Unpicking The Tudors; S1 E4


Good day, costume fiends!

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This week’s episode is ‘His Majesty, The King’.

As a reward for his denunciation of Martin Luther, the Pope christens Henry “Defender of the Faith,” but a brush with death causes the king to seek a solution to his lack of an heir. Princess Margaret marries the decrepit King of Portugal reluctantly, but the union is short-lived; Henry’s desire for Anne Boleyn intensifies.

I found this episode, apart from the massive Portuguese set piece, to be fairly dull. Most of the episode is spent in building up what will become important later; the downfall of Wolsey, Anne’s relationship with her brother George and with Henry, and Thomas Cromwell. The episode feels a little lacklustre after how jampacked the last few episodes have been, but it makes a needed change of pace. Let the story breathe a little bit – don’t jam as much you can in fifty minutes, you’ll give me history whiplash!

You Simply Must Meet Thomas (… again)

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James Frain as Thomas Cromwell popped up suddenly in the opening credits and is now a secondary character. Thomas Cromwell was a lawyer and MP who served as chief minister to Henry VIII from 1532 to 1540. He worked for Thomas Wolsey from 1514 to 1530, and served as Cardinal Wolsey’s secretary from 1529. As a minister of Henry VIII, he is one of the chief architects of the Dissolution of the Monasteries and of the foundation of the modern form of the British Parliament.

He’s gotten a lot of attention in recent years because of the Man Brooker award winning ‘Wolf Hall’ book series by Hilary Mantel. His image has been remade, a touch too sympathetically in my opinion, but he’s still an incredibly important figure from the period.

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He’s revealed pretty quickly to be pro-reform of the Catholic Church. Cromwell did, in real life, support the work of reformers and the evangelical movement, and involve England in support of the pro-Protestant German states.

However, he appears in the episode as being promoted by Wolsey to be Henry’s personal secretary. That’s complete nonsense; Cromwell wasn’t involved with Henry’s ministerial matters until 1530 – 1. This appears to be taking place in 1525, far too early for Cromwell to be connected directly to Henry.

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He’s also dressed in a way that I would call ‘1590s Dutch reformer realness’. His clothes are slim fit, with high collars, and long trunkhose. I suppose it draws attention to him as a obvious reformer and evangelical, but the Puritan movement is barely a twinkle in anyone’s eye at this point.

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This Holbein’s portrait of Cromwell. Notice that his clothes are wide, square around the shoulders, and feature a loose and baggy overgown. There’s a lot of layers, a lot of fur, and tight-fitting hat.

And as an aside, they couldn’t have Henry’s sister Mary be called Mary in the show because it would be ‘too confusing’. Yet all the guys called Thomas are allowed to retain their names. I wonder why that might be.

Wolsey is Still Being Generally Evil Because The Historiography For This Show Is From The 1970s

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The man that Wolsey set up as a French spy has gone mad due to torture. Because Wolsey’s eeeeeevvviilllll. Although I will point out that torture in England has been illegal since the 12th century – except in the care where a warrant for torture was signed by a sitting monarch. So, the guy who is responsible for this torture is… you know, Henry. Not Wolsey.

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Norfolk and Thomas Boleyn (hey look, another Thomas who is allowed to retain his name) reveal that Wolsey has kept the prolific and incredibly wealthy parish of Winchester for himself. That’s amazing, seeing as Wolsey wasn’t in charge of the Bishopric of Winchester until 1529. Wolsey has amazing time travel powers!

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Wolsey tries setting up Henry with Marguerite of Navarre, which is weird. Not only are Henry and Katherine still married at this point, but Marguerite of Navarre?

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Yeah, she’s called ‘Of Navarre’ because she’s married to the King of Navarre (who’s referred to as a Duke for some reason, even though Navarre is a separate kingdom at this point). So I have no idea what Wolsey is trying to do. Is he trying to get them married? Does he want Henry just to sleep with Marguerite? What does it accomplish? She’s the sister of Francis I, but Wolsey wants peace with the French, so what does pissing off Francis accomplish? There is no sense in having Wolsey set Marguerite and Henry up.

Anyway, Henry bones Marguerite because he’s a braindead man-slut with no depth of character.

There’s Also Some Stuff to Do With Religion

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Henry’s ‘Defence of the Seven Sacraments’ has earned him the title of ‘Defender of the Faith’. This is a title still held by the monarchs of the United Kingdom – Elizabeth II is a Defender of the Faith – but it was granted in 1521, so the Pope’s a little bit late with his post. Anyway, Martin Luther has written a rebuttal and Henry hates it so much he throws a little tantrum.

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I’d like to point out as well that many of the depictions of religion in this show are massively inaccurate. Take the royal chapel, for example; this is not a Catholic chapel of the sixteenth century. This is a plain stone, non-decorated chapel that is clearly Protestant. Our ideal of a quiet, plain church with quiet is Protestant and Victorian, and not anything to do with the sixteenth century.

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Catholic chapels of the period would be bursting with colour and decoration. They were bright and eyecatching, full of noise and people. Henry’s chapel had mass five times a day – he was a really religious man.

