Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lesbian Princesses in Fiction

Lesbian Princess by naturetees
Browse Gay T-Shirts
Princesses are a genre crossing phenonemon, and come in a wide range of character types. 
Yes, there really are lesbian princesses out there.  They  turn up mostly in fantasy, historical and fairytale fiction, but can be shoved in anywhere that an imaginary dynasty can be created. As such, there's a bit of unavoidable overlap with the Lesbian Knights, Historical, Pirate, Vampire and Fairy Tale book lists.

From coddled to kickass, sheltered to stubborn, lovely to lonely, their defining feature is being 'special' by birthright, either as heir or as bargaining piece. That is, the precious daughter of a ruling family, with all the coddling and assumed perfection and inherent worth that implies (and when it isn't there, she's generally the exception that proves the rule). While warrior princesses have carved out a category of their own (hurrah for Xena and Wonder Woman), your average princess is probably a dainty femme - and a perfect target for rescue by a bold and brave lady knight, or kidnapping by a dread pirate. 
We've tried to avoid books in which the princess is just called a princess because it sounds good, or at least to point out what kind of princess they are. We've also included a few books featuring characters who would be considered princesses by most people, they just have a different name for it.

Full Novels

General Fantasy/ semi-historical adventure

Most of our lesbian princesses appear in 'traditional' castles and sorcery fantasy fiction. Some of the following titles also appear on the list of lesbian knights in fiction and feature female Knights in Shining Armour riding to the rescue of princesses.
Adeptus Major by Alex Mykals
Evelynee (the Crown Princess of Atlantis) ends up falling for the woman who steps between her and a bullet; a science fiction story of modern Atlantis, politics and assassins. (Xena uber fiction). Sequel: Nigredo

Cage the Darlings by Elora Bishop - full review  [also see: Lesbian Shapeshifter Fiction]
The true love of the thief Envy is Merle, the daughter of the self-styled Blackbird King; princess of a cursed and immortal group of thieves who become blackbirds by day. We very briefly see the very spoiled and lovely princess Lady Ann (who is the downfall of our protagonist, who is Ann's first lover). An upcoming sequel has her as the main character. 

Castle Walls by D. Jordan Redhawk
Princess Sabine Katerina Annaatje of Dulce escapes after an invasion and lives undercover with a troupe of travelling performers, as Katerin of Aimsbury. She eventually falls for the roguish leader, Ros Adamsson.

Lady Knight by L-J Baker - read full review [also see: Lesbian Knight Fiction]
An alternate history Crusade era fantasy, following a female knight. The sister-of-the-queen (Priestess) could technically be a princess, and the main love interest is nobility, though not an actual princess.

Nightshade by Shea Godrey [recommended in the Introducing Lesbian Fiction event]
Princess Jessa is sent to a foreign court as a pawn and potential bride, to help end war, only to fall for the younger daughter of the family, guard captain Darrius Durand.

The Ordinary by Jim Grimsley
Jedda is sent from her scifi home universe to the magical Irion, as an ambassador between the two worlds. There, she falls in love with Queen Malin, amidst war and negotiations and scenery.

Promises, Promises: A Romp with Plenty of Dykes, a Unicorn, an Ogre, an Oracle, a Quest, a Princess, and True Love with a Happily Ever After by L-J Baker [Read the review]
A fairytale fantasy parody story that features, among other things, a deadly and capable princess in disguise, who ultimately wins the hand of a pretty princess.

The Pyramid Waltz by Barbara Ann Wright
A tale of fantasy, intrigue and a princess who breaks hearts by day, and saves the kingdom at night.  And there's a sequel - For Want of a Fiend.
A retelling of the Guinevere & Lancelot love story. Hilariously, the 'bad' reviews are complaining that it wasn't a straightforward Legend of King Arthur retelling (rather than there being any other problems with it)

The Queen's Curse by Natasja Hellenthal
A shaky but enjoyable first novel following the quest of a queen and her bodyguard to find a mysterious sorceress who might be able to lift the curse on her country's justice system. 

