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Tyger! Tyger! by Bloodcult of Freud

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Sep. 29th, 2008 | 12:35 pm
posted by: jane_elliot in epic_rants

Tyger! Tyger!

Due to some barely explaned mechanations by the MOM, Hermione is forced to marry a pureblood wizard.  Like, right away.  And, for some reason, the only wizard who she can marry is Snape.  Thus, uh, marriage.

Despite the fact that I rarely read het in major fandoms (primarily because most female characters in major fandoms suck *ducks tomatoes from SGA readers*), I figured I'd give this one a try.  After all, Hermione does *not* suck (as she is amazingly awesome) and it's marriage of convenience fic.  With Snape!  Surely that has to be awesome.

So, on the positive column, you have Hermione, Snape, marriage of convenience, and good writing.

But then, five parts in (out of something like 40 parts total), you have Hermione getting pregnant.  Because, while Snape isn't so much of a bastard that he's going to force Hermione to have sex without her permission (except that first time, of course), he's apparently just enough of a bastard to not wait until she's, you know, *not a teenager anymore* to knock her up. 

Though, of course, Hermione is just pleased as punch to be pregnant.  Because all women want children just as soon as they can get them (if fandom can be believed), to hell with having their own lives or their own careers or any interests other than raising a bunch of squalling infants (though, considering the fact that virtually every child in fanfic is Practically Perfect In Every Way, I guess they probably wouldn't squall.  Heck, they probably sleep all night through from birth and never throw up or get sick or yell at their parents that they hate them or are ever just generally irritating or annoying.)

(Adding insult to injury: not only is Hermione pregnant, but she also spends the five chapters I read barefoot.  Because the pregnant, barefoot teenager is not just an offensive Southern stereotype, it's also how things are in the Wizarding World.)

Obviously there are women who want to have children just as soon as they can get them.  However, in the real world there are also plenty of women who would rather wait or not have children at all, and as one of the latter, I'm thoroughly tired of every single het fic I've read lately coming to the conclusion that the only way you can have a happy ending for a man and a woman is for them to have children.  Frankly, I'd like to see a woman who would rather have a career than have children.  Or who would only have children if her husband stayed home while she went out and did what she enjoyed.  Or to just have the question of children not come up, especially when the female character is still a child herself!

And, you know what, I'm not alone in this.  So, for those folks who are wondering why slash is suddenly becoming so much more popular than het: women have a purpose other than making babies.  They can be interesting without offspring.  Embrace the concept.  You might find more of an audience than you expected.

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Comments {25}

lucidscreamer

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from: lucidscreamer
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
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OMG, yes to everything you ranted. That's one of the things I always hated about certain kinds of romance novel -- the inevitable "baby on the way" at the end or in an epilogue. And I had to stop reading one of Anne McCaffrey's series (I can't remember the name of it) when her female main character espoused the notion that the only way a woman experienced "true fulfillment as a woman" was by having children.

Um, no. And I say this as someone who *has* a child. (Well, an adult child. She's 23. lol) There are other things as/or more fulfilling, Anne. Srsly.

Sorry to go off on my own rant! :p

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
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I accept that a lot of women want children. Heck, a lot of men want children. And it's a good thing, too, as otherwise the human race could not continue (not that we seem to have much trouble keeping the Earth populated:)

But that's *not all we are*. And when a kid enters a fanfic, the story nearly always revolves around the kid (which I find not at all interesting) and the adults are only depicted based on how they interact with the children (which is not only not interesting, but not at all how they are in real life -- children are a huge part of parents lives, of course, but there are other things that they do. Heck, what else are babysitters for?)

Arg! And I'm even more frustrated, because back when I was first in fanfic, het was king and it rarely focused on kids. Now that I'm trying to get back into het, I can't seem to find anything not kid related. *sigh*

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serendu

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from: serendu
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC)
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Oh - thank you so much! It drives me nuts when the characters oh-so-suddenly fall pregnant and are thrilled. I just think 'plot device' and stop reading.

Also - angst stories where the characters know that they are immediately pregnant by some tragic occurrence and spend the rest of the story angsting about it - but it all ends up happily ever after after the birth of their practically perfect offspring - who never cries! Those tend to make me feel ill.

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
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The thing that gets me is that there's no reason why a character in modern times has to get pregnant, especially not in a fandom that can easily explain a convenient no-fail method of contraception. And if you were eighteen and forced to be married to a man who is more than twice your age (and who can't bring himself to offer you any expression of affection and who you don't love), wouldn't you be using that contraception? I mean, *really*.

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serendu

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from: serendu
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
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I know I know. The lack of any sort of contraception is rarely explained - it would take away the whole pregnancy plot device. It drives me nuts. Plus any of the angsting ones which forget about things like the morning after pill (nowadays available from pretty much any chemist in the UK) really really wind me up. But then I suppose there wouldn't be a story if there was't a pregnancy for some of them (HP fandom I'm looking at you).

As for me? Any society forcing me to do something like that - I'd play along until I could jump on the nearest boat and paddle my way to another country! Although I do occasionally enjoy the odd marriage fic myself. Have you ever tried Shiv5468's A Law Unto Herself? Still a WIP but oh so funny. Apologies for the ffnet link - I can't find the other...

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1798225/1/A_Law_to_Herself

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
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See, I *adore* marriage of convenience fics, but that's because I like the idea of two different people stuck together having to work out their issues and slowly becoming friends and then something more. It's best when the two people hate each other, of course:)

Unfortunately, I didn't get any of that in this fic. Hermione never really protested the enforced marriage, she and Snape never really fought once they were married, and the sex thing turned out not to be a big deal at all (which I'm of two minds about -- on the one hand, I'm glad that the female character is allowed to enjoy sex without guilt. On the other, if I were in her shoes, I'd want to know my husband as a man other than my teacher (or, you know, know him at all) before I was ready to spend a ton of time having sex with him.)

Plus, you're right, if an independent woman like Hermione was put in this situation, she'd get out and (especially if she were Hermione) work to get the law changed before she'd come back. Frankly, the only way marriage of convenience fics work for me is if both characters get something out of the marriage. *Neither* character gets anything out of this marriage, and it really bugs me.

Huh. I guess I was more bothered than I thought:)

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Amireal

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from: amireal
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
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Uh. They explained why no contraception, or are we talking in general? Because yeah, in general it's annoying. But in this fic they explained WHY no contraception several times and tied it into the end plot as well.

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
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They didn't explain the no contraception in the five chapters I read. And then she was pregnant, which is a bit after the contraception talk should have happened:)

Snape did mention that he'd like an heir, but seeing as they are married for life with no possibility of a divorce, there seems to be plenty of time for Hermione to get pregnant after, you know, she's lived a bit.

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Amireal

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from: amireal
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
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In story, contraception is basically illegal, a law that hasn't changed because as they say in story, Purebloods have ruled for-- just about ever and intermarried for even longer so there's almost never a weasely situation where you just pop out kids, more than likely you wait 12 years to get even one. Later you find out Ginny is taking muggle birth control, etc. And that Hermione goes on a quest to change all of that.

Not that I find the hows and wherefores of the story all that you know, but they did talk about it.

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Sep. 29th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
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Huh. Well, that's good to know. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it any less annoying to me that the author chose to make Hermione pregnant, but perhaps it will make the decision more palatable to others?

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gwendolynflight

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from: gwendolynflight
date: Sep. 30th, 2008 03:44 am (UTC)
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I think it's the mpreg part of this disease that disturbs me the most - it's bad enough having babies = happy ending in a fic where one partner is supposed to be able to get pregnant. When two men are involved, I really feel like I shouldn't have to worry about babies any more! Yeesh.

(Oh, that Mag7 rec you gave me the other day was awesome, thanks!)

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Sep. 30th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
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Amen! Heck, a lack of babies is one of the primary reasons to read slash:)

(I'm glad you liked the fic -- I ended up putting it into my possible rec folder without even finishing it, though I assume it ends well. (Er, please feel free to tell me if I'm wrong about that.) Frankly, I'm getting more than a little burned out by post-Obsession stories. Lately it feels like the majority of the fandom only started writing after Obsession. *sigh*)

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gwendolynflight

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from: gwendolynflight
date: Oct. 1st, 2008 04:42 am (UTC)
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It turned out to be more about coming out and the consequences thereof (though Ella certainly puts her imprint on that occasion, as well. Ick.) Hm, darn, I just rec'ed you a post-Obsession story ... It has vampires? (Along with Ella.) ... (Damnit.)

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Oct. 1st, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
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Rec away! I'll just set it aside until I've read a few non-Obsession fics in a row:)

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gwendolynflight

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from: gwendolynflight
date: Oct. 1st, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
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Ah, good plan.

Oh, this one was good, short but very sweet: http://blackraptor.net/m7fic-40/xm7fic-40x/home-1.htm

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Oct. 1st, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)
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Whee! Thank you:)

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napthia9

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from: napthia9
date: Nov. 13th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
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This was seriously one of the squickiest things I have ever read. Stopping at five chapters was probably the smartest thing I could have done. There's enough in the story that indicates the author doesn't think everyone ought to marry or have babies, but Hermione's characterization goes to a strange place and while the plot occasionally focuses on wizarding politics, the awful icky creepifying conditions in the Wizarding World never really change, even when Hermione's plans works. It's not a terrible piece of fanfic, but it reads as if someone stumbled upon Humbert Humbert's fanfic, then tried to scrub as much of the ick-factor from it, with varying degrees of success.

