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King Rat > King Rat: Part Four - Blood: Chapters Fourteen to Nineteen

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message 1: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments Saul begins to receive the homage of the rats, who see in him their new King, as they have (quite rightly, imo!) no use for the old one.

King Rat calls him "You little ingrate. You little Tea-Leaf…you little shit, you bastard, I'll tan your hide, it's mine, mine…" Well, I think Monty Python said it all when they said that you can tell the King because he doesn't have shit all over him. King Rat doesn't qualify.

At this point, one might wonder if Pied Piper Pete really has a point. Rats have always been considered vermin by humans, and King Rat isn't doing anything to make us sympathetic. Of course, Pete murdered (or worse) hundreds of children out of nothing more than spite, and we've already seen the brutal way he killed Kay. Just in case we haven't got the point, Saul makes a new friend, Deborah, and Pete kills her for no better reason than that he can. I'm not sure how I feel about this as writing. It seems gratuitous.

Saul carries Deborah on his back across the rooftops, the same way King Rat carried him. "The irony, of course, being that she was right to trust him." The irony, of course, being that she could trust Saul in that, but that trusting him gets her killed in the end.

I love the passage from Saul's father's (?) notebook, about Cromwell: "No, fair enough, maybe can't be talking about Bourgeoisie to group of ten-year-olds but shouldn't be glossing over him! Terrible man, yes (Ireland, and etc. etc.) but must make clear nature of Revolution!" Strangely, I think I've developed an entirely different understanding of Cromwell, in the years since I learned about him in elementary school, and yet I always felt the English school system glossed over him too.

And then Saul discovers that his father isn't really his father. That his mother was raped by her brother: King Rat. It's great that despite learning of his biological parentage, Saul never wavers in considering the man who raised him as his father, and nor did his father consider Saul anything but his own son:
"Somehow, when he looked at Saul he looked at his son, and even when the air between them had poisoned and Saul had exercised all his studied teenage insouciance not to care, the fat man had still looked at him and seen his son, and had tried to understand what was wrong between them. He had not truck with the awful, bloody vulgarity of geens. He had built fatherhood with his actions." Beautiful. "Saul did not sob, but his cheeks were wet." Yeah, mine too.

BUT this raises a huge question that is never answered in the book. King Rat doesn't contradict this version of history, and yet Saul's entire value to King Rat and the entire reason Pete wants to kill him is that Saul's mixed parentage makes him immune to the Piper's music. And there is no mixed parentage? WTF?


Nataliya | 378 comments Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) wrote: "BUT this raises a huge question that is never answered in the book. King Rat doesn't contradict this version of history, and yet Saul's entire value to King Rat and the entire reason Pete wants to kill him is that Saul's mixed parentage makes him immune to the Piper's music. And there is no mixed parentage? WTF?"

Derek, there IS mixed parentage. Saul's mother was human; she wasn't King Rat's sister; he made that story up to explain his relationship to Saul to cover up the truth - him taking advantage of being able to lurk invisible in the shadows that enabled him to ambush and rape a young woman married to a young Socialist who out of nothing but love ends up raising Saul. King Rat decided to go with a less horrible explanation of his relationship to Saul.


message 3: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments I wondered about that possibility, and I was watching for answers on my second read, and I'm sure that's never stated. Saul doesn't even question it.


Nataliya | 378 comments It's indeed never explicitly stated that Saul's mother was not a Rat princess, but it's heavily implied from what's eventually relieved. Saul is half-human and half-rat. The initial explanation Saul accepts so easily was a Rat princess leaving her world for a man she fell in love with and not surviving the birth of half-human son, with protective uncle watching over the kid until he's in trouble and needs help. The story that we see from Saul's father's journal is - Mr. Garamont's partner, E., was devastated by rape and conceived as the result of the rape, and it's initially implied and then confirmed that Saul is the result of rape of a human woman by King Rat. King Rat confirms his paternity to Saul (and rats following him so easily may have been a giveaway even before the reveal) and who knows whether the rape was actually done not just for the sake of rape but in deliberate hopes of creating exactly the weapon he planned Saul to be (and how many women went through what E. did?)
From the events close to the end of the book, we do see that Saul is indeed half-human/half-rat.


message 5: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments I'm still not convinced. Why would King Rat have made up Saul's mother's existence as he begins the story of the Pied Piper: "I've lived all over. I was here when London was born, but it was measly pickings for a long time, so I took my flock and jumped ship long time gone. Your ma was entertaining herself elsewhere…" He just doesn't seem that bright, to have the whole thing planned ahead of need. If he'd told the story, and Saul had then asked "where was my mother while this was happening?" I'd be a lot happier.


Nataliya | 378 comments Why do you think he's not that bright? He easily figured out the usefulness of Saul's existence, after all. That takes some thinking. It makes sense he'd think of an alternate location for Saul's mother when telling the all-important story of which he - King Rat - was the sole survivor.
Do you think a Mieville made a mistake keeping Saul a half-rat when he shouldn't have been?


message 7: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (last edited May 02, 2014 09:34AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments Oh, now, you're going to make me say it. Yes, I think he made a mistake :-) Not necessarily because he wasn't half-rat, but if he was, why not show us that Saul's mother was the non-rat?

