The Girl's Guide to Being a Tamora Pierce Heroine
Disclaimer: As usual, none of this is mine. Tortall etc. belong to Tamora Pierce. I got the idea for this fic while reading Diana Wynne Jones' Tough Guide to Fantasyland, when I noticed that some of her general rules do not apply in Tammyland, and that Tammyland follows some rules that do not apply in the rest of Fantasyland. Hence, a supplement.
Invariably nice. This is a Rule. It is unclear exactly what they do when not tormenting pages with schoolwork - except for mages, who spend their time casting unspecified spells. These are also known as WORKINGS.
You only get to get drunk if you are over forty, male and pot-bellied. Otherwise, tough bickies. See FAN-AUTHORS for the only exception.
These come in two types: SCHOOLYARD BULLIES and EVIL/INSANE SORCERERS.
You will encounter one or both of these types. The former want to
beat you up. The latter want to destroy you utterly, along with one
or more of the following: take over your kingdom, enslave your FRIENDS,
kill your FRIENDS, plunge the whole world into CHAOS.
Obviously both types need vanquishing. Here it becomes necessary to bear in mind an important Rule: Arch-nemeses always need vanquishing twice. Even if you think you have got rid of them for good, they will pop up a second time and need re-vanquishing.
Another important point about Arch-nemeses is that at some point they will try to make nice and convince you or one of your FRIENDS that they have reformed. Do not be fooled! This is just a cunning ploy to advance some nefarious scheme or other.
If you take care to remember these two points, your Arch-nemesis is unlikely to give you much trouble. See also: BAD GUYS.
ARCH-NEMESES, some IMMORTALS, FOREIGNERS in the form of enemy soldiers. You will notice that Bad Guys are much more talkative than GOOD GUYS - in fact, your conversations with them will often be longer than your conversations with your FRIENDS, even BOYFRIENDS. Bad Guys have a fondness for overly baroque plots which they will carefully explain to you after they have CAPTURED you. This is a plot device to de-confuse the reader. See also: VANQUISHING.
The GOOD GUYS always win. Likewise WARS. This is a Rule.
Blond(e)s are never good news. They may be nasty, evil, insane or a combination. The best you can hope for in a Blond(e) is indifference and/or geographical remoteness. See also: COLOUR-CODING.
Pay close attention to the opening chapters. It is a Rule that
the first halfway attractive, non-evil guy that crosses your path is the
one you will end up with. This is useful to know in advance, as it
saves heartache and hassles. Flings are permitted in the intervening
time, although you should know that another hard-and-fast Rule is No
Younger Men. [a/n: I still hold out the faint hope that Kel will decide
Neal and Cleon are both wankers and run off with wee Owen…we can only dream]
As a secondary definition of 'boyfriend' is 'a friend who is a boy', you may find one of your male FRIENDS pursuing you amorously. Should you decide to be caught, it is noteworthy that this sort of relationship usually turns out well, and ends amicably - unless the FRIEND in question was the first halfway attractive, non-evil male to cross your path, in which case it will turn out very well. See also: SEX, INTERIM FLINGS.
You will have a lot of these. HORSES will stand on you, or you will FALL off them. Or off other things. Or you will be in a FIGHT. Or you will be whacked with a practice weapon while TRAINING. The possibilities are well-nigh endless. Fortunately HEALERS have a useful magical ointment which fixes them right up. This is a Good Thing.
i.e. by an ARCH-NEMESIS or other BAD GUY. This is a Bad Thing,
but will happen to you, maybe more than once. On the bright side,
it is a convenient method of finding out about the BAD GUY's nefarious
A Bad Thing. See also: ARCH-NEMESES.
If the man at the top is a KING, the peasants are usually reasonably content. If he is an EMPEROR, they are probably slaves. If you must be a commoner, it is best to do it in TORTALL, where the KING believes in educating the masses and treating the commoners decently, but curiously, not in democracy. Class mobility is severely limited: if you are friends with the KING he may ennoble you, but that is the only known path to social advancement. Oddly enough, no-one appears to mind this. The classes are: NOBLES, commoners and merchants, who are like commoners only richer. Courtiers are either NOBLES who like the bright lights of the city, or commoners who lurk around the palace in the KING's service. This pays better than being ordinary city folk or peasants, and generally lets you feature in a book.
Clothing consists of: dresses, SKIRTS, breeches, hose, shirts, tunics
and cloaks. Also UNDERWEAR.
Dresses indicate either a special occasion or someone else having chosen your clothes. Of SKIRTS, more later.
Breeches are increasingly popular, due to most people having realised that hose look very silly. It is unclear exactly how breeches stay up, since zips are certainly not in use: perhaps an arrangement with buttons or laces.
Hose are glorified tights which, as already noted, look very silly. No-one is ever seen wearing them these days except KNIGHTS, trainee KNIGHTS and the odd (very odd) NOBLE.
