[DWJ] Re: (now with minor^Wmajor spoilers for Dark Lord of
deborah.dwj at suberic.net
deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Sat May 6 16:43:48 EDT 2006
On Sat, 6 May 2006, minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:
>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.
I guess I don't find it reassuring. For me it was, without
question, a gang rape, and that's an extremely violent act to be
such a minor and unoticeable moment in the book. Gang rape,
after all, is *not* a fantasyland trope, and when it does happen
(as in the Joel Rosenberg books, which are also somewhat
metatextual riffs on fantasyland), it's usually treated as a
major traumatic event. So it's unepexcted, and is oddly
discordant, and yet is so ... missable!
>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?
In my opinion? Yes. Whether it's sensible or not, society tends
to treat sexual violence as a special and more devestating form
of violence. Dark Lord does an excellent job of addressing the
trauma of Blade being forced to fight, and I think the fact that
the soldiers rape and kill is a rather clever riff on all the
violence that usually takes place in fantasyland which we tend to
ignore. And yet I find it doesn't work for me when illustrating
the rape of an important secondary character -- violent gang rape
of a teenaged girl -- since, unlike violence, rape is *not* so much
the fantasyland trope. Instead of the trivialisation of the scene
increasing the horror of the attack, or parodying a world in
which such attacks are ignored, it resulted in a rape scene which
many readers here didn't even *notice*! And people here are
skilled and observant readers.
>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
Pain, maybe. But let's not rank the vileness of various
acts people can do to each other. People on this list have been
raped, and I wouldn't be surprised if people here have been the
victims of physical abuse and assault. They are *all* heinous,
and both can ruin a life in the write context. Both are also
things you can recover from, in the right context.
>("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....")
This is exactly my point -- that other violent acts *are* given
enough time to show the horror, but the rape is not.
Keep in mind that I adore Dark Lord, I've recommended it to
numerous people, and I understand it's a funny book, not a
treatise on assault. My problem isn't that it isn't a serious
treatise on rape, but that, if there's going to be a rape, it
shouldn't be *missable*.
And my other problem, I guess, is that I don't mind when injuries
to the body are magically cured, but I do mind the magical
Prozac. Character development, for me, is about characters
learning things and growing, not about somebody else speeding up
the process for them.
Kiss my ass, I bought a boat, and I'm going out to sea. -Lyle Lovett
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