Brave Danny Flint

TRIGGER WARNING: Abuse and sexual assault.

I’ve been reading the A Song of Ice and Fire novels upon which Game of Thrones is based.  I’m up to volume two, A Clash of Kings.  A fan-run Facebook group posted about a character named Danny Flint who is mentioned in the books.  Danny was a very young orphan girl who fled an abusive uncle.  She disguised herself as a boy and joined the Night’s Watch, a men-only military order guarding The Wall, a 700 ft wall of ice stretching to both ends of the continent.  The original purpose of the Night’s Watch was to guard the realm against ice creatures called The Others in the books and called White Walkers on the show.  As time wore on and less people believed in the existence of such creatures, the Watch devolved into a border patrol, keeping out the Wildlings. Their diminished reputation and dwindling numbers forced them to primarily recruit new members from prisons.

Danny passed as a boy long enough to officially join their ranks, however one night her true identity was discovered.  She was raped and murdered by the other members of the Night’s Watch.  Some say her ghost still haunts the Nightfort.  A mournful ballad was written in her memory called “Brave Danny Flint”.

Now, both the novels and the show are not without their issues when it comes to female characters, but I do give author George R.R. Martin some credit for making readers think about the lives of women in a medieval culture; be they peasants or princesses.  The fantasy genre is often synonymous with allowing the reader to escape, but Martin prefers confrontation.  Arya Stark disguises herself as a boy to escape being held hostage by Baratheons of King’s Landing.  Brienne of Tarth has all the makings of a knight but will never be named as such regardless of her bravery and martial prowess.  The only places in Westeros with any semblance of gender equality are Bear Island and Dorne.

If you are reading or watching these stories and you don’t come away from them thinking about gender roles and equality, you haven’t been paying attention.

Hear you now the sad lament
Of Brave Young Danny Flint
Whose parents died of sickness
When she was not but ten.

So off Young Danny went to live
With her wicked uncle
Who one night stole her maidenhead
So into the North she fled.

Oh Danny Flint you’ll never escape
The Fate the Gods have written
And life must seem the cruelest jape
Oh Brave Young Danny Flint.

North she fled to take the Black
And leave her troubles past
She cut her hair and changed her name
To Danny Flint the Brave.

At the Nightfort Danny took the oath
Thought a boy by all
And she hoped to live forever
As a Brother upon the Wall.

Oh Danny Flint you’ll never escape
The Fate the Gods have written
And life must seem the cruelest jape
Oh Brave Young Danny Flint.

Now Danny was so diligent
To keep from watchful stares
But one night as she bathed
Her Brothers saw her body bare.

These men were quick to break their vows
As they threw her to the ground
They took her honor then her life
While Danny made not a sound.

Oh Danny Flint there’s no escape
The Fate the Gods have written
And life does seem the cruelest jape
Oh Brave Young Danny Flint.

It is said Young Danny still yet walks
The Nightfort’s shadowy halls
A pale form singing sorrowfully
The loneliest, saddest song.

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes the pipes are calling…

Advertisements

“Stripping Away The Psycho”

Valerie D’Orazio has a great article on Elliot Rodger.

I especially appreciated this part:

“Sometimes people turn to “dark” entertainment—movies, comic books, music, culture, whatnot—in order to process internal demons, not set them loose. More damage would be created by banning these outlets and forcing them deep underground than by letting them be available to the public.

Article: The End of Violent, Simplistic, Masculinity

by Thomas Page McBee

“People are saying, ‘Why don’t we scrap the concept of masculinity all together and let people be whoever they want to be, just leave it totally open’,” Gomez says. “I think that’s great, but a 14-year-old who grows up in a hyper-machismo household surrounded by highly homophobic peers, and his only two models of masculinity are like his worship of Lil Wayne and his abusive uncle, it’s not very useful to tell that kid, ‘Yo, just forget about the box, man. Be whoever you are.’ If you don’t give him any counter-narratives, that’s actually not giving him any options.”

E tu, Barnes & Noble?

Today I hit Barnes & Noble to pick up Red White and Blood by Christopher Farnsworth.  I was trying to find my way to the Horror section when I noticed this:

When I asked a B&N clerk where I could find the Horror section she told me that all Horror titles had been moved into either Fiction or Sci-Fi/Fantasy.  She kindly looked up the title I was looking for and helped me find it.   I bought my copy of Red, White, and Blood got out of there.

I get it, B&N needs to make money, just like any other bookstore in a world of Amazon and e-readers.  Yes, the recent crop of schmaltzy novels aimed at teenage girls are selling big.  But why brush aside the interests of Horror fans so rudely?  Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate romance mixed with paranormal elements when it is done right, but not when it is chock full of wretched misogyny.

So I leave you with this open letter:

Dear Teen Paranormal Romance Fans,

You wouldn’t be enjoying that stuff had it not been for all the stuff that we enjoy having been there first.  We were here before you and we’ll be here when you move on to something else.

sincerely,

Horror Fans.