Strip the Willow and Rip the Bodice

Because everyone needs a hobby …

A Ginger Post: Part 5 June 22, 2010

And let us start with the lovely Amy Pond …

from the episode 'Vampires of Venice' - I WANT HER HAIR!

Speaking of vampires though – just really quick side note – I will not be reading any vampire romance fiction. Yes, that may sound like I’m leaving out something that’s really ‘in’ in our culture at the moment, but after suffering through Twilight – I just can’t. Any other supernatural things, though, I’m up for.

Even werewolves – thankfully, I only read the first book for class so I didn’t get to see how Meyer botched them (then turned them in to shape-shifters, if I recall correctly from many a funny recap I have read).

Anyway – yes, it’s the ginger post. Have I read the ginger post yet? No – but I will. I have to order it still (which I should have done at B&N while I was there today replenishing my stock – but, as usual, forgot).

But I’m going to talk about us gingers anyway because – we matter. Have you hugged a ginger lately? If you haven’t – you’re cruel. Get to it.

So – Vanessa is not ginger – but it is incredibly interesting how her hair color is described.

“Those dark eyes of hers were luminous enough to drown in, while her hair was a lustrous sherry color, shimmering with the gold and russets of autumn.” p.33

“His fingers toyed absently with a curl of her darkly burnished hair. Even after sating himself so fiercely, need for her still ran like flame-warmed brandy through his body.” p.194

Vanessa isn’t quite ginger – she has dark hair with bits of fire in it, it’s polished, it shines. There’s gold and russets – but she’s not all ginger.

And you can see that in her demeanor. She doesn’t take on the usual ‘ginger’ role – she falls into the category of ‘inexperienced’ and there’s a bit of fear in her character until Isa or Breanne.

But, her hair plays rather significant roles in terms of sexuality in the book – Damien often focuses on it in an attracted way – not like: oh, she’s a ginger! but, instead, it’s like he’s uncovering the fire hidden in her hair.

Bad metaphor, I know.

“An easy, contented silence settled between them. Some moments later Damien broke the quiet spell by asking, ‘Do you always plait your hair before sleeping?’

‘Usually.’ She looked wary. ‘Why?’

‘You have lovely hair. I want to see it loose and fanning across my pillow.'” p.101

“Her midnight eyes were huge and questioning as he reached to lift a curling tress from her breast. His fingers rubbed lightly, feeling the rich, silken texture.

‘Your hair is exquisite. I’ve dreamed of having it wrapped around me.'” p.143

“Weakly Damien nuzzled his face in Vanessa’s hair. The bliss that had convulsed his senses was as powerful as anything he’d ever felt, but the fierce emotion that flowed through him was stronger still.” p.345

So what is it about the hair? Is it the fire that’s hidden in the gold and russets? I really like to think so. I really like to think Vanessa’s hair is a metaphor for herself – she’s polished yet complex. She’s skittish but also passionate.

If we look at every ginger post before, there’s a pattern in them. The darker hair (the non-gingers) have a skittishness about them, something to hide or something to fear. But the gingers – they’ll raise hell and high-water and are, or become, very passionate. And – of course – we get all the comments from the men about redheads.

I’m going to leave this ginger post on that note – The Seduction creates a female protagonist that has hair not only portraying her outward fear she needs to overcome, but the passion that Damien is intent on releasing within her. And he does, of course, do that – and he nuzzles (see quote above) in that hair after he does so.

Job well done, I suppose, in Damien’s case.

How could I forget this HBIC??? Fierce.

PALATE CLEANSER! CLICK ME!

Reference

Jordan, Nicole. The Seduction. New York: Ballantine Books, 2000.

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A Ginger Post: Part 3 June 1, 2010

EPIC GINGER POST!

Epic Ginger Post today!

Well … ‘epic’ as in this post is going to span all three books I’ve read so far on the subject of gingers.

In my rather recent trip to B&N, I looked for Roach’s book (aka checked on my iPhone to see if it was in stock) and, of course, it wasn’t. So – have to put an order in. Simple.

Luckily, though, for this post, I’m not going to need it. This is more … compare, contrast. Since this is the first female protagonist that isn’t a ginger, I thought it would be interesting to look at how the gingers differed from a dark-haired female.

In the realm of these three books, of course. I can’t make giant claims but I think the difference I found in If He’s Wild is rather startling – or, at the least, semi-interesting to me.

So – quick reminder of the past two heroines.

Isabella (Isa) – Robbie hated redheads but ended up with her. Fiery and independent, lived on her own and spoke her mind. Ends up happy with Robbie in the future in the end.

Breanne – one of several Viking princesses that stay at Caedmon’s house while running form the murder they committed to help their sister. Breanne gives up her virginity to Caedmon in order to get protection but they fall in love, of course, and marry with family at the end.

In both of these women, we have tempers, independence, and the strong opinion that they do not need a man in their lives to make them happy, wealthy, etc.

Here’s some quotes to remind you …

A Highlander’s Homecoming

“Why couldn’t the old laird leave her in peace? He’d never once hidden the fact that he had no use for her. He’d been overjoyed when she broached the subject if moving from the castle to live out here in this little cottage of her own. It had taken him no time at all to have his men build an animal shed and provide her with her own chickens and goats. Granted, he sent someone to check on her each month, but it was obvious to her he did so only to collect the goods she had to sell. Or perhaps out of a sense of guilt.” p.52

“Wild red hair, looking as if it had never been tamed or even washed, surrounded her, curling wetly down her shoulders like a filthy cape. It hung in clumps in front of her face, hiding her features from all but those who might venture close.” p.61

Viking in Love

“Breanne’s calloused hands kept snagging on the silk threads, and she swore under her breath for about the hundredth time since they had buried the hated earl. Truly she was much more at home building things with wood than engaging in the womanly arts. From a young age, studying a piece of wood, she saw visions in her head of what it could become. Same was true of buildings. Thus, of her very capable hands had born benches, bedsteads, trestle tables, pretty garden fences, even a pigsty one time, with finely carved runic symbols along its eaves. Her father had nigh had a falling fit at that one.” p.21

“It was she who squeezed his hand then as she leaned slightly against him. She probably did not realize her body pressed against his side, from upper arms to thighs. The faint rose scent wafted up to him from her hair. He had never been overfond of red-haired women, but hers was amazing, taking on different lights through the day, from darkish blonde to deep crimson.” p.142

And now – away with the gingers!

To Alethea.

Here’s her description, first off:

“She was small, dainty, and dark. Thick black hair held a gloss of blue beneath the candlelight was done up in a severe style, with only a few curls dangling to soften the look, but it was a style that suited her small, faintly heart-shaped face. The ivory tone of her skin next to her thick dark hair reminded him strongly of a cameo, for her features were soft perfection, as if carved with an expert hand.” p.19

Obviously, Alethea is not helping a sheep give birth like Isa or killing some evil dude and making woodcarvings like Breanne. Instead, she’s this dainty little ivory mouse with dark hair. She is more similar to Vana in Viking in Love.

“Ofttimes referred to as Vana the White because of her Icelandic white-blonde hair, she had more than earned that title today with her fair, deadly white skin contrasted against a blackened eye and cracked lip, seeping with blood. The fingermarks about her neck, old and new, resembled a black and blue and yellow torque.” p.3

Sure, Alethea has those ‘gifts’ that she does put to use. The gifts stand in as Alethea’s independence, her power. She does have some inherited wealth, but Alethea, like Vana, needs a protector more than just her lover (thus, enter her uncle Iago).

And, also like Vana, she gets beat up and bruised.

“‘He said he was giving me a warning.’ It hurt to talk but Alethea suspected it would hurt even more so very soon. There was so much pain in her face; she suspected her attacker had hit her again even as she was sinking into unconsciousness from the first blow. She was sure it was already swelling and had the brief, vain thought that she must look terrible.

‘I know. I heard him. I was trying to slip up behind him, as I was not sure if he had a weapon.’

‘Just his fists.’ She started to sit up on her own, fighting the inclination yo stay in Hartley’s arms, and gasped aloud at the pain that shot through her side.” p.111

I’m not saying that hair color is the be all end all of protecting yourself or being independent but it is interesting that the first non-ginger I’ve encountered is a complete damsel in distress compared to the other heroines.

Question is: would we feel differently towards Alethea if she had red hair? Would we expect her to fight back? Or am I taking the whole ‘hair color’ too far?

And more to question: taking out the whole concept of hair color – how exactly do we feel towards Alethea? If we took away her ‘gift’ what sort of heroine would she be? Well … I don’t think she’d be a heroine at all. She needs the addition of a ‘gift’ to give her that extra umph.

Maybe then, in Isa’s and Breanna’s cases, their gift is their hair. It’s not an actual plot ‘gift’ but it is something that seems to add something to their characters.

