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dresden_kink_mods ([personal profile] dresden_kink_mods) wrote in [community profile] dresden_kink2011-03-21 09:37 pm
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Meta goes here! Questions of a non-modly manner go here! Everything that isn't a prompt, fill or feedback goes here! Beware of potential spoilers. Please warn for spoilers, especially Cold Days spoilers. Do not put spoilers in your subject lines.
forestgreen: charchoil picture: Iason embracing Riki possessively and Riki reluctantly surrendering. Charecters from Ai No Kusabi (Default)

Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

[personal profile] forestgreen 2011-06-06 06:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Today, I couldn't stop thinking about the sex scene between John and Harry (on chapter 3), trying to decide if John is aware of what he's doing or not. Yeah, my productivity was not good, but well ... shit happens, employer, sorry.

For the record, I love dub!con and non!con in stories. It's one of my kinks and not something I'm ashame to admit. I particularly like stories in which the divide between the one and the other is not clear, which is why this story is hitting so many of my buttons just right :) (aka forestgreen has died and gone to heaven).

But, back to my meta thoughts: I'm inclined to believe that John is manipulating Harry on purpose. Idk, it just read that ways to me. I kept doubting my own interpretation, though, and I realized that it was in part due to the idealized concept of perfect!John that fanon has made popular: John is gender-aware and privilege-aware and he wouldn't force anyone and he wouldn't kill puppies either :)

I'm guilty of using/writing this interpretation, too, but when I think about it from a more rational point of view, this isn't really the canon!John we have, or is he?

I mean, canon!John is awesome (and I love him to bits) but he's also the Head of Chicago Outfit. He wouldn't have made it that far if he wasn't willing to be a ruthless motherfucker (which he is). Yes, canon has established that he isn't cruel when it can't be avoided (not because he's nice, but because he doesn't consider it effective in the long term). He's a killer (as per his actions, his own admission and what Harry saw of him in the soulgaze).

He did try to force Harry to work for him, because really, "sign my contract or I'll let rabid werewolves kill you" is the kind of offer that you can't refuse unless you're Harry (clever, magically powerful and very, very lucky). John tried to force Harry's collaboration on more that one occasion (after all he tried to make a deal with the FBI to capture Harry again, and didn't have any compulsions in letting the loup-garou kill the Alphas -- very young people even if not quite children -- in order to get Harry for himself).

When you take away the idealization of John fandom is guilty of, canon!John is the kind of person who wouldn't have any compulsions in buying a slave (a powerful wizard) if it helped him protect Chicago and further his goals as Head of the Outfit. He wouldn't even think twice about it. In the soulgaze Harry says, that John is the kind of person who kills and does cruel, ruthless things like a supermarket purchase (if the benefit outweighs the cost, he'll pay it and be done with it).

And then, there's the timing. Because I agree that as the books advance, we see a more human (compassionate?) side of John. But is it so much that he has changed? Or that he can afford to show more mercy, because he has consolidated his power (becoming a signatory of the Accords, erasing everyone that has--or can--oppose him in Chicago)? That leads back to the supermarket purchase simile that Harry uses: the price of showing humanity isn't as high the more powerful he becomes, because there are less people out there who can oppose him.

But this John, the one from "Lost in the life", he isn't there yet. This is a John who is still rising to power. Timeline-wise, this story takes place about one and half year before Storm Front (right?). So this John can't afford to show any kind of weakness; he has to be more ruthless, more careless of other people's feelings--even if the price is turning off his own humanity or at least tuning it down a bit. This is the John who was willing to let werewolves eat Harry, the John who killed everyone in the mafia who didn't swear loyalty to him, the one who cleaned the streets of Chicago of all competition. Would he purposely manipulate Harry to have sex with him, especially if he can tell himself that Harry is enjoying it?

Yes, he would. That's my opinion.

It doesn't mean that as time passes and he stops seeing Harry as a tool, and starts seeing him more as a friend and a lover (Stockholm syndrome goes both ways after all) he might (probably will) bitterly regret the choices he made. More so, when he realizes that he stole those choices away from Harry, that there's no way now he can ever learn if Harry would have chosen him freely given enough time.

