On Feyre, Tamlin, Rhys, and the Question of Agency and Children

So, I haven’t really seen anyone talking about this, but can we take a moment to appreciate the differences between Tamlin’s and Rhys’s reactions when it comes to Feyre and her choice in having potential future offspring? On one hand, we have Tamlin, who just assumes that of course Feyre will want to have children, and of course they will keep having children until a male and potential heir is born.

Tamlin during the Tithe scene: “‘Because that’s the way it is. That’s the way my father did it, and his father, and the way my son shall do it.’ He offered a smile, and reached for my hand. ‘Someday.’”

We find out shortly after this that the subject of children has never been broached (according to Feyre), but Tamlin doesn’t even seem to consider that Feyre might not want to have children, let alone multiple children until they have a male.  (We later find out in the scene below that Feyre doesn’t want to have children, at least not right away. She wants to get used to being immortal first, and experience adventures of her own – she wants to feel ready before she has children of her own.) Tamlin only acknowledges her agency in this matter to the extent that she might not want to have children right away–just “someday.”

Rhys, on the other hand, doesn’t assume any such thing. As he has done throughout ACOMAF, he continuously affirms Feyre’s right to agency over her life, her body, her sexual choices, and now her right to want or not want children. 

This is so important because this topic about female agency when it comes to pregnancy/children isn’t discussed very often in YA lit.

Feyre and Rhys’s discussion about children and pregnancy comes up right after they mate.

Feyre: “If I am a High Lord’s mate, I’m expected to bear you offspring, aren’t I? So perhaps I shouldn’t [take the birth control tonic].”

Rhys: ‘You are not expected to bear me anything,’ he snarled. ‘Children are rare, yes.  So rare, and so precious. But I don’t want you to have them unless you want to–unless we both want to. […] I would be happy beyond reason, though, if you one day did honor me with children.  To share that with you.’” <–unitalicized/underlined words indicate stressed words in the original text. If it isn’t showing up (Tumblr is being dumb), the words he stresses are “anything” and “both”.

Feyre: “‘I want to live first,’ I said. ‘With you.  I want to see things and have adventures.  I want to learn what it is to be immortal, to be your mate, to be part of your family. I want to be…ready for them. And I selfishly want to have you all to myself for a while.’”

Rhys: “His smile was gentle, sweet. ‘You take all the time you need. And if I get you all to myself for the rest of eternity, then I won’t mind that at all.’”

Feyre starts off the conversation burdened with the expectation that she must have Rhys’s children, because that is what tradition would demand out of a High Lord’s wife.  That’s what Tamlin expected, and she never had much of a voice in the matter except perhaps when that would happen. She believes this so much that she believes it’s selfish of her to not want children, to want to just be with her mate.

But Rhys is vehement in that she doesn’t owe him–or anyone–anything. Just as he has throughout ACOMAF, he reminds her that this is her choice, and always will be.  He doesn’t expect her to bear him children, especially if she doesn’t want to.  If they have children, he wants it to be because they both want it. Together.  And while he lets her know that he welcomes the idea of children–that he would be “happy beyond reason”–he honestly doesn’t mind if they don’t.  He is more than happy to just have Feyre with him, his mate, and he will be content with whatever decision she makes, no matter what it is or when she makes it.  She can take all the time she needs, and if she decides that she wants children with him, he’ll consider it an “honor”–him, a High Lord.  

I just…I find this so beautiful and respectful. He doesn’t push his own agenda but lets her know how he feels about it and gives her plenty of space to decide for herself. I just feel like there is always this expectation that women should want children, and I love that Sarah puts it out there that you don’t have to want children right away, or even later.  Feyre is enough, and she will always be enough for Rhys–and I think Feyre really needed to hear that, because so often she hasn’t been enough. Not to her family, and not to Tamlin. She has had so many expectations forced on her, and she’s buckled beneath them before, and Rhys just…lets her know that she has a choice. That just like with her life and her sexual choices and her body, children are also her choice.  He will support her no matter what, and love her no matter what.

Feyre is her own agent, and I love that so much.  I want to see more Rhys characters in YA because this is such a great, powerful message that all women should know: You are in control of your own body, always.

I’ve been thinking about Dirk’s reactions a lot lately, about the way that he argues. It’s really interesting, because he isn’t afraid to defend himself, not at all. He argues back with Todd, and he talks back to Riggins, but he argues like a child with no real goal.

Things like, ‘no, that’s not true’, or ‘i don’t want to go’ are token protests. As if he’s learned that it’s OK to say something, but just like with crying, he knows it won’t make any difference.

A few thoughts on writing.

There’s a sign that’s been making the rounds at recent marches in support of women’s rights and climate science: I can’t believe we’re still protesting this shit.  It means: God, I thought we’d gotten past this.

That sense of dumbfounded disappointment has been my primary response to the kerfuffle about smut these last few days–a conversation I have stayed out of primarily because it’s about my writing or at least writing like mine.  It seems a little bit strange to join an argument that sits so close to home.  It isn’t really my nature to comment, either; these last few weeks, I have insisted over and over that my preferred way of engaging with fandom is to write my stories and let the chips fall where they may.  

But…God, I thought we’d gotten past this.

