So my friend who sporked Tiger’s Curse? She’s now doing the sequel in her sporking, which you can find right here.

Atticus wakes up in his backyard. See, realizing he needed to heal, especially after giving so much of his own blood to his lawyer1, and he needs to be in touch with the ground to do that, he’s in his backyard. I know his property is magically protected and all, but isn’t sleeping outside when you know people want you dead monumentally stupid? Because all Aenghus Og has to do is hire a sniper to climb up on another rooftop while he’s asleep and give Atticus a high-speed lead injection. It would not be difficult, considering Aenghus is an immortal god who apparently has infiltrated the Tempe law enforcement. Am I meant to believe that hiring a professional gunman is beyond his capabilities? Heck, this close to the university, he could hire a college student to do it.

And wait just a minute: Atticus needs to be in contact with the soil to heal, so he has to sleep outside if he’s really wounded? Here’s a man who is immortal, has incredible magical abilities, connections with the supernatural community, and no problems with wealth, and he can’t build a room in his house with just one spot that’s not covered with flooring? Like, he couldn’t have this spot in his basement that’s just bare earth for him to heal in? He has to sleep outside?

Just to remind you, this man has gone on and on about how paranoid he is, and yet he didn’t prepare for the possibility that he might need to spend a night healing himself. If it had so much as rained then he wouldn’t have been able to sleep. As it is, this guy who keeps insisting that he’s insanely paranoid feels entirely comfortable sleeping in his yard without any sort of tent or shelter while his mortal enemy is in town and actively seeking his demise. He mentions a camouflage spell, and that’s it. No other protections.

This man is an idiot.

So all his wounds are healed. The worst he has to worry about is a little pain, but it’s fine—all those injuries he got in the fight with the Fir Bolgs? All gone now. Not that it’s a surprise, but it’s just a reminder that nothing has consequences for the protagonist of this book. He and Oberon have breakfast and talk about Genghis Khan some more, because we need those jokes, I guess.

Also Atticus insists that they “have to make sure the widow is okay. We left her house rather abruptly last night.” Since when is this an issue? You didn’t care when a literal god walked up to her house to pick a fight with you. You left to fight the Fir Bolgs, supposedly out of concern for her, but she’s still your neighbor, and you didn’t check in on her after the fight or after the cops showed up and started waving guns around. But now we’re acting as if he’s oh so concerned about her?

Oh and this:

Fragarach was lying where I left it on the kitchen table.

Have you ever been so paranoid that you left a magic cut-through-anything sword that the bad guys are willing to kill for on the kitchen table overnight?

And this from Oberon:

I think that you should start with getting me a sufficient number of French poodles, and you can find those in the classified section of the newspaper.

Because he thinks all French poodles are female, and he wants to have a harem, remember? The fact that Oberon is of human-level intelligence and wants to have sex with a bunch of animals that aren’t isn’t meant to be troubling at all.

Atticus goes outside to get the paper and observe how his lawn looks. He dispels the magic cloaking it, and the fact that there are now visible bits of gore all over is apparently not a big deal? Seriously, “messy patches of gore” are just A-okay! He tries to spray it away with a hose, and it doesn’t all go away. But he decides that if anyone asks, he’ll come up with an answer and it’ll be fine.

Maybe that giant animated jar of Kool-Aid met his untimely end here?

The Kool-Aid Man is a pitcher not a jar. I recognize that this isn’t a big deal, but if you’re going to make stupid pop culture references, at least get them right. In any case, joking about it doesn’t change the fact that he’s got splotches of blood in his yard, and he doesn’t have an explanation, and he’s not worried about it at all.

This man is dripping with paranoia, I’m telling you.

Atticus and Oberon talk about invading Siberia or something while he cooks breakfast. Atticus declares that

Oberon’s ability to distract me from life’s worries was one of the reasons I adored him.

