May 25, 2020, 03:05:40 PM

Author Topic: Does height of characters matter to you?  (Read 306 times)

Offline Eclipse

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Does height of characters matter to you?
« on: April 05, 2020, 11:37:53 AM »
This seems a strange requirement to read a book,  I would rather go for personality traits

I be reading books now to see how tall the hero’s are  ;D

From Facebook


I know there are exceptions... but the amazing females in fantasy seem to very often be very short... like really short... I wish there were more tall girls, I've read about some, and they're awesome...  idk I cant relate to petite or in any way delicate... someone give me a tall gangly mess
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Offline NedMarcus

Re: Does height of characters matter to you?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2020, 12:31:35 PM »
I think it can matter.

I know the Lois McMaster Bujold's main character in the Vorkosigan Saga is short and disabled. And he's great. One of his female companions is exceptionally tall—and also great.

Outside of fantasy, Jack Reacher (Lee Child's protagonist) is very tall, and this is sometimes used to give him a menacing feeling in the books. Tom Cruise played the character in a film, and Reacher fans were very unhappy because he was too short.

I think both of these writers use the height of their characters very well in their stories.

Offline Peat

Re: Does height of characters matter to you?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2020, 05:18:11 PM »
Sounds like just a different type of representation that the Facebook person's asking for. Reality is height will change how someone's perceived and how they perceive the world, and I get someone wanting to see a character who has that same set of perceptions they have. And they're not wrong - there's not many very tall female characters out there.

Does it matter much to me? No, but then above average height males are very well represented in fantasy.
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Offline Matthew

Re: Does height of characters matter to you?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2020, 05:22:36 PM »
It's the gender archetype or whatever. Men are taller than women in general but mostly it's that to be perceived as 'manly' you should be tall, and to be perceived as 'womanly' you should be petite. That's not how it is in the 'real world' but at the same time many women (I'd say most from experience but it's all subjective) prefer a tall man, and many (again I'd say most but whatever), prefer a woman shorter than themselves.

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Does height of characters matter to you?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2020, 05:51:15 PM »
Funnily enough, the main character of the book I'm reading is a tall woman, and that's always being mentioned.
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Does height of characters matter to you?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2020, 05:54:43 PM »
Interesting I don’t mind if the Mc is short or tall ,female or male and the sexuality and race  of the character doesn’t bother me

I can get behind any MC if I Find them compelling I’m i odd ?

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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Does height of characters matter to you?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2020, 06:46:32 PM »
Interesting I don’t mind if the Mc is short or tall ,female or male and the sexuality and race  of the character doesn’t bother me

I can get behind any MC if I Find them compelling I’m i odd ?
Nah, I don't care about physical characteristics of the MC either, as long as it's well written.
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Offline Peat

Re: Does height of characters matter to you?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2020, 11:10:16 PM »
Interesting I don’t mind if the Mc is short or tall ,female or male and the sexuality and race  of the character doesn’t bother me

I can get behind any MC if I Find them compelling I’m i odd ?

No. It is usual. And the person you quoted will get behind the next compelling short female MC they see.

Don't confuse "I would like to see X" with "I'm only interested in X". The amount of things most people would like to see in fantasy that aren't mandatory for them is huge.

Offline cupiscent

Re: Does height of characters matter to you?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2020, 01:54:19 AM »
I am in favour of wide variety in all things. Fantasy can be very fond of the tiny-but-terrifying-in-some-way lady characters. (A lot of the "classics" represented strongly in this - off the top of my head I'm thinking of Eddings and Feist in particular.) Even a lot of the bad-ass ladies tend to the Whedonesque view (Buffy and River Tam are both smol). Big ladies tend to be Brienne - mannish. I can barely express how delighted I was when watching The Night Manager recently to find that Elizabeth Debicki, the unspeakably elegant Bond-girl of the piece, is actually a little taller than both the male leads (Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie, both of them an easy six foot). She's actually got a strong jaw and yet does a great air of fragility and I'd love to see her and Gwendolyn Christie cast as sisters in something, they'd be fantastic.

But anyway, this matters to me more in visual things, but that probably comes back to that do-you-visualise element we're discussing in another thread. :)

Offline Skip

Re: Does height of characters matter to you?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2020, 04:27:33 AM »
I saw that post. It's just weird. I was tempted to say that all the characters are the same height in a book: flat.

More seriously, I suppose in urban fantasy there might be a reason to state absolute height, but most of the time character height is relative. Elves are taller than humans, dwarves shorter, that sort of thing. Character A towers over Character B. No need to state feet and inches (ain't it odd that how high my head reaches is stated as feet?).

Women get treated differently than men when it comes to physical appearance, that's for sure. When a woman is tall and gangly (or short and fat), it's almost always treated as an outlier and often as a way to recapitulate some character trait. Tall and gangly will rarely be scholarly (I'm sure folks can find exceptions). As such, that's lazy writing.

For the most part, though, unless the author draws my attention to it, I don't think about height or really any other physical aspect.
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