As with breeches, the fastening on shirts is a matter of controversy. Often they are laced up the front. No-one appears to have realised how peculiar a string bow under the chin looks. Buttons would seem a more likely proposition, but are seldom mentioned.
Tunics serve the dual purpose of colour-coordinating with breeches or hose (and contrasting nicely with shirts), and making people in hose look marginally less silly.
Cloaks are for keeping warm, and for flapping behind and looking picturesque when people want to stride angrily. See also: COLOUR-CODING, JEWELLERY.
There are a few things to bear in mind here. BLOND(E)S tend to
be bad news, redheads tend to be good news. Oddly-coloured eyes mean
the owner is either a heroine or one of the Good Guys. Green eyes
are considered very attractive, and are usually good news. Though
not always. It is to be stressed that colour-coding is not wholly reliable
as a guide.
NB: Wearing black is not necessarily a signal of evilness, though on Good Guys black clothing marks either power or a degree of dourness. Wearing blue means you are Daine. No-one else is allowed to wear blue, and especially not blue-grey. Wearing purple means you are Alanna, or a FOREIGNER. This is a Rule. Exception: the KING can wear whatever colours he likes. See also: CLOTHING.
Easily acquired by a little bit of TRAINING. As well as unarmed combat, you will have weapons TRAINING. Choose from the following weapons: bow, sword, staff (essentially a big stick to hit people with), lance (only for KNIGHTS), knife (a specialised weapon, for use only in dark alleys), axe and glaive. A glaive is a sharp-ended staff that you poke people with. You are expected to be expert at unarmed combat as well as at least one weapon - more if you hope to become a KNIGHT.
Mostly a danger to supporting characters. Parents, siblings and
FRIENDS (human or otherwise) of the heroine are particularly prone.
Though not usually BOYFRIENDS - never the main BOYFRIEND, and only once
has it happened to an INTERIM FLING. Survival of key characters is
NB: Sometimes you think someone is dead but they turn out not to be. This is common in the case of ARCH-NEMESES, though not limited to them. Be alert for this development.
Two main types: the common cold and plagues. The common cold will not kill you; plagues will not kill you, but may kill one of your FRIENDS or relatives. Magic-related illnesses are the most dangerous - these may be caused by the EVIL/INSANE SORCERER.
Major exports of TORTALL: unspecified
Major imports: ditto, except for repeated attempts to import a Yamani princess for Roald.
Commodities produced in TORTALL: unspecified foodstuffs. Other stuff, also unspecified.
International Trade: exists, but of what and with whom is unspecified.
Fortunately, you will not be called upon to deal with economic matters. That sort of thing is left to the KING.
A malevolent despot. See also: KING, CLASS SYSTEM.
Self-explanatory. Although it bears mentioning that evil mages are never quite as powerful as good ones.
You are likely to do a lot of this. HORSES and cliffs are the favoured things to fall off. BRUISES and/or other INJURIES result. In some cases, for 'fall', read 'FIGHT'. As in, 'Sir, the reason I have these BRUISES and/or other INJURIES is that I fell down. I was not in a FIGHT with SCHOOLYARD BULLIES.' This means, of course, exactly the opposite.
A Bad Thing, and to be avoided. Fan-authors are not constrained to follow the Rules. Thus, you may find yourself or another key character, such as a BOYFRIEND, being killed off. You may also find yourself being subjected to other indignities, such as Scottish country dancing, gratuitous drunkenness and rhyming couplets.
A major recreational activity and cause of BRUISES. Other parties to Fights will be either SCHOOLYARD BULLIES or ARCH-NEMESES. Sometimes you will have a verbal Fight with your BOYFRIEND, but these are mild and easily resolved, unless they are plot devices to rid you of your INTERIM FLING. It has been postulated that Fights with BOYFRIENDS exist almost exclusively to provide opportunities to kiss and make up.
A fraught issue. Like most people, Foreigners can be good, bad,
or indifferent. All, however, behave strangely and eat funny food,
and none are as enlightened as Tortallans: NOBLES are standoffish; all
classes are narrow-minded, anti-liberal and anti-women's lib; NOBLES don't
believe in treating peasants decently or educating the masses; no-one washes.
(See also: Class System.) Take your pick.
Some Foreigners have odd SPECIAL POWERS. This becomes more frequent the further away you get from TORTALL.
Foreign nations are either Doughty Allies, Menacing Enemies or Indifferent. Doughty Allies are a Good Thing, and useful in time of war. Menacing Enemies are a Bad Thing. Indifferent nations are useless in time of war, but may be useful to trade with. (See also: ECONOMY). One Doughty Ally is worth any three Indifferent nations.
