Mental Illness in Athering

So today I’m taking a little bit of a detour from Character Snapshots in order to talk about Athering’s approach to mental illness. I’ll be using examples from the books (Bellica and The Jade Star of Athering), so spoilers ahead.

Why? Well, it’s #BellLetsTalk day, and I like contributing to it on the blog. As it is also a Wednesday, I figured this would be a chance to talk about how Athering approaches mental illness.

In a word? Badly.

Let me elaborate.

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Character Snapshot: Ghia, 4021

Hello, and welcome to another instalment of Character Snapshots!

Today we’ll be talking to Ghia, who was introduced in Bellica and continues her journey in The Jade Star of Athering. There will be spoilers for both books in this interview, so if you haven’t finished them and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read ahead!

As before, my questions are bolded and the character’s answers are in italics.

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Character Snapshot: Yarrow, 4020

Welcome to Character Snapshots, the new series where I interview my characters at certain points in their lives.

Today I’m interviewing Yarrow in 4020, after the events that take place in Bellica. Beware of spoilers!

Name? Yarrow Achi deZameera Zarqon. Er. Queen Yarrow, I guess now. That’s tough to get used to.

Age and birthday? 30 years old; Duema 2nd, 3990. If you want to give me a gift you will never go wrong with whiskey. Or porn. Puppies are nice too.

Time of snapshot: What day is it? I don’t know. I’m tired. Sometime near the end of Trinnia, I think.

Species? A year ago I would have said you’re insane for even asking, but that was before Rosa happened to me. Human. Or, Terran, I guess is more politically correct.

How do you spend a typical Jourd’Aradia? A good portion of every day, Jourd’Aradia being no exception, is spent being sick in the privy, because someone (a pause as Yarrow glares at her belly) doesn’t like any food, apparently. Whenever I’m not bent over the latrine and cursing every woman who didn’t tell me how much pregnancy fecking sucks, I’m spending most of my time trying to fix the mess left me in ruling this country. Which, actually, isn’t as bad as I was expecting, so that’s something. Truth be told, my sister had some good plans for Athering. She just didn’t get to implement them. And who knows how well they would have turned out. Her life wasn’t her own.

(Yarrow goes silent, a slight frown drawing her brows together.)

I take it you miss your sister? (Yarrow directs a glare my way.) Of course I do. I always loved her. Even when she hurt me the most. And to be honest, I think, had it not been for the human-pieced chess game the Goddesses were playing with us, I think Zardria might have done Athering some good. A lot more good than Zanny ever did, that’s for sure.

You mentioned the Goddesses. Do you consider yourself religious? Never have. I no longer doubt the existence of the Goddesses, but I don’t go for services at the Temple. Being Queen is quite a wonderful excuse not to; I’m so busy, you see. I am not thought less of for only showing up at Kore’s Mass or Midwinter or Ostara. Were I lesser nobility, that ease would not be mine.

So you believe in deities, but don’t follow a religious life? What’s the point in praying and ritual when I know They exist and are going to do with my life whatever They want anyway? (Yarrow shrugs, looks away. She is obviously uncomfortable.)

I think your cousin might tell me a different story. (A large sigh.) Of course she would. Ghia is an incessant meddler. Yes, alright, I do pray. That’s still not the same as considering myself personally religious.

Alright. I’ll leave that line of questioning alone. Thank you.

One more question, and then I’ll let you get back to ruling Athering. What is your favourite food? Ah, an easy one! I adore roast — big hanks of juicy, peppered beef, with a side of buttered and salted tubers. Also — though don’t tell anyone this; it’ll ruin my image — I really like asparagus. I know it’s weird, but I do.

Well, I like asparagus too. Thank you for your time, Queen Yarrow. Eh, thanks for giving me an excuse to step away from work for a minute.

Thanks for reading this week’s Character Snapshot! Comments are open for 7 days, and I’ll see you next week with some more tidbits from Athering.



Rape Culture in Fantasy Settings

[TRIGGER WARNING: discussion of rape and sexual assault]

It’s a Thing. It really is. We’d like to think that the worlds we think up are oh-so-evolved, but the truth is that many of the worlds we think up have a rape culture in some shape or form.

Possibly because it’s nearly impossible for us to imagine humanity could be better.

Or maybe — and this I find more likely — maybe we really believe, deep down, that rape is something that just happens and it’s something we just have to deal with.

I don’t believe that’s completely true.

I do believe that humanity could be better. I believe we could build a sex-positive society. I also believe that within this sex-positive society, rape could probably still happen. The difference lies within our reactions.

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