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Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Saturday, May 21, 2011 or “THE BIGGEST CHAPTER EVER: PART TWO”

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Well, here’s something shitty that happened. Twilight fans were waiting with rapt anticipation at the prospect that Stephenie Meyer might release Midnight Sun, the rewritten version of Twilight from Edward’s perspective, on the tenth anniversary of the original book’s publication. Instead, they got a rewritten Twilight with gender-swapped characters that they never asked for. Fans were heartbroken. Why did Meyer do this?

Well, because of E.L. James. At New York City Comic Con, Meyer told an audience of fans that she feels Midnight Sun is cursed. She’d actually started writing it again:

“What do you think was the top story on Yahoo the next morning?” she asked the crowd. “Grey.”

In other words, E.L. James stole from Meyer again. James also stole from the Twilight fans she exploited to barge her way to the top, then disparaged and distanced herself from when she got tired of their support.

“It was a literal flip the table moment for me,” Meyer reportedly said.

She deserves to flip that table. She was blatantly ripped-off by a woman whose monetary success threatens to surpass her own. E.L. James may very well make more money off Meyer’s creation than Meyer did. Meanwhile, Meyer’s fans are angry with her because she can’t commit to finishing something that very obviously causes bad feelings for her due to the situation E.L. James has caused. In 2013, Meyer said that Twilight was no longer a “happy place” for her. I wonder why?

This is bullshit. No matter what you think of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer has been repeatedly victimized by E.L. James, who’s going to smile her shitty little smile all the way to the bank. E.L. James knows what she did, but at this point she’s so successful, there’s nothing to be done. And Meyer can’t really speak out too forcefully about it because as a big name author, she has to Be Nice. I can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel to have something you care about stolen from you by someone who will never face a single consequence for it.

On that infuriating note, onto the recap.

Today’s recap is part two of a chapter that spans numerous chapters in Fifty Shades of Grey. So if you want to read this recap in tandem with the original recap, you’re going to want chapter six.

Quick shout out to Anna, who tracked down most of the pictures for the old recaps that were lost. Thanks, Anna! I’ll be updating the pictures every time I post a corresponding chapter in one of these recaps. By the time I’m finished, Darker Grey will be out and I can do the same thing with that recap.

This day in history: It would have been the fifth anniversary of the Montenegrin independence referendum.

Where we left off, Christian was about to accompany Ana home from his hotel, where he had kidnapped her while she was unconscious.

The car is waiting in one of the bays in front of the hotel; the valet is pacing impatiently. I give him an obscene tip and open the passenger door for Ana, who is quiet and introspective.

Okay, so if his female employees breathe wrong, he thinks horrible, withering thoughts about them, but a male valet can express visible impatience toward Chedward and he’s all, “Here, have an enormous tip.”

But she hasn’t run.

Even though I jumped her in the elevator.

I should say something about what happened in there–but what?

Sorry?

How was that for you?

What the hell are you doing to me?

What is it with these random line breaks?

They serve no purpose.

Except to try to create internal tension where there is none.

I guess we have to live with it.

Because she’s not going to put breaks where they’re needed, anyway.

We should be grateful for what we get.

As always, the underlines indicate italics in the text. Let’s talk about the “But she hasn’t run” part. She hasn’t run? That’s your indication that you’ve had a positive interaction with a woman? “Well, she hasn’t been creeped out or frightened enough so far that she would want to run away from me as though I were a true danger to her. This is a great sign!” That’s kind of a low bar, Chedward. It makes me wonder how many women have literally run away from you.

They get in the car and Christian turns on Delibe’s “Flower Duet”. Ana asks him what it is, and he tells her and asks if she likes it.

“Christian, it’s wonderful.”

He didn’t write it. Calm down.

It’s great that she likes this piece; it’s one of my favorites. I find myself beaming; she’s obviously excused me for the elevator outburst.

I have a feeling that Christian’s guilt here is meant to show the reader that he’s really a nice, sensitive guy who feels genuine remorse for pawing Ana in the elevator without her permission. Sorry, but it doesn’t work. A guy who was actually a nice dude wouldn’t have done that to someone he’s just met and doesn’t have a relationship with. If Mr. Jen did that to me, I’d be down with it, because we’ve been together for a long time and he knows me well enough to know that I would think it was kind of sexy, and I’m receptive to his sexual attention. Christian didn’t know that about Ana. So, that’s one problem with the whole wow, what a nice, sensitive guy he is vibe that James is trying to go for here.

Plus, he’s not really interested in whether or not she’s okay with what he did. He just wants to know that she’s not angry with him. There’s a difference between remorse for your actions and just wanting to be forgiven because you’re uncomfortable about your actions and how the consequences for them might play out. Christian is doing the latter.

“You like classical music?” she asks, as we cross the Fremont Bridge, and we fall into an easy conversation about my taste in music.

One of the things that’s super frustrating about this book is the way James will mention conversations that are meant to show Christian and Ana getting to know each other as though they’re an afterthought. It’s another case of assuming that everyone who picks up this book has obviously read the others. As shitty as the writing and character development in these books are, what little relationship development they have takes place in the conversations she’s blithely skipping over.

And now, more creepy behavior (I’m using “creepy” because a recent misogynist commenter who said he would find a story about me being raped funny hated the fact that I called a fictional man creepy. So, CREEEEEPY. CREEEEEEPY. MEN CAN BE TOTALLY CREEEPY AND I CAN THINK THIS EVEN THOUGH I’M AN UGLY WOMAN AND UNWORTHY OF MALE ATTENTION YOU AND CHRISTIAN ARE BOTH CREEEEEEEEPS). Chedward gets a call while he’s driving:

“Mr. Grey, it’s Welch here. I have the information you require.” Oh yes, details about the photographer.

“Good. E-mail it to me. Anything to add?”

“No, Sir.”

Ana is sitting right next to him while he gets an update on the background check he’s run on her friend. He’s grossly violating her privacy while she sits beside him, totally oblivious.

I press the button and the music is back. We both listen, now lost in the raw sound of Kings of Leon.

I didn’t realize Kings of Leon covered “Flower Duet.” In the original version of the story, the conversation that James has now skipped over is the one where the song switches to Kings of Leon.

Christian gets another call, this one from Andrea, about the non-disclosure agreement Christian plans to have Ana sign prior to fucking her. Ana is in the car with him, right now, again with no idea that Christian is orchestrating an elaborate plan to conquer her as she sits in the passenger seat.

It’s difficult to keep my eyes on the road. I want to stare at her. For all her maladroitness, she has a beautiful neckline, one that I’d like to kiss from the bottom of her ear right down to her shoulder.

Why would having a beautiful neck and being clumsy be mutually exclusive? Do all clumsy people have weirdly shaped necks? Did he assume she would have some kind of obvious malformation from a displaced vertebrae due to one of her repeated falls? Sometimes these sentences just don’t make any sense. It’s like saying, “Despite her hatred of broccoli, she had lovely feet.” The two don’t cancel each other out.

So here is an interesting thing that I had forgotten, which only makes the previous stuff even more creepy.

animated gif of Craig Ferguson saying "super creepy," only creepy is spelled "creepaaaay".
But not Craig creepy. The actual bad kind of creepy.

Christian gets another phone call, this one from Elliot:

“Hi, Christian, d’you get laid?”

Oh…smooth, dude, smooth.

“Hello, Elliot-I’m on speakerphone, and I’m not alone in the car.”

We’ll come back the “d’you get laid?” line, I promise.

Since I no longer have my original copy of Fifty Shades of Grey because fuck that book, that’s why, I couldn’t go back and re-read this scene. My early recaps aren’t super detailed, because at the time I wasn’t real sure anyone was reading them, so I didn’t spend a lot of time on them. My point being, I didn’t remember that all those phone calls Christian was receiving, the phone calls that were specifically about investigating and planning to fuck Ana were handled over the speaker phone. She listened to them, not knowing what they were about. That is just… oh my gosh, I can’t get over how awful that is.

Plus, it’s super rude to answer calls on speaker phone when someone is in the car with you. I absolutely hate it, under any circumstance, except for if the person on the other end of the line is giving the driver directions or it’s a call that’s going to concern everybody.

Back to the “d’you get laid?” part. Uh, Elliot? You knew your brother was going to pick up a drunk girl from the bar. You knew she was super drunk when they left. What you apparently don’t know is that he couldn’t have gotten laid. He could have raped her. Not the same thing as “getting laid.”

Elliot says hi over the speakerphone to Ana, and tells her he’s heard a lot about her, so we know he’s with Kate.

“I’m dropping Anastasia off now. Shall I pick you up?” I interject.

There’s no doubt Elliot will want to make a quick getaway.

