The only scratch to my current itch seems to be medieval romance. it is without doubt trumping regency and contemporary tales for me at the moment, and though I am attempting to refrain from psychoanalysing my new found fancy for big brutish men, I cannot deny that I have been enjoying them of late. (Cheeky smile). So this post is basically about why medieval romance is awesome.
First, though it goes against my feminist grain to say so – the women are genuinely damsels in distress, and in the best cases, more than willing to scrap to save themselves. Because of the medieval context, this works for me, as women did have little to no rights those days, and it would have been nigh on impossible to do anything without the help of a man. Contrast this to the simpers and wimpers of contemporary romance, and for me, it’s decidedly preferable. When I read about some helpless ninny in contemporary romance, Gabriel’s Inferno, for example, I am irritated, annoyed, and instantly dislike her. In modern times, a woman does absolutely not need a man to run in and save her, she has everything she needs to save herself. Medieval women did not, and so I find the whole ‘hero swoops in and saves her’ story more believable, and the characters more realistic.
Second, without doubt, is that the Earls and Lords of Regency romance tales are boring me. They don’t work, and have no more stress in their lives than an overbearing mother who wants them married, and the pressure of inheriting a huge estate worth millions. So difficult. So stressful. Nobody would change places with guy in that position right? But, enter the medieval knights, and they actually do stuff. They wield swords and fight battles and build cannons etc. Clearly, I can see that the crusades were an unfounded, pointless war in a country that had nothing to do with England. But I watched Robin Hood far too much as a child to dislike the Knights who fought in the crusades. They’re ‘proper men’ if you pardon the simplicity.
I know that as a modern woman I should not enjoy reading about big old ‘he-men’ who either shoot, eat or marry whatever crosses their path….but I do. In fantasy, despite what my brain tries to think, medieval times are the perfect setting. A woman can be helpless and need a man without being pathetic or weak. It is simply a fact. And a man can be an overbearing brute, but merely a sign of the times, and so long as he exposes a softer side, everybody does seem to be happier.
From what I can tell, there is very much a reason why women still refer to a ‘Knight in Shinign Armour’ coming to sweep them off their feet.