As some of you may know, I like to make silly trailers for my books https://barbaraannwright.wordpress.com/book-trailers/ (and the books of others), that have very little to do with the actual plot of said books. I try to stay at least tangentially related, using props or costumes similar to what the characters might wear. My fantasy heroes have swords, big dresses, and tunics. The trailers for my friends feature modern furniture and clothing. No matter what, there’s a bit of sparkle. It’s Barbie, after all.
But for the trailer of my new book, Thrall: Beyond Gold and Glory, I sought out the right accessories to create Viking Barbie, as the book has a Viking-esque feel. A friend of mine gave me a Valkyrie Barbie, so that helps, even though no one in the book dresses like her. But it’s very hard to find armor or weapons for Barbies anyway. I usually have to buy another doll, like a Barbie-sized soldier doll, and strip it of gear. You can find guns, grenades, knives, and flack vests, the occasional sword, but Viking axes? Shields? Helmets, with or without horns?
I guess children don’t play with Viking dolls. Maybe they did, once upon a time. It’s a fascinating culture, no more violent than any other group of warriors, and they had fighters of every gender. Seems fertile ground for a 12-inch doll. Alas, I’m going to have to make do with Polish Barbie and any others that either have braided blond hair or hair so long I can braid it myself. I suppose I can slap together some wool-like clothing, maybe accent it with the fake fur I have in my scrap box. Maybe I can make the dolls look more like real Vikings than my glitzy Valkyrie ever could. But then, maybe I don’t want to. After all, my characters differ significantly from real Vikings. Why shouldn’t my dolls?
In Thrall, I took a fairly primitive society and imposed true equality among the sexes, making a society where no one cares about anyone else’s sexuality or whether or not someone is trans. Hey, if you’re going to make up your own society, why not really go for it? If it has magic or monsters (and mine has both) then it’s not realistic anyway. It can be however you want it to be. You can right the wrongs of the past without sacrificing conflict.
Since I came to grips with that, I can get used to the idea of a Viking warrior in a sparkly top, thigh-high purple boots, heavily made-up eyes, and the occasional highlight. Barbie has to be herself, no matter what time period you put her in. She’s got to stay true to who she is, to her inner glamor goddess, horned helmet or not.
The new trailer will be up soon on my website https://barbaraannwright.wordpress.com/. Until then, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be a badass warrior and sparkle at the same time. Just like Barbie, you gotta be you.