Thomas More then tries to talk about Jesus’s pain and suffering and Wolsey is not having any of it. Shove your Jesus talk, Thomas.

I Want to Bang Anne Boleyn But Also I’m Sad Because I Might Die Someday

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Henry has this mad constipated love for Anne Boleyn that can’t be contained. He’s so in love with Katherine’s lady-in-waiting (Anne Boleyn was not Katherine’s lady-in-waiting. She was Queen Mary Tudor’s lady-in-waiting) that to keep him running after her, Anne goes from court.

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Henry’s surprised by this, even though Anne would have to obtain permission from Henry and Katherine to leave court. Like, it’s her job. She can’t just give it up and vanish if she feels like it.

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Henners gets mad jealous at Thomas Wyatt for being ‘previously engaged to Anne’. For a start, that’d be impossible because he was married before he even met Anne, and that particular plot point has been taken from Anne Boleyn’s previous entanglement with Henry Percy, later Duke of Northumberland.

And look, it’s another guy called Thomas. But viewers would get too confused at three women called Mary.

Anyway, Charles V has won an immense victory against the French at the Battle of Pavia, decimating the French army and capturing Francis I. Henry declares that there must be celebrations and jousts for this victory.

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That’s some cheap looking armour. Here’s some actual armour of Henry VIII;

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This cheap and flimsy looking armour leads exactly to where you think it’s going to go.

No wonder Henry is such a child. He’s suffered repeated brain injuries.

After some vaguely incestuous interactions with her brother, George, (stay classy, show), Anne comes back to court. Henry is violently jealous and it’s pretty gross.

Guess the strangling is subtle foreshadowing. But, like, sexy foreshadowing because Henners mashing his face against hers is so erotic.

After sustaining a head injury and almost dying once, Henners decides to do some bad pole-vaulting.

This is based on a real-life incident, but I don’t know exactly when it happened, but it sends Henry into a panic.

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I never even thought about my future wails 34 year old man.

Henry throws another tantrum, because apparently the writers can only convey his emotions through screaming at other characters, because he has no children, he could die, and he wants a divorce from Katherine.

Henry’s separation from Katherine was never a divorce. Henry sought an annulment from Katherine. A divorce means that a marriage took place, while an annulment means it never happened. Henry never looked for a divorce. If you say that he did, you are wrong.

This Marriage is Ridiculous 

I can’t state how much the whole ‘Margaret marries the King of Portugal’ storyline is terrible.

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“Wah, I have to marry into one of the most wealthiest kingdoms in Europe and he’s old, waahhhh.”

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Anyway, because Mary hated Charles so much it means that actually they were deeply, deeply attracted all along and they have the most uncomfortable and awful sex scene I’ve seen. After all, if a woman doesn’t like you and obviously detests you, that means she’s actually in love with you because yeah, let’s bring that trope into it because it’s not offensive or ridiculous at all.

Mary doesn’t handle meeting the King of Portugal very well.

Two things:

  1. Grow up, buttercup. You’re a royal princess, and this is the name of the game. At least you’ve got a husband who wants to make you happy. You could be like Joanna of Castile, who was tortured into insanity by her husband.
  2. If we accept the premise that this is all taking place in 1525, then the King of Portugal would be John III. Who was twenty three at the time. I have no idea who this old man is supposed to be. John III also married Catherine of Austria in 1525, so there’s no chance for him to marry Mary.

Mary can’t stomach being married to such a horrible old man (whose only fault is that he’s old), so hatches her own plan.

In real life, Mary Tudor married the King of France, who was much older than herself, and he died a few months later. It was said that he died of being in bed with her too much, so I’m guessing that there is just nothing right about this storyline. She absolutely did not decide to smother her husband because EW OLD.

Let’s Talk Fashion, Baby

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There is absolutely no shape or structure to this gown. The hood is ridiculous, a sort of strange headpiece that has no place in a sixteenth century drama, and the gown is slim fit, with no shape and certainly no undergarments that were worn by women of the period.

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This is Mary Tudor. Her gown has a fitted bodice worn over a chemise, farthingale, and petticoat. Her hood is not a really random plantpot sort of pinned into her hair.

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I don’t like any of Henry’s sofa-inspired suits. None of them are accurate. He’s meant to look big and broad shouldered! This is far too slim and flattering.

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Yeah, no. That looks practically seventeenth century. There is nothing right for an English gown of the period on this dress.

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Why can’t this show get a single hood right? Even Anne Boleyn’s hoods? When she’s famous for introducing the French hood to the English court? What’s up with her short sleeved jerkin thing? Why has she got short sleeves on?

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Those dresses are very fifteenth century Italian apart from the sleeves, which are bits of cloth attached to each other with string. Also: these two women came onto Thomas Tallis, a minor character who’s been hanging around for the past few episodes, and loudly announce how much they want to have sex with him. They are interchangeable, have no names, dress the same, and only wish to have sex with men. They exist for no reason other to be sexual objects to men.