I’d accept this comment if it weren’t for the fact that Atticus doesn’t have any worries. People are out to kill him and he slept in his yard without any sort of covering except a cloaking spell. He left his magic sword that the bad guys are after out on the kitchen table. He hasn’t even come up with an excuse for their being red patches in his yard yet.

Then Atticus reads the paper. The headline is about a Park Ranger that got killed by a dog. And they guess that it was done “by a large dog, possibly an Irish wolfhound.” Atticus is all like, “There’s no reason they’d know what the breed of dog was from the body/wound, so obviously they’re getting help from someone else.” Which, uh, duh. We know that Aenghus Og is in town, and that he’s using the local law enforcement.

Someone’s coming to the door though! And it’s the cops. Two, rather. Atticus steps outside on the front porch to talk to them. They are Detective Carlos Jimenez from the Phoenix police and Detective Darren Fagles from the Tempe police. They have a conversation which I imagine Hearne thought was very witty.

May we speak to you inside?”

Ha! He asked to come inside anyway. Not gonna happen, buddy. “Oh it’s such a nice morning, let’s just talk out here,” I said. “What brings you to my door today?”

Jimenez frowned. “Mr. O’Sullivan, this is really best discussed in private.”

“We’re plenty private right here.” I grinned at him. “Unless you’re planning to shout. You aren’t going to shout at me, are you?”

“Well, no,” the detective admitted.

“Great! So why are you here?”

It’s supposed to make Atticus sound clever, but it just makes him sound obnoxious.

They ask him if he owns a wolfhound, and he says what his werewolf lawyer told him to say: that his dog ran away and he has no idea where he went. When the admit that they’re investigating the park ranger’s murder, he says he wasn’t there. They want to investigate his house and yard, but after some prodding it’s revealed that the tip they got to go to Atticus was given, once again, by his neighbor Mr. Semerdjian, and so Atticus explains that his neighbor’s an insane douchebag and they back off a bit, and eventually leave, though Fagles makes it clear that he still thinks Atticus is guilty.

Which, y’know, he kind of is?

I thought about this on one of my walks, and I realized another thing that bothers me about this: Atticus isn’t acting like an innocent man. He’s snarky, annoying, and basically rubbing in the cops’ faces that they can’t do what they want. He could still act like he knows his rights and act unnerved and terrified, but he doesn’t. You would think a man who keeps billing himself as paranoid wouldn’t be flippantly teasing the police there to accuse him of murder.

And also police… don’t always follow the law. It’s become a massive political issue lately, sure (and one we will NOT get into here, because I see enough political BS on Facebook and it already sends my anxiety through the roof), especially in regards to race, but it’s not new by any means, nor is it limited to African-Americans. If Fagles is really as unstable and obsessed as Hearne paints him, there’s a huge chance that he’d barge into Atticus’s house, warrant or no, and actually wave his gun around with an itchy trigger finger.

Yeah, it sucks, but there are a lot of cops who abuse their power. And there have been for years. So Hearne’ss protagonist, who claims up and down that he’s oh-so paranoid and well-prepared, is talking back to the cops. Atticus, you could very easily get yourself shot this way. And yet we’re being told that this is him acting oh so clever and witty. The fact that back talking law enforcement is pretty much suicidal never seems to enter anyone’s mind.

[Yes I follow Swear Trek on Tumblr.]

“But Juracan! He’s immune to death, remember?” Yeah, okay, but a bullet to the head can’t exactly be comfortable, can it? Even if he heals from that, his reputation in this town would be kind of screwed. He’d have to go out of the way to explain to his attempted murderers why he’s not dead, or fake his death, and then assume a new identity, probably leave town— the whole chalupa.

Of course none of this crosses his mind because he’s a Mary Sue and I hate him.

