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Phoebus
Seeker

18 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  00:20:57  Show Profile  Visit Phoebus's Homepage  Send Phoebus a Yahoo! Message Send Phoebus a Private Message
Greetings, once again, from turbulent Iraq, Ed & Hooded One.

Here's a couple of questions that popped into my cranium while reading "The Forsaken House" (which I thought was excellent, by the way ):

How exactly do Elves feed themselves? What portion of their populace devotes itself to hunting or gathering for food? I imagine that Wood Elves are a traditional hunter-gatherer group, but how do the more "civilized" and "urban" Sun and Moon Elves ensure sustenance?

I don't think I've ever seen any reference to Elves farming on a large enough scale as to serve economic purposes (e.g., a noble House paying common Elves to farm so it can sell crops on a market), but I imagine that most "common" families have some inconspicuous, small-scale fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. I guess this would solve their food problem, but what would they do for coin? Or is the average Elf family much more self-sufficient than the novels lead us to believe?

Did the old Mythals have properties that eliminate the need for sustenance and thus make it possible for these non-farming beings to gather in now long-gone states like Siluvanede? I've entertained the thought that if the Mythals were tied in with the needs for sustenance (for example, a Mythals that allows you to Fly at will might just as plausibly allow you to Create Food thrice a day), then their loss is tied into today's tendency for small communities moreso than any reluctance to "go back to the ways of old". Thus, it's more a case of "small community is easier to feed" than "raising big cities invites the disasters of old". Is there any merit to this hypothesis?

I guess the question stands for Dwarves as well, especially in the often wild and isolated North. I imagine most food the Dwarves get comes from trading (selling metalworks, weapons, armor, jewelry, etc., for foodstuffs, linen, etc). What about the temporarily isolated or insular strongholds, though? How would Mithral Hall, for example, feed 3,000 Dwarves when they are cut off from the rest of the Silver Marches? Am I'm wrong in not imagining Dwarves as capable hunters, or am I underestimating the amount of easy game in the near-Underdark?

Finally, this question, which has been occupying me for some time. I think most people have a good idea regarding what a human of reasonable ambition and means can achieve in her first, say, 35 years of life (putting her in her peak, if you will). How does an Elf compare? Does a Mountain Dwarf or a Moon Elf really need to hit 250-300 years before his drive brings him to the same skill level as the aforementioned lady, or is it more a case of plateauing early and just relaxing through the rest of life? I understand the concept of different races = different mentalities/philosophies, but I've always felt that carrying this over to the "game" portion of the Realms (to maintain "game balance", for example) is a bit contrived.

OK, I better quit before I get too far ahead of myself. Thanks in advance for the free Faerunian sociological/anthropological lesson.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29646 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  01:08:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
Ed, another question.

I've noted that WotC, perhaps in an effort to appeal to modern teens and twentysomethings, is using artwork that features body piercings -- particularly in the navel.

Not that I have anything against most body piercings, of course. But it does make me wonder: Do people in the Realms pierce anything other than their ears?

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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  01:44:13  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Ed, another question.

I've noted that WotC, perhaps in an effort to appeal to modern teens and twentysomethings, is using artwork that features body piercings -- particularly in the navel.

Not that I have anything against most body piercings, of course. But it does make me wonder: Do people in the Realms pierce anything other than their ears?



I'm STILL waiting for those Loviatar rituals that Ed and THO teased us about last year. :( I'd take them even if they had to send them to me privately..... Hint Hint guys!

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet and excite you... Books are full of the things that you don't get in real life - wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

My Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/kuje

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium

Edited by - Kuje on 21 Apr 2005 01:44:55
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  02:11:57  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Ahem. Piercings, rituals of Loviatar . . . you fellas don't really need my teasings at all, do you?
And as for the hamsters: this is a FAMILY forum. Uh, I think. Ooops.
Now where was I?
Oh, yes . . . Hi, fellow scribes. Grab-bag/housekeeping time again, wherein Ed makes swift reply to a number of questions:



Kajehase, “blade” is a term for a young idle lad given to wild attitude and deeds (what in certain real-world times and places was called a “layabout” or “roustabout”). In Waterdeep and Cormyr, it has come to mean only young male nobles (of wild habits and speech), yes.
A “boldblade” is a rogue, chaser-of-skirts, or “bad boy” who dallies “with the ladies” (or tries to make others think he does, cultivating that image: the dashingly handsome cad who darts in through bedchamber windows late at night, pinches bottoms, and so on). This should not be confused with “Blade” (beginning in upper-case/capitals), the title of one of the rulers of Mulmaster (whereof “The High Blade” is THE top dog).
So, ahem, SOME adventurers could well be “boldblades,” or labelled as such by the populace. :}

Dusk, kuje31 has dealt ably with your questions, but I’m going to add: “never say never.” Novels are more likely to touch on (not focus on, but perhaps include brief scenes in, or references to) Zakhara, Kara Tur, and Maztica before WotC game sourcebooks ever get around to such places. However, watch the pages of DRAGON and my “Realmslore” WotC website columns, and - - years from now - - you just never know . . .

