Fair warning, image heavy post.
Well, here we go with the “who’s supposed to protect who” argument. Gillian notes they’re outside the compound (idiot), and Perrin is alarmed that she might be in danger.
There is nothing I can say about this that I haven’t already said. Repeatedly. So let’s please, please get to the lame sex.
Nope, we get to see him push her around first. Awesome!
They go back to the guesthouse, where Gillian is agitated about not protecting him from the whole lot of nothing that just happened to them. He requests, nay, orders her to sit down, then this happens:
“Sit down, Gillian. I will get you some tea, then we will talk.”
“Perrin, I’m fine.” More pacing.
“The doctor cannot admit that she is in no shape to handle her patient at this moment?” His left eyebrow rose and, with it, the temper he hadn’t known he possessed. A stern edge had crept into his voice.
Okay, well, he’s not wrong. But the fact that he’s admonishing her for it and overstepping his role as a patient in the process actually helps clarify my thoughts about the fucked up power dynamics I talked about in the last post. While her role as clinician should put her in a position of authority and agency, his role as a dick-wielding twatwaffle trumps that authority, and he feels quite free to assert his genital authority over her when it suits him.
She admits he’s right (he is) and says she’ll just come back. And then he fucking grabs her and tells her to sit down so they can talk.
This is the point where the patient-clinician relationship needs to end, but we know it’s not fucking going to. I just feel the need to remind you that Gryphon is allegedly a mental health professional.
For a second, I thought Perrin had taken over the “dickhead who’s kind of right” role from early Tanis, but he says, “My doctor is a competent, brave woman, not a temperamental child.”
What is this…positive gaslighting? Is that even a thing? Apparently it is now. I should be happy Perrin is calling her out on her bullshit, but it’s an amusingly backward way of doing it.
Gillian self-flagellates a bit more before telling him not to confuse their roles. This time, she’s right, but as usual it’s in the dumbest way possible. She wants to GTFO because she recognizes that when she, an empath, is already emotional and then her client gets emotional, it can mess her up. You’d think she’d be trained in how to deal with that, being a “natural empath” and all, but I’ll cling vainly to this moment of reasonable self-insight, knowing without even needing to look that it’s going to last approximately .00004 seconds longer.
Remember when Tanis and Aleksei liked to grab her and force her to stay when she was upset? Yep.
I’ll just…show you this exchange. I don’t think many words are necessary at this point.
Silence reigned, then she felt him at her back. Quiet bastard too. Two strong arms wrapped around her from behind and pulled her against his chest, his glamour shifting to feelings of loneliness and longing. “You need looking after, Dr. Key.”
“Stop using your glamour on me, dammit! And stop being so autocratic!” Pulling away was pointless. She could have broken his hold on her easily, but he was stronger than she was and she would have had to hurt him to do it. Besides, she wasn’t afraid of him. She was afraid for him.
Letting her anger with herself overwhelm her wasn’t like her. It had to do with his specific magic and she needed to get a handle on it. She should not have come to him tonight.
“I am a vocal music teacher. I am supposed to be strict and authoritarian.”
Right, so, I guess Perrin’s personality is about to complete its 180 degree turn from shy and retiring to smooth and clever. I guess that’s what’s going to happen.
She says she has to go. He says, “No. You do not.” I know this is supposed to be sexy or something but who, who doesn’t find this in any way coercive or threatening? If this were the first time this has happened, I might just roll my eyes and call it standard bodice-ripper fare, but this reeks of every other sexual encounter she’s had in these books. As a matter of fact, it reeks of every other discussion she’s had with love interests in these books. Go back and read this post. Go on, I’ll wait. Seem familiar to you? ME TOO.
He gets handsy while making out with her passive body (SHUDDER) and she starts wondering why he’s suddenly getting aggressive and dominant. Hello, Editor, my friend! It’s too bad you couldn’t do anything about the shit show that follows.
As a side note, I truly wish I could say that anything in these books is done on purpose as some sort of overarching character progression or organic product of the narrative or whatever. Every single chapter I wish that. Alas, even if that is the case sometimes, I have literally no reason to believe that given the random bullshit I’m encountering. It’s like playing Ski Free. I’m speeding down a hill trying to avoid obstacles, but eventually I know I’m going to get caught by the Abominable Bullshit Snowman so what’s the fucking point?
Apparently Gillian is fine with this sudden surge of dominance “as long as it didn’t go too far.” It seems that, inspired by Perrin’s 180, Gillian’s personality has taken a turn as well. Gillian, willing to give up control even a little bit? Well, I never!
