Monthly Archives: April 2012

50 Shades of Grey Trilogy *SPOILERS* Why I can’t recommend it.

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*PLEASE NOTE: SPOILERS WITHIN FOR THE ENTIRE TRILOGY! IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS FOR ANY OF THE BOOKS, DO NOT READ! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*

 

I have noticed a lot of traffic on this site related to searches for information about EL Jame’s runaway bestseller and so-called “mommy porn” Fifty Shades of Grey,which is turn has led to many views of the two posts I have already devoted to the subject. This is an expanded version of an email response to a fellow blogger who had questions for me concerning the controversial trilogy.  It does contain spoilers for the plot, so be forewarned. And considering the subject matter of the books–a BDSM relationship–it naturally contains mature content.

Fifty Shades of Grey at SeaTac newsstand

Fifty Shades of Grey at SeaTac newsstand (Photo credit: rachelkramerbussel.com)

OK, 50 Shades . . . I seriously wondered if I wanted to read the third book after reading the first two and not exactly being enthralled—frustrated and at times, very troubled, is more like it—but I felt I needed to complete what I started.

I decided to consider what I invested in time and money to read them “taking one for the team” in hopes of helping others know whether or not they would be interested. And as a writer as well as a reader, I needed to see what James did with these characters.

She has clearly intended for this to be the first three in a series of books on these characters. She includes a chapter at the end telling of their meeting from Christian’s POV, which frankly creeped me out with its predatory qualities.

I know that BDSM is not considered sexual deviancy by psychiatry today.  I have no problem with a bit of consensual light bondage, light-hearted spanking and that sort of thing between two well-adjusted adults. I’ve included it in my own erotic romances. It adds a nice bit of spice to the sex.  Writing and reading about sex is fun, indeed. Nothing wrong with some steamy escapist fantasies.  And there is no doubt some of the sex scenes in 50 Shades are hot.

However, I believe someone who has an overwhelming urge to beat a series of young dark-haired women black and blue because they resemble his dead crack whore mother who neglected him and allowed her various boyfriends to abuse her little boy, who ended up living with his mother’s corpse for several days . . . is someone carrying a lot of emotional baggage.

He was also seduced by an older woman who made him her submissive for seven years beginning when he was 15. Before that twisted relationship, he was acting out and getting into fights at school, so supposedly she “saved” him by teaching him to be her sub. But I can’t approve of an older woman manipulating a child in such a manner. Little wonder he was so f***ed up.

He thinks Ana will be the perfect submissive, and of course, she isn’t. She keeps resisting his rules. Perhaps that is part of her appeal for him—the challenge. He thinks he can tame her . . . I find myself asking what intelligent and well-grounded young woman (as she is presented to us) would even consider getting involved with a man like Christian once he had presented her with her “contract” and all its clauses. It is clearly evident at that point he is a major league control freak and a kinky one.

No matter how handsome and sexy and rich he was—I would ask myself, would it be worth denigrating myself and potentially putting myself in real harm’s way? I guess part of my problem is I have never desired to be tied up and gagged or shackled wrists to ankles, spanked or beaten with a belt. I enjoy fantasizing as much as the next girl, but those acts haven’t been part of my imaginings.

Their relationship is based on a strong sexual attraction. She is “different” from the others because, number 1, she is a virgin and so he performs “vanilla” sex with her to get that pesky virginity stuff out of the way; number 2, he ends up actually sleeping with her (as opposed to having sex and then returning to his own bedroom). He becomes obsessed with her very quickly and she with him. Before you know it, they get married and then in a rather ludicrous plot twist, she ends up pregnant.

An epilogue at the end shows them having an idyllic picnic with their little boy, with Ana pregnant with a second child. And Christian is now the loving and doting daddy. Happy families with a mum and dad who still enjoy kinky f**kery on a regular basis in the playroom.

As Servetus says, I think we are supposed to see it as that romantic all-consuming love–not unlike Bella’s and Edward’s relationship in Twilight and remember, this started off as a Twilight fanfic– but it doesn’t work for me on an intellectual or emotional level.

These two fight squabble, bicker and scream at each other at every turn throughout the trilogy. The only way in which they seem to be able to communicate and really find common ground is through sex. They don’t talk to each other; they yell at each other. And I find myself wanting to yell at them to grow up. I don’t think it’s a healthy relationship.

