Rape Rarely Referenced

I keep seeing this one around, and even though I’ve dealt with it generally before, I’m going to break it down for those who can’t see. There is this assertion that Sookie’s rape – the trunk scene with Bill – is not dealt with in the text, and that CH glosses over it. Usually it’s said by people who haven’t been victims, or occasionally one lone rape victim/survivor.

One of the things that bothers me about the complaints about this in the CH books, is that last season of True Blood lots of people were “bored” by how long the whole Tara being raped and terrorised by Franklin Mott thing and her resulting trauma. I thought that the what ¿week? Tara was upset about it was reasonable, but apparently that’s “boring” and “too long”. I heard lots of complaints about it – and no praise – she “whined” about it too long apparently. Conversely, Sookie catches it in the neck for not mentioning it enough. It seems to me that whatever a woman does is wrong – which must surely be a comfort to rape victims everywhere. Nothing they ever do is right. Good to know. So I don’t harbour any hope that this post will mean people will complain less about Sookie (or Tara). But at least I’ve put it out there.

Rarely do I see rape victims (and I use victim in my work, so I don’t switch to survivor, which is much debated anyway) have one cohesive experience. In my personal life, I’ve known, off the top of my head eight female victims, and three male victims – all of whom have spoken to me personally about their experience – of their own volition (because it’s bad to force victims to do it your way – and hence why I’ve probably heard more about it that your average person because other people try to force victims to comply to “rules” and judge them).  Possibly, I know more, but it doesn’t come up in conversation as a rule. I also have the benefit of much research into a great pool of victims – including case studies.

Firstly, I’d like to point out that CH herself is a rape victim.

“I’m a long-term rape survivor and really proud of my adaptability.” Source

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Telepathic Bitches

I knew you’d all read it if I called it that, but I promise it wasn’t an advertising gimmick – I’m actually going to talk about telepathic bitches. 😀 Mr. Minty and I were discussing the books, and some of the meta themes. Now, he’s only up to All Together Dead, but we were discussing Eric’s character, and how intensely interesting he makes the books themselves. Don’t mistake this for “Eric is the best character” – it was really a discussion about Eric’s murky motivations.

For the record, he thinks I am way too kind and forgiving of Eric. He pegs Eric as far more devious than I do, pointing out that Eric trapped Sookie that first night into not just helping him that night, but helping him forever. That Eric was really a complete bastard and deliberately held “death or torture” over Sookie’s head to lure her into making a deal wherein she agreed to be part of his gameplan. But that he allowed Sookie to think she had some power in the situation by letting her make that deal. Frankly, the Eric in Mr. Minty’s head is scarier than the one I have in my head – and the one in my head is not Mr. Nice-guy.

As I’ve discussed before, Eric just doesn’t talk much. He rarely explains himself, and he never spends half a page justifying his actions. Lots of readers hereabouts would love an Eric based internal dialogue of the books. Mr. Minty pointed out though, that when you become a vampire, that little angel on your shoulder is put to rest.  You don’t debate the right way of doing something any more, you just do what you have to do to keep on surviving and getting what you want. While vampires continue to function as an entity and move around in the world, there is no internal conflict to drive the story.

Internal conflict is necessary for any story, but something that doesn’t seem to be necessary for average to bad fanfic. In an actual book, EPOV would reduce the text to being machine-like, as in “I cleaned up the body, burying at the back of the property where no one would ever look”, and that’s half a chapter reduced to one sentence. It is Sookie’s internal conflict and dialogue that makes the actual story, giving it meaning – her questions about how right it is to kill Debbie Pelt, and what lead up to it. Of course, that’s one of the meta-themes – we are witnessing the slow and steady descent of a Christian woman, who believes in helping others, doing kindnesses and turning the other cheek; become a woman who in the heat of the moment doesn’t react in the way her ideology dictates she should act. That everything is examined as to whether it was right or not, and Sookie’s internal conflict is essential to making it a story, rather than a list.

Then there’s the internal conflict found (or not) in fanfic.
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The Waitress’ Best Supe Friend

Okay, so I’ve seen this said millions of times – Sookie and Sam as the ending. Sookie and Sam is the way CH is going to fuck up the Bill and Eric fanbase.  I think some of this is guilt for those readers who’ve been royal bitches to each other over two fictional men. But of course there’s the theory that CH didn’t understand what a monster she was creating with either Sookie and Eric, or just plain old Eric. That it has become a run away freight train CH can’t control, and she’s only begrudgingly giving us Sookie and Eric, only to “hurt” us all by making Sookie go be with Sam.

