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Dorothy Bennett

Becoming a Saint in Shadow and Bone

Note: This article contains spoilers for both the book series and the Netflix adaptation of the novels.

There is a fascinating tension between Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series and Eric Heisserer’s Netflix adaptation of the books. Besides the combination of storylines that helped the show keep an addictive pace, showrunner Eric Heisserer has also made considerable alterations to the original trilogy: changing Alina’s racial heritage, adding some truly fantastic lines of dialogue for Mal’s character, and most notably, removing the quandary of whether or not Alina is willing to slaughter a boatload of bystanders in her conflict with the Darkling. Whether or not a protagonist can commit murder for the greater good is a worthwhile discussion on its own, but whether or not a Saint can be a murderer is especially interesting. Particularly because in Bardugo’s trilogy, the author seems to point out how ineffective it is to judge morality between characters in a world with no central moral standard or code.

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The Power of Adolescent Anger: L’Engle’s Meg Murry and Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching

I’m delighted whenever I come across angry adolescent girls acting as protagonists in science fiction and fantasy, because I’ve found it’s not a long list. There are, of course, angry female villains, angry male heroes, and angry male villains of all ages, but I’ve discovered only a relatively few examples of angry young female heroines.

That’s why the similarities between Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men are so striking. L’Engle’s Meg Murry and Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching both have younger brothers kidnapped by a malignant force, which hinder the boys from being fully human; they both encounter a trio of older women who guide them into a new worldview; they both shoulder the final burden of defeating their story’s villain; and they both are primarily and positively described as angry.

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