I recently jotted down some thoughts about how the Witcher may actually be superversive, despite its apparent blighted grayness and nihilistic feel. I’m still thinking on that, but it does look like it checks off a lot of Russell’s boxes. I’ll write more about it in the near future.
While I was musing on the nature of Geralt and Yennefer’s relationship as one of their most redemptive aspects, a Google + post of Jeffro’s from a couple weeks ago came to mind.
In my mind at least, when measuring whether a story is supervisive, it may be that not all points are equally weighted. This emphasis on love and family seems to me to endow more “superversive points” than some other common elements. That’s not to say, of course, that all stories involving love and elevating the family are superversive, but it sure don’t hurt.
I’ve been pondering this as I get into Moorcock’s Elric stories, as well. The Albino Emperor comes from an evil, demon-worshiping society. But even when he gives into societal pressure, Moorcock takes pains to show that Elric’s not such a bad guy, and he’s just trying to do what’s best for his people, or for the woman he loves. I think this is kind of bullshit, honestly. In refusing to wield his power to vanquish clear and present evils early on in the story, he opens the door to more sinister forces and avoidable tragedy. But one thing I will give him – unlike many of his kind, it seems, he loves. He certainly cares for the princess Cymoril, to the point that he would risk his life. That love is worth something, right?
So is Elric superversive? You’d probably have to be familiar with the larger body of works and/or with the Eternal Champion storyline to answer that. Maybe I’ll get there someday.
But for now I continue to ponder the weight and importance of romantic love and consummation, as Jeffro put it, in classic and transcendent modern SFF.