We know that Elliot is a player, and it’s entirely likely that’s what Christian is talking about. He’d want to make a quick getaway because he’s a love-em-and-leave-em type. But after hearing Christian’s internal, immediate dislike of Kate, and the fact that Ana mentioned Kate by name in the conversation with Elliot, the way this is worded makes it seem like he’s saying Elliot would want to specifically get away from Kate. Which only adds to the Christian Grey charm.

“Why do you insist on calling me Anastasia?” she asks.

“Because it’s your name.”

“I prefer Ana.”

“Do you now?”

Ana is too everyday and ordinary for her. And too familiar. Those three letters have the power to wound…

He doesn’t want to say her name because he doesn’t want to get too close. In the next paragraph he thinks about how “invested” he is in Ana, and how much he wants to get to know her, and how crushing her rejection of him will be if it happens. I guess I can understand that, but…all of that is kind of secondary to being respectful and calling a person what she wants to fucking be called. Since he’s Christian Grey, his feelings matter more than Ana’s, and he’s not going to respect her request.

“Anastasia,” I say, ignoring her disapproving look. “What happened in the elevator–it won’t happen again–well, not unless it’s premeditated.”

That…is how you describe a homicide. Then again, this whole series is a homicide.

They get to her apartment, where she tells him that she liked him kissing her in the elevator. But since we’ve read the other book, we know that now that she’s told him this, he refuses to do anything physical with her until she’s jumped through his hoops. Once he has her consent, he no longer wants it without demanding further action from her.

Inside, Christian gets a chance to hate Kate some more, when she’s suspicious of the guy who took her drunk best friend to his hotel for the night:

What did she think I was going to do to the girl?

Rape her.

And what I want to say is something sarcastic about how she’s finally showing some interest in her friend, but I hold my tongue.

So, was Chedward kidnapping Ana a friendship test for Kate? Because he seems unreasonably pissed off that Kate, who was also wasted, didn’t do enough to protect her friend from his actions. I’m going to assume that assigning blame to people for his shitty actions because they didn’t do enough to stop him from said shitty actions is going to be a theme here.

Chedward addresses Kate as Miss Kavanagh:

“Christian, her name is Kate,” Elliot says with mild irritation.

“Kate,” I mutter, to be polite.

So he can stoop to using Kate’s preferred name, though it pains him, but he can’t do the same for Ana. I guess Kate isn’t extraordinary enough for him to bother with disrespecting her over the issue.

Elliot hugs Ana and of course Christian has possessive anger over that. He tells his brother they should go, and is disgusted when Elliot kisses Kate goodbye. Elliot also delivers the dreaded “Laters, baby,” line.

Ana’s reproachful eyes are on me, and for a moment I don’t know if it’s because of Elliot and Kate’s lascivious display or–

Hell! This is what she wants. To be courted and wooed.

I don’t do romance, sweetheart.

Elliot making out with Kate is lascivious, and in an earlier paragraph, “unseemly” and “uncomfortable,” but now it’s courting and wooing? Oh, wait, my bad. It’s only romance if it’s Christian and Ana, because theirs is truly a love for the ages.

Which is why he still wants to kiss her:

My thumb strays to her soft bottom lip, which I’d like to kiss again. But I can’t. Not until I have her consent.

“People think my hero doesn’t care about consent? I’ll show them! I’ll put in a line where he thinks about the word consent, while retaining all of the actions that show he doesn’t give a fuck about it!” – E.L. James, probably.

Christian reminds Ana that he’ll pick her up at eight, then he and Elliot go to the car.

“Man, I need some sleep,” Elliot says, as soon as we’re in the car. “That woman is voracious.”

You know, I’m impressed that James still managed to work in what a slut Kate is, even though she’s not in Ana’s pure, virginal head.

Elliot tries to make a joke about Christian and Ana having sex, again. You know, much in the way Emmett jokes about Edward potentially killing Bella in Midnight Sun. I don’t know why there would be such a striking parallel between the two books, I just don’t.

They repeat the earlier scene where Elliot sleeps and Christian turns up the music to try and impede him. Then we jump ahead to:

José Luis Rodriguez’s background check reveals a ticket for possession of marijuana.

Pretty sure possession was still a misdemeanor in Washington in 2011, unless there was a local Seattle law I’m not familiar with.

There is nothing in his police records for sexual harassment. Maybe last night would have been a first if I hadn’t intervened.

What José was doing wasn’t harassment, it was assault. It was also pretty much exactly the same thing Christian did to Ana in the elevator, even though she didn’t push him away. And I’m still mystified as to how drunkenly kissing a girl without consent is different or somehow worse than bodily removing a girl to a second location, undressing her while she’s unconscious, and sleeping in the bed next to her while you’re making all of those decisions sober, but whatever. All of your actions are excused by your tragic past.

And the little prick smokes weed? I hope he doesn’t smoke around Ana–and I hope she doesn’t smoke, period.

Smoking weed turns Christian Grey off? That’s all it takes, seriously?

Me, pretending to take a hit off my bong, with a comically large bud (The size of a human ear) sticks out of the bowl.
I hope this is enough.

Most of the time, I feel personally insulted to see marijuana used as an indicator of low moral character, but here, it’s just laughable. The guy who gets a woman intoxicated to coerce her into sexual activities she doesn’t want to do, emotionally abuses her by isolating her from her family and friends, had her followed by a security team who reports everything back to him, and who is a generally snooty, unpleasant person inside his own head wants to pass judgment on people who just get stoned? Ha, okay, good luck with that, man.

Christian remotely prints copies of both the non-disclosure agreement and his Dom/sub contract (with Ana’s name and address already filled in) at his apartment.  Then Elliot comes in and is like, let’s go hiking, and Christian thinks about how childish he is. Then there’s a section break.

They’re out hiking, and there’s some internal monologue about the scent of pine and how it reminds him of running through the woods with his family while they hunted for wildlife to consume in order to quench the insatiable hunger that might make them a danger to the residents of Forks. Sorry, I meant, while they were hiking. Elliot talks to him, but all Christian can think of is Ana and if she’s going to agree to be his sub.

I picture her sleeping beside me, soft and small…and my cock twitches with expectation. I could have woken her and fucked her then–what a novelty that would have been.

I’m sure it would have been for her, too. Waking up, not knowing where she is, with a guy’s twitching cock being all like, “Hellos, baby.”

I’ll fuck her in time.

I’ll fuck her bound and with her smart mouth gagged.

After a section break, Christian is waiting for Ana outside of Clayton’s hardware. She gets out of work and Chedward sees some guy looking at her butt as she leaves. So Christian gets out of the car and holds the door open for Ana, because it’s easier than actually peeing on her to stake his claim.

Her lips curve into a shy smile as she approaches, her hair in a jaunty ponytail swinging in the evening breeze.

Yes, there’s no word an American man in his twenties uses more reliably than “jaunty.”

She’s dressed in black jeans…Jeans again.

Enjoy them while they last, Ana, because soon he’ll dictate all of your clothing choices. And food choices. Just all of your choices, in general.

In the back of the car, Chedward and Anabella hold hands:

She glances down at our joined fingers and I brush her knuckles with my thumb over and over. Her breath catches and her eyes meet mine. In them I see her longing and desire…and her sense of anticipation.

So, you’re holding her hand and gazing deeply into her eyes, and later you’re going to be pissed off because she somewhere got the idea that you were interested in her romantically. Okay.

They get to the building where the helipad is, and they have to take the elevator up. And of course, she gives him a “knowing look.” According to my Kindle’s search function, “knowing look” is used three times in the entire novel, and they’re all in this chapter, which is probably why it feels like they’re the only type of look anybody gives anybody.

As we stand inside I make a mental note to fuck her in an elevator one day.

MENTAL NOTES:

  • Call Ros
  • Buy milk
  • Fuck Ana in an elevator
  • Cancel World of Warcraft subscription

They get to the roof, where Christian doesn’t see his pilot:

But Joe, who runs the helipad in Portland, is in the small office. He salutes when I see him. He’s older than my grandpa, and what he doesn’t know about flying is not worth knowing; he flew Sikorskys in Korea for casualty evacuation, and boy, does he have some hair-raising stories.

I’m glad Christian isn’t a commercial airline pilot, if he thinks the only thing worth learning is what a dude who’s seventy-three, minimum, knows from his days flying helicopters in a war zone. “Attention all personnel! Attention all personnel!  This is your captain speaking. We’ve begun our final descent into Seattle. At this time all cabin service will be discontinued, and I’ve turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. Flight attendants, please load the outboard stretchers and cross-check for landing.” [M*A*S*H theme plays]

The title card from M*A*S*H, depicting an evac helicopter
Holy fuck, is that Charlie Tango?

