Women in Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series

In the wee hours of Monday morning, I finished Stone of Tears, the second book in Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. To be honest, I probably won’t continue with the series until I run out of other things to read. It’s not that it’s the worst stuff I’ve ever read, just that apparently swords and horses fantasy isn’t my thing. My original post speculated as to why:

It absolutely drives me up the wall when the female characters have to have a man rush in and save them all the time. It’s such a cliché!

I was hoping, since so many people kept telling me to read this series, that it would be different. Better than that. Unfortunately, it’s actually worse: women are reduced to one-trick ponies, relying on magic to get ahead. When their magic fails them, they lose and are invariably raped, tortured, or otherwise abused.

Kahlan is the worst example of this, obviously. In the first two books, there’s not a single situation that she is able to get out of using her wits and skills alone. If her magic fails her, such as confronting the D’Harans in WFR or the Imperial Order in SoT, then she has to have a man save her. The former is the worst example, as her magic has to be amped up to an even higher level, Con Dar, in order to get out of the situation.

Richard, by contrast, is faced with his abilities constantly failing, forcing him to get out of situations by his wit alone. Kahlan is presented as intelligent and resourceful, a leader for her people, and yet every time she’s put in a bind she crumbles like week-old bread.

Adie? Talking head, and night-time amusement for Zedd.

Cyrilla? Token rape victim.

Denna? Hooker with a heart of gold.

Sister Verna? Certainly one of the more interesting and intelligent characters, but ultimately impotent to absolutely everyone around her.

Pasha? Over 50 years old and still acting like a wanton teenager.

So … yeah. I can’t really get into it—there’s just too much misogyny. And too much exposition. And too many inane, irrelevant anecdotes. And too much deus ex machina in the final chapters.

Sorry, but I can’t recommend that anyone read the Sword of Truth series. Maybe it gets better in the later books, but that’s not what I hear.

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Rick Osborne

I am a web geek who has been doing this sort of thing entirely too long. I rant, I muse, I whine. That is, I am not at all atypical for my breed.