Back in August Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns came to my attention after this review on Tor.com: “People who like this sort of thing.” Being a review of Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns.
Ah, thought I, yet another shit-brick in the shit-wall of the gritty grimdark feces pyramid. And since I’m on a roll riling up the neckbeards–one of whom, a Grack21, having previously called me a “crazy bitch” absolutely fucking lost his shit in the Westeros.org discussion like so (Kalbear being one of the handful people over there who are reasonable and, y’know, decent human beings):
Hey Kalbear? Fuck you. Fuck you and this fucking horse you rode in on. I don’t know what your goddamn fucking problem is, but I;ve had this discussion about Buffy more times then you probaly ever have, and I could send you fucking books and books of essays on the subject, so shut your goddam fucking mouth. I’m sick of your self righteous bullshit. If this post gets me banned from this goddamn fucking board so be it. Next time I ask for examples, maybe you shouldn’t link to a website that makes wikipedia look like a goddamn master thesis.
I about busted a gut reading that. Oh my. Look at the subhuman little turd utterly flipping out! Truly, my friends, I blog for this. Squeal, privileged piggy, squeal.
So, knowing that Prince of Thorns is another of those iconic neckbeard reads, I felt it only right and proper to give it a walloping what-for. I expected to quote the rapey bits first but, amusingly, this turns out to be the first passage that offends:
Bovid looked up sharp at that, pained and sharp. “H-how old are you, boy?”
Again the “boy.” “Old enough to slit you open like a fat purse,” I said, getting angry now. I don’t like to get angry. It makes me angry. I don’t think he caught even that. I don’t think he even knew it was me that opened him up not half an hour before.
In case you didn’t get it? He’s angry. Why? Because getting angry makes him angry! He is so, so angry and doesn’t like to get angry, as getting angry makes him angry. Angry angry angry.
Keeping in mind that Lawrence has been praised for his beautiful, effective prose. The standards of the genre have never been raised so high.
And because, despite having pirated it and thus having paid nothing for it, I’m not going to waste my time with this book I won’t be reviewing it. Instead I will review this person, a fan of a lot of things written and loved by straight white boys–so much so that he’s defending Mark Lawrence despite professing not to have especially liked the book. I found him after googling up “prince of thorns misogyny”, incidentally, thinking at the time to find other feminist critiques of the book–but of course, the shitstains have had their say too. Unfortunately. What do we know about this individual? Leo Cristea is so white it hurts and identifies as a man.
It follows that he has many strong opinions about misogyny and racism.
Firstly, I’m going to take a stand and let any feminists who won’t appreciate what I’m getting at here take a shot at me and ask: does it matter if a story is misogynistic?
See? Right off to a good start! From the very first this little boy wants you to know that he isn’t a human being, a being with empathy and ability to think beyond the end of his own Aryan nose, no: he is a turd. And an aspiring novelist too, so I think it’s safe to write him off as a future purveyor of grimdark gritty drivel that’s of no worth to anybody except other grimdark gritty drivel-eaters, such as himself.
Well, does it? Note that I am careful with my wording: ‘story’. You know, those things that are entirely made up, magically imagined from inside a writer’s head, and put down on paper in a fashion meant to entertain. Right, glad we’re clear that stories are in fact, made-up, fictional, and not at all a tricky shot at political agenda. If so, then why the hell does it matter if a story exhibits misogyny?
Stories are written in a vacuum and authors exist in a vacuum. Do you see? This little kid knows so much. He’s almost as edgy and obnoxiously know-it-all as the protagonist of Lawrence’s magnum opus.
Perish the thought that a writer might actually not feel pressured by feminist theory into crafting characters to please the feminist masses.
Perish the thought!
My goodness, it’s as though he is waving smelling salts under his nose. Look at that manufactured outrage.
Actually, Katherine’s power over Jorg, albeit subtle, is striking in the story. You notice that Jorg hesitates with her, thinks about her, wants her, and you also notice he does not kill her.