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Not a single one of Katherine’s gowns are right. Why is the waistline so high? What is that stupid thing they’ve shoved on her head? Where are her trumpet sleeves?

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Square necklines, big sleeves, cone farthingale underneath the skirt, and a great big ol’ gable hood. Not ‘sexy’ I guess, but it’s better than the terrible mess Katherine is wearing that makes no sense.

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These women are on loan from an English civil war drama. ’cause not a single one of them looks like they’re from the 1520s.

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Ew. That’s leather stays and they look gross as as hell. Accurate, but the pleather looks terrible. And the sleeves are terrible. And no Tudor woman would consider wearing this, at all.

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Anne is pretty much dressed as a woman from 1620s. The laced, elbow length sleeves, the exaggeration around the stomacher, the way the skirt is shaped – this looks Jacobean. It’s a whole century out.

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Obviously, the bodice on Anne’s dress is considerably longer, but the shape bears more in common with this dress than a Tudor gown.

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Hell, it even looks more like this dress from 1670 than anything from the 1520s.

That’s it for this week, costume fiends, but come back next weekend for another forray into historical inaccuracies, poor costuming, and the screaming tantrums of a man-baby that apparently passes for an interpretation of a renaissance monarch.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter twenty four


We sent Gregory in his kitty-cat fur down to watch Damian.

WHY CAN’T YOU SPEAK LIKE AN ADULT

I don’t ask for much, but please talk to me like I’m a goddamn adult. You’re not writing a children’s book. You’re writing an adult erotic fantasy thriller. You shouldn’t be witting as if you’re trying to appeal to three year olds.

Anyway, Gregory is a shit because he can’t go stripping tonight because he has to stay in animal form for ‘six to eight hours’ and then spend ‘two to four hours’ passed out. This seems ridiculous and not mentioned before? I’m sure that this happened before but, eh, whatever. LKH doesn’t care so I don’t.

Clair, Richard’s girlfriend, is incredibly shocked by all of this.

I wasn’t sure why, unless her world was so protected that just being in the car with a stripper was a big deal. For her sanity’s sake, I hoped her world was bigger than that.

Of course, Clair is so sheltered in comparison to Anita. Clair is just so sexually naive, unlike Anita. Because all women are pieces of shit compared to Anita.

Clair asks Richard and Nathaniel about what it’s like when they pass out and shift – Richard doesn’t though, because he’s an Ulfric, and that means extra magic? – and Nathaniel reveals that he was turned when he was seventeen. Anita gets an O face as this means Gabriel turned Nathaniel into a wereleopard illegally.

Gabriel liked to rape and torture people for fun. I have no idea why Anita is horrified that he would do something else illegal.

“It’s illegal in most states to contaminate anyone willingly with a potential fatal disease, regardless of age,” Richard said.

I shook my head. “I guess I’m starting to treat lycanthropy the way the law treats vampirism. If you’re eighteen you can choose.”

“The law doesn’t treat it the same,” he said.

I knew that, but I’d spent so much time among the shapeshifters, that I just sort of forgot. Careless of me. “I guess I forgot.”

“And you a federal marshal,” he said.

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Anita is so professional that SHE DOESN’T KNOW THE FUCKING LAW SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE ENFORCING.

jesus christ

Also, how come vampirism isn’t considered a ‘fatal disease’? Becoming a vampire literally involves dying. But the law is A-OK with that as it doesn’t involve spending time with those dirty wererats I suppose.

Dr Lillian announces that Richard could have lost his arm but his super-duper wolf powers prevented it. I want to know how he almost lost his arm, considering that Damian bit a chunk out of Richard’s chest. Maybe LKH just forgot. Clair and Richard talk a little about shifting, and Anita thinks that Clair is super young, like twenty five. Even though Anita is what, twenty eight? Eh, whatever.

Richard is worried about his job but Anita starts whining about how Clair has no control and she’s too young to be out in public and that Clair is probably going to go crazy and try and eat someone.

Like Damian? Or is she just under this much scrutiny because she has a vagina? Richard plans to shift to heal (???? if it knocks him unconscious then surely it’s bad for him?) and then more about that werewolf that went mad earlier. Richard came as the wereleopards were worried about Anita.

Fredo said, “All your leopards are very serious about your and Micah’s safety.”

I looked at him. “I wasn’t aware of that.”

You’re their fucking leader, Anita. Of course they’re going to be concerned about your safety.

Richard and Anita bicker over who’s going home, and then it’s revealed that Nathaniel is Anita’s love potato.

Nathaniel gives everyone coffee in matching mugs and gives Anita hers. It’s pale brown, which makes me howl with laughter. Anita goes on and on and on about being such a coffee snob, and she’s just proven that she really isn’t. True coffee aficionados have their coffee black, Anita. You’re just diluting the pure coffeeness of it all.

Richard complains that Nathaniel treats his home like it’s his home. Nathaniel supposedly has that apartment that Anita pays for, but he is never there and lives with Anita. I don’t get Richard’s problem. Lillian steps in to say they don’t know how to act around a love potato.

