[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 19:26:31 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.
>
Elizabeth G. Holtrop asked:
>  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.
>
>  [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.

If you mean Our Heroine, she also gets tortured to the point of physical
disability, so much that in the end she takes a dose of a drug that may
kill her in order to escape from it, and at her wedding she is still so
physically mangled that she has to be carried to the altar, as far as I
remember...

The healing is for the whole experience, not only the rape, which is part
but by no means all of the torture.

>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.

Well, hey, the child Our Heroine is rescued from her abusive (physical and
mental abuse) parental household, in which she is about to be forcibly
married at the age of thirteen, by a magic horse, and "healed" of her
trauma from that early-life experience by the love of said horse-not-horse,
so after that, what's to stop magic being a panacea?  (OK, the full healing
takes a while; she is -- reasonably, in my opinion -- disinclined to trust
people much!)

>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fantasy  (unpublished, but with hopes!), I like to use magic to correct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
> though magic isn't an option after you close the covers of the book?

If it's ok to use magic as a means to produce otherwise impossible threats
and horrors (and that is what happens in a lot of fantasy) I can't see any
reason for it not to be ok to use magic to produce otherwise impossible
healing and hope.

Minnow





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