Being a Friend of the heroine can be hazardous to the health: Friends
often suffer BRUISES or other INJURIES, and one usually dies at some time
during the series. (See also: DEATH.) Nevertheless, you will have
a lot of them. They will be staunch and loyal, although there is
a slim chance that one could turn to the dark side. If you are lucky, this
will be the one that dies. Also watch out for Friends of the opposite
sex suddenly deciding they want to be More Than Friends and pursuing you
amorously. This is especially likely when you are wearing a SKIRT.
(See also: BOYFRIENDS.)
BAD GUYS also have Friends (though fewer), unless they are EMPERORS, in which case not.
There are a lot of these, of varying ranks and species. Sometimes they Meddle In Human Affairs. This usually leads to uncomfortable adventures.
Your FRIENDS and BOYFRIENDS, some FOREIGNERS in the form of Doughty Allies, most TORTALLANS. (Excludes NOBLES rebelling against the Crown.) Also some IMMORTALS.
Your hair will be some colour other than BLONDE, and shiny and manageable despite the lack of shampoo and conditioner. Proper Hair-ties, unfortunately, do not exist due to the absence of elastic (see also: UNDERWEAR) so if you want your hair out of the way it will be necessary either to cut it or pin it up. Said pins have the property of never falling out or stabbing you in the scalp (presumed to be the result of MAGIC), which makes this less of a hardship than it sounds. NB: Dyeing hair is not allowed - it means you are a BAD GUY.
One of the few amenities which make up for the lack of proper plumbing. (Another compensation is MAGIC.) Healers will use their powers to fix your BRUISES and other INJURIES right up. Also DISEASES. Healers are skilled in brewing efficacious, though nasty, herbal potions. Drink these. They are good for you. A word of warning: like doctors, Healers are not to be believed when they say 'This won't hurt a bit.'
All Horses are basically good-hearted, intelligent creatures, although you may have trouble with one at first due to a misunderstanding. Horses, like all animals, talk - although probably not to you. It pays to make the acquaintance of someone who can talk to them: viz., Daine or Stefan. This will save you a great deal of trouble.
Some are nice, some nasty. Nasty ones include spidrens, most Stormwings,
killer unicorns, hurroks, killer centaurs, Coldfangs, krakens, tauroses
and some ogres. Expect to be particularly plagued by Stormwings,
spidrens and hurroks.
Like other BAD GUYS, nasty Immortals like to talk - those that can, that is. They will insult you wittily, then try to kill you. It is permissible to VANQUISH them while they are orating.
Spidrens are human-headed spiders from hell.
Stormwings are human-headed budgies from hell.
Killer unicorns are like HORSES, only nasty and with fangs.
Hurroks: ditto, with wings. Think of killer centaurs as enemy soldiers with hooves.
Coldfangs are like tanks with big, sharp, poisonous teeth: hard to stop.
Krakens will not bother you if you don't bother them. You are strongly advised not to do so. Tauroses are bull-headed man-things. They are rare, but obnoxious.
Ogres are like the SCHOOLYARD BULLY's hulking FRIENDS, only blue.
Nice Immortals are, on the whole, more intelligent than nasty ones, and sometimes cute. They include: griffins, basilisks, baby dragons (cute), most adult dragons (less cute), and some ogres. Stormwings are occasionally all right, but should be avoided anyway because they smell and will shred your furniture. Mermaids also exist, and are presumably nice because they seem to attract ACADEMICS, but you will not see them without going near WATER, which is not advisable. Usually you will only see one nice Immortal at a time. For types of Immortals whose nice- or nastiness cannot be relied on, a useful rule of thumb is: if they try to kill you, they're nasty. Although check to see that it is not a case of a nice Immortal trying to kill you because of a misunderstanding.
Including, but not limited to, broken arms, broken noses, broken other things, concussion, cuts and scratches. (Stubbed toes, curiously, do not appear to exist.) Often sustained in a FIGHT or after FALLING off something.
You are allowed a couple of these before you settle down with your One True Love Interest, as described in the entry for BOYFRIENDS. You will have fun and part FRIENDS. This is a Good Thing. See also: SEX.
Less is more here. Too much Jewellery, especially on men, is at best unattractive, at worst an indication of evilness. Permissible are rings, earrings and a pendant. Two pendants if one has sentimental or supernatural value. At some point you will get your ears pierced by a female FRIEND. This will hurt a great deal, but is compulsory. NB: Men wear only one earring. The left ear/right ear code does not apply.
A benevolent despot. See also: EMPEROR, CLASS SYSTEM.
Knights are a Good Thing. Most of them are thoroughly nice people and they spend their time defending the realm, slaying bug-eyed monsters and rescuing kittens from trees. Sometimes one goes on a QUEST.
Magic takes various forms: ordinary spell-casting Magic, aka the Gift;
wild Magic; and strange SPECIAL POWERS belonging to FOREIGNERS. You
are unlikely to encounter the last unless you go on a QUEST.