Also, let’s talk for a minute about Helicopter Joe and his military salute. First of all, why do we need to know so much information about Joe? In the original series, we never saw him again after this. I could get a line like, “He’s older than my grandpa and a Korean war vet” or something, but why do I need to know exactly what he flew on what kind of mission? Why do we need to know about his hair-raising stories? Why does any of it matter when we’ll never see this character again?

Unless, of course, telling us all that information about a barely-character, then having him saluting a civilian, is meant to impress us with the staggering amount of deference shown to said civilian. After all, if Christian Grey isn’t worthy of a salute from a man who risked his life in service to his country, then who is, right?

(For the record, I did an informal poll of current and former military in several branches and the answer to “would this guy salute a civilian” seemed split between, “he could if he wanted, I guess, but I don’t see why he’d want to” and “You never salute civilians unless they’re a head of state.”)

Christian tells Ana to get in the helicopter and not touch anything, and then he’s surprised when she doesn’t. What rational adult would get into a helicopter they were about to ride in and just start flipping toggles and shit without knowing what they’re doing?! PS. If you’re thinking, “Well, I would,” then you need to stay away from any dangerous machinery.

Crouching down beside her, I strap her into the seat harness, trying not to imagine her naked as I do it.

In his head he’s trying to convince us that he’s a perfect gentleman or something. I could have imagined her naked, but I didn’t! But all of his actions toward Ana remain the same as the first book.

Also, here’s a writing tip (for a problem I spot in my work a lot): you don’t have to specify “down” after “crouching.” You can’t “crouch up”. I do that with standing and jumping. “He stood up. He jumped up.” No shit, you can’t stand down, unless you’re Helicopter Joe when he was still in Korea.

I tighten the last strap. She’s not going anywhere.

No, that’s definitely not a borderline threatening turn of phrase.

Suppressing my excitement, I whisper, “You’re secure. No escaping.”

Neither is that.

“I like this harness,” I mutter. I want to tell her I have others, in leather, in which I’d like to see her trussed and suspended from the ceiling.

Hannibal and Will Graham hanging upside down in the back of a meat truck

I give her a wink, she beams, and I’m dazzled.

dazzle

There is a lot of detail regarding the helicopter:

Oil temperature is at 104. Good. I increase the manifold pressure to 14, the engine to 2500 rpm, and pull back on the throttle.

Nobody cares about any of that. This is not a helicopter flying manual. Although, it would probably make a better helicopter manual than the romance it fails to be.

And like the elegant bird she is…Charlie Tango rises into the air.

Has E.L. James ever seen a bird? Like, in person? Or even on a documentary? They don’t take off like helicopters. Do you know what animals do take off like helicopters? DRAGON FLIES. Which is A BETTER METAPHOR. So that’s why people USE IT.

Also, I don’t care how expensive your helicopter is, it doesn’t look elegant when it’s taking off. It looks like a drunk driver trying really hard at a roadside sobriety test.

So, they take off and they’re flying and Chedward thinks:

To me this is a comfort. Nothing can harm me here.

an equation for figuring out gravitational force
But whatever.

Ana asks how he knows he’s going the right way, and he thinks about how he doesn’t want to bore her talking about the instruments, but he does bore us by listing off the instruments. There more waxing egotistical about how his mastery of flight thrills him, and how awed Ana is by his skill, etc. He tells her that he’s never taken a date in his helicopter and asks her if she’s impressed, and she says she’s awed, and everyone is awed and Christian remembers his mother, Grace, saying that she was awed:

And I remember Grace, my mother, stroking my hair as I read out loud from The Once and Future King.

“Christian, that was wonderful. I’m awed, darling boy.”

I was seven and had only recently started speaking.

Only just started speaking, but can read The Once and Future King at age seven. No wonder he could just drop out of Harvard.

I’m going to skip over a bunch of stuff, because it’s boring and E.L. could have skipped over it the way she skipped over other stuff.  They’re about to land and Chedward asks Ana a question so she’ll look at him:

She does, with a huge cock-tightening grin.

I don’t even begin to know where to go with that.

In case he wasn’t already creepy enough (there I go, tossing that word around again like some hairy-legged feminazi):

She peers up at me. Trusting. Young. Sweet. Her delicious scent is almost my undoing.

Can I do this with her?

She’s an adult.

She can make her own decisions.

This is legitimately alarming. A lot of people felt that the emphasis on Ana’s child-like qualities made the first series border on glorification of pedophilia. I never really saw that angle, though the constant pigtails and mentions of how cute and small and innocent she was did gross me out, because coupled with her genuine naivety and unbelievable cluelessness it made her seem too emotionally immature to actually consent to anything Christian threw at her. But to be in Christian’s head, where he’s having to remind himself that the qualities he’s attracted to, the young, trusting, sweet qualities, are only okay since she’s an adult and not a child.

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You know that, don’t you?” She needs to understand this. I want her submission, but more than that I want her consent.

you keep using that word

If Christian had any actual concept of consent, he would realize that “I want to be your submissive” is not the same as “you now have an all-access pass to make me do whatever you want because I gave consent for this other stuff,” and he absolutely treats her that way for the rest of the book.

Christian gets her into the apartment and asks her if she wants some wine, then asks her if the one he has is okay. She’s like, yeah, I don’t know anything about wine. So then there are comments about how pale she is, and he asks her if she’s hungry, and she says his apartment is big, and she asks him if he plays the piano in his living room. Why the fuck would he have a piano if he didn’t know how to play, Ana?

“Of course you do. Is there anything you can’t do well?”

“Yes…a few things.”

Cook.

Tell jokes.

Make free and easy conversation with the woman I’m attracted to.

Be touched…

Not come off as an arrogant prick in 99% of sentences involving more than four words. Not stalk women. Not condescend to everyone around me. Treat my employees well. Lose a round of golf without having a hissy fit. Respect boundaries.

I can keep going.

Ana asks Christian why he sent her Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

“It seemed appropriate. I could hold you to some impossibly high ideal like Angel Clare or debase you completely like Alec d’Urberville.” My answer is truthful enough and has a certain irony to it. What I’m about to propose I suspect will be very far from her expectations.

“If there are only two choices, I’ll take the debasement,” she whispers.

Ana has read Tess of the d’Urbervilles, so she knows that Alec raped Tess. So she knows that Christian is saying he could either rape her, or expect her to be perfect and pure. But what Ana doesn’t know is that Christian is going to both hold her to impossibly high standards of virtue while sexually and emotionally abusing her throughout the rest of their relationship.

Wanna know how you can avoid this shit, if you ever want to incorporate the classics into your books? Actually understand the fucking book you’re making allusions to. In Twilight, Stephenie Meyer compares Edward and Bella to Romeo and Juliet. The parallel makes sense, because there could actually be tragic consequences resulting from a vampire and a human falling in love, and the relationship between Edward and Bella actually ends up endangering both of them at the end of the book. But Meyer actually understood the parallel she was making; James was ripping off Twilight, so she had to find some classical work to echo the inclusion of Romeo and Juliet in the source she was stealing from. For some reason, she picked a work she doesn’t seem to grasp at all.

“Anastasia, stop biting your lip, please. It’s very distracting. You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“That’s why I’m here,” she says, her teeth leaving little indentations on a bottom lip moist with wine.

This is the second time the word “moist” has been used since they arrived at the apartment. That word doesn’t bother me, but I’m including it for those of you who find it repulsive. I hope you enjoy it.

And there she is: disarming once more, surprising me at every turn. My cock concurs.

As Christian’s cock seems to be equivalent to Ana’s inner goddess, I’m thoroughly looking forward to seeing it dance the merengue.

Christian goes and gets the NDA and tells her she has to sign it because his lawyer says so:

“And if I don’t want to sign anything?”

“Then it’s Angel Clare high ideals, well, for most of the book anyway.” And I wouldn’t be able to touch you. I’ll send you home with Stephan, and I will try my very best to forget you. My anxiety mushrooms; this deal could go all to shit.

If he can’t fuck her, he’s not interested in her, despite how disarming she is and the fact that he’s never felt this way about another woman. We keep hearing over and over how unusual she is, how he’s so attracted to her, that she’s unlike anyone else, but at the end of the day, all Chedward still wants is a fuck toy. Readers of the original trilogy convinced themselves that Christian truly did love her, but couldn’t express it or even admit it to himself because of his pain. Being in his head proves the opposite: Christian is fully aware of his feelings for Ana, but he’s still only into it for the sex.

Ana signs the contract without looking at it, so Christian scolds her for that, but Ana says that she’s not going to talk about him anyway:

“Christian, what you fail to understand is that I wouldn’t talk about us to anyone anyway. Even Kate. So it’s immaterial whether I sign an agreement or not. If it means so much to you, or your lawyer, whom you obviously talk to, then fine. I’ll sign.”

Mmm, feel that totally-totally-natural-for-a-young-American-person dialogue. Satiny smooth.

“Fair point well made, Miss Steele,” I note dryly.