This is all speculation, obviously. But it will be interesting to see how another different heroine (that is, not a redhead) is portrayed? Damsel in distress? Or kick-ass woodcarving, running her own farm girl?

And, for your consideration, a TFLN that Caroline posted on my Facebook:

(519): i finally watched harry potter… a tad unrealistic if you ask me… i mean a ginger kid with 2 friends?

FIERCE GINGER PALATE CLEANSER! CLICK ME!

References

Hill, Sandra. Viking in Love. New York: Avon Books, 2010.

Howell, Hannah. If He’s Wild. New York: Zebra Books, 2010.

Mayhue, Melissa. A Highlander’s Homecoming. New York: Pocket Books, 2010.

 

A Ginger Post: Part 2 May 26, 2010

You know what I just realized, sitting here writing this post at .. 10:39 pm? I still have three or four episodes of Earth 2 to watch. I bought it in September and am … slowly … working my way through it. You’d think with repeated exposure to classic Doctor Who, the series would be a breeze, but I just haven’t gotten around to finishing it.

Anyway.

Seriously – the things I watch just for the actors in them – Caroline, I am thinking about Restoration right now. And just for that:

Sometimes Gingers own bad movies ... bad horrible movies with Meg Ryan trying to put on an Irish accent ...

You’re welcome. At least RDJ isn’t looking into the camera or you’d be looking at that photo longer and remember that … disaster of a film …

Anyway, another Ginger post – short but sweet this time since there isn’t anything new to really say.

Thankfully, Viking in Love (it is KILLING me that there is a lack of an ‘A’ in front of ‘Viking’) isn’t too harsh on redheads. Breanne, our female protagonist, is of course the fiery one – but Caedmon is pretty much a walking penis (with a heart, of course) so even her temper, her strong independence, blah blah is a turn on. Oh – and so are her nipples – so many pages are devoted to her breasts and nipples it’s remarkable. I wish I had kept a tally of words in this book … 362 pages of phallus, breasts, nipples, nubs, it was like reading a porno (I promise – quotes will abound in the next post so you’ll see what I’m talking about).

But back to the red hair.

I’ve yet to get Roach’s book – as mom is helping Gram with her PT and I don’t have a key to the house to even take a walk without worrying a meth head may wander in I don’t get out much and spend most of the day reading (no, I don’t live in a bad area, there’s just a suspicious house on the corner that no one likes). But I’m continuing to note the similarities between redheads.

Again: temper. independence. no need for a man. sexuality – in Viking in Love more so.

And again: the temper is controlled. independence is maintained. they find they are in love. and they keep their sexuality (ie: screwing in a bathroom as in the previous book or screwing in the basement in this text where the CHILDREN – I kid you not – have locked them to … they use the word ‘tup’ and they do, indeed, ‘tup’).

So – simple question – why isn’t the female a brunette? A blonde? Sure, Caedmon rages about redheads once or twice – but I never stopped and thought he really hated gingers – a small dislike, mayhaps (oh, yeah, look at that – using the narrative voice there). I really hate that word … mayhaps … yuck. yech. ew.

Thing is – he just isn’t set against them. So why does Breanne have to have red hair?

I don’t expect Roach’s book to be the be all end all answer – I just want a resource with probably other resources to guide me on this matter.

The wonderful mater has mentioned taking a B&N trip this weekend so hopefully – come the next Ginger post – this book will be read (along with another I was recommended – but I’ll get to that one when I get to Structuralism later on).

I’m not copping out on this post – the lack of quotes is merely because the red hair wasn’t railed against. It was just … there. I want to know why it was there though and see if this pattern continues.

Especially in the next book – which, of course, is a secret, but I picked it out by means of it’s cover (small spoiler: there is no redhead on it).

So this doesn’t seem like a total waste – I give you more RDJ to gaze into the eyes of:

Has RDJ ever gone full ginger, man? Never go full ginger.

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Reference

Hill, Sandra. Viking in Love. New York: Avon Books, 2010.

 

A Ginger Post: Part 1 May 20, 2010

I promised Paul that he would be in the first sentence of this post since he supposedly ‘gave me time to blog’ by letting me off the phone.

But I’m not going so far as dedicating this post to him – nope – this one’s for Sarah, who had to put up with my constant talk of ‘why does everyone hate gingers?’

As you can see – ginger hate is a subject that hits home with me. Because I am a ginger.