Also, we don't know yet what Morgan told John. Let's not forget who brokered the sales contract. Morgan probably told him that only the worst warlocks (ruthless killers who twist magic for their own purposes) are turned into slaves so that they can be stopped from killing innocents. Morgan sure as hell didn't tell him that Harry claimed it was in self defense, and that Justin was trying to enslave/kill Harry. All slaves John might have seen before Harry are indeed, cruel, ruthless warlocks. As John sees it, what's one more punishment, right? If Harry is a killer, he doesn't deserve the protections that John's sense of honor would give innocents/children.

With time he will realize that something doesn't add up between what Morgan told him and what he's seeing. But right now, as of chapter 3? He wouldn't have any moral qualms about forcing the good-looking, ruthless, killer he believes Harry to be to bend to his will. And if he has to force Harry to lie to Hendricks, to get Hendricks off his back, yeah, John would do that, too. He probably thinks Hendricks is being soft on Harry, forgetting what Harry truly is (as per Morgan's sales pitch -- a warlock).

So, anyway, I'm shutting up now. This is a huge meta between the divide of fanon!John, canon!John, forestgreen's interpretation of John and the ultimate question, to life the universe and everything. The answer, in case your wondering is 42.

My brain, sometimes it scares me.

Also, I love this fic! :) :) :)

Also No. 2, I'd love to hear your thinky thoughts on this (not necessary the fic, although that'd be great of course, but your interpretation of John Marcone). Would he force Harry? Wouldn't he? How does he evolve in the books? Anything, really.

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

(Anonymous) 2011-06-06 06:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow. I love it when other people are thinky.

You make an excellent case for both John manipulating Harry on purpose and on why he might be doing it, given where his character arc would be at the time this story is set. I don't know if this is what the author is intending, but your arguments make a lot of sense to me. And I totally agree that Fanon!John is often portrayed as someone with far more scruples than the man we see in the books, or, indeed someone who could rise to be head of the Chicago Mob.

That said, based on the chapters we've seen in this story so far, I'm still on the fence as to whether or not John is doing this on purpose. I agree that this could very well be the case. I also think it's possible that John is guilty of not having paid full attention to the description of how the binding worked-- and/or Morgan left out important details. John's been so wrapped up in the triumph of having acquired Harry, and of owning someone that powerful that I doubt he's spend much time considering exactly what it means that Harry has to obey John's thoughts, not just his verbal commands.
forestgreen: charchoil picture: Iason embracing Riki possessively and Riki reluctantly surrendering. Charecters from Ai No Kusabi (Default)

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

[personal profile] forestgreen 2011-06-06 07:02 pm (UTC)(link)
John's been so wrapped up in the triumph of having acquired Harry, and of owning someone that powerful that I doubt he's spend much time considering exactly what it means that Harry has to obey John's thoughts, not just his verbal commands.

I hadn't considered this ... . Also an interesting point of view, because I could see him so taken with his "new, shiny, powerful-as-hell toy" to really stop and think that the "toy" is human and has feelings.

I'm really looking forward to seeing where Akelios is going to take this and how the relationship between the two of them will develop.

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

(Anonymous) 2011-06-06 09:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Also, we don't know yet what Morgan told John.

Good point! I'm too tired to say anything coherent to this, but I enjoyed reading it :)

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

(Anonymous) 2011-06-06 10:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I also figured in that fic he's manipulating Harry at least somewhat on purpose. Which seems perfectly consistent with what we've seen of his behavior in canon, our strange little fanon version of him aside.

Not that I think our fanon version is unrealistic, either! That is to say, he does cruel and ruthless things all the time- when it's necessary to keep his little empire together. I don't think that he would have an ethical objection to rape. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a personal objection to it. That is to say, if John Marcone is vigilant against ever coercing anyone into sex, or to coercing certain people into sex, it's not because he believes it's wrong, but because that's not the sort of sex he wants to have.

And, you know, for an unscrupulous, ruthless bastard who spends his whole life manipulating people and backing them into corners, I don't think it's unrealistic to think that he'd want this one area of his life to be not about doing that.