Ah, how I’ve missed that phrase. Although a search of the text reveals it’s only used three times in this version of the story. So savor them while you can.

And before I can begin my pitch, she asks, “Does this mean you’re going to make love to me tonight, Christian.”

What?

Me?

Make love?

A picture of Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman
What? Me? Make love?

And then we come to the infamous line that launched a thousand laughs of disbelief that anyone thought this was sexy in any way:

“No, Anastasia, it doesn’t. First, I don’t make love. I fuck, hard.”

She gasps. That’s made her think.

“Second, there’s a lot more paperwork to do. And third, you don’t yet know what you’re in for. You could still run from here screaming! Come, I want to show you my playroom.”

I’ll note here that there are some differences in the recaps of the original books and the text here. That’s because when I recapped the first book, I used an ebook version (I think it was .epub, specifically) of the Writer’s Coffee House edition loaned to me by someone else. I say “loaned” because she deleted it from her computer after giving it to me. So, I guess in reality she used me as her digital trashcan.

Anyway, in that pre-Vintage edition, those lines went “Firstly, secondly, thirdly,” instead of the way they’re presented right now. I’m not sure why they changed them. The -ly versions of ordinal numbers are considered by most grammarians to be the more formal format, and with Christian’s stilted way of talking it seems like they would be more fitting. So an editor dropped the ball there.

So, Ana asks Christian if he means that he wants to play Xbox, and he laughs at her and they go upstairs to the playroom.

This is it. Pay or play. Have I ever been this nervous? Realizing my desires depend on the turn of this key, I unlock the door, and in that moment I need to reassure her. “You can leave anytime. The helicopter is on standby to take you whenever you want to go; you can stay the night and go home in the morning. It’s fine, whatever you choose.”

Wait, the helicopter is on standby? With who? Christian doesn’t mention anyone being around when they land.

“Just open the damn door, Christian,” she says with a mulish expression and her arms crossed.

Ah, mulish. That really rams home how beautiful the chick you’re dating is.

(Did you see that? Mulish? Mule? Ram? Chick? No one appreciates my genius.)

This is the crossroads. I don’t want her to run. But I’ve never felt this exposed. Even in Elena’s hands…and I know it’s because she knows nothing about the lifestyle.

This is a referral problem. Elena knows plenty about the lifestyle, it’s Ana who doesn’t.

I open the door and follower her into my playroom.

My safe place.

The only place where I’m truly myself.

And that’s where I’m going to leave it.

On.

Another.

Deep.

Poetic.

Linebreak.

Palooza.

I think we only have one or two more parts of this chapter to go before we mercifully move on to another god damn day. Personally, I can’t wait to get to the part where he fucks her and she shouts like Charlie Brown getting frustrated with something.

97 Comments

  1. Laina
    Laina

    Like Charlie Brown oh my gosh.

    Also, good timing. Good timing talking about plagarizing and then posting this, for real.

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
  2. “Why would having a beautiful neck and being clumsy be mutually exclusive? Do all clumsy people have weirdly shaped necks? Did he assume she would have some kind of obvious malformation from a displaced vertebrae due to one of her repeated falls?”

    Hahahahaha BRILLIANT!

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
    • I thought we were all operating under the assumption that Ana is vertebra-free.

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
      • Yowza! Even I felt the heat from that burn! 😀

        October 24, 2015
        |Reply
  3. Renee
    Renee

    “This is bullshit. No matter what you think of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer has been repeatedly victimized by E.L. James …”

    Yep. Twilight, IMO, is pretty much shit, but at least it’s original shit.

    “… a male valet can express visible impatience toward Chedward and he’s all, ‘Here, have an enormous tip.'”

    He said an “obscene tip.” Maybe he didn’t give the guy money, but rather gave him advice on giving oral sex or something. Or perhaps Chedward poked the guy with HIS tip.

    Adding to the “d’you get laid?” thing — has EEL never heard people speak out loud? No one says those sounds together in the English language unless they’re maybe in the process of having a stroke.

    “Elliot also delivers the dreaded ‘Laters, baby,’ line.”

    Apparently, this is a British thing. I’ve heard it on some British TV shows from before 50 came out. It makes me cringe.

    “Unless, of course, telling us all that information about a barely-character, then having him saluting a civilian …”

    I highly doubt a true military vet (and if he was a pilot, he was an officer) would salute any civilian who isn’t the president. Not a genuine military salute, anyway. And then I read the next paragraph and see you covered this. lol

    “Why the fuck would he have a piano if he didn’t know how to play, Ana?”

    Some people (especially really rich people) have them for decoration.

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
    • xebi
      xebi

      “He said an “obscene tip.” Maybe he didn’t give the guy money, but rather gave him advice on giving oral sex or something. Or perhaps Chedward poked the guy with HIS tip.”

      I rarely laugh out loud when reading, but thank you. You’ve made my day. I needed that.

      Oh, and “d’you get laid” sounds pretty natural to me, but guess what? I’m British.

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
    • Tracy
      Tracy

      When I first read “obscene tip” I thought Chedward gave the guy The Finger.

      October 25, 2015
      |Reply
    • Saint_Sithney
      Saint_Sithney

      All I could think was that classic scene from “The Room”:
      Johnny: I can’t taahlk aboht that. It’s priahvahte. So ahnyway, how’s yoyure sex life?

      Has anyone seen E.L. James and Tommy Wiseau in the same room together? O.O

      October 26, 2015
      |Reply
    • Aletheia
      Aletheia

      “I highly doubt a true military vet (and if he was a pilot, he was an officer) would salute any civilian who isn’t the president. Not a genuine military salute, anyway.”

      Assuming Chedward there knows what a genuine military salute is, anyway. Or any genuine salute.

      October 27, 2015
      |Reply
    • JC
      JC

      The salute makes perfect sense to me if the pilot’s senile.

      October 29, 2015
      |Reply
  4. Quelaag
    Quelaag

    I think it’s time for me to take up pot smoking…

    Why does EL James hate Kate so much? Rather, why did EL James write Kate as one of the best characters (read: least awful) in the books, but then still have her protagonists hate on her so much?

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
    • eselle28
      eselle28

      Because Kate is Rosalind from Twilight. This is one of those areas where E.L. James copied something from that book without realizing it didn’t work in her story. Rosalind has a purpose in Twilight, to show the darker side of being a vampire. Meyer also gives Bella plenty of reasons to keep interacting with Rosalind until we can find out why she behaves as she does – Bella can’t really refuse to talk to a classmate or to her boyfriend’s sister.

      I don’t think James realized that making Kate a friend and roommate of Ana’s while still casting her as the supposedly unlikable character reflects poorly on Ana.

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
      • JayneEyre
        JayneEyre

        Yeah, in Twilight, Rosalie wanted to be human, and was envious of Bella for being one. Generally main reason why stuff doesn’t work in Jame’s world is that made ALL HUMAN AU. For instance, the secrecy, she makes Christian’s kink secret, because Edward was secretive and Bella had to keep silent about him. Only the reason for secrecy with Cullens was THEY WERE VAMPIRES, and that is a legit reason, for them to destroy evidence and to burn things, and not involve the police. Because if they were to do that, it would have come out that vampires exist. And it’s a kind of law for the Modern Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, to have the magical world be a secret from the rest of the world. But here we don’t have monsters, we have humans, and therefore this whole secrecy has no sense. It’s set in 2011, and in a big city in US. Person, even a rich one, having a kink isn’t going to end the world and make Worldwide news. Unless the guy murdered someone, then yes, the media will jump onto the kinky bit, but otherwise than that? Nope, no one is going to care.

        October 28, 2015
        |Reply
    • Manders
      Manders

      I think it’s possible that Christian’s overly intense condemnation of pot is another one of those cultural mistranslations caused by someone who’s not familiar with Seattle trying to write a book set in the area. I moved to Seattle in 2011 and, while pot was still illegal for recreational use, it was legal for medical use and police officers were being encouraged not to cite people for possession. It would be very, very rare for even a conservative twenty-something to not have at least one friend who smoked. Plus, Christian chose to live in Belltown, so unless he was entering and exiting his apartment exclusively by helicopter, he’d regularly see people using much harder drugs than pot.

      The laws in England were much stricter at that time (I don’t know whether they still are, I haven’t been there in a while), and possession was a much bigger deal.

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
      • The Grouchybeast
        The Grouchybeast

        See, I actually thought that was deliberate characterization for Chedward. Like, he’s hostile to absolutely all drugs because of ‘the crack whore’, in the same way that he’s hostile to absolutely all blondes. I think I may be searching too hard for logic, though.

        October 25, 2015
        |Reply
      • Tracy
        Tracy

        I think it’s more reflective of the prejudices of the author.

        October 25, 2015
        |Reply
      • Spockchick
        Spockchick

        I’m Scottish, and can safely say that the condemnation of dope is totally to do with the stick up James’ arse, and the circles she hangs out in. For her age, her total lack of worldliness and street smarts is jaw-dropping. How she got to 50 and be so naive is bamboozling in the extreme. This is the work of an arrested personality.

        November 1, 2015
        |Reply
  5. mydogsPA
    mydogsPA

    “Oil temperature is at 104. Good. I increase the manifold pressure to 14, the engine to 2500 rpm, and pull back on the throttle”

    WHAT?! This is so WRONG it isn’t funny. N124CT (Charlie Tango, to you layfolk) is an EC135 helicopter powered by TWO turboshaft engines. THERE IS NO MANIFOLD PRESSURE GAUGE. Normal operating engine speeds are 50,000 rpm for the gas-generating turbine (N1). The turbine output shaft (this powers the main rotor) is running at about 6000 rpm (N2) and the main rotor runs at around 400 or so after the gearbox reduces the output shaft speed to rotor speed. There is a TORQUE meter to measure engine torque (multiply torque times RPM to get power, but that’s a physics thing that you layfolk may not know) There is a Turbine Output Temperature (TOT) gauge to ensure you don’t overheat and fry the $200,000 turbine during engine startup and shutdown; this MUST be monitored carefully during those times or you replace the turbine hot section. There is one of these gauges FOR EACH ENGINE.

    Even on a piston engine that I fly 14 inches of manifold pressure won’t get me off the ground, and 2500 RPM is TOO SLOW for takeoff.

    Pulling BACK on the throttle REDUCES POWER and is NOT something you do when TAKING OFF.

    As sporkers Gehayi and Ket say on their blog: DID NOT DO THE RESEARCH

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
    • nerdy lurker
      nerdy lurker

      @mydogsPA, you’re my favorite. the only reference point i have for EL’s helicopter mumbo jumbo was that 2500 rpm is barely enough to get my car from 1st to 2nd gear, so i thoroughly appreciate your detailed account of all the things she got wrong. she plagiarized a whole series, but she can’t ask an actual pilot what would make sense there?

      October 23, 2015
      |Reply
    • Amanda
      Amanda

      Thank you for this XD

      October 23, 2015
      |Reply
    • xebi
      xebi

      I was hoping you’d turn up in this comment thread! 😀

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
    • GS
      GS

      Thank you. I was looking forward to this from the moment I read about the helicopter, and you did not disappoint 😉

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
      • mydogsPA
        mydogsPA

        Thanks, all! I’m happy you enjoyed it.

        For anyone else who is even REMOTELY interested on what it REALLY takes to fly a helicopter from Portland to Seattle, see my thread at http://troutnation.freeforums.net/thread/62/real-pilot-portland-seattle

        @ nerdy lurker, actually 2500 rpm is just a bit too slow for the engine speed of a fixed wing, piston aircraft. But a Robinson R22 helicopter using a piston engine nominally runs at 2550 rpm. However, helicopter jockeys don’t use the nomenclature ‘rpm’ as much as “% RPM” where “100%” rpm is 2550, “104%” is 2652 rpm, etc. So Chedward shouldn’t be thinking in “RPM,” but rather “%.”

        See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvAYe3q4peI for some video of a twin-turbine engine startup in an Agusta A109. The pilot’s arm gets in the way of the engine start because the start switch is in the overhead panel and the guy filming is in the back seat, but you can see the gauges I listed in my rant. These gauges are in the center of the panel, there are two vertical stacks of four gauges each surrounded by lighter grey. Note there is one gauge for each engine. No manifold pressure gauge ANYWHERE. The top gauge is gas generator turbine speed, the one down from that is Turbine Outlet Temp (TOT), the next down is a dual gauge of oil temp/pressure, and the one on the bottom is fuel pressure. The engine torque meter is just to the right of this stack, right above that is the rotor speed and engine shaft output speed gauge (all combined into one) that shows green arc (acceptable operating value) only around “100%”

        The EC135 panel is similar. Trust me, Chedward would be VERY busy getting things going and flying, especially at takeoff, so he wouldn’t have time for Anabella.

        October 26, 2015
        |Reply
        • Spockchick
          Spockchick

          I truly love a peep who appreciates the realities of machanical engineering!

          November 1, 2015
          |Reply
  6. Jo
    Jo

    I am so looking forward and at the same time dreading the “hard-fucking” that’s about to ensue. We should all… be prepared. (Am I remembering that line correctly?)

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
  7. Mary
    Mary

    Smoke weed everyday to keep the Chedward away

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
    • Kayla
      Kayla

      I don’t think I’ve ever been sadder that I have to take meds which interact badly with THC.

      October 25, 2015
      |Reply
  8. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth

    I actually found myself defending Stephenie Meyer recently. I’d never defend her before, but I can’t blame her in the slightest for being pissed that someone got rich off fanfiction of her original work.

    I smoke till I sleep
    Wake up in the AM
    Knock out Chedward’s teeth!

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
  9. drmaggiemoreau
    drmaggiemoreau

    I was hoping the salute was of the old “one finger” variety.

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
  10. Calandra
    Calandra

    “My anxiety mushrooms
    I’m not a native speaker, so I’m not familiar with all the nuances of the English language, but that phrase seems so weird to me. Can you use the word “mushroom” as a verb?
    On the bright side, I now have the mental image of Christian’s head popping open like one of those time-lapse videos of a mushroom growing. (And if it’s supposed to refer to the shape of an atomic cloud… even better.)

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
    • Renee
      Renee

      This isn’t a terribly common phrase, but it most likely refers to the mushroom-shaped cloud that occurs when a nuclear bomb detonates. Does that help?

      October 23, 2015
      |Reply
      • Neurite
        Neurite

        Actually, it means “increase and/or spread very rapidly,” and is an allusion to the way mushrooms pop up overnight in large numbers instead of growing slowly and gradually.

        October 27, 2015
        |Reply
    • Laina
      Laina

      Yeah, “mushroom” can mean spread or grow quickly, to become the shape of a mushroom, or, in the definition that makes it most funny, to gather mushrooms. It’s not incorrect, but it’s weird.

      October 23, 2015
      |Reply
    • Ashley
      Ashley

      It made me immediately think of psychedelic mushrooms that Chedward has on hand for his anxiety. “Taylor, get me my anxiety mushrooms!”

      October 23, 2015
      |Reply
      • xebi
        xebi

        Me too!

        Or…my friend has an awesome little mushroom-shaped snuggly thing that she can climb into and hide when she’s feeling particularly anxious. THAT is an anxiety mushroom.

        October 24, 2015
        |Reply
        • Aletheia
          Aletheia

          …okay, that mushroom snuggly thing sounds amazing for many reasons. Do you know where she got it?

          October 27, 2015
          |Reply
      • Anon123
        Anon123

        Roflmao, I read right past that! I guess I’ve just happened to encounter “mushrooms” used this way frequently enough that it didn’t bother me, but this comment puts a whole new twist on it. “Get me my anxiety mushrooms…” 😀

        October 25, 2015
        |Reply
    • Ghislaine
      Ghislaine

      “Mushrooms” is a verb in British English. I don’t know if it is in American English. But even in Britain it is quite old-fashioned, and not really something a younger person would say.

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
  11. Candy Apple
    Candy Apple

    I don’t understand why Meyer can’t sue the pants off of E.L. James? I remember some case where a writer stated J.K. Rowling must have plagiarized her, because her character, one “Larry Potter,” was a dark-haired boy in glasses, so she took Rowling to court. Stephenie Meyer has far more firm ground than that to stand upon; why doesn’t she take James to court?

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
    • The Grouchybeast
      The Grouchybeast

      I think the fact that no one has yet sued James despite the mind-boggling amounts of money at stake tells us that the corporate lawyers don’t think they have any realistic chance of success. If they did, they’d already be in court.

      Both the copyright infringement suits against Rowling were dismissed. People regularly sue famous authors for copyright infringement either because they’re delusional or because they think they it’s worth taking a punt to make some money out of it with a settlement. That doesn’t mean they ever had a snowball in hell’s chance of winning.

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
    • Tracy
      Tracy

      Are both series published by the same company, or companies under the same conglomerate? That might be why. In the end, the publisher has all the power.

      Another reason is Myers may have decided that James’ series could only reflect well on her own, i.e. boost her own sales and income.

      Or she might have thought the books were harmless fluff and fated to fade away.

      Or she might have just been unaware of the hoopla and failed to strike while the iron was hot, that is when 50 was first published by that fanfic press in Australia.

      I do think it’s very clear Myers has a case, though, and that she would ultimately win.

      A plagiarism lawsuit would be very complicated, however, and likely drag on for years causing much grief and uncertainty for all parties. Myers could have decided it wasn’t worth it.

