Sunday, October 26, 2014

50 Shades Freed Chapter 1, in which, wait--we're skipping the wedding?

Will has been banished from the country, so today we have a 50 Shades post! Wait, 50 Shades and an Erika post? On a Sunday? The world has ceased to make sense, I know. Yes, I'm still around, but shortly after the last post I did my Grandfather had been given a few weeks to live, and being one of the few local relatives in town I've been pretty busy dealing with his death and taking care of my Grandmother. I'm hoping to get back into the saddle on 50 Shades soon, but my plate is loaded, so I'm just going to throw them up when I can and not try and claim a schedule until I build up a buffer.

Now, what you're here for. I got married almost a year ago (eep) and as such I expected this book to be all wedding planning and anticipation and excitement over THE BIG DAY. I was accused of being too easygoing and relaxed as a bride, and even I got swept up in it all. My own wedding planning experience was atypical, it was pretty smooth and low stress. I only got pushback on a few little things, there were no big fights or family drama*, and because I picked the off-season had vendors competing for my business. The day itself had no real snags. Despite that, I can off the top of my head think of a lot of opportunities for tension and drama and over the top fights with intense make up scenes because weddings and wedding planning brings out weird stuff in people. You know, what EL James thrives on. So, I'm confused. The wedding is skipped over almost entirely, and we get only a few little blips of wedding planning. EL James instead skips straight to THE HONEYMOON! Sort of. I will give her credit, she's learned at least one new trick between the second and third book, and that is how to write in non-linear time. We see the Greys on their honeymoon, but it's spliced with flashbacks to montage us from the engagement to the present.

“How would you feel if I went topless, like the other women on the beach?” I ask.“Displeased,” he says without hesitation. “I’m not very happy about you wearing so little right now.” He leans down and whispers in my ear. “Don’t push your luck.”“Is that a challenge, Mr. Grey?”“No. It’s a statement of fact, Mrs. Grey.”I sigh and shake my head. Oh, Christian . . . my possessive, jealous, control
freak Christian.

Yeah Ana, don't push your luck on doing what you want with your own body! And think it's cute when you're treated like you belong to another person, not yourself. I get it, referring to someone as "Mine" or being someone's is all so terribly romantic. It's not supposed to be about ownership, it's about love and passion etc etc etc. But it isn't here. Time and time again, we see Grey treating Ana as his property. He dictates how she dresses, how she eats, he gets angry when she goes out with other people and wants her to stop working. He especially dislikes Kate, who called him out on being so controlling and being concerned with how he was treating his property Ana. He also reminds her that she belongs to him a lot. Multiple times a chapter. She will sometimes smugly think "Well, he's mine" when other women gawk at Grey (so, every random woman extra they encounter) but the frequency doesn't line up, and Ana never tries to control who he sees.

The above bolded text isn't a cute challenge like the book will try to treat it, this is a command. And when Ana disobeys (she starts laying on her stomach but in her sleep rolls onto her back) he gets mad. HOW DARE OTHER PEOPLE SEE HIS WIFE'S BOOBZ! You know, ignoring the fact that they were making out in the water in plain sight so intensely people thought they were about to bone right then and there like ten minutes ago.

Now for the wedding. It takes place six months after the end of the last book, is held at Grey's parents place, and everything is white pink and silver, which is surprising to me because neither Ana nor Grey strike me as the pink type. I guess it was his Mom? The wedding is rushed through (K, you may now kiss the bride. Cool lets party. Kate says some vague snarky but supportive stuff, Jose basically reminds us he exists by telling Ana if Grey pulls anything he's here for her, silently implying he means with his junk, just, you know, a friendly open offer).  As Grey drags Ana off before she wants to leave, insisting she stay in her wedding dress (her's at least sounds moderately comfortable? Like, no mention of bodices and corset boning jabbing into her ribs) we get a quick exchange between Ana and her Mother (with Kate hovering around for reasons?).
“You didn’t promise to obey,” she reminds me tactfully. Kate tries to disguise her snort as a cough. I narrow my eyes at her. Neither she nor my mother have any idea of the fight Christian and I had about that. I don’t want to rehash that argument. Jeez, can my Fifty Shades sulk . . . and have nightmares. The memory is sobering.
This is going to be A Thing. Ana didn't promise to obey in her vows. Grey's response was to, like a mature adult, sulk.
“I can’t believe how grown-up you look right now. Beginning a new life . . .Just remember that men are from a different planet, and you’ll be fine.”I giggle. Christian is from a different universe, if only she knew.
TEE HEE BECAUSE ONLY ONE GENDER ARE REAL PEOPLE! Men are bad at feelings and women are irrational! Wimen maek babies and menz kill bear! Have I gotten regressive enough to keep up with this book yet?

So they bail on their own wedding party to go onto Grey's private jet (uggghhh) because they're on their way to Europe! All of it! Apparently there's a private room there where they bone. The sex scenes are somewhere between funny and boring to me now.

Leaving my breasts bereft he runs his hands down my stomach, over my belly, and down to my thighs, his thumbs skimming my sex.

