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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Controversial Conqueror

Recently a really cool lady that goes by the name Warriorjudge was invited to participate in a podcast. Her first one ever. The topic of discussion was her Conqueror series. Now, of course Warriorjudge thought she was going to be interviewed by people that at least liked the series. Weeell, that’s not what she got. The first question was asked, and when the writer disagreed with the interviewer’s interpretation of the conqueror’s sexual relationship with her slave, things got kind of hairy.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that this conqueror can be perceived as a sadistic brute, and she can be hard to read, especially when the unconventional sexual practices come into play, but put that aside because those parts don’t have to be read, they can be skipped over if that‘s not your thing. I think there was a missed opportunity here. Having the person that created these stories right there with you puts you in the the unique position of getting her to help you understand her vision by delving into her mind, and getting a guided tour through the landscape of the world she imagined. What I don't understand is wasting that opportunity by telling the writer the many and varied ways she could have made the story better. It’s insulting.

This depiction of Xena is not warm and fuzzy. To be honest, I’m surprised that she was actually able to love Gabrielle at all. I could be wrong here, but I think that one of the reasons Xena was so brutal with Gabrielle in the beginning of the story was because that’s how angry she was about losing control of her emotions. So she took her pound of flesh from the person that was the cause of that loss of control. It sounds barbaric, and it is, but that was how the conqueror medicated herself. I think.  

Some say this conqueror is emotionally unavailable, hard, unbending, controlling. I say she’s all of those things and more. But let’s suppose that Xena had been able to conqueror the world. Do you really think she would have been all sweetness and light? She wasn’t those things when she was a warlord. She certainly wouldn’t have been that way once she held the power to rule.

Also, we must remember, this is the same woman who killed the Amazon leaders to gain the power she would need to destroy nations. This is the woman that staked the heads of her enemies on sticks, and lined them along the road for all to see. This is the woman who had Gabrielle crucified, and her legs broken for speaking out. This is the woman whose battle cry was “Kill ’em all!” And that’s the way the television writers wrote her. Warriorjudge didn’t create that person.

Do you seriously think that person would all of a sudden become someone else once she gained control? That she would become an open book who shared her feelings with anyone that would listen?

I don’t think so.

I think it was brave of Warriorjudge to write about a character that we all love so much in this particular light, because what I see is a real depiction of the other Xena. The Xena that was going to make everyone pay. The Xena that Caesar betrayed, and set loose on the world.

I know everyone wants Xena the Conqueror to meet the slave Gabrielle, and have Gabrielle’s love change her into a different person. Heck, I like those stories too. They’re my favorite kind of conqueror story to read. But this one is also good, and in its own way it tells that same story. Gabrielle’s love does change Xena, it’s just a private change. For their eyes only.

I suggest that the readers look past the parts you don’t like, and give the series a chance in its entirety. You might find a real gem. Especially the third story, Princess of the Realm. I also suggest you read these stories with an open mind, and a “what if that other Xena had become the conqueror” attitude. I think you will either love it or hate it, but I guarantee you won’t forget it. And who knows? Along the way you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the journey.




Warning: These stories are sexually explicit and depicts sex acts that are harsh and brutal. If you are under age, or sensitive to to the subject matter, do not read. Because of the story content the links to the stories have not been included in this post. (blog rules)


Lord Conqueror of the Realm - 240 pages
Xena the Conqueror purchases Gabrielle, a young body slave - these are the chronicles of their lives.


Queen of the Realm - 200 pages
This story is a sequel to the story "Lord Conqueror of the Realm." The Conqueror, Queen Gabrielle and their daughter Princess Athena travel together to Amazon lands in order to catch the one responsible for a series of mysterious attacks committed against the Amazons, threatening to disturb the peace in the region. While there a major event occurs that drives a wedge between the Conqueror and Queen Gabrielle, which forces them to examine their complex relationship.


