Author Topic: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves  (Read 8649 times)

spencerharper

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I'm not sure if I'm the only one who noticed this, but so many of the female/female relationships in this series are somewhat lacking in depth with their connections. Almost all connections whether good or bad have men as the integral part tying them together. Mary Jo and Mercy's animosity stemming from Adam, when we're shown in other parts of the book series that she's a strong independent thinker, and she's never felt the need to have a mate. And  though you listed Mercy's counter arguments to her reasons, it seemed odd that it boiled down to a man. Another connection similar in nature to that is Mercy and Leah's relationship. Although Leah does act out of spite towards Mercy when it's unwarranted, Mercy doesn't ever try to see it from her perspective, she's in a relationship where her wolf's companionship is the only thing wanted. She can only see Bran's perspective, which is warped by his own ego. If these women were strong enough to survive the change and dominant enough, which in many points you have mentioned in the series, then why would the men in their lives play that much of a role in other relationships? They deserve the right to dislike someone, because they just dislike them, not because a man caused it.
 
 It seems as though all other women werewolves should bend themselves backward to see Mercy in a good light, when she has a hard time doing it to others. And then these women are made out to be villains because they don't like Mercy, their descriptions in the book begin to turn into them lacking intelligence, when it's just an opinion. Their redemption within the books, like with Honey, only happens when they come around to Mercy's side. There is a positive female/female relationship in the book, Jesse's and Mercy's, which I enjoy immensely, but it almost seems cheapened by the fact that Jesse hates her real mom, another person Mercy strongly dislikes. While many things Christy did were terrible, and in Jesse's situation I would feel the same, it gives the appearance that people can only have one strong maternal influence.

I know that the series is written from Mercy's point of view and therefore there is a large bias, but I was wondering what your opinions were on the  female wolves, especially Mary Jo and Leah.

Baum Diggity

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 10:58:57 am »
This is an excellent point, and one that seems to crop up in plenty of books by a variety of authors. The goal should always be to have at least one solid conversation between two individuals in a book of the same gender discussing an issue that does not relate to a potential love interest.

It would be nice to see some character development in this respect from the peripheral characters to see and respect them from their own perspectives. There's some potential opportunities out there. We'll have to see what's in the cards for future plots, I suppose.
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DandelionWine

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 10:31:34 pm »
I accept some of what you say to a point julietdarcy, but I disagree that Jesse hates her mom, she may not expect a great deal from her, but she doesn't hate her.  She has a fairly realistic view of her I'd say, though she probably loves her and a lot of it makes her sad, very little makes her angry.

Mercy also likes and respects Sylvia Sandoval, and while they have had rocky times over Gabriel, they mostly get along and even liked each other prior to the issues over the safety of Sylvia's children and seemed to be getting back to that point by the end of Frost Burned.
 
No one likes Leah, a lot of people despise her including Samuel and Charles who do give her respect due to her position as their Alpha's mate, but no real personal respect.  Leah is not a likable person, which is why Bran's wolf chose her.

Mercy loved and respected and got along with her foster mom.

As far as the women in the pack are concerned, I think what needs to be taken into consideration is the difference in pack relations vs human relations.  I see it as there often being some restlessness among the pack, jostling and jockeying for position.  The women have always had a very stable position in the pack and were mostly able to avoid that, and now they've been jostled around, if not directly because of Mercy at least indirectly, but she's an easy target to blame, justly or not.  New situations aren’t always comfortable, sometimes even when they’re better.

Mercy likes and gets along with Ari, even with the issue of Samuel and Mercy's past between them.  So, for the most part while I understand what you're saying, I guess I actually disagree with most of it.
 
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Baum Diggity

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2013, 05:54:37 am »
Ah, the Sylvia example is a good one, DW!

I suppose an alternate explanation is that stable individuals tend to not lend themselves to the high drama/tension scenarios that are required for the pace of such novels. The well-balanced characters, regardless of gender, tend to be more ancillary to the plot, since if you don't have some unresolved angst that needs to be worked out, you're going on with your life, and only pop in and out to help characters.
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DarlingWolfEyes

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2013, 07:44:22 pm »
I disagree regarding Mercy's ability to see other women's viewpoints - when she was dealing with Mary Jo's love for Adam, she felt a great deal of compassion for her and felt bad about having to force it out of her, despite the threat of rivalry. With regards to the females in Bran's pack and their perceived jealousy of Mercy's reproductive potential (thinking this may also apply to Honey): I'd feel sympathy for someone who wanted to have children and couldn't, but this (alone) isn't a valid motive for their hostility towards her. I feel she's justified in her apathy toward them. A lesser woman would react with less composure. I noted also that, while the mention is brief (in River Marked, I believe), she says that she likes Anna.

