An upside to having a lot of free time recently is I’ve been reading ALL of the blogs. A topic that I’ve seen repeated recently through several different sites is essentially “Why are villains in fantasy and sci-fi not white dudes?” There were some compelling points to be made and it got me thinking about my own work.
In The Rise of Aredor much of the action in the first half takes place in the country of Calorin which takes on a very Arabic style. Calorin’s neighboring country Argus has a definite African theme. The overall bad guy comes from Calorin. Calorins are warlike, always fighting among themselves, slave owners, etc. We don’t really see Argus very much other than when Calorins invade and the Argusians fight back.
So, in light of many fantasy/sci-fi works having Asian or Middle Eastern bad guys, I wanted to look at my reasoning for choosing my bad guys ethnicity.
First- Aredor is a northern country. When my lead character is kidnapped I wanted a drastic change of scenery. What better than a southern country that is completely different from everything he knows including a different language? When you go south in our world, you encounter people with different skin colors mostly to help them deal with the heat of the area they are inhabiting.
Second- The setting is very medieval. Slavery abounded especially in the Middle East during that period. Type casting much? Maybe.
Third- I am very fond of medieval history and I find the Arabic style very interesting. The style is very fluid and their mindset is completely different from western thinking. I think it adds a bit of flavor when completely different cultures clash.
Fourth- The above reasons may seem like I thought this through and maybe am justifying a little. But a thought came to me the other day while working on the idea for this post. I considered the time I live in. My country has been at war for over half my life against who? The Middle East. 9/11 happened almost 13 years ago. I started writing RoA five years ago. Maybe it’s easier than you think to cast your villains.
Casting your protagonist is something else completely. Mine is tall, blonde, and blue-eyed. Type casting the hero much? Maybe. But who doesn’t like tall, blonde, blue-eyed heroes? *cough-Captain America?-cough*