I'd say King Rat is clever, but not too smart. A stereotypical criminal. He's a narcissist, so he sees Saul only for what Saul can do for him. Putting unnecessary characters into his story seems wrong.


Nataliya | 378 comments Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) wrote: "Oh, now, you're going to make me say it. Yes, I think he made a mistake :-) Not necessarily because he wasn't half-rat, but if he was, why not show us that Saul's mother was the non-rat?

I'd say ..."


Derek!!! First 'The Scar', and now thoughts of CM's mistake??? You are breaking my heart into tiny little pieces.
That's where we disagree. I thought it was made quite clear by the implications from MR. Garabont's journal that Saul's mother, poor E., was an innocent human victim of King Rat, predator inly lurking in the shadows - just like Saul was later on in the book; the difference being that Saul let the lone woman walk by him unmolested, and his biological father clearly did not.
Saul stopped believing KR's initial lies; we should, too ;)


message 9: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments Hey, it's his first novel—I cut him some slack and allowed him to make a mistake!


message 10: by Traveller (last edited Jul 18, 2014 02:35PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 1838 comments Um... I think all becomes clear at the end of the book?

In any case, I'm afraid that I do agree with Nataliya. King Rat would never have won Saul over if he had told hem that he is Saul's father by dint of raping his mother. So, the original story he told Saul was a lie--Saul even says so later on in the book, and he realizes it when he reads his (adoptive) father's journal.

Think about it. The story makes it clear that King Rat is Saul's real father and that the human married to Saul's mother, was not his biological father but his 'real' father in the sense of that he was the one who loved and raised Saul and whom Saul loved in return, and Saul hated him for it, and he hated KR for raping his mother.

If KR was really raping his sister, why would he have to jump on her in a dark alley? Why not just have sex with her when she was with him, since rats do not have a moratorium against rape?

It seems to me that KR was raping human women in order to create the half-blood which he often mentions is his "secret weapon".


message 11: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments There's no doubt who his father was. And I don't really have a problem believing that his mother couldn't have been a rat, but imo it's really badly handled. At no point is there any reason to believe the initial story about his mother is untrue (and good reasons to believe it is true—inserting her into the story of the Pied Piper is completely unnecessary), except that it has to be that way to make the ending work.

To put it in terms independent of the actual story, an author shouldn't have to flat out lie to the reader to make his plot work.


message 12: by Traveller (last edited Jul 18, 2014 03:16PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 1838 comments Hm.. well, immediately after Saul read his human father's diary, I seemed to understand that Saul's mother had not been King Rat's sister? Maybe it's just the POV a person looks from when reading it, I guess... let me go and reread it to try and see how our different perspectives originated.

Well, this is the journal entry:

We are a few weeks on now from the attack, which I don’t really want to talk about. E. is very strong, Thank God. Many fears, of course, alleys and etc. etc., but overall she is getting better daily. Kept asking her was she sure, I thought we should go to the Police. Don’t you want him caught? I asked her and she said No I just don’t want to see him again. Can’t help thinking this is a mistake but it must be her decision of course. Am trying to be what she needs but God knows it is hard. Worst at night, of course. Don’t know whether better to comfort /cuddle or not touch and she doesn’t seem to know either. Definitely the worst times, tears etc. Am beating about the bush. Fact is, E. had test and is pregnant. Can’t be sure of course but have looked at timing carefully and looks very likely that it is his. Discussed abortion but E. can’t face it. So after long hard talks have decided to go ahead. No record, so no one need know. Hope everything turns out alright. I’ll admit, I’m afraid for child. Haven’t yet worked out my own reaction. Must be strong for E.’s sake.


And then later on, Saul says:


"Because when he had looked at Saul, somehow he did not see murder, or his lost wife, or the brutality in the alley (and Saul knew just how that attacker had appeared, as if from nowhere, out of the bricks, as he himself moved). "

Well, if E was King Rat's sister, why would he have to stealthily jump on her in a dark alley? ...and why would he be brutal with her?

...and why would it be so traumatic for her?


message 13: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (last edited Jul 18, 2014 05:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments Traveller wrote: "‘No I just don’t want to see him again’"

??? Implying she knew her attacker.

And if your rapist was your brother, wouldn't it be more traumatic, not less?


message 14: by Traveller (last edited Jul 19, 2014 06:08AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 1838 comments Well, if I was a rat, no, it would not be traumatic to me? Because rats don't rape one another? The female goes into estrus when she is ready?