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Some background: I’ve been writing in online fandom since about 1998.  In all that time, I have only once before written anything rated M or higher and, to be honest, it wasn’t very good.  My purview has always been complex canon-compliant character studies.  Mercy of the Fallen (four conversations set in 6.04, rated PG) is much more my usual style.  Indeed, given the makeup of most fandoms, my character studies filled a rare niche–the stuff I wanted to read that no one else was writing.

But then I found myself falling madly in love with the Turners and, in lifelong fandom fashion, reading all the fic.  The thing that no one else was writing was the stuff there had always been a glut of: smut.  So, when @pellucidthings gave me a challenge to write something different, I figured hey, why not?

And here we are.

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A caveat before I go on. The tenet of fandom I most abide and most appreciate is “Don’t Like, Don’t Read,” which means two things: first, no one is ever obliged to read or write things they don’t like. And second, no one is entitled to tell other people what they should like, read, or write.

I will never ever tell you what to like, read, or write.

But some of the critiques floating around right now transcend what we like or don’t.  Some of them make arguments that feel really contrary to the things I love most about the broader fandom experience and this show in particular: creativity, feminism, and women’s agency.  So I want to talk about that.

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NU'EST RANT FOR FAKE BITCHES THAT CALLS THEMSELVES UNDERRATED GROUP STANS BUT DECIDED TO NOT GIVE A SINGLE DAMN ABOUT NU'EST, SUCK ON THIS BITCH

Has it occurred to you all that fake underrated stans be like “oh my god ××× needs more attention! They are hardworking! How dare you sleep on them” but when we ask them about NU'EST they went like “who?” And when we brought the name ‘Ren’ they went “ooh… that guy that looks like a girl? He’s debuted? He’s in that group? Gosh, I didn’t know… wish they’re more well-known and more published by their company, oh well! But do you know about ×××??? THEY’RE SO FUCKING UNDERRATED! THEY NEED MORE ATTENTION!” And now that produce 101 season 2 brought the matter about how devastating their state is y'all fake tears and words of support. Yeah, I know a snake when I encounter one. Takes one to know another biatch.

I mean how can you 'know how devastating they are’ or 'feel what they felt’ WHEN YOU FUCKING KNOW THEM IN 2017 AND NOT IN 2012

DO YOU KNOW THEY DEBUTED THE SAME YEAR AS HELLO VENUS!? DO YOU KNOW THEIR BOMB-ASS DEBUT TEASERS!? HELL DID YOU KNOW THAT REN ALMOST CUT HIS REAL HAIR IN HIS DEBUT TEASER!? NO, BECAUSE YOU’RE ONLY JOINING THE TREND AND NOT TRULY CARE ABOUT THEM

I’m sorry, but to those of you who genuinely care about NU'EST I’m legit thankful, I’ve been a L.O.V.E (I’m sorry, I don’t know how to change the v upside down in my phone i’m one dumb ass bitch) since 2012, hell you can ask my old junior high school friends that I used 'FACE’ as the song for my dance test in school and I even taught them the dance break (FUCK IT JR’S HIP ROLLS ARE KILLING ME SINCE 2012) and it really hurt me knowing that NU'EST just got recognition now when they just made a comeback last year.

I’m not even sorry for the amount of cuss I’m using, I just want you to see the frustration in me when I read comments like 'oh my god why is pledis like this???’ 'Their company should pay more attention to them’ 'I hope NU'EST will become a greater group’ BITCH DON’T EVEN START WITH THE FAKE-ASS CARING WORDS. I could smack your face like snooki in jersey shore for being as fake as kim kardashian’s tits and ass. (It’s out of context but I feel like the metaphor is appropriate).

So instead of going words-only and give no shit why don’t you really support them because hoe if y'all fakes still talking bullshit these hands will fly over the pacific ocean to smite the living devil out of you I’m sure your ancestors would rise from their graves to make sure you’re okay.

They deserve to be more well-known for their music and talent not just because they’re in a survival program.

AND IF I SEE ONE OF YOU CALLS REN GAY OR FUCKING GIRLY I MIGHT GO MARIE LEVEAU CRAYCRAY AND DO SOME CRAZY VOODOO SHIT ON YOU AS LONG AS I KNOW HOW TO DO VOODOO.

I’ve said it once and i’ll say it again; I ain’t sorry for cussing and cursing, you fake hoes deserve it and us real supporting hoes better stick together like glue and show them what this fandom got.

Wann fight me on this matter? You know where to find me and I ain’t pussying out of it. But since i need my daoly dose of imagines scenarios and other fangirl needs shits i might reply late.

BUT JUST TO MAKE THINGS STRAIGHT :

I AM NOT GOING XIAXUE RIGHT NOW, IF Y'ALL WONDER WHAT THAT MEANS IT MEANS I’M NOT SEEKING ATTENTION LIKE A WHORE’S VAJAYJAY TO MY BORING LIFE, I LOVE BEING IN PEACE AND QUIET SOME OF MY FRIENDS TOLD ME IT’S LIKE I’M DEAD.

Peace out

Love, BooNana 💕

Fashion On Bicycle For The Models Of Catherine Harle’s Modelling Agency in Paris, France.
In May 1967, a squad of international models of the agency CATHERINE HARLE in shorts and jersey, rolling by bike on a circuit. Photo by Philippe Le Tellier (Paris Match magazine)