[Nathaniel] set the creamer and pitcher on a little tray, along with little tongs for the sugar cubes. Why sugar cubes? Because Nathaniel seemed to get a kick out of asking how many lumps people wanted. He was like a kid playing house. No, that wasn’t fair. He was like a new bride that had never had a house, or a kitchen of her own, and was really enjoying the hostess stuff. But it was like he didn’t know what real people did in a house, so her was taking it from movies, books, or magazines. I mean nobody serves cream and sugar anymore on a little tray with little tongs, right?

no brains

No one gives a shit, LKH. NO BODY GIVES A SINGLE FUCK ABOUT THE SUGAR TONGS.

Nathaniel was wearing one of his favourite pairs of blue jeans, so faded that they were turning white in places. They fit his lower body like they were painted on, and it was a nice paint job.

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NO ONE GIVES A SHIT. THIS ADDS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO THE STORY. WHEN ARE WE GETTING BACK TO THE MURDER MYSTERY?

Anita goes on about how young Nathaniel looks which makes me want to hurl.

Richard complains some more about how Nathaniel is acting like this is his house. Golly gee why are we still on this issue? Richard calls him a ‘wife’, as this is a sexist nightmare, and he’s like but you aren’t fucking him why are you looking like you’re fucking him. So Anita is cruel about Clair and this is a black hole of despair.

On the upside, Nathaniel is making biscuits. Because the Stepford Wives is the ideal world to be living in.

Richard is annoyed because Nathaniel means something to Anita. Richard, why do you care? Anita is horrible to you. She cheated on you. She thinks you’re a piece of shit. Drop this shitshow, move to California, and forget all about it. Richard is whining about Anita is living with Micah and Nathaniel which is Bad because that means she is a slut or something.

“You’re always screw around when we aren’t dating,” I said.

Oh gosh Richard dates people other than Anita? Wow what a horrible person. It’s almost like they broke up AGES AGO because ANITA IS A HORRIBLE HORRIBLE PERSON.

You see, Richard is bitter because he thought Anita was cheating on him with Nathaniel.

Uh, LKH? You didn’t introduce Nathaniel until Burnt Offerings. Richard and Anita broke up in The Killing Dance. You know, the book BEFORE BURNT OFFERINGS. So, how exactly could Anita cheat with Nathaniel when she had no idea that he existed and had never interacted with him?

“Like I said, you broke up with me, Richard, not the other way around. You broke up with me, because, quote, you didn’t want to love someone who was more comfortable with the monsters than you were, unquote.”

No, it’s because you went to suck JC’s dick, Anita. It’s because you’re a cheat.

Richard whines some more about how Anita must have been cheating on him with a character that didn’t exist when their break up was being written, then Anita slutshames him for having a sex life that doesn’t involve her.

Richard admits he’s not in love with Clair, and Anita admits that she totally loves Nathaniel for all those wonderful personally traits that he has like…..

Nah, I got nothing either.

Nathaniel kisses her, as he’s a manipulative asshole. And then he says he wants intercourse.

How romantic.

Anita then faints. Because reasons.

Uh, when are we getting back to the plot? This long tangent into nothingness is not showing any signs of stopping.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter twenty three


This is a twenty page chapter so buckle up folks. I’m guessing this chapter will not be a return to the A plot, but a continued ramble of bullshit

Nathaniel’s attempt to make me laugh accomplished one thing; it made me feel better, though I have to admit the smell of freshly ground coffee helped lure me through the door. I couldn’t let one ex-fiance stand between me and my coffee, could I? Not and keep my self-respect, so in we went.

What the shit is going on. What time is this taking place. When. What. How.

Richard was sitting at the kitchen table on the side nearest the door. Dr Lillian was standing over the finishing the bandaging of his entire right shoulder and arm.

He was so injured that it barely stopped him from having sex and long conversations. Anyway, Anita is surprised that a medical professional acts like a medical professional. There’s a body guard lurking around because Marcus died (Marcus was a doctor? I don’t know who he is? What the fuck?) and he’s like dripping in knives. Even though he’s a were-animal and has like mad strength.

Anita freaks because she’s clearly going to die, as even though Fredo ‘was on our side, but he was definitely a bad guy’. Who the fuck is Fredo? The bodyguard? Have we met him before, at all? You can’t drop a character name and just expect us to know them because Anita does. NEWSFLASH: I am not Anita, and I’m glad for it. Character knowledge does not equal reader knowledge. Anita panics as her claustrophobia starts to kick in. I want to know how all these people got in the house without Anita’s knowledge. Damian starts to touch her but Anita starts to Hulk up as ‘I need to be angry right now, Damian, it’s all I’ve got’.

I have no idea what’s happening. Anita’s angry about something, but she’s always angry.

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Me too, Bruce, me too.

Dr Lillian demands that everyone give Anita space and some air as her claustrophobia is just sooooooooooo bad you guise, yeah this claustrophobia that she never had until a couple of books ago.

Anita heads out on the deck and flails about seeing colours and panicking and just generally being useless. You see, the tri force is now a five force, as she tied herself to Damian and Nathaniel. Yes, she is now permanently linked to those two wastes of ink.

