Magic: The Gathering Introduces First Transgender Character

Alesha Who Smiles At Death

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
Art by Anastasia Ovchinnikova

I have played Magic: The Gathering before in the past, but I’m not a huge fan of the series. I have played the digital version of the game from time to time. I also have not gotten into the many different novels and short stories written about the franchise. There was one online short story that sparked my attention.

About a week ago the Fate Reforged set was released with the digital version to be released on February 2, 2015. On January 28, 2015 a short story about one of the characters, Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, was posted titled “A Truth of Names”.

Alesha belong to the Mardu Horde, warriors get to choose their own name upon great feats in battle. At the age of sixteen she gets to have this honor and she uses this opportunity to announce to all that she is not a boy as the others see her, but as a female. She was nervous but her name was shouted by the other warriors without any hesitation.

The khan had walked among the warriors, hearing the tales of their glorious deeds. One by one, they declared their new war names, and each time, the khan shouted the names for all to hear. Each time, the horde shouted the name as one, shaking the earth.

Then the khan came to Alesha. She stood before him, snakes coiling in the pit of her stomach, and told how she had slain her first dragon. The khan nodded and asked her name.

“Alesha,” she said, as loudly as she could. Just Alesha, her grandmother’s name.

“Alesha!” the khan shouted, without a moment’s pause.

And the whole gathered horde shouted “Alesha!” in reply. The warriors of the Mardu shouted her name.

Years later she eventually becomes the khan of the Mardu. A nameless orc in her horde mocks her for being transgender. Before Alesha can confront him, a dragon appears. She slays itsingle handily earning the nameless orc’s respect and the title “Who Smiles at Death”

It is a very positive transgender female story. A story of a young transgender girl that earns respect of the other warriors and later grows to be their leader.

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Katie

Katie’s first experience with video games was in the late 1970s with Pong on the family Tandy TRS-80 home computer. She published her first gaming review in 1982 for the TRS-80 video game Rear Guard. It was around this time that Katie also discovered the joy of role-playing games, starting with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In college she played Doom, getting her into first person shooting games. This interest lasted until Final Fantasy XI was released when she started to spend time playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Currently she has an interest in many different genres of video games. She lives in Elgin, Illinois with her cat Éowyn.

About Katie

Katie’s first experience with video games was in the late 1970s with Pong on the family Tandy TRS-80 home computer. She published her first gaming review in 1982 for the TRS-80 video game Rear Guard. It was around this time that Katie also discovered the joy of role-playing games, starting with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In college she played Doom, getting her into first person shooting games. This interest lasted until Final Fantasy XI was released when she started to spend time playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Currently she has an interest in many different genres of video games. She lives in Elgin, Illinois with her cat Éowyn.