Phantom_Lord, I don’t believe The Twelve have “ever been explored, named, or even seen in any novels or games.” I can’t recall if that precise lore-detail was Dale Donovan’s, or added by Julia Martin, Eric Boyd, or me. I do recall that I had a “The Twelve” in my 1976 Realms notes and in the original Realms turnover. In any case, Beowulf is quite right: feel free to ahead and make your own (and if I can find those old notes, I’ll use my original “The Twelve” for something else! :})!


A Gavel, my Lady Hooded has summed up LANDS OF INTRIGUE quite nicely: Master of elegantly-written and throughly-grounded-in-history Steven Schend wrote it (drawing on my very brief overall outline of the character of Amn and Tethyr, the Council of Six, just as Scott Haring had done), bouncing occasional ideas off me.


zeathiel, yes, there are many “benevolent undead that haunt Silverymoon or similiar locales.” Many, many, many. :}



And there you have it. Swift snippets of Realmslore from the Creator himself. Who has been sent your latest queries (very nice, that one about elves and dwarves feeding themselves).
love to all,
THO
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  03:25:42  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One


so, yes, malchor7, Alusair IS “open” in terms of her sexual expression - - and boy, are you going to see that in the final story Ed’s put into the Best of Eddie collection, due out in mass market this July!



I've been looking forward to reading that story (and that anthology, actually) since I first heard about it last year. :) Can't wait for it to land Down Under. :)

quote:

Zandilar, that “mention it discreetly once or twice, but no more” is more or less EXACTLY the editorial caution Ed received after er, springing the Caladnei/Alusair scene on WotC. He also received a stern commandment from another WotC staffer not to ever, ever portray Caladnei as either “wanton or ridiculous.”


Portraying a character in a dedicated and loving relationship with a memeber of the same sex would hardly be portraying her as "wanton or ridiculous"... Though I guess some people might see it that way.

I guess someone might say a bisexual person is "wanton" - but that just shows a deep lack of understanding of what bisexuality is all about. Bisexuality in women is not just "oh she's just killing time with other girls until the right guy comes along, whereupon she'll settle down and have kids and forget about ever being with a woman again." Bisexuals can form deep and meaningful relationships with either gender, including life long commitments. And just because they're with one gender or the other doesn't mean they're any less bisexual. It's a difficult concept for heterosexuals or homosexuals to get their heads around, I guess. All it means is the person is able to be attracted to both genders... Just because you get married doesn't mean you stop looking at attractive members of the opposite sex, does it? It's the same for the bisexual, except she/he looks at both genders. (This took me an age to understand myself, despite the circumstances I'm in - which I won't go into here.)

(I might add that Caladnei has set off my "gaydar", but not towards bisexuality (points to the needle deep in the pink zone). However, that's me seeing her through my own eyes... Wishful thinking and all that.)

quote:

We already know, of course, that Alusair is bisexual and (at least at this time in her life) VERY active sexually (and that she uses sex as an outlet for frustrations; see various scenes in DEATH OF THE DRAGON and ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER).


I find this very very interesting, since the overwhelming evidence is that Alusair is very firmly heterosexual. Every single implied sexual encounter of her's that I've read about has been with a male. Maybe I'm just so dulled by all the heterosexism in the world that missed something, some subtext maybe? Of course, assuming that she's straight just because the only encounters she's had of a sexual nature has been with males is a foolish assumption. We haven't seen every moment of her life, and I'm fully aware of gaps in my reading background. (Directions towards subtext, aside from in "When Shadows Come Seeking A Throne", would be helpful. )

quote:

Now, as for what else she consciously uses sex for, again, see the Best of Eddie story. I know Ed would love to explore this character again (we Knights have chatted about what a rousing tale an Alusair, Narnra, Glarasteer, and perhaps Sharantyr ‘team-up’ novel could be).
But there’s this little Knights trilogy to get out of the way first . . .


It's always sad when sex is reduced to a tool rather than an expression of love. I'm not trying to be judgemental or anything, but someone who sleeps around alot without a deeper relationship with one (or even more) of their partners always strikes me as lonely. Never developing anything but a fleeting connection with anyone else. Ah, but I'm a romantic cynic at heart. (And yes, I'm confused often as a result! )

I can think of one thing Alusair could use her wantoness to help... Sleep with a different guy ever day for a week (ten day) without protection against pregnancy. At the end of the week (if she's chosen the right week) she'll be pregnant (if she's actually fertile), and have no idea who exactly the father is (without magical help). But this no mess, no fuss way of getting an heir without being tied to a marriage is unlikely to make it into the Realms, since it isn't exactly "family friendly" now is it?