I asked Mr. Minty what he thought of the idea that CH didn’t know the value and character of Eric (he’s in ATD at the mo’), and created him completely by accident, and his relationship with Sookie by chance. He looked at me like I was crazy – and I mean really crazy – and asked how the hell you write a book by accident or create a character by accident. So, I thought that apart from my own thoughts about how that was impossible, I wasn’t just telling myself what I wanted to hear, and that idea is batshit crazy. Excepting in that Doctor Who episode – with Carrionites whose names I wish to steal (totally just call me Doomfinger or  Bloodtide – how cool are those names, uh?). But I suspect the next CH book won’t open a portal. Or shit, I fucking hope not.

The question is why does anyone think that CH is going to write all of these books, and then give absolutely zero romance to the main relationship Sookie’s going to end up with? Continue reading

PMR gets a peen?

I’ve read a few times that Sookie doesn’t accept Eric’s true nature as a vampire, merely because she doesn’t want to be one. That no matter what she says about being a vampire, it just goes to show that she doesn’t really accept him because she doesn’t want to be like him.

Huh. I probably should get a sex change to show my husband that I really like him and accept him as a man. Otherwise I can’t possibly accept him. I must secretly hate the poor guy, despite how often I sing his praises. But, if I don’t have a dick, no matter how hard I try, it’s meaningless and worthless.

The irony of these statements is that readers don’t really accept Eric’s nature themselves – not in fanfic. Most of the plasticised versions of Eric completely ignore his nature. But they want Sookie to mature and be less selfish about the whole thing. Which just plain old makes me laugh.

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Offerings Often Obstructed

Let’s see if I can keep the alliteration going here. 😀 This one is a mistaken belief that Sookie both refuses gifts, and that she ties it all up with being a whore. What’s pretty hilarious about this one – at least for me – is that every single person who complains about this also complains that Sookie transposes Bill onto Eric. Ah, reflections in thy waters honey. Read onwards to see why I find that one particularly funny. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I’ll do one better than that, and prove it, with quotes – so excuse this quote heavy post – but this one is just too pervasive and I’m sick of reading it.

Let’s have a look at the times Sookie refuses a “gift” and all the times she accepts a gift from Eric, just to prove that I know what I’m talking about. I haven’t included any gifts she’s gotten from Alcide, Sam and Pam – all of which she’s accepted without trouble, because this scenario only ever turns up in secret-Bill fangirl fic. This is the infamous scene where readers get angry at Sookie for not wanting to be seen around Bon Temps as Bill’s whore. I would question whether this is in fact a “gift” – it doesn’t even have the thoughtfulness of money in card:

“Why can’t you just send me some damn flowers, like anyone else’s boyfriend?
Or some candy. I like candy. Just buy me a Hallmark card, why don’t you?
Or a kitten or a scarf?
“I meant to give you something,” he said cautiously.
“You’ve made me feel like a kept woman. And you’ve certainly given the people
who work at those businesses the impression I am.”
Living Dead in Dallas, p. 28

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Virgins Valued Via Vampirism

Hey, don’t say you couldn’t anticipate this one coming. It’s one of the first things I complained about on my profile.

Now, of course, most people know that I’m running the St. Eric contest – more determined than anything to try to change some of the crap that I read that is overly romantic guff all about Eric. While I have no illusions that it’ll be the new internet sensation, I do so hope that it’s a bitchslap to cut it the fuck out and increase the amount of non-perfect Eric I read. Plus, I have gotten to express my own thoughts on the whole stupid perfect Eric phenomenon with visuals, which is good because writing the example fic took months and almost killed me. Every time I read something stupid, I’d paste it into my file and then counter it. I gave others an outlet to express their frustration, and now I have a section of people I’ll be more amenable to helping with fics. That’s what I count as a raging success for me, and I hope to read maybe a couple more from stragglers, but as it is, I’m sure I’ll still have plenty to bitch about.

Every so often I see things in fanfic and think “Wow, that’s a radical interpretation of the text” and wonder if logic and reading skills had been deployed. There are a few of them that percolate under the surface each time I read them, so I made a new tag just for them, because they’re really looking at the text of the book and examining where some of these things come from. (Pssst…if you go to my user info you can now search by word here – I needed it, so you got it). But they’ll mainly be shorter complaints about some of those themes. Sometimes I can tie themes together, but I don’t need to save internet paper.

One of those is, can you guess? Virginity and its importance in fanfic, to the point that vampires can smell it.
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