Atticus cleans up his house, looking to see if there’s anything incriminating in case the police do come in. He notices that his antique books might be roughed up if the cops decide to go rifling through his stuff, and that his lawn plants might be confiscated on the assumption that they’re illegal drugs, so he calls up Hal (the werewolf lawyer, if you forgot, who works during the day while Leif the vampire works at night). He asks Hal if a lawyer could park at his house to be obstructive if the cops come in, basically. Hal agrees to send a junior associate. Atticus is pleased, because if Aenghus is involved then the cops might bring a non-human in, and a werewolf would still be a pretty good defense.

You may be the most paranoid man I’ve ever met.”

“I’m certainly the longest lived you’ve ever met.”

[sigh]

As I’ve explained a dozen times over by now, Atticus is anything but paranoid.

He goes to Mrs. MacDonagh’s house, and notices that Bres’s body isn’t there. He hypothesizes that maybe the Morrigan ate it. Then he talks to the leprechaun.

“Ah, me dear boy Atticus, ‘tis a pleasure to see ye again and that’s no lie. Have ye killed any more Brits for me?

“Good morning, Mrs. MacDonagh. No, I haven’t killed any more Brits. I hope you won’t be talking about that with anyone.”

“Tish, d’ye think I’m daft? I’m not there yet, thank the Lord. It’s all due to clean livin’ and good Irish whiskey. Would y’be havin’ some with me? Come on in.”

Maybe me quoting these bits is why I haven’t got as many comments on these sporkings lately. They are painful to read, I guess. But you guys will suffer with me.

Atticus declines the whiskey, saying it’s too early in the morning, and also it’s Sunday. MacDonagh knows that, but she says she drinks a bit before going to the student Mass because the priest gives long homilies aimed more at college kids than her. She insists it’s not that she’s drunk, she’s mellow, but, uh… yeah, she goes to Mass drunk.

I… hate these characters.

The leprechaun asks if she could convince Atticus to get baptized, and he also turns that down and says he has to go to work. Oberon asks him what Baptism is, and Atticus gives a basic explanation like, “You’re dunked in water and come out reborn.” Of course, Oberon doesn’t get it, so he says it’s a symbolic thing, and Oberon still doesn’t get it.

Mind you, this doesn’t really seem a theologically-accurate description of the Sacrament of Baptism, but in Atticus’s (and Hearne’s) defense, Atticus isn’t Christian, and doesn’t seem to have much interest in Christianity in general. I mean he has been around two thousand years so it’s a bit weird that he hasn’t picked up any actual knowledge of Christian theology, considering, y’know, Irish history and all. But it’s not exactly inexcusable, since he skipped out of Ireland before Christianity got there, so I’ll regrettably give it a slide.

It’s not great, but the man doesn’t even keep track of the politics of the country he’s in now. So it’s not unbelievable that he doesn’t know how Baptism works. It’s dumb, but it’s consistently dumb, ya ken?

Atticus finishes out his explanation as he goes to work with ‘It’s symbolic, okay?’ and Oberon’s all like “Like going to church drunk is really going to church mellow?”

Oh yeah, Atticus is on his way to work. Did I mention that? The most paranoid man Hal has ever met is leaving his house to go to work. He’s so paranoid, guys. Atticus describes how he has some business on Sundays, mostly because you had a bunch of angsty college kids rebelling against their Christian upbringing going to a New Age shop.

Also we get this:

And their auras almost always churned with arousal, which I did not understand when I first opened the shop, but eventually it made sense: For the first time in their lives, they were going to read about a belief system where it was okay to have sex, and they could hardly wait for the validation.

Look, sex is not my subject. But you honestly expect me to believe that because these college kids are no longer Christian, they’re just aroused from just looking at non-Christian reading material and merchandise? Because it might not give them validation for sex outside of marriage?

I think you’re projecting, Atticus.

This isn’t weird, is it? Like I know college kids can be perverts, but the idea that they’re walking around a New Age shop aroused by it not being Christian doesn’t make sense. If anything, it feels like another attempt to drag sex into the novel, in the most juvenile way possible. And it doesn’t add anything! All it tells us is that Atticus brings up sex in contexts where it’s weird. Which we already knew!