There are constant misunderstandings and false assumptions made on each side. This is her first sexual relationship and it’s his first normal (or semi-normal?) one and you feel as if these two are rushing headlong into something they aren’t ready for. There’s a level of immaturity here that makes it difficult for me to see them being able to so quickly establish a successful marriage and family life. I mean, I can’t buy it that this volatile and mercurial and emotionally immature man who gets upset over the smallest things could have become a captain of industry by 27.  He’s all over the place with his emotions, and so is Ana, albeit to a lesser degree.

Are they equals? Well—at one point when he thinks she is going to leave him he falls in his knees in a submissive pose and acts the role . . . as if he is reliving being Elena’s sub. She agrees to continue to do these kinky things with him, after discovering she has more intense orgasms through it.

But I just don’t buy it all. James describes this story as a fantasy, but she seems to be trying to couch it in reality and it doesn’t gel in a satisfactory or acceptable manner for me.

And I think it sends out a message young girls—who will inevitably get their hands on the “forbidden fruit” and read it—don’t need reinforced: that the love of a good woman conquers all.  How many young women have fallen under the spell of a man who proved to be obsessive and abusive, a stalker, jealous of anyone and anything that takes their attention from the guy?

We hear with heartbreaking frequency about cases of women who have been terrorized, assaulted and murdered by men who supposedly loved them.  Men with anger issues and violent streaks who took it out on the women.

The eternal appeal of the bad boy.  Only, in real life—it doesn’t generally end up happily ever after. That’s why I think there’s a potentially dangerous message here. I don’t believe in censorship and Lord knows, my readers will tell you I am not a prude.  But mommies, your daughters don’t need to be reading this stuff.

Actually, I would like to hear what a trained psychiatric pro who has read them thinks of these books and the behavior of Christian’s therapist, which, if not unethical, is certainly questionable at times.

As far as the quality of writing goes, yes, there is definitely better crafted stuff in the arena of fan fiction you can find online and for free that offers plenty of steam without making one squirm uncomfortably as you read about an innocent young woman being savagely beaten with a belt to give a man “pleasure” (that scene still makes me cringe)  . . .    this is still fanfiction with a questionable message masquerading as a mainstream novel.            I love both; but they are two separate entities.  And one more reason I cannot in good conscience recommend these books.

Last call for Sir Guy . . .

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As Guyday Friday draws to an end. I hope you’ve enjoyed the feast of Guyart and vids with a lovely weekend to come. Tomorrow night I will be going to the final performance of our Greenville Area Arts Council fundraiser. Keep your fingers crossed I can sit through it without too much discomfort. My tailbone has been cranky lately.

 

Apparently people have been asking about me all week at rehearsals and performances and Benny says I’m going tomorrow night “even if I’m dead” He’s tired of hearing it all LOL. Apparently I have been missed. 😉 Actually I am looking forward to it. It’s fun to see our local talents (several of whom are friends and former co-workers) singing, dancing, playing in the show band and hamming it up on stage. BTW, that final piece of art references the wonderful comedy classic I Love Lucy and a phrase poor Ricky Ricardo used to use when his crazy wife was up to her shenanigans. 😉

Publicity photo of the I Love Lucy cast: Willi...

Publicity photo of the I Love Lucy cast: William Frawley (Fred Mertz), Desi Arnaz (Ricky Ricardo), Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz), Lucille Ball (Lucy Ricardo). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guyday Friday: A versatile subject

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One of the many things I appreciate about Sir Guy is the broad array of options I have when writing, vidding, or creating art about this character and Robin Hood. I can be angsty, I can wax poetic, I can get very, very steamy and I can be splendidly silly (come to think of it, I believe I was all of the above when I wrote Dangerous to Know . . . 😉 you’ve seen a little bit of everything in my Guyart today and I hope you have enjoyed it. Really, he’s such a wonderful subject with which to work.

Sir Guy: A man in love

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Sir Guy and Marian. OK, yes, he started off looking at her as a good catch–she was the daughter of the old sheriff, high-born, well respected; she was pretty and she had always been linked with Robin of Locksley. Marian could be one more thing Guy could take away from his hated enemy.

