Publication Details

Melano, A. L. 2009, ''Utopias of violence: Pierce's knights of Tortall and the contemporary heroic '', Crossroads: an interdisciplinary journal for the study of history, philosophy, religion and classics, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 89-98.


Within each of the heroic genres there lies a further possibility, less often explored; that of a society of heroes - in its ideal form, an heroic utopia. Medievalist fantasy works are a particularly rich source of idealised heroic societies. Despite their considerable popularity, leading medievalist fantasy works have been dismissed as reactionary, consolatory or promulgating a masculinist monomyth. The idealised heroic in Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet draws heavily on earlier heroic and medievalist traditions and yet presents contemporary concerns. The novels are set within a male-dominated society while depicting women and girls in powerful, society-changing roles. It seems that the heroic, while it may be a received mode, is not a single story, and that disruption to tradition can be as significant as continuity.

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