Middlemarch Madness

Middlemarch Voting Day 5: Fours v. Thirteens

Welcome back to another day of voting, readers! Last night we had the most voters yet, and four races that weren’t even close.  To see the winners and vote on tonight’s contenders, click on!

First up, last night’s winners.

YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopia

Eowyn trounces Vicky Austin

YA Fiction

Harriet the Spy owns Nancy Drew

Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopia

Susan Sto Helit busts up Phedre

Adult Fiction

Sethe completely trounces Scarlett.

Here’s the bracket, how’s everyone doing at picking the winners so far?

Click to access Middlemarchmadnessbracket5.pdf

Let’s move on to tonight’s votes, where early favorite Lyra Belaqua is in her first game.  Will she slide past Tiffany Aching, or will Tiffany’s fans come out to support a giant upset?  Tune it at this time tomorrow to see how it all turns out.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

21 replies on “Middlemarch Voting Day 5: Fours v. Thirteens”

I admit to being unfamiliar with Ms. Aching (though my cursory read of her Wikipedia page left me thinking, Hm, another witch – NEXT), but that won’t stop me from proclaiming, once again: TEAM LYRA.

And Hester Prynne over Kate, you guys. I’ve read a lot of Shakespeare in my time, and Kate is one of my least favorite characters, and frankly, The Taming of the Shrew is not an exemplary piece of feminist literature, adaptation to “10 Things I Hate About You” aside. In the end, she does get married, and seems to plan to assert her feminine power in the safest of ways — by ruling the dominion of her home, while leaving the rest to her manly man.

Hester Prynne, you guys. Hester Prynne.

Hester is hardly NOT problematic, but at least she’s better than Kate.

Like, really. Of all the Shakespearean heroines, we get Kate? I think it’s only because of “10 Things I Hate About You,” with a side of Shakespeare being taught terribly until you get to college, when all the fun stuff finally comes in to play.

Oh, god. Lyra vs. Veronica Mars would be torturous, though ultimately, I’d have to go with VMars, by virtue of her being situated in a world that makes her actively aware of her femininity and the challenges to it.

If that makes any sense at all. Which it might not, because it has been a long, long day.

(I would love to see Persephone Mag do a feminist badasses of film/TV bracket — how great would that be?! I’d wager upfront that it would come down to Buffy and VMars from TV and I’m not sure who from film for the Final Four.)

Yes! I believe I suggested this on another post, awhile ago. If it keeps coming up, perhaps the Powers That Be wll make it happen?

Although it probably makes send to do tv & movies separately, if for no othr reason than getting to include more deserving women.

Here’s the thing about Tiffany – She is a witch, and can do magic if the situation calls for it, but that is a small part of who she is. In her books, witches are more like social workers than mysterious magic workers. She is more likely to be clipping an old man’s toenails, because he can’t do it for himself and his family is gone, than casting a spell. And she whacked the Queen of Fairy with a frying pan when she was nine years old.

I don’t expect her to beat Lyra, Team Lyra is a force to be reckoned with, but I want people to understand that she is more than just another witch.

I didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday, but I just wanted to add:

I didn’t expect Tiffany to win against Lyra, either, because I think more people have read Pullman — but I still think she deserved to. She’s smart, sympathetic, powerful as hell, and also very fallible (she makes mistakes and must learn from them). I love the way she turns her fear into anger and then into action. She also feels a responsibility to do good in her world, and protect it from harm.

And in Tiffany’s world, being a witch is being part of a network of strong, powerful, often-cranky, and highly individualistic women — of all ages — who do good things for the people around them without demanding payment. She has power, but has to learn to channel it for the good of others rather than self-gain — and part of that, like you said, is learning to NOT rely on it for most of the work she does.

I’ve read the Pullman trilogy just once, but a couple things stick out in my memory: in the first book, Lyra is treated a little like a special snowflake — the boat people don’t let the women and girls go off on the rescue mission, but Lyra is allowed to — she’s an exception. I don’t like it when girl heroines are The Exception — I prefer a world, like Pratchett’s, where many girls could potentially have adventures, even if we’re following one or two. And as much as I enjoyed the trilogy’s fantasy aspects and comments on religion, by the third book, I thought Lyra’s story had softened into “just a romance.”

I don’t know — Tiffany just never, ever ceases to make me think, GOD SHE KICKS ASS. Tiffany’s books make me think, laugh out loud, and cry. They inspire me. Even as a nine-year-old, she made me think, “I wanna grow up to be like her.” She deserved better than a round one elimination.

Totally agree about Kate and Taming of the Shrew. I loathed that play and my Shakespeare professor in college was clearly pissed that I didn’t agree with his interpretation of it.

I love Kat and 10 Things, though. Kat would get my vote, no question.

I voted for Hester Prynne, too, but I once saw a great production of Taming of the Shrew that made me see it in an entirely different light. They played their lines word-for-word from the original (it wasn’t an adaptation), but in the final scenes, the actress who played Kate said everything in this totally sarcastic tone of voice that made it clear she was humoring Petruchio to make peace and that she had every intention of just doing whatever she wanted anyway. I liked it much better than I had on previous readings, anyway.

I was in a Taming of the Shrew adaptation in high school (a few cuts for time, but all lines were from the original, it was just set in, like, New York in the ’70s or something? Second wave feminism and disco, I don’t even know) and we spent a lot of time analyzing Kate’s character and motivations, particularly that last speech, and coming up with an interpretation wherein she wasn’t just complying to the patriarchy and her husband. The actress(es, there were 5, man this show was ridiculous now that I think about it) who did the “I’m ashamed that women are so simple” speech were awesome and definitely brought a feminist bent to it. So I agree with you, it’s definitely up to interpretation. I voted for Hester anyway, although if Kat from 10 Things I Hate About You were in the running, that would not have been the case.

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