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Literature / Jirel of Joiry

Cover art of a recent omnibus edition, by Arnold Tsang
Jirel of Joiry is the heroine of a series of Sword & Sorcery short stories by CL Moore, running from 1934 to 1939 in Weird Tales. Notable for being the first female Fantasy hero. The stories are:

  • "Black God's Kiss"
  • "Black God's Shadow"
  • "Jirel Meets Magic"
  • "The Dark Land"
  • "Hellsgarde"
  • "Quest of the Starstone" - A Crossover story with her other famous character Northwest Smith, co-written with her husband Henry Kuttner.

Tropes found in these stories:

  • Action Girl: Jirel. Badass enough to give Xena a run for her money.
  • Badass Normal: Oh yes. No matter if it's demons, elder gods, beings from alternate dimensions, wizards from the future, or just plain foreign invaders, she'll fight tooth and nail to protect her people.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Averted, no matter what the cover art of the Planet Stories edition would have you believe.
  • Crossover: With Moore's SF character Northwest Smith. This is not as mad as it sounds - both characters often end up in strange realms facing powerful, mysterious creatures and the word "magic" even pops up a few times in the Northwest Smith stories.
  • Dark Fantasy: You can say that again. As with the the Northwest Smith stories, a Lovecraft influence is obvious with the evocative Purple Prose, Alien Geometries, and strange and otherworldly forces man cannot comprehend.
  • Dating Catwoman: Jirel hates Guillaume the Conqueror who conquered her castle and humiliated her, and is determined to kill him - which she succeeds to do after undergoing many dangers and perils. Only when seeing him dead does she realize she had been passionately in love with him.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Black God. Pav might also qualify.
  • Eldritch Location: Moore loved this trope. Part of the fun of the stories is finding out what creatively weird and fantastical landscapes the author could come up with next.
  • Escaped from Hell: Jirel, the first pulp fantasy heroine, fought her way out of Hell. Repeatedly, in several variations.
  • Feminist Fantasy
  • Fiery Redhead: Jirel.
  • Heroic Fantasy: Notable for introducing the first female protagonist in the genre.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter
  • No Ontological Inertia: Jarisme's tower returns to its original location after her death.
  • Purple Prose: Like the better authors at the time writing for Weird Tales, Moore could actually pull off lush and haunting description especially pertaining to emotions and fantastic landscapes surprisingly well.
  • Religion Is Magic: Wearing a crucifix will protect one against the Black God's realm.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Jirel's introduction.