Roses & Thorns : Beauty and the Beast Retold by Chris Anne Wolfe  [Read the review]
A Beauty & the Beast retelling. The mysterious My Liege was original her father's heir, so is the Lord, princess, or whatever you like, of their small kingdom.

Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon [Read the review] [also see: Lesbian Knight Fiction]
A fantastic historical fantasy about a crossdressing bodyguard and her princess. To summarise it very quickly. A great book for anyone who enjoys long semi-historical fantasy novels with good writing.

Warrior Princesses

Knightly Princesses and Amazonian ladies, Xena and Wonder Woman style - from the jewels of their people, to wanderers out to see the world (and kiss girls along the way).

Constellations of the Heart by Lesley Davis
The second book in the Adepts of Calluna series, it follows the unlikely alliance between the less than ladylike Princess Jayden of Marchan, and the soldier, Elawyn of Canthas, as they try and keep ahead of Jayden's enemies.

For the Amazon Nation by Paulina Sanchez
 Princess Thalassa joins with an Amazon from another tribe, Elephthera, in a quest to save the Amazon nation. Sequel: The Path of a Queen

The Princess Novels by Jim C. Hines [Read the review]
A kickass four book series featuring three fairytale princesses (though two are in exile), one of whom is lesbian. A fairy tale adventure for grownups! Features an exiled warrior princess and a sorceress princess (in the last book) who are lesbian.

Tales of Emoria by T. J. Mindancer
A fantasy following the adventures of the princess Jame and her warrior lover (later to become Queen Jamelin I and her consort Tigh of Ingor).  While Jame is from an Amazon-style warrior people, she isn't herself particularly warlike.
The books in chronological order (they were published a bit randomly and to confuse things further, the original trilogy has been republished with Bedazzled Ink):

Non-typical Fantasy

Urban fantasy, alternate realities, historical
A parody about in an alternate 1990s, where Wonderwoman a famous but poorly selling female superhero character has been rewritten as a lesbian, in an attempt to revive a failing story. Incidentally, this makes her the first openly gay superhero (the book was published in 1994, well before Batwoman and Renee Montoya).
The actual story is a comic satire on the stereotyped, overzealous fanboy culture, as it inevitably reacts to this distortion of canon (gasp), and turns into a showdown between the fan and the writer, but it also explores the whole 1990s feminist lesbian angle, and concept of 'ownership' of characters.

If you're into geek culture, graphic novels and the comics industry in general, you'll appreciate this book; otherwise, probably not.

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu by [Read the review [also see: Lesbian Vampire Fiction]
While they aren't called princesses, the noble daughters whom Carmilla hunts are princess-like; noble, delicate flowers and only daughters on isolated estates, living in castles. Carmilla hereself was also once a Countess, part of the ruling family of the area.

Crimson Dawn by Ronnie Massey [Read the review]  [also see: Lesbian Vampire Fiction]
An urban paranormal fantasy featuring a romance between a vampire semi-princess and a fey princess. Also see the prequel short story Never Again: An Irulan Short (Darklife Shorts), which is about the fairy princess' first love back in her home court.
Fairly terrible published fanfiction about a pirate and a princess-in-exile, very loosely based on Buttercup and Westley. Very loosely.

Young Adult

 A Hole in the World by Sophie Robbins [Read the review]
An actual fairytale princess falls into the life of an average UK teenager, who first falls for her and then takes up the challenge of defending her and winning her hand. Could also be considered a Knight-Princess relationship.

Morning Rising by Samantha Boyette [Read the review]
A long lost fairy princess was sent to the human world, and now dark forces are trying to steal her, while her faithful friend and love interest tries to rescue her. She's not very princesslike, more of a Special Person of Power.

Wolfcry by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes [also see: Lesbian Shapeshifter Fiction]
Set in a fantasy world of shapeshifters, the main character princess has to find a way to resolve the tensions of two races, and wanders off into adventures.

Short Stories

The following short stories are mostly found in fairytale anthologies (and so generally based on the traditional fairytale princesses), with a couple of exceptions.  

Stand Alone short stories/Novellas
The Blade to Your Hand by MCA Hogarth [also see: Lesbian Pirate Fiction]
Standalone anthropomorphic and very well reviewed mediaeval fantasy adventure romance between a princess and a pirate.

