Random DoL Meta Scraps 3/?

January 2, 2009 at 11:45 pm (Miscellaneous Meta) ()

A comparison of Felix and Mildmay’s tempers and how they deal with them that goes on to include some more analysis of Felix and a bit about his sexual predilections. Even when he’s not supposed to be the focus he steals the show. -____- Spoilers for the first three books.

Both Felix and Mildmay have bad tempers and violent tendencies. They deal with it in very different ways, though

Mildmay does seem more level-headed of the brothers but he does admit to having a temper, because Felix can get him angry. And he does admit to sometimes being so mad he wants to hurt Felix, to watch him bleed. However, he’s very good at controlling that temper, at knowing when he needs to cool off and knowing how to avoid situations that could lead to his temper flaring (ie. not letting Felix pick fights with him when Felix is in the fight pickin’ mood). And when he really does need to let off steam, he does it by sublimating the need to do violence entirely—case in point, The Virtu, after he’s pissed at Felix for sending him off to lead the thugs away from Arakhne. He’s angry and he wants Felix to hurt—so he goes out to find a whore, and he releases all his pent-up frustration and need to act against someone else by fucking her.

You might say that Felix does much the same—when his anger flares (or as he says, his black rages come upon him) he also sublimates the anger. However, unlike Mildmay, he doesn’t sublimate the urge, he merely substitutes the victim. When he gets angry, he goes off to the Arcane to beat and fuck a martyr. It’s very different from what Mildmay does, because Mildmay is aware of what his anger wants him to do and, because he is, he is safely able to let it off in a way that isn’t harmful to himself or those around him. Felix does not have that level of self-awareness and control. He is simply consumed by rage and doesn’t know what to do with it. Fucking martyrs isn’t the same thing as what Mildmay did with the whore in The Virtu because Felix is still giving in to the impulse to do violence. The sex and arousal is a byproduct of that.

(It’s unclear whether violence period is what gets Felix hard or whether it’s violence in the context of tarquins and martyrs that gets him hard. If the latter, his arousal may be a response engendered by his past as a prostitute in the Shining Tiger where he was forced to be the martyr, and his past with Malkar (Felix admits Malkar has informed all of his sexual responses, presumably including his sadism.). It’s not quite the same as being naturally aroused by the infliction of pain upon another; the latter suggests he’s been trained to/trained himself to respond to it, either as a coping mechanism or simply through constant exposure to the tarquin/martyr environment throughout his youth.)

You could say that Felix turning to tarquins and martyrs is a way for him to take what he doesn’t understand—his rages and occasional rage blackouts—and putting it into terms that he does, by framing his rage and desire to harm another in the sexual framework of tarquins and martyrs, which is something that Felix does understand, perhaps all too well. Even when Felix feels like he’s in control of himself (and let us be frank: The Virtu and The Mirador present the only two (three if you count the year he was mad) years out of his entire life that he’s been truly free of Malkar or someone else’s control, as opposed to just believing he was free the way he did before Melusine) he isn’t, not really. He doesn’t understand himself the way Mildmay does; furthermore, he keeps trying to distance himself from his past self in a way Mildmay doesn’t. Mildmay’s life is one of continuity; what happened to him and what he did under his Keeper is relevant to who he is and what he does now (as seen in his epiphanies about why he kills and the deeper reason behind him asking for the obligation d’ame). For Felix…that’s not how his life works, that’s not how his memory works. What happened then has no bearing on who he is now. He won’t let it matter to who he is now.

Because Felix refuses to acknowledge or dwell on his past he can’t resolve it. He’s fractured himself into a Then and Now and he refuses to reconcile the two or to even consider attempting to. He’s made a little headway—his admission to Mildmay about fearing Keeper more than the Sim, and his realization that he fears Keeper because it represents his own insecurity about being able to save himself from his own danger. But he’s not yet at the stage where Mildmay is, being able to reflect on the past to inform his present and guide his future (ie. Mildmay’s refuses to kill Isaac Garamond despite the obligation d’ame because it’s not right for him to kill people in order to earn the affection/praise/attention of others.).

Felix is only starting to come to terms with how his past has affected his present self. He’s not yet at the point where he can use what he knows about himself to guide how he acts in the future. Hence his constant betrayals of Mildmay, both major and minor, and his inability to stick to his resolution to make his relationship with Gideon work. He admits that he can’t change and he’ll always be arrogant and cruel and quarrelsome and argumentative. But is the reason he can’t change because he was always like that, or is it because he doesn’t yet know himself well enough to find the root of his cruelty and affect change in himself from there? It sounds kind of hokey, I know. Know thyself and all that crap. But maybe that is what he needs to do. Maybe Felix needs to resolve the rift between Felix-as-prostitute, Felix-as-apprentice and Felix-as-wizard. Because it’s not like he doesn’t want to change—he does. He wanted to make his relationship with Gideon work. He wants not to be cruel to Mildmay, he wants to be worthy of Mildmay’s trust and to feel worthy of his love. It’s just that Felix doesn’t think he can change. He’s stuck in a rut and doesn’t know how to get out.

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