Friday, August 05, 2005

A contradiction

I've just been musing on the small (or maybe not so small) contradiction that exists between my favourite (at the moment) movie viewing, and the fantasy books that I most enjoy and often write about. I've become something of a Julia Roberts fan in the past few months (it started when a friend lent me The Pelican Brief) and the films I've watched most in recent weeks have been Pretty Woman and Notting Hill. These two are what I call "fairytale movies", because they end "happily ever after", with the most improbable pairings between Julia Roberts' prostitite with a heart of gold and Richard Gere's killer business man, and Julia Roberts' movie superstar and Hugh Grant's diffident travel bookshop owner... Watching them I know how utterly unlikely the pairings are and that "real life" (as opposed to celluloid life) rarely works out so well, and yet I love them. I find this quite worrying ! I know that I have always maintained that I watch movies purely for entertainment - if I want something to make me think, I read a book - for me movies are for relaxation. Which is not to say I won't watch a serious movie or a movie that makes me think, but that's not the main reason I put on a movie on during a Friday evening, or a weekend afternoon.

In stark contrast to this fluffiness, is my love of and fascination with fantasy stories that feature strong female protagonists: like Lyra in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, Livak in Juliet E McKenna's The Tales of Einarinn, Hermione in the Harry Potter series, Sabriel and Lirael in Garth Nix's The Old Kingdom series, Aerin and Angharad (Harry) Crewe in Robin McKinley's Damar series, and last, but not least, Eowyn in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (Arwen never interested me - and the film version, though played well by Liv Tyler, was if anything, even more soppy than Tolkien's Arwen). So what's going on ? I have no idea, but it is a little weird, I feel...

2 comments:

Andrea said...

Have you considered writing about the three reluctant heroines whose names all begin with L? Livak, Lirael and Lyra...

Michele said...

Well as you know, I've already written about Livak, in my paper The Picaresque in 'The Tales of Einarinn', which appeared in the May/June 2005 issue of Vector. And I shall be discussing both Lyra and Lirael in my planned book... But I've not considered writing about all three in one paper.