Merlin (with spoilers) Grundo, Coercion

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Thu May 29 08:00:34 EDT 2003


>  > 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...

Absolutely.  And it does say a lot for Grundo that he fessed up quite 
so thoroughly, even arguing against Roddy's attempted excuses.  (Or 
this could have been just because Romanov wouldn't have let him by 
with anything less than a full confession!  I'm trying to give Grundo 
the benefit of the doubt.)

I'm also starting to really notice all the characters who do get some 
kind of decent parental substitute of some sort, at some stage 
(Polly, Nick, and Cat come to mind) and those who don't (Seb being 
first to pop up), and the crucial difference between the two.  I have 
high hopes for Romanov's learning as much as Grundo.  :-)  Course, 
you could also apply this in reverse and look at the parents who 
learn to stop slithering out of their parental/guardianly 
responsibilities (the Ogre! and hopefully Romanov) and those who 
don't (Ivy and Reg, and all too many others).

>  > 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...

Yes, yes and yes.  (Agreement, rather than answering the questions. 
:-) )   I wasn't at all clear the first time round, and it wasn't so 
much that the use of a magic in and of itself bothered me here, that 
was something I was wondering about with respect to Ven's comment 
about finding Grundo more reprehensible than Nick.  What I was 
getting at was wondering why I'd slid over behaviour I consider - 
well, wasn't your term 'sexually unscrupulous'?   (In that regard, 
yes, it has changed her for me.)  Zinka could have slipped the guy a 
mickey in some of the (plenteous amounts of) alcohol going around and 
it wouldn't have been very different, I agree.  Especially hard to 
understand as Zinka so clearly has huge amounts of appeal of all 
sorts in her armoury anyway!  I hope I didn't notice it simply 
because Zinka's so likeable, but fear I'd have noticed it regardless 
in a male character.

I suppose the Zinka/Grundo/Izzies type of magical coercion could be a 
little more problematic for me even than 'normal' emotional 
manipulation, if only because of Rupert's horror when Maree says the 
unforgivable thing about being a Magid meaning trying to run the 
world (I can't remember anything like the exact quote now).   Though 
I'm not entirely sure that it is worse - maybe it's just that more of 
the 'dark arts' (to use Mrs. Pentstemmon's term) type behaviour in 
DWJ tends to be shown by magic users of some sort?  This thought has 
not even got a pre-heated oven, not to mention being half-baked, so I 
expect it's open to much disagreement!


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