A Stroke of Midnight Chapter 15: Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not beautiful. Except when no one tells you you’re beautiful. And other terrible Laurell K Hamilton lessons.

Chapter 15 begins with the police being allowed into the sithen. They’re all immediately bespelled by how magical and beautiful the plain boring grey walls of the sithen were. Whoops, turns out faerie magic has overtaken the sithen in a manner that hadn’t been seen for more than fifty years, and it’s super affecting the poor cops. Merry and Co determine it’s not a spell causing this reaction, and so they’re able to use faerie oil on the cops to lessen the effects of faerie magic.

They begin applying the oil to the eyes of all the cops, when finally one short female cop, called Carmichael, remained. She was reluctant to use the oil, as she would prefer using a cross to protect her from the evils of faerie. Merry explains that faeries aren’t evil, just other, and the cop finally lets Merry apply the oil.

“I thought this oil was supposed to make everything look ordinary,” Carmichael said.

“It is,” I said.

“Then why is he still so damned beautiful?” She pointed at Frost.

“Maybe ordinary is the wrong word,” I said. “The oil helps you see reality.”

Carmichael shook her head. “He can’t be real. His hair is metallic silver, not grey, not white, silver. Hair can’t be silver.”

“It’s the natural color of his hair,” I said.

“Should the rest of us be offended?” Rhys asked.

“Maybe you should be,” Ivi said, “but she hasn’t seen most of us out of armor and cloaks.” He pushed the hood of his cloak back, and drew off the muffler that had hidden most of his face. Ivi’s face was a little thin for my tastes, and I knew his shoulders weren’t wide enough for me, but the pale green of his hair was decorated with vines and ivy leaves, as if someone had painted his namesake on his hair. His eyes were the startling green of emeralds. I guess if you haven’t been raised around people with multicolored eyes, the vibrant green of his eyes was worth a stare of two. Carmichael seemed to think so because her gaze went to him as if she couldn’t help but stare.

Crystall swept his own cloak back to reveal hair that caught the dim light of the hall and turned it into rainbows, as if his hair were a clear prism that shattered light into colors. His skin was whiter than mine, a white so pure it looked artificial. He flung the lesser white of his cloak back over one arm, and that arm was bare. I had a moment to wonder what he was wearing under the long cloak and above the boots that I could see. His arm shone in the light, like white metal, a gleam that no true flesh ever held.

So cool that they’re trying hard to bespell the poor woman immediately after she admitted she knew nothing of faerie and thought they were evil.

I hate these fucking dick measuring contests that happen constantly in this series. First they all have to fight over Merry’s attentions, and when they don’t get that, they fight over the attention of, well, everyone else. After all the long diatribes about how no sidhe would ever want to desecrate themselves by ever being with a non-sidhe, or lesser fey, or, heavens, a mortal, now they’re fighting over themselves to see who can make this incredibly susceptible human drool over them. It’s pathetic.

Merry is worried that they haven’t heard from Doyle yet, and so Galen runs off to go fnd out. Which reminds me that Galen totally has a long fucking rat-tail hanging from his head. You know, that super cool hairstyle boys used to get in the early 90s? A goddamn rat-tail. And he’s supposed to be, like, the height of supreme beauty. Gross.

Anyway, Galen running off causes Merry to worry some more, and so Frost sends a few non-important guards to go with him. He then starts trying to calm Merry, which causes the chalice to magically appear in her hand. I fucking love this magic cup.


I still like to imagine it looks like this.

Now the chalice had materialized in my hand, and that usually meant it had an agenda. Something it wanted, at this moment. Something I needed to do. If it had just wanted to help Galen, it wouldn’t have been heavy in my hand. The chalice was quite capable of helping out magically without materializing. So why was it here now? What was about to happen? The tightness between my shoulder blades said, something bad.

So then all the remaining guards catch a glimpse of the magic cup as Merry tries to hide it. They’re all amazed by it. Carmichael takes this opportunity to start ogling the men a bit more, and they realize she’s elf-struck. Something about faerie is affecting her way more than it rightly should.

My, whatever could have caused her to become elf-struck?

Well, at least Ivi admits to probably causing it.

“I admit to enjoying the lady’s fascination because I never thought to see such instant obsession on an [sic] woman’s face again. “ The humor leaked away to show some of the sadness that underlay most of Ivi’s humor – a sorrow like some deep wound that cut through whatever he had once been, so that all that was left of Ivi was that biting humor and that sorrow.

“That is sick,” Polaski said.

His face showed that he had one other emotion left to him, arrogance. “And how would you feel, doctor, if once upon a time you were so beautiful that men wept as you walked down a summer’s lane, and then, one day, they no longer seemed to see you at all? A flower may be beautiful all on its own, but a person is never truly beautiful unless someone else’s eyes show him that he is beautiful.”

Oh fuck that noise. A person is only beautiful if they can see it in someone else’s eyes? Get that nonsense out of here. A person is beautiful no matter WHO sees it. No one needs another set of eyes to prove that to them. Every person, no matter what, is beautiful in their own way. This is such bullshit to try to shove down our throats. There’s a lot of things that LKH says in her books that are truly disturbing, but it’s lessons she tries to impart on us like this that I find the most despicable. She tries really hard to be a representative of female empowerment and strength and support, but then she’ll casually toss around likes like “you’re only beautiful if someone tells you you are!” and I just want to throw this book out the window.

Anyway, the chapter ends with Carmichael being taken away, and Polaski calling Ivi disturbing. Just an average interaction with police in any LKH world!

One response to “A Stroke of Midnight Chapter 15: Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not beautiful. Except when no one tells you you’re beautiful. And other terrible Laurell K Hamilton lessons.

  1. Jesus Christ. A person is only beautiful if they’re beautiful in the eyes of another.

    Lady, I had a pretty fucked up childhood too, but you gotta move past it. Especially since you’re *checks* FIFTY-FUCKING-FIVE are you kidding me??? It is long, LONG past time you get over that shit and MOVE THE FUCK ON with your honestly-TOO-successful life.

    You are a role model. To CHILDREN. Shit, you were a role model to ME once upon a time, before you revealed what a spoiled, petulant, self-obsessed eternagrudge-holding, dare I say it… ~*JEALOUS*~ child! You’re 55 years old and your worst insult is “jealous”—GROW THE FUCK UP LKH


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