Chapter 19 begins with Merry and Doyle on the airplane back to St Louis. Doyle is not having a very good time, as he’s basically trapped within a man-made metal tube, so he cannot use any of his magic. One of the flight attendants keeps flirting with Doyle, and Doyle is trying hard to ignore it. He asks Merry to talk to him, tell him a story, so Merry begins telling Doyle about her grandparents.
Her maternal grandfather was a Seelie sidhe named Uar the Cruel. Prior to Merry’s mother being born, Uar had been cursed so that any children he fathered through an unwilling mother would be born a monster. He fathered three monstrous sons, and after that the fey all took major precautions so that they could not be raped by him. His curse would end only if a fey woman slept with him willingly.
Merry’s maternal grandmother, a half-human half-brownie fey, was willing to sleep with Uar because she wanted to be accepted by the Seelie Court. She would never be accepted unless she became pregnant by a sidhe, as the sidhe have strict laws – once a sidhe woman became pregnant, the father of that child must wed the mother. Merry’s grandmother, Gran, became pregnant and married Uar. She bore him beautiful twin daughters, Merry’s mother and aunt. After the twins were born, Uar never touched Gran again sexually, though he would often beat her to within inches of her life, but as his curse was broken, Uar was once again allowed to partake in court life. The sidhe have very strict rules against sleeping with another after the marriage vows have been taken, so Uar could not sleep with any other fey woman, nor he could divorce her without her permission, so he’d beat her often to try and force Gran to leave him.
Gran knew that if she left Uar, she would no longer be accepted in court, so she stayed with Uar through the beatings. She stayed to protect her daughters as well, as the sidhe would not have allowed Gran to take her daughters away from court if she had divorced Uar. Eventually, after her daughters had grown, Gran finally left Uar (but did not divorce him) to accompany Merry’s father into exile when he decided to leave Faerie to raise Merry among the humans.
So, let’s talk about this story, alright? Merry’s grandfather, Uar, is cursed because he’s so cruel and horrible and constantly rapes women. So he’s cursed and can no longer sleep with anyone. He eventually meets this woman who desperately wants to be a part of court life, and she finally sleeps with him to break the curse, bear him children, and become part of court life. She then stays with him despite the fact that he’s constantly abusing her BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T WANT TO LEAVE THAT LIFESTYLE . UGH. SHE CARES MORE ABOUT HER COURT LIFE THAN HER OWN WELL BEING. UGHHHHH.
The way this whole part is written is to somehow convey that Gran was very strong because she had the courage to stay with him throughout all the abuse because that was what was best for her. It’s to prove that leaving court is worse than being fucking nearly murdered by your monster of a husband. That even though she’s being beaten constantly, being a part of that glorious faerie court is better than nothing.
This whole thing, to me, is more awful and disgusting than all the rape apologies from before. This is NOT how you prove that Gran is a strong female character, LKH.
After Merry’s story about Gran, Doyle asks if she ever contacted Gran while she was in hiding. Merry said that she could not, as she knew Gran would be tortured if anyone learned that she had spoken with Merry. Merry also tells Doyle that she is invoking “virgin rights” when she returns to court, as she had been away for the required three years. Virgin rights would remove Merry from any of the old feuds or grudges she had been in while at court before, so that no one there could claim any old argument against her upon her return. It was one of the few ways she could help guarantee her own safety on returning. It also allows Merry to stay off-site while back at court, as she did not trust staying in her old rooms and instead got a hotel room for her stay.
Doyle tells her that no one in court would risk the queen’s anger and bring up old grudges or try to hurt her while she’s back, and Merry disagrees – she believes that Prince Cel, the queen’s son, would definitely try something and the queen would not punish him to her full extent just because he is her only heir. Merry does not want to risk dueling Cel, as she fears his hand of power, the Hand of Old Blood. He can cause any wound his opponent ever received to begin bleeding.
The chapter ends with Merry and Doyle learning that the flight attendant who had been paying Doyle so much attention during the flight was fey-struck, or some crap, because she had had sex with a sidhe without the sidhe protecting her mind from how amazing it is. They wonder if the sidhe she had been fucking was the one who was being worshiped by humans, and if the flight attendant regularly flew the LA to St. Louis route. They land in St. Louis and Doyle gets the flight attendant’s contact information, under the guise of returning to have sex with her, so that they can interview her to hopefully find out more about who she had been having sex with.
Uar the Cruel – Merry’s sidhe maternal grandfather, once cursed to only have monstrous children when he took women by force. Eventually married Gran, a half human, half brownie fey, and they had twin daughters. Abusive asshole.
Gran – Merry’s grandmother, half brownie and half human. Desperately wanted to be part of the sidhe courts and allows herself to be beaten by Uar in order to be accepted at court. After leaving Uar, she helped to raise Merry out by the humans. She eventually opens an award winning Bed and Breakfast.
Spousal abuse is totally okay if it’s for the right reason!
Prince Cel’s hand of power is the Hand of Old Blood, and he can cause any old wound to reopen.
Sex: oh just abuse and rape again.