Patricia writes these characters simply known as “the grannies.” Sometimes they have a name, sometimes they don’t. Their most prominent appearance in Shiny Thing is in the story “The Jaculi”, where if it weren’t for them, who knows what might have happened. I asked Patricia to tell me a little about these quiet heroes of her stories.
To become a grannie, to have the title of grannie bestowed on one, does not have to do only with age, or literally having had grandchildren, or, as I decided very early on, even with being female. The grannies are the ones with sense, as well as a certain amount of experience. They have earned the respect they receive — it doesn’t come automatically. They’re not infallible, and not all of them are nice. But they are the knowledge keepers, (in some cases, the tradition bearers) the advisors, the helpers, the ones who usually try to mediate, moderate, and ameliorate.
And the fact that there are male grannies I think is just cool.
That is very cool. And it especially works for me because as far as I’m concerned, there is only one grandpa, and that’s the one who lost his toothbrush. Though in that story, he does seem to fulfill the role of a grannie in his own endearing way.
The world needs more grannies.