Alright, guys, remember August 5th is Dragon Breath drop day, and let's get started on this, shall we?
...Anita and Richard are having a conversation.
His presence is no longer even remotely usable for humor-milking. I have a blind inarticulate rage every time I see his name. It's somewhat like seeing the signs WBC babtist members hold up. It's no longer even disgust at an author thinking anything about Richard's character is okay. I just want him to go away. Go be happy with Clair, or another girl, and let Anita wallow in it. Because this tortured aingst shit--other than being catharsis for a divorcee--is utterly fucking worthless.
People have issues, especially when long term relationships die. I get that. Stop working out your issues in your book. It's getting in the way of, you know, THERE BEING AN ACTUAL BOOK.
(Though at this point it's getting in the way of LKH's actual career. Is it too early to say that Affliction has officially tanked? Because it's been out for a month and it's sold WELL under 30K)
Anita is asking about Richard's fight with Clair.
Let's remove gender issues and just look at what is actually there for a second. A person was emotionally and sexually abusive towards their partner, and the partner ended the relationship for the sake of their own safety (This is not headcannon. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED) Now that person is asking their ex-lover, who they raped, to tell them about the fight they had with their new lover, and that person is getting miffy because the ex-lover doesn't want to get into all the details of their relationship WITH THEIR RAPIST.
I WANT to stop talking about that. I am tired of that. But every other page it's like HELLO WE WERE NOT UNHEALTHY ENOUGH SO HERE'S ANOTHER VIOLATION OF SAFE EMOTIONAL BOUNDERIES. I keep waiting for Anita to go "OH HAI MARK HOW'S YOUR SEX LIFE".
And then Anita tells him that the reason he's having difficulty controling his temper is that he's inherited her rage.
Her abuse victim is being told that his anger is invalid because it is coming from her. She is taking ownership of his emotional state and is telling him that he doesn't really feel anything.
If there is one thing I hate in this universe, it is exactly that. That is the kind of emotional manipulation that both disarms AND re-victimizes. You can't even respond to that, because implicitly any anger, any reaction, any "fuck you", no matter how well and OBVIOUSLY deserved it might be, isn't actually yours. It's theirs, and they'll be happy to take it back. It makes you MORE of their posession and you aren't even allowed to feel angry about it.
And Richard is giving short, clipped answers and Anita is responding thusly:
“Don’t go all grumpy on me, Richard, I’m trying to make a point here.”
“See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. That sounds more like me, than you. You’ve been quicker to anger for the last bit, and I’ve been less quick to anger, why? What if you got some of my anger, and I got some of your calmness?”
It can't be because of trauma related to, you know, being in an incredibly shitty relationship AND having to work through one crisis after another, starting with having to eat Marcus. No. It's all Anita's fault that he's angry. It's all about her.
I am mentally wishing violence on Anita, because JESUS CHRIST, NONE OF THAT IS OKAY.
Finally, though, Richard responds beautifully:
Anger filled his eyes, like magic. One moment trustworthy brown, the next moment serial killer dark. “Thank you, thank you very much, for reminding me that I don’t mean shit to you anymore.”It's invalidated immediately but I do not care. The ONLY correct response to this kind of bullshit is an IMMEDIATE "Fuck you" (unless it's not safe to say that) and an equally immediate departure. And then you keep contact to a minimum because somebody willing to do this is an utterly worthless piece of shit.
And then Richard drops the bombshell that his fight with Clair is that she accused him of raping her.
Well, you know...let's play devil's advocate here. Maybe Clair is lying, or manipulating, or--
“I’m glad it makes you feel better, but remember, I saw the beginning of the lovemaking session. You can’t rape the willing, Richard.”
...every single character in this series is officially a piece of crap and I'd like to drop all of them into a fire.
The conversation then goes on to try to define terms, and they talk about how Clair thinks Richard is too rough, and he doesn't know how to "make love, only fuck", and any good feeling I had towards Richard is rapidly going out the window. Oh, he's still a victim of abuse, don't get me wrong. But being a victim in no way migitates continuing the cycle.
...and then Anita tells Richard the problem is he's so "well endowed" it's impossible for him to be anything but rough...and also his first time was Rania, and his next major love was Anita. Yeah, he probably doesn't have that much experiance with gentle. But it's a big jump to go from "rough sex" to "the girl accusing you of rape doesn't know what rape means", which is still the conversation we're having right now.
- “A lot of women don’t like their cervix bumped during sex.”
...is that even possible?
But hey, we get a score here! Anita Blake finally uses the word penis:
“You’re big enough that you always bump someone’s cervix if you’re in a position that allows all of your . . . penis to go inside her. I can’t be any plainer, Richard, so please make the connection here.”I did not put the "..." there. Anita pauses before she says penis the way a church-going little old lady pauses before she says "fuck".
WOW. And to top off the cervix-related WTF:
“No. I like having my cervix bumped. I have a whole different kind of orgasm from it, so I don’t mind.”Great. Some women get the glass slipper. Anita's vagina is apparently the glass condom. Only she can fit the most perfect men in the universe.
...so how big is Richard's schlong?
WAIT. WAIT. NO. HOW BIG IS MICAH'S PENIS? The text implies that Micah is bigger than Richard because both JC and Anita have seen Richard naked, and if Richard is big enough that he bumps Anita's cervix...
Micah must be a tripod.
And then Anita decides--knowing ONLY what Richard has told her--that Clair is being a big meanie meanie pants and is only trying to hurt Richard in the worst possible way. Because rape accusations between consensual adults is, you know, just a ploy in a relationship to hurt somebody else.
There are not enough fires in the fucking universe.
And then Richard starts getting violent with Anita.
I can't make this funny, guys. I can't. I'm just kind of sitting here with my mouth open going "Well, we can't top tha--oh, yes we can."
This turns into a step-by-step safety instruction on BDSM relationships. Because, you know, Anita is the picture of safe, sane and consensual.
No. I did not just type that with a straight face.
...and we've just transitioned into Richard is bi/a homophobe.
It's like Laurel K. Hamilton realized that she'd made it through 55 chapters without bring any focused awfulness to the table and she decided she had to pack it all into one chapter RIGHT NOW.
And now we're talking vampire politics re: Primo. THANK GOD. Much better than Anita and Richard talking about something that a real person might actually listen to.
the chapter ends with Jean Claude coming into the room.
Now, it'd be really hard for me to get even more pissed off at this point. Having to read stuff about the tri-whatever Anita just made upping their power levels AGAIN? Sure, we already got all that, but it's much better than the rape talk a few pages back. In fact, there is exactly one thing that could royally piss me off right now.
I did my best not to look at Richard. “Who did you have in mind?”
“Requiem told me of the amount of blood you lost last night, ma petite. I think it is wiser if you do not donate more quite so soon.”
I heard Richard’s sigh from where I was sitting, and he wasn’t sitting that close to me. “I would say it’s always me, but it’s usually not. I know that Anita isn’t your regular feed, but I know she lets you feed.” He put his face against his knees and sighed again. “Fine, but only if Anita is here, too. No just you and me.”
A sex scene with Richard, Jean Claude, and Anita. Aww. And hey, here's the "HOW FUCKED UP CAN YOU GET" Bonus round...they just established Richard as a homophobe so that he would ask for Anita to stay. Because otherwise Richard would have said "NO"
Mercifully, the chapter ends with Anita heading off to take a much needed shower prior to the bloodplay.
And I really have just one reaction to all of this.