I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read by Robin Hobb*, from the Farseer trilogy, through the Liveship books, and on to the Rainwild Chronicles. (Her new books are on my must read list too--oh for a few more hours in a day!) She is a writer who can transport me to exotic places, and whose characters truly come to life in my mind as I read.
As you might imagine, then, I was delighted to find her appearing on the video of an author panel from the 2017 San Diego Comic Con. The panel's topics of discussion were resistance and rebellion in fantasy literature, and some of the thoughts Robin Hobbs shared echoed a train of thought I've been pondering of late.
Here's my own clumsy transcript of an excerpt from Robin Hobbs's comments on the video (see the full video below):
"I think my favorite form of resistance is the unsung heroes, the people who just keep on going in the middle of war all around them. They're still going to plant their crops, they're going to have a baby. I think those are the stories that we probably don't hear enough.
"We see it in the U.S. right now, we see people who are saying, no matter what our politics are, we're going to keep on keeping on, and I think those stories...um...have always inspired me.
"That to me is...the ultimate form of resistance: We're going to live our lives."
So often, in fantasy literature, the story follows a heroic figure on a grand adventure, and the fate of the entire world hangs in the balance. But I think there's room in the genre for tales of more ordinary folk just trying to get by in these fantastical realms--stories in which the fate of the world may not be at stake, but instead, in some way, the fate of the character's little patch of the world might be.
Heroism need not take place on a grand scale. Sometimes it's the woman who holds the farm together while her husband is off at war. It's the shepherd, alone on the mountain, who finds a clever way to keep the goblins from making off with the village's sheep. It's the mother whose tireless nursing saves the life of a sick child, or the street rat who stands up for what he believes in despite corruption amongst the local constabulary.
Sometimes, the ultimate resistance is not gathering the Twelve Armies for an assault on the Stronghold of Evil. Sometimes it's finding the strength to make life keep happening in the little space over which you have influence, whether that's a country, or a village, or a tiny one-room cottage on the outskirts of nowhere particular.
I, too, would love to see more of these stories in the fantasy genre. If there's one you can recommend, please let me know in the comments.
[*Note: Robin Hobb is a pen name of the American writer, Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden]