Saturday, October 23, 2010

Top 5 Fantasy Heroines - #4

I know it's been a long time since I published my first post in this series. This was partly due to procrastination, partly due to lack of inspiration. Aside from my top pick, all of my favorite fantasy heroines are quite similar. At least the cinematic ones are. That's why for #4, I decided to turn to my favorite book series, Kushiel's Dart, and its sultry protagonist, Phedre.

All of the books in this series take place in a fictionalized country called Terre de Ange, which is based on Renaissance France. Terre de Ange was founded by a group of wandering angels, the head of which was named Elua. The other angels are collectively referred to as Elua's Companians, one of whom is called Naamah, and is the patron of Terre de Ange's courtesans. Phedre is a particular breed of courtesan called an
anguissette, which means she derives pleasure from pain. All courtesans begin as adepts, and eventually earn their freedom through the earnings they make by arranging assignations with patrons. Phedre was trained not just as a seductress, but a spy, which of course leads her into many interesting situations that place her in the presence of both monarchs and rebels alike.

Because the people of Terre de Ange are descended from angels, they are without question quite naturally beautiful. Phedre is no exception. Yet even she relies on the assistance of cosmetics, especially when she is planning to ply her charm and skills on a king in order to sway him to lend aid on behalf of her country:
A kneeling servant presented a tray with a dozen tiny jars of cosmetics and unguents, but I partook lightly of those, only a touch of carmine for my lips and a smudge of kohl to darken my lashes. Gazing in the mirror, I saw my face clearly for the first time since La Serenisssima.
from Kushiel's Chosen, by Jacqueline Carey. I got it off my Kindle, so no page number - has anyone come up with a way to reference quotations taken from e-books yet?)

When Phedre does her hair, it's in a simple composition called a "Lover's Knot," which is a loose bun.

So for this post, I had a bit of fun with Polyvore. All of the makeup in the image is pretty much taken from the passage I noted above from Kushiel's Chosen. Whenever I read or hear the word kohl, I immediately think of Guerlain's Terracotta Loose Powder Liner. For balance, I also added one from Clarins. The lipstick is YSL's Rouge Pur Couture. Deep red carmine lips definitely scream seduction. And the phrase in the necklace is taken from the motto of Terre De Ange, which is "Love as thou wilt."

I highly recommend this series, especially if you like epics like The Lord of the Rings. I tend to think of this as a more feminine version of a Tolkein-like fantasy.

Kushiel's Dart

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the book recommendation as I am always looking for new books to read. =)