist attitudes. What about Romsca? She's one of the few "good vermin", but certainly a searat to be reckoned with before her conversion. Not only is she quite roundly developed, her gender seems to influence the scenes between her and Abbot Durral. Does she qualify as a warrior? I guess so.

The Long Patrol: While Tammo's off on his metamorphosis from headstrong youth to mature warrior (sound familiar?), Cregga's in a fit of the Bloodwrath, charging after Damug Warfang. She killed his father Gormad beforehand, so is she out for genocide? It would seem like Damug would be the one pursuing her, so obviously she made a great reputation as a partially-sane warmonger if Damug's afraid of her. It's not explained what happened before to cause Gormad and Cregga to fight, or if Cregga met Orlando the Axe, but this is somewhat to be expected. (Prequel, anybody? Or fanfic?)

Marlfox: Song can hardly be considered a warrior, but that's okay as there's plenty to discuss among the Marlfoxes themselves. Possibly my favorite scene in the book (and this is compounded if you've seen "Princess Bride") is Lantur and Silth arguing about the cups. From that to the "Aah, a ghost!", these family dynamics (reminiscent of "Mossflower") make it an extremely interesting portrayal of baddies, male and female alike.

Legend of Luke: Ah, Ranguvar. Like Felldoh and perhaps Martin, one of the few non-badgers to be "afflicted" with anything similar to the Bloodwrath. Her gender is not important at all, and she's relatively flat, but we can't expect much more considering she enters in the middle of book II and isn't in book III.

Lord Brocktree: Dotti leaps to mind, of course. Although Brocktree and Stonepaw probably kill more vermin, she's obviously skilled as a warrior to become the first head of the Long Patrol. Her gender is perhaps more important early on, when she's leaving her family.

Taggerung: The female warriors in this book are vermin, but there's so many vermin and in so many different groups I'm not going to bother to analyze it.

Triss: I'll quote Martin's review, mostly because he said it better than me.

Long before Triss' release, it was known simply for its premise: A female wields the Sword of Martin the Warrior. There were many expecting a feminists tale, one punctuated with the message that "girls can do anything boys can". Surprisingly and refreshingly, Brian takes a different approach. The heroine of the book, Trisscar the Squirrelmaid, is not presented as being a girl swordbearer, despite the early press. What she is presented as, though, is a swordbearer. It is the most natural thing in the world for her to wield Martin's sword and it has nothing to do with gender (the fact that she's the first female swordbearer isn't even mentioned at all). That is precisely how it should be.
As far as Kurda goes, again we see the theme of her family influencing her development as a vermin as she competes with Bladd for the sword and pawring.

Loamhedge: Sarobando is the only competitor. However, I don't consider her developed as an individual character, but more as one half of "BragoonandSaro".

Rakkety Tam: Although Kersey was not a major character, she was a female warrior, and we see again that her family (birth and by marriage) influences her strongly. This seems to separate the female from the male warriors: while the latter may wind up becoming the Abbey Champion, the females seem to connect more deeply with their family, whether through marriage or reunion.

September 13th, 2005, 03:24 PM
I try not to place to much emphasis on gender. A warrior is a warrior in the end. I wouldn't have been able to tell Mariel apart from any male warriror if it weren't for the name.

September 13th, 2005, 03:38 PM
I agree with Bladeswift. But why didn't you mention Russa under the female warriors in The Long Patrol?

Ember Nickel
September 13th, 2005, 04:26 PM
But why didn't you mention Russa under the female warriors in The Long Patrol?
I was so focused on Cregga that I forgot.

Josiah the Warrior
September 13th, 2005, 05:47 PM
I think Bladeswift has it nailed...

Ember Nickel
September 13th, 2005, 05:48 PM
I try not to place to much emphasis on gender. A warrior is a warrior in the end. I wouldn't have been able to tell Mariel apart from any male warriror if it weren't for the name.And Jacques' usage of gender pronouns.

September 15th, 2005, 08:17 PM
Would you prefer BJ to use an accurate version of things in the rough time period Redwall takes place? In the period before the middle ages (which is essentially where the book stands in technology), women would never be warriors. Gender equality wasn't even thought of. Not only does BJ move from the Dark Ages setting in language (Modern instead of Middle English) to benifit the comprehension of all readers, but he also benifits female readers by giving thier gender a far greater importance and role in the books. I'd say you're not that badly off with what you've got.

September 29th, 2005, 10:37 AM
I really don't pay much attention to male and female warriors. While I'm thrilled to read about female warriors like Triss and Mariel, in the end I don't differentiate between them and male warriors like Martin and Luke. I like reading about all of Redwall's heroes, regardless of their gender.