As I closed Fire (an awesome book—I rarely enjoy high fantasy and gobbled this one up), I had several thoughts raging through my head, but two were predominant. One was, “HOW COULD SHE DO THAT TO ARCHER? DOES KRISITIN CASHORE HAVE NO SOUL?!” Quickly followed by, “Oh my God—I’m an ARCHER-phyle—does this mean my feminist card has been revoked?”

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I’m still pondering that last question.

Let’s face it—it seems pretty obvious that Cashore penned Brigan to be the perfect feminist love interest. He trusts Fire, he’s okay with her risking her life to help the kingdom if that’s her choice, he respects her as an equal.

And then there’s Asher: jealous, possessive, and man-whore of the Dells. Talk about a guy who likes to shoot his arrow. A LOT. I mean, preferring macho Asher to sensitive Brigan? Really? Maybe I should just give up my voting rights and knit my husband some slippers while he goes to a strip club.

Um.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that’s not all there was to it for me. Yes, Archer might have had some issues he needed to work out (some issues I think were caused in part by his and Fire’s emotional imbalance—he was madly in love with her, she did not feel the same) but he was so ALIVE. Fun. Vibrant. And for me, well, Brigan was kind of a sad-sack. *ducks rotten tomatoes from the horde of Brigan fangirls out there*

Really, though—I get that Brigan has HUGE, important issues to contend with, I do. His constant role as defender of his kingdom weighs heavily on him, so it’s not exactly appropriate for him to run around skipping and singing Lady Gaga all the time. But I also don’t find morose men especially attractive. Technology in Brigan’s kingdom just came up with reattaching amputated limbs—surely they could conjure up some anti-depressants, too? Because I think the poor guy could use some.

So for me, a big part of the Archer versus Brigan thing has nothing to do with feminism, and everything to do with personality. Like I said on twitter, I’m afraid for Fire, really afraid that after spending too much time with Brigan, she’s going to lock herself in her bedchamber and listen to the fantasy equivalent of Morrissey until she’s too depressed to do anything but eat chocolate and make the maids act out soap operas.

To be totally fair, some of my blatant Archer favoritism may stem from me being spoiled by romance novels. While I guess it’s more realistic for the love interest not to put the heroine number one before everything in real life, I think for Brigan, Fire ranked about 4th, after leading the army, his brother the King, his daughter, etc. For Archer, she was number one, and realistic or not, that’s worth something to me.

But no matter how much I explain, I can’t shake the feeling that Betty Friedan is rolling in her grave.

So, after donning my flame-proof suit, I have to ask–what do you all think? Archer or Brigan? And why?

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