Today I welcome to Her Ladyship's Quest author Karin Rita Gastreich. She is promoting the audio edition of her novel Eolyn. She has a wonderful guest post everyone should read about the love life of her main character. The YouTube video above provides an audio sample. Plus there's a Rafflecopter giveaway you can enter at the bottom of the post.
Aen-lasati, the Magic of Love and Desire
By Karin Rita Gastreich
Terri had a point, but her comment put me in a difficult dilemma. While sexuality may be anachronistic in the context of medieval societies, it was not in any way anachronistic for the Magas of Eolyn’s world. Magas understand the concept of a woman’s desire, and consider it an integral part of women’s magic. There was no way I could sacrifice the concept of 'sexuality' without losing a very important pillar of their worldview.
Aen-lasati is one of the gifts of Primitive Magic, the most ancient, powerful, and least understood class of magic recognized in Eolyn’s world. Aen-lasati is considered a divine impulse. Magas (as well as mages) are taught to respond to it with joyful reverence, not with fear, and certainly not with prohibition.
This perspective does separate magas from the larger context of Eolyn’s world, where women are often expected to fill traditional roles associated with patriarchal medieval societies. This causes no small amount of tension and conflict, not only for Eolyn, but for all the magas who have come before her.
Now, there is a hero in Eolyn’s story who is the wonderful, complex alpha-type guy that most readers would expect the heroine to commit to when all is said and done. But there is no guarantee that Eolyn will do that, even if given the opportunity. As a maga, she has been taught not to promise herself to one man because sooner or later aen-lasati will kick in, and the gods may very well direct her toward union with someone else.
I’m certain there are exceptions to this rule; Guinevere comes to mind as an example, and I hope we’ll hear others in today’s comments. But for the most part we seem to expect the Heroine, in her heart of hearts, to wait like the legendary Penelope, steadfast and true, for the one Hero who is “right” for her.
When writing the novel, I really enjoyed exploring this aspect of Eolyn’s world. I found it more interesting to allow complexity and nuance in her choice of partners. As a story teller, I especially appreciated having all bets off in terms of Eolyn’s final decision, whether that would be to settle with a particular man or to continue on her own path of magic.
I’ve also found that the concept of aen-lasati strikes a chord with a wide range of readers, both women and men. Many consider this one of the most intriguing and fresh aspects of the novel; others are a little taken aback by the teachings of the Magas and their implications for Eolyn’s journey. In either case, the idea of aen-lasati has my readers thinking, discussing, and debating. I like to believe that this is one of the signs of a story well told.
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