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

WILLIAM A WENRICH wawenri at msn.com
Sun Aug 4 15:22:22 BST 2019

Also, as it happened to a much older and more experienced patroller, Barr was so caught up in the moment (and his own emotions) he didn’t notice that Bluebell was in her fertile period. I’m reminded of Koudulka.

Christian, husband, father, granddaddy, son, American. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.
William A Wenrich
From: lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk <lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk> on behalf of Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 4, 2019 5:47:41 AM
To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Subject: [LMB] Is Barr a rapist? or I'm misunderstanding beguilement?

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.?....

Gwynne: Some other factors to consider....

First, Remo sees it as totally wrong, and he was probably more trustworthy
at the time. So they did both know it was wrong... but possibly not for the
reasons we'd see it as wrong.

Lakewalkers forbade such contact because of all the problems it brought:
not just a surprise nine months later, but outraged parents forbidding them
further use of the barn, and revenge attacks against other, innocent, patrollers.

Part of the problem is/was the huge cultural difference between the two:

Lakewalkers are very open about sex. It doesn't really seem to be a big issue
at all, patrollers just enjoy themselves when time permits. Virginity isn't an
important state, it has no status or requirement. Consent of all involved is
important - in Barr's world, a woman who smiles at you and flirts is signalling
 intentions. Lakewalker patrol-women don't waste time. They also have pretty
good control over their fertility, and if someone does have a bouncing baby
mistake it's not that much of an issue.

Farmers value a young woman's virginity, and expect her to be innocent  until
marriage. Falling pregnant before then is a stain on her (and her family's) good
name, it's a disaster for her chances of getting a good husband - which is just
about the only acceptable ambition for most farmer girls. A girl might flirt a
bit, but there's lines she won't cross, and everyone knows the rules. It wasn't
until Fawn nearly took a frying pan to his head that Barr realised that what he'd
 done wasn't just a fun rule-break for Bluebell.

Barr and Bluebell were speaking totally different languages, unfortunately using
the same words, but with such different meanings. He misread her signals;
she was having fun being naughty but probably hadn't meant to go so far. To
Barr she was waving YES YES flags, to Bluebell she was having fun flirting with

But Iris's behaviour is interesting; she disapproved, but did nothing to
stop them. She didn't run to fetch help to fight off the evil Lakewalker, she
stood guard and huffed disapproval, but didn't tell the parents. She wasn't
horrified or shocked, just longsuffering and disapproving.... makes you wonder
if Bluebell had gone down that path before. Which doesn't mean she
consented this time, but it could mean that Bluebell was giving herself an
excuse to accidently...oops, oh dear, I fell on his.... ooooh.

What Barr did was wrong by Lakewalker standards, and by ours, but for
different reasons.

And to give him his due, he later realises it, is sorry for it, tries to fix it as
much as he can, and never does it again. So the heedless, selfish lout does
turn into a much better person, with a clearer view of the world.

One other point: Bluebell isn't beguiled. At all. So early in his life, his powers
just developing (we're told that Barr was a late bloomer), it's possible that
despite his intentions, Barr didn't actually put the 'fluence on her at all.

Lois-Bujold mailing list message sent to wawenri at msn.com
Lois-Bujold at lists.herald.co.uk

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