Me being a ginger very recently with Sarah

Me being a ginger again as Sarah and I attend 'Ragtime'

Me as a ginger with Val on a hill in Ireland

I'm surprised the Dalek hasn't killed me for being a ginger (in Scotland)

Meeting Mr. Bingley as a ginger (also Scotland)

I guess I should consider myself lucky that my hair tends to be on the auburn side for the most part – but looking at my graduation picture (I’m now working from a wonderful little desk my aunt set up for me – pictures to come next week once I have all of my books and such in place – but if you visit my facebook group, you can see the desk untouched) that’s some red hair. No thank you photoshop. Yay for clearing up blemishes, though.

Anyway – my intention with this post is really to have fun. It’s a ‘part 1’ meaning that I intend to write about this subject more than once and this is only the inaugural post on the subject. It’s not going to be very long – not as long as the others. But, I knew I’d be writing about it more than once when I saw the cover then read the inside summary for my next book.

Red hair is a thing. A big thing.

But is it a bad thing?

Well, in context … no. But it is annoying when your male character, in this case Robbie, repeatedly says things such as:

“Their magic was as fickle as a red-headed woman.” p.25

“Not under the same roof with that redheaded bitch his brother had married.” p.18

“Now the red-haired bitch who’d used him as a stepping stone to get to his brother had managed to bring even more trouble to the MacQuarrie Keep.” p.40

“He should have known it would be like this the minute he’d learned Isabella MacGahan was a redhead.” p.77

Not that I, ya’ know, paid any attention to remarks like this throughout the book.

When I was talking on the phone to Paul, though, I told him what I was writing my newest post about. And his reply was: You know what they say about gingers! Me, thinking I would get some good quote from him, asked what and he replied with something I’m not even going to type, so you can see this theme. Isn’t there even a hug-a-ginger day thanks to Facebook?

Anyway, what the hell does this have to do with the story?

It probably doesn’t surprise you that the person Robbie ends up falling in love with is a redhead. That’s pretty much obvious. What is important, I think, with this trait is the list of other things that come along with it.

A fiery temper.

The need to do it one’s self – a strong sense of independence, I mean.

And, of course, something very sexual. To just give you a sneak peek of the next book, this is included in the ‘summary’ (why that’s in inverted commas, I will explain next week):

“And that fiery redhead who burst into my chamber that first morning is worst of all.”

It would be a interesting thing to do to keep tally of all the heroines of these novels who end up being redheaded.

It seems, looking at some of the traits that accompany these fictional redheads, they’re traits to be contained, controlled maybe. Not in a Bella/Edward way – nor like Taming of the Shrew but in … I don’t know, a way that brings a hyperbolized redheaded character down a few notches and closer to reality.

In my experience of reading A Highlander’s Homecoming, I really only found that Isa was tolerable after Robbie made an appearance. Before that she was sort of annoying – not in an anti-feminist way, don’t get me wrong. But she was too much what you expected – all the traits above. So what does that have to do with red hair?

Tangential related story: a few years ago, can’t remember exactly when, I was looking around the reference section of Barnes and Noble, then the Fiction Anthology section – since those two sections are pretty good when you need information on canon, background on different writings, and whatnot. They, to this day, remain two of my favorite sections of the store. I had been writing for years and found it almost an inclination to make at least one of my main characters have red hair – not because I did – but because it somehow fit. Then I came across this book:

'The Roots of Desire'

At this very moment I am still kicking myself for not getting it. But, seeing as I’m writing this blog all summer – I am going to get it. And I am going to read it. This is why I said this post may not be too long.

This is something I have to acquaint myself with – do a little research on (not that I could have done it for this post – but where would the fun be to pack it all in at the beginning?). I think, really, that the subject is fascinating – but I don’t want my view on it to be uninformed – or even juvenile.

My thoughts are very simple – redhair = fiery = love interest = tamed (?)

It may not prove true for all these books – it may prove so for more than I think. I’m certainly not going to pick the books out to fit this (seriously – I plan on buying the third one at the supermarket again so the pickings are slim – I’ll graduate to B&N at some point).

So – summation I suppose – I know I wasn’t very book-specific in this post. As I said, it was more of introducing this idea of a redheaded heroine. Of course, I imagine this novel will reappear as I go on to look into this topic as it was the text that brought my attention clearly to it.

I guess I should almost thank it.

30 minutes to go (my aunt goes to bed at 11 so I have to be out of the temporary office by then). Look at that Paul – could’ve had thirty more minutes to talk – my GaGa claws type fast!

Time for a PALATE CLEANSER! CLICK ME!

Reference

Mayhue, Melissa. A Highlander’s Homecoming. New York: Pocket Books, 2010.