Mercedes Lackey's Last Herald Mage-or what every homophobe should read

I just finished Magic’s Price. I remember a discussion we had here, and I didn’t want to bump up an old topic.

It was SO sad, but in happy way, if that makes sense.

I HATED the part where Vanyel is gang-raped and then he goes berserk and won’t let anyone near him, not even Stef and 'Fandes. shudder

However, about the title-I seriously, SERIOUSLY think that this would be a good book for anyone who is homophobic. It starts out with Vanyel Ashkevron, a kid who nobody understands, except for his older sister-his mother spoils and fusses over him in an annoying manner, his brothers tease him, his father is always riding his ass. And then he goes to stay with his aunt Savil, a mage, and falls in love with one of her protege, Tylendel.

The way she wrote it so that you don’t even learn Vanyel is gay until HE does, and by then you’ve grown fond of him, and start to see him not just as “Oh MY GOD, he’s GAY!” But as a person who happens to be gay, and a really cool character.


The love Vanyel has for his lifebonded, first 'Lendel, but ESPECIALLY Stef, is absolutely beautiful and touching. If ANYONE thinks THAT is perverted, then there’s something wrong with that person.

What fictional books would you reccomend for homophobes?


Any Jeffrey Archer… oh, I see… you didn’t mean just to make 'em suffer. :wink:

The Crow Road

Maybe you shouldn’t have revealed the character is gay if part of the story’s narration is the reader and the character coming to the conclusion at the same time.

I don’t know, Guin. It’s a nice idea, but I don’t really know how much good getting 'em to read it will do. I persuaded a mildly homophobic friend to read the Herald-Mage trilogy, and it didn’t seem to register at all. He said he liked the story, but he only got through it by pretending that Van’s lovers were female during intimate scenes–otherwise, his “ick” factor made him put the book down. :rolleyes: Reading them didn’t change his attitude, nor has my persistent push for more tolerance.

Maybe it would help with more extreme homophobes, who don’t see gays as people…but you’d have a hell of time getting them to read it.

I’m not sure I’d recommend it to any homophobe with good literary taste. Okay, that was sort of mean, I know, but the book seriously bugged me. <dirty old woman>I would have finished it if the sex had been more explicit.</dirty old woman> I do think it could make a large impact on young girls and boys who are basically ignorant about homosexuality and think it’s some freaky disorder or something, just 'cause they’ve never been taught anything–just 'cause it’s never been discussed.


Then again, if there’s as much sexual violence as you say, it’s probably not a good recommendation for younger kids, though that never stopped ME.

Most fantasy I read with gay characters, it’s just accepted in the society. I think every homophobe should be forced to go see Hedwig and the Angry Inch.* Not just the movie, but a good theatre production. Forcibly, if necessary. It may not change their opinions, but it still would be good fun to see them squirm. [insert evil laugh here]

*I realize this isn’t a book, but I’m not sure any book could have that much of an effect on a homophobe.

** Tanaqui**, I’m with you there. I have actually read the series - well, the early books - and quite enjoyed it as light fantasy. Bubble-bath reading. But I have a theory that once Mercedes Lackey got popular she dispensed with editors, third drafts, second drafts, any re-reading at all before publication… Much like Anne McCaffrey, once they got popular it turned to unreadable glurge.

On topic - seriously good books are:
Ursula leGuin, Left Hand of Darkness
Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are not the only fruit

And there’s some pleasant fluff in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series.
And SM Stirling’s “Island in the Sea of Time” series has a very cool, competent and in many ways quite conservative black lesbian protagonist who might appeal.

I suspect that the “gay coming of age” genre would be generally good, as the protagonists usually are dealing with homophobia, whether their own or their famiiy’s or society in general. So the relevant issues would be dealt with.

Do homophobes read?

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

Ricardo Pinto’s The Chosen. Sexual issues are not the main (pardon the pun) thrust of the book, which could make the orientation of various characters (pardon again) easier to swallow. :smiley:


Malacandra, would you believe I didn’t catch that until you pointed it out to me?


Although it does not have negative connotations among all of the societies of the Valdemar books, there are many exceptions; I just wanted to point out that Vanyel isn’t the only shaych in the series, but he is the one who has the most angst for his preferences. If you want to introduce a homophobe to these books gently, you might start with one of the other series, like the Vows and Honor duology.

ps: I’m not shay’a’chern, it’s just my SDMB name

How about the Dragon Riders of Pern series? Specifically the blue and green riders.

Switching over to mysteries, I’d strongly recommend Laurie R. King’s Kate Martinelli novels, A Grave Talent, To Play the Fool, and With Child. They’re set in 20th century San Francisco and feature a woman police officer.

In the first one, A Grave Talent, there are a few references to how private Kate is about her personal life, but there are a few references to someone named “Lee”. It isn’t until about halfway through the book that you find out Lee is a woman. That book also contains how they met and how Kate dealt with realizing she was gay and in love with a woman, as well as a very engrossing mystery.


I’d also recommend Lynn Flewelling’s three-book series – the Nightrunner series, I think it’s called. Starts out with ‘Luck in the Shadows’. Pretty well-written, each of the three books definitely has a different theme (the first being a coming-of-age story, the second a lot of war and swashbuckling, and the third being more a political story), and it has several homosexual characters who you really end up liking. Guin put it best – they’re not just gay characters, they’re great characters who just happen to be gay.

Does getting an “icky” feeling reading intimate homosexual sex scenes make him a homophobe?

Stirling’s work might not do the trick here, as most people who are actually hostile to homosexuals and the idea of homosexuality (I dislike the word “homophobe” as a phobia is a psychological disorder whereas an irrational dislike of homosexuals is most likely a result of socialization and religious indoctrination) are much more hostile to males than to females. Witness the popularity of “women together” scenes in porn.

Heh. Mercedes Lackey in general is great for this: if you want an obscenely powerful homosexual magic-user, Mercedes Lackey is the lady to go to (Mage Storms, I am looking at you). More generally, I think using literature to convert homophobes is like using the Chronicles of Narnia to turn religious fundamentalists on to fantasy fiction. You get a lot of “That was a good book, except for the magic/spirituality/buttsex parts”, as Balance points out.

Oh yeah, Firesong! Firesong ROCKS!!!

See, my point is that the romance in LHM isn’t about sex so much. Van and Stef really care about each other, and it’s very unselfish and that sort of thing. I can’t see ANYTHING gross about it at all.

(I think there was ONE allusion to buttsex-if that. And that could have just been me reading into it.)

There’s a big, big difference between enjoying “red hot girl-on-girl action” in pornos and actually thinking that lesbians are regular human beings who deserve the same respect and rights as everyone else.