The classic hero of myth and legend is defined in masculine terms. How, then, can there be an authentic female hero - a hero who is both authentic as a hero and authentic as a woman? While the hero's journey is one of the most ancient and most popular themes of world literature, casting a female protagonist in this classic form is fraught with difficulty. The heroic archetype portrays the hero as the embodiment of the masculine ideal. But to judge a woman by the strengths and virtues of the typical male hero does her an injustice, because women have strengths and virtues of their own. The hero of When Women Were Warriors becomes a hero, not by defeating her enemies in battle, although she does that too, but by learning to master herself and to understand the human heart. She becomes, not a powerful person, but a person of power.
old the night before was true. I would not be trained in the use of arms. Instead the Lady made me the companion of a warrior, a woman who had been in the household only a short time.
Though I tried to hide my disappointment, the Lady understood what I was feeling. I was the first daughter of my house. The blood of warriors ran in my veins, and a warrior's place was my inheritance.
"For the time being," the Lady told me, "you can serve me best by doing what I ask. You have the right to refuse, but I hope you will stay with us. Your mother handled weapons well despite her size. One day you may be strong enough to inherit her sword."
So she didn't take my hope away from me, and I stayed with her.
The companions' loft was just a platform over the end of the great hall farthest from the hearth. It had no walls, only a railing to keep us from toppling over the side.
The warriors slept upstairs, above the kitchen, each in her own tiny room partitioned off from the others by flimsy