i talk about music a lot, & have a tendency to post songs that are stuck in my head in the hope that they will get stuck in your head instead. you're welcome.
I just find it really interesting that a ton of people are 100% willing to forgive Wyldon for being a misogynistic asshat
but not forgive Jon for giving into him because he’s the king and tricky political situations
I think that it may have something to do with the fact that we actually get an admission of regret (implied, I believe at the end of Lady Knight and stated more explicitly when he resigns from the post of training master in Squire, was it? I can’t remember exactly) from Wyldon about his actions/views towards Kel.
And we haven’t gotten anything of the like from Jon.
Personally I can’t find it in myself to forgive him for being a presumptive little snot in SotL, but while he could totally have made amends and grown as a person significantly since then, I still have a hard time letting that go.
And see, I kind of get that a bit. And I mean, it’s totally understandable to be unable to get past his actions in SoTL. But I honestly don’t think that Jon does regret his decision or think that it was the wrong thing for him (as king) to do, in Kel’s case.
I’ve said this before, but I have always interpreted Jon as being very politically minded. Being King (or being heir to the throne in SoTL) is a huge part of his characterization. His motivation is, and has always been, to be a good king. To do what’s best for the realm. And in that context, his decision here makes perfect sense. He needs to keep the conservatives happy because he’s already changed so many things in Tortall, and Wyldon is the key to making them happy. It’s never explicitly stated, but it’s always been clear to me that he doesn’t really want Kel to have to undergo probation, but he’s doing what’s necessary for the greater good of the realm. And so why should he apologize for doing what he absolutely thought was the best solution? Is there another way that girls could have been pages without setting back the other reforms he wanted to make? Would it have been as effective? We really don’t know. But I, personally, cannot blame him for deciding to do something that is really not fair when it was for the good of the realm.
What I always found interesting about the Protector of the Small quartet was how it portrayed characters that I knew very well form an outsider’s perspective. Both Jon and Daine (which I won’t talk about here).
So the Jon that we get to know early, we see him from the perspective of a friend/lover and then from the perspective of an awestruck girl. Obviously how Daine and Alanna see Jon and how they choose to describe him will be very different from how Kel - a girl who’s training to be a knight and has never ever met her king before shit happens to her friend and he doesn’t exactly stop it because politics - will describe him.
Personally, I’ve always chalked up a lot of Jon’s - idk, shittiness? - in Protector of the Small to Kel’s perspective. Because Kel has this idealized code of chivalry that she holds herself to and can’t imagine herself falling lower than it, and when she sees her king compromising when her friend - a woman that she was protecting - is hurt? Well, that’s just not cool. And she never quite looses that first impression of him. She’s not his friend and lover like Alanna, she’s not awestruck by him like Daine, she’s his vassal and she’s looking at it from the perspective of, “Oh, is this the man I want to pledge my life to in a few years time?”
So yeah - my thoughts on why this happens in fandom.
i have so so SO many feelings about this situation! but i think it boils down to jon should have already known better whereas wyldon learned over the course of the protector quartet.
i mean, coming into it, i will *never* forgive jon for saying that alanna is not a real woman in WWRLAM. never ever ever. there is a reason that jon usually occupies 4/5 of the top slots on my Fictional Characters I Would Like to Punch in the Face List, and this is it. but that’s personal, so let’s talk about why i can’t forgive him AS A KING.
(generally speaking, i think jon is a pretty good king. but he owes a LOT of that to thayet and alanna, not to mention myles and george and raoul and gary. but he’s grown a lot from the spoiled manchild he was, and i give him credit for that.)
FIRST OF ALL, his daughter wanted to train as a knight and he talked her out of it for political reasons because he thought countries he wanted to form an alliance with would not want a warrior princess. why you would want to ally yourselves with countries who have no respect for your queen, champion, and princess is BEYOND ME though, and i think he should have stood by his daughter’s choice.
SECONDLY, as kel states, knighthood is a contract with the crown, with respect required from both sides. by passing a law and then choosing to selectively enforce it for political reasons, he breached that contract. yes, we’re getting it from kel’s point of view so kel is obviously upset. but we know that alanna is ALSO super-pissed at him for it. wyldon admits later that it was unfair. i’m sure he heard from thayet and buri and raoul, in private, about how it was unfair. if kel’s family hadn’t been so instrumental in securing roald’s marriage, i doubt he would have even fought as hard as he did for her.
THIRDLY, by selectively enforcing that law he is telling all of the other nobles that he doesn’t find it to be an important law. it is a CLEAR SIGNAL to people like joren and everyone else who treats kel like shit that he has no faith in training women knights in general or kel in particular. those people take their cues from the king. he undermines not only kel, but also alanna, thayet, buri, and every other female warrior in tortall, both present and future, when he agrees to let her training be unfair. if he says one thing but does another, how are the people of tortall or the surrounding countries supposed to know where he actually stands on the issue?
as for why i defend and, to be 100% honest, love the shit out of wyldon? he’s not being malicious about not wanting girls to train as knights. he truly believes that it is his duty as a knight to protect women. even after he gives kel the unfair probation though, he lets her train. he could have let joren be her sponsor and run her off. he could have been a LOT harder on her, or he could have just said at the end of the year that she wasn’t fit to train. he put aside his prejudices and let her train. he pushed her to her limits, yes, but since that was exactly what kel wanted it’s hard to fault him for it. he let her train because he honestly thought she would realize how hard and dangerous it was and quit, but she came out fighting every time.
wyldon and kel are cut from the same cloth. there’s a reason their nicknames rhyme. this is going to sound insulting even though i don’t mean it this way, but the way kel felt about letting her animals (and, later, the commoners and children) fight and die under her was the way wyldon felt about letting women fight and die under him. they had been brought up believing it was their duty to protect these people, and it took time and understanding to learn that these people could choose for themselves.
wyldon does learn. from the moment jon found out alanna was a woman, he said it didn’t matter to him, but his actions haven’t always lined up with those words. it honestly feels sometimes like jon was using kel to make a political point, like yes, treat her unfairly, let her be the test case, and if it doesn’t work out even after you’ve started her at a disadvantage, then i guess we can move on. kel was strong, and smart, and lucky. can you imagine if neal hadn’t decided to become a knight? do you think kel would have made it through her first weeks without him? jon was playing with a lot of people’s futures when he decided to treat her unfairly, and he knew it. that’s why i can forgive wyldon but not jon. wyldon was coming from a place of ignorance and he grew as a person, but jon didn’t defend his beliefs when they were called into question.
