[LMB] Is Barr a rapist? or I'm misunderstanding beguilement?

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 2 07:49:41 BST 2019

From: Federico Bergstein <almirantenaismith at gmail.com>

I'm reading Knife Children and while Barr is likeable character in it, I
can't keep out of my head that he is a rapist, I mean, he mind controlled
Bluebell into having sex with him did he not?.
However I read Beguilement a very long time ago and may be misunderstanding
the Beguilement concept.
What do you think?

Gwynne: Barr certainly thinks he used his powers on her. I'm not sure how
effective they were when he was still a teenager. It was certainly a lousy
thing to do, and he is ashamed of it later.

Bluebell had flirted with him, and sought him out; she seemed to be very
interested in him before he tried anything. And her sister's behaviour is
interesting; she's very disapproving, but she stands guard for them and she
doesn't run screaming to her parents, then or ever. I'm wondering if it was
Bell's first flirtation, or if she'd been a bit adventurous before. (That doesn't
justify Barr doing anything, but she may have been consenting more than
Barr realised.)

And then there's the problem of Calla putting the 'fluence on her husband
to marry her. She certainly believed she'd trapped him, and there was a
suggestion implanted, but Dag believes that it did no more than nudge him
in a direction he was already moving. But Calla is as guilty as Barr of trying
to use power to force someone, even if in one or both cases the victim was
already moving in that direction.

Barr was definitely a predatory young lout. Fawn points out that he has no
idea of the damage he did to Bell; he also had no idea of the problems of an
unwanted pregnancy, which in camp was rare and wasn't seen as much of
a difficulty. And no notion of the concept and value of virginity in farmer
culture. He was drunk on youth and power, and didn't care much about
the problems of farmers. Later in life he has a much clearer idea, and is
ashamed of his actions. And it adds to the terror when his daughter is missing;
karma in action. Barr becomes a much better person as he grows up - mostly
due to Dag and Fawn, and to more knowledge about life and about farmers.
I really didn't like Barr at first, but he improved.

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