Now time for a question or two or three or four or more:
Would Azoun and Filfaeril have known of Alusair's bisexuality, and what would their reactions have been when they found out?
Is Alusair the sort to love (not just physically) easily? If she found someone who did win her heart, would she want to settle? And what would be the implications of that if it happened to be another woman? (Remembering that she does have ways of getting an heir without having a husband).
Lastly, if she did settle with someone, would she be a wanderer like her father? (I strongly suspect yes, so whomever becomes her lifemate would definitely have to be able to put up with that.)

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  03:35:35  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:
Originally posted by malchor7
Seriously, though, sexuality's a fascinating thing to explore in fantasy adventure, and something that isn't often addressed (beyond the "usual").



I've come across plenty of people who'd rather not talk about it at all. Some people find it extremely uncomfortable. And I can't see this getting any better in our increasingly conservative world.

quote:

This brings up another question. She's not a "prominent" character, I suppose, but the ex-adventurer, Lady Yanseldara (the current ruler of Elversult, according to the FRCS, entry on the Dragon Coast) is listed as having a "consort" who is also female (Vaerana, I believe, a fellow former adventurer). Could it be that a non-heterosexual character has ended up in canon, or am I reading too much into this?



At the time, when FRCS first came out, I was on the official FR mailing list. This got brought up then, with some people being rabidly opposed to the idea, saying the word "consort" was just another way to say "cohort". A WotC staffer (Sean K Reynolds, if I recall correctly) basically settled the dispute by saying "read it as you will".

Lady Yanseldara and Vaerana have appeared in a novel. Troy Denning's The Veiled Dragon. I went and read it with the blurb in FRCS in mind, and to my surprise managed to spot some subtext there - despite Yanseldara being non compos mentis for most of the novel. I wonder if I would have seen the subtext there if I had not already known what the relationship was from the FRCS blurb?

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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Sarkile
Acolyte

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  05:45:06  Show Profile  Visit Sarkile's Homepage Send Sarkile a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
Zandilar, that “mention it discreetly once or twice, but no more” is more or less EXACTLY the editorial caution Ed received after er, springing the Caladnei/Alusair scene on WotC.


I may be ignorant having not read any of the books in quite a few months, but when and where did this happen?
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4718 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  07:58:17  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
The novel Temple Hill also features Elversult and although we don't see Yanseldara, we do get a cameo or two from Vaerana. Without sounding derogatory, she comes across in this novel at least as quite "butch".

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  08:36:12  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

The novel Temple Hill also features Elversult and although we don't see Yanseldara, we do get a cameo or two from Vaerana. Without sounding derogatory, she comes across in this novel at least as quite "butch".



There's nothing derogatory about being called Butch, if there's nothing derogatory intended. Plenty of lesbians call themselves butch every day. It's only when bigots get their sticky paws on terms we GBLT people use for ourselves that they start being used in a derogatory sense.

I can see how someone might come to that conclusion about Vaerana. From an objective look at her character in The Veiled Dragon, I can see how someone might call her butch. But being butch is more than just the way you look or act... It's a state of mind and a way of being... Not every strong looking, tough talking, take charge kind of lesbian (or bisexual woman) conciders herself to be butch. It's just the way people are prejudiced in our society, though - if a woman doesn't seem "feminine" then she must be trying to be "masculine" therefore is butch. Vaerana's actions in The Veiled Dragon were pretty similar to those of any other strong (short tempered, war minded) female character in the Realms. Would you describe Storm Silverhand as butch? Or perhaps three better examples - Dove Falconhand, Myrmeen Lhal, or Alusair Obarskyr?

Anyway... What is it with people avoiding dealing with Yanseldara? You say that while Temple Hill features Elversult (the city Yanseldara supposedly rules outright) she doesn't make any appearance (Vaerana does, though), and she's non compos mentis for nearly all of The Veiled Dragon! Is there something about her that puts authors off?

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31684 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  09:14:55  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

The novel Temple Hill also features Elversult and although we don't see Yanseldara, we do get a cameo or two from Vaerana. Without sounding derogatory, she comes across in this novel at least as quite "butch".

-- George Krashos


I can understand that. Although, as I saw her, Vaerana was more a macho type at times.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium -- Volume IX now available (Oct 2007)

"So Saith Ed" -- the collected Candlekeep replies of Ed Greenwood

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage

Edited by - The Sage on 21 Apr 2005 09:16:13
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  09:50:07  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Zandilar

I've been looking forward to reading that story (and that anthology, actually) since I first heard about it last year. :) Can't wait for it to land Down Under. :)


I'd agree with that... the Best of Eddie (as THO likes to call it) will be a fantastic read AND a great source of Realmslore from what hints we've been given.

quote:
Portraying a character in a dedicated and loving relationship with a memeber of the same sex would hardly be portraying her as "wanton or ridiculous"... Though I guess some people might see it that way.


I think the issue here is not that she might turn out to be anything other than heterosexual (which clearly will be the case), but that the use of bisexuality for a character like Alussair is such that it can either be percieved as just a bit of titilation or (considering that she'll perhaps settle down and marry for the good of Cormyr in the coming years) it will appear to be just another oh so fashionable use of alternative sexuality, which is then safely revoked to return her to hetero "normality" by the end of the tale.

I think your description of Bisexuality has hit the nail on the head perfectly here, Zandilar and it would be nice to see the Realms feature such realistic portrayals of those feelings (and we know Ed himself isn't against showing such), but i expect given the conservative nature of WOTC that is just a pipe dream.

quote:
I might add that Caladnei has set off my "gaydar", but not towards bisexuality (points to the needle deep in the pink zone). However, that's me seeing her through my own eyes... Wishful thinking and all that.


I don't think that's necessarily wishful thinking at all. As we know full well from Ed's comments there's subtext aplenty in the Realms to be found which he's sneaked in there. I too thought this of Caladnei and i'd be very interested to see what Ed has to say on the subject. Whilst there IS implied sexual activities between herself and other members of her old adventuring band (see ELMINSTER'S DAUGHTER), she does strike me as a lesbian, rather than a bisexual character (perhaps with a crush -requited or otherwise- on Alussair?). Could Ed answer this for us? Can he reveal one way or another what Caladnei's sexuality is and what the nature of her relationship with Alussair boils down to? I take it from previous comments that Alussair is in fact bisexual then, or at the very least bicurious and open to expression.

quote:
the overwhelming evidence is that Alusair is very firmly heterosexual. Every single implied sexual encounter of her's that I've read about has been with a male.


I'd agree with that statement too, but as Alussair is the most blatently sexual character in the Realms (with the possible exception of her father, Azoun... and should i not forget THO? ) then it was always more likely that any issues of sexuality would be explored and portrayed through her behaviour. As a side note, am i right in thinking that Ed's novels each push the envelope slightly more each time, sneaking in ever more of his sexual subtext to the Realms?

I'll try and stop now, because the points i wanted to make are 1) I agree with pretty much everything Zandilar has just said and her comments make for interesting conversation and 2) along with having her questions about Alussiar answered, i'd like Ed to consider elaborating for us on what Caladnei's sexual orientation is and what her feelings towards Alussair are, and what is actually happening between them in terms of a relationship (physical or otherwise).

GH

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005

Edited by - Gerath Hoan on 21 Apr 2005 09:54:15
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2005 :  18:43:51  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Another additional Caladnei question just occured to me whilst we're on the topic...

Is she herself a member of the Harpers or does she just cooperate with them as very close allies? We saw War Wizards and Harpers working together in Elminster's Daughter, of course, so i was curious. If she isn't herself a Harper, is the level of cooperation between Harpers and Crown just as close throughout Cormyr? Are they often called on by the government for 'delicate' missions?

Thanks again for your time...

GH

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005
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Rygad
Acolyte

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  01:04:34  Show Profile  Visit Rygad's Homepage  Send Rygad an AOL message Send Rygad a Private Message
Forgive me if this has been asked before, but I could not find it in the FRCS or any other book available to me. Do the Realms have a concept of birth stones? If so, what are they for each month of the Calendar of Harptos? I am mainly concerned with how this would be in the North or the Sword Coast, but any lore would be appreciated.

I realize that the modern conception of this is largely a result of good marketing by jewelers, but I find myself having to solve a riddle left by a previous DM.
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Kentinal
Great Reader

4266 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  01:26:18  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Rygad

Forgive me if this has been asked before, but I could not find it in the FRCS or any other book available to me. Do the Realms have a concept of birth stones? If so, what are they for each month of the Calendar of Harptos? I am mainly concerned with how this would be in the North or the Sword Coast, but any lore would be appreciated.