I think she trusts male werewolves more instinctively because they're the ones who have shown her kindness.
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Linnea

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2014, 07:39:27 pm »
Actually, I really identify with this aspect of Mercy's life.  She's a woman in a traditionally male field of work, and even in her personal life, she fights and goes to battle when situations arise (instead of running crying for help like the more traditionally feminine Christy).  These things set her apart from other women, and could make it difficult to make female friends outside of her family.

It's similar for me. I'm an EMT and 95% of my coworkers are male.  I also have an Associate's in mechanical design and there was only one other female student in my program.  I'm assertive when there's trouble.  Even though I like nice clothes, jewelry, and make-up, other women treat me like I fall short in the femininity department, like because of my job and interests, they don't know how to classify me.  Even though I don't think they mean to, it's like they lean away from me and then the gap just gets wider and wider.

So reading Mercy's character, I've never thought there was anything strange about the situation.

wolvin.mm

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 12:24:19 am »
In this interview the issue is addressed by Patricia Briggs:
http://bookgeekconfessions.tumblr.com/post/79174789102/cobg-spotlights-patricia-briggs
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jenniwee

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2014, 05:03:56 pm »
Well, I think the initial assessment of Mercy is really quite harsh, though the observation that she does lack a close friendship with another grown woman is accurate.  However, I think there is more to it than Mercy, and the other women, fighting over men.

First, Mercy is loner.  It's her nature.  She has only a few close friendships, Warren and Kyle only in the beginning.  Jesse is a friend, but limited because of her age, and they're relationship grows mostly out of Jesse's fascination with Mercy.  In the first few books, she gets along fine with Mary Jo and Auriele, before her romantic life causes Mary Jo to be jealous of her and her "adventures" threaten to bring trouble to the pack.

Second, Mercy does not seem to have been raised with strong female influences.  Her mother is mostly absent and her foster mother, though much loved, seems to be someone Mercy felt protective of.  As for Leah, PB makes it clear that no one likes her, not even her husband, though she certainly holds a great deal of influence as the Alpha's mate.  Most women in Aspen Creek probably just found it easier to ignore Mercy, than be forced to deal with Leah.

Third, FEMALE WERES TAKE THEIR PLACE IN THE PACK FROM THEIR MATES, UNMATED FEMALES BELONG TO THE ALPHA.  So, it is not Mercy who is placing the importance on the relationships with men, but rather the tradition of pack hierarchy.

Fourth, Mercy never bad mouths Christy in front of Jesse, but rather acts as a sympathetic listener when Jesse needs to go off about her mother without an adult reprimanding her about loving and respecting her parent, which is sometimes hard to do when the parent does little to earn either. 

Finally, bringing it back to the women in Adam's pack.  I think the issue is mutual misunderstanding.  They see her love triangle with Samuel and Adam as a woman leading two men on.  She sees both Adam and Samuel as a threat to her status quo and, while she cares for both, is unsure she wants either (see her conversation with Honey in Iron Kissed).  They see someone whose presence has already begun to mess with pack stability, not realizing she does not see that she's doing so.  Once she realizes what is going on, and is upset to know what was happening, she is annoyed that they cannot accept Adam's choice, especially since Honey and Auriele have no interest in him; she does not understand why they would not want him to be happy. In addition, Mercy gets to repeat the pattern of her childhood, where she isn't quite allowed to belong--coyote just isn't good enough to be pack.  The difference is she loves Adam enough to stick it out rather than running away, and the women of the pack don't understand that, even without Adam's authority, Mercy just isn't afraid of them.

