My Hero Monday is an original feature (and now a link-up!) from the feminist blog Free As A Girl With Wings. In the words of its creator, Chloe, “It celebrates female heroes in our society, and promotes learning about new heroes.” My Hero Monday posts feature women both real and fictional, living and deceased.
The full link-up schedule can be found at the end of this post – and if you’d like to join next month (I strongly encourage that you do so), you can find the rules and other information here.
Well, hello there, dear readers. I seem to have slightly misinterpreted this month’s prompt, which is, “a hero you don’t know much about, because it’s a NEW YEAR.”
Somehow, during the weeks since I’d read the prompt, my brain got all muddled up and thought that today I was supposed to write about “a woman I didn’t know much about UNTIL last year.”
And now a deadline is staring me right in the face and I cannot for the life of me think of any other ladies to write about, because if I’m honest people usually don’t become my heroes until I’ve known about them for, like, at least a few months.
So what am I going to do? I’m going to use my original idea. And it might even still count! Because I’m writing about Tanith Low, who is from Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series… which I haven’t yet finished. (So I don’t know much about what happens to her! The conclusion of her story arc is still a giant question mark.) I thought I wanted to read the last book as quickly as possible but lately I’ve actually been avoiding it because I’M SCARED ABOUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO ALL MY PRECIOUS CHARACTERS.
I’M WORRIED ABOUT WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO TANITH. If Landy kills her off, I’m going to be so sad.
All right, time for my post! But before I get started, I’d just like to let you all know that THIS POST IS SPOILER-FREE. I wanted to share Tanith’s awesomeness with everyone, so I’m not going to give away any plot twists or whatever.
Note: You can find my previous MHM posts here.
Date of birth: 1918
Current age: 97
School(s): Quoneel’s school
Profession: Freelance fighter, mercenary, the Terrifying Brain-Sucker of London
When did I first hear about her?
My friend Orphu @ A Mirror Made of Words recommended the Skulduggery Pleasant series to me, and I started reading the books in… April, I believe. (Come to think of it, Orphu is the reason I know about two of the OTHER ladies I’ve written about for MHM: Malinda Lo and Laverne Cox! She’s awesome that way.)
What makes her one of my heroes?
Um, lots of things? I hardly know where to start. Actually, I’ll start by telling you more about the books she’s from. Derek Landy’s wonderful, wonderful fantasy series is about a walking-talking, sharply-dressed, wisecracking, fireball-throwing skeleton (Skulduggery Pleasant) and his teenage sidekick (Valkyrie Cain). Tanith is introduced as a secondary character in the first book, but eventually gets her own book set between books seven and eight. (It’s called The Maleficent Seven and it’s HILARIOUS yet FULL OF FEELS.)
Tanith, like most of the characters, is a mage – and mages age much, much more slowly than the general population. Just in case you were wondering about the whole “ninety-seven but doesn’t look a day over twenty-seven” thing.
So now that you know a little background info, I’ll tell you why Tanith is one of my heroes!
+ She’s brave. Tanith is skewered, stabbed, knocked unconscious, and worse throughout the course of the series. But that never really seems to stop her from fighting even the biggest and baddest of bad guys.
+ She’s smart. Quite level-headed during a fight and whatnot.
+ She has mad sword skills. IF YOU WANT TO WIN MY HEART JUST BE A LADY WHO SWORDFIGHTS OMG I THINK THIS IS SO COOL AND I DON’T REALLY EVEN KNOW WHY.
+ She’s kind. As demonstrated by her very first scene with Valkyrie – they’ve only just met, but she’s more than happy to help out and give advice.
+ She’s fiercely loyal. Tanith would do anything to aid her friends, and this personality trait only intensifies as the story progresses.
+ She’s a rebel. Tanith has a motorcycle (and makes Skulduggery worried every time she takes Valkyrie for a ride on it, I think). She’s fond of wearing very tight, very revealing leather waistcoats and whatnot. She’s dated, like, everyone at one point or another. (Saracen Rue, Frightening Jones, Aurora Jane, et cetera…) She’s certainly the wildest fictional ninety-year-old I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about.
