Thursday, March 28, 2013

50 Shades Darker chapter 11 in which Erika contemplated curling up into a little ball.

Last chapter in 50 Shades Darker! Ana and Grey went sailing and had dinner! Ana finally got a tour of the full house! Grey moved all of Ana's shit into his room without forewarning! Then they played pool (full of "stroking" of cues) and Ana made a bet with Grey that if she won, he took her back to the play-room and if he won he got to name his terms. The chapter ended with Grey saying he was going to spank her on the pool table before taking a shot that would WIN OR LOSE THE GAME!

So, Grey wins the bet. Shocking, I know.

He stands, and his mouth twists in a triumphant I-so-own-you-Steele smile.

Because that's different than normal how..?


He doesn’t look like a CEO—he looks like a bad boy from the wrong side of town.

I haven't known many CEOs but I admit that most of the business dudes I DO know generally never look like they might rob me. This is not the first time Ana has commented on Grey looking like he's from "the wrong side of town" and I'm not sure if this is supposed to add to his "universal appeal" (he can rock the straight cut, preppy look or edgy bad-boy) or if it's more of the "good girls like bad boys" because his behavior is really more problematic than anything else and EL James wanted to, at least occasionally, give him an exterior to match?

“Well, let’s count your misdemeanors, Miss Steele.” He counts on his long fingers. “One, making me jealous of my own staff. Two, arguing with me about working. And three, waving your delectable derriere at me for the last twenty minutes.”

It's good that they can have conversations about their relationship hangup's without it being a big deal.


When he turns and gazes at me, his eyes are burning. I stand paralyzed like a complete zombie, my heart pounding, my blood pumping, not actually able to move a muscle. In my mind, all I can think is—this is for him—the thought repeating like a mantra over and over again.

Zombies can move. That's part of why they are a very serious security threat. I am offended that EL James would belittle it like this. Wait- Is Grey actually a necromancer?! Ana was all "I WANT TO DO SOMETHING FOR YOU!" last chapter, Grey's response was to get annoyed at her for pushing herself to do things she isn't comfortable with. Her response? Push herself to do things she isn't comfortable with. :/

On his way over to me, he pauses at the small desk built into one of the bookshelves. Reaching over, he picks up a twelve-inch Perspex ruler. He holds each end and flexes it, his eyes not leaving mine.
Holy shit—his weapon of choice. My mouth goes dry.



Weapon of choice means preferred weapon, not the one you just happen to pick up. Given that none of the things in his play room were rulers, I would venture to guess that it is, in fact, not his weapon of choice.

Suddenly, I’m hot and bothered and damp in all the right places.

Which is way better than when Grey rolled a 1* on "seduction" and Ana shat herself.


Then he takes her shoes off like she's six and starts to undress her and Ana marvels at how much she loves him.

I step out of them, glad that I’m wearing these pretty, pretty panties

Every time I see "pretty pretty" I think of Pretty Pretty Princess

I'd comment on the gendered BS of this board game but I used to play with my brother and his friends.

“I want to be quite rough with you, Ana. You’ll have to tell me to stop if it’s too much,” he breathes.
Oh my. He kisses me . . . there. I moan softly.
“Safe word?” I murmur.
“No, no safe word, just tell me to stop, and I’ll stop. Understand?”

....
“We’re lovers, Anastasia. Lovers don’t need safe words.” He frowns. “Do they?”

I think this is an actual question, he isn't quite sure. Which makes me laugh. It's a sad sort of laughter, the type when your options are "laugh or cry" but laugh none the less. Considering this book is supposed to be so sex-positive I am saddened to see EL James painting BDSM as something loving couples can't do. It's only for the broken and dysfunctional, and in a book that's pretending to celebrate sexy and the kinky that's... hypocritical and makes me sad.

He leans over and picks up the cue.
Oh fuck, what’s he going to do with that? A frisson of fear runs through me.


No, I got my hopes up we might actually see something creative and kinky, but instead we just see him posing her as if he was doing a photo shoot for a calendar. YES UNDO YOUR SHIRT AND TRY AND SINK THAT BALL!

I flush, and my inner goddess grabs a rose between her teeth and starts to tango. Taking a deep breath, I try to ignore him and line up my shot.

Seriously, where the hell does Ana's inner goddess get all these chaise lounges, flowers, and fitness equipment from?


his fingers fisting in my hair

Does fisting mean something else in the UK? Because this is a terrifying mental image if it doesn't.


He hits me again—and again . . . and once more . . . harder this time—and I wince.
“Stop.” The word is out of my mouth before I’m even aware that I’ve said it. Christian drops the ruler immediately and releases me.
“Enough?” he whispers.
“Yes.”
“I want to fuck you now,” he says, his voice strained.
“Yes,”


I want to underline this because much to my shock it shows Grey seeking consent. Ana says stop, and there is no hesitation. He doesn't just stop, he drops the ruler and lets go. He then asks if he can proceed with other activities (well, tells her he wants to, but it's an implied question) and I'm kind of shocked to see that in this book.

