The Princess Scale 6: Cimorene of Linderwall
It’s been a long time since I did one of these. I should start doing them more; I like it.
Let’s go over the rules again. What we’re trying to do is examine princess characters in popular culture and give them points for how much they deviate from the helpless-princess stereotype.
1. Qualifications: 1 point for being the daughter of the reigning king; 0 points for being the daughter of a dethroned king, or who is only princess because she marries a prince, or she’s like an emperor’s daughter or something and doesn’t have the exact title; -1 points if she’s just from a non-royal rich or noble family. The idea here is that first we want to pin down whether our character is, technically, a princess.
2. Skills: 0 points if she’s totally useless; 1 point if she can do anything useful at all; 2 points if she’s good at archery or magic; 3 points if she can do something typically masculine like swordfighting.
3. Love Life: If she’s somebody’s love interest, that’s 0 points. If she’s the hero’s love interest, that’s -1 points. If she’s happily single, that’s +1 points. If she’s the main character of her book or movie or whatever, +1, and if she’s gay, also +1.
4. Beauty: -1 points if she’s the most beautiful of all; 0 points if she’s beautiful; 1 point if she’s cute or tomboyish or if her looks aren’t specified; 2 points if she’s described as plain; 3 points if she’s described as ugly.
5. Accomplishments: Does she do anything useful in the story? If no, 0; not much, 1; some, 2; if she’s indispensable, 3; if she starts off dependent but overcomes it, an extra +1. And if she screws everything up she gets -1.
6. If she becomes Queen at any point, another +1.
7. If she has close female friends her own age, +1.
8. If there’s something else cool about her that’s not captured by this list, +1 or maybe even +2.
9. If she’s portrayed, as a character, with particular skill or depth, +1 or even +2.
Note that I eyeballed this whole scale; I’m not pretending that there’s science involved here. And if anybody has any ideas for other points to rate on here,
Today we’re looking at Princess Cimorene of Lindenwall, the main character (more or less) in Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles. (It’s a weird series because the fourth book was written first, and then the first three were written as prequels. And Cimorene isn’t even in the fourth book much; her son is the main character. So we get Cimorene’s adventures in the first book, and that’s cool, and then the second book is from Mendanbar’s point of view (Mendanbar being the guy Cimorene eventually marries). And those are both good. But they can be good because they’re deep background for the fourth book. The third book is from the PoV of Morwen, Cimorene’s friend, and it’s full of setup for the fourth book and suffers because of it.)
Princess Cimorene of Linderwall
Fictional Source: “The Enchanted Forest Chronicles” by Patricia C. Wrede (1985 through 1995)
1. Cimorene is a legit princess. (1)
2. Cimorene has all kinds of skills. She tries to learn swordfighting but doesn’t get very far; I give her partial credit for that. (2.5)
3. Cimorene ends the first book happily single, and I’m tempted to give some credit for that, except that the fourth book had already been written so there was never any thought that she should stay that way. She’s the hero’s love interest in book 2, but is arguably the main character of the series, so that maps out to 0 points altogether. (0)
4. Cimorene is specifically described as beautiful, even if it isn’t the fluffy blonde kind of beautiful that they apparently favour in Lindenwall. (0)
5. Cimorene is indispensable. (3)
6. Cimorene does become Queen. (1)
7. Cimorene actually has quite a few friends. Even if you don’t count Kazul, there’s still Morwen, and also Alianora, another dragon’s princess. (1)
8. I don’t think there are any other details that she needs credit for.
9. No, it’s a pretty light series of books; no extra credit here.
So that’s a total of 8.5; let’s put it on the board.