The Sword and Laser discussion

Circe
This topic is about Circe
318 views
Circe > Circe: potentially triggering content

Comments Showing 1-17 of 17 (17 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ruth (last edited May 23, 2018 02:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth | 1252 comments Sorry for starting this discussion off so early, I wanted to capture my thoughts on a particular part of this book while they're still fresh in my mind. I'll just leave this here until others are ready to discuss.

I Lemmed the May pick, Night's Master because of a sexual assault which happened early on. A few other people also disliked the sexual violence in this book, while others thought it was justified by the plot and style of the book, and we had some lively discussion.

Circe also features a scene of sexual assault (possibly more than one, I haven't finished reading it yet) and... I was ok with it and felt no need to give up reading. I have a few thoughts about the difference between the two books and my reactions to them, and I'd be interested to hear what others think.

- First, while the scene in NM was very near the beginning and arrived entirely without warning, the scene in Circe is about half-way through and there's much more foreshadowing and buildup - eg as some previously pointed out, Greek mythology is super-rapey as anyone with even a cursory knowledge will know, there were earlier mentions of rape being a potential threat, and the actual scene had a more gradual buildup. Not a trigger warning as such, but I felt Miller gave more chance to mentally prepare.

- This one's pretty subjective: I much preferred Miller's writing style, which was straightforwards without being too explicit. Tanith Lee's description was purple prose-y and frankly just grossed me out. A conqueror entering a city? Bleugh.

- In Circe, the rapist (view spoiler) In NM, the rapist is the protagonist, and it seems we're supposed to keep rooting for him? Nah-ah.

So all in all, I thought Circe was a good example of how potentially triggering content can be written well and form an effective part of the story.

tl;dr both Circe and Night's Master have rape scenes, but the scene in Circe is way better handled and better written so I didn't mind it.


Trike | 8959 comments It’s a good conversation to have, and I think your distinction between the two portrayals is cogent.


message 3: by Rick (last edited May 23, 2018 06:21PM) (new)

Rick | 2929 comments "In NM, the rapist is the protagonist, and it seems we're supposed to keep rooting for him?"


First, I wouldn't call Azharn the protagonist. Second, I don't ever get the feeling we're supposed to root for him and, well, third... given that you lemmed the book very early on, I think it's understandable that you have the wrong idea about both of these things.

That said, it does occur early on and with minimal setup. I think the reader needs to go into NM knowing it's written in a mythological style and that the supernatural characters are thus not going to be bound by human mores. Circe is, of course, obviously mythology-based so a reader comes to the book with that in their mind.


message 4: by TraceyL (last edited May 23, 2018 12:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

TraceyL | 76 comments I'm so untriggered (is that a word?) by this kind of content that even though I just read Circe a couple of weeks ago, it took me a minute to think of the part you were talking about.

Here a vague description I've marked as a spoiler (but I tried to give as few details as possible) of what happens a little farther along, if anyone wants more information about the content:

(view spoiler)

Hope this helps.


Allison Hurd | 227 comments For me, it's all about what the rape is in the story between the characters and between me and the author. If I am meant to feel the horror personally, as opposed to being there to witness a character suffering, I am much more likely to chuck the book. Haven't read Circe yet, but for me a good example of this other bad kind would be Shards of Honor. Just explicit, meant to make me, personally, hurt a little, and to show how bad someone is, rather than what it does to the character.

In that, I thought NM did a good job. I can appreciate finding the prose disturbing. Azrahrn is meant to be bad. I am always fuzzy on how consent works with deities...they're gods. They can shape reality or change your mind for you, so it did not read really like rape to me, except for the questions of how someone like Sivesh could consent. I read enthusiastic consent with an awful, abusive person. Not...good, certainly, but not like Shards. Nor was it prolonged, like with Who Fears Death, and we got to see how this relationship changed both characters over their lives, unlike in Dead Witch Walking.

