[DWJ] violence fixed by magic (spoilery for Lackey, Rosenberg, and Dark Lord)

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Sat May 6 17:16:21 EDT 2006


On Sat, 6 May 2006, Elizabeth G. Holtrop wrote:
>  What do you think *are* the ethics of using magic as an emotional  "quick fix" in fantasy?  This has come up in other fantasy books  I've read.
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>  [okay, I'm not sure about the spoiler policy on this list, so scroll down for Mercedes Lackey spoilers]
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>  All right, in Arrow's Fall by Mercedes Lackey, one of the characters  gets raped, and the healers in her country use magic to heal her  emotions so she feels emotionally ready to marry the man she  loves.  Is it appropriate to put in that kind of violence if the  author is going to fix it with a method unavailable to real-life  victims?  I've never thought it was inappropriate, but your  question made me wonder.  Since violence is present in our world,  isn't it okay to explore ways it might be avoidable?  Doesn't  fiction do this in any scenario?  Do we have to avoid doing it  when it comes to violence in fiction?  As a writer of fantasy  (unpublished, but with hopes!), I like to use magic to correct  emotional traumas in my characters.  It makes me feel hopeful that  there may be ways that I hadn't considered, even in our magic-less real  world, to get around emotional problems.  Reading fantasy gives me  hope.  Isn't it okay to use magic to give hope to people, even 

It happens in Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame, too.  I
don't think I have a problem with Rosenberg's quick fix, though,
because the trauma is so very very real before the magic fix
comes in, and then afterwards, the character is changed.  That
is, the magic allowed the fix, but she's still effected by the
experiences she's gone through.

I don't mind magic as a new weapon in our arsenal of time, drugs,
therapy, friendship, chocolate, television, luck and
what-have-you that we currently use to confront emotional
problems.  But magic that just *undoes* the problem altogether,
makes there be no effects to events, that's cheating to me.  In
fiction, I want my characters to react and change according to
the events they experience.  In real life, now, that's a
different story. *g*  But in fiction, I believe in hope and in
healing, but I also want to see characters have to grow and
process.

(To be fair to Dark Lord, Shona doesn't technically have the rape
undone.  I believe it's described as if the event now feels
distant enough that she can process it, as if it happened a while
ago.  But because it's not her story, and becase it's
fundamentally a funny book, we don't see that processing.  She
says "oh, good, I can process now" and then goes about her
business apparently unchanged.  In my opinion, anyway.)

Does that make sense?

-deborah
--
I read Proust in my room while eating marzipan.
	-- Walter Benjamin, 1926



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