Title

The Consort

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English and Theatre

First Advisor

Derek Nikitas

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Abstract

In the Young Adult novel The Consort, seventeen year old Rowan must learn to navigate both sides of the sexual spectrum in the totalitarian theocracy of The Empire. When Rowan isn't selected to serve deity at the age of twelve, which she feels is her right, she loses faith in the religion that has ruled her since birth. She begins to notice the tight leash the government and the church have on its citizens and she silently questions its truthfulness through subtle rebellion which puts her at risk for Re-Education and possible death. At seventeen her eyes change from their natural color to golden and she is whisked away to serve as a priestess within the Order of the Consort. For citizens in the Empire to look upon another with lustful thoughts was enough to warrant severe punishment and to be caught having sex outside of marriage could result in death, but now, as a priestess, Rowan finds that she will be forced to have sexual relations with various partners in the name of communicating with their god, Ama. Her desensitization to sex and sexuality, once complete, thrusts her into ritual sex with men and women. Through all of this she is protected by her handmaiden, Katrina, and her Escort, Jude. Although warned that it is punishable by immediate death they begin to have an emotionally intimate relationship and must figure out how to make it last given the nature of her calling. Because she is different, her eyes are a different color than other priests and priestesses, there are those that fear her or are jealous of her. This causes problems for Rowan as she navigates the corrupt system and finds herself being pushed around by superiors and her peers. Rowan must find her path and purpose as the goddess, The Consort, takes up residence within her and begins to push her to reform the theocratic government. She must decide if the risk to those around her is worth trying to free her countrymen of the false and tyrannical rule that has been imposed on them for hundreds of years.

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