||[Feb. 1st, 2009|09:27 pm]
Forest of SevenWaters
|||||Where's The Girl (Reprise)- Terry Mann||]|
When I was reading Heir to Sevenwaters, I noticed a small reference to a tapestry that Niamh wove "filled from corner to corner with birds and butterflies, and I could not look at it without my spirits lifting. When she was young, Aunt Niamh must have been a very happy person." I was touched by the sentiment (and glad that Sean wasn't telling his daughters stories about His Sister, The Flighty Tramp) and then I realized that this is the only instance in any of the Sevenwaters books when someone says something unequivocably nice about Niamh. Whenever Liadan, or Sean, or Red talked about her, they always made sure to tack on something like "but she had a quick temper" or "but she was oblivious to everything going on around her" or "but she didn't really understand magic." There always seems to be an undercurrent of condecension running through everyone's opinion of her- like she's the village idiot who they just put up with because she's related to them. There's also the way Liadan reacts to her abuse- she snits that "I wanted to take her by the shoulders and give her a good shake and say 'Why didn't you stand up for yourself? Why didn't you spit in his arrogant face and give him a well-placed kick for good measure? Or if you couldn't manage that, why not just walk away?' For I knew that, had I been in her place, I never would have stood for such treatment. I would sooner be a beggar woman scavenging by the roadway than allow myself to be debased thus." which is a.) an awful thing to think about an abuse victim, especially if she's your SISTER, and b.) pretty damn hypocritical of her, considering that she's surrounded by people who think she's the Virgin Mary while Niamh's on her own.
(Yeah, I'm not a Liadan fan. Could you guess?)
Not only is there the condecension and the complete lack of support, there's also a disparity of treatment between her and her sister. For sleeping with someone outside of marriage, she gets married off to a man her parents don't know anything about, whilst Liadan actually GETS PREGNANT and gets to stay home, and be seen as the mother of the half-fey Child of the Prophecy, which really isn't fair. Niamh couldn't know who Ciaran was. Everyone pays a lot of lip service to how much they miss her after she's gone, but no one seemed to care much about her while she was around. I kind of think it has something to do with prejudice against the non-fey members of the family, and that she was somehow being "punished" for wanting a life of adventure. (Liadan actually does warn her of this at some point).
Thoughts? Comments? Flames?