Merlin (with spoilers) Grundo, Coercion

Anna Clare McDuff amcduff at math.sunysb.edu
Thu May 29 04:49:17 EDT 2003


On Tue, 27 May 2003, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

> Hmmm.  Do you think the difference has anything to do with Grundo's
> using magic to get what he wants, rather than figuring out
> non-magical ways to do it?

	Yeah, there is something nastily coercive about that, isn't there?
And I say that as someone who *did* warm to Grundo, I found him very
charming. But what he did was deeply unscrupulous and I was very glad to
see that it looked like his father was going to try to take him in hand!
(Though I am not sure that Romanov would be much use in this context, and
he certainly hasn't shown signs of being a stellar father. Still, better
than nothing. Probably.) (Must say I take quite a bit of fun in imagining
the consequences for Romanov now that it looks like he's to be a full time
Daddy!) After all it is one thing to cast a glamour on someone when you
are a tot of three in a rather desperate situation, it is another thing to
keep that glamour there for years and years as you grow older & able not
only to learn to fend for yourself but also to understand how wrong the
glamour is. And Grundo *does* understand that it is wrong. But it's easier
to keep it going. Mind you if Grundo *had* found a non-magical way of
getting what he needed in that situation it might have been unpleasant
too.  Children in that kind of miserable situation can often become very
adept at emotional blackmail or other manipulative mindgames, as well as
physical violence, and these tactics can be very hard to unlearn once they
grow old enough not to need the edge they get from them any more...

> relative 'reprehensibility'.  Though I'm still struggling with how I
> feel about not having properly noticed Zinka's using magic to get
> what she wants with/from the young man on the stairs before.

	Does it change her for you? Or is it that you think you ought to
have noticed it? Personally every time I reread DS I notice new things I
never saw before, it's such a dense book...I'm not personally sure whether
I feel that a magical person using magic to coerce someone is
qualitatively different from a non-magical person using non-magical means
to coerce someone. Both can be seen as people using every weapon in their
armouries. Certainly a magical person using non magical means to get what
they want is displaying some self control, for whatever reason. But I'm
not sure how I feel about the magical element of the Zinka/Grundo/Izzies
kind of coercion.  Compelling people to do what you want them to whether
or not it is in their own best interests is fairly dodgy whether magical
or non magical means are used...

	Anna


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