 

And then–he went and fell in love. Even after she rejected him at the altar and he told himself to forget her, that she meant nothing to him–he still cared. Still wanted to protect her no matter how much potential danger it caused for him. Still wanted her as his lover, his wife, the one he would have a home and family with.  He truly had no one; he pinned all his hopes and dreams on Marian returning his love. *sigh*

 

I still think it could have been a very compelling storyline if Guy and Marian had married, putting Marian in the position of divided loyalties between Robin, her childhood sweetheart and a wanted outlaw and Guy, the husband and sheriff’s lieutenant with whom she found herself falling in love in spite of herself. Robin, pressuring her to still be his spy, and Guy, expecting her absolute loyalty; both men, jealous of the other’s claim on Marian’s heart. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guyday Friday: Some Like it Hot

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Next to John Porter, surely Sir Guy is the ChaRActer who emits the most heat. Here is some artwork featuring the Hot Henchman and videos to set your toes tapping and your heart going pitter-patter. Hope your Friday is going well!!

 

 

 

 

 

Noshable Armitage: TAE Word of the Day

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I have actually used today’s word in reference to Mr. Armitage more than once.

Nosh: (verb) to snack or eat between meals; to snack on. (noun)  a snack.

Nosh stems from the Yiddish word nashn which came from the German word meaning “to nibble.” It entered English in the 1950s.

Naturally, this being Guyday Friday, I would choose artwork featuring our favorite hot henchman  to illustrate. I often find I want to nosh on that tempting long swan-like neck of Guy’s. I also think that laryngeal prominence I admire so much would make a great nosh. After all, it is called an Adam’s-apple, isn’t it?  😉

It’s Guyday Friday! Guyart Galore!

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Guyday Friday–perhaps the most anticipated day of the week here at The Armitage Effect.  Sir Guy does something to us, doesn’t he, with those kohl-rimmed eyes, sometimes blazing blue, sometimes darkened with fury or with desire; other times, a forbidding wintry grey, or soft and luminous with tenderness,  or wide and pleading.

 

Those tempting lips with their delicate Cupid’s-bow, all the sexy, knowing smirks and the all-too-rare genuine smles that make him look like our dark angel.  The stubble defining the masculine jaw and elegant planes of his face, a face with a noble profile–the profile of a king.

The raven hair with its touch of red that begs to have an admirer run her fingers through it.  That long, white column of throat that tempts so many, the breadth of those shoulders. the sculpted arms, those amazing chesticles, strong horseman’s thighs, the way he slinks down a castle corridor or sits in a saddle—it’s all so very, very good, isn’t it? Little wonder we are besotted. I was up for 24 hours straight (not that I planned it that way) and thus a marathon of Photoshopping with RA. Lots of Guy and more to come on this Guyday Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Accessorizing Sergeant

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Sgt. Porter and his cool shades. And those scarves that showcased his swan-like neck and allowed him to look so mysterious and sexy when used to mask his face.. His uniform beret and his bush hat. Those bracelets that look just swell on those slender wrists. Let’s face it, the sergeant is not just handsome and heroic, he’s great at accessorizing, too!

The small moments really add up . . .

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Yesterday my husband brought me some of the wild roses that grow on the banks along our country road. “And I took the thorns off for you,” he said, returning the smile I gave him as I admired their delicate pink hue. He’s done this in the past, presented me with some of the pretty gifts that Mother Nature bestows upon us in the spring. When the honeysuckle blooms, I am sure to find some waiting for me, that intoxicating sweet scent I so adore delighting my nose.

Those small moments, the little gestures over the years mean so much to me. I thought of Thornton and the yellow flower he brought back with him from Helstone, the flower he sweetly and shyly presented to Margaret.

I suspect JT is the sort of man who would remove the thorns, too.

Sir Guy and the man who made us love him

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Yeah, I know it’s not Guyday Friday yet, but I have something like 80 pieces of fanart with the Hot Henchman and I just have to share. Not that I expect anyone to complain. 😉 These are a little more angsty and trying some different painting techniques. I have also included one of my favorite shots from Hood Academy and a couple of videos–at least one I know I haven’t embedded here before. Enjoy the Guy and RA goodness!