But I don't think it's unrealistic for him to actively get off on coercion, either.

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

(Anonymous) 2011-06-07 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
To me it reads like he's in denial, but an almost conscious kind of denial where he's pretty much just choosing to live out a fantasy. Like, on the one hand everything's like it appears to be and Harry's a sweet, relatively innocent young guy who was attracted to Marcone and initiated the sex, and on the other hand Marcone coerced him via the collar, but then Harry's a dangerous murderer who really should be in that cell Marcone had prepared. There's no actual need to verify anything, especially as that would most likely ruin the fantasy, whether in terms of what Harry wanted or who Harry actually is.

So I don't think he was so much lying to Hendricks as giving himself the benefit of the doubt, if that makes any sense. That kind of flexible moral perspective seems the kind of thing Marcone would be good at, seeing as he does make an effort to justify his actions.

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

(Anonymous) 2011-06-07 05:26 am (UTC)(link)
I think he is doing it on purpose, but that he's also possibly not aware of the extent that he is.

I also think that if he knew why Harry had been collared - if he asked and Harry told him about Justin and Elaine and what he'd done and why and how young he'd been - Marcone would be horrified, guilty... and then go on and keep doing exactly what he has been doing, because he's the boss of the Chicago outfit and he's ruthless and pragmatic and Harry is still useful, still a thing he wants to *own*, and besides, at least if he has Harry, he can take care of him, look after him better than some of other owners Harry could have had. And he wants him and Harry wants, and maybe it's not fair or right or moral, but then what is? He won't let go of something that's both useful and that he wants to have.



Also, I'm guessing that the collared warlocks are often young wizards who break the rules because they don't know any better, or are doing the wrong thing for the right reasons (like Molly) or just think they won't get caught. They're the ones most likely to break the rules, still be sane, get caught and be considered potentially useful. And they're more likely to be malleable and have fewer defenses.

The ones that are too far gone for rationality probably get killed outright and the ones that are too dangerous probably get killed outright as well. The ones that get collared have to be weak enough to be captured and not killed and sane enough to useful. Not that there aren't older captured ones as well, just that it wouldn't surprise me if collared wizards skew young.

Other thoughts! Harry is so isolated in this! He's pretty much just got *Hendricks* looking out for him. No Bob, no Nick, no Mister, and no Mouse or Murphy or Michael.
luciazephyr: Utena Tenjou, the once and future prince ([RGU] once and future prince)

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

[personal profile] luciazephyr 2011-06-07 07:30 pm (UTC)(link)
My only thought on this fic is... I'd really prefer it if people stopped calling it dubcon. It's not. It's noncon. Harry cannot consent, period.

Usually I'm okay with labeling a fic like this dubcon, but this repeated idea that, well, maybe if Harry enjoyed it that makes it less rape-- no, it doesn't.

That's... my two cents. :slinks off to hide now:

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

(Anonymous) 2011-06-07 08:18 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm with you on this. I've been known to like the dubiest of dubcon and I like some noncon if it's written right, and this is definitely the latter.

The line may only exist in my head, but... well, if they're both sex-pollened into it, then it's dubcon, but if one character deliberately spikes another's drink with sexpollen? That's non-con.

And there's some borderline stuff, even in canon-- Thomas and Justine, for example, where he does use his ability on her to make her do what he wants (not talk about a particular topic), but then, it's also made clear that she's made a choice to put herself in that relationship (for various reasons), so she's... well, consented to a certain lack of consent, if that makes any sense. It's not okay, but it's a not okay that she's chosen (and yes, it's a sucky choice, but she's chosen the option that, horrible as it sounds, actually gives her more control over her own mind... oh, the essays that could be written about Justine!)

And in this case, Marcone is removing Harry's ability to say no-- he's deliberately cutting that off from him, and that makes it noncon. Marcone could let Harry have that ability by the act of *respecting it*, and he's opting to not. Noncon.
luciazephyr: Book of the Still, the time traveler's lifeline (Default)

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

[personal profile] luciazephyr 2011-06-07 08:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks, anon. I thought I was alone, getting kind of uncomfortable with the discussion of the fic.

