Hi everyone! Welcome back to another fun post in honour of Caroline (Just Another Bookish Blog) and my Gracaeling series read along!
Today, I'll be talking a bit about the "monsters" present in Fire. A monster in the Graceling world is not the same as our definition, and I'll be going through what being a "monster" in their world means.
In the world of the Graceling series, or more specifically in the Dells, a monster is not an abomination of nature with creepy tentacles or scary-looking fangs. Rather, monsters are normal creatures, just with unnatural colouring. A cat with blue fur? Monster. A bear with black fur? Normal. You can have creatures that are monstrous, but not monsters. But what exactly makes these monsters so monstrous enough to be named "monsters"? Apart from their obvious unnatural colouring, monster have the ability to control, or influence, people with their minds. This ability varies in strength from creature to creature, but all monsters possess the bare minimal ability draw people to them with their appearances. Whether or not they can take their influence over people another step further, like influencing their actions or thought process, depends on the individual monster and natural rational ability. Monster versions of smart creatures, like owls, would probably be more skillful in manipulating people.
Though they are called "monsters," not all of them are dangerous. Apart from their appearance and natural ability to draw others to themselves, they behave just like any other creature. A purple horse still is a horse, and can be raised as a battle stallion. However, this also means that monsters can be hunted for their abnormal colours as a sign of wealth. In Fire, the protagonist is a monster due to her unnatural hair colouring (varying shades of red). As a human monster, she possesses a rational mind, and thus her ability to control people is exceptionally strong. But what makes Fire so special is her personal restrictions on her abilities. Though she has the capability to completely strip people of their minds, she refuses to do it, for it is unethical and wrong. She also struggles with her own appearance, for her beauty itself is an enchantment she cannot control over others. Frequently, Fire finds herself on opposite extremities: people, in particular men, either desired her too much to be deemed proper, or completely loath every cell of her body. Poor Fire can rarely catch a break! So, recap: monsters aren't actually monsters, just abnormally-coloured creatures whose appearance makes people stop and stare. Powerful monsters, like Fire, also have rational minds, possessing the ability to choose right over wrong. Would you like to be a monster in the Graceling world? Or would you prefer to be Graced?