So what if he wants her? So what if she’s pretty? So damn what if he looks at women the way he does? Why should Jorg have to change just because objectifying women has become a taboo? It’s his character. Lawrence is entirely permitted to craft whatever character he desires, without reviewers taking cheap shots at him for misogyny. It’s ludicrous that a writer should have to bear in mind the current political or socio-political landscape, or a truck-load of “-isms”, in order to write his or her book.
This speaks for itself, I should think. A woman’s only power over a man is, of course, sexual. The man should be thought of as downright decent for not wanting to kill her. The rest is pure irony, as Leo Cristea has repeatedly made personal attacks against the original reviewer at Tor.com. Straight white geek boys and their inability to think beyond their own dick, eh?
How are we men supposed to look at women, and how then are we supposed to have our male characters look upon them? Last I checked, there weren’t any rules.
I have no idea how old he is, but however old he might be I think this is a good point where someone should run over and tell any woman he knows in real life that he is a loathsome little creep, and that they should start getting a restraining order or two, if they haven’t already. As for his mother: my condolences, madam. It’s not your fault your son turned out this way, don’t blame yourself.
I don’t care if a character is sexist, racist, homophobic or damn well xenophobic: as long as the character is well-written, well-crafted and well-presented.
Spoken like someone who is never subjected to sexism, racism, homophobia or any other -isms!
In my own work, I like to think I have strong women, vulnerable where needed, but entirely related to their character. [...]
He does call the women around him “woman”, when he’s irked, and he damn well will objectify the love of his life when he first sees her—he would, she’ll take his breath away. Neither am I going to force timid women from my story into tougher shoes that simply don’t fit, just to please the feminist camp. I’m going to write what I write, how I write it, and not be afraid of being called a misogynist.
No problem, boyo. You haven’t even gotten your shit-awful dreck past the slush-pile and I’m already calling you a misogynistic little toad-fucker.
It reminds of me English Literature study, where the tutor was never happy with an interpretation of a story as just that, a story. There had to be ‘feminist’ readings, were we look at the horrific messages conveyed through Dracula, or ‘post-modernist’ readings, were you looked at something equally boring.
This is why I like fantasy: a story can just be a story (of course, the worlds, epic plots, characters, swords and elves are pretty nifty, too).
“I am a barely-literate yet sanctimonious little cock who believes the epitome of literature is gritty grimdark fantasy full of rape, racism and homophobia. Look ma, I am unbelievably edgy! So edgy I slash my own wrists. Am I cool yet? AM I? PLEASE TELL ME I AM, WORLD.”
Maybe, if you believe the Goodreads ladies and their damning reviews, because I’m a guy and I identify with Dresden. Someone called it “misogynistic shit”: baffled as to how Harry is misogynous, however. Not that it matters: Harry is all kinds of cool, the plot is exciting and different enough that no matter the urban fantasy you’ve encountered (I’m thinking TV here, too) you will be surprised by the originality of Butcher’s ideas.
No wonder he hated English lit classes. He has many thoughts on race and culture, by the way, and all of it sound precisely like raging rampant racefail waiting to happen.
Since I probably misled you into thinking I was going to suffer Prince of Thorns so you won’t have to, I will do the decent thing and leave you with at least some randomly-picked quotes from the book so you can determine for yourself whether it is a creepy, creepy sausagefest.
#1 Makin pursed his lips. I never liked his lips, too thick and fleshy, but I forgave him that, for his joking and his deathly work with that flail of his. “Well, you can have the cows, Little Rikey. Me, I’m going to find a farmer’s daughter or three, before the others use them all up.”
They went off then, Rike doing that laugh of his, “hur, hur, hur,” as if he was trying to cough a fishbone out.
#2 I couldn’t argue there. “How old are you?” that fat farmer had wanted to know. Old enough to pay a call on his daughters. The fat girl had a lot to say, just like her father. Screeched like a barn owl: hurt my ears with it. I liked the older one better. She was quiet enough. So quiet you’d give a twist here or there just to check she hadn’t died of fright. Though I don’t suppose either of them was quiet when the fire reached them . . .