Dr Lillian orgasms over how amazing Anita is.

“I know you are a constant amazement to the wererats. We never know what you’re going to do next.”

Whine, have sex, flail around, get injured, say disgusting things. That’s about it. Anita heads back inside and Fredo goes all ‘grrrr’.

The white roses that Jean-Claude sent every week framed Fredo’s darkness.

Oh, yeah, he’s a wererat, so he’s Latino. Just to point out how he’s all ‘dark’ and shit, and he’s all super dark against the whitey white roses. Just to prove that LKH puts no thought into her words whatsoever. Anita skulks around the kitchen, wary of the scary brown man.

The days when I would have picked a fight just to reassure myself I was still tough were long ago and far away.

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Being a girl, that phase had been shorter anyway. We are much more practical creatures than men, as a general rule.

Of course, men are just big helpless babies that have to be looked after by women. Because that’s a woman’s job. This sort of shit isn’t feminist fam.

Damien, who hasn’t been the centre of attention for five minutes, has decided to wedge himself between the cabinets.Basically, Damian couldn’t cope that Anita was out the room for two seconds. Ah, codependency. Romantic.

Anita touches him and then suddenly POW. DAMIAN IS SO BEAUTIFUL THEY MUST AVERT THEIR EYES. HE HAS MAGIC VAMPIRE HEALING POWERS THAT LIKE EVER VAMPIRE HAS BUT IT’S SUDDENLY A BIG DEAL BECAUSE BEAUTY.

Micah confirms that Damian is blindingly beautiful and that all of Damian’s flaws have now been fixed, like he’s had amazing beautifying plastic surgery.

I see. People’s flaws are horrible and disgusting. They must be gotten rid of. Because they cannot be loved while they have flaws.

LKH, you’ve got to pay attention to what you write. Because it’s awful and offensive and terribly written.

There’s a page of everyone confirming that Damian is indeed beautiful and then Richard telling Anita how she did it because the Belle vampire line have the powers to make people beautiful.

Wow. That’s such an important and necessary vampire power.

There’s two pages of people wondering how this happened and who did it. THIS IS NOT IMPORTANT. I DO NOT CARE WHY DAMIAN IS SUDDENLY SO BEAUTIFUL. IT’S NOT NECESSARY. CUT THIS SHIT OUT.

Anita calls JC and he says that BM vamps get prettier sometimes. Anita tells him what happened and because JC has the brain cells of a dead paramecium he thinks this is interesting. Damian and JC talk in German which, ha, jokes on them, as Anita sort of speaks German.

Grandma Blake had spoken German to me from the cradle up. I’d taken it in high school as my language, because I was lazy and wanted a leg up.

And you didn’t take Spanish? When there’s a large Spanish community in your area? And your mother’s family is Mexican, so presumably you speak some Spanish anyway? Gee, Anita, you’re kinda stupid. You already speak German, you don’t speak to Germans on a regular basis, you’re not in an area where German is needed, and you weren’t planing on taking an exchange class to Germany or Austria. Taking German was a fucking waste, because after all that, Anita can’t understand that they’re saying.

JC plies praise on Anita as she’s got some amazing vampire powers that no one else has. Of course she does. She has amazing power that no one else has ever had as she’s the most special little snowflake that has ever existed. JC then gives her shit because she doesn’t love him enough to let him walk around in daylight. It also maybe makes her immortal or something.

or something

JC is angry that Anita had sex, BLAH BLAH BLAH, Anita has to raise the dead sometime soon or her magic will just start fucking shit up.

JC then makes creepy statements about how he’ll now conduct all his business in Italian so Anita can’t do a thing about him and what he does.

I should have lied about speaking Italian, but hell, as good as I’d gotten at lying, my first reaction was still to tell the truth. I guess you can’t undo all your upbringing, no matter how hard you try.

Yeah, right, you’re not a liar. And I guess your parents brought you up to be a horrible human being with no empathy for any other living creature.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’chapter twenty two


When I finished having hysterics and everyone had rinsed enough blood off them to be presentable, or at least not make my neighbors call the police, I got dressed.

YOU LIVE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. YOU HAVE NO NEIGHBORS. THAT’S WHY YOU GOT THIS HOUSE.

Micah had pointed out that we’d probably all be going to bed, so why bother getting dressed, but I needed clothes.

Then put on a t-shirt and a pair of PJ bottoms? Don’t you just have stuff for lounging around in? Casual clothes? Doesn’t Anita ever behave like a normal human being?

Black everything from the skin out, including the shoulder holster, Browning Hi-Power, and hidden under my hair the hilt of a really big knife.

SO EDGY. Ah, the reappearance of that stupid fucking knife that makes no sense whatsoever. But it’s cool and all sort of ninja-y so that’s okay I guess. *rolls eyes*

Micah tried to point out that I probably didn’t need that much weaponry to go into my own kitchen. I looked at him, and he stopped. No one else complained.

HA HA HA HA HA

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ISN’T SHE SO WITTY.