Purposeful, conscious, brief, with consequences. I also did see it coming, either because I had warning from the group, or because it felt like a story I'd read before and knew the shape of. Getting a heads up is a huge help to me in dealing with scenes that are traditionally triggery, so thanks everyone for sharing the news!


message 6: by Ruth (last edited May 24, 2018 03:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth | 1252 comments Lots of discussion already and we don’t officially kick off for another week! Excellent *rubs hands together evilly*
I’ve now finished the book - I loved it! Beautifully written and I’m always a sucker for a feminist retelling of myths.
If you enjoyed this, I highly recommend trying The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, a retelling of the Odyssey from Penelope’s point of view.
Interestingly, I realised when reading the parts where Circe (view spoiler) that I found this part scarier than the rape scene - clearly as I’ve become a mother myself my worst fear has transferred from something happening to me to something happening to my baby.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2898 comments There is sexual assault by a god later on (view spoiler) This particular scenario is supposed to be horrifying because it shows the disregard for the humans by the gods, and how they value revenge over respect for life. But like Ruth said, it's Greek myth so you do expect a fair amount of senseless acts of violence. This time it comes with commentary from the few characters with souls (okay, soul is the wrong word, since that's not the word used.)


Jessica (j-boo) | 322 comments As I recall (view spoiler)


Robert Osborne (ensorceled) | 80 comments I brought this up while we were reading “An Unkindness of Ghosts” which I found much more problematic and had to stop reading. I didn’t have any issues with “Night’s Master” and so far I’ve just had to pause “Circe” and give myself some time.

I’m enjoying “Circe” and the trigger is in the context so I’m just plowing through.

Everyone’s triggers are different so just sharing my perspective, not disagreeing or judging.


Oleksandr Zholud It maybe a coincidence, but just recently except in the above-mentioned Circe and NM the rape scene was in The Just City and the latter was the most educational (in the sense of understanding by me as a male reader) the issue.
As for Circe, can we be sure that the rape happened (most likely it did but bear wit me)? Later in the book we are showed that Circe is an unreliable narrator ((view spoiler)), and she was afraid of the rape several times earlier in the book.


Trike | 8959 comments On a side note, how great must it have been to claim you were visited by the gods to explain things away?

A girl and her boyfriend do the bom-chikka-wah-wah and she gets pregnant:
“I told you not to mess around with that boy!”
“It wasn’t him, father, honest! I was praying devoutly when Zeus appeared to me as a shower of golden coins and blessed me with child!”
“A demigod! In our own family! Oh glorious day! Truly Olympus looks favorably upon us!”


Oleksandr Zholud Trike wrote: "On a side note, how great must it have been to claim you were visited by the gods to explain things away?"

If everyone believes that gods are real then false claims leads to angry gods, not a nice outcome. If no one truly believes then that doesn't work as an excuse :)


Trike | 8959 comments Oleksandr wrote: "Trike wrote: "On a side note, how great must it have been to claim you were visited by the gods to explain things away?"

If everyone believes that gods are real then false claims leads to angry go..."


Except Zeus would be all, “Yeah, that sounds like me.”


William | 434 comments Trike wrote: "“It wasn’t him, father, honest! I was praying devoutly when Zeus appeared to me as a shower of golden coins and blessed me with child!”."

She would probably be telling the truth, only chances are it would not end well.




message 15: by William (last edited Jun 10, 2018 01:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

William | 434 comments On a more serious note (and looking more to the OP), I'm just over halfway through the book and have just passed a rape scene.

I feel very different about this scene and similar ones in NM (which I did not finish - so I write partly in ignorance).

While I found it difficult to read, I did not feel the need to put the book down (or throw it out the window like it was a snake as with NM).

I think the difference here for me is that the act is quite clearly presented as unquestionably a bad thing and we are witnessing it from the point of view of the victim so it is clear where our sympathies should lie. The writing - while I feel every word was carefully chosen - was rather sparse and matter of fact - not flowery and 'mythic'. I think I find this clarity makes it's inclusion more palatable. This is not an action that should be glossed over or glorified. It was presented as a very bad thing, it's inclusion made this point and the author then presented the traumatic effect on the victim, which further clarified the moral message.

I think, basically that the author got it right. It was justified, well written and certainly not gratuitous.


message 16: by Tina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tina (javabird) | 726 comments William wrote: "On a more serious note (and looking more to the OP), I'm just over halfway through the book and have just passed a rape scene.

I feel very different about this scene and similar ones in NM (which ..."


I was impressed at how the author showed the tension in the room build up right before this occurred ,(view spoiler) It was more chilling to me than the actual act.


William | 434 comments Tina wrote: "I was impressed at how the author showed the tension in the room build up right before this occurred ,(view spoiler) It was more chilling to me than the actual act..."

I totally agree.


back to top