Lord Wyldon of Cavall, in Page by Tamora Pierce
[i love everyone and everything in these books, and have in fact spent the last few hours rolling around on my bed and shrieking into a pillow about how great everyone is, BUT CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT WYLDON FOR A MINUTE? this prayer wasn’t just for the assholes who kidnapped lalasa and jump, it was for himself. he had already been setting aside his own prejudices in his treatment of kel, but i think this is the moment it went from “maybe kel can be a knight” to “maybe ladies can be knights.” and it’s hard for him to accept that! change is scary! his duty as a knight has always been to protect ladies, and now his duty means sometimes endangering them, and that’s hard to deal with. i get it! but instead of saying he won’t change or deciding that kel- who goes above and beyond his training- is some kind of exception, he seeks help from a higher power and encourages all of the pages and squires under his command to do the same. it’s a hard thing to admit you were wrong, and to do so in such a public way says so much about wyldon’s sense of honor.]
So, as I’m rereading the Alanna books, I notice more now than ever how different Alanna’s time was compared to Kel’s. Not because everyone knows Kel is a girl, but because of how different the times were in each book. In Alanna’s books, King Roald was known as “the Peacemaker” so there wasn’t a whole lot of fighting going on. So consequently, knight training could be a bit more relaxed. I noticed how much free time Jon, Gary, and Raoul got as squires and knights. In Kel’s books, I don’t think free time existed. Kel’s time was a wartime with everybody on their toes. I am just super impressed with how much development Tammy put into her world from one generation to the next.
i’m rereading the kel books right now and i’ve been noticing this too. i love that even things like the training schedules and practices are different, because someone different is in charge now. it’s also great to see which things are still tradition and which practices have gone away or sprung up. (the beka books give this a whole new depth, cos you see the world 100 years earlier and there is just so much detail.) the amount of thought that tammy puts into these books KILLS ME, basically.
ANOTHER REASON KEL IS MY FAVOURITE
She’s tough, she’s muscular, she’s a damn good knight on her own merit without the gods— but she’s not a boy, never wanted to dress up and be ‘one of the boys’, she simply wanted to be a female knight. She likes being a girl, and while she’s not particularly feminine she doesn’t back away screaming at the idea of a dress. I really liked that she wore dresses to dinner, entertained the idea of wearing ribbons in her hair, and generally embraced being a woman.
I find her counterpart in knighthood “Sir” Alanna only learned to love being female in her Squire years by dressing in double drag, and only learned to get along with other women among the Bazhir. It’s great to see Kel as someone who didn’t shy away from being around other women. (see: Lalasa, her sisters and mother, the Bathhouses in Squire, the three young ladies in Squire, the women of Haven)
And no I don’t like Kel simply because she’s “not Alanna”, but I do appreciate and value what she presents in terms of gender and her own bending of it’s definitions and roles. Alanna broke the barriers down, but Kel found a way to merge them realistically for the normal girls in her station of life.
(Also I’m finally the same age and height as Kel, huzzah!)
i’m rereading this series right now, and one of the things i really love is how different alanna and kel’s paths are. i struggled a lot with being a girl when i was growing up, and like alanna i came to a lot of it late. like, everyone knows that i love unicorns and the color pink and anything sparkly now, but if you had handed me a pink sparkly unicorn when i was 18 i would have shoved it so far up your ass you’d have a horn sticking out of your head.
i really like that alanna grew to appreciate it all on her own, without trying to impress a man or hanging out with other girls who made her feel ashamed of not being ladylike. (i also appreciate how guilty alanna feels about lying to everyone and doing something unnatural while she’s training. her guilt never really made an impression on me before, but her struggle means more to me now, i think.)
kel is my forever hero. kel is the fictional character i aspire to be like and she is my absolute favorite, but i wouldn’t be the lady i am today if i hadn’t had alanna growing up. she is the biggest fictional influence on who i am as a woman, by far.
Unpopular Opinion: I’m not a fan of the Daughter of the Lioness duology, and I really disliked Nawat. I would’ve preferred Aly not get with anyone, or, if she absolutely had to, that she’d gotten with Taybur Sibigat, the head of the King’s Guard.
Yep. not a fan of Nawat. Didn’t really dislike HIM, but I disliked his plotline and his development and him getting with Aly.
It seemed against Aly’s character to stay with one man. She’s so spunky and idk. She’s really young and she just settles down and marries the man she first had sex with. Honestly it’s my biggest romance issue for all Tammy’s books.
it has seriously taken several rereadings and the short story in whatever tammy’s short story book is to make me stop cringing every time aly and nawat kiss. i’m still not really happy about it (taybur is SO DREAMY) but i can deal with it. it’s just. HE WAS A CROW, YOU GUYS. animal/human is the only line fandom hasn’t dragged me across, and i’ll be damned if bird boy can do it.
George Cooper / The Eleventh Doctor
oh my god GEORGE ON THE TARDIS! george and the TARDIS would get along so well!