Demon Princess by Kathleen Dale
A princess who lived her life disguised as a man became king, and the target of a seductive demon who decides she wants to be queen. An erotic fantasy about their seduction and love with an interesting premise but more sex than character development.

The Girl Prince and Her Princess by Q. Kelly
A fun fairytale style story, in which is a girl is born to a King and has to be raised as a prince for the sake of the kingdom, a deception that has to continue to the point of marriage!

Runes of the Quest by J.T. Marie
Princess Morlea grew up hearing stories, including the legend of imprisoned princess Talitha. Discovering it might be true, she decides to rescue Talitha herself. 

Fairytale short stories found in Anthologies
[also see: Lesbian Fairytale Fiction]

A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace by Catherine Lundoff
Princess Miaqi is the antagonist, but not exactly the villain, in this swords and sorcery bodyswapping short story. Found in the anthology A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories.

  • 'The King's Folly' by James A. Moore - a fantasy queen in an original story, seeking her lost beloved. 

  • The Mute Princess by A.J.Grant (Nameless princess in standard 'clever suitor' fairy tale) 
  • Sleeping Beauty, Indeed by Regan M. Wann (Sleeping Beauty) 
  • Future Fortunes by Kori Aguirre-Amador (Nameless princess in Eastern 'never know a man' fairy tale) 
  • Bird's Eye by Erzebet YellowBoy (Rapunzel)

Several of the fairytale retellings in Kissing the Witch feature princesses, although they run into each other and it's tricky and somewhat pointless to separate the stories out as most characters overlap between stories, and as the 'retelling' may change their princess status.
 - found in Kissing the Witch: Old Fairytales in New Skins by Emma Donaghue [Read the review]

  • "Becca and the Woman Prince" (classic fairytale twist in which a European princess meets an African woman prince) 
  • "The Princess of Pain" (a modern disabled princess goes on a quest to find Goddesses to take her pain away) 
  • "The Spindle" (Sleeping Beauty)
- found in The Spindle and Other Lesbian Fairy Tales by Carolyn Gage (A feminist retelling of various fairytales, as well as a few new ones, featuring modern women, superheroines, and traditional princesses.)

 Erotic fairytale short stories
  • “The Princess and the Outlaw” by Jean Roberta (a princess and an outlaw fall in lust, erotica)
  • "Madame Blanche” by Jean Roberta (a shapeshifting cat and a princess, erotica)

  • "A Butch in Fairy Tale Land." by Therese Szymanski (a butch romps through various fairytales, and gets to know Rapunzel and Snow White very well)
  • "A Fish Out of Water" by Karin Kallmaker (The little mermaid is the 77th daughter of the queen)
- Found in Once upon a Dyke: New Exploits of Fairy Tale Lesbians (All four stories retell traditional princess fairytales, all erotica, though only two feature 'actual' princesses. Can also be read online from the publisher Bella Books [PDF])


Manga Scanlations  
  • "Sword of Paros" by Kurimoto Kaoru and Igarishi Yumiko 
    • 1986 yuri historical fantasy about a princess who dresses as a knight and falls in love with a girl 
    • Three volumes 
    • Can be read at Our Manga
  • "Snowflakes Fluttering Down Through the Clear Sky" by Himawari Souya 
    • A love story about a princess and her knight. 
    • Short oneshot from the magazine Yuri Hime 1 
    • Scanlations available from Lililicious and can be read on MangaFox

Finding more lesbians princesses and nobility

If you're looking for more ladylike lesbian characters, it is worth checking out the Historical fiction list, especially the fiction set in pre-20th Century Britain, as that frequently features ladies of Quality.

And while we've listed the ones we specifically know about above, there's a high chance that all fairytale anthologies will have at least one or two princesses! For more lesbian fairy tales, check out this list of lesbian fairytale fiction.

Oh, and there's always the Xena fanfiction, if you need more in the way of Warrior Princesses. And Wonder Woman, the princess of Themiscrya, and her Amazons are confirmed (although not very openly) bisexual.

You may also be interested in:

No comments:

Post a Comment