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

M. Haller Yamada thefabmadamem at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 3 14:14:18 BST 2019

On Friday, August 2, 2019, 09:59:58 PM GMT+9, Howard Brazee <howard at brazee.net> wrote: 

> On Aug 2, 2019, at 5:23 AM, Federico Bergstein <almirantenaismith at gmail.com> wrote:
> So, we can compare Barr's behavior to a guy spiking a girl's drink with
> alcohol and then taking advantage of her lack of inhibitions.
> Still pretty shitty, bordering on rapey.

Good comparison.

I think there isn't any denying that Barr used his powers for his own selfish
desires as a teenager, and yes, I think it was bordering on rapey -- or, yes,
crossed the line into rape. There's a difference between she probably would
have said yes, and she did say yes. 

And this is a common discourse these days. But I will say, having read 
Lois all these years, I have to wonder if there's a place for redemption. 
Barr was a jerk and a rapist as a young man, but he reformed. AFAweK,
he never used his powers to beguile anyone else into sex (or for
other shady purposes). And this story is all about how he tried to make
it right. It is not easy, and forgiveness is not always available. 

But I think Barr has been redeemed. 

Of course, if he ever did beguiled another Farmer, he'd be right back in the 
condemned box -- and I don't know if I'd allow that he could redeem himself. 
One bad period in life is one thing; repeated bad periods is . . . well, it would 
depend on who was harmed.

Repeated falling-off-the-wagon without the problematic behaviors that often
accompany it is redeemable. But assaulting a spouse while drunk, then 
getting clean, then falling off the wagon and assaulting a new spouse . . .
that's a lot harder to make a case of redemption for. I'd like to say it was
possible, but it's such a gamble for the innocent bystanders to presume
that a person will stay redeemed. 

To be honest, if Barr was in my life and I knew about all this, I don't know
if I would trust him. But I trust Lois to be fairly reliable, so in the story, I do 
trust him to stay reformed. 

It's a very, very complicated issue. 


More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list