Anyway, Anita fusses about getting dressed because there’s SO MANY HAWT GUYS AROUND FOR LITTLE OLD HER and it’s too much for her delicate sensibilities.

Besides, Nathaniel promised he’d make coffee. I hated eating before ten o’clock, but coffee before ten was a necessity.

What time is this? When is this? Oh my god, this is all still the night/day after the wedding in the first few chapters. THERE HAS BEEN TWENTY CHAPTERS OF THIS NONSENSE.

LKH, you are not the genius you think you are. Your first draft is not gold. You have learnt nothing in your career as an author. If you knew a damn thing about the trade, you wouldn’t let this steaming turd be associated with your name.

Anita and Damian bicker back and forth for an entire page about his dressing gown. See, Anita doesn’t understand what a dressing gown is, even though a dressing gown is just the British term for a robe.

The editor should have just thrown this book in a shredder.

Anita comforts Damian that she’s not angry with him having no character but being a sex-mad rapist with sad puppy eyes. They try to sense each other’s feelings and Anita’s heart is broken because… I don’t know and I really don’t care. Maybe her breakfast (or dinner, because what time is this????) burrito was cold.

Micah came to stand in front of me. Once it had seemed odd to have such serious intelligence out of kitty-cat eyes. Now, they were just Micah’s eyes.

The phrase ‘kitty-cat eyes’ makes me want to punch things. It’s so ridiculously childish. Micah strokes her face and Anita wants to rub against it. She doesn’t and I have no idea why we have to hear about her thought process in minute detail. She then decides to rub against his hands. It seems nice and takes a half-page to do.

“I would spare you this, if you’d let me.”

Spare her what? What is even happening? The last TWELVE CHAPTERS have added absolutely nothing to the narrative. It does not form a substantive subplot and does not add to the main narrative – that hasn’t been mentioned for over a hundred pages.

Anita complains that men get weird after sex. That they get possessed or ‘just want a chance to do it again’. Well, the possessiveness comes from the fact that LKH decided to make all the love interests fucking awful abusers and rapists, and what’s wrong with wanting to have sex again? Is that considered weird? Isn’t that a sign that you’ve both had a good experience?

Nathaniel makes the decision for Anita that she won’t hide. I have no idea what she’s hiding from or why she can’t make a decision for herself.

Micah is upset that Anita is hurt. Presumably he’s angry that it was someone other than him did the hurting. I still have no idea what’s going on

Everyone makes jokes about coffee. This whole chapter should have been crossed out with an extremely large red pen.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter twenty one


I screamed, and Richard’s mouth was suddenly on mine. He kissed me, a gentle press of lips, Fear thrilled through me, all the way to my fingertips, as if terror were an electric current. I shoved him away from me.

But he really wants to have sex, so I guess that means all this is okay.

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Anita starts to panic (OH SO SEXY) and Richard starts looking ‘eager, anticipatory’. So I guess women cringing in fear gets him hard then. A+ for enforcement of rape culture. He starts sniffing Anita and his eyes turn wolfish. Damian starts to freak and he clings to Anita’s leg, sending an image of bodies being pinned down and held down and they both start to scream.

Richard’s response is to physically tear Anita away from Damian, tearing up her skin a little, and making everyone freaks. Still, it stops her from actually screaming so I guess that means all this strong rape imagery is okay?

No, not really.

Richard pulled on my arm, sharp, sudden. It threw me off balance, and he used that momentary stumble to swing me in against his body, my arm behind my back with his hand still on my wrist. I should have been more interested int he pain, but it was the sensation of being suddenly pressed against his naked body that overwhelmed me.

Well, I guess if a woman is sexually attracted at all to a man who intends to rape her, that means it’s not rape. All this physical violence, Richard throwing Anita around as if she were just an object to stick his dick in, ignoring her entirely… Ah, l’amour.

Anyway, all this romantic violence makes Moroven pull away… because she was possessing them I guess? Interested in what the fuck is happening because of reasons? We’re twenty one chapters in, and there’s been nothing more about this vampire serial killer that’s targeting exotic dancers. Like, this is meant to be a mystery novel and there’s just chapter after chapter after chapter of extraneous character bullshit.

We’d both thrown down out shields to help Jean-Claude raise the ardeur and save us, but shields protect you from so many things.

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Anita then bursts in tears. Understandable after all this bullshit, but nope, it’s not about Anita.

It was Damian who answered, and his voice let me know that he was close before his hand patted my shoulder. “Richard hates himself more than he loves anyone else.”

Who gives a shit about his man pain?

Gregory is upset that there’s no rape happening and Micah throws Gregory out. So he did one good thing in his entire life. Give him a sticker. Micah’s ‘beast’ comes awake and it’s like a big, friendly domestic cat. Anita and Micah’s ‘beasts’ rub against each other and she describes Micah’s ‘arms could be home’.

Look, I understand that. Being held by someone you love is incredibly comforting. But why does Anita love Micah? What do they have in common? What do they enjoy doing, beside boning? What do they do together? How do they comfort each other? How do they cheer each other up? How do they react when the other is ill? Why do they have a connection?

