Alex Fierro

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Alex Fierro
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard character
Alex Fierro.jpg
First appearance The Hammer of Thor
Last appearance The Ship of the Dead
Created by Rick Riordan
Occupation Demigod hero,
Einherjar
Godly parent Loki
Information
Species Demigod
Title Child of Loki
Significant other(s) Magnus Chase

Alex Fierro is a fictional character and one of the main characters in Rick Riordan's Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series.[1] Alex's portrayal in The Hammer of Thor was praised for its honest and accurate approach to the character's genderfluid identity. As a child of Loki, Alex is a demigod and also capable of shapeshifting; in The Hammer of Thor, Alex becomes an einherjar.

Creation and conception

In an answer to a question on Goodreads' Ask the Author, Riordan has stated that Alex Fierro is loosely based on the transgender students he had once taught.[2] Riordan had used the book of interviews Beyond Magenta as a source of information for developing her character.[3]

Description

Alex is selected as an einherjar by Samirah and the latter oversees the former's first appearance as a cheetah running across Valhalla with Magnus and his floormates chasing her.[4] Fierro had attacked the hotel manager and messed her given room.[5] Alex is genderfluid, switching between the male and female genders.[4] She/he tells Magnus that she/he prefers others use the gendered pronoun that matches his/her current gender, rather than the singular genderneutral "they".[6] Although Alex's mother is Loki - a god known for his shapeshifting powers - Alex does not acknowledge her/his traits inherited from him or attribute her/his genderfluidity to his parentage.[6] Magnus is initially shocked by this, but later grows to accept it.[5] Due to this, the thanes of Valhalla and some fellow einherjar call her argr, Old Norse for "unmanly".[4] Being a child of Loki, Alex is distrusted at first, but is later accepted by Magnus and his floormates.[5] Alex Fierro is also capable of shapeshifting, another trait from Loki.[5]

Reception

Alex Fierro was praised by reviewers as a new attempt to secure LGBTQ rights. Texas A&M University-Commerce noted that the introduction of Fierro complicated matters. They noted that Riordan spent more time with Fierro's prose, but that it deepened her characterization. They also noted that Fierro made a point about not representing the entire transgender population in the book.[4] Hypable said that the introduction of a genderfluid character is a "risk" as a portion of the population will not want their children to be exposed to the "realities of life". However, they do note that Riordan's "firm grasp" over his audience will make things acceptable. They further note that readers being exposed to people different from themselves is a good thing and state that Alex is a "step in the right direction," who is also a warrior and potential love interest of Chase, the lead character of the novel.[1]

Laughing Place states that Riordan has taken on LGBTQ issues, using his books as a way of educating readers to be accepting of people, no matter their identity. The narrator Chase explains that Alex Fierro's identity does not bother him outwardly and internally. [5] Kirkus Reviews stated that through the addition of Alex Fierro, a gender-fluid half sibling of Muslim valkyrie Samirah Al Abbas, Riordan effectively interposed racial and sexual complexity into the "all-white" Norse mythological world.[7] Common Sense Media states that Alex is one of Riordan's diverse characters, and her struggles add more depth to the story.[8] Booklist notes that Alex deals with the social issue of gender-fluidity, as she was born male but predominantly identifies as female.[9]

Accolades

The Hammer of Thor won the Stonewall Book Award for Children's Literature in 2017,[10] for its portrayal of the genderfluid character Alex Fierro.[11][12][13] The American Library Association said that Fierro was a hero who represented the "expansive possibilities" of gender for future generations.[12][14]

Influence

In early January 2017, Texas Republican lawmakers introduced a bathroom bill based on that of North Carolina. The Texas Legislature invited Riordan, who had created transgender demigod characters such as Fierro, for the authors' event to honor him.[15] Riordan declined the offer and told them to "stop this nonsense" if they wanted to honor him. [16] The Washington Post expressed the view that fans of Riordan and Fierro will make the next generation of American leaders more tolerant.[16]

References

  1. ^ a b "Book review: 'The Hammer of Thor' by Rick Riordan". Hypable. 15 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "Is Alex Fierro based on a specific person... — Rick Riordan Q&A". Goodreads. 
  3. ^ "Hi Rick! As a non-binary and queer person,... — Rick Riordan Q&A". Goodreads. 
  4. ^ a b c d Kleiboer, Todd. "Magnus Chase Brings the Hammer Down – The East Texan". Texas A&M University-Commerce. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Gowsell, Bill (21 October 2016). "Book Review — "Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor"". Laughing Place. 
  6. ^ a b Riordan, Rick (2016). The Hammer of Thor. Los Angeles: Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4231-6092-2. 
  7. ^ "THE HAMMER OF THOR by Rick Riordan". Kirkus Reviews. 
  8. ^ "The Hammer of Thor: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 2 - Book Review". Common Sense Media. 
  9. ^ "Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor, by Rick Riordan". Booklist. 
  10. ^ "Winners of the 2017 Youth Media Awards - ALA Midwinter 2017". School Library Journal. 
  11. ^ "Additional ALA Awards 2017". 23 January 2017. 
  12. ^ a b JCARMICHAEL (23 January 2017). "'Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor' and 'If I Was Your Girl' win 2017 Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Award". American Library Association. 
  13. ^ "Rick Riordan talks new book, "Ship of the Dead". North Carolina State University. 8 October 2017. 
  14. ^ "Barnhill, Steptoe, 'March: Book Three' Win Newbery, Caldecott, Printz". Publishers Weekly. 
  15. ^ Evans, Marissa (7 January 2017). "Citing "bathroom bill," Percy Jackson author declines Legislature invitation". Texas Tribune. 
  16. ^ a b "A myth-maker deals a blow to potty politics". Washington Post. 
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