Jacquel Rassenworth on “The Spirit Keeper”

Keeper of the Rulers' Seal

Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK, so there is this fantasy story supposedly written by Leslie Harlingson that was rejected by both the publishers and the public. The reasons why the story was rejected were nothing more than shocking.

So why was the story rejected and the writer banned from publishing for 10 years?

Here’s the thing: “The Spirit Keeper” was a story that featured a gay main character.

Let that sink in for a second.

The main hero in the story is gay.

Anyway, moving on.

The story is that the boy in question, Devon Kirby, lives the cliched sad life of a gay teen, which often includes bullying and harassment. He is kidnapped by a group of people looking to exploit him, but escapes and goes to an Earth-like world called Xurilia.

Devon eventually falls in with a knight named Tejara, who takes him to Annanoas Castle, where the royal family takes an interest in him. Devon finds himself torn between the Crown Prince Alben and a servant named Dillonmas, not to mention that the Crown Prince’s younger sister, Princess Jayna, has a crush on him.

And that’s only half the story, as the other part of the story deals with Devon’s legacy in the form of his missing uncle Jacob Peck, a plot against the royal family, and the mysterious Spirit Keeper, who has a quest for him, and he may or may not succeed.

The story, which is part of the Night Flux Trilogy, was written in 1995 and published in 1998. The story, when it first came out, brought out much of the notoriety, mainly because of the gay hero. Leslie was ordered to never write another story because of that.

Well, I have something to say, which is that there’s nothing wrong with having a gay character in your story, but don’t make that the most important part of the story. Instead, give that gay character a goal, something to distract him from his problems, and don’t make him hate women or treat them badly. (I should inform you that in World of Light, the final book of the Night Flux Trilogy, Devon doesn’t get the guy; instead he settles with a girl, taking one for the team.)

So there’s the story. So the next time someone complains about a character, it will be what they did instead of who they are.

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