A many of you may already know, Throne of Glass is one of my favourite series. I fell in love from the first book and I became wholly invested in the story and the characters. I have read Heir of Fire so many times I have actually lost count. Empire of Storms ripped my heart out and I am still waiting for the last book so it can *hopefully* mend. So why, you may ask, am I writing this post?
Well, the now 6th book of the Throne of Glass series called “Tower of Dawn” had it’s cover reveal last week and it was underwhelming to say the least. Whilst it is only a cover and there are bigger things in the world to get cranky about, the cover has shown one of the problems this series.
Throne of Glass is well known for it’s absolute lack in diversity. The only black person in the series was killed and used as a plot device, and every other character is white, straight and able-bodied. That was why, when Chaol ended up in a wheel-chair, fans thought that maybe this was the start of SJM including more diversity to her books. This was also why, when Empire of Storms came out, fans were pissed when Chaol was notably absent.
SJM told us all that the reason why Chaol wasn’t in Empire of Storms was because he needed his own book (which is why ToD became the 6th book in the series rather than just a novella). Unfortunately, it felt more like SJM didn’t know how to include a disabled character into the story, so she set him apart from the rest of the characters. All of a sudden she had a character who didn’t fit into the white, straight, able-bodied mould and she didn’t know what to do.
Then came the ToD cover. You will note that the rest of the books in the series have a person on the cover, wielding a sword or arrow or fire. The covers have an aesthetic that they have stuck to…until a character with a wheelchair came along. Rather than putting Chaol on the front of his own book, instead we get the picture of a city and a shield.
Was this intentional?
Regardless of the intention, it doesn’t look good. It comes across looking like they haven’t put Chaol on the cover because he is in a wheelchair. It looks like they have once again set the disabled character apart from the rest of the series, even though his book is supposed to be the 6th book.
My next question is why they felt he couldn’t be on the front cover. I am becoming more and more concerned that Chaol is going to have some miraculous recovery and no-longer require a wheelchair. While I would be happy for Chaol, what is so wrong with having a wheelchair bound character who can kick ass?
My whole point here, is that I really feel like despite this story and character being a work of fiction, a character has still managed to be discriminated against. I have seen people say that this is a problematic series so why the hell are we pissed about a cover…but to me, the cover is part of the problem.
Like I said at the beginning, I absolutely love this series, but I am wholly able to acknowledge that whilst SJM has written a great story, she has made some pretty big mistakes in terms of diversity. At the end of the day authors can write what they want to write, however at some point if certain constructive criticism becomes repetitive…the author needs to change some thing. I can only hope that SJM starts listening.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree/disagree with what I am saying? Let me know in the comments section below.