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Apr. 17th, 2011 (UTC)

It's hard to pull off. You can't really "de-gender" anyone, male or female. Just like in real life, a person's sex is arguably the most fundamental characteristic in determining their interaction with the world.

But since sci-fi/fantasy fans and authors have been overwhelmingly male for a long time, readers and writers are better at determining what makes for a well-developed male character than a female. I think readers tend to be less forgiving when a male character is a stereotype than a female. So a standard fantasy tends to feature a strong male lead with an exotic female "Other." I think it's a little bit... I don't want to say lazy, but making a character exotic in some way is a bit of a shortcut to making them believable.

But Martin's female characters are explored from the inside out (I can't think of a non-pervy way to write that sentence - my first couple attempts were even worse). Their gender is obviously crucial to their character development, but it's not used as an excuse to keep them exotic and foreign and easier to write. Cersei, in particular, is one of the most well-developed female characters in the genre, I think.

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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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