From: Questions for Ed Greenwood (2004)

quote:
A: No to birthstones, although some people seem to have an affinity for certain types of gemstones (discovered quite by accident during their lives, not by prophecy or folklore or priestly decrees or examinations). Yes to “the like:” people in the Realms have stars that are brightest on the nights of their birth (as observed at the place of their birth, that is, so too bad if it’s overcast; this isn’t a matter of astrology or predictions or reliable sage-lore), and when seen shining brightly at some later time, are intepreted to mean a moment of good fortune or likely success or possible importance for that person.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  04:01:43  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hoondatha dear, “lad” and “lass” aren’t insults unless said nastily to a very pompous person of mature years: they’re terms of casual endearment (like British ladies of a certain sage call everyone “love” and American salesladies of a certain age call everyone “dear”) or ‘neutral friendly’ words to describe young persons. “Any lad and lass” is the Realms equivalent of “Every Tom, Dick, and Harry.” Elminster likes to remind Vangerdahast and other mortal wizards who’ve attained high rank or social position, and like to lord it over others, that they’re mere youngsters compared to him; he’s doing to them what Laspeera is commenting about Vangey doing to her (meaning she’s old and impressive enough that no one else would dare call her lass, or think of calling her lass; they might say “ice queen” or “hag” if they hated her, but though she doesn’t look old enough to be “old hag” yet, neither would they think of calling her “lass,” because that’s a term for the young.
Old men sometimes call old women “lass” to flatter or court them, and mean it as a compliment, not an insult (it’s all in the WAY it’s said).
However, I’ll pass your request on to Ed for some Realms-specific terms, and see what else we all gain . . .
love,
THO
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  04:18:33  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:
Originally posted by Gerath Hoan

I think the issue here is not that she might turn out to be anything other than heterosexual (which clearly will be the case), but that the use of bisexuality for a character like Alussair is such that it can either be percieved as just a bit of titilation or (considering that she'll perhaps settle down and marry for the good of Cormyr in the coming years) it will appear to be just another oh so fashionable use of alternative sexuality, which is then safely revoked to return her to hetero "normality" by the end of the tale.



Bisexuality can be a conveniant tool in which to explore non-heterosexual relationships, because of the ease in which it "goes away". Of course, we all know that it never goes away - but you try showing that in mainstream media.

Not every bisexual woman ends up married to a man. Plenty end up in longterm, commited relationships with other women. But the perception that media gives us is that the former is much more common than the latter.

So yes, I agree that there is danger that Alusair's bisexuality might never make it to the printed page, at least not in such a way that it won't be percieved as titilation (sorry Ed, you might have the best of intentions, but this is how it will be read). My preference would be either for a) Alusair is heterosexual or b) Alusair is bisexual and ends up in a long term committed relationship with a woman (because this would disprove "it's only for titilation value"... of course, then she will immediately be percieved as a lesbian, which is not much better than settling with a man and being seen as heterosexual).

The reason for a), even though I'd hate it, is basically that I don't like to see GBLT issues so trivialized. I'd much rather see a heterosexual Alusair than a bisexual Alusair portrayed simply for the titilation value - with no exploration of what it is to be bisexual, with no hope of her ever being in a permanent same sex relationship. It's a tease, to be honest. I want my teeth intact, thanks, and not totally ground down by my frustrations at never seeing characters that reflect me (in mainstream media). (Note: I identify as lesbian.)

quote:

I think your description of Bisexuality has hit the nail on the head perfectly here, Zandilar and it would be nice to see the Realms feature such realistic portrayals of those feelings (and we know Ed himself isn't against showing such), but i expect given the conservative nature of WOTC that is just a pipe dream.



I know. Unfortunately, our world is fairly conservative, and is just set to get more conservative as we go along if the rise of the Religious Right is anything to go by.

quote:

I don't think that's necessarily wishful thinking at all. As we know full well from Ed's comments there's subtext aplenty in the Realms to be found which he's sneaked in there. I too thought this of Caladnei and i'd be very interested to see what Ed has to say on the subject. Whilst there IS implied sexual activities between herself and other members of her old adventuring band (see ELMINSTER'S DAUGHTER), she does strike me as a lesbian, rather than a bisexual character (perhaps with a crush -requited or otherwise- on Alussair?). Could Ed answer this for us? Can he reveal one way or another what Caladnei's sexuality is and what the nature of her relationship with Alussair boils down to? I take it from previous comments that Alussair is in fact bisexual then, or at the very least bicurious and open to expression.



Ed might be constrained by the original character write up (though I'm not sure how much information Sean Reynolds included for WotC staff about her and her background, and how much is being made up by Ed and Troy Denning when they write about her). In some ways, the trap I have fallen into (and I'm sure others have too ), is that Caladnei is such a departure from Vangerdahast and the "elderly meddling wizard stereotype", that I want her to be MORE so.

But we are unlikely to ever see her so. If she does turn out to be homosexual, we'll hear about it once, and there'll be nothing else said or shown - expecpt for passing references. If she's bisexual, it will end the same way as it is going to end with Alusair. Unless she's like all the Royal Magician "Dahasts" and ends up single for her entire life - which is equally unsatisfying.

quote:

quote:
the overwhelming evidence is that Alusair is very firmly heterosexual. Every single implied sexual encounter of her's that I've read about has been with a male.


