10/01/2015 08:52:00 pm

Keladry and Alanna

photo source 

"Stone. I am stone."
"I am as serene as a lake on a calm day." 

These are thoughts that run through Keladry of Mindelan's mind that the readers are quite familiar with, from the Protector of the Small quartet.

Protector of the Small and Song of the Lioness series, both written by the great Tamora Pierce, hold a very special place in my heart. While others discovered Harry Potter at ten or so, I had these two series, (though later I also found the Great Wizarding World). Because it's Childrens' Day today, I'd decided to share with you all my favourite book (series) of all time.

Words cannot describe how much I love the stories, the characters, the plot. They are more than books. They are, in fact, another world, which we are familiar with, and yet a stranger to at the same time. You see, these two series are set in the time where noblemen's sons enter the castle to become pages, squires, then knights.

But this is much more different than your usual Medieval Knighthood novel. No, this is much more. Protector of the Small and Song of the Lioness is all about breaking stereotypes.
This set gives an idea of Alanna's appearance.

There are other cover designs but I personally prefer these.
If you haven't somehow guessed it, the main characters of the series, Keladry of Mindelan and Alanna of Trebond respectively have a dream to become Lady Knights.

Now, I'm not going into much detail as to tell you the story. No, that would be too evil. Instead I'd leave you to do the reading and find out yourself, while I talk about how I love these 8 books. (Yes, both series are 4 books each.) Okay fine, here's one on (goodreads) First Test(goodreads) Page SquireLady Knight

Song of the Lioness series comes first, and Protector of the Small takes place some time after the last book of SotL
Fanart by Minuiko, of Alanna (left) and Keladry (right)

However I read PotS first, after borrowing the first book from a friend who was damn lucky to have the whole series, Song of the Lioness as well as Circle of Magic. (Like WHY ISN'T LIFE FAIR, MITHROS AND GREAT MOTHER GODDESS). 

It might have been two to five years since I last re-read the two series, and a couple of months ago, I found out that my brother's Book Club was reading Song of the Lioness. They just don't appreciate the fortune they have. They even got to draw the map of Tortall and their neighbouring lands, for goodness sake!

After around five years of discovering these books, I realised that it had unknowingly changed me. Like many passionate book fans, I saw some of myself in some characters, some more than others. I see some of Kel in myself, a bit of Neal somewhere, Owen, Raoul, Wyldon, and also sadly, the likes of Joren, Ralon, Garvey as well. Being surrounded by the male species at home, in classes, especially on the football field, Kel and Alanna becomes somewhat relatable. Their determination and stubbornness is what keeps them going.

Tamora Pierce's writing is simply amazing, and one could only wish to write like her.

To be able to weave up a setting like Tortall, where the neighbouring countries like Yamani Islands remind us of Japan, and have story-lines that she has, is already pure genius.

To be able to create mythical creatures like Stormwings, Spidren, Griffins just shows how marvellous she is.

To be able to describe these characters and give them all unique personalities that speak to the readers, that is brilliance to the highest level. Neal's over-dramatic hand-movements while he exclaims things, Wyldon's scowl, Kel's glaive pattern dances, Owen's 'jolly' exclamations, Neal going on and on on poetry among other things, Raoul's jokes, spidren attacks-I can all see it vividly, like in a movie. It's mind-blowing how she does that.

She is definitely my favourite author, hands and feet down.

And while I re-read these books, I'm also looking out for quotes, which I'll post here. If you look for 'Protector of the Small' or 'Song of the Lioness' under #hashtags on the right sidebar, you'll already find some of them. That's the problem with small fandoms, you can't just google for quotes from this book and expect to get lots. But I'm changing that.

I even printed this image and laminated it, using it as a bookmark.

I can't imagine the excitement, joy, bliss and that feeling I'll get if they ever decide to make a movie out of these books. I'll just die of happiness. After I've watched them a gazillion times, of course. Why Tamora Pierce Should Be Hollywood's Favorite Author Right Now

That's the small problem, you see. Though Tamora Pierce has a satisfying number of fans, they're not so much compared to JK Rowling or J. R. R. Tolkein to have her books made into movies. And if they go on the screen, they'll sadly have to cut off some parts which people like me won't be happy about. So I hope the director and producer will keep the finest parts of the books and show the world how great they are.

There's Potterheads for Harry Potter fans, Whovians for Dr. Who fans, and Hunger Games fans are called.... Hungry Fans? Oh, sorry, they're known as Tributes, I think. Fans of PotS and SotL should be called knights. Or maybe something else. After all, we're mostly feminists who strongly believe in equality and take fantasy literature seriously. Compared to Potterheads or other fans, we're this small family that's obsessed, or rather passionate about, the land of Tortall and its people, namely Keladry, Alanna and Alanna's daughter, Aly, who's in the two-part series Trickster's Choice.

And if you ever read the whole series and find yourself hungry for more, you'll probably look for fanfiction. And I highly recommend Fallen, by Confusedknight on fanfiction.net. It's an alternate-ending kind of fanfic that continues after First Test, where the writer describes Kel's experiences after Lord Wyldon refuses to let her stay after her probationary man, that evil man. Confusedknight's writing is unbelievable as well, if it was printed and published, I would have thought it was written by Tamora Pierce herself!

And here's the link to my pinterest board which contains fanart.

My last words?
READ IT. Go. Really. If you liked Hermione Granger, you'll find a bit of her in Nealan and also  in Keladry. There's a bit of everybody in everyone. A bit of Hagrid's found Daine, the Weasley twins in Owen and Cleon, and I could go on forever. Tamora Pierce's books are for everyone, not just fantasy or young adults readers. This is because her characters appeal to all, and at different ages you have a different understanding of the book. She conjures with simple words to spin a fascinating tale that draws readers in and make them want for more.

I can only convince you to open the first page, it's up to you to continue reading.              

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