Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Feminist Feature: Legend of the Seeker's Inspiration

I've recently read a book called Women Warriors: A History by David E. Jones, which my students at school have chuckled at because clearly they have not even been exposed to the idea of feminism, of female warriors, or of ancient matriarchal societies.  Out here, it's typical for girls to go straight to the marriage life and pop out babies and be a dutiful wife, silent and complacent and in the kitchen.  Upon reading this book, I came across certain groups or individuals that reminded me of female warriors in television, books, and movies.  Some instances remind me of Legend of the Seeker.  In relation to the TV series and the books, these ancient warrior women are present in the development of the characters.

Here, Kahlan the Mother Confessor is killing the Sisters of the Dark, badassly.

The order of The Sisters of the Light are surely figures of historical representation in those of warrior nuns.  Yes warrior nuns.  They were trained in martial arts, so they would not be taken over.  Religious sites were seen as the center of power, and what would be easier than taking over a site of all women?  WRONG!  In Greece, one order ruled the town, applying taxes to the town, and some rebelled, only to be quelled by the martial nuns.  The Sisters of the Light also are in charge of their town.  They, too, enforce taxes and live very handsomely due to the large amounts of gold they receive.  Geneveive, warrior nun of France, led a force to drive off Attila the Hun from taking over her city in 451.  The Poitiers convent became a place not of peace but of war, much like that of the coup staged by the Sisters of the Dark.  Chrodielde attempted to displace Leubevre, the abbess of Cheribert, and war between the convents broke out, both with martial nuns.  Leubevre called upon Frankish King Childebert to fend off the invading Chrodielde, who had taken to raising an army of a nearby town.  The Sisters of the Light participated in a war once Richard came to their land and essentially tore it apart.  They, too, were trained in martial arts and were religious women, devoted to the Creator, the all-powerful female deity.  The god of the underworld, the Keeper, is the man who undoes what the Creator does.
The Sisters of the Light

The warriors and rulers (kandakes) of ancient Kush were women. The all-female army dressed in the trademark red leather armor and snakeskin boots and gloves. Immediately this reminded me of the Mord-Sith, clad in red leather uniforms, partly with armor. It also rightfully reminded me of the X-Men's Storm in the X-Treme X-Men arc "The Arena," where Storm quite clearly took on the role of a warrior woman, which she always was.  She, too, was dressed in red leather armor.
Mord-Sith (played by Charisma Carpenter and Tabrett Bethell)
Not only did the description of the ancient Kush army remind me of the Mord-Sith, but the idea that they were Amazons, perpetuated and witnessed by many writers of the time who traveled Northern Africa. These warrior women, they noted, were likely the source of Homer's Amazons. The Mord-Sith are also strikingly like the Amazons: a female-centric group, martially trained, that only passed down their ways to women and excludes men from the community, going as far as kidnapping children from neighboring villages (just like Mord-Sith) or reproducing with POWs or men from neighboring villages.

Kahlan Amnell, Mother Confessor, in the throne of judgment

The Confessors are similar to that of the Druidesses of the ancient Celtic tribes.  Druids and Druidesses were not simply priests and priestesses, though they could be.  They were people of the highest order in a caste system similar to the Hindu society.  Kings and Queens bowed to those of the Druid order.  The same goes with the Confessors.  War ceased when Druids stepped in and raised their arms.   Confessors kept lands at peace, but if they took sides in right form wrong, it would surely wage war.  Druids were the counselors and advisers.  They were traveling judges.  So are Confessors; they are the ones who decide judgment in any situation, traveling from territory to territory, assisting those in need of her judgment.  Druids' education was a long and arduous journey, traveling to a place of higher learning.  There, they studied in healing, arts, law, science, philosophy, and other areas of knowledge.  Confessors have to go away for years to learn their craft and learn their studies.  I don't think I need to go on.  Confessors, I'm positive, were written as the parallel to the Druid order of ancient Celts.

PS-the Jones' book is great, but Jones writes many legends and fables as factual. Many sources are questionable. This is surprising, as Jones is a professor.

I also just finished a book called The Druids by Peter Berresford Ellis.  Ellis seems to have solid arguments and even uses other Druidical scholars as references, support, and counterpoints.  He's well-researched and knowledgeable about the era.  He takes into account Roman bias in their writing of Druids and the common elements among all sources to create the most valid argument, and he takes us through that.  He brings Druids to life.  He does go a little off topic sometimes, but the off-topic information is incredibly interesting and valuable.  I highly suggest it.

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