Princess of the Realm - 305 pages and counting (ongoing)
Queen Gabrielle is with child and the Conqueror is anxious. Instability in the north behooves the Conqueror to make a momentous decision which greatly effects her firstborn's life and drives a wedge between her and her family creating discord that threatens to destroy her Empire.

16 comments:

  1. I totally agree, Lori!

    Peppers

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  2. You are so on point with your thoughts, Lori. Warriorjudge has written a wonderful historical series. I look forward to every installment she publishes. The way she uses language in this series is a pleasure.

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  3. I can’t agree with everything that was said. Yes, the show writers did create an evil Xena, but Warriorjudge has created a sadistic, sexually violent Xena. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be seeing or understanding when she is being so brutal with Gabrielle. I just don't understand where the pleasure comes from. For both parties involved. Yes, the parts of the story that doesn’t have the sexual violence in it is interesting, but you can’t ignore those icky parts and act like they’re not there. They are. It gets better as the series moves on, and the sex becomes something closer to normal. I do agree that the third story is a good one. I’m enjoying getting to know Athena I just don’t understand why she had to be given Xena’s proclivities. What is it with the degradation?

    Ziggy

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  4. Lori - I cannot thank you enough for all that you've said and done. I wish on all writers to be interviewed by you.

    You understand the character and her motivations perfectly well and in exactly the way which I intended when I wrote it.

    I said in the commentary I gave in the Fan Fiction Lounge Forum 4 months ago, and I'll say it again - I write for people with thinking brains. I respect my readers' intelligence and so I refuse to spoon-feed them. As the storyteller, I show you what my characters do, what they say, at times what they think, how they perceive others and how others perceive them. I do not tell you who they are. If the storyteller does his/hers job right, the thinking readers will know who are the characters and what motivates them (and then they wouldn't have to ask stupid questions like how come no one has ever told Athena that her mother was once her Sire's slave - I swear - none of the readers that wrote to me, has ever asked me that question - not one).

    It is true in regards to all my characters. I never told my readers that Cynna, for example, was a gold digger - the readers knew she was because they read in the story that she touched the Queen's throne when she first arrived at Corinth, because she told the Shamaness that what she wanted more than anything is to be married to Athena (rather than that Athena would love her, for example), because the Conqueror, who is a good judge of character suspected Cynna of being a gold digger. I showed you her words and actions and then showed you Sieglinde's words and actions - the contrast between them as I designed it showed you who these characters are.

    Every scene, every sentence, is deliberate.

    WarriorJudge

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  5. Hi Ziggy,

    Do you remember what Queen Gabrielle told Thiba in QOTR - she told her that in the Conqueror's bed she never felt humiliated. So what don't you believe her? why do you think you know better than she does? She had owners before - she ought to know the difference.

    Sexual tastes and practices are varied. Some people like pain others don't. Some enjoy anal sex some don't. Some enjoy role-playing others don't. With the Conqueror and the Queen it is mainly about power and dominance. Why? That's who they are. Because.

    Power is a MAJOR motif in this series - Who has it and who doesn't. Who think they have it but don't and who think they don't have it but do. How to obtain it. How to master it. How wants it. What is power.

    The Imperial bedchamber is but another arena in which power is explored both in bed and outside of it.

    I don't think that the Conqueror is sadistic, I think she is capable of great and vicious cruelty - because more than she enjoys inflicting pain - she mainly uses that capability when she needs to (like for protecting her Queen and daughter like for holding on to her rule, and like when she wants to destroy tender emotions she realizes she has for a slave girl and to punish/destroy the slave for invoking these emotions in her. Because in her mind, in the world she lives - bearing love is the end of all things - love equals weakness and weakness equals the destruction of her Empire.

    WJ

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  6. Someone wrote on another site that LCotR was a very brutal form of pornography, and that the seductive writing style encourages women to eroticize sexual degradation. What do you think about that, WJ?

    This person also inferred that LCotR wasn't about lesbianism at all. Not real woman-loving, woman-respecting lesbianism, was the way she put it. Is that how you see it?