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Nov. 13th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
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Wow, I'm even more glad I didn't keep reading all the way to the end. I mean, the only reason I like marriage of convenience fic in the first place is because usually the incidents are isolated and everyone involved does their best to make the situation as palatable as possible. A society *defined* by marriage of convenience means that 'convenience' basically translates to 'sexual servitude' and, yeah, that's not my cup of tea.

Thanks for the comment!

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napthia9

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from: napthia9
date: Nov. 13th, 2008 02:11 am (UTC)
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One of the few non-squicky things is that the kids eventually grow up into interesting characters, don't all get married, and don't all have kids. They're all reasonably likable OCs too. (Messed up, but likable enough.) But by then the Hermione of the books isn't really there.

I didn't mind the fact that gender, sex, and marriage in the wizarding world was so totally messed up; I minded the fact that the story never really got around to talking the politics of the situation, even when Hermione reached the point where she could and did do something about it. I kept reading to see the system totally dismantled, and when it did, it didn't go far enough, and was deus-ex-machinaed into being boring. Oh, and the disgusting and unnecessary rape towards the end made me start skimming.

I enjoy both marriage of convenience fics where the incidents are isolated and when it's a societal issue; it's just that with the latter I absolutely need the characters to either escape or dismantle the system. (With the former I prefer "comedy of errors.") The romance comes second to that. I'm reading the other fic recced in the comments now, and while it's good, I feel like I might prefer it more if the author wasn't trying to hook up the protagonists, or at least there wasn't any "we have to boink in order to prove that we are married." I'd really rather read about the characters DOING something about their conditions, rather than just coping the best they can while insisting that they're going to fight the man as hard as they can.... someday.

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napthia9

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from: napthia9
date: Nov. 13th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
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.... And right after I write that, the next chapter begins with Hermione going "what can I do, I am only a schoolgirl... Oh right, I'll make a to-do list, start researching things, and make plans."

And then she does.

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Nov. 13th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
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That's my girl:)

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Nov. 13th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
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I'm not a huge fan of Big Brother Government type stories in the first place, partially because it's nearly impossible to ever buy a happy ending in such a universe. (And I don't remember there being a rape warning on this fic, so I'm doubly (triply? quadrupily?) glad I didn't keep reading.)

Comedy of errors MoC fic is great (and there isn't enough of it). I'm just happy as long as it's clear that both sides get something out of the marriage. When the government is forcing the marriage, neither side is getting anything out of it (other than raped, frankly -- I'm also not a big fan of the 'have sex to prove that you're married' trope, especially since a lot of stories justify MoC by saying that it was supposed to be a way to protect children and then specify a requirement of having sex *on the wedding night*. Because apparently it wasn't considered at all harmful to a nine-year-old to be forced to have sex with a complete stranger. Ick. In real-life MoCs, sex wasn't always assumed to be part of the deal. It's one of the reasons why society would turn a blind eye on men going to prostitutes.)

I hadn't actually read the story recced in the comments because it was a WIP. Do you know if it's completed yet? Thanks!

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napthia9

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from: napthia9
date: Nov. 13th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
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I don't remember if there was a warning or not. The author may have put it up at the start of that chapter, because I remember some comments that should have warned me in the author's notes. But at that point, I was almost done with the fic...

Big Brother MoC fic is hard to do. They're political stories, not romances. Including romantic tropes that fit in with comedy of errors MoC fic just doesn't work very well. CoE MoC fic are romantic, though I typically find that the sacrifices and benefits made by the partners have to be nearly equal, or it's difficult to see how this remains the best option for one of the characters.

I'd like to see more MoC fics break some of the rules though. Have the romance be outside the MoC, have them successfully separate and then come back after several years, find better reasons for the MoC then "I need protection/money," or make the marriage totally inconvenient.

It's still a WIP. I found that the story breaks off in a decent enough place for me. It's a lull in the story, not an ending, but it's enough to let me walk away without feverishly checking it for updates so I can get a resolution.

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jane_elliot

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from: jane_elliot
date: Nov. 13th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
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The MoC that I tend to like are the ones between big brother and CoE -- namely, two characters both need something that can only be gotten through a marriage. And so they marry each other, not because they need something from each other, but because they need to be married. In those cases, sex isn't even a factor (ideally -- unfortunately that doesn't stop most authors); it comes as a natural side effect of two people falling in love (which could easily be a natural side effect of two people living together and pretending to be intimate).

In other words, I like MoC because it forces two people to spend time together, not because it forces two people to have sex with each other. Cause the latter tends to squick me the heck out.

And I not ashamed to admit it, I'm a sucker for a good formula:)

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napthia9

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from: napthia9
date: Nov. 13th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
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Formula done well is hard to find. I suspect good formula that is also fanfic is even harder to find. Course, that might be because I can suspend my disbelief a little better with original characters than with characters I know. I also like it when authors poke at the formula a bit, just to keep me wondering if it actually is the formula I think it is.

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