      October 26, 2015
      |Reply
  12. Carolina West
    Carolina West

    Ugh, and I thought the “original” series was a snore…
    I didn’t think it was possible for something to be fucked up in every sense of the words, yet so freaking boring at the same time.

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
  13. lisa
    lisa

    I have to say once again, that I think the books were actually written by EL James’ sons. It makes so much sense, since it’s hard to believe that a woman actually wrote Christian Grey as a hero and (as many have pointed out) the whole thing sounds like it was written by a teenager.

    October 23, 2015
    |Reply
    • Anon123
      Anon123

      I…uh…well. My mom has been emotionally and socially about the age of 12 for my whole life. (Took me many years to figure that one out.) So I’m actually pretty open to the much grimmer possibility that E.L. James really is a middle-aged woman with a teenage understanding of relationships. That’s been one of the biggest things that creeps me out about the whole 50 Shades catastrophe of a series.

      October 25, 2015
      |Reply
    • Anonymous
      Anonymous

      Why would EL James’ sons be so obssesed with Christian’s huge dick and handsomeness and general atractiveness. It’s obvious the narrative is more focused on how hot Christian is than in Ana’s beauty. That’s because it was written by a straight woman for other straight women. Its possible for women to internalize sexist ideas. Its weird you want to blame a couple of teenage boys instead of considering the most likely explanation.

      October 29, 2015
      |Reply
  14. Jass Takhar
    Jass Takhar

    “Why do you insist on calling me Anastasia?” she asks.
    “Because it’s your name.”
    “I prefer Ana.”
    “Do you now?”

    AHHHH! This drives me crazy, it is the ultimate form of intentional disrespect. It pretty much symbolizes exactly the type of character he is: Controlling, condescending, and only interested in his own needs.

    There are many things I love William Shakespeare for, but he got it wrong when he asked, “What’s in a name?” The first sense of identity we have as children is our names. We understand that sound, in that order, refers to us. As we grow, we get more of a say in what we are called: nick names, new legal names, marital names, etc. We choose our representation. The fact Chedward so easily dismisses Ana’s sense of identity and replaces it with his identity for her speaks volumes.

    October 24, 2015
    |Reply
    • Grace
      Grace

      In ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’, Jean Rhys’s tie-in novel to Jane Eyre, there’s a bit where Rochester renames his wife from Antoinette to Bertha. Admittedly that’s an entirely new name, not a version of her name, but it’s meant to symbolize him taking control of her and it is one of many things that eventually drives her to lose her mind.

      So once again EL James is drawing from the best traits of literary heroes.

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
      • Jass
        Jass

        Wow. No limits to her “borrowing”.

        October 24, 2015
        |Reply
        • Kayla
          Kayla

          Something like that would have been a clever reference, if done correctly.

          October 24, 2015
          |Reply
      • Anon123
        Anon123

        That’s a heck of a gaslight to throw at someone. :-/ :-O

        October 25, 2015
        |Reply
    • xebi
      xebi

      Yup. We name our babies because they’re not capable of naming themselves. When they’re old enough, they should choose how they want to be addressed. I actually stopped talking to my mother because she refused to use my preferred name. Not because of the name per se, but because it was one more thing that showed how little respect she had for me. There’s a lot more to the story, but that’s the gist of it.

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
      • Anon123
        Anon123

        More power to ya. 🙂

        October 25, 2015
        |Reply
    • Stephanie
      Stephanie

      I don’t think Shakespeare asked that question. His character did. In the context it didn’t mean much about identity, more “why hate someone just because he comes from the “wrong” family?”

      October 25, 2015
      |Reply
      • Jass
        Jass

        I know, but I’ve never thought it makes sense then either. It’s perfect in a teenager thought process way, but he sets up the entire play to show who has what name is extremely important (if dumb). I think Juliet knows it too, which is why she asks the question and discusses the rose, she’s justifying her reasoning. Logically it makes sense, but how a rose smells isn’t it’s on only trait. Many flowers smell sweet. If she fully believed what she was saying ; we wouldn’t have a tragedy. No secrets, no deaths.

        But that’s just my opinion.

        October 25, 2015
        |Reply
        • Renee
          Renee

          I think you’re misinterpreting the passage and taking it so far out of context that it’s in another galaxy.

          It seriously is not even close to being related to what’s happening in this scene in 50/Grey.

          October 25, 2015
          |Reply
          • Jass
            Jass

            I never compared the passage to 50/Grey.

            I just used (part of) a quote to go into a discussion on how crappy Grey is for not giving Ana the dignity of using the name she prefers. I never one said they parallel Romeo and Juliet.

            I only discussed the passage when someone else brought it up (in a separate discussion not really related to Grey/50 either). Also, considering she ends the passage essentially with “Change your name” (Deny thy father and refuse thy name) or I’ll change mine. I don’t think my interpretation is that far out there.

            October 25, 2015
          • Jass
            Jass

            *I meant beginning of passage!

            Now I’m just confusing myself!
            Anyways long story short, I’m not disagreeing with Stephanie.

            When I played Juliet, I played her as not believing what she’s saying because she knows their (R&J) problem is not that simple. I had my reasons for that, and it was received well.

            I also don’t think the balcony scene has anything to do with 50/Grey.

            October 25, 2015
  15. Ivory Nethers
    Ivory Nethers

    I had a happy little daydream for a moment of Charlie Tango getting sucked into M*A*S*H and Christian having to face Col. Potter for the rest of the war.

    October 24, 2015
    |Reply
  16. Every time Christian’s dick concurs or reacts for him, I just keep picturing a ‘Me and My Dick’-style narration where his dick is following him around.

    Except everything is awful because he’s Christian Grey.

    October 24, 2015
    |Reply
    • Maggie
      Maggie

      I’d take Joey Richter or Joe Walker over Christian and his dick any fucking day.

      November 1, 2015
      |Reply
  17. Barbarella
    Barbarella

    ‘(I’m using “creepy” because a recent misogynist commenter who said he would find a story about me being raped funny hated the fact that I called a fictional man creepy. So, CREEEEEPY. CREEEEEEPY. MEN CAN BE TOTALLY CREEEPY AND I CAN THINK THIS EVEN THOUGH I’M AN UGLY WOMAN AND UNWORTHY OF MALE ATTENTION YOU AND CHRISTIAN ARE BOTH CREEEEEEEEPS)’

    LOVE. What’s extra ridiculous about creepy misogynists like that is the fact that THEY ARE the people constantly whining about people being ‘overly PC.’ Meanwhile if you dare say anything bad about a white male they will squawk and cry and lose it completely.

    October 24, 2015
    |Reply
    • I’d just like to chime in to say: that dude sounds like a creepy fucking creeper.

      October 24, 2015
      |Reply
  18. “Only just started speaking, but can read The Once and Future King at age seven. No wonder he could just drop out of Harvard.”

    So, was this supposed to imply that he had selective mutism?

    October 24, 2015
    |Reply
    • xebi
      xebi

      That’s how I read it – didn’t speak (due to trauma) not couldn’t speak.

      Another character feature that could have been written much MUCH better.

      October 25, 2015
      |Reply
  19. Emi
    Emi

    I think my big damn problem with these books (and I only read your recaps, so my information is quite limited) is that it takes itself too serliously. Even when Grey is slighly insecure, he’s still the “master of the universe” or whatever.
    For example, when he’s happy that she didn’t run away. It could’ve been a quirky “Well, at least she didn’t run away… right? Gosh, that was terrible”
    But, no, Grey can’t be awkward and unconfortable, so when he thinks “at least she didn’t run away” he MEANS IT. No sarcasm, no fun, worse than that boy from the Big Band Theory that shouts “Bazinga” (hope they never get HIM to have bdsm sex).

    Reading from his perspective, Ana seems more normal and… well, boring. I mean, the fact that she likes books is cool and all, but as a student I feel obliged to say that is the norm for 20 somethings in collage to know the basic authors. Even if you never read tess, you probably know one Hardy novel or heard of him. Same for Jane Austen, the Brontes and.. well, fucking Shakespeare.

    And reading is such a pasive thing. Yeah, I get it, she’s a sub. But at least in 50 shades the romantic interest played the piano. You know, something fun which you can write about! Ana is boring. James hasn’t given us any reason why Grey should feel so engrossed with her, and that’s just sad.

    But, anyways, your recaps are always fun. I feel bad asking you to do more, because it’s still a terrible book, but please do more. And please don’t mind my terrible Enlgish, I’m no native.

