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Thread: New Dragonlance Canticle Episode: Legendary Villains Round 4

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    Default New Dragonlance Canticle Episode: Legendary Villains Round 4

    http://dragonlancenexus.com/podcast/...lains-round-4/

    So we had to do this one out of order. Take a listen and let us know what you think.
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    I have to disagree with a number of points that Trampas made about Kitiara. In particular...

    The claim that Kitiara would never be a damsel in distress: I can recall at least two instances where that occurred. In Highlord Skies when she was Ariakas's prisoner and had to be rescued by Iolanthe and then again in Test of the Twins when she was begging Tanis to protect her from Lord Soth. She was pretty much in full on damsel in distress mode in both of those situations.

    The claim that Kitiara was a great tactician: Most of her victories occurred when she had dragons and the other side didn't. Anyone can win a battle with that kind of advantage. (Even Toede was able to win battles when he had dragons and his opponents didn't.) But whenever Kitiara had to face an enemy army that also had dragons, Kitiara consistently lost. (The Vingaard Campaign, Kalaman, Palanthas.) It's hard to see her as a great tactician when she loses all her battles against peer opponents.

    As for the flyby of the High Clerist's Tower, it's hard to give Kitiara any credit for that moment because her strategy only works there due to the authors placing their thumb on the scale to an absurd degree. The Whitestone nations agreed to a treaty with Kitiara where she was allowed to freely move her forces across their territory unmolested until she actually attacked them??? That is the single most ridiculous plot point in all of Dragonlance. No nation would agree to that kind of treaty condition unless it had been outright conquered by the other nation. (And you especially wouldn't agree to that kind of peace term with Kitiara, since she had already conclusively proven in Spring Dawning that she can't be trusted to abide by any agreement she makes.) Furthermore, the peace term is not even internally consistent within the Legends trilogy itself since in Time of the Twins, Kitiara was complaining about how she was practically a prisoner of the Knights and allegedly needed Raistlin's help just to get to Palanthas without being stopped by the gold dragons. (Kitiara would hardly have needed any help getting past the gold dragons if she had a treaty with them that they would leave her alone as long as she didn't overtly attack anyone. She could have flown to Palanthas on Skie while blowing kisses to the gold dragons the whole way and they wouldn't have been able to do anything to stop her.)

    But what I hate the most is the suggestion that Kitiara is some sort of symbol of female empowerment. Kitiara employed sexual assault as a weapon of war. That is as misogynistic as it gets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    I have to disagree with a number of points that Trampas made about Kitiara. In particular...

    The claim that Kitiara would never be a damsel in distress: I can recall at least two instances where that occurred. In Highlord Skies when she was Ariakas's prisoner and had to be rescued by Iolanthe and then again in Test of the Twins when she was begging Tanis to protect her from Lord Soth. She was pretty much in full on damsel in distress mode in both of those situations.
    See but that's the thing. It's been a while since I read Highlord Skies, but in Test of the Twins her "damsel in distress" was more an "any port in the storm." She was a master of manipulation, and that was a final ploy to be saved.

    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    The claim that Kitiara was a great tactician: Most of her victories occurred when she had dragons and the other side didn't. Anyone can win a battle with that kind of advantage. (Even Toede was able to win battles when he had dragons and his opponents didn't.) But whenever Kitiara had to face an enemy army that also had dragons, Kitiara consistently lost. (The Vingaard Campaign, Kalaman, Palanthas.) It's hard to see her as a great tactician when she loses all her battles against peer opponents.

    As for the flyby of the High Clerist's Tower, it's hard to give Kitiara any credit for that moment because her strategy only works there due to the authors placing their thumb on the scale to an absurd degree. The Whitestone nations agreed to a treaty with Kitiara where she was allowed to freely move her forces across their territory unmolested until she actually attacked them??? That is the single most ridiculous plot point in all of Dragonlance. No nation would agree to that kind of treaty condition unless it had been outright conquered by the other nation. (And you especially wouldn't agree to that kind of peace term with Kitiara, since she had already conclusively proven in Spring Dawning that she can't be trusted to abide by any agreement she makes.) Furthermore, the peace term is not even internally consistent within the Legends trilogy itself since in Time of the Twins, Kitiara was complaining about how she was practically a prisoner of the Knights and allegedly needed Raistlin's help just to get to Palanthas without being stopped by the gold dragons. (Kitiara would hardly have needed any help getting past the gold dragons if she had a treaty with them that they would leave her alone as long as she didn't overtly attack anyone. She could have flown to Palanthas on Skie while blowing kisses to the gold dragons the whole way and they wouldn't have been able to do anything to stop her.)
    I think Trampas can defend this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    But what I hate the most is the suggestion that Kitiara is some sort of symbol of female empowerment. Kitiara employed sexual assault as a weapon of war. That is as misogynistic as it gets.
    I agree somewhat, but to a degree that I can't think of any female villain written in fantasy during that time that was portrayed as so independent or calculating. Her weapons of war we discussed in detail about how she used her sexuality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue View Post
    See but that's the thing. It's been a while since I read Highlord Skies, but in Test of the Twins her "damsel in distress" was more an "any port in the storm." She was a master of manipulation, and that was a final ploy to be saved.
    But she was still a woman needing to be saved by someone else, so how is she not a damsel in distress in that situation?

