Saturday, December 15, 2012

Narcissus in Chains--chapter 11

Let's be up front about this: This is chapter is about a terrible thing. It's awful. You might want to look away now. I do not know if I can make it entertaining. I will try.

Anita was on the phone last chapter while everyone else clears out. She hangs up, and now  she's alone in the shower with Micah, the naked wereleopard dude she woke up with. He begins saying things about how nice she is, and how he's never felt this way with another woman. Okay. He says Nimir-Ra, but the world's most overused line is still the world's most overused line. And then Anita sees the big mark she made from when Jean Claude used her to feed.

Again: that was rape. Metaphysical and mental, but she was still forced to do something she would not normally do, and the dude doing the forcing did not ask her permission, nor did he bother to stick around and make sure he had not damaged her. Which he did do. You don't huddle in the shower, whimpering, just because you got sweaty during the metaphysical orgy.

Anita apologizes for making the bite. Micah says don't worry, "It's a love bite".

No one, and I mean no one has brought up the concept of Anita wanting to have the sexy-sexy with anybody in the room. PERIOD. Micah is the  first to broach the subject. He says that he enjoyed what they did, and that they could do great things for each other's pack together. And Anita is not saying anything. Not. One. Word.

This is out of character for normal, "healthy" Anita.

Finally she says "Let's take it slow." If you have never dated before, this is girl for "I do not want to have sex with you." Most guys who are interested in having a relationship with a woman read this correctly and back off.

Micah does not.

Anita watches him soap up.

The scariest thing about this chapter is how Laurell is writing it. Laurel wants Anita and Micah to get it down, and get it down hard. In the future books they are an item. One of several. So this scene should be all sunshine and roses and porn music. Only it is not. Anita is not screaming, scratching and shooting her gun, but she is shut down emotionally. Completely. And Micah will not shut up. Anita goes to the door and Micah dangles the bait of "We'll help you when you go face down Richard", which is something Anita badly needs, so she doesn't leave.

“Anita,” he said. I stopped in the doorway, but this time I didn’t turn around.

“What?” I sounded grumpy.

“It’s alright to be attracted to me. You can’t help yourself.” 
That made me laugh, a good normal laugh. “Oh, you don’t have a high opinion of yourself, do you?” But I stayed facing away from him.
Yeah. We're still not in safe territory. See, I remember all of this. This is how it went down, exactly. Only it was a truck and not a shower, and it stopped before it went too far. Everything about this, her physical reactions, his continued talking-talking-talking, is very very very NOT OKAY.

And then this happens:

“No,” I said, my voice strangled, but I repeated it. “No.”

 He stepped into me, pressing the slick hardness of him against my lower hand and arm. He tried to uncurl my fingers from the towel, and I held on for dear life. “Touch me, Anita, cup me in your hands.” 
This is the moment when everything should have stopped. A sane, contientious human being worth sleeping with should have shut down here. For Christ's Sake, the woman was weeping on the bathroom floor the last time they got it on. Her saying "NO" should have been all the clue he needed. Does he stop? No.

And then Laurell tries to have Anita's own body give permission when her mouth is clearly screaming NO. Problem is...

I shivered and wanted to step back, but it was like I was frozen in place. I couldn’t move.
That's not permission. That's freaking shutting down. I read somewhere (I think it was Reasoning with Vampires) that your emotions can shut down kind of like an opossum playing dead, that it's a protective mechanism within your own body to keep you alive. I do not know if it is a real thing. I do know that that passage, up there? Was exactly how I felt.

Then Anita does start to want it. She contacts Jean Claude telepathically, and he tells her that she now has his primary power, the ability to feed off of sex the way he feeds off of blood. This, too, happened without Anita's permission, but it's all okay because he didn't know it would happen to her. This power is what's making Anita want to sex up Micah. So she tells him stop. he says "I know you want me."

This happens:

“Please, Micah, I’m not on birth control.” A clear thought at last.
 He bit softly at the back of my neck. “I had myself fixed two years ago. You’re safe with me, Anita.”
Then stop trying to have sex with her. She tells him no again and he hits some erogenous zone that makes Anita whimper. See, she's experiancing pleasure. That must mean she wants it.

I'm going to leave this here. Otherwise, we'll be focusing on this part of this terrible, terrible scene all night long.