There’s talk of engorged organs. Now, I went to bat for you guys by searching the wilds of the interwebs using the term “engorged.” You should thank me. In the middle of all the anatomy textbook pictures, breastfeeding forums, and pictures of ticks, I found exactly what you, and indeed, the universe needed.
Oh, here’s another favorite sexytimes word: “distended.”
Y’all, I know it’s hard to find good words to use in sex scenes, but as I’ve said before, if it’s a term you would normally only find in an anatomy textbook, maybe think twice about using it if sexy is what you’re going for.
She starts undressing and he’s seeing spots because he’s so hard. Now, I Googled whether this would actually happen, because who hasn’t wondered? According to this article, in order for a dick to be big enough to make someone pass out when aroused, it would have to be 101cm (just under 40 inches) long. I know men in these books have monster wangs, but I would hope none of them are long enough to touch the bottom of the shallow end of the pool when he’s sitting on the side.
They undress each other, they’re about to bang, blah blah. She freaks out trying to remember where the condoms are, and then…
Remember when she demonstrated how to use one and then put it back in its wrapper? I told you she’d reuse it. TOLD YOU. Gross. There’s some description of her putting the condom on that is a thousand percent not necessary. You know, she hasn’t worried about condoms at all until now. Is this going to come up again in a really stupid way? I betcha it is.
I’ll sum up the scene as follows: penis, bands, canal, womb, overburdened sexual sensory panel, hot torrent.
He squeezes her too hard, she tells him she can’t breathe, he lets her go, they try it again.
He was still giddy with the tingling feelings of release and the monumental hope that crashed down over him. Perhaps there was a chance after all. He might live a normal life, like a normal man. She had given him that. Given him the manhood he thought he would never achieve.
Gill saw and felt that a maudlin episode was welling up. Oh hell no, not now. Now was for healing, not crying.
What the fuck. He’s thinking hopeful thoughts and ostensibly having an emotional breakthrough, but she just basically wants him to stop crying and give her more dick. The use of the word “maudlin episode” is especially irritating, like he’s some sloppy drunk in a bar somewhere crying over how his girlfriend left him and his dog ran away five years ago, and she has to deal with him yet again. It’s your fucking job to deal with his emotions, you asshole.
Sigh. Still going, and the narrative is insisting that she’s being oh so patient and tender and shit. Womb, thrusts, stroke, turgid, canal rhythmically clasping, swelling and flaring, oh noooo you need to see this.
All instinct diverted to his groin as the need to mate with her took him into a new realm of stimulation, swelling him to incredible proportions and flaring out evenly spaced circular ridges of flesh around the circumference and down the length of his engorged penis.
It heightened his sensitivity and hers because she responded with a fresh flood of liquid heat over him, drenching him in her scent. To his aroused senses, her aroma called to him to mate with her. Hard. Fast. Now.
Right, so. Apparently there are ridges on his cock now (she used the word cock, hooray!). The rest of the scene is decent, meaning the description is more acceptable than horrifying. Of course it’s followed up with some awkwardness: she instructs him in proper disposal of a condom, as if the readers are in a sex ed class and really need to know. Like, I’m kind of glad a sex scene in a romance novel references the use of a condom, but I definitely don’t think the description of its application and disposal needs to be drawn out.
He’s like “omg this is amazing!” and thanks her repeatedly, but she’s very bland and clinical at him. It’s actually kind of appropriate given that (and I know this is easy to forget) she’s supposed to be his therapist and not his girlfriend. There’s a paragraph summarizing her discovery of scars on his back that he doesn’t want to talk about, which might have been a more interesting conversation than how to get rid of a condom, but whatever.
She leaves, and he skips off to “write his first inspiring music in over a century.”
We’ve seen 95% of this before, almost by rote. Now I know most romance novel sex scenes come in maybe 3-4 varieties, but Gryphon has her own special outline
- Sex behemoth forces Gillian to stay when she’d rather go
- Gillian gives in
- Sex behemoth gives her the D
- Clinical awkwardness
Don’t 1-3 sound an awful lot like coercive sexual assault? DON’T THEY THOUGH? Toward the end of every sex scene, Gillian becomes a vessel for a hot load of alpha male sexism in addition to supernatural jizz. We cease to get any sense of her emotional reaction, just her physical response to his manipulation, and after that she’s just closed-down and bland. That’s the creepiest part.