    I never thought about either one of those points. The parts of the story that didn’t sit well with me I moved past, and continued on. There is so much more going on than sex with these stories.

    The discussion about this story reminds me of the old days when fans would get heated over a piece of fiction and take sides. It was like a turf war.

    If nothing else, you’ve definitely stirred some passions.

    Swan

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    1. Hi Swan,
      A. What is “sexual degradation”? Some think that a doggie-style position is degrading, some think that, I don’t know…golden showers are degrading. We each have our individual red lines when we engage in sexual acts and each of us might feel degraded by certain practices while others might not. The one who wrote this assertion obviously considers BDSM degrading. I don’t and I know many others who don’t.
      Do you remember what Queen Gabrielle told Thiba in QOTR - she told her that in the Conqueror's bed she never felt humiliated. So I don't know why whoever wrote about ‘sexual degradation” doesn't take Gabrielle's word for it? What makes her think she knows better than Gabrielle does? She had owners before - she ought to know the difference.

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    2. B. Since you’ve read the stories, you must have noticed that I went to great length to depict the era (about 400BC) as authentically and as realistically as possible. I researched weapons, furniture, clothes, the Olympics, the armies, the maps, the battle strategies, the Spartans, the Corinthians, the ships, the Amazons (not as they were portrayed on the show – I researched it myself to learn what they wore, what were their battle tactics, their weapons etc). I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that how women were treated back then. To apply 21 century “morality” to ancient Greece – well, it’s stupid.

      I didn’t listen to the podcast after it was edited and posted online, so I don’t know whether the part where one of the interviewers said she plans on reading “Game of Thrones” fourth book is in the final cut or not – but she did say it. Personally I found GOT so sexist and misogynistic that I couldn’t stomach it –I was bound by the real historic period in which my story takes place and still made a woman the world’s ruler. “Game of Thrones” is pure fiction – What’s Martin’s (the author) excuse? And how come the reviewers don’t find it degrading and offensive to women?

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    3. C. As for LCOTR not being about lesbianism at all – well – What kind of stupid critic is that? Did I promise to write a lesbian love story? Did I say it was in the disclaimers? Was there a label that said “A lesbian story”?
      It is a love story between two women, one masculine and the other is feminine.
      So it is very much a lesbian love story. I’m not an “L word” kind of lesbian. I’m butch. I don’t think that all lesbian should look, talk and act like straight women or better yet – the way hetro society expect women to. Negating the freedom of women to choose for themselves who they want to be, what form of relationships they should have – that’s sexist and un-feminist.
      The harsh, clear and strict dichotomy between men and women in our society – and this is very important – serves patriarchy not feminism. The lines (that in hetro society must not be crossed – ask any Trance you want MtF and FtM) between men and women are drawn for the purpose of keeping the women in their place and keeping men in their position of power.

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    4. A real lesbian and a feminist ought to know this. The one who wrote that comment serves, whether consciously or not, the patriarchy because what she’s really saying is – women should be women and men should be men – thus shoot us all in our collective foot.
      I don’t know how many years have you been in the lesbian community, but I’ve been around long enough – I saw butch women who were top and femme women who were bottom, I saw butch women who were bottom and femme women who were top, I saw butch women who were subs and some that were DOMS and femme women who were subs and some that were DOMS. I saw women who did not fall into any category, I saw tomboys…well you get my drift.

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    5. In relation to my story specifically – The dynamics of the relationship between the Conqueror and the Queen do not stem from Xena being masculine and Gabrielle being feminine – it’s the way it is because of who they are – Xena is dominant and Gabrielle is submissive – Xena is the supreme Sovereign Lord of the world and Gabrielle is her consort. It has nothing to do with masculinity and femininity. I chose to portray Xena as masculine because in ancient times (sadly it is not entirely wrong in this day and age) men equals strength and women equals weakness – and Xena could not be perceived as weak otherwise she might lose her Empire.
      Whoever wrote that comment – did not understand the story and what’s it about.
      I hope I've answered your question. Thank you very much for writing to me and for reading my work,
      WJ

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    6. Warriorjudge said: "I chose to portray Xena as masculine because in ancient times men equals strength and women equals weakness – and Xena could not be perceived as weak otherwise she might lose her Empire."