MeowMix

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 06:28:56 pm »
You know, I don't have many problems with the Mercyverse (i love it to death), but this is actually one that seriously bothers me. Not just in Mercy's characterization but in non-main characters females characters in general.  The few female bonds we get Anna/Kara, Jessie/Mercy, Anna/Sage are limited and get very little screen time despite having female main characters.  It's actually impressive how fewer solid female bonds there are given the perimeters of the book. We get bonding between Mercy/Adam, Mercy/Sam, Mercy/Tad, Mercy/Zee, Mercy/Warren, Mercy/Kyle, Mercy/Bran , but the only female friendship are familial really with jessie and her mom. you'd think shed be able to relate to Mary Jo, who also lives and works in a predominantly male field, or really any female werewolf because they're basically isolated in number because of their gender (which also bothers me because the idea that men naturally have more willpower than women is ludicrous). But....no, instead Mercys the grand exception who gets to play with the big strong men unlike Aurielle, Mary Jo, Honey, and Leah who have all actually been shown to be Mercy's antagonists at one point or another. (Even Amber, her old friend, is shown to be a sort of antagonist? ) In fact, the only real non familial female/female bonds that we see in ANY of the mercy books is Aurielle/Mary Jo/Christie, and thats protrayed as manipulative and antagonistic.

 I think its a prevailing problem through this series actually; we get most antagonists motivations and sob stories. Except Leah and Isabelle because they're crazy jealous females who hate our protagonist for no other reason than they're...crazy jealous females? (Really I know Mercy's meant to be the underdog but it's hard not to imagine a Wide Sargasso Sea-esque backstory for characters like this because Briggs absolutely gives them hell for no apparent reason other than 'we need a villain and girls are jealous so we can make a character out of that'. Hell even Mariposa and Christie fall into this category.  Again, love the books, think Briggs does so many things right...but when it comes to the girls I think there's a bit of a problem. (Not just hers, to be sure, its a definite societal issue, but still warrants being pointed out).  Definitely hits some personal buttons too; there's nothing that annoys me more than girls hating on other girls because of patriarchal standards or men in general. Like us women have to stick together.

Patti L.

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 09:10:19 pm »
Then there's Gabriel's mother, who might have been a friend if the lying issue hadn't driven them apart.  And Marsilia...
I seem to recall from some interview that Patty said that Mercy does have a few strong female friendships, but we haven't seen them in these events, because these are too concentrated, and she's been lucky enough to leave those friends out of these messes.
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Holo

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2015, 07:08:47 pm »
Ugh honestly I feel like it is a drawback to the series as well, especially in light of the persisting trend in many sci-fi/fantasy/urban fantasy books. When every strong female werewolf is not only 1) shown to be openly hostile to Mercy for no reason other than simple jealousy, 2) accepts and reinforces (with the exception of Mary Jo) that they get their power from their mates and their mates alone, and 3) have significantly less characterization than their male counterparts, I have a problem.
How hard would it have been to replace bonding moments with Ben with bonding time with Mary Jo. How difficult would it be for Mercy to have friends from Bran's pack that were female? Why does every female Mercy comes across dislike her for no reason at all aside from the fact that she is another woman? This makes most of the female characters seem cattish and unlikeable.

pondhawk

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2015, 08:04:48 pm »
In most cases, it's because she is a coyote, not because she is a woman. Try to see the books as the metaphors they are. Just as the original Star Trek series was a way to explore issues like racism on TV at a time when a more realistic series couldn't have gotten past the censors, many fantasy authors use their fiction to explore social issues on a form that is nonthreatening enough that readers can start to grapple with questions they might otherwise avoid. Read more carefully between the lines.

Patti L.

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Re: Female Relationships with regards to Mercy, and other wolves
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2015, 09:51:39 pm »
True, Pondhawk.

Also, there's the "coyote vs. wolf" aspect - "Us vs. them" with the wolf "us" having more power than the coyote 'them'. 

The fact that there are more male werewolves than females, at a good 10/1 ratio means that Mercy is simply going to meet more males, and interact with them.  So, that's part of why Ben instead of Mary Jo - who is not happy with Mercy for complex reasons beyond the us/them.  To name a few;
Christie's dislike of Mercy
Christie's charismatic "nothing's my fault, it must be Mercy" BS
Mary Jo's wanting Adam herself & not thinking either Mercy or herself is good enough for him.
Mary Jo's death and resurrection with the strange & painful aftereffects, which she blames on Mercy.

Leah - whether it was an order drawing on Bran's power, or just 'social leader' and non-werewolf bullying - made most of the females, human or were, in Aspen Creek enemies of Mercy. 
Her reasons are also complex, including Bran, Charles, & Samuel liking/loving her; Mercy as coyote; Mercy as fertile female who might have several healthy (and maybe werewolf) children for a werewolf mate

Given that people hate each other for even more trivial and stupid reasons, and correcting errors or lies doesn't always help with that, I'm not shocked that things stand as they do for Mercy.

And, from a storyteller's viewpoint, the outsider is a much better protagonist than the popular kid.
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