So many things come to mind when I hear the word meddle. There’s my Mom and Grama trying to decide who I should marry. Or me, answering the phone when my estranged brother calls Grama’s phone, and nearly giving him a heart attack. Or people on social media trying to tell others how to care for their kids or pets.
But my brain decided to go another way.
I have been listening to one of my favourite books series, and was actually pleasantly surprised to see it in this list of obscure children’s books that impacted people as children.
I think I had already read Dealing With Dragons a few times before I realized that it was the beginning of a series. The first book was so good as a stand alone that I didn’t even look for anything else. And it wasn’t quite as easy to simply google an author’s name then.
The whole of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles is amazing. Well-written, great stories. They are legitimate fantasy stories, while still poking fun at some of the overdone fantasy plotlines.
Cimorene is a princess who doesn’t want to do all of the typical princess things. She takes secret swordfighting lessons, and cooking lessons to get away from the monotony of her princess lessons. But her parents put a stop to everything, and decide to marry her off to one of the most dull princes you could imagine.
So Cimorene decides to run away and find some dragons. Her thought is that she would rather be eaten by dragons than marry the prince.
Instead, she gets a job as a dragon’s princess. She becomes friends with a witch, fights wizards who are constantly meddling in the affairs of dragons, and proves that cooking and swordfighting are useful skills for a princess to have. Provided, at least, that she has a dragon to work for.
I have recently learned that The Enchanted Forest Chronicles have long been a bit of a feminist anthem. Which I think is ridiculous.
I’m not a fan of feminism.
At least not in the way that it is often portrayed now.
If Cimorene was the face of feminism though, perhaps I could get on board.
She is basically all of the good parts of feminism. She knows what she wants to do, she bucks gender stereotypes when they’re harmful (being forced to marry a loser just because “That’s how it’s done”), but isn’t afraid to dress like a princess when it will help her to make a better impression, such as when she is serving dessert to the dragons.
She isn’t all or nothing, which is what healthy feminism should look like.
You’re female. Embrace that. Enjoy it. But don’t let it get in the way of life.
Wow…I didn’t really expect this to turn into a rant on feminism.
Feminist or not, these books are incredible. If you like fantasy, they should be on your list.
Because, really, how can you not love a series which has this as the title of chapter 1:
In Which Cimorene Refuses to Be Proper, and Has a Conversation With a Frog.