As far as is known, the only way to acquire wild Magic in quantities enough to do anything interesting is to be the offspring of a GOD. If you are not the offspring of a GOD, it is now too late to do anything about this.
The Gift is useful for such things as lighting fires, setting spells of protection and talking at a distance. It is therefore a useful thing to have when camping. If you are not a mage, try at least to take one with you when you go on a camping trip. (Interestingly, while speech spells exist in lieu of telephones, no evidence has been found for fax spells, pocket calculator spells or self-switching-off kettle spells.)
Sometimes a mage will do something interesting and spectacular such as turning someone into a tree. (Never a bouncing ferret, though.) This does not happen nearly often enough.
Mages are like batteries in that they sometimes run out of power and have to recharge. This seems mostly to involve going to sleep for a week. Sometimes mages use so much power that they drain their life-forces and die. It is thought that GOOD GUYS are immune to this. In any case, it never seems to happen to them.
Magical objects, such as the Dominion Jewel and black opals, are useful in spells and highly decorative. Mages therefore covet them.
IMMORTALS are considered Magical by nature. Some IMMORTALS also have Magic of their own - but not human Magic. Expect strange things to happen.
See also: WORKINGS.
Nobles may be nice or nasty. They run fiefs, which normally consist of a village, some land, and a castle, and may be called upon to defend the realm, especially Nobles who have coastal fiefs (see also: WATER), or rebel against the KING as a plot device. Nobles are the only people apart from KNIGHTS and KNIGHTS -in-training who are ever seen in hose. NB: All KNIGHTS are Nobles, but not all Nobles are KNIGHTS.
Once popular, now out of fashion due to a dearth of MAGICAL objects to look for.
A Bad Thing, though prevalent in the knight-training school. If you see one, you must VANQUISH him. Preferred method is by FIGHTING. You will suffer BRUISES and other INJURIES, but this provides an incentive to acquire COMBAT SKILL. Schoolyard Bullies usually have hulking FRIENDS - the regulation number is two.
Normally the Rule is, 'No Sex please, we're Tortallan.' However, on occasion you may find it necessary or desirable to have Sex with a BOYFRIEND. Try to keep it decently off-screen.
At first you will not like Skirts, and will seldom wear them. Then, around the age of fifteen, you will suddenly decide that they aren't so bad after all, and start wearing them more often. But beware: if you do not take the precaution of acclimatising your male FRIENDS to the sight of you in a Skirt, when you wear one in front of them they may be seized with an ambition to become your BOYFRIENDS and begin to pursue you amorously.
More trouble than they're worth. They let you in for a lot of extra TRAINING while learning how to use them, and usually land you in uncomfortable adventures. Their only compensation is that they will help you VANQUISH the BAD GUYS and save TORTALL from its enemies.
A Nice Place. You will probably have to single-handedly save it from its enemies at least once.
Compulsory. This is how you acquire COMBAT SKILL and learn how to use your SPECIAL POWERS, if you have any.
A complex issue. Travel comes in three types: toward, within and away from TORTALL. Toward TORTALL is a Good Thing. Within TORTALL is less clear-cut: you will probably have uncomfortable adventures, but you may also end up saving the world, or at least part of it. Away from TORTALL is generally a Bad Thing. It involves FOREIGNERS and probably also a boat trip. (See also: WATER.) You may become embroiled in, or cause, a WAR and/or be CAPTURED by an ARCH-NEMESIS.
Consists of loincloths and breastbands - essentially strips of cloth. It is an eternal mystery how either garment stays up.
Hang around these as much as possible. ACADEMICS are nice people, and some are even good-looking. But watch out for polysyllables.
Your purpose in life. Vanquishing is required by ARCH-NEMESES, SCHOOLYARD BULLIES, nasty IMMORTALS and other assorted BAD GUYS.
These are always won by the GOOD GUYS. See also: BATTLES.
There is no such thing as a peaceful trip to the seaside. If you go anywhere on or near Water, Things Will Happen. At the very least, you will be horribly seasick and/or get wet. HEALERS can do nothing about seasickness. The following may also happen: you meet sea animals or MAGICAL sea creatures, you nearly drown, you get embroiled in a BATTLE. (Coastal fiefs are particularly prone to BATTLES. QED.)
MAGICAL Gifts follow the Rule that, if you are in imminent danger of
your life, all you have to do to cast a spell is point or say 'Abracadabra'
(or similar.) At all other times, spells will require any or all
of the following: elaborate diagrams, chanting, walking in circles, waving
your arms madly (or similar), frequent recourse to Ancient Tomes of MAGIC.
Possibly also esoteric ingredients, though this has never been clarified.
Spells cast thus are known as Workings. NB: Workings tend to be time-consuming
in the extreme, so expect to have to stay up very late.