So, in this (probably brief) period where my cable modem is not on the fritz, let us talk about mean things. (Addendum: Whee! Cable Modem is on the fritz again! Imagine my joy.)
( Mean Books - The Conqueror's Shadow & Bitter SeedsCollapse )
( Being Mean - The Price of Blood and HonorCollapse )
I'm curious, actually, where other people's thresholds for the amount of grief and darkness they're willing to put up with in a novel or other form of entertainment media lie. (I know that I've, uh, pushed past some of those boundaries in the past.) For me, the breaking points are A) gratuitousness (i.e. the author doing something else awful to the character just because, not because it has a valid structural or plot purpose - Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb has become the poster girl for this, in my eyes), and B) deprotagonization (i.e. the character being shat on by the world and being unable or unwilling to fight back or do anything productive about what's been going wrong). B) is why I *hated* Sansa in all of Martin's Song of Ice and Fire books up to the most recent, and why Corinn did nothing for me in Acacia: The War with the Mein; Sansa was completely spineless, and Corinn, as the obvious Sansa-parallel, was almost as bad.
Thoughts? Comments? Defenses of long sequences where characters are miserable and unable to fight back, or suffering in durance vile?