Midnight Enchantments: Diana Tregarde
by Devon Ellington
Diana Tregarde was out there kicking paranormal ass and taking names before it was even called “urban fantasy.” I read them in the late 1990’s and just loved them. Here was a practicing urban witch who was also practiCAL. She was much more relatable to me than some swanning princess in a fantasy tower somewhere, riding a horse,wielding a sword, and having to worry about a political marriage. Diana lived in a Manhattan that, while it wasn’t exactly MY Manhattan, was recognizable, to an extent — until it wasn’t. Diana was practical and resourceful and smart and funny and loving and compassionate. You’d want her for your best friend and rejoice in having her as a neighbor, even if meant run off from slimy things that go bump in the night. You just ward your apartment a little better, that’s all! When the books were reissued a few years ago, a dear friend gave them to me for Yule. I didn’t leave the house for three days — I stayed warm and cozy, gobbling up the books and enjoying them more than ever.
Diana was also one of the first kick-ass heroines who could genuinely fall in love, yet still maintain feelings for and care about an ex. It was very rare, at the time, that female characters were “allowed” to do that by publishers. In most circumstances, the ex would have had to be a total loser, and we’d wonder why Diana got together with him in the first place. OR, the new love would be a total loser, and we’d wonder why Diana didn’t go back to the ex. That’s the way it worked for most female-centric fiction in those days. Lackey refused to cave in to those kinds of pressures with Diana. She made Diana memorable and sympathetic, and made both past and present loves the same. You could truly BELIEVE that Diana could love each of these men for very different reasons, and that each man was worthy of the relationship at the time.
She was — and is — one of my favorite characters in fiction. Whenever I feel the world is too much with me, or lacks good — I can settle in with one of her adventures, be reminded that there are still plenty of good people, and a lot of them are dealing with Bigger Bads than I have to!
I remember six books, but I can only find three titles in various bibliographies, so maybe I read them in different formats. I see references to three stories in MZB’s Fantasy Magazine, so maybe I mis-remember those short stories as books. I knew Lackey decided not to write more adventures for her, and was saddened by it. However, it’s a writer’s right to write whatever she wishes. Lackey had other stories to tell. Good for her!
I was angered when I heard that she received threats by so-called “fans” for discontinuing the series. Those are not fans; those are bullies. There is no place for such creatures in the landscape of literature. They are the true demons in our world, and “poof” — it’s up to the rest of us to make sure they don’t get the attention they crave or the opportunities to do harm.
I did a little happy dance when Diana showed up last year (this year?) in TRIO OF SORCERY. It was an early story, set in Harvard, while Diana was in college. But yeah, there was my girl, learning and caring, and damn, it was good to see her again!
She’s the kind of person who brightens your day just by being a part of it — even as a fictional character. Kudos to Mercedes Lackey for creating her, and then letting us experience life through her eyes!
You can learn more about these books and Lackey’s MANY others at her website.
–Devon Ellington publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and non-fiction, and particularly loves urban fantasy. She is presenting this weekend at the WriteAngles Conference in Mt. Holyoke, MA. Her webiste: www.devonellingtonwork.com.