I'd agree with that statement too, but as Alussair is the most blatently sexual character in the Realms (with the possible exception of her father, Azoun... and should i not forget THO? ) then it was always more likely that any issues of sexuality would be explored and portrayed through her behaviour. As a side note, am i right in thinking that Ed's novels each push the envelope slightly more each time, sneaking in ever more of his sexual subtext to the Realms?



This just reinforces the perception that queer people, bi people in particular, are promiscuous. We're not. We're just like straight people - we run the whole gammut from celibate to promiscuous. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but as the saying goes... The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

The inclusion of GBLT characters in novels and short stories must be thought though very carefully, especially when you're dealing with a publisher who won't allow them to be portrayed completely. Already there are media companies that allow things to happen during their sweeps/ratings period (example: lesbian kisses), but won't allow these things at other times, nor will they allow realistic portrayals. Bisexuality goes away to become regular mundane heterosexuality, and gayness is exploited for the shock value, then those characters are either written out of the show, or become side characters who hardly rate screentime at all.

I might add that when I was still designing a mod for BG2, I also had to fight the perception that because the character I was writing for (modifying) had only ever been with men, that she was "in fact" heterosexual. Which is a bad assumption to make. I am sure there are plenty of bisexuals who are "heterosexual" for years before they find that MotSS that gets their heart aflutter.

So I totally accept that there might be aspects of Alusair that we haven't seen yet (and may never see, but for glimpses we get here. )... But I don't want any portrayal of her sexuality to be there only for "novelty value" or just for the purposes of titilation.

I guess, though, I can take comfort in the idea that this will never be contradicted in print... Especially given the... uh... tantalising hints that there's something in an upcoming short story that would reinforce Alusair's "bisexuality."

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
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Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  05:30:44  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Zandilar

Unless she's like all the Royal Magician "Dahasts" and ends up single for her entire life - which is equally unsatisfying.


Do we really know that they all stayed single? After all, all the little Dahasts had to come from somewhere...

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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  06:49:25  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Zandilar

Unless she's like all the Royal Magician "Dahasts" and ends up single for her entire life - which is equally unsatisfying.


Do we really know that they all stayed single? After all, all the little Dahasts had to come from somewhere...



*chuckles* I did write a whole aside about that, but deleted it as irrelevant to my post.

All the evidence suggests that those Dahasts that were Royal Magicians for the Obarskyr Crown lived their lives alone (it's about as reasonable as assuming Alusair is straight just because the only relationships of a sexual nature she had were with men ). However, that doesn't mean ol' Baerauble and his lady Alea Dahast had lots and lots of half-elven children, and they in turn had lots of children themselves.

I'm thinking, however, with Caladnei taking over from Vangerdahast, that perhaps the family's blood has thinned to the point where it is now completely extinct but for Vangey?

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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Garen Thal
Master of Realmslore

USA
1081 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  06:54:24  Show Profile  Visit Garen Thal's Homepage Send Garen Thal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Zandilar
All the evidence suggests that those Dahasts that were Royal Magicians for the Obarskyr Crown lived their lives alone (it's about as reasonable as assuming Alusair is straight just because the only relationships of a sexual nature she had were with men ). However, that doesn't mean ol' Baerauble and his lady Alea Dahast had lots and lots of half-elven children, and they in turn had lots of children themselves.

I'm thinking, however, with Caladnei taking over from Vangerdahast, that perhaps the family's blood has thinned to the point where it is now completely extinct but for Vangey?
It's possible, excepting that at least one member of the extended clan--Vangerdahast's predecessor, Jorunhast-- yet survives (see Sea of Fallen Stars).
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  09:27:47  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:
Originally posted by Garen Thal
It's possible, excepting that at least one member of the extended clan--Vangerdahast's predecessor, Jorunhast-- yet survives (see Sea of Fallen Stars).



Now see? That's what happens when you have gaps in your book collection. I'm missing many 2nd Edition books and a fair number of novels.

That's interesting. Still, the implication is there isn't a Dahast left that's fit to be Royal Magician - otherwise, don't you think Vangey would have been grooming them to take over?

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  12:21:11  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Hello again Zandilar, nice to have such an interesting conversation...

quote:
Originally posted by Zandilar
My preference would be either for a) Alusair is heterosexual or b) Alusair is bisexual and ends up in a long term committed relationship with a woman (because this would disprove "it's only for titilation value"... of course, then she will immediately be percieved as a lesbian, which is not much better than settling with a man and being seen as heterosexual).