“Hey? All these college kids in the store? They’re thinking about *SEX!*” Okay that’s nice but what does that have to do with the Plot? You know, the evil Irish god out to kill you and take your magic sword? Does this really add anything to this scene? Does it give us a clearer picture of the store?

Nope, it does not. It’s just there.

Atticus goes on to describe the auras and looks of customers who were actually members of the supernatural community, and oh look, there’s Emilya, the witch from earlier? Who had Atticus brew up an impotency potion? Yeah her, and despite the fact that Atticus gave her a magical beatdown last time she was here, she’s sneering in his face and sticks her tongue out at him.

Yeah, because that’s how a person in her situation would act.

But before much else can happen, another woman enters the shop and reprimands Emilya. It’s described like a child being chastised by a parent, with Emilya realizing that she’s in trouble. And that’s the end of the chapter.

I know I’ve said this before, but there’s something really messed up about the depiction of women in this book, isn’t there? Aside from being all sexualized to some extent (I want to say that the Leprechaun isn’t, but she also admits that she’d like to bone Atticus so that goes out the window), they’re terrible people and… not very bright? Flidais doesn’t understand how to use basic kitchen appliances, the Morrigan is ready to murder people at the drop of a hat, the Leprechaun goes to Mass drunk and immediately drops all intelligence to go murder happy at the mention of Britain, and Emilya, after picking and losing a fight with Atticus goes to his shop to basically brag in his face.

It’s not just that it’s one or two characters, it’s just about all the female characters. The only exception I can think of right now is the bartender at the Irish pub, and it’s all but said that Atticus gets an erection just being around her. So, uh, that’s not great.

What makes this frustrating in Emilya’s case is that she’s meant to be around a hundred years old. I know compared to Atticus that’s pretty young, but she’s not that young. For Atticus (and the author) to be infantilizing her like this comes across as pretty condescending. She should be Atticus’s equal, or around that level, but nope! She’s just an immature brat without a lick of common sense.

Maybe things get better for the female characters later on in the series, but this book treats them pretty badly.

Join me next time, as… stuff happens, I guess? I need several shots of apple juice…

1 I haven’t made a blood-sucking lawyer joke, have I? That’s pretty terrible of me.

Tagged as:

Comment

  1. The Smith of Lie on 2 June 2019, 08:11 said:

    Have you ever been so paranoid that you left a magic cut-through-anything sword that the bad guys are willing to kill for on the kitchen table overnight?

    I hate it when that happens! There is so much mess to clean up afterwards. And the killing. I mean I like killing as much as the next paranoid psychopath, but sometimes it is too much of a good thing.

    Because all Aenghus Og has to do is hire a sniper to climb up on another rooftop while he’s asleep and give Atticus a high-speed lead injection. It would not be difficult, considering Aenghus is an immortal god who apparently has infiltrated the Tempe law enforcement. Am I meant to believe that hiring a professional gunman is beyond his capabilities?

    Ah, but we have established that the gods must be lazy and they have no idea about such amazing modern inventions as large caliber sniper rifles, high explosives, Flak 88 anti air canons and other wonderful toys that could be used to kill Atticus.

    As a side note, since it is a tradition to praise Dresden Files, I want to mention that it is one of few books that actually considered the implication of modern weaponry, including sniper rifles, on a supernatural field of battle.

    And wait just a minute: Atticus needs to be in contact with the soil to heal, so he has to sleep outside if he’s really wounded? Here’s a man who is immortal, has incredible magical abilities, connections with the supernatural community, and no problems with wealth, and he can’t build a room in his house with just one spot that’s not covered with flooring? Like, he couldn’t have this spot in his basement that’s just bare earth for him to heal in? He has to sleep outside?

