Talk:Sharn

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Assigning sexes to Dwarves, and Dwarf sexuality in general, have always been tricky. When we encounter a Dwarf/Human couple, both of whom are quite ambiguous, we have new problems. Pepe seems to be male: he refers to himself before his conversion to Dwarf as a "Lobbin Clout boy", and other indications point to a male homosexual. What do we make of "Madame" Sharn, then? "She" says that she is the King in her "mine" and she decrees that she is Queen. "Queen", of course, carries extra meanings. On the other hand, Pepe puts aside the camp persona when off-stage; is the orientation itself a pose? Why then does he mention being beaten up a lot in his youth?

On page 160 in my first reading I made a note asking if Sharn were male, then discounted the idea when no confirmation emerged. I now return to the hypothesis as the most reasonable of an eye-watering array of options. Can anyone assemble a better argument for another version? . Old Dickens 18:02, 1 Nov 2009


This is interesting. I've always suspected that the "arrangement" between adult dwarves, wnen it comes to marriage, would in fact be a positive inducement for gay and lesbian Dwarfs to have long happy relationships. Who would know, for one thing, apart from the concerned Dwarfs themselves? And given that ninety per cent of a Dwarf courtship consists of trying to discreetly and subtly discover what gender the other Dwarf is under the chainmail and the beard... well, accidents must happen. And in a race even whose human member (Carrot) is notoriously prudish and hung-up on matters sexual, perhaps a lot of newly-married Dwarfs don't even realise they're in same-sex relationships and take it to be perfectly unremarkeable that they each have the same set of genitals. They make the best of it, maybe? (As Tolkein said, the kind of the Dwarves grows only slowly...)

And on Roundworld, take a gay man, who for whatever reason cannot come out of the closet, who enters into a marriage of convenience with a woman as an attempt to present a heterosexual face to the world and divert attention (there are some, and they're not all Tory MP's). The face-saving, attention-diverting, wife or girlfriend of the closet gay is commonly nicknamed a beard... --AgProv 20:34, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Pepe, though, is the anti-Carrot, somewhere beyond Giamo Casanunda in general deviance from classical Dwarfishness. --Old Dickens 21:31, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
I read Pepe as a genuinely gay human male (although possibly short) who's escaped the Crab Bucket through drink and expressing his homosexuality so overtly that people ignore him - a bit like funny loony monks, beggars or even Death: he is granted immunity by being too obvious. I don't think he does drop the persona "off-stage", it's just that the outre campness is in abeyance when talking to those he trusts. Being gay is one thing - having no other life or raison d'etre than being gay must be terribly wearying. We all know people who, if they weren't gay, would have nothing else to be. Pepe is far more than this.

I do find his final act odd though - although deeply satisfying to the reader. Someone so at ease with themselves is unlikely to be so desperately angry still at his past experience. In my experience, people either wear their previously-borne slings and arrows with pride or gratitude that it's made them who they are.--Knmatt 09:15, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

You meet a kinder, gentler class of people than I do, in fact or fiction. --Old Dickens 00:19, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
There would be also a class who would try to improve the prospect for others and discourage the abusers, even while espousing the sentiments above. --Old Dickens (talk) 03:26, 17 February 2019 (UTC)