Men in Hoods; Chicks in Chainmail

This came up in a Goodreads discussion in one of the fantasy groups.

Ever noticed these days that fantasy books seem to have an overabundance of the hooded figure? Since when did this become so popular?

Here are a few examples:

hood1hood2EmperorsKnife_Press_Corrected02.inddhood4crowntower-2-5hood6

Now I like cloaks just fine; in fact, I own two. But like any fad, too much of something isn’t a good thing. It’s like vampires. I’m sick of vampires. I want a vampire-free diet for the next ten years. And of these fantasy covers, I ask the question.

Is it REALLY that hard to draw a face???

Some readers have expressed that they don’t like drawings/pictures of the characters, because so often the illustrators get it wrong. They don’t read the book and know that Mr. Hero has a mustache. Or green eyes. Or a mole on his left cheek.

I understand their concern–that’s why the other big trend for a lot of books lately is the central symbol with no scenes or characters depicted at all. (See Hunger Games, Allegiant, Game of Thrones, and pretty much any Danielle Steele novel). But others of us like to see at least an attempt to visualize the characters. I allowed the artist of my first book to showcase the demon rather than the main character–you only get to see the back of Zerrick Dhur. But at least I included a frontal drawing of him inside the book. My next book prominently features the twins, Tavish and Aidah. Are they perfect representations of the characters in my head? No. But I liked them and I liked how they made the cover look.

At least the hoods aren’t completely humiliating, like all those chicks in chainmail covers from the 70’s and 80’s:

chick1chick2chick3chick4

I’m glad to say you don’t find completely unrealistic armor on girls any more. Like the attackers are ONLY supposed to hit them on their chainmail-covered breasts. (Never mind how easy it would be to disembowel their naked flat little tummies.)  Hoods are kind of cool, especially if you’re a thief or assassin and you’re trying to hide your identity.

But on the other hand, have you ever tried to walk around in a hood and be sneaky? You completely lose your peripheral vision. Not only that, it muffles your hearing, so now not only can’t you see the attacker sneaking up behind you. You can’t hear them either! So I’m really not impressed with their usefulness apart from keeping the rain and/or snow off your head.

At least they’re more practical than the chainmail bikinis.

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2 responses to “Men in Hoods; Chicks in Chainmail

  1. I loved your post! Had a good laugh about the chain mail bikinis! Have a great week!

    On Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 8:50 AM, Judy Goodw

  2. Great post! I giggled.

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