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Attractive female necromancers motif

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  • Attractive female necromancers motif

    Something that has been on my mind - is there some tendency in fictional works to put out (very) attractive women as necromancers? Off the top of my head, there is Liliana Vess from Magic: the Gathering, Hecubah from the PC game Nox, Serena from VtM: Redemption, Pisha from VtM: Bloodlines, Ornella from Heroes of Might and Magic V, and Kara Nightshadow from the Diablo book Legacy of Blood. I guess this tendency could stem from the combination of beauty being juxtaposed with an affinity for death. I admit that there are few examples, but I do see a trend here.

  • #2
    Aside from the tendency to make ALL female characters of note in a story attractive?

    For a lot of fiction, female spellcasting villains have only two modes: hag-witch, or conventionally attractive in a dark way.

    Yes, there are exceptions, but my point still stands. It's relatively rare to have a woman necromancer who exhibits the same set of traits as a male necromancer (pale and drawn skin, sunken eyes, gaunt, disheveled, covered in bones). Simply because there's an expectation that a female character must be hot, unless she's deliberately meant to be comical, matronly, or evil in a monstrous way.


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    • #3
      You're right. But I think this is half due to the 'evil temptress' trope. As well as due to the fact that most media has their characters looking abnormally attractive.

      Like seriously. Muscles don't work like that.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
        Aside from the tendency to make ALL female characters of note in a story attractive?

        For a lot of fiction, female spellcasting villains have only two modes: hag-witch, or conventionally attractive in a dark way.

        Yes, there are exceptions, but my point still stands. It's relatively rare to have a woman necromancer who exhibits the same set of traits as a male necromancer (pale and drawn skin, sunken eyes, gaunt, disheveled, covered in bones). Simply because there's an expectation that a female character must be hot, unless she's deliberately meant to be comical, matronly, or evil in a monstrous way.
        You make a good point. Though I still can't let this impression go. Liliana's attractiveness and sensuality is underlined more often than the attractiveness of all the other female Planeswalkers put together. I caught myself thinking about her in the vein of "Of course she is the beautiful Planeswalker, she's a necromancer". Likewise, Hecubah from Nox is definitely sexualized beyond the norm. A similar case could be made for Pisha (barring the bloodstains), even compared to other characters from Bloodlines ; she wears very revealing clothing and high heels. The developers of Redemption could have chosen any of the many Clans for a female companion, yet they settled for Cappadocian as Serena's Clan. Ornella from HoMM is noted to be "glamorous and sensual" in her description, the only instance that I'm aware of a female hero in HoMM being described in such terms.

        Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
        You're right. But I think this is half due to the 'evil temptress' trope.
        Indeed, this might have something to do with it.
        I was also thinking that maybe it is connected to the "women are subtle" motif. With necromancy being a subtle kind of magic, thus female necromancers on the average would be presented as more sensual.
        Last edited by Muad'Dib; 09-13-2020, 03:40 PM.

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        • #5
          Maybe their primary caster stat is Charisma?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
            Yes, there are exceptions, but my point still stands. It's relatively rare to have a woman necromancer who exhibits the same set of traits as a male necromancer (pale and drawn skin, sunken eyes, gaunt, disheveled, covered in bones). Simply because there's an expectation that a female character must be hot, unless she's deliberately meant to be comical, matronly, or evil in a monstrous way.
            I'm not sure I agree. Obviously I don't have a compiled dataset so this is all anecdotal, but the attractiveness of necromancers tends to vary more by their evilness. A villainous necromancer is lich-like. A protagonist necromancer is byronically pale. Bone paraphernalia is universal.
            And then when it comes to villains, we are at the cross-section of many, many sexist issues. Men are expendable and irredeemable, so a male villain is more likely to also be ugly just to drive it home. Unless it's a shojo or romance story, where the villain is handsome to have sexual tension with the female protagonist.

            Though it should be noted, that in my experience "abstract tropes" of the sort discussed on TVTropes or parodied in something like Konosuba, are rarely fully true in the source material. Airport penny dreadfuls might be, but these are mass produced shlock. The well known works of any given genre rarely feature any of the "well known tropes of the genre" straight.

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            • #7
              When I’ve played tabletop RPGs, most female necromancers in the game have been noticeably attractive, including one of my PCs. But then again, so have most male necromancers (Byronic is the word someone used above) other than liches in their natural form. Maybe it is the sexy death thing.

              I only played with one female lich NPC (an archlich). In her illusionary form she was a pleasant-looking but not super hot woman in her thirties with curly red hair. In lich form she was a skeleton with glowing golden orbs in her eye sockets. Her ex from when she was still alive was a male lich trying to achieve demilich status, so at least one person of the appropriate gender found her hot enough to go out with at one time. Not sure if this proves anything.


              “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.

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