I hear the telltale rip of foil

What the hell brand of condoms are they using? Trojan Extra Noisy?


I hear his groan of pure pleasure, and it stirs my soul.

Yes, apparently the soul resides in the snatch. Debate and search over! Whew! Also I think soul-searching is about to get a lot more fun.

“Yes . . . I’m fine. Lose yourself . . . take me with you,” I murmur breathlessly.

LET THE SPIRIT QUEST BEGIN!


Oh fucking my . . .

I don't know why it has taken me so long to make this joke...



soul-grabbing orgasm that leaves me spent and exhausted.

Okay, so now we know the breed of dark wizard Grey is. Apparently he's a necromancer. Can't spell necromancer without romance!**

“You never fail, Ana. You are beautiful, bright, challenging, fun, sexy, and I thank divine providence every day that it was you that came to interview me and not Katherine Kavanagh.”

I actually think Kate and Grey might make an interesting read. There'd certainly be more ball punching. Also I'm getting tired of being told how awesome and special Ana is. I get it, okay? She's apparently George Takei after all.

“Tomorrow—when I go to work—can Sawyer just deliver me to the front door of the office then pick me up at the end of the day? Please, Christian. Please,” I plead.
His hands still as his brow creases. “I thought we agreed,” he grumbles.
“Please,” I beg.
“What about lunchtime?”
“I’ll make myself something to take from here so I don’t have to go out, please.”
He kisses my instep. “I find it very difficult to say no to you,” he mutters as if he senses this is a failing on his part. “You won’t go out?”
“No.”
“Okay.”


This is basically the entire scene. They're in the bath, he's rubbing her feet, it's a very gentle relaxed scene. Then Ana starts to beg to be allowed to go to work without adult supervision. Pleading, and has to sacrifice the ability to go outside for it.

I shower and dress quickly, wearing the clothes I set out yesterday: a fitted, gray pencil skirt; pale-gray silk shirt; and high-heeled black pumps

On rainy cold days I too like to dress in all gray. Really helps to tune into the misery around you.


She smiles and turns to make me tea.
Wow . . . this is so cool.


Wasn't Ana all uncomfortable about being waited on hand and foot before?

So Grey leaves and Ana chats with Mrs. Jones a little bit.

My cheeks pink with pleasure, and I want to bombard this woman with questions. She must know so much about Fifty, and although her manner is warm and friendly, it’s also very professional. I know I’ll only embarrass both of us if I start quizzing her, so I finish my breakfast in a reasonably comfortable silence

BUT GRILLING HIS FATHER AND SHRINK ARE FAIR GAME!


“Taylor, I’m sorry about yesterday and my inappropriate remarks. I hope I didn’t get you into trouble.”
Taylor frowns in bemusement at me from the rearview mirror as he pulls out into the Seattle traffic.
“Miss Steele, I’m rarely in trouble,” he says reassuringly.
Oh good. Maybe Christian didn’t tell him off. Just me, then, I think sourly.
“I’m glad to hear it, Taylor.” I smile


I appreciate this, actually. It shows Ana being compassionate and not awful, but Taylor's "I rarely get in trouble" doesn't sit well for me and I'm not sure why. So, off to work we go! Ana boots up her "e-mail program" and finds this gem.

From: Christian Grey
Subject: Boss
Date: June 13, 2011 08:24
To: Anastasia Steele
Good morning, Miss Steele
I just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful weekend in spite of all the drama.
I hope you never leave, ever.
And just to remind you that the news of SIP is embargoed for four weeks.
Delete this e-mail as soon as you’ve read it.
Yours
Christian Grey,
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. & Your boss’s boss’s boss.


So, this bothers me on a few levels. 1) why does she need to know this? 2) E-mail, even once deleted, on an internal server is likely still assessable. 3) He knows her e-mail is monitored and can send them to her phone.

Next up we get reminded that Ana has a super creepy boss!


“Good. As you probably remember, I’m going to that Commissioning Fiction Symposium in New York on Thursday. I have tickets and reservations, but I’d like you to come with me.”
“To New York?”
“Yes. We’ll need to go Wednesday and stay overnight. I think you’ll find it a very educational experience.” His eyes darken as he says this, but his smile is polite. “Would you make the necessary travel arrangements? And book an additional room at the hotel where I am staying? I think Sabrina, my previous PA, left all the details handy somewhere.”


