Fairytale Princesses, by Adelruna

all Rapunzel and Snow White, by Adelruna

Bonus update! I had a couple of super-awesome artists get back to me this last weekend about using their art for Sartorially Smart Heroines, and I’ve been pretty excited to get to discuss their work. As both Rapunzel and Snow White were orginally Grimm’s fairytales, they seemed a fitting followup to Nick’s Red Riding Hood painting. I’ve got a break in some freelance editing I’ve been doing, so I decided to post an extra update. While putting Disney princesses in armor is hardly a new concept, I really like Adelruna’s heroines and the overall look of their armor.

rapunzel2Rapunzel’s armor is a lovely suit of layered plate and chain mail. She’s definitely armored for a heavy scrum. Her torso and upper legs are protected by at least four layers: padded hauberk, leather jack, chain shirt, and whatever she’s got for an arming tunic. Her neck and shoulders are further protected by a chain mantle and steel spaulders. Our knight-princess’s sword arm bears a plate sleeve and steel-plated leather gauntlet to prevent shattering or severing blows during heavy combat. Rapunzel’s legs are kept safe by padded or leather pants with steel grieves strapped over flexible leather boots.

I like too that Adelruna picked sword and shield as our princess’s weapons of choice. A lot of role-players and fantasy enthusiasts seem to prefer dual-wielding characters, despite that this was an uncommon practice historically. While certain martial-arts in Europe, Japan, and other parts of the world offer techniques for using a slashing and a parrying weapon in tandem, these were used mainly for individualized close-combat and generally involved a long and short weapon or two short weapons. The same effect, however, is created by using a blade and shield or blade and nightstick. Vikings with two battleaxes, Drow with two scimitars, and Jedi with two lightsabers may look cool in movies and on novel covers, but between two warriors of similar prowess, there’s no major advantage over the sword and shield.

I keep wondering: should we be alarmed that Rapunzel has to look up at whatever foe she’s facing?

snow2As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have kind of a thing for late-Medieval, Gothic armor. I love that Adelruna adapted Snow White’s traditional Disney outfit to work with the armor’s assumed late-medieval time-period. Her cuirass is steel with gold or bronze embellishments, sacrificing flexibility for all-around sturdiness. Interestingly, Snow doesn’t seem to have spaulders or any other form of additional protection for her shoulders, though it’s not improbable that she wears padded or chain sleeves underneath that puffy blue and red silk. Leather gloves reinforced with steel plate protect her hands without hindering her sword-handling. Our dark-haired heroine’s hips and upper legs are protected by segmented plates over a chain skirt. Lastly, she wears mid-thigh plated leggings to protect her feet and legs, with hinged plates to protect her knees.

I’ll be honest that Snow’s outfit here looks more like dress armor than something you’d want to wear on the front lines. The embellished trim, silk cloak, and jeweled details are expensive to repair or replace. These shouldn’t, however, take away from the overall protectiveness of the armor, nor rule it out as combat attire. Plus it helps her stand out on the battlefield. To me this suggests that Snow is an officer or war-leader, rather than a frontline soldier or solo adventuress.

A million thanks to Adelruna for letting me borrow her princesses, as well as for her enthusiasm, advice, and suggestions for SSH. As always, thanks for reading and stay awesome, folks!

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6 Responses to Fairytale Princesses, by Adelruna

  1. herdthinner says:

    I could be denounced as an anti-feminist for this, but I’m one of those who doesn’t particularly care for the uptick in “badass” versions of the traditional fairy tale princesses/protagonists. Movies are trending this way; i.e., put the Princess in armor and have her fight the Big Bad with sword and shield… or {groan} martial arts. It’s well-intentioned, but maybe not the best way to update those classic heroines for new audiences. I thought “Mirror, Mirror” had a nice subversion of that: Snow had her long fight-training montage, and had a small victory over the dwarfs (Lessons Complete!). Then when fighting the Prince, she did NOT perform quite as well as she’d hoped. He’d been training his whole life, after all. “Reality ensues,” as tvtopes might say.

    But just taken as “Hey, what if Snow did more than munch on apples?” speculation, they are nice armor designs!

    • adelruna says:

      That’s not necessarily anti-feminist because we actually do need to see more non-combatant female characters (and even those that fail at some stage). However the general lack of female characters that drive their own story means that all of them are important, even if super-successful-fighter type are more common.

      You also need to be careful with the “reality” argument in fantasy. I’ve seen people use that to justify why there should not be women fighters or even non-White people in a fantasy universe. The reality is that these heroines may not be super-star swordsmen, true. But if we argue for some “reality” (and usually some vague historical reality), more fighters would have been under-armoured and under-trained, maybe even peasants just called to increase numbers. But fiction is not history and its purpose is not to recreate reality. Hell, not even history can be trusted because it’s tainted with political bias. BUT interestingly both have the power to shape culture and beliefs by simply choosing how to portray people. At this moment, significant women in history have been erased in the same way that female characters are sidelined in fiction. For the moment we DO need to see successful women. Hopefully, when this is taken care of, we will see more 3- dimensional female characters, including those that are evil and those that will fail, but are nevertheless in control of their own stories.

  2. herdthinner says:

    I’m not the sort who argues against fightin’ females, esp. not in fantasy contexts. This post just triggered some of my thoughts about the “make them badass” trend in movies. It could be dialed back a bit, I think. Heck, in Burton’s film, Alice killed the Jabberwocky without ever having picked up a sword before! (Though one could argue that the sword was doing all the work).

    “Mirror Mirror” was a comedy, so the “reality ensues” part was played for laughs. But the Training Montage is usually played straight. ie, the hero trains for… I guess a week, and then takes on armies of thugs and the Big Bad. Cathartically it’s pleasing, but I’m starting to look for subversions.

    My main blog’s Big Story has a female protagonist who’s trying to find her place and voice in her new world. She was raised to fight, but has to work out how to “change the world,” so to speak, beyond that mindset. Sorry; not trying for a blatant plug. It’s just that female protagonists – *especially* in fantasy – obviously hold some interest for me. That’s why I started reading your posts!

    • adelruna says:

      It’s not my blog haha! I see with what you mean and agree. Female characters that face struggle do tend to resonate with me more too.

      • herdthinner says:

        I realize that I got so wrapped up in my own thoughts about all this, that I forgot to compliment your artwork! I like them both but am partial to Rapunzel. Disney’s Snow White deserves its classic status, but I enjoyed Tangled more. Nice use of the sun insignia.

  3. seraph4377 says:

    Reblogged this on Dreams of the Shining Horizon and commented:
    And as a special bonus for the day, some more work by the same artist who gave us such a badass version of Queen Viarraluca.

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