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Monday, 22 June 2015

Monster Mondays #8 - Queen Gedren (Red Sonja)


Welcome to Monster Monday #8 and this week I have chosen a human monster, but one from epic fantasy. I do hope you enjoy my post.
Monster Mondays posts may be fiction, film reviews, book reviews or me waxing lyrical about a particular monster. Monsters can be paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy or even simply human. So basically, anything monster goes. I also invite anyone who would like to, to join in with their own post. (See end for details).
Queen Gedren

So today, for my monster I bring you Queen Gedren from the classic Red Sonja (1985) as played by Sandahl Bergman with set chewing perfection.

For those who have not seen Red Sonja, it is an epic fantasy where Sonja (Brigitte Nielsen) has to find a mythical object, The Talisman, which has been stolen by Gedren, before it becomes too powerful and destroys the world, helped along the way by Arnie at his fantasy best.

This is one of those 80s fantasy movies that you either love or hate - I love them :).

So Gedren is a very powerful queen. She's also a lesbian, so yay for lesbian representation, but boo for making her a complete sociopath bent on world domination. It's the fact that she makes her designs on Sonja clear at the beginning of the film that launches the whole plot. Gedren is a tyrannical leader and she takes what she wants. She tries to take Sonja, but Sonja rejects her and maims her by cutting her face.

The fact that Sonja later described this as showing her disgust could be read as homophobic or you can choose to read it as being disgusted by Gedren trying to force her and having shown up with a band of men to enforce her will. Given that Gedren orders Sonja's family killed and Sonja gang raped in revenge and the whole film is about Gedren being evil, I like to think the second version is what they were going for, rather than 'being a lesbian is disgusting'. Given that Gedren's equivalent character was male in the original comic I'm hoping making the villain female was more about female empowerment than trying to make out lesbians are evil.

The things I love about Gedren that make her a monster are that she's powerful, she's remorseless and she's definitely got a screw loose. Depth, we don't need depth, she's the ultimate bad in a fantasy film from the 80s. She bold, she's beautiful, she's deadly and she's going to destroy the world because she wants to conquer all of it. Her arrogance knows no bounds.

By the end of the film she is completely irrational; when your lead henchman tells you you've gone too far and runs away, it's time to listen. Yet still her pride shines through and I think her final fight with Sonja is incredibly well done. It's as if Gedren really can't believe she is losing - it's beautiful.

I'd love to know Gedren's history. I get the feeling she was born to power, simply because she really can't see reality. It's as if she just doesn't get it. Oh she holds power ruthlessly, using fear and death as her weapons, but the way she just expects people to die because she says so makes me think she's never known anything else. She is not a sit at home queen, she likes to go out and conquer, but I get the feeling she started from a significant power base.

So there we have it, the beautiful and deadly Queen Gedren; not a nice lady and very good at being evil.

Have you seen Red Sonja? What do you think of Gedren? Do you enjoy a good evil queen?


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9 comments:

  1. I haven't watched Red Sonja in ages, but reading about Gedren makes me want to! :)

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  2. Interesting monster. You make a good case for seeing Red Sonja just by describing her.

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    1. It is a film worthy of watching, even if it is cringe worthy in places :D

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  3. I remember loving Red Sonja when I was a kid, but I honestly don't remember the story. I do remember thinking, though, that it was like Conan for girls, haha.

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    1. The original character she is based on (Red Sonya of Rogatino) was created by the same writer - Robert E Howard :) then she was grabbed by Marvel and became Sonja and appeared along side Conan in the comics (thank you Wikipedia :)). Apparently she's just been rebooted in 2013 in the comics and there are rumblings about a new movie.

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    2. Hey, that's cool! I didn't know that. Guess I wasn't totally making stuff up then with any perceived similarities (it's hard to tell, sometimes). ;)

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    3. There were a glut of such films in the 80s weren't there :) Red Sonja is one of my favs.

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  4. I haven't seen this movie in detail, but I've seen scenes here and there... I love the costuming! It's awesome, and it's definitely an interesting choice for the studio to make the character a female. :)

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