    Bye 🙂

    October 24, 2015
    |Reply
    • Anon123
      Anon123

      You expressed your points very well, imho. 🙂 I hear you on the lack-of-fun thing. Chedward needs to remember rule #6: Don’t take yourself so goshdarned seriously. (There are no other rules. 😉 )

      October 25, 2015
      |Reply
  20. Lady Oscar
    Lady Oscar

    I just wanted to say that thinking about the content of these books can get really depressing at times, but then I run into something like your “I hope this is enough.” picture, and the world is suddenly a brighter place. 😀

    October 25, 2015
    |Reply
    • Anon123
      Anon123

      Absolutely agreed on all counts. 😀

      October 25, 2015
      |Reply
  21. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    ” I’m going to assume that assigning blame to people for his shitty actions because they didn’t do enough to stop him from said shitty actions is going to be a theme here.”
    Ooh, a classical reference to another demonic character!
    **********************
    Why, why did my mother bring me up to bear no controul? Why was I so enabled, as that to my very tutors it was a request that I should not know what contradiction or disappointment was?—Ought she not to have known what cruelty there was in her kindness?
    What a punishment, to have my first very great disappointment touch my intellect!—And intellects, once touched—but that I cannot bear to think of—only thus far; the very repentance and amendment, wished me so heartily by my kind and cross dear, have been invalidated and postponed, and who knows for how long?—the amendment at least; can a madman be capable of either?
    ….What indeed made me appear to be more wicked than thou was, that I being a handsome fellow, and thou an ugly one, when we had started a game, and hunted it down, the poor frighted puss generally threw herself into my paws, rather than into thine: and then, disappointed, hast thou wiped thy blubber-lips, and marched off to start a new game, calling me a wicked fellow all the while.
    In short, Belford, thou wert an excellent starter and setter. The old women were not afraid for their daughters, when they saw such a face as thine. But, when I came, whip was the key turned upon the girls. And yet all signified nothing; for love, upon occasion, will draw an elephant through a key-hole. But for thy HEART, Belford, who ever doubted the wickedness of that?
    Nor even in this affair, that sticks most upon me, which my conscience makes such a handle of against me, art thou so innocent as thou fanciest thyself. Thou wilt stare at this: but it is true; and I will convince thee of it in an instant.
    Thou sayest, thou wouldst have saved the lady from the ruin she met with. Thou art a pretty fellow for this: For how wouldst thou have saved her? What methods didst thou take to save her?
    Thou knewest my designs all along. Hadst thou a mind to make thyself a good title to the merit to which thou now pretendest to lay claim, thou shouldest, like a true knight-errant, have sought to set the lady free from the enchanted castle. Thou shouldst have apprized her of her danger; have stolen in, when the giant was out of the way; or, hadst thou had the true spirit of chivalry upon thee, and nothing else would have done, have killed the giant; and then something wouldst thou have had to brag of.
    ‘Oh! but the giant was my friend: he reposed a confidence in me: and I should have betrayed my friend, and his confidence!’ This thou wouldst have pleaded, no doubt. But try this plea upon thy present principles, and thou wilt see what a caitiff thou wert to let it have weight with thee, upon an occasion where a breach of confidence is more excusable than to keep the secret. Did not the lady herself once putt his very point home upon me? And didst thou not, on that occasion, heavily blame thyself?*
    – Clarissa
    *****************************
    Yes, it’s everybody ELSE’S fault. As always.

    October 25, 2015
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  22. SamBeringer
    SamBeringer

    God, as much as I hate Twilight, I do feel bad for both Meyer and her fans. From what I heard, the portion of MS that was released was very well-received. Fans wanted it badly, and now there’s zero chance of them getting it. And now Meyer is getting the blame even though, given the circumstances, it was probably one of the better choices she could make.

    As for Ana not running, it might be out of fear. You know, like someone thinks “if I run, it’ll make things worse.” Sometimes a person doesn’t fight back because they don’t think they have a chance. It doesn’t mean they consent.

    Also, I have to wonder how many pages were added due to paragraph break abuse.

    Grey, I call bullshit. Elena’s name is closer to Ella`s than Ana`s is, and you have no problem using her first name.

    God, that`s like some weird kind of victim-blaming, putting the blame on Kate because she was incapable of helping her friend. And Grey? That still doesn`t excuse the fact that YOU TOOK HER TO YOUR ROOM, UNDRESSED HER, AND SLEPT IN BED WITH HER, YOU CREEPY DICK WAFFLE!

    Hey, ELJ. Fun fact: marijuana is less addictive than nicotine and has fewer long-lasting effects. It can also be used for medical purposes. I know you’re trying to show how ghetto and poor Jose is, but considering that I know a few kids at college who smoke it, it kinda falls flat.

    Also, thanks for giving me a good reason to try it. And a use for that collapsable bong from Cabin in the Woods I want like bad. (Seriously, I don`t smoke pot, but when I saw that bong I was like “that is stupidly awesome and I want one.”)

    Anyone else want to point out that Grey has just assumed that he’ll be able to fuck Ana even though he doesn`t have her consent yet or even knows how she feels about BDSM? Because that renders all his insistance that she must be willing moot.

    I think that bit about Grey being able to read “The Once and Future King” is a Twilight thing. In Breaking Dawn, Renesmee read Tennyson aloud the first time. Regardless, it`s still bullshit and pity the child who`s forced to read stuff like that instead of Dr. Seuss or stuff like it.

    I`m still calling bullshit on Ana`s 4.0 GPA. Then again, I’ve been doing that since she demonstrated that she couldn`t even comprehend the basic plot of King Lear.

    October 25, 2015
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  23. Tytania
    Tytania

    Christian’s choice of classical music could have been a nice character development moment but instead we get a piece of music with a pretty tune that gets used on commercials. I’ve sung that duet a couple hundred times. It’s very popular because it fits into pretty much any classical-ish concert program and since Lakme is rarely staged, it can feel a little more fresh than some of the other warhorse tunes. The problem is that, like many duets for women, the text is “Look at the pretty flowers and stuff.” There’s a bit of context in the recit, but the part everyone remembers is about pretty flowers.

    Christian Grey does not seem like a dude who would be into pretty tunes about flowers. Just saying.

    And there’s tons of amazing music out there that would have a thematic connection to the plot. Play some Mahler and connect the loss of children to Christian’s lost childhood. Play some Peter Grimes or Turn of the Screw because both of those works have plots that hinge on the possible abuse of kids. Hell, if you want a famous piece, there’s a duet from Pearl Fishers that is sung by two men in love with the same woman (although, Jose was never ever framed as a real potential romantic interest for Ana.) Pull out the Shostakovich and revel in the hardcore drama and angst. Pick just about any requiem mass and linger on the “nil inultum remanebit” section where Christian can ponder which of his secrets may be revealed and when. Oh wait, you’d have to actually be into classical music to know any of those works. Never mind. The Lakme duet is pretty. Let’s go with that.

    October 25, 2015
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    • Anon123
      Anon123

      Awesome comment! 😀

      October 25, 2015
      |Reply
    • Nellie
      Nellie

      (…) the text is “Look at the pretty flowers and stuff.” There’s a bit of context in the recit, but the part everyone remembers is about pretty flowers. (…)

      Now I have this nice image in my head of Carol (TWD) telling Grey to look at the flowers
      XD
      Thank you =)

      October 25, 2015
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      • AudibleQun
        AudibleQun

        This image is perfect.

        October 27, 2015
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    • SamBeringer
      SamBeringer

      Also, that duet is used in Usher’s “Black Black Heart.” And I assume other pieces like those you described are used in a similar way. So yeah, it’s really likely that someone’s heard these songs; they just may not know the names.

      October 25, 2015
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  24. AltoFronto
    AltoFronto

    Nobody else has brought this up, but Chedward notes in his internal monologue that one of the things he CAN’T DO is “Make free and easy conversation with the woman I’m attracted to.” but earlier that same morning, while they were in the car, Ana asked him a simple question and they had a lovely chat about it.

    ““You like classical music?” she asks, as we cross the Fremont Bridge, and we fall into an easy conversation about my taste in music.”

    Also, do you notice how he doesn’t mention Ana’s taste in music, or anything he might have learned about her, or wanted to ask her here?

    He’s so self-aborbed. Maybe that’s what he meant – he has no problem waffling on about pretentious shit to a passive listener, but can’t get over himself long enough to exchange meaningful lines of dialogue with Ana.

    October 25, 2015
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  25. AltoFronto
    AltoFronto

    While I think about it, I imagine the conversation about Christian’s musical tastes playing out like that infamous scene in American Psycho.

    (Video contains Patrick Bateman’s detatched recitation of an album review for Huey Lewis and The News, to a bemused and drunk colleague, followed by an extremely violent axe murder and lots of blood)

    October 25, 2015
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  26. Anon123
    Anon123

    Re: Submission and all-access passes… These books would have made at least marginally more sense if Christian had been driving toward a 24-7 Master/slave relationship. Controlling food and exercise are plausibly part of such a connection. A discussion in my local group about what a slave’s rights are came down to exactly one: A slave has the right to leave and find a new Master. That pretty much sums up Ana and Christian…so, what, this is just more shoddy research on James’s part? Needing to distance the language from Master of the Universe?