Ana, you're a married woman now. You can say vagina. You could before, too. Here, try it with me: v-a-g-i-n-a. Vagina! PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP CALLING IT YOUR SEX.
“This is like unwrapping my Christmas presents.” He smiles up at me through his long dark lashes.“A present you’ve had already . . .”He frowns in admonishment. “Oh no, baby. This time it’s really mine.”
He says to the girl whose Mother has been married three or four times. I don't even know what to do with this scene. If I were her editor I think I'd just send it back with a bunch of question marks scribbled on it. It's a lot of tongues invading and U MAEK ME THE HAPPIEST 5EVAR type thing and it's just--why is all of their sex like this? Even when they're being kinky and weird it comes back to ILY type things like all of their conversations and fights do. They just spend a lot of time saying how much they LURVE each other and I just--what else? You say you love each other and make each other happy, but short of sexy flirting they don't really talk unless they're fighting. This may be EL James' worst case of telling-not-showing.
His lips find mine, his hands curling around my head, holding me, stilling me as our tongues glory in each other.
Do you think she has a thesaurus collection? I bet she has a thesaurus collection.
He stands swiftly and in one efficient move dispenses with his pants and boxer briefs so that he’s gloriously naked and looming large and ready over me.
 It's even funnier if you imagine the music from 2001 Space Odyssey playing here.

It turns out we were getting this flashback via Ana napping on the beach, rather than EL James embracing that not all story telling needs to be perfectly linear (still an improvement!) and she's woken up riiight before she gets the D by Grey coming back to find her topless and on her back and he is PISSED, and that's the end of chapter 1! Tune in next time to find out what punishment Grey dishes up for Ana not listening to his orders which are totes only for her own good!

Oh, right, they've been calling each other Mr and Mrs. Grey or "wife" and "husband" non-stop. It's awful.


*Ok, my Grandmother straight up CAMPAIGNED against me on the "no kids" thing over one cousin, but she has yet to figure out that the second I realize someone is trying to guilt trip me I stop caring, so, eh. NBD.


  1. I'm glad to hear you're doing okay, and understand the overflowing plate of real life problem. My condolences on your loss and don't worry about us, we'll be here.

    Will comment on the story stuff when I read it, just wanted to post a quick note first. Take care.

  2. She should take him up on more of these 'challenges' and 'facts' rather than passively letting him do whatever.

    Then again, I'm not sure that would be very safe. x_X

  3. So, more sex, more Grey figuratively or literally beating Ana into submission, more "richest of the rich" without any idea what that really means...
    This "book" is just gonna be one giant chunk of padding, isn't it?

  4. okay ugh, now I read it. Now I'm asking myself why I did that to myself. God I'd forgotten how insipid Ana is and what a jackwagon Grey is.

  5. Will is banished from the country? That's pretty harsh.

    Also glad you're doing OK.

  6. Of course she didn't say she would obey. The overbearing, entirely thinks-too-much-of-himself Christian Grey's dominant style would have demanded it as a deal-breaker, though, I would have thought. Sure, he apparently likes having a brat for a submissive, but I don't understand why he would have let that part get away from him.

    Have to admit, though - Ana having come into her identity as the bratty sub makes her at least a little bit more interesting than the supposedly clueless but head-over-heels in love girl.

  7. One of the big things in the previous books was Ana moving to not being his sub but his girlfriend/partner, and they just sometimes have kinky sex as opposed to his non-romantic sub/dom relationships in the past (aka: how he started to get over his trauma and learn to love because BDSM means you were abused and are broken?) So the whole "I refused to obey" thing is I suspect playing with that particular thread again, and Grey's reluctant, sulky acceptance of it is supposed to be character growth.

  8. Yeah, pretty much. I had tried to read it in one go like a year ago before giving up, I think there's a dramatic car chase for no apparent reason like halfway through.

  9. She does a few times in previous books (and we'll see it again next chapter) and he just gets to that "exuding silent rage" state and forces her to apologize/bend over backwards for his forgiveness for doing things like dressing how she wants. So, again, lifted from the behavior of emotional abuse (and physical because in the past he refuses to forgive her until giving her a spanking or something).

  10. Oh, that's right. I had forgotten. That said, there doesn't seem to have been much movement for Grey - he's still behaving as he did before, now just using different tools to get what he wants. So it's easy to forget that this isn't supposed to be a BDSM relationship - it just looks like the attitudes have shifted.

  11. It's easy to forget that there's character growth because it's mostly forced and superficial. There's no real change in Grey himself, just his approach to their relationship. I don't think it comes from loving Ana but him being super into having a sub-that's-not-a-sub because it gives him a balance of control and challenge. He remains in control, ultimately, so its fine, but struggling a little for that control (and in small unimportant ways) is still novel.

  12. Uh. calling it your sex sounds silly. And could someone explain to me WHY THIS GUY IS CONSIDERED SEXY? I don't understand it. Am I am alien freak for not wanting a possessive bossy person in my life telling me what to eat and what to do and when to sleep and not to bring live spiders in the house and keep them as pets?

  13. Only Some StardustOctober 28, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    I think it very much has to do with purity culture, people who feel guilty about enjoying sex after being told in so many ways that it's wrrrooonng even as society pressures them to be super sexy, so having a controlling boyfriend who demands sex is comforting, The controlling boyfriend resembles the other controlling male in purity culture life, the father, so is attractive for another reason.

    Finally, our society looks up to domineering men in general, 'leaders', who chase after many women as a sign of virility and lusty passion or some such crap (hence his previous multiple partners). As rich, attractive, lusty, domineering, he represents the blood sucking vampire, err, I mean, perfect man above us normal mortals.

  14. It never makes sense to me. I hate that sort of thing and I want such men to stay away from me. I have spiders :D

  15. OMG, you're back!!! I've missed this SO MUCH! So sorry about your recent troubles, hope you and your family are doing better.

  16. One of my favorite 50 Shades of Grey
    Chapter, more sex, Ana is really hot, I like her.