Richelle Mead (blue_succubus) wrote,
Richelle Mead

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On Sydney Sage and body image

I recently heard someone trashing The Hunger Games, saying: "Sorry, I just don't think it's right having children try to kill each other for TV entertainment." The implication was that Suzanne Collins actually endorses those activities, which of course isn't true. She's simply telling a story, not an autobiography, and if anything, her books make a pointed commentary on the extremes our own society goes to for entertainment.

Anyway, it brings up something I see often, this idea that characters' actions or thoughts are what the author believes is THE RIGHT THING. Sure, some authors are preaching a message, and yes, being relatable and likable are important in characters. But that doesn't always mean characters are doing the right things or that they're telling you the right things. Like I said, authors are telling stories, and flawed characters are more interesting than perfect ones.

Which brings me to my main point: Bloodlines. Now, I'm going to talk about stuff in the book, and while it doesn't give away any big plot spoilers, purists who haven't read the book might want to skip this. When Bloodlines came out, I got a few upset emails from people about how *I* was saying that Sydney's size 4 (or 2 in the ARC) figure was too big. But I'm not saying that. Sydney is saying that. She isn't all-knowing or perfect (just really smart), and when she looks in the mirror, she thinks she needs to be a size smaller. Is that true? No, and it's clear from some of the comments others make about her. She looks great, but she doesn't see it that way. She just knows that she doesn't look like those super tall, super slim Moroi. And her dad isn't helping matters!

While I don't like unhealthy body images, I do like that Sydney has this flaw. She's so remarkably observant about the world but blind when it comes to herself. Many of us are, unfortunately, especially with looks. This is an issue that will be revisited in the series, one that she's going to have to work on. This also means you can't always trust Sydney to tell you the truth. That's not to say she's lying to you or that she's not reporting events around her correctly. But, she's telling the story through her eyes, and it's colored by her perceptions. She's our filter. This is true of all books. You can never trust any first person narrator to be telling an objective story, any more than you can in real life. Don't take their opinions as gospel--or as the author's opinion. :)

That's my deep thought for this snowy, icy day in Seattle. I actually meant to write about this months ago, to make sure there weren't readers out there taking the message the wrong way! Bloodlines came out the week my son was born, and like so many other things, this post got delayed. One of these days I'll catch up on all that I want to do...probably when he goes to college...
Tags: bloodlines, deep thoughts
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