I agree with that too... and my not so subtle asking questions of Ed was in the interests of seeing if Caladnei and Alusair might have a future together. Whilst Alusair might then safely be assumed to be bisexual (and considering her legendary appetite, poor old Cala might have to put up with her philandering, with both genders), Caladnei could then be placed as a lesbian and given their important place in the realms (at least untill Azoun V grows up) we'll have at least one homosexual couple (well, gay and bi) in the top tier of Realms characters. They'd be rather hard to ignore. Again though, you'd have to manage to get this by WOTC.

quote:
The reason for a), even though I'd hate it, is basically that I don't like to see GBLT issues so trivialized. I'd much rather see a heterosexual Alusair than a bisexual Alusair portrayed simply for the titilation value - with no exploration of what it is to be bisexual, with no hope of her ever being in a permanent same sex relationship. It's a tease, to be honest. I want my teeth intact, thanks, and not totally ground down by my frustrations at never seeing characters that reflect me (in mainstream media). (Note: I identify as lesbian.)


I can sense your frustration here and i understand completely, but at the end of the day this has come from Ed, meaning well, trying to bring out some diversity in the Realms and explore some more 'mature' themes than WOTC typically allows. (note, i use the term 'mature' loosely, as i don't think alternate sexualities should be hidden from the young - unlike that horrible thinking we hear all the time from certain segments of society, kids just can't be indoctrinated in homosexuality).

Ed's work has in the past been misunderstood, with lots of allegations of titilation; particularly with his portrayal of the Seven Sisters for instance. But ultimately he's just protraying life as it is for an adult - we live in a sexed world, the Realms is equally as sexed and sexual and Ed wants to show the ways in which it differs from our real world. Understandably, without certain prudish moral values from our own world, sex and sexuality in the Realms is a much more open thing and seen as healthy. There is a tendency amongst the 'moral majority' to think that sex is in some way sinful, wrong or unhealthy, and Ed just wants to show that, for the most part, the inhabitants of the Realms don't think like that.

On the topic of depiction of sexual attitudes in the media, i do strongly agree with all you've just said about the way in which those character types are used. It's disappointing, but right now that's just the way the media is run. Some shows do manage to change things and portray a bit more and they are all the more memorable and commendable for it. (Queer as Folk for instance, that broke a hell of a lot of TV taboos... There was one particular gay love scene that caused quite a scandel here in the UK, if i remember correctly)

quote:
This just reinforces the perception that queer people, bi people in particular, are promiscuous. We're not. We're just like straight people - we run the whole gammut from celibate to promiscuous. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but as the saying goes... The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.


Oops... i hope you didn't think i was equating homosexuality with promiscuity in my post? My use of Alusair as an example was because she wears her sexuality on her sleeve and her sex life is more openly portrayed in the Realms than just about any other character. We see her doing her thing, we hear people gossiping about her doing it and we see the effects on the whole KINGDOM of her sexual behaviour. If any character were to be used to explore bisexuality, it would likely be a character like her, whose sexual history is already known to the readers, rather than some other character whose love life is as yet left in the background.

Which brings me to another interesting point... Love. We haven't seen Alusair in love, as far as i'm aware. She's a character of lust and little emotional attachment. It'd be nice to see her develop a healthy loving relationship with SOMEONE around her, male or female. The same goes for Caladnei, because as you say, Royal Magicians do indeed seem to stay single. The fact that they both lack someone to love, but that they have each other to turn to (for companionship if nothing else) seems quite nice to me.



On the separate topic of the "Ahast" mages, there is some mention that the bloodline had thinned over the years, leading to Vangy's efforts to extend his mortal life (remember that the long life span of the Royal Mages was only partly due to concious magics, it was in his predecessors' blood). I'd agree too that the recruitment of Caladnei represents the fact that either the line had died out, or that whatever magical properties in their blood had since run dry, leaving them no better or worse than any other candidate. I've always assumed it was the fraction, however small, of the Elf blood in the 'Ahast' line which carried on Bauerable's legacy and passed his duty (as given by the Elven leaders) down to the next generation. In my opinion Vangerdahast was the last of the line to hold enough of that blood to serve as a better Royal Mage than anyone else, as subsequent generations have continued to lose their Elven blood in human marriages.

The tale of that particular family would be an interesting one, as it is said that their family dwelt in Myth Drannor at one time. Whereabouts are they now, i wonder? Vangey was summoned from outside the kingdom, so where did the blood of Bauerable go after the fall of Myth Drannor?

Anyway, enough out of me.

GH

EDIT: Yay! 100 posts!

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005

Edited by - Gerath Hoan on 22 Apr 2005 15:21:23
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crazedventurers
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1073 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  16:57:25  Show Profile  Visit crazedventurers's Homepage Send crazedventurers a Private Message
Well yes you would think so - just a shame the designers of 3E Realms didn't (Ed excused here) - I remember this debate on the Realms-L at the time and essentially they wanted to show off the 'kewl' new sorceror......

SNORE

could never figure out why that couldn't do both - Calandahast isn't too odd a name, and make her a sorceror to boot!