    Well for one that’d be actually smart thing to do, so it’s a no-no for Atticus. But I am betting that if pressed about it Hearne would just respond with magic-babble that it wouldn’t count for some metamystical BS reason, like the spot inside building not being natural enough ot some such.

    He and Oberon have breakfast and talk about Genghis Khan some more, because we need those jokes, I guess.

    I am starting to get a bit of an obsessive vibe towards good old Genghis from Atticus/Hearne. The topic just keeps coming back. I guess it is just our “hero” missing the good old times of raiding, pillaging, looting and raping…

    Also Atticus insists that they “have to make sure the widow is okay. We left her house rather abruptly last night.”

    I believe this is a code word for “see if she didn’t come to her senses and decided to snitch on me after all.” You know, because she was a witness to a murder.

    Because he thinks all French poodles are female, and he wants to have a harem, remember? The fact that Oberon is of human-level intelligence and wants to have sex with a bunch of animals that aren’t isn’t meant to be troubling at all.

    Troubling or not I am getting weirded out by the whole thing.

    But he decides that if anyone asks, he’ll come up with an answer and it’ll be fine.

    Makes it easy!

    I’d accept this comment if it weren’t for the fact that Atticus doesn’t have any worries. People are out to kill him and he slept in his yard without any sort of covering except a cloaking spell. He left his magic sword that the bad guys are after out on the kitchen table. He hasn’t even come up with an excuse for their being red patches in his yard yet.

    And once again I wonder how and why is this book so popular. I have mentioned Dora Wilk way back in early chapters. For all my hate for that book and for the character I must at least grudgingly admit, that it had a certain amount of tension and Dora at least acted as if the plot had some amount of importance.

    It is indeed a rare event when the book that made me want to chuck my Kindle at the wall is brought up as the positive comparison…

    They have a conversation which I imagine Hearne thought was very witty.

    I’ve never been filled with as much dread by a single sentence before…

    I thought about this on one of my walks,…

    Yeah. To borrow Austalian vernacular. Atticus is one smug cunt. The way you relayed this whole encounter makes the whole thing doubly infuriating because Atticus antagonized police second time in as many chapters, used the most BS and thinly veiled excuses and lies and nothing came of it while there’s bloody gore in his damned backyard!

    Of course none of this crosses his mind because he’s a Mary Sue and I hate him.

    For what it is worth your are not the only one.

    You may be the most paranoid man I’ve ever met.

    I take this to mean that Hal has never met anyone even slightly paranoid. Actually he only met people on the opposite side of the scale, much like Atticus himself.

    I said it once and I’ll say it again, Hearne clearly does not know difference between “paranoia” and “complete and utter complacency”. Because I would make for a better paranoiac than Atticus would. Wanna hear my plan for life if I was on the run from the gods while keeping a magic sword that can’t get into wrong hands?

    First I’d live in some large city. It is way easier to get lost in crowd than in suburbia. I might choose a completely unassuming name, somthing like John Smith or similar. Third I would get some kind of boring job that does not require a lots of human contact, night guard or some such (being a paranoid, supernatural nut-job I’d boost my income with some kind of larceny).

    I would trap my apartment. Not living in a house would made this rather morally repugnant but Atticus is already a psychopath and thousand yars of paranoia would probably make care little for my fellow humans. So high explosives it is. Especially whatever the hiding place for the sword I’d choose would be throughly secured with those.

    Fake papers for at least two alternative identities, few K in cash and all my most important possesions would be always packed and ready to take with me if I got a whiff of pursuit so I could change my location and start a new life elswhere.

    That’s just off the top of my head. If I really had to get into this I probably could think of some more precautionary measures.

    Maybe me quoting these bits is why I haven’t got as many comments on these sporkings lately.