Oh this is going to be hilarious and awful. I won't get into the angry e-mailing back and forth that ensues because there isn't a good way to do so without text-dumping on you, but here's the gist of it. Grey says no, Ana says fuck off this is my career. Grey says no more forcefully, and Ana tells him to fuck off again. So he changes how spending is approved within the company so Ana can't book a flight or hotel to go to the conference. A conference that could have been a very real opportunity to network for her. She also comments in his e-mail that "I hope you never ever leave" sounds like he's asking her to move in. His response is "Yes. Please."

...

I think my brain might be bleeding. Ana's first thought is that this is obscene, but we all know this will come back later, so I want to point it out. 5-weeks and he's bought the company she works for, started to isolate her from her friends, and is now going to start bullying her to move in with him. Elena also somehow magically got Ana's e-mail and once again is asking her to go out for lunch some time. Ana just forwards the e-mail to Grey.

Now onto lunch! Jack, being bogged down with a sudden increase in work because Ana isn't going to the convention with him (which makes very little sense to me since he had just asked her and it was in three days) and has to send her to go fetch his lunch. Being his personal assistant, this makes sense. So, off she goes. Breaking Grey's rule about never ever leaving the building alone. OH NO!

I sit and eat the chicken salad sandwich Mrs. Jones made for me. It’s delicious. She makes a mean sandwich.

Ana must be one of those people who loves all food, and it doesn't matter what you put in front of her. "A mean sandwich" is not chicken salad. AS A FOOD WIZARD THIS SENTENCE OFFENDS ME.

Of course, if I moved in with Christian, she would make lunch for me every weekday. The idea is unsettling. I have never had dreams of obscene wealth and all the trappings—only love. To find someone who loves me and doesn’t try to control my every move.

Says the girl who at the start of the first book had never been kissed or out on a date. Had she said "I always pictured myself leading a more modest life being married to my work..." because let's face it, editors are not well paid, I might understand, but this? This is downright unbelievable when we look at previous characterization. I'm also annoyed that that is all Ana ever wanted. No aspirations of family, or writing a book herself, or being an editor on the next great novel and being able to say "I had a hand in shaping that" or even a desire to travel and see the world. Nope! Just a boyfriend!

The phone rings, and Grey calls her out on leaving because he somehow knew she left the office for ten minutes to grab her boss lunch. Ana tells him to shove it. She has a backbone this chapter it seems.


“Suffocating?” he whispers, surprised.
“Yes. You have to stop this. I’ll talk to you this evening. Unfortunately, I have to work late because I can’t go to New York.”
“Anastasia, I don’t want to suffocate you,” he says quietly, appalled.
“Well, you are. I have work to do. I’ll talk to you later.” I hang up, feeling drained and vaguely depressed.


Ana then thinks about how he's so perfectly tragic and how she needs to show that she's his, but not going to sit at home waiting for him. Hnnnggghhh.

Ana finishes work late, where her boss hits on her and gets borderline touchy and I'm not going to copy-paste the scene because it struck close enough to home for me that I found it really uncomfortable to read. Ana tries to maneuver away from him and he keeps leaning in, brushing hair etc. It isn't until he starts asking about her boyfriend and she says his name that he backs off. Ana is pleased that Grey's name evokes such power, I'm depressed she had to use it to get this guy to back off. Grey will later tell Ana that Jack has a reputation, none of his personal assistants have lasted longer than 3 months and he slept with them all.

I want to say that this would be totally unreasonable. I want to say that HR would notice and Jack would be fired. However SIP is constantly referred to as a "small company" and in smaller environments the pressure on women to just shut up and deal with it can be much worse because things get personal. People talk, y'know?

Grey picks Ana up after work, and they finally get around to the elevator sex. Although Grey presses the "stop elevator" button, and... no one responds. If you hit the stop button, some service team will buzz in being all "Yo everything a'ight dawg?" but that doesn't happen. Grey also knows "the code to restart the elevator" and more and more I wonder what world this is set in. Then it's onto dinner and Ana and Grey, both wound down from fucking away their stress, have a SRS TALK.

I sigh, emboldened by my glass of wine. “You really have to let me fight my own battles. You can’t constantly second-guess me and try to protect me. It’s stifling, Christian. I’ll never flourish with your incessant interference. I need some freedom. I wouldn’t dream of meddling in your affairs.”
He blinks at me. “I only want you safe, Anastasia. If anything happened to you, I—” He stops.
“I know, and I understand why you feel so driven to protect me. And part of me loves it. I know that if I need you, you’ll be there, as I am for you. But if we are to have any hope of a future together, you have to trust me and trust my judgment. Yes, I’ll get it wrong sometimes—I’ll make mistakes, but I have to learn.”


Hi Ana's backbone! I missed you!

“And if you can do that—give me that—I’ll move in with you,” I add softly.
He inhales sharply, surprised. “You’d do that?” he whispers.
“Yes.”
“But you don’t know me.”



