Kushiel’s Dart Meets Aldonza

January 18th, 2015

A lot of things going through my head lately, and this weekend was no exception. I’m about halfway through a book called Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. The main character, Phedre, is a masochist of exquisite talent. Raised first in the Night Court, where the brothels each had their own specialty and vied for power like any group of noble houses. Then, second, by a bard who trained her as a spy. I’m not one for political fantasy, I didn’t make it past the first Game of Thrones book, but I do like fantasy spies, bards, and rogues. And the BDSM flavor of the main character kept my interest.

The last hundred pages or so, that I’ve read thus far, is where the focus of this post lies. In the beginning of the book, she serves the clients she chooses, now she is forced to serve her captor. And, while in the Beauty trilogy (I’ve only read the first), this type of situation bothered me, it was a different situation and style of writing. Phedre is aroused by the humiliation of being his slave, and by being roughly used by him. The curse of Kushiel’s Dart, which made her such a special commodity in her previous life, now is her survival. The treatment which could have broken other women, she physically enjoys. Though, she feels betrayed by her body for her enjoyment of it. I feel that it serves to keep her alive and fighting.

I am in no such situation, but it is very interesting to me to identify with a character’s sexual identity so clearly. My best childhood friend told me I should read this book a very long time ago. Sometimes, I wonder if she really understands me, but reading this, I feel like maybe she understands far better than I realized. Or maybe she just thought it would speak to my interests. Either way, I must remember to thank her.

What does this have to do with Aldonza? The quote that comes to mind is: “Blows and abuse I can take and give back again, Tenderness I cannot bear” ~Aldonza, Man of La Mancha. It is not that I cannot bear tenderness, fortunately. I do, however, become far more shy, and awkward about the more tender and traditionally intimate side of my desires. Honestly, I’m far more okay with asking someone to beat me, because that seems a much easier yes or no question. Asking someone for more intimacy, has so much more attached to it. Phedre thinks nothing of going to a client for brutal scenes, but her love for her patron is far harder for her to deal with She is trained well as a spy, but when the woman who can arouse her with a look puts a collar around her neck, she can concentrate on no other person the rest of the night.

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