Ericxihn, on 16 December 2011 - 09:23 PM, said:
I'm not a huge Abercrombie fan, but isn't that the point? Not even Glokta has agency; he looks like the puppeteer, but really just another puppet. Honestly that scene barely registered to me with all the other horrible shit piled on at the end of that book.
And is that a point worth making? It seemed a bit distorted to take the worst excesses and then (to use a very real-world example) like Police Battalion 101 use the excuse that they had no agency over their decisions.
Bass, on 16 December 2011 - 09:24 PM, said:
It's just the standard "appearance equals endorsement" argument plus extra CAPLOCKS RAGE!, with all the usual whining about how this supposedly contributes to a Culture of Rape/Sexual Violence/Whatever. I find it amusing that she actually liked Glokta, considering that he's always been a spiteful torturer - he only seemed more decent because we mostly see him from his own POV (the same problem with Tyrion, honestly). In any case, we've got over that argument about forty million times, and I don't buy in the case of what Glokta did in The Last Argument of Kings.
It's a reminder that Glokta is a ruthless, spiteful torturer who can get pleasure off of his victims. It's easy to forget that, since we mostly see Glokta from his own POV ("hero of his own story" and what not) plus those who pity him. He's not someone you should really sympathize with, even if he is getting his strings pulled by Bayaz.
And should I, as a critic, give much weight to how much I "care" for a character? I found that particular character to be a pastiche of clichés about the charismatic torturer and the "twist" of him appearing to be exactly what he is, a torturer, did not surprise or make me react in more than a hum-drum fashion. But when I think about what was the exact target to show this presumed "shock," the marital rape through threatened torture of a lesbian lover, I found myself thinking, "Why this?" It is an excess that only serves to introduce in a strained, forced fashion certain other character conflicts, ones that could have been done more naturally without the seeming resorting to (threatened) violence for the sake of violence.
Sure, the intent may have been to have a "yes, son, this world is full of shitty situations," but the result for many is "yes, this author managed to make violent hegemonic power structures into a dull, numbing affair because cruelty after cruelty just leads to desensitivation after a while." That is what led me to find each succeeding volume to be more of the same and which made it unlikely that I'll read future volumes. Reading the strong reaction to the rape only reminded me that I had been so deadened as a reader to the outrages that it was revolting to realize that such a thing was treated in a seemingly cavalier fashion. Others will differ on this.