    You sort of hit the nail on the head here. The last chapter and Atticus snarking at the Police were too much for me to go through after the first comment…

    Mind you, this doesn’t really seem a theologically-accurate description of the Sacrament of Baptism, but in Atticus’s (and Hearne’s) defense, Atticus isn’t Christian, and doesn’t seem to have much interest in Christianity in general. I mean he has been around two thousand years so it’s a bit weird that he hasn’t picked up any actual knowledge of Christian theology, considering, y’know, Irish history and all. But it’s not exactly inexcusable, since he skipped out of Ireland before Christianity got there, so I’ll regrettably give it a slide.

    I wouldn’t. He lives in the US, which is predominantly Christian country and even with religious freedom enshrined in constitution there’s enough people who look at non-Christians and atheists with suspicion. Not being able to at least reasonably fake it is one more thing that breaks his cover and speaks to his paranoia being an informed attribute.

    And I wouldn’t dock any points for that from someone else, but given who we are talking about I am feeling vindictive as hell.

    […] Nope, it does not. It’s just there.

    Honestly that bit annoys me on so many levels. For one it once again it comes of a smug superiority, which is not earned by either Atticus as a character nor by Hearne as a writer making social commentary.

    It’s not just that it’s one or two characters, it’s just about all the female characters. The only exception I can think of right now is the bartender at the Irish pub, and it’s all but said that Atticus gets an erection just being around her. So, uh, that’s not great.

    I hate to play devil’s advocate here, but I think you are being a bit unfair to Hearne. It isn’t just females who are stupid and terrible. Atticus is an idiot, his lawyer friends give him crappy advice that only works because universe turns around Atticus, polica are about as effective as Angelologists… The only thing females have going for them in the competition of the worst wrtitten is the sexualization.

    Join me next time, as… stuff happens, I guess? I need several shots of apple juice…

    If apple juice is a code word for hard liquor then I am with you…

  2. Juracan on 3 June 2019, 20:42 said:

    Ah, but we have established that the gods must be lazy and they have no idea about such amazing modern inventions as large caliber sniper rifles, high explosives, Flak 88 anti air canons and other wonderful toys that could be used to kill Atticus.

    [sigh] Yeah…

    Honestly I don’t think this excuse should apply to Aenghus, who clearly has at least a grasp of how police departments work? But it wouldn’t surprise me if that was meant to be the reason no one just straight up shoots Atticus.

    I am starting to get a bit of an obsessive vibe towards good old Genghis from Atticus/Hearne. The topic just keeps coming back. I guess it is just our “hero” missing the good old times of raiding, pillaging, looting and raping…

    Probs.

    I’ve never been filled with as much dread by a single sentence before…

    That’s just off the top of my head. If I really had to get into this I probably could think of some more precautionary measures.

    And those are pretty good precautions! And yet Atticus, who has the means to do all of that and more, does none of these things! He stays in one place and just gives stupid answers when the cops come around! Like you said, it’s not paranoia as much as complete and utter complacency.

    I wouldn’t. He lives in the US, which is predominantly Christian country and even with religious freedom enshrined in constitution there’s enough people who look at non-Christians and atheists with suspicion. Not being able to at least reasonably fake it is one more thing that breaks his cover and speaks to his paranoia being an informed attribute.

    To be fair, I don’t know if your average Christian could really talk much about the theology of Baptism, much less other sacraments? Yeah, it’s the dominant religion, but in many cases it’s more cultural than a deep understanding. I don’t know how much that applies to Arizona, where this book takes place though.

    I hate to play devil’s advocate here, but I think you are being a bit unfair to Hearne. It isn’t just females who are stupid and terrible. Atticus is an idiot, his lawyer friends give him crappy advice that only works because universe turns around Atticus, polica are about as effective as Angelologists… The only thing females have going for them in the competition of the worst wrtitten is the sexualization.

    You’re right! All the male characters are pretty stupid too. Silly me.

    If apple juice is a code word for hard liquor then I am with you…

    It isn’t, I just really like apple juice that much. You’re welcome to bring liquor for next time though.