Home > Lists > The Princess Scale 5: Amy of Phantasmorania

The Princess Scale 5: Amy of Phantasmorania

Been a while since I’ve done one of these.

Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne of Phantasmorania
Fictional Source: An Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye (1980)

I read this because I had read somewhere that it was a Ruritanian romance, which category I’m still kind of intrigued by. It’s not, but it’s a perfectly pleasant little fairy-tale kind of a book anyway, and I’m glad I read it.

Upshot of the plot is that when Amy’s born, one of the fairy godmothers who comes to bestow a blessing on her at the christening gives her the gift of Ordinariness. So her sisters are all good and gorgeous and perfect and Amy’s just kind of normal, but her parents need to marry her off anyway, and you can probably imagine a lot of the rest.

First thing is she’s clearly a princess; daughter of the king and everything. (The king doesn’t have a son, by the way, and it makes me wonder about how the succession’s going to work. The story doesn’t make an issue of this at all.) (+1)

She doesn’t have much in the way of useful skills. I mean, she’s not incompetent or anything, and manages to survive on her own just fine, including getting and keeping (for a while) a job as a kitchen maid, but it’s still not a very impressive resume. (+1)

Amy does do useful things, though; she runs away from home to prevent a dragon attack, and does dirty jobs without complaining. (+2)

The story’s all about how she eventually gets married to a prince who appreciates her, which is perfectly typical, but at least she’s the main character of the story. (0)

Kaye tells us very definitely that she’s not the beauty her sisters are, but also suggests that she’s still cute in her own tomboyish way. (+1)

No female friends her own age. (0)

It’s a pretty small book and Kaye doesn’t delve any more deeply than she has to into Amy’s psyche, so there are no unusual depths in her portrayal to give any extra points there, but I will give an extra half a point just because the book is working so hard to make the point that there is a stereotype of what princesses are supposed to be like, and Amy isn’t it. (+.5)

Overall Score: 5.5

Puts her right with another 1980 princess. Really it’s interesting how many people have tried to overturn the princess stereotype over the years, and how restrained their efforts are.


Princess Projectra (9)
Princess Leia Organa (7)
Princess Elizabeth (5.5)
Princess Amy
Princess Buttercup (-3)

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  1. March 5, 2014 at 7:01 pm

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