    And as a side note, recognizing that Kitiara is sometimes a damsel in distress is not meant as a criticism of Kitiara as a character. Even a highly capable character can sometimes be overwhelmed by superior force, trickery or just bad luck and fall into a situation where they need to be rescued by others. It doesn't diminish Kitiara as a character that she's not all powerful and occasionally does need the help of others.

    I agree somewhat, but to a degree that I can't think of any female villain written in fantasy during that time that was portrayed as so independent or calculating.
    Well it predates Dragonlance by quite a few years but Jadis in the Narnia books was certainly as independent and calculating as Kitiara. Or if you want someone from a story that was closer in time to when the Dragonlance books were written, then there's Ursula in the Disney version of The Little Mermaid.


    Her weapons of war we discussed in detail about how she used her sexuality.
    I'm not talking about how Kitiara used her sexuality. I'm talking about Kitiara setting up her enemies to be sexually assaulted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    But she was still a woman needing to be saved by someone else, so how is she not a damsel in distress in that situation?
    Hmmm. I would comment that there's a lot more to the Damsel in Distress trope that merely that she's a woman and she needs saving. I go with the definition that a damsel in distress is a young beautiful woman of noble birth and esteemed virtue, who is innocent and unfairly placed in danger by a villian, who is helpless until a hero comes to save her. For example, Andromeda is an innocent victim of her mother's hubris to be unfairly chained up to be sacrificed to the monster Cetus. We can look at the princess/virgin who is unfairly sacrificed to the dragon.

    Kitiara is young, beautiful, female, noble birth as an uth Matar, but she isn't an innocent. And her final damsel in distress was fairly the result of her own actions, including a long career for power, attacking Palanthas, allying with other evil characters like Ariakas and Lord Soth, failure ally with Dalamar, and so forth. So I disagree with the "full on" damsel as you describe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weldon Chen View Post
    Hmmm. I would comment that there's a lot more to the Damsel in Distress trope that merely that she's a woman and she needs saving. I go with the definition that a damsel in distress is a young beautiful woman of noble birth and esteemed virtue, who is innocent and unfairly placed in danger by a villian, who is helpless until a hero comes to save her. For example, Andromeda is an innocent victim of her mother's hubris to be unfairly chained up to be sacrificed to the monster Cetus. We can look at the princess/virgin who is unfairly sacrificed to the dragon.

    Kitiara is young, beautiful, female, noble birth as an uth Matar, but she isn't an innocent. And her final damsel in distress was fairly the result of her own actions, including a long career for power, attacking Palanthas, allying with other evil characters like Ariakas and Lord Soth, failure ally with Dalamar, and so forth. So I disagree with the "full on" damsel as you describe.
    That doesn't seem to be the definition of Damsel in Distress that Trampas was using though. He was arguing that Kitiara would never be a Damsel in Distress as a means of arguing that Kitiara was a powerful, impressive character. That argument kind of falls apart if the only reason Kitiara isn't a Damsel in Distress is because she isn't an innocent, and she otherwise meets all the requirements of the trope (being a young woman who was unfairly placed in danger by a villain and was helpless without a hero to come along to save her?)

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    A Damsel in Distress trope is easily defined as the woman is pretty much helpless to save herself. I would never say that Kit is helpless. She is manipulative, and those were times where she used said manipulation to get out of trouble. Did Louis Lane manipulate Superman to be saved? Nope.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue View Post
    A Damsel in Distress trope is easily defined as the woman is pretty much helpless to save herself. I would never say that Kit is helpless. She is manipulative, and those were times where she used said manipulation to get out of trouble. Did Louis Lane manipulate Superman to be saved? Nope.
    For a character that is never helpless Kitiara certainly seems to have a lot of moments where she has to beg other people to save her.

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    So two instances in what...over a dozen book appearances especially in which she climbs to power, leads armies etc.? Come on. Also, one of your examples I don't necessarily agree with. But hey, I am just a dude who likes Dragonlance. My opinion is much like yours, in the eye of the beholder.
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    Tristan is so ageist!
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