From an article on rats:>>> A female rat can mate as many as 500 times with various males during a six-hour period of receptivity—a state she experiences about 15 times per year. Thus a pair of brown rats can produce as many as 2,000 descendants in a year if left to breed unchecked. <<<<
http://discovermagazine.com/2006/dec/...

and

>>>> Rats are polyestrous and normally cycle every 4 - 5 days. Estrus lasts for approximately 12 hours and generally occurs during the dark cycle. Ovulation is spontaneous in the rat (i.e. it is not induced by mating activity). ...

Pheromones are hormones produced by one animal that provide a signaling function to another animal, and in rodents may affect reproductive activity.
<<<


>>>>The Act

The female is the one that initiates the rat mating ritual. Female rats flirt by wiggling their ears and provocatively lifting their rumps in the air. Females and males live alone and come together just for mating. Buck rat is on top, female doe on bottom. The act only lasts a few seconds, but is repeated for up to 24 hours.


Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4568060_... <<<<<


>>>>> Description of male rat copulatory behaviors and ex copula reflexes

Male rats usually begin a sexual encounter by investigating the female’s face and anogenital region. Both partners may emit mutually arousing 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations. The male approaches from the female’s rear, mounts, and gives several rapid shallow thrusts (19–23 Hz) with his pelvis; if he detects the female’s vagina, he gives a deeper thrust, inserting his penis into her vagina for 200–300 msec (Beyer et al., 1981). He then springs backward rapidly and grooms his genitals. After 7 to 10 intromissions, 1 to 2 minutes apart, he will ejaculate. Ejaculation is characterized by a longer, deeper thrust (750–2000 msec) and much slower dismount (Beyer et al., 1981). It is accompanied by rhythmic contractions of the bulbospongiosus and ischiocavernosus muscles at the base of the penis, and of anal sphincter and skeletal muscles (Holmes et al., 1991). After ejaculation, he grooms himself and then rests during the postejaculatory interval (PEI), which may last for 6 to 10 minutes before resuming mating. During the first 50 – 75% of the PEI, the male will not copulate again and emits 22 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations. During the latter 25%, he may resume copulation if presented with a novel female or a mildly painful stimulus. After 7–8 ejaculations males reach satiety and usually will not copulate again for 1 to 3 days.
<<<<<<



message 15: by Traveller (last edited Jul 19, 2014 07:35AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 1838 comments The whole point of all the above being, that if E had been a rat, for her to become pregnant, she would have had to be in estrus at the time of the "rape", and then it wouldn't have been a rape, because female rats (in this respect different to human females) are sexually welcoming while they are in estrus.


message 16: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments That's a lot of research for a pretty shaky proposition :-) After all, King Rat is undeniably rat, as Loplop is bird and Anansi spider, but they're also of mostly human physiology.


message 17: by Traveller (last edited Jul 20, 2014 04:12PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 1838 comments LOL, Derek, when you get an idea in your head, you really stick to it.

Just humor me and entertain, for a few minutes, the idea that King Rat was lying to Saul about E being a Rat princess, and look at the book through that lens, and see if the whole book doesn't make more sense to you from that perspective.

...and then you think on King Rat's motive's for lying about her being a Rat Princess, and whether you think the character of King Rat might lie or not.

Well, we already know King Rat did lie. After Saul had found the journal, he says:

And somewhere he kept telling himself how stupid a boy he was. A new thought was occurring to him. If King Rat lied about this, he reflected, and the thought trailed off like a sequence of dots … If he lied about this, the thought said, what else did he lie about? Who killed Dad?

Later on in the book, when Saul confronts King Rat, he makes it clear that he knows King Rat had been deceiving him and playing him for an idiot when Saul says:

"“I’m your dad …” “No you fucking aren’t, you weird old fucked-up spiritual degenerate,” replied Saul instantly. “I might have your blood in my veins, you fucking rapist bastard, but you aren’t shit to me.” Saul smacked himself on the forehead, laughing bitterly.

“I mean, hello? ‘Your mother was a rat, and I’m your uncle.’ Jesus, nice one—playing me like a fucking idiot! And …” Saul paused and jerked his finger viciously at King Rat, “and, that goddamn fucking lunatic Piper who wants me dead only knows about me because of you.” Saul sat down hard and held his head in his hands. King Rat watched him.



message 18: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments Traveller wrote: "LOL, Derek, when you get an idea in your head, you really stick to it."

Yeah, but I didn't put that idea there: Miéville did, and I find it either fundamentally dishonest, or just plain sloppy.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 1838 comments Hm. Have you never read a book before where one of the characters deceived the protagonist? I've read lots of such plotlines, so maybe that made it not feel strange to me that it should happen in this book?


Nataliya | 378 comments Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) wrote: "Traveller wrote: "LOL, Derek, when you get an idea in your head, you really stick to it."

Yeah, but I didn't put that idea there: Miéville did, and I find it either fundamentally dishonest, or jus..."


Well, he did - and then he showed that it was a lie.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 1838 comments Hey Nataliya! What did you think about the ending of the book? I felt a bit disappointed with the last few chapters in general, and not sure how I feel about the ending. Though I suppose comments about that should go into the last thread. :P


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