+ She has a great big sister/little sister relationship with Valkyrie. Yay for strong friendships between girls! I love reading about this kind of relationship because I don’t have a sister of my own, and I always wanted one. I live vicariously through sisterly mages, apparently.
+ She has an excellent sense of humor. As do all the characters in the Skulduggery Pleasant books. If you like to laugh until your sides hurt, you really need to read this series.
+ She’s totally a dorky fangirl. Oh. My. Gosh. She’s SUCH a goof, and the scenes where she fangirls about her favorite books are priceless. I love that. I love that she’s this butt-kicking, frequently-intimidating woman who also has a dorky, giggly, geeky side.
Basically, Tanith Low is a really really amazing lady and I’ve loved reading about all the ups and downs of her story, all the jokes and all the plot twists and all the butt-kicking. (Especially the butt-kicking.)
I loved seeing how much more complex her character gradually became – I don’t want to give anything away, so I’m just going to say that readers of the book will know what I mean when I say that a THING happened at the end of Mortal Coil (book five), and I think in the end it was for the best. It made Tanith sooooo much more complicated.
Anyway, I’m going to be sad whether she does or does not survive this last book – because then I won’t have any new Skulduggery Pleasant material to read, and I’ll really miss Tanith! I kind of want to be her, and I kind of have the world’s most ginormous crush on her, and basically if Derek wrote any more books featuring her that would be fine by me.
P.S. Before I move on to the quotes section, I’d like to share a video with you, since that seems to be a tradition in my MHM posts. I couldn’t find any non-spoilery videos specific to Tanith, but here’s a book trailer! (And if you’ve finished the series, here IS a spoilery video: Derek Landy discusses Tanith Low and The Maleficent Seven in three installments. It’s quite interesting, IMO.)
“Come and have a go – if you think you‘re hard enough.”
– Sceptre of the Ancients (and every sequel, TBH)
“I’ve fought just about every enemy you could think of, but I’ve never been attacked by a tree. Well done!”
– Sceptre of the Ancients
“‘What does a clue look like?’ Tanith whispered.
Stephanie fought the giggle down and whispered back. ‘I’m looking for a footprint or something.’
‘Have you found one yet?’
‘No. But that’s probably because I haven’t moved from this spot.’
‘Maybe we should move, pretend we know what we’re doing.’
They started to walk, very slowly, still looking straight down… Tanith laughed, then tried to cover it up with a cough.
‘Found something?’ Skulduggery asked from behind them.
Tanith turned, looking serious. ‘No, sorry. I thought I had, but, no, it turned out to be, uh… more floor.’
Stephanie hugged herself, trying to stop her shoulders shaking from laughter.”
– Sceptre of the Ancients
“But she looks, like, twenty-two. And she acts like a four-year-old.”
– Valkyrie Cain, in The Faceless Ones
“Tanith frowned. Did people still go on dates any more? She was sure they did. They probably called it something different, though. She tried to think of the last date she’d been on. The last proper date. Did fighting side by side with Saracen Rue count as a date? They ended up snuggling under the moonlight, drenched in gore and pieces of brain – so it had probably been a date. If it wasn’t, it was certainly a fun time had by all. Well, not all. But she and Saracen had sure had a blast.”
– Mortal Coil
“‘It’s a stereotype,’ he hissed. ‘It’s a damn stereotype and it’s harmful. If this catches on, we’ll have all sorts of sorcerers running around, waving wands and chanting spells. Do you know how ridiculous we’d look?’
Tanith shrugged. ‘I liked Harry Potter.’
‘This ain’t about Harry Potter!’
‘You liked Harry Potter as well.’
‘They’re good books,’ he snapped, ‘but I do not agree with this wand business. All those guys down there, criminals and mobsters and gangsters, and who are they taking orders from? A wizard with a wand. How can they take him seriously? How are they going to take us seriously when we attack?'”
– The Maleficent Seven
So. Time for YOU to talk! Have I sufficiently convinced you of Tanith Low’s awesomeness?! You should totally go get the books as soon as possible and then you can fangirl with me! (And what did you think of my first MHM post about a fictional lady? I really enjoyed writing it!)
Be sure to check out the other My Hero Monday link-up posts!
nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel
Wrap-up by Chloe @ Free As A Girl With Wings