Red Pill and Fiction: Harry Potter edition

J. K. Rowling has lots of mail from young female fans with crushes on Draco Malfoy.

Rowling writes how she’s often forced to crush the dreams of fans who nurse strange feelings for Hogwarts’s sexiest Slytherin. “Draco remains a person of dubious morality in the seven published books, and I have often had cause to remark on how unnerved I have been by the number of girls who fell for this particular fictional character,” she writes. “All this has left me in the unenviable position of pouring cold common sense on ardent readers’ daydreams, as I told them, rather severely, that Draco was not concealing a heart of gold under all that sneering…”

Commentary at Alpha Game here.

And from The Telegraph:

On Facebook, Draco Malfoy has a number of dedicated fan pages, including Draco Malfoy Lovers, which has 1421 members.

And here, we read that

Rowling added that girls should heed those common warnings – bad boys can’t be changed, and least of all by you. “Draco has all the dark glamour of the anti-hero; girls are very apt to romanticise such people,” she continued.

Related: Search the term Darth Maul Estrogen Brigade in your favorite search engine.

Jerks, Nice Guys, and Female Self-Awareness: An Example

At the fiction-related web site www dot fantasybooklane dot com the proprietress, Erica, has a book review of the novel Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard.

In the review she writes,

The only thing truly marring this otherwise excellent story is that the heroine is predictably stricken with Stockholm Syndrome. Why oh why do so many fantasy females fall in love with their captors? I’d rather she fell in love with a frog, or anything, anyone, anywhere. I wish authors would stop doing this. I knew it was coming, but I hoped beyond hope that Ms. Minyard would surprise me. Unfortunately, she did not.

Now as soon as I read this, of course, I had to roll my eyes, snort, and shake my head ruefully, as well as display many other physical signs of weary but amused exasperation. How can women be so clueless about themselves? Women love men who are powerful and amoral. Of course abducted chicks are going to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, and of course women are going to fantasize about that and include it as a story element. This level of cluelessness on the part of the reviewer was stupid enough. But wait! There’s more! The review continues,

If it hadn’t been for all the evil magic, I probably would have stopped reading.
Now for the dark magic. My favorite character was the evil one, Marel, because he is so wonderfully evil. He summons dark spirits to help him gain the throne, and why not? I love a good villain, and he fit the bill nicely.

Yes, really! She just wrote a paragraph lamenting the woman falling for her captor, and then she followed it with that! “I love a good villain” indeed. My goodness. Sometimes the lack of self-awareness or any kind of introspection or self-monitoring by females is astounding.

Just to make sure the point is clear, she next writes this:

I did not care for lead male Rycen. He is nothing special just your typical fantasy hot guy.

In other words, loves the villain; is bored by the good guy. Women, repeat after me: “We women like nice guys; we don’t jerks. We like nice guys; we don’t like jerks…” LOL.

For anyone who wants to read the entire review, it’s in the fantasybooklane site’s Archives for March 2015.

Related: Has anyone ever done a gender breakdown of so-called Stockholm Syndrome? I suspect it’s actually “female captive syndrome” but I tried to find out once, and… it’s surprisingly hard to find data on this.

Correia’s The Christmas Noun

A heartwarming Christmas story from Larry Corriea:
The Christmas Noun

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer had been driven insane with a desire to kill.

All the other reindeer had laughed and called him names… Until one day it pushed poor Rudolf over the edge into a berserk killing frenzy. He took out Dasher and Prancer with a meat cleaver, Donner and Dixon with a garden weasel, and Blitzen… Poor Blitzen… They’d never found his head….
Rudolf was sent to the toughest joint at the North Pole. The day he arrived he killed a polar bear with a shiv made from a plastic spoon, just so everyone would know not to mess with him. Rudolf has spent the time since then preparing for his inevitable revenge, lifting weights, getting prison tattoos, and terrifying the sugar plum fairies.

After he escapes, Rudolf lays his thing down:

“It’s time to deck the halls… with blood.”

(Via The Dark Herald.)

The Inverse Bechdel Test

Female psychology and fiction: Thoughts inspired by (the first 53 pages of) A Darker Shade of Magic, by Victoria Schwab.

This novel suffers from a common problem with its beginning.

(1) The problem: Not much happens in the first 53 pages, where I paused to record these thoughts. E.g., the opening scene has the magician Holland conversing with a prince. But we don’t hear much of the conversation and it’s not enough to pique our interest. Worse, the initial conversation between another magician, Kell, and a King doesn’t realize its promise. When Kell delivers a letter from a monarch in one universe to a monarch in another, we expect some earth-shaking development that will precipitate the story: A declaration of war or something. Instead, we get a polite inquiry about the recipient’s health: The royal equivalent of “Howya doin?! Arite, check ya later!” Huh? Something should have happened there. Fifty-three pages in, almost nothing has happened.

2) Why does this problem occur? Note: The first 53 pages are almost 100% super-alpha males – kings, princes, and powerful magicians – and almost 100% of their “screen time” is them talking to other super-alpha males. Of course alpha males, especially super-alphas like kings and princes, are intrinsically fascinating from a female point of view. But from a male point of view, well, no.
      In the funniest example of this problem, a prince (super-alpha) discusses his birthday party plans with his parents (King (super-alpha) and Queen) and brother (powerful magician and adopted prince; super-alpha). To a male reader, this is like some accountants planning a birthday party. Maybe the author and her female readers are rapt, because ALPHA MALES!!! But this male reader, and I imagine most male readers, are thinking, “Planning a birthday party? Why are we being shown this?”
      In fact, this scene is actually two entirely different scenes, depending on the audience. For the (female) author and female readers, the scene is OH MY GOD, SUPER-ALPHAS!!! For a male reader, the scene is some accountants talking about a birthday party.

There’s nothing wrong with women being attracted to alpha men, any more than there’s something wrong with men being attracted to young, beautiful women. But if a novel is intended for both sexes – as opposed to being romance porn for women – it should not contain scenes like the above. I’m not objecting to porn, I’m just saying, sort out your goals and intended audience before you start writing.

All of this leads me to propose an analogue of the Bechdel Test for female writers:

Would a scene that features men be equally interesting if the men were all accountants?

If not, you might be letting female sexual preoccupations overwhelm your authorial professionalism. Honestly ask yourself whether the scene should be there.