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

(Anonymous) 2011-06-07 08:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I made an earlier comment referring to this as dubcon because at that point, given that we weren't in Harry's POV, it wasn't clear to me if Harry had indeed initiated things in the limo. But as further parts were posted it became obvious that it's indeed noncon.
akelios: kitten with a pen (Default)

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

[personal profile] akelios 2011-06-07 08:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooohh...very interesting thoughts. I loved reading all the comments here!

I'm going to keep my comment brief, mainly because, well. I'm a big believer in Death of the Author.

As I understand the canon timeline, this would actually be set about five years before SF. That messes with Marcone's stated timeline with this fic vs. canon - I've moved up his rise to power, basically. So this is not even the SF or FM Marcone in terms or ruthlessness. This is pre-canon Marcone. He's still fighting to get everything under control. He'll take any weapon he can get his hands on if it can be used in a directed, controlled manner.

This Marcone is a much darker Marcone than the one I see in canon, honestly. I said it elsewhere that canon Marcone to me reads as Anti Hero, while this Marcone is very much a villain. I still love this Marcone, but in a different way.

As far as I'm concerned, Marcone is manipulating and forcing Harry outright to get what he wants, whether that's magic or sex. He may even be viewing the sex (aside from being enjoyable for him) as another way to manipulate Harry and break him faster. Not that he views it as a *punishment*, but as a tool to make Harry more dependant on him and more isolated from other people. Sex is a powerful thing whether it's being used for good or for evil purposes.

And, while YMMV, I view it all as noncon, just because there's no way of knowing what Harry would or would not have done with John if the collar wasn't there. There's no way to tell if any of what happens is Harry's idea or if he wants to do it at all, because the collar overrides and forces him to do what John wants.

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life", non!con and canon!Marcone

(Anonymous) 2012-04-25 02:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Marcone takes expedient choices that come to hand. Some Marcones are provided with more corrosive choices than others.

This Marcone, perhaps less seasoned in the ways power can fail the weak, is too willing to take as given that Harry, for all that he appears sweet, deserves the punishment of enslavement.

Hendricks seems to be more firmly (but not enough to stop John) on the side that some means are plain wrong. This would be akin to the Laws of Magic, interestingly.

I think canon!Marcone does have an ethical position regarding rape, it's just one that distinguishes between sheep and goats. He might consider the practices of some of his street operators repugnant, but as long as they restrain themselves to adults in the criminal bent, he's not going to be executing them in warehouses. He may also have a personal position, that he prefers his torture to stick to 'traditional violence' and scatological horror, and not include rape in the mix he metes out.

This could been seen as his version of not killing people with magic.

At the point I've read to he's burning all the bridges that have led to where he is with Harry, that have authorized the enslavement of children left to fend for themselves.

Not that any of these things can free Harry. It has consigned to death various captives that could not survive their masters. Marcone must live with his actions, and see how he can let Harry live in chains.

I think Nathan really enjoyed his work with Morgan.
randomcat: (Default)

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

[personal profile] randomcat 2011-07-03 12:10 am (UTC)(link)
Sorry to bug, but would you mind posting a link?
Sounds like a fic I'd like to read, but..
this meme is huge, nearly unsearchable and the delicious account unwieldy when all you've got is a title to go by..;(
Thanks!

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

(Anonymous) 2011-07-03 04:04 am (UTC)(link)
http://dresden-kink.dreamwidth.org/1288.html?thread=1112840#cmt1112840
forestgreen: charchoil picture: Iason embracing Riki possessively and Riki reluctantly surrendering. Charecters from Ai No Kusabi (Default)

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

[personal profile] forestgreen 2011-07-03 06:17 am (UTC)(link)
11thmirror: (Default)

Re: Meta on "Lost in the life" dub!con and non!con and canon!Marcone

[personal profile] 11thmirror 2012-06-20 05:58 am (UTC)(link)
This is helping me work out my arranged marriage fill! Hurrah!