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Characters of Colour in Wraeththu?

Not sure if this question has been asked before, but are there any characters of colour in the Wraeththu series?

From what I've seen in artistic renditions of the major characters is that they appear to portray them as light-skinned. Are there any characters who are Black or described as dark skinned?

I have yet to finish the series so I have not been introduced to all of the characters yet.

I know that racial representation is an issue within the Sci-if and fantasy genres and I truly hope that this issue isn't also present within Wraeththu because I am enjoying it quite a lot so far.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
noadvertising
Oct. 17th, 2013 06:38 pm (UTC)
Peeps out from the closet. So far as I recall, Zack, the one companion Cal believes to be dead, is described as dark skinned. Do not worry, he will show up again! Pell should be Mexican. Technically incepted hara have the same ethnic characteristics they had before inception, only a lot more refined. But there are Wraeththu specialists out there who may explain the case more precisely. And in proper English, too!
(Anonymous)
Oct. 17th, 2013 10:30 pm (UTC)
Yes, I believe a early lover and associate of Calanthe was discribed in one of the later books as dark skinned Zacula [ my spelling] maybe there was even more, some more might have been mentioned being Uigenna I know for sure that some of the many Wreaththu fan writers had dark skinned characters in them. But your right not any of the major character, though Pellaz was dark haired and obviously of latin/mexican mixture, so he wasn't totally a pale face. Hope that helps, Cal the Gslinger
youcantseeus
Oct. 18th, 2013 04:55 am (UTC)
The characters' race isn't explicitly pointed out in the Wraeththu universe but the characters are described physically a lot. Basically, the characters are described in such a way that some of them are pretty clearly POC, some easily could be POC, and a lot of them are almost certainly white.

Raven, a character who shows up in the fifth book is pretty clearly black -- his skin is described as very dark more than once, he wears his hair in braids, and I think there's even this one scene in the last book where he visits a very isolated tribe which is mostly white and some small harling (child) has never seen anyone with such dark skin as him.

Zack, one of Cal's former lovers, is described as dark and most people seem to interpret him as a POC.

Nepopis, a very minor character from the second book is described as dark skinned.

I think that both Seel and Chrysm (who are described as looking alike) are characters of color, probably Asian or mixed race. Seel is described as olive-skinned, almond-eyed, and "exotic." When his hair isn't dyed all different colors, it is described as tawny (as far as I can tell "tawny" is the term Storm really, really likes to use for brown). Chrysm's hair is black. One of them might even be described as having slanted eyes.

I think Seel's friends Colt and Stringer are supposed to be Native American.

Pell seems to be Latino which could mean white, but I always pictured him as a person of color although I don't know that there is anything from the books to back me up. In the art he often looks a lot more white than how I pictured him. I do remember one scene where someone (I think Phade) shows Pell a picture of sand dunes and says that's probably the area of the world Pell came from which to me suggests that Pell didn't look white to him. Pell has a lot of family who become characters in the latter books who I also think of as people of color.

I think of Ulaume as a POC although I suppose he could be white and most of fandom seems to see him as white. He's described as having tawny skin, tawny hair, and dark eyes, I believe. Of course he lives in the desert and tawny skin could just mean he's a white person with a tan, but that's not how I see him.

There are probably other characters who could be interpreted as either people of color or white based on their physical descriptions. There seemed to be a fandom thing of Cobweb being Asian, but I see him as white -- he's described as having very pale skin, black hair, and huge, green eyes. I think in a textual medium where the characters' race isn't explicitly pointed out, like Wraeththu, people will have different ideas about the races of various characters.

I've just been talking about the main six books. If I were to go through all the other books, I could probably find a lot more characters of color. Just as an example, Song of the Sulh which came out a while ago was centered around a Native American character

I think the series could use more racial diversity but I also think that it's not meant to be an all-white world or a world where the people of color only appear as bad guys or are completely othered like in many other fantasy series.
marysue007
Oct. 18th, 2013 02:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, there is one character that I remember well. It's been a long time since I've read the books, so I don't remember if there are more. I don't want to write any spoilers for you, but he was around in one of the earlier books and has somewhat of a significant roll in one of the later books. I don't remember Zack (Zacula?), the character I'm mentioning is not him but someone else.
If you would like more info let me know :)
I don't think it would be a spoiler if I quoted his description...
"...eyes were discomfortingly entirely black, so you could never be sure what he was thinking, if indeed he thought at all. His skin was very dark, like that of a panther and his face looked like the sculpture of a mythical king." and "His thick black braids, which hung to his thighs, were bound at his neck by a single braid, to keep them from dangling over his work."

Edited at 2013-10-18 02:55 pm (UTC)
galhea
Oct. 20th, 2013 12:11 am (UTC)
I see others have given some answers, so I won't rehash those. The only ones I can think of other than the mentioned are Pell's attendants after he gets crowned, they're described as piebald (iirc), and from their description I was fairly sure they had some sort of vitiligo, which implies they're darker skinned POC. And then there's an East Asian har from Japan in the sixth book (with a very odd name at that). All in all, I wasn't very impressed with the way POC are described in the books (and the way racism was basically handwaved away despite it appearing in subtle ways), and there's definitely a lack of (explicit) diversity throughout, but like others, I read Pell as a light-skinned Latino for all intents and purposes.

For what it's worth, when I eventually get around to writing Wraeththu fanfic I'll have a cast of POC characters to balance out the sea of white in other fics and the canon. There's also at least a few fanfics with (main) POC characters, but I don't have the links on hand, alas.
queerlogic
Oct. 21st, 2013 12:43 am (UTC)
Thank you for all of the responses!

I think the series could use more racial diversity but I also think that it's not meant to be an all-white world or a world where the people of color only appear as bad guys or are completely othered like in many other fantasy series. -- youcantseeus

Agreed.

Maybe Storm's future novels will involve more racial diversity.

All in all, I wasn't very impressed with the way POC are described in the books (and the way racism was basically handwaved away despite it appearing in subtle ways), and there's definitely a lack of (explicit) diversity throughout, but like others, I read Pell as a light-skinned Latino for all intents and purposes.

For what it's worth, when I eventually get around to writing Wraeththu fanfic I'll have a cast of POC characters to balance out the sea of white in other fics and the canon. There's also at least a few fanfics with (main) POC characters, but I don't have the links on hand, alas.
-- galhea

Yes, I think Storm could have been more straight-forward with her descriptions of her PoC characters and made the diversity a lot apparent. It's unfortunate that she developed a whole new race and didn't take the opportunity to fully develop it by diversifying it.

Oh, I look forward to reading your fic then!
kurtheru
Feb. 24th, 2014 05:12 am (UTC)
Good Aghama, the Wraeththu characters are the most racially diverse in their backgrounds of any series I have read, and that's a lot! Hara from all over the world were incepted from humans of every culture and I love how they are all then Wraeththu, not blackhara/whitehara/asianhara etcetcetc. The tribes themselves were made up various seed stock from whatever humans were in the area, and there was of course originally some feuding among these tribes, but the culture of Wraeththu as a whole was meant to transcend the racial divisions of humans. Storm Constantine is my hero for the way she creates this future world of one great race of many flavors. Many of my favorite hara have been named by previous commenters, and as noted they range from white skin white haired to black skin black haired and everything in between. I want snakey hair like Ulaume by the way, and tawny skin, and oh yes some Panthera athleticism =^.^=. Sure the locations of the stories were set mostly in what used to be North America and Europe but the characters came from all over and I love them so much.
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