Alex Fierro

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Alex Fierro
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard character
Alex Fierro.jpg
First appearanceThe Hammer of Thor
Last appearance9 from the Nine Worlds
Created byRick Riordan
OccupationDemigod hero,
Einherjar
Godly parentLoki
Information
SpeciesDemigod
TitleChild of Loki

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 Alex.[4] Fierro had attacked the hotel manager and wrecked her given room.[5] Alex is genderfluid, switching between the male and female genders.[4] She tells Magnus that she prefers others use the gendered pronoun that matches her current gender, rather than simply using the singular genderneutral "they.” She also states that she is usually female, preferring she/her pronouns unless she says otherwise.[6] Although Alex's mother is Loki - a god known for his shapeshifting powers - Alex does not acknowledge the traits she inherited from him or attribute her genderfluidity to her parentage.[6] Magnus is initially shocked by this, but later grows to accept it.[5] Due to the fact that Alex is transgender, the thanes of Valhalla and some fellow einherjar call Alex argr, Old Norse for "unmanly".[4] Being a child of Loki, Alex is distrusted at first, but is later accepted by Magnus and their floormates.[5] Alex Fierro is also capable of shapeshifting, another trait she inherited from Loki.[5]

Reception[edit]

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. Later on in the third entry of the series, she actually does kiss Magnus, and in the final pages, they kiss a final time.[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 his struggles add more depth to the story.[8] Booklist notes that Alex deals with the social issue of gender-fluidity, as he/she was born male but predominantly identifies as female.[9]

Accolades[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

  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 (2017-09-18). "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; Book 2 in the Magnus Chase and the Gods Of Asgard. 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. 2016-10-09.
  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.