A Book and A Dream: An author’s adventure in writing, reading, and being an epic fangirl

Inheritance: A Look at Unspoken Privilege and Generational Wealth in Fantasy

July 27, 2020 Megan O'Russell Season 1 Episode 36
A Book and A Dream: An author’s adventure in writing, reading, and being an epic fangirl
Inheritance: A Look at Unspoken Privilege and Generational Wealth in Fantasy
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A Book and A Dream: An author’s adventure in writing, reading, and being an epic fangirl
Inheritance: A Look at Unspoken Privilege and Generational Wealth in Fantasy
Jul 27, 2020 Season 1 Episode 36
Megan O'Russell

Does having a rich uncle mean you'll be the chosen one? Does your lineage prepare you for greatness?

Not always. But in the world of fantasy books, sometimes inheritance and a lucky birth will set you up for an epic adventure. Want to know what separates our protagonists with generational wealth and knowledge from the true underdog? 

Check out this week's episode of A Book and A Dream.

Also, don't forget to snag your copy of Inker and Crown, a tale told from the angle of the privileged in Ilbrea. https://books2read.com/InkerandCrown

Show Notes Transcript

Does having a rich uncle mean you'll be the chosen one? Does your lineage prepare you for greatness?

Not always. But in the world of fantasy books, sometimes inheritance and a lucky birth will set you up for an epic adventure. Want to know what separates our protagonists with generational wealth and knowledge from the true underdog? 

Check out this week's episode of A Book and A Dream.

Also, don't forget to snag your copy of Inker and Crown, a tale told from the angle of the privileged in Ilbrea. https://books2read.com/InkerandCrown

A Book and A Dream - Episode 36

Megan: [00:00:02] And take a look at how much unspoken privilege and generational wealth we actually take advantage of in the narratives we hear every day.

 

Announcement: [00:00:16] Welcome to A Book and A Dream with Megan O'Russell: an Author's Adventure in Writing, Reading, and Being an Epic Fangirl.

 

Megan: [00:00:27] Hi, my name is Megan O'Russell, and welcome to Episode 36 of A Book and A Dream. I want to talk to you a little bit about the importance of inheritance and generational wealth within fiction.

 

Megan: [00:00:40] Before I get to that and the reason that I wanted to talk to you about it today, Inker and Crown is finally out in the world. I am so thrilled to share the first book in the Guilds of Ilbrea series with all of you. And thank you to all of the people who have sent such sweet messages on Facebook and...and emailed me and said lovely things about the book. You have no idea how much that means to me to get this wonderful response within the first week of it being out.

 

Megan: [00:01:06] If you have read the book, maybe hop on over to Amazon, leave it a little review, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. If you haven't read the book, it's available everywhere. Now, I will say if you're in the middle of the Ena of Ilbrea series, don't start Inker and Crown till you've finished her series. If you haven't read Ena's series at all, jump right into Inker.

 

Megan: [00:01:26] Trust me, it'll make for a better reading experience.

 

Megan: [00:01:29] Now Inker and Crown is in the same world as Ena. It's very different because of the status of the characters. Where Ena's series was... It's a girl who she has nothing really. She has no money. She has no family. She has no great fighting skills. She has nothing. There is nothing for her in this world. In Inker and Crown, we're looking at people who have the privilege of the Guilds behind them. So whether they were born a Lord of the Guilds' daughter, they became a ward, they became an apprentice. Whatever it is, all of the points of view that we're really looking at in the Guilds of Ilbrea book do come from a place where inherited station is very important.

 

Megan: [00:02:14] So they have all of those things backing them up as they travel throughout the story. And it's a very different perspective on the world. And it really made me think of how important that inherited generational wealth, generational knowledge, generational status is in fiction. Now, we can look at some really basic examples of that.

 

Megan: [00:02:35] Let's take the most basic, I know we don't really want to talk about the series right now, but just so that we all have a common way to dive into it.

