Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for the Killer Princess

Her name is Maria Morevna. She is from Russia.

I have read a lot about her in the past months. I did a version of her tale at MythOff USA (see below) for Slavic mythology - in that version, she was the goddess of the Underworld, who, very appropriately, escaped with Koschei, the god of the underworld.

In folktales, however, Maria Morevna turned into a princess. The first time we see her in one of the tales is across a battlefield full of dead soldiers - when Ivan tsarevits, the hero, inquires about the massacre, he is told that Maria Morevna, a princess, killed all those men.
Well then.

Maria Morevna is clearly a warrior. I especially enjoy the fact that this story is the opposite of the Bluebeard tales: the prince is left home while the princess goes to war, and opens the one room he was not supposed to open, which leads to a whole world of trouble.
The princess' warlike nature is never quite explained in the stories. She just happens to be a warrior that can slay an entire army, and still look attractive when a prince visits her tent after.

This tale was recently turned into an amazing mythic fiction book called Deathless by Cathryn M. Valente. Check it out, it is a gorgeous book!


  1. I take it your theme is princesses! This is quite an interesting one! I will have to check out your other posts.

  2. I love that it's not explained why she's a warrior. The tales never explain why men are warriors, so it should be just as acceptable that a woman is an awesome warrior and not something that needs to be explained as something unusual. Hooray Russian storytellers!

  3. Maybe she was secretly a Klingon with a love of battle!

  4. She sounds kick-ass!! I love hearing about female warriors

  5. Yikes, I think my mom told me this story. I remember the room you were not supposed to open.

  6. I have a vague memory of a room you were not supposed to open too!
    Happy A to Z-ing
    Jemima at Jemima's blog

  7. I'm putting this book on my 'must read' list.
    Great theme!
    Peanut Butter and Whine

  8. I'll have to ask Worf if he's encountered her in battle. Klingons never surrender.

  9. What a fascinating tale!

    That book you mention, Deathless, would probably make an interesting movie, too.

    ~Tui, from the #AtoZchallenge
    Twitter: @mentalmosaic

  10. Your blog post was killer! Sorry couldn't resist. :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: