Rescue, Marry, Happy Ever After – The Asexual Fantasy Novel Royal Rescue

By Veronika Heinrich

“I’ve nev­er had a crush, I’ve nev­er want­ed any­one in my bed. I’ve nev­er looked at any­one and won­dered what they looked like naked. I’ve nev­er want­ed to… to see any­one or touch anyone.”

We all know the clas­sic fairy tale premise: A prince res­cues a princess, they get mar­ried, they live hap­pi­ly ever after. Now, of course, we’re liv­ing in mod­ern times. Princes can mar­ry princes; princess­es can mar­ry princess­es and so on – as long as they stick to the premise. Res­cue, mar­ry, live hap­pi­ly ever after. But what if a prince doesn’t wish to be rescued?

In A. Alex Logan’s Roy­al Res­cue, Ger­ald, the pro­tag­o­nist, iden­ti­fies as asex­u­al and expe­ri­ences exact­ly this prob­lem. Although the world around him is very open-mind­ed about all the oth­er iden­ti­ties under the queer umbrel­la, they have trou­ble under­stand­ing asexuality.

To ‘mod­ern­ize’ the mar­riage sys­tem of fairy tales, Logan builds a world in which roy­al off­spring must choose between becom­ing a res­cuer or a res­cuee. There­fore, Ger­ald is in the unen­vi­able posi­tion to be either locked away in a tow­er (or a sim­i­lar fairy tale place with­out any option to escape) or forced to res­cue the per­son locked away. Gen­der or sex­u­al­i­ty doesn’t mat­ter, you can mar­ry who­ev­er you want – as long as you do mar­ry. When Ger­ald tells his moth­er, the Queen, that he does not wish to par­tic­i­pate in the kingdom’s tra­di­tion, she goes against his wish and sends him off to be a res­cuee instead. This deci­sion leads to Ger­ald wak­ing up on his 18th birth­day in a tow­er guard­ed by a drag­on. How­ev­er, not for one minute does he con­sid­er stick­ing to the rules.

When he dis­cov­ers that his jailor – the drag­on – is treat­ed bad­ly in a way that’s bor­der­ing on ani­mal abuse, he decides to over­throw the sys­tem and free all the pris­on­ers. When Ger­ald frees the drag­on as well, the ani­mal is will­ing to help him on his quest. Just when they are about to start their jour­ney of self-accep­tance and iden­ti­ty-embrace­ment, they meet anoth­er prince named Omar.

As long as Ger­ald can remem­ber, he’s nev­er been inter­est­ed in being with anoth­er per­son. Through­out his life, peo­ple have told Ger­ald that “he will find love even­tu­al­ly,” ask­ing him repeat­ed­ly: “How do you know you don’t like to have sex if you nev­er tried it?” Still, the idea of nudi­ty or hav­ing sex repels him.

These tox­ic remarks and ques­tions are exact­ly what most asex­u­al peo­ple have to endure in real life, too, which makes this sto­ry so easy to relate to. In addi­tion to his own inse­cu­ri­ty, Ger­ald has to nav­i­gate a soci­ety that is hyper-focused on top­ics such as rela­tion­ships and mar­riage. What will his future look like if he’s unable to love the way every­one else does? Will he stay alone for­ev­er? The book does a great job elab­o­rat­ing on these ques­tions and explain­ing how there is not one form of love, but indeed several.

Ger­ald doesn’t know about asex­u­al­i­ty at first and believes that he’ll nev­er find love. Here, his friend Omar does a great job explain­ing the vari­ety of love:

“So you mean you don’t like peo­ple phys­i­cal­ly. You don’t like peo­ple sexually.”

“You say that there are oth­er ways to like people.”

“Well, there are.” He start­ed tick­ing them off on his fin­gers. “There’s lik­ing friends, lik­ing fam­i­ly, lik­ing the way peo­ple look – in the same way you’d like a paint­ing or tapes­try or work of art, I mean. Aes­thet­ics, not phys­i­cal attraction.”

I think it’s extreme­ly impor­tant to rep­re­sent asex­u­al peo­ple in the media and show that there’s nothing’s wrong with them. Nev­er­the­less, many things would be eas­i­er if every­body knew about all sex­u­al­i­ties under the queer umbrella.

Many queer books (espe­cial­ly in Ger­many) either belong to the Young Adult genre or depict high school life with its usu­al teen prob­lems. Roy­al Res­cue has that, too, but with the addi­tion of a fan­ta­sy world and fairy tale sparkles. How­ev­er, most impor­tant­ly, the nov­el is about find­ing your place in the world and mak­ing friends along the way.

If you’d like to learn more about asex­u­al­i­ty, read more here.

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