      That's an excellent point! I never thought about that. It makes so much sense.

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    7. to illustrate that point, here'a a short scene from Princess of the Realm part 10:
      Disguised as commoners, Noblemen Drusus, Sirus and Likos, who could still taste the grand humiliation he and his sons had suffered at the hands of the Conqueror and Princess Athena, convened on the road leading to an obscure little village not far from the province of Rome .

      "This sort of an opportunity comes once in a lifetime. We must seize it!" Nobleman Likos asserted and added another log to the small bonfire they had built.

      Nobleman Drusus didn't feel that confident. He looked around in the dark and pricked up his ears to make sure no one else was there, lurking in the bleak wilderness, hiding behind a tree or laying low in the high grass at the side of the desolate, shabby road.

      "This is madness!" he hissed. "Have you forgotten already what happened to other Noblemen who conspired against the Conqueror?!" He stopped and looked at his fellow Noblemen's faces for a response. "I, for one, do not wish to die such a horrible death and I do not wish for my family to suffer the Conqueror's special brand of calamity."

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    8. Nobleman Sirus, the governor of the province of Epirus , stopped picking his teeth. "I agree with Drusus. Bringing down the Conqueror is definitely a wonderful and satisfying notion, but there's a reason why the Conqueror had managed to conquer the world and rule it for so long."

      Nobleman Likos waved his arm in dismissal. "My sources at Court tell me that the Queen no longer spreads her legs for the Conqueror."

      "Neither does my wife. What is your point?" asked Nobleman Sirus.

      Nobleman Likos scoffed, "The entire Royal family is divided over Princess Athena's marriage to the Nordic princess. The Queen sides with her Grace, against the Conqueror. I was even told that Princess Terreis surrogates the Queen to the Lord Conqueror. It's pathetic!" he sneered, "We have all forgotten a fundamental fact!" he declared.

      "Which is?" asked Nobleman Drusus.

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    9. "The Lord Conqueror may have all the freedoms, the mannerisms, the appetites and the instruments of a man, but you all seem to have forgotten what the Lord Conqueror really is."

      "A God?" Nobleman Sirus suggested.

      "A woman, you fool!" Nobleman Likos growled. "She squats to piss!”

      The Noblemen guffawed at Nobleman Likos' last remark.

      “She is no longer the blood thirsty lion,” Nobleman Likos continued. “With the Queen living apart from her, love and lust have long left her… The Conqueror rules us all yet she cannot even control her own wife! She has never been weaker. Now is the time to strike!""The Lord Conqueror may have all the freedoms, the mannerisms, the appetites and the instruments of a man, but you all seem to have forgotten what the Lord Conqueror really is."

      "A God?" Nobleman Sirus suggested.

      "A woman, you fool!" Nobleman Likos growled. "She squats to piss!”

      The Noblemen guffawed at Nobleman Likos' last remark.

      “She is no longer the blood thirsty lion,” Nobleman Likos continued. “With the Queen living apart from her, love and lust have long left her… The Conqueror rules us all yet she cannot even control her own wife! She has never been weaker. Now is the time to strike!"

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  7. No matter if you like conqueror (violent, cute, etc) or not, I thought it was pretty mean inviting her to be a part of the program and simply criticizing her work and saying they thought it was terrible. You can do that on your own blog or whatever, sure. But to invite the author and then do something like that seems like a trap. I would've felt pretty bad if I was WJ... not fair. And btw I'm not a big fan of her conqueror either (guess I'm too attached to Dark Angels' series) but that doesn't mean I agree with what they did. And now I'm gonna give her series another chance :D

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