 

Megan: [00:02:42] In Harry Potter, Harry inherits the invisibility cloak from his dad. His dad isn't around anymore, but he gets this amazing gift that was left to him by generations and generations, generations of people, that helps him go about these adventures. He needed that gift to move on. Or we can look at another really classic example. Let's look at Narnia, the wardrobe that they climb through.

 

Megan: [00:03:05] Spoiler alert. There's a wardrobe involved in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

 

Megan: [00:03:09] It wasn't there by accident. They didn't magically find it. It's built on another generation's magical adventures. So without that work being done for them before they get to the house in the country where all their adventures start, there would be no adventures because the wardrobe wouldn't be there. We can look at some bigger examples with that, too.

 

Megan: [00:03:30] Let's take Caraval. The sisters are obsessed with the concept of Caraval because of their family's obsession and are able to, you know, swing a way around getting there because of their family's wealth and station. You can also look at something like the classic little women. Jo was so privileged that her family not only made sure that she had an education, but left her a house so that they could continue with the series in book two.

 

Megan: [00:03:54] You can look at one of my own books, Girl of Glass. Nola's part of the one percent that is chosen to survive the apocalypse. If she didn't have food, water, shelter, things that most people don't have during the apocalypse, then you couldn't go through with her story.

 

Megan: [00:04:09] If you look at Throne of Glass. We won't actually look at Throne of Glass. If you know, you know. If you don't know, read the series, I really enjoyed it.

 

Megan: [00:04:20] And even if we're not talking about specific wealth items, things like that, there are so many stories where privilege of birth comes into play. So you can look at someone who has absolutely nothing, no money, not really much family. In some cases, they don't have some special skill or some amazing talent. But wait, they do they have something in their blood that they were born with that makes them special, that begins the adventure. So, even though they weren't actually handed, you know, wealth, money, power, whatever it is, because of who they were born, they're already granted an amazing head start on their adventure.

 

Megan: [00:04:58] Look at Shadow and Bone, the first book in the Grisha series. There are people who are born with something special, including our leading lady. The same can be said for Red Queen. Just finished that series. It's all a matter of chance of birth. It's having that power when you come into the world.

 

Megan: [00:05:17] You can also look at Strange the Dreamer, actually a very good book. If you are into the short books, maybe don't check out Stranger the Dreamer. But if you really want, like, a beautifully written prose level novel, check it out.

 

Megan: [00:05:30] And it all comes down to how you were born, what you were born in the world. And it's so fascinating to look at that from the point of view of two of my series in the same world. And I didn't even really mean to do it that way. It didn't occur to me until I was talking to readers about the Guilds of Ilbrea series, how much of an underdog I accidentally made Ena. There is no privilege of birth. There is nothing special in her blood. There is no inherited knowledge or wealth. So you've created a real underdog, an underdog who has nothing that they can say they inherited.

 

Megan: [00:06:07] They gained nothing from the generations that came before them. No money, no land, no status, no knowledge. They have nothing in their blood that sets them apart as something special to propel them on their journey. And that's such a fascinating thing to look at. And it is kind of rare. Even, take Hunger Games. Katniss may have not been born in the best place, but she learned to shoot a bow and arrow from her father. So how much of those things can we really weed out of books and leave a character standing naked and alone and propel them forward? What series do you know of where that's possible? And I'll tell you, it can be pretty hard to find.

 

Megan: [00:06:48] In most cases, they already have something going with them. They have something that was given to them before their journey began. So I want to encourage you, when you look at stories all around you, when you read novels, watch TV, whatever it is, look at those stories, those narratives that you're just surrounded by all the time. And take a look at how much unspoken privilege and generational wealth we actually take advantage of in the narratives we hear every day.

 

Megan: [00:07:15] Just take a look at it, see how common it is and how easy it is to just gloss past it and be like, oh, but they're an amazing hero who happened to have two million dollars in the bank. You know, we forget to look at those things, at what built up the character to be the hero that we look at as the protagonist. So take a look at it and let me know what examples you can find.

 

Megan: [00:07:35] In the meantime, don't forget to check out Inker and Crown and I will see you next time. Bye bye.