whatimages: ([for thee does she undo herself?])
[personal profile] whatimages
God damn it legend of the seeker. I still can't get over how deceptive this show is! Just when I think they're done chewing on their subtext they start it up all over again. I mean, I know part of this is me reading in what I want to, but the fact that the showrunners actually deal with some of the implications of the world they've set up continuously impresses me.

TW for discussions of consent issues, abuse and rape

I've been hopin' and prayin' and wishin' for them to address the frankly skeevy issues inherent to Confessor sexuality for a while now. I never thought they would, but they did! Because holy damn Confessor sexuality is rapey as all get out. Yikes. I felt it could have been more direct with the way they addressed it, rather than going the route they did where bb Kahlan was ordered to confess a woman to her father's bed. But at the same time I appreciate how they made her complicit in someone else's abuse through her own. I think they could have done more with it, obviously, but I do appreciate that they went there. Once again I am stunned by this show's ability to get how cycles of abuse perpetuate. It impresses me every time!

I wish they had taken it one step further and had Kahlan be like, what the hell, mom--but overall I was really pleased. I kinda wish this had been a longer plot arc, so that there would be more time to develop Kahlan's history and relationship with her father and let them come to terms with their trauma and to forgiveness. I mean, that's what the arc was, I just wish it had been more extensively developed.

The one thing that I've been thinking about more and more that just is not clicking for me is Kahlan's sexuality. Like, there is a level on which it seems odd to me that she would even want to have sex with Richard. Because her touch is a weapon and the inherent rapiness of confessor sexuality makes the whole thing deeply strange. I mean, obviously they want to bang, but I wish there was more of that desire to bang colliding with Kahlan's understanding of herself and her power, compounded by her trauma history. I mean--Kahlan would have grown up almost absent of the understanding of love sex. From childhood she has understood her touch as a weapon and her sexuality as the greatest danger, as a power to which other people can be utterly subject. Power and sexuality are almost identical for her. And that just doesn't seem to be present in her physicality or her relationship to her her sexuality, and her sexuality as it pertains to Richard.

I mean, I guess this episode was doing some of that work by proxy; she gave her father a chance to move on from his abuse at the hands of her mother (and let's be real here, that's what it was) and is also trying to move on from her own abuse at the hands of her father. So Kahlan has a way forward from her father's abuse, but what about her mother's legacy? I mean, I know how they work it out in the end, but I guess I wish there was a little more struggle with that, more about Kahlan making a choice rather than deus ex machina that seems to simply delete the problems instead of solving them. Because in the counterfactual where she and richard never do figure it out, she'll need to take a mate or let the confessors die out. Which, yikes. Yiiiiiikes. So them figuring it out is a neat little loophole out of that dilemma, but the issue is still lurking in the background. Like I just feel that the only moral choice here is for the confessors to die out because their power is pretty awful. Is the show pointing at that? I honestly can't tell what they want me to think. And I wish they would give Kahlan some critical engagement on the subject.

I feel like I'm articulating this really poorly! Argh!

As an aside: I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED the "your strength is your own" and the way they reinforced that in "Princess" but also probletmatized it in "Bound." Like yeah, that's great, but simply being strong and powerful in yourself isn't necessarily a guarantor of anything, much less anything good. Nicci's whole thing just reads to me as a fuck you to the Randian ubermensch and I love it. Also, Cara is literally perfect.
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October 2013


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