*crickets chirping*

Yeah, thought not. Connection, intimacy, and chemistry is built on a lot more than just a desire to bone each other.

Nathanavile kisses Anita and begs her to not be sad. He cries crocodile tears.

What is love? Sometimes it’s just letting yourself be who and what you are, and letting the person you’re supposed to love be who and what he is, too. Or maybe, what and who they are.

Yeah, but I don’t buy it. Not one of your characters demonstrate that you understand how to portray love in a meaningful or realistic sense. They don’t even fart in front of each other.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter twenty


noe anita

Just when you think Anita Blake has lost all power it has over you…

OK, I am coming back to sporking. I am back, dudes, dudettes, and dudexs. I’m hoping to be back to sporking on a part time basis – I really can’t do the every day schedule anymore! I am not a young sporker out the gates anymore. I’m going back to university in September to train as a teacher (!!!) and I’m in a relationship – so I can’t spend hours every day screaming at Anita.

I’m not going to reveal personal information about my boyfriend, but his name is so ironic. As in, he is my boyfriend. Have I told you about my boyfriend? As I was saying, my boyfriend, who is my boyfriend.

That should be enough clues. Gods, these books are entrenched in my life.

Right, everyone is nude and nothing is happening. That should sum up everything that happened so far. Look, there’s not really that much to catch up on. We’re 150 pages in and nothing memorable has happened.

JC is calling for Anita but she’s full of fear. Anita is slumped with Nathaniel and Damian ‘their hair mingling like bright and dark ribbons’. Gregory is kneeling in front of them all, all half-leopard up in their business.

Even under spotted fur and yellow kitty-cat eyes, the hunger showed through. Not lust, hunger.

You know, I generally can’t read the expressions on a cat’s face that well. They just sort of look like cats all the time? Plus, if you say hunger, I think hunger. If you say lust, I’d think lust. Words mean things.

Richard is also there and his unhappiness/anger/bullshitedness and this pulls everyone out of Damian’s Terrible Worst Memory Ever. Through the power of plot convenience! JC then starts talking again, letting Anita know that Moroven (you know, Damian’s personal Voldemort) can be defeated through the ardeur’s ‘clean lust, free of pain and terror’.

I don’t understand how a moist vag defeats evil but I’m not a vampire hunter. Guess I don’t have the right qualifications.

Richard is very angry because… he’s Richard, and Anita is hesitant to feed on him. After all, Richard doesn’t ever want to be fed on and there’s been that whole issue in the past about how she did it without his consent because Anita is a horrible person. It’s a moment where Anita has a single concern for another living creature – well, until Richard, gritting his teeth, is all YES I HAVE SAID IT’S OKAY.

Well, I guess forced/coerced consent is a kind of consent. Ish.

‘I cannot hold Moroven’s fear off forever, ma petite, you must act before my strength fails us all.’

Oh no they’d be… hurt or dead. I wouldn’t want that, I’m so emotionally invested in all of these richly developed and nuanced characters.

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‘Easy for you to say, it’s not your lily-white ass on the line.’

‘I am loosing against Moroven. I can feel her nightmare coming closer, and when it comes close enough, I will flee and save myself, in hopes that when darkness falls there will be something left to rescue.’

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Anyway, Anita has to have all the sex with Richard because…. um… it’d be super bad you guise you have no idea.

My heart was in my throat like I’d swallowed a fish.

LKH, I’ve missed your terrible primary school metaphors.

Gregory doesn’t help things by sniffing and saying how yummy everything is. Anita is surprised that Gregory, who is in a half-leopard form, has leopard teeth. He licks her face and Anita makes noises from fear.

Gregory growled next to my skin. “Hmm, do it again.”

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Gregory will only listen to Richard saying that this is bad and creepy and he should stop and then he laughs. Like a serial killer. He wants to ‘play’ and ‘torment’ her. Ah, rape imagery. I haven’t missed that.

Gregory only stops for reals when Micah (BOOOO) comes in with Clair, Richard’s girlfriend.

You didn’t usually hang on to someone like that unless they were your boyfriend. I realized there was an emotion I could feel through the fear – jealousy. What the hell was she doing hanging on to Micah?

  • She walked into a house and was greeted to a gross, bloody orgy.
  • A gross, bloody vampire lept at her and tried to eat her.
  • Said vampire bit a huge chunk of flesh from her boyfriend’s chest.
  • There is loads of fear floating around the place. Just hanging around.

So, yeah, Clair is scared. But, nope, EVIL SLOOOOOT.

Gregory senses that she’s weak and tries to apply his serial killer charms to Clair but Richard makes sure that Micah takes her out the room. This was pointless.

Richard and Gregory are afraid, blah blah, if Richard changes his clothes will be ruined, blah blah, where is the hot werewolf on werewolf orgy action I was promised, fear is floating around, blah blah.

It’s very riveting stuff, you can tell.

Gregory’s only answer was a low growl that made Nathaniel whimper again.

