Robin McKinley is an American fantasy author, whose works often have active female heroes.
She has written two novels and a number of short stories in the world of Damar. The Blue Sword
was a Newbery Honor book and The Hero and the Crown
won a Newbery Medal
She has written several novels retelling folk tales, including Robin Hood
(The Outlaws of Sherwood
), "Sleeping Beauty
" (Spindle's End
), and two different retellings of "Beauty and the Beast
" written 20 years apart (Beauty
and Rose Daughter
Works by Robin McKinley with their own trope page include:
Robin McKinley's other works provide examples of:
- All Girls Like Ponies: Most of the (usually female) protagonists have an appreciation for horses, and often have one as a companion.
- Author Appeal: May-December Romance.
- Bond Creatures: Pegasus - For the human Royal family and the pegasus Royal family, each pegasus and each human have each other as a bond creature.
- Cool Horse: All of them, but pegasi especially.
- Cute Mute: Lily in "The Healer" in A Knot in the Grain can't speak. She and her teacher Jolin work out a form of communication via whistling, but it's very limited.
- Death by Childbirth: Several instances, including Beauty and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" in The Door in the Hedge.
- Discreet Drink Disposal: In "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," the soldier disposes of the drugged wine the oldest princess gives him by surreptitiously pouring it into the thick velvet cloaks he's been given to wear.
- Easing Into the Adventure: Common in her works. The Blue Sword, for example, begins with Harry's efforts at adjusting to life on the desert frontier of the Homelander Empire.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: In short story, "Hellhound".
- Evil Uncle: The Regent in "The Stagman" is Ruen's.
- Goo Goo Godlike: "Baby Magic" in Spindle's End.
- Gratuitous Japanese: Shadows. Good god, Shadows.
- Hormone-Addled Teenager: Played straight with Shadows, but generally averted. Many of her female characters are teenagers/young adults, but the idea of romance is usually an afterthought.
- Insistent Terminology: Pegasus is NOT a trilogy, it's one book in three volumes.
- It Was with You All Along: Courtesy of Luthe in "The Healer." Sahath believes that his power as a mage is gone, but it's actually more that he cut himself off from it out of trauma and self-loathing. Luthe points out that Sahath has in fact been unconsciously using his magic to help him repair and build things for Lily and Jolin, and dryly teases him a little for assuming that someone with no training or previous experience in carpentry could be as good at it as Sahath has been without some kind of supernatural help.
- May-December Romance: A common element; see Author Appeal.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Sunshine, sort of. See also The Hero and the Crown.
- Never Was This Universe: Sunshine, Dragonhaven, and Shadows.
- New Sound Album: Shadows trades McKinley's poetic, lyrical writing style for a more teenager-y first person tone filled with Gratuitous Japanese.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Dragonhaven.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: In Shadows, the change is spurred not by the moon, but by extreme stress. Changing back is tricky, but can be brought on by eating a strongly "human" food (like cold oatmeal), or by the touch of someone they have a strong connection with.
- Pegasus: Pegasus
- Portent of Doom: Invoked by the Regent in "The Stagman," who goes to considerable pains to conjure up unseasonable thunderstorms which he can claim as a bad omen over his niece's upcoming ascension to the throne. Luthe is distinctly unimpressed with his sloppiness.
- Recurring Character: Luthe, the immortal mage featured most prominently in The Hero and the Crown, turns up in a lot of McKinley's stories whenever an enigmatic mentor figure is called for.
- Rightful King Returns: In "The Stagman" in A Knot in the Grain... very reluctantly on the part of Princess Ruen, the rightful ruler in question, who has to be pushed into it by Luthe.
- Slipping a Mickey: One of the pieces of advice given to the soldier in "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" is not to drink anything the princesses give him. The old woman giving this advice remarks that she's surprised none of the other men before him have thought of it on their own.
- Something about a Rose: Beauty and Rose Daughter, inevitably.