    (I mean, the consent issue remains, but Christian as a crappy abusive wannabe Master is more sensible than him as a crappy abusive wannabe Dominant.)

    Apparently I’m on a nitpick rage today, because suddenly it also bothers me that “So then there are comments about how pale she is.” This isn’t actually against E.L. James in particular, but in general, why would vampires (or Chedwards who totally aren’t vampires) find paleness attractive/hunger-inducing? Mmm…anemic blood that the body has pulled as far away from the skin’s surface as possible…yum. Really, vampires should have a thing for big, ruddy, florid noses and visibly throbbing varicose veins.

    P.S. The best use of the word “moist” is as the name of Dr. Horrible’s evil sidekick.

    October 25, 2015
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  27. ShifterCat
    ShifterCat

    What Meyer ended up doing instead was releasing a gender-swapped “reimagining” of Twilight, which pissed off both fans and non-fans because she made it perfectly obvious that she hadn’t done much more than a find/replace (eg., she didn’t bother to consider that the experience of a woman growing up in the early twentieth century would be vastly different from that of a man), but decided that one of the few things she needed to add was MOAR SEXISM.

    I also seem to recall that Twilight had Bella be all schmoopy over Wuthering Heights; to give Meyer a little bit of credit, though, she did have Edward say that the characters in that book were “ghastly”.

    October 25, 2015
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  28. Nim
    Nim

    Right when I saw this line:

    “Smoking weed turns Christian Grey off? That’s all it takes, seriously?”

    I KNEW the next picture was going to be epic. I was right. Thank you.

    October 25, 2015
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  29. Nanahuatli
    Nanahuatli

    Ahahaha, José Luis Rodríguez for reals? Like the singer? Now I can’t stop hearing “la fiesta” in my head. It’s not a terribly uncommon name, but still, the singer is the only person I know called that. Ah, these are the small joys of being bilingual. You see, José Luis “Puma” Rodríguez is a singer from the 80s/90s in Latin America, the romantic, “seductive” type for some, rather laughably corny for others like myself.

    October 26, 2015
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  30. Steph
    Steph

    GOD!!! When I first heard that E.L was releasing a POV swapped version, I thought (fleetingly) that perhaps it would make Christian seem more likeable. Or at least it would explain his thought processes and actions and make him not seem so utterly dickish, manipulative and controlling. I actually hate him MORE now that we can read his thoughts, because they have confirmed that he’s just as horrible as he seems to be from Ana’s perspective.

    Seriously, what is Chedward’s problem with Kate? There is no pleasing Christian Grey, he’s critical when Kate lets Ana go with him to a hotel, but he’s also critical when she narrows her eyes and acts suspicious about him taking Ana to said hotel. “What did she think I was going to do to the girl?” Do you want Kate to be concerned or not, Chedward? Kate was worried you were going to take advantage of her drunk friend. Which you did, by taking her clothes off while she slept. So what he’s saying is “I thought really hard about, and came thisclose to, raping your unconscious roommate, but YOU Kate. You should be a better friend”. This fucking guy, I tell ya.

    October 26, 2015
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  31. Terri
    Terri

    Jen, I appreciate your genius.

    October 27, 2015
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  32. I don’t like Twilight and I don’t like Meyer, but no-one deserves this! Something similar happened to me, but with a cowriter taking my work before it was ready for publication and weaving it into HER work without permission, and so no matter who the author is who suffers this, I can’t help but sympathise with them and say that this is Not Okay.

    Creeeepy! Also you are not an ugly woman by any means, but thank the gods that he doesn’t want you to have his attention.

    My hairy legs and I are broffended.

    …oh… um, actually, I read a spork of Twilight that showed that Meyer didn’t really understand the literary parallels she was trying to shoehorn in, but I see your point and it makes sense.

    October 27, 2015
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  33. Paige
    Paige

    Hey Jenny! I love all of these recaps (I seriously worship you for them) and I think you’d like this video from John Oliver as he “auditions” for Christian Grey. Needless to say, he is at least 1,000,000% sexier than Chedward. http://youtu.be/fPloDzu_wcI

    October 27, 2015
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  34. Hmmm. I don’t know. I distinctly remember Meyer completely missing the point of Wuthering Heights. Her literary classics comparisons aren’t any better, but I guess James here takes it one step further.

    Also, I like to think that mental list was in ascending order of importance.

    October 27, 2015
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  35. Crystal
    Crystal

    As soon as I heard Grey was coming out I thought “Wow, she really is stealing all of Meyer’s stuff”. I like the gender swap idea. I often wonder how different the Harry Potter world would have been if he was a girl. LOL

    October 28, 2015
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  36. Jenny, you are really Taking One For The Team here. Chedward’s self-absorption even in recap form is making me want to punch walls.

    Also, does anyone else refer to the “Things My Dick Does” tumblr when Chedward talks about his agreeable cock? Because all I can think of is the Little Dude (link for reference and totally NSFW like whoa http://thingsmydickdoes.tumblr.com/ ).

    On a more serious note, if you want to read a more serious recap–or rather, the real-life translation of Chedward and AnaBella’s relationship, this piece caught my eye. I was halfway into it and expected, “and my name is Anastasia Steele” to creep out at any time, but it only *sounded* like a 50 Shades recap. In reality, it’s terrible, and I’m glad this woman got away from her Chedward. Well worth the read: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/10/understanding-the-language-of-narcissistic-abuse/

    October 29, 2015
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  37. Through all these recaps and listening to the audiobooks for the original trilogy, I felt completely drained and exhausted and I finally realized why. This man needs SO.MUCH.ATTENTION. And reassurance. And ego-stroking.

    And he hates everything and everyone. He hates his family. He hates his employees. He hates the unsuspecting woman or man or child who happens to cross the street in his line of sight.He’s above everyone and everything. The world, it seems, is simply too base for Chedward the Great.

    And then I realized that EEL has said this is her fantasy. This hateful, exhausting, horrible man-child is her (and apparently millions of other women’s) ideal version of a life partner.

    October 29, 2015
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  38. Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK
    Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

    Two things:

    1. I HATE HATE HATE when people say, “What the hell are you doing to me?” or variations thereof, when the person accused of “doing” something is merely existing. Take responsibility for your own feelings! (I especially hate it when men, thinking they’re being sexy, say that. I’m just sitting here, with my boobs under a shirt, and…ooh, I have boobs. They’re DOING something to you! (No, they’re just sitting on my chest, like boobs do.)

    2. Ana’s smart mouth. WHEN is her mouth “smart”? I have never seen evidence that she’s being sarcastic or witty or whatever. It’s just so stupid!

    October 29, 2015
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  39. Hannah R
    Hannah R

    “Cock-tightening grin?”

    I’ve seen the phrases “ball-tightening” and “testicle-tightening” before, but can cocks really tighten?

    November 6, 2015
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  40. Ramon
    Ramon

    God, just imagine having your band name-checked by EL James. It’s basically saying you’re cheesy middle-of-the-road crap that only appeals to reactionary middle-aged women who were probably equally clueless about music thirty years ago.

    Or, is this another aspect that supports the idea that the books are actually subtle satire: is this an oblique reference to Patrick Bateman’s deliberately awful taste in music in American Psycho?

    November 9, 2015
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  41. Chris
    Chris

    When are you going to recap the next chapter? I live for these recaps lol

    December 4, 2015
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  42. Kim
    Kim

    So detailed info on the helicopter pilot and his military service when we never see him again. But the only descriptions we get of all the blonde assistants and waitresses and architects, some of whom we do see more than once, are blonde with flirty eyes directed at Christian that he DOES NOT reciprocate, thank you. Most of them don’t even get names! Do we get anywhere near the detail on Mrs Jones that we do on Taylor? Why does she work for Chedward? Does she have any military service to speak of, because most of the male characters seem to. Probably not, because that would be EL James defining the women by who they are and what they do, and not just how they look, their niceness, and their perceived sexual availability. I’d like to think that contrast would read as very sexist even if all the the rape and abuse wasn’t in these books…but then again, there’s a reason we need the Bechdel test.

    January 21, 2016
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  43. Aurelia
    Aurelia

    “…the valet is pacing impatiently. I give him an obscene tip…”

    I literally thought for a second there that Chedward had given him an OBSCENE tip.
    You know, like ‘If you’re rich and take an unconscious girl to your hotel room, no-one can stop you from doing whatever you want.’

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Oooo the Flower Duet, followed by Kings of Leon! In-car entertainment provided by Chedward’s CD of ‘50 best tunes used in popular TV adverts’ roflmao

    https://youtu.be/WbI0TDymgoU

    October 21, 2016
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