#3 I saw it in the frozen moments the lightning gave me. I saw what they did to Mother, and how long it took.#4 A painted whore, hennaed hair and red-mouthed, backed into Makin’s lap. “Where’s your smile, my handsome?” She had good tits, full and high, pushed into an inviting sandwich in a bodice of lace and whalebone. “I’m sure I could find it.” Her hands vanished into the froth of her skirts where they bunched around Makin’s waist. “Sally will make it all good. My handsome knight doesn’t need no boys to keep him warm.” She flicked a jealous glance my way.#5 She looked at me, eyes silver with the moon. She smiled and I thought for a moment she would forgive me. Then she screamed. She didn’t scream the screams she’d made when the Count’s men raped her. I could have stood that. Maybe. She screamed the screams she made when they killed William. Ugly, hoarse, animal screams, torn from her perfect painted face#6 She gave me a smile that left me wondering if I wanted to slap it off her, or kiss it.
The knife shook. I wondered if she’d cut live meat before.“You . . . you killed her.”The fingers of my right hand closed around something, a heavy smooth something, on the shelf beside my bed.Her eyes dropped to the old woman’s face.I hit her. Not hard, I didn’t have the strength, but hard enough to break the vase I’d found. She collapsed without a murmur.She lay in the sapphire pool of her dress, sprawled across the flagstones. Life flowed in my arms once more. It seemed as if my strength began to return the moment she fell. As if a spell were broken.Kill her and you’ll be free forever. A familiar voice, dry like paper. Mine, or his?Her hair hid her face, auburn on sapphire.She’s your weakness. Cut the heart from her.I knew it to be true.Choke her.I saw my hands, pale on a neck shading into crimson.Have her. The voice of the briar. The hooks slipped beneath my skin, and drew me down to kneel beside her. Have her. Take what might never be given. I knew the creed.Kill her, and you’ll be free.I heard the echo of a distant storm.Katherine’s hair ran like silk between my fingers. “She’s my weakness.” My voice now, my lips. One little step, one more death, and nothing would ever touch me again. One little step and the door on that wild night would close forever. The game would truly be a game. And I would be the player to win it.Choke her. Have her. The voice of the briar. A crackle in the mind. A hollow sound. An emptiness.
He doesn’t actually rape and kill her (or the other way around for that matter). I think we are supposed to think Jorg has grown as a person or something.
Mark Lawrence is a father of four, incidentally. I’d like to think none of them is a daughter, because that is a horrible thought to contemplate.
The black man’s naked chest glistened below the glowing point. Ugly burns marked his ribs, red flesh erupting like new-ploughed furrows. I could smell the sweet stench of roasted meat.“He’s very black,” I said.“He’s a Nuban is what he is,” Berrec said, scowling.
“Especially an ‘On Lycurgus’ written in high Latin, not that pidgin-Romano they teach in church.”
Other generic place names (because a lot of people seem to think this is groundbreaking revolutionary fantasy): High City, Triple Gate, Low City, Lectern Courtyard, Castle Red, Lich Road, Arrow. Why, it’s almost as original as Dragon Age 2!
There’s a lich in there somewhere, and going by that and a cursory glance at the whole thing, Prince of Thorns ultimately doesn’t come off as anything more exalted than D&D with extra grimdark. Which makes Leo Cristea’s (and other neckbeards’) fervent defense of its artistic integrity only that much more ludicrous and, of course, despite his plea to women in general and feminists/anti-racists in particular, he ends up coming off as far more defensive, emotional and hysterical than anyone could ever hope to be, spouting pretty much every other fallacy listed here. All while admitting he’s a straight white boy… without recognizing why that makes his perspective especially limited and his opinion on why -isms are okay utterly fucking worthless.
I dread to imagine what kind of cockroach he will turn into when he gets older. If there’s anything I’ve learned about this type it is that, barring a very select few exceptions, they get worse with age, not better. Here’s to hoping he, unlike Mark Lawrence, never taints the gene pool.