“God help me, she’s afraid to see me nude, and I fucking love it. I love that she’s afraid of me, and I hate myself for loving it. The ardeur will rise, but God alone knows what we’ll do before it does. With this much fear, with her, I don’t trust my control. And whatever happens I want clothes when it’s over, because I’m going to want to get the hell out of here.”

Okay, this is actually Richard speaking. Not that you can tell, because he’s not mentioned and Gregory’s actions are tagged alongside this little speech. Which is a totes realistic thing for someone to say. Richard then drops his pants.

He undid his belt with one hand and squeezed the top button of his pants. The button popped open and, still gripping the top of his pants, he made a rolling motion with his hand and the buttons snapped open in a long rolling line. The front of his pants spilled open, and he spilled out. Either he wasn’t wearing any underwear or it couldn’t keep him contained

Thanks for that laundry list of actions describing a man unbuttoning his trousers. Because I had no idea how one unbuttoned trousers, it being an action that I am entirely unfamiliar with. Plus, A+ word repetition. And I doubt that Richard’s penis is strong enough to burst through his boxers.

Anyway, Anita is turned on and afraid and angry and shit.

I put my hands over my eyes like a child.

Ah, there’s the strong, sexually liberated adult woman we all know and love. Because there’s nothing that gets me wetter than a sex scene where a woman calls herself a child.

There’s a page where Anita feels like she’s going to scream and Richard is actually a nice person – getting her to calm down, and being there for her, in the moment, and not being an asshole.

I started to nod, then Damian grabbed my leg, and the fear roared back, and the scream ripped out of my throat. It wasn’t just Moroven’s power, it was Damian’s fear of that power, and the fact that I couldn’t shield against it.

FEEEEEEEAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRR and more vague metaphysical magic that never really comes across as a threat because that requires like, suspense and shit.

It’s nice to be back.

A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Incubus Dreams’ chapter nineteen


I tried not to think in the shower. Thinking bad; hot water good.

Thinking is always bad for you, Anita. You just seem to be unable to do it at all times.

She’s healed up instantly, which is handy, and then Nathaniel bangs on the bathroom door because Damian is all fucked up again.

argh

what was the fucking point of the last few chapters if damian is INSTANTLY FUCKED UP AGAIN

forward momentum?? Where is it?? You can’t just repeat the same PLOT POINTS OVER AND OVER AND OVER ARGHHHHH

Anita wasn’t aware until Nathaniel told her and is now all full of a crushing sadness because… I dunno, who gives a fuck about Damian? Name me one unique personality trait that he has. She tries getting out the shower but then Gregory and Richard just dump Damian’s body in the room and she feels like she’s suffocating under the weight of his ~sadness~.

It’s lucky that Richard doesn’t have work or anything. It’s lucky that apparently NO ONE HAS A FUCKING JOB THAT WOULD STOP ALL THIS BULLSHIT FROM TAKING PLACE. Damian just sort of lands on Anita and it’s just so bad all his sadness and fear.

I don’t give a shit about Damian’s fear. There’s nothing interesting about him. I don’t give a shit about his fear because I’m not invested in him. Anita, Richard, JC, Dolph, Zerbrowski – these are the characters we’re invested in, everyone else is secondary. So I don’t give a fuck if Damian is in fear because I don’t even really know who he is or why he’s even in these books.

Damian’s is all afraid of the vampire that made him and his hair is so long it’s like a blanket (???) (no seriously what the fuck) (JESUS CHRIST THESE HAIR LENGTHS) and Anita is out of Damian’s memory without hurting Nathaniel. Booo because everything in these books would be 100% if they were about hurting Nathaniel all the time. Damian grabs Nathaniel’s arms and now there’s warm golden sunlight everywhere. And they’re in Damian’s memories as when he was turned? I don’t care, and Damian starts to burn up a bit but Anita can’t notice because she’s lost in the totally immersive memories of really inaccurate Viking raids. People start screaming, and then Anita can smell pine trees which means Richard.

Well, yeah, he’s right there, he threw a naked dude at you.

Damian then starts screaming ‘Nemhain’ which is the secret name of the vampire that made him because LKH read Harry Potter and thought ‘hey look someone so scary people refuse to say their name what a cool idea I’m totally going to steal it’.

Everyone starts screaming and cursing Nemhain, so… um, good for them, I guess.

Edit this all out. Scrub it out. It adds absolutely nothing to this mess.

Anyway, screaming Nemhain’s name means that she’s now paying attention to everything that’s going on. For… reasons, because this exact thing happened with BM in Cerulean Sins and with MOAD in the same book, so I guess this is getting repeated all over again for no reason at all. And Damian is now dead in Anita’s arms.

I hate to break it to you but…

Anita FINALLY remembers that she’s a necromancer. Congrats! That only took you several books to remember. So Nemhain whatsit is dragging the life out of Damian but Anita, despite remembering that she has POWERS OVER THE DEAD AND CAN ANIMATE DAMIAN WITH HER OWN MAGIC, hasn’t got a single clue what she can do.

I didn’t know how to fight against nothing. I didn’t know what to do. We were dying, and I didn’t know what to do.

I dunno, do whatever you did when facing this exact same problem in the last book.