And after hitting something that made Anita feel pleasure, even though she never once said okay, Micah...yeah. I can't even write it. I'm not quoting it, either. You can't make me. The one part I will say is, soap is involved.

Anita does not respond to him at all. Even the book says this is out of character. Meanwhile, Micah is bumping her cervix. It says so in the text. 

And then her brand new power kicks in and she starts feeding off the lust...but even the text says she doesn't want sex. 

And then she starts to enjoy it and everything is okay again...until after Anita orgasms and turns back into a sobbing, whimpering mess on the bathroom floor.

Excuse me for a moment. I need to vent.

And the truly scary part? This is the sanitized version. This is the version where LKH went back and made this scene less rapey. I knew that this scene existed, but I thought it was the scene in the bedroom before Anita crashed in the shower, which was what I had to check up on a couple days ago. I read about the so-called "rape scene" and thought "Dang, I don't remember any actual penetration in the bedroom, I guess she really did tone it down"

It's sad when a female writer makes John Norman look good.


  1. Okay, I get that Hamilton wanted to write lots of dubcon and noncon porn scenes. Whatever works for you, Laurel. But this scene is just nasty.

  2. I think what's saddest and most frightening here is that this is the last time Anita is going to act like this, I think. That is, responding to rape as if it were rape and not consensual sex. I didn't read past this book though, and just started my own sporking with Skin Trade, and there are some books in between them, but I know that by Skin Trade, Anita is both rape victim and rapist herself and none of it is treated as such, no one reacts like it is that, etc. I think LKH knew that reacting happily would not be a realistic response for this, but then after the response she got from readers, realized that realistic responses got in the way of writing her own rape fantasies repeatedly as being hot and sexy (which would be one thing in a novel meant to be escapist, unrealistic noncon fantasy of that, but this is not that type of series...or, it wasn't) instead of awful and traumatizing, so now Anita doesn't even react as if anything's wrong anymore...and neither do her victims when she's the one who rapes them, as has also happened. Well, actually, one guy did end up crying in the shower, but anyone who said there was anything wrong about that ended up being treated as a big stupid meaniepants.

    1. There are, In my VERY humble opinion, two kinds of writers. The ones who are really good at playing with emotions and symbolic undertones, and Micheal Bay. LKH is Micheal Bay. She's TALENTED, in that she can write the framework for a damn good story, but when it comes time to fill things out she reaches for whatever is floating around on the top of her head. And that exposes a lot of ugly things that she might not have wanted other people to see.

      Given how GOOD our brains are at connecting things without our knowledge, it bothers me that LKH wrote this the way she did, and even WITH post-publication revisions, never bothered to actually make this okay. The responses here are totally, utterly and completely accurate. This is exactly how a woman responds to unwanted sexual advances in a situation where she has no leverage and feels she cannot escape. I cannot imagine her fantasizing about this, and then writing the emotional fallout this accurately if this were not exactly what the author intended. The ONLY reason to write these chapters this way is because this is how she wants it to work. Negative fallout included.

      Which would probably explain why people who hate this shit are "prudes", the same way people that hate de Sade's work are "prudes". It's not that we don't like sex. We just don't like sex that turns human beings in to pre-warmed dildoes.

    2. It is really weird, isn't it? That she can write a rape scene and aftermath so right and then...claim it's not rape. And rewrite it so it's not, but then even in the rewrite it still is, and not romanticized romance novel fantasy rape either. I can't figure it out either.

      Now that you bring it up, this is even LESS scary than the not-treat-like-rape/not-traumatizing-at-all later rapes in the series. Ugh, now I have the willies.

  3. I think part of the problem here is that the story-world's moral constants aren't set for this kind of story. It started out as a monster-hunter urban fantasy with some romance thrown in, and the characters were built around the moral implications of that kind of story. Bondage-fantasy or noncon-fantasy stories are set in world's where forced BDSM works and everyone involved has a hot-n-nasty© good time, and the characters reflect those moral settings.

    But Anita Blake wasn't intended for that kind of story. LKH keeps throwing her into what are intended to be sexy rape fantasies, and Blake reacts like a character from a story-setting where rape is a horrible thing. Then LKH realizes that reaction ruins the fantasy, and wipes it from memory so she can throw Blake into yet another rape scene.