However, maybe this is one of Vangy's little plots - get an unknown *foreigner* in (SHOCK HORROR) and see how the Nobles react and have them either falling over themselves to ingratiaite themselves, or try to get rid of her because she is foreign - so essentially they are concentrating on her allowing Vangy to slip into the background and find out what is REALLY happening and take the 'appropriate' action.....

anyhoo - she is Calandahast in my campaign - dead easy fix for me

cheers

Damian
quote:
Originally posted by Zandilar
[
That's interesting. Still, the implication is there isn't a Dahast left that's fit to be Royal Magician - otherwise, don't you think Vangey would have been grooming them to take over?


So saith Ed. I've never said he was sane, have I?
Gods, all this writing and he's running a constant fantasy version of Coronation Street in his head, too. .
shudder,
love to all,
THO
Candlekeep Forum 7 May 2005

Edited by - crazedventurers on 22 Apr 2005 17:02:18
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malchor7
Seeker

62 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  21:25:06  Show Profile  Visit malchor7's Homepage Send malchor7 a Private Message
THO,

Does Ed ever feel under pressure (from WotC, from fans, from anyone, really) either to ignore non-heterosexuality or "clean it up" (like, as Zhandilar was discussing, turning bisexuality into heterosexuality when it comes to a permanent relationship)? Does he feel that the fantasy market (and/or the world in general) is really hostile toward discussions of sexuality?

I personally agree with pretty much everything Zhandilar's saying -- I think America's pretty weird about sexuality, based largely on our messed-up attitude toward sex (and alcohol, and substances, and relationships, and bombing small countries, etc, etc, you name it, we're messed up toward it). Does Ed think sexuality just scares people, and they don't want to talk about it? Is it religious in origin? Media-driven? Political?

What's the deal?

So that's not really a direct question -- just a topic which can be expanded to say a lot of different things.



m

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Faraer
Great Reader

3291 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2005 :  23:17:28  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
The problem is that the structure of our society is at odds with how people think and live, ritual and religious institutions are largely disfunctional, as children we aren't taught what we need, and our technology has changed far faster in the last 500 years than our mythological stories and thought patterns can possibly accommodate. We're a population that's to greater and lesser extents psychologically stunted, and we externalize our psychoses into us-them social impulses that perpetuate themselves rather than solve either their actual or ostensible causes.

I would tend to think.

Ain't the Realms great?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 23 Apr 2005 :  00:12:23  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Yes, malchor7, Ed often feels pressure to “tone down” sexual aspects of his writing (and remember, his work for WotC is “work for hire,” meaning that editors can change every word in his published material if Ed refuses or fails to do so).
Ed is a Canadian who often shakes his head at some of the prudery and illogically repressive attitudes he encounters in American society and publishing (he often used to describe his Realms writing as “You have shelves full of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC at home/in the local library, yes? Well, I’m just ‘doing a National Geographic’ about this invented fantasy world of mine. So if I, as the sole living authority, tell you the native women have long, floppy breasts, why is that shocking? Why do you tolerate National Geographic and chuckle at Playboy and then react with shock and horror at porn or a real-life bared breast? What’s WRONG with you people?”
However, he doesn’t bother to do this, any more, these days. He just sneaks in all he can. Zandilar, expect a reply from Ed in the fullness of time (however, the story in Best of Eddie reveals Alusair’s knowledge and opinion of her own sexuality more than any ‘lack of hetero dominance’ in it).
Ed’s deep in his taxes still, having taken a break this morn to participate in a writers’ panel at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario with writers Farley Mowat, Jonathan Bennett, Richard Scrimger, and Farley’s editor Meg for high-school students (an event he labeled “delightful”), and I bring you herewith his reply to kuje31’s query: “How or why did Vhonna Deepdell go from Waterdeep to Ravens Bluff? Also why did she change deities? City of Splendors has her listed as a 12th paladin of Torm while City of Ravens Bluff has her as a 12th level of Helm.
And what is with the small font in City of Ravens Bluff. :) Need a magnifing glass to read this book!”
So saith kuje; now Ed speaks:


Sorry about the ‘mouse type’ in the Ravens Bluff book. I just kept writing, and was blessed with an editor steeped in Tolkien scholarship, who had a similar love for exhaustive coverage. We just kept cramming and cramming and . . . [insert Energizer Bunny graphic here, and stick with the bunny visualization: DON’T think of Storm Silverhand, The Simbul, or even The Hooded One energetically doing anything naughty; yes, I know I’m bad].
Vhonna Deepdell is a paladin noble and true. She was specifically sent (yes, direct holy orders from the deity) to Ravens Bluff to undertake a task, and while there so pleased Helm by her actions in defending faithful and clergy of Helm that Helm asked Torm if he could ‘have’ her, in return for [NDA]. Obviously, Torm agreed.



Hmmm. VERY interesting. A tale for the future, ’twould seem.
love to all,
THO
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