[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 19:26:30 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.

Deborah replied:
>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.

Well, yes.  That's why I found it reassuring that there seemed to be a
great deal of question among the list-members about whether it was in fact
a gang rape at all.  It certainly isn't written as such, from what one is
given of events.

>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!

I can see three possibilities here.

[1] It wasn't in fact rape, which would explain the rape being missable.
[2] It was rape, and DWJ was uncharacteristically clumsy, crass and stupid
in her treatment of it, trivialising it almost to the point of
[3] It was rape, and DWJ deliberately didn't give it prominence, possibly
in order to suggest that rape is nasty but not in the same league as being
burned very nearly to death, or forced to kill innocent victims, or
destroying an entire world for monetary gain.

Your view is that [2] is the correct interpretation; I'd be inclined to
think it is [1] or [3]. myself.

I'd probably give more weight to [1] because of a later moment: Shona's
explanation for wanting to go and be the Bard on Blade's tour is, "They've
expelled me from their college and forbidden me bardic status.  There's
nothing else they can do to me.  And I hate sitting around in this camp so
close to those awful soldiers...."  That's a fairly mild way to describe
people who've gang-raped you, even if it *has* been made to seem "a long
time ago, somehow."  It's an English-english thing: "awful" doesn't carry
huge horror, one uses it almost casually, as in "she was wearing that awful
pink dress again" or "oh, that awful little man who goes on all the time
about his operation", or other such dismissive descriptions.


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