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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Chapter Thirty Six

Dottie's post is here

Avery Teoda is sporking Gillian Key here

Anita is trying SO HARD to describe dawn breaking. Another LKH quirk that I hate is how her characters will repeat the same descriptor, in this case "white, white" in order to emphasize it. Also what in the ever loving fuck is up with the rest of this sentence?

"Dawn was sliding through the trees in a wash of white, white light that left the trees looking like black paper cut outs against the shining sky when I pulled the curtains and filled the bedroom with twilight dimness."

I mean really, what? It took me several tries to realize that she's saying she closed the curtains against the dawn and made the room comparitively dim. At least, I think that's what is going on. This fails on so many levels. Dawn can be described many ways, but I am not sure sliding is one of those ways. Holy run on sentence, Batman. The use of both dawn and twilight in the same run on is very confusing, leaving the reader (or me at least) confused as to what time of day or night it actually is.

Why LKH does this to herself I will never know. Why wait until the last minute to shit out a manuscript? The very thought horrifies me. I would hate to have anyone read my first drafts. My first drafts are so bad they might as well be radioactive, inflicting writer induced cancer on anyone dumb enough to gaze at them for too long. I can't imagine handing them in to be published. Like, where everyone can see them.

Anita says some stupid shit about how Nate is wearing lavender shorts, which are obviously women's shorts because they're purple. She goes on about how Nate is black in leopard form but his hair is auburn.

Anita apparently has a rule whereby the leopards can't sleep in her bed if they're in leopard form, which I find particularly rich given that she has a tiger orgy later where at least a couple of them are in animal form at the time. I don't care what your kink is! Do whatever you want! But seriously, don't sell me this vanilla good girl bullshit at the same time. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth, Anita.

More shit about Nate's bite marks. Seriously. Why is this such a big deal? Fine, it's a symbol of ownership in wereleopard culture (or whatever passes for it, since they have very little culture) but good lord, who gives a fuck? Anita is supposedly the leopard queen and as such could probably have nearly any wereleopard she wanted as a lover and/or a toy. Her taking Nate as her own should matter to the others, but it should be a matter of course and not something that takes up WHOLE CHAPTERS.

So her and Nate are alone together and they're both wearing skimpy silk outfits. Anita thinks Richard won't tolerate them going to bed together even though what Anita does sexually is none of his fucking business. Merle shows up to inform Anita that Richard is sitting in her kitchen crying.

I LOVE it when men show a range of emotions in novels. I'm being serious. One of the things we now need to ask ourselves, now that feminism has begun to take hold, is how we can reimagine masculinity so that it is no longer toxic. We have to allow men to feel and express emotions that have traditionally been strictly associated with women, without demanding that men pay a high social cost to do so. This is of utmost importance. I think there's a lot of self loathing, aggression, and anger that comes along with being socialized as a Western cis male, and certainly a large amount of this comes about because we teach men that their only acceptable outlet for emotions is anger.

THAT SAID. I find it hard to empathize or even sympathize with Richard's emotions, because he's been acting like an unpredictable abusive asshole with uncontrolled bipolar disorder for the past few chapters. He hasn't done anything that would, in my view, inspire warm or soft feelings in the reader. So, his crying seems self indulgent and manipulative.

Anita heads for the kitchen. Caleb makes a stupid comment about her clothes because his only purpose is to be a big fucking baby. LKH loathes women, clearly, and she consistently objectifies men. They just exist to revolve around Anita, perfect, brainless bodies with technicolor hair and eyes that can rub up against her on demand. I don't like to conflate the author with the work, but in this case I feel fairly comfortable suggesting that LKH has some deep seated gender issues to work through. That's not an insult, because who doesn't, but I hope she figures it out before it poisons her because this shit is the definition of toxic. Even for a fantasy, it's bad. Everyone in her world is a mere commodity to be traded.

Richard has a halo around his head because the dawn is touching his beautiful honey hair and my god could we be more literal?

Turns out one of the newest werewolves, a woman named Louisa, snapped on her honeymoon and killed her human husband, Guy. Basically, Richard didn't teach Louisa how to control her beast during sex, because Louisa wanted to wait for marriage before losing her virginity. Apparently this means she couldn't control herself during orgasm and she killed her husband. Oh, please. Has this woman never heard of masturbating? Richard couldn't send her off with a Pure Wand and a porn mag?

"...Richard and the girl and her fiance had been more worried about appearance than reality."

What the hell does that mean? That Louisa was holding to those ideals because she wanted to keep up the appearance of being a good girl? What a perfectly horrible, perfectly Anita thing to think. And Anita is supposed to be a Christian! Granted, you don't have to hold to purity and virginity beliefs in order to be a Christian, but she should at least be familiar with the thought process. And the reality is, sometimes we hold to what we feel is right even though there may be a cost. It's implied that both Guy and Louisa knew that this was a possibility. Yes, Guy died for it and that is tragic, but sometimes you hold a conviction that strongly and you stick to it despite the price. The fact that Anita can't wrap her head around that speaks volumes.

Of course, this is all about her again because she's so tired and cynical, yall.

It is perfectly possible to burn out on juggling everyone else's crises, but Anita doesn't care a whit for any of these people. And whenever she does try and help she fucks up and makes the situation worse, so she has no justification for her supposed emotional exhaustion.

At least Anita tries to comfort him with a hug. They both end up on the ground and Richard screams and sobs his heart out. Anita actually realizes that he needs comfort instead of sex. Wow. I'm going to savor this moment because later she'll be back to being inappropriate again.

Richard says he appointed and Eros and Eranthe for the pack. These two initiate new werewolves in to sex, showing them how to control their beasts even during orgasm. I'm just going to say it: this is a fucking cool idea. If only LKH could put her ego aside and actually take her time with a manuscript, actually do some real world building, this kind of stuff could be really awesome. I guess that's part of why I am obsessed with these books. They could be so good. So much wasted potential.

Richard tells Anita that the bolverk position, according to werewolf lore, is filled by someone who does the Ulfric's dirty work. Again a very cool and interesting idea. Again, it will be ruined by hyper focus on Anita's supposed badassery and ruthlessness, because of course he's angling for Anita to fill this position too.

He asks Anita what Anita would do if she were named bolverk. She informs us that she's allowed three helpers, and drops their titles. Richard As You Know Bobs us, explaining what part of Norse myth the titles come from. Supposedly Anita has been learning about the lukoi from another Ulfric named Verne, which is really confusing considering she needs to have things that should be bog standard explained to her on the regular.

Anita says something I agree with!

"The only true happiness, Richard, is in knowing who you are--what you are--and making peace with it."

Or at least I partly agree with it. I'm sure there are other paths to true happiness, but knowing and accepting one's self certainly helps. Of course Anita is just going to use this to justify her shitty doings, but hey. Trust a callous narcissist to twist any and all concepts to her benefit.

Anita and Richard want to fuck now. He asks her if she wants to stop and she says no!

I think this is the first time Anita has wanted to have sex in this entire godforsaken novel.

She puts her hand on his hip as they get up to go to the bedroom, which means her hand is "so very close to other things."

Dick. Cock. Member. Manhood. Even penis. I don't care. Not "other things."

Richard carries her to the bedroom. Anita is apparently so modest she wants to go there instead of doing it on the kitchen floor, but I guess Richard carting her past everyone like a sack of sexual potatoes is just hunky dory.


  1. I love your analysis of this dumpster fire of a series. I just want to say that now, because all I can think of is how much I want to use "sack of sexual potatoes" in conversation. Like, all the time.

  2. hey thank you so much! I do intend to go back to doing these, they just take forever to write up. I am glad you are enjoying them :) <3