[DWJ] Re: (now with minor^Wmajor spoilers for Dark Lord of Derkholm)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat May 6 15:50:58 EDT 2006

Deborah wrote:

>Though the rape scene in Dark Lord bothers me immensely, mostly
>because it so so Damn Easy to fix.  I don't think you should put
>in a rape -- a violent gang rape, no less! -- if you can fix the
>emotional aftermath magically.

It's somewhat reassuring that so many of the list weren't even aware that
someone may have been raped on page 14whatever -- or may have been badly
jostled by a mob, and terribly frightened.  You need to read pretty
carefully to make "Shona screamed" and "Shona's hair was over her face and
her clothes were torn" into an account of a violent gang-rape, after all.
We are not told whether she was actually raped, or whether she was in fear
that she was about to be raped.  She was attacked, certainly; so was Don,
and he was injured, but in the aftermath of the fight his injury is fixed

Is it ok for Don's injuries and trauma to get a "quick fix", but terribly
wrong for Shona's to be similarly sorted out by a dragon?

I found Derk's ordeal in the scalding dragon's-breath rather more upsetting
than Shona's ordeal.  Being deliberately set on fire -- I'd rate that as
being somewhat traumatic.  In terms of actual pain, there is simply no
comparison between even a comparitively minor burn and rape; second-degree
burning over 90% of the body... really not something easily brushed aside
and forgotten.  ("Derk felt his skin begin to boil.  His lungs went from
sore to agonising so quickly that he could only put up the feeblest of
shields against the blast.... He fell to the ground, trying to breathe, and
trying not to breathe because of the pain....  Derk was writhing about in
the cinders of the grass, blue-purple in the face and hideous red in most
other places.... The way most of his skin had gone into yellow streaks and
blisters made Blade hurt too in sympathy....")

There is also a rather less obvious victim of violence in this book: Kit,
who is in the position of a child-soldier, kidnapped and forced to commit
murder repeatedly.
     "I know how that feels," Blade said, shivering.
     Kit looked at him  broodingly.  "Only partly," he said.  "You
   were the fourth person I had to fight.  What do you think
   happened to the others?  It's /horribly/ easy to kill a human."
I think on the whole I would rather be raped than be forced to kill in that way.

If I wanted to be bothered about nasty stuff in *Dark Lord of Derkholm*
there's plenty to worry about.

A great deal of fuss is made about rape, and yes, it's a nasty experience,
but it's not the end of the world, and it is really quite possible to get
over the emotional aftermath even without the help of a convenient dragon.
Let's not get the thing out of proportion, as is all too frequent in the
current time.  Having been a victim of violent rape, I'm really glad that
it happened before the days of compulsory counselling -- I'm sure I was
much better off dealing with the emotional aftermath for myself, in the
pragmatic way that one does at the age of nine, rather than having to cope
with a collection of traumatised adult strangers emphasising how horrible
an experience I must have been through, and encouraging me to think of
myself as a victim, and reassuring me that I didn't need to feel guilty --
something which never occurred to me as a possible reaction, because I put
the blame squarely where it belonged.  I took my own steps to deal with the
person who'd done it (I told the local Hell's Angels who had done what on
*their patch*) and then got on with being me.  Much more difficult to do
that when people are worrying away at you requiring to be reassured
constantly that you are *all right* and don't *need* them.  "Thank you.
Can I not come next week? because I've got a netball match that actually
matters to me..."


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