The Scorpio Races: Girl Power

Peg Gratton (Stiefvater 252)

Although the book flap makes it sound like Puck got into the Scorpio Races really easily, it actually wasn’t the case. She had so many obstacles facing her throughout the book. Not only did she struggle economically to pay for high-quality feed for her horse and for the mortgage on her house, but she also had to deal with how her brother was leaving. She doesn’t exactly deal with her problems in the smartest ways though. I mean, she decided on a whim to enter the Scorpio Races! She didn’t really think through it at all! She’s kinda reckless but she’s also stubborn. In a good way though. She didn’t let any of the sexist men on the island get to her, and for that, I am definitely proud of her.

“I hear laughter and someone asks if I need help, not in a nice way. I snarl, ‘What I need is for your mother to have thought a little harder nine months before your birthday.’ ” (Stiefvater 371)

She’s such a firecracker and I absolutely loved her for it.

Puck grows a lot throughout the book. She makes realizations about what it means to truly love an animal, act around other people, love, respect, everything.

At the same time, Puck is given a somewhat nurturing, rough, sisterly persona around her brother, Finn. She respects what he thinks and doesn’t try to drastically change his personality or actions. He’s literally the most adorable thing ever. They have a fantastic sibling relationship. Her other brother, Gabe doesn’t seem to be very strong at all. He keeps secrets from his family and lies out of embarrassment. He reminded of the cliche father that covers everything up with lies until the truth is revealed.

But I loved Puck by the end of the book. There’s a certain quality of her raw determination that simply shines through. She’s always trying to work Dove, her horse, to her full strength while also not overexerting her. When she’s not riding, she’s taking notes on other racers. She’s smart and won’t let anybody get in her way.

It’s not obvious that this book has hints of feminist ideas until much later in the book. When they are going through the registration ritual, they must pour a drop of their blood on to a rock to enter. Puck stands back, waiting for the right moment to approach and enter. After many male riders sign up, she stands up and goes to the rock. Before she even has the chance to do or say anything, a man yells up at her saying that she can’t enter.

” ‘No woman’s ridden in the races since they began,’ he says. ‘And this isn’t going to be the year when that changes….’ ” (Stiefvater 195)

” Eaton looks to the man next to him, who licks his lips before saying, ‘There are rules on paper and rules to big for paper.’

It takes me a moment to realize what this means, which is that there really is no rule against it, but they’re not going to let me ride anyway…. ” (Stiefvater 195)

When this happened, I just wanted to punch that Eaton guy. In this scene of the book, literally the only person that supported Puck was Sean. When the quiet guy (that’s a genius on capaill uisce) that doesn’t talk to anybody supports an underdog, it’s time to throw the towel in and just let the female ride! Sean, the dude that has won the Scorpio Races for the past few years has already given her his support! What makes this slightly sad is that although Puck does eventually enter the races, it was by the help of a dude that was well-respected. It’s unfortunate that Puck couldn’t get in on her on accord, but the fact that she didn’t immediately give up is what I respect about her. And this determination and strength continues throughout the rest of the book. The other racers all have this antagonism towards Puck throughout the second half. It’s gratifying to see Puck deflect those sexist pigs but this eventually builds up and has a huge impact on the end of the book. And while she does end becoming a little bit of a damsel-in-distress at the end, she’s still ages away from becoming a weak character (especially considering what she does at the Malvern stables afterwards).

Another great thing about Puck is that she isn’t just going to suddenly change because she likes Sean. She doesn’t and it’s a greatly appreciated because that’s the type of person I want to be friends with. The best thing about this relationship is that it’s completely balanced. There isn’t one person dominating the other. Both respect each other and have an understanding that stems from a mutual sense of equality. A girl that can stand on her own, without a man, is a strong and dependable character.

I have no doubts in my mind that after the book, she becomes a fantastic, even stronger character.

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