D-did Ana just use moving in with him as leverage for him to back off on her career? While setting no boundaries of what that would look like? How does "I will move in with you which will give me less freedom if you give me more freedom" make any sense?! YOU HAVE BEEN DATING 5-WEEKS! Also, Grey isn't commenting on the 5-weeks thing, but on that she doesn't know how dark and fucked up and awful he is. I think both are fair points to make. Ana also comments throughout this chapter that she'd like to run away to get some space and think (You know, like she did when she went to Georgia and he followed her there) but there's always another dose of Grey and his magic-peen to distract her. I'm shocked and frankly started at the utter lack of responsibility on Ana's part here. Also did EL James just... forget, that Ana was supposed to live with Kate and her brother? Will Kate and her brother ever be plot relevant again? Probably not!

And so ends our chapter- except for Taylor bursting in to say that Elena is on her way up. dun Dun DUN!!!! Tune in next week to see if I start drinking through these posts again!


*For those of you who are not table top nerds, to use skills you often have to roll a 20 sided die. Rolling a 20 is just auto-win, and a 1 is auto fail.
**Line stolen from editor number 2 (Aka Mad Scientist Alex).

9 comments:

  1. Is it possible that EL is a virgin? Because this seems very reminiscent of the kind of fan fic that my very horny, virginal high school friends wrote. Lots and lots of sex, but the details are wrong. Like the condom noise. There's just something a little off, and it's not in the service of erotica.. So I'm voting virgin.

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  2. Something that I've been increasingly disturbed over is the weird, woo-woo-mystical connection between vagina and soul. Maybe it's not sex-positive of me, but sex is an appetite, an animal drive, and it's like saying that that chicken salad sandwich trembled your soul or some shit.
    But what's REALLY, REALLY fucking disturbing (could that be a pun?) is that where I've seen the hugest, hammered-on connection between vagina and soul is in fucking Christian fiction. And I kind of mean that in a literal sense, because it wasn't published, mainstream-er Christian fiction, in which fucking never happens, but in an amateur work I found online, with lots of rape either threatened, happening off-screen in a statistical fashion like multitudes dying in disaster movies, or directly carried out on a main-ish character even if it's technically off-screen. I mean, I can get how a conservatively raised Christian girl can develop such hang-ups about sex that prompt this kind of rape fantasy shit (though that sounds like a stereotype, but I don't have another theory that makes sense), but the only reason I wasn't the corner in the fetal position was because the writing was so lame it undermined the horror.
    I realize that this is a thing that's been around a long time, even if it lurked in the background unmentioned, but it actually happened. The explicit equation of vagina and soul happened. It strikes me pretty strongly because it needed a few variables to line up to exist in the first place. One, the idea of a physical soul physically inhabiting the body is archaic even by conservative Christian standards. I've seen the idea played around with, but usually the "seat" of the soul is something universal like the heart or the blood. Two, sex is usually not directly discussed. Even when it's being mentioned as evil-bad and as temptation, it's usually not more than a mention. There are exceptions to that rule, but I know I'm saying nothing new when I tell you that sex is glossed over.
    But the planets aligned so that both religious matters like the soul and "vulgar" matters like sex were directly discussed at the same time. It was like the planets aligning so your toast landed butter-side-down in the litterbox, and I'm still blown away that it happened. And even if my rational side can accept Christian rape fantasy as possible, my emotional side is in the corner hyperventilating because I don't want to live in a world where that's possible.
    And this turned out to be a tl;dr essay, but it has been fermenting in the back of my head and I needed to get it out.

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  3. Is it just me that thinks every time she says 'I flush' that she's just been to the toilet, and her & Christian are having their conversation in the bathroom?

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  4. Clara Godwin-SuttieMarch 28, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    I'm from the UK. I think fisting means the same in both place.
    This would make it impossible to fist hair. I think hair might be a load of little tubes, but little enpugh that you couldnt gert your fist up them. Therefore, you would have to use needles. Or give her pretty bad split ends.

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  5. This would make it impossible to fist hair. I think hair might be a load
    of little tubes, but little enpugh that you couldnt gert your fist up
    them.



    A tube-shaped hairstyle, perhaps?

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  6. I'll admit that when I think of "fisting" my mind goes "lalalalalalalalalala!!!!!" and thinks of happier things. Like unicorns farting rainbows and Care Bears vomiting jelly beans. I believe my mental block originates from years ago before I knew what the filters on Google image provided in way of services.... and an unpleasant search for "jack-o-lanterns" that left me curled up in a ball crying in terror....

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  7. VannelopeVonTeatsJuly 7, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    Wasn't going to leave a comment until I was up to date with your blog, which is amazing btw - have wet my pants on several occasions, but I had to just to let everyone know that fisting DOES NOT mean something different in the UK. It means... well... fisting.

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    ReplyDelete