Posted by: Hannah | 12/20/2013

in which i get stabby over a book poll

Yesterday I saw this insane article from hypable.com and since my head hasn’t stopped exploding since, I figured I’d better blog about it lest I spend the weekend in an obsessive What The Actual Fuck spiral.

It’s a poll! Polls are fun! It’s a poll where readers can choose the “Best Young Adult Book Boyfriend” from a list of eleven possibilities! What could go wrong?

Here are the choices (the ones in bold are the ones I’ve actually read):

  1. Ron Weasley, Harry Potter series
  2. Harry Potter, Harry Potter series
  3. Tobias, Divergent
  4. Peeta, The Hunger Games
  5. Levi, Fangirl
  6. Augustus, The Fault In Our Starts
  7. Jem, Infernal Devices
  8. Percy, Percy Jackson
  9. Jaime, A Song of Ice and Fire
  10. Adrian, Vampire Academy / Bloodlines
  11. Christian Grey, 50 Shades of Grey

I can’t pick a favourite because duh, Almanzo Wilder, Professor Bhaer and Laurie Lawrence are conspicuously absent, so this list is probably irrelevant at best. BUT HOLY SHIT LOOK AT WHAT THEY’VE DONE (I hereby direct your attention to numbers 9 and 11, in case you missed them).

Jaime Lannister. And Christian Grey.

1YrmfFu

I’m sorry for the blasphemy, but nothing else really expresses my horror.

Let’s start with Jamie Lannister.

I have been a fan of A Song of Ice & Fire for so long, I’ve gestated and birthed three children since George R. R. Martin started writing the books. I’m one of those people on Game of Thrones forums who was super-smug after Season 3, episode 8 because non-book-readers were all ERMAHGERD! over various events and I was all “just you wait, sweet summer children, because WINTER IS COMING”.

Jamie Lannister is the heir to Casterly Rock, the richest of the seven kingdoms. He is twin to Cersei Lannister, Queen of Westeros thanks to an arranged & loveless marriage. Jamie throws aside his hereditary rights by becoming a sworn knight, which surprises everyone who doesn’t know that he’s been in a passionate and long-term sexual relationship with his twin sister. He’s also the father of her three (!) children, but the King thinks they’re his, and it is this relationship that sets in motion the blood-drenched events of the so-far-five books in the series.

Oh, did I mention Jamie totally throws a seven year old boy out a window because the boy sees Jamie sexing his sister, and Jamie figures that’s the best way to keep their treasonous and icky secret? Because that happens, too.

Now, as time passes Jamie does start to redeem himself, and especially on the TV show version he becomes downright charming and likable, especially when it comes to his friendship with Brienne of Tarth.

However.

Good boyfriend material? Sure, if you’re such a flaming narcissist that you only ever want to have sex with someone who is physically identical to you except for the naughty bits.

And besides, THESE BOOKS ARE NOT YA NOVELS. In any universe. I’m not much of a one for censorship and I read some wildly-inappropriate books as a bookshelf-raiding preteen, but these should definitely not be read by twelve year olds. Michael and I have talked about it because we are both avid fans and Harry will want to read them someday… we’ve agreed that a mature high school student could handle them, but no younger. There are just too many horrible themes in these books: incest, murder, patricide, rape (so much rape), torture… you name it, someone does it, and in gory detail.

And then there’s Christian Grey.

I’ve written before about my feelings regarding the inexplicably popular 50 Shades trilogy. Not only do I think they’re poorly-written pieces of tripe, they attempt to normalize and even glamorize abusive relationships. Christian Grey stalks Ana, cuts her off from her friends and family, threatens to “beat the shit out of her” for going out for drinks with her college roommate, keeps her in a constant state of walking-on-eggshells terror and finishes off the final book with a sex scene where he flogs his wife’s heavily-pregnant stomach and claims that the baby’s movements mean “she must like sex already”.

Oh, clearly we want our teenaged daughters reading this shit. And then we want them to think that Christian Grey is the dreamiest man ever. BECAUSE NOTHING ABOUT THAT SCENARIO MAKES ME WANT TO DICK-PUNCH SOMEONE.

The fact that the trilogy is the fastest-selling book of all time confirms that even grown women with lots of life experience got sucked in (somehow), so to suggest – even as a joke, which is the poll editor’s lame excuse – that these books are appropriate for children as young as twelve is not only ridiculous, it’s dangerous.

***

What do you think, parents of teenagers? Is this insane? Or just moderately crazy and also in poor taste?

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Responses

  1. I’ve read Hunger Games but I was under anesthetic so I’m not sure if I totally remember the details. I’ve never read the other books so I have no opinion. I’m only commenting to remind you that you’re tagged for 10 books, baby. TAG YOU’RE IT. 🙂

  2. Ick!!! Jamie and Christian really? Was someone drunk when they made that poll?

  3. I’m so dumb. I saw the post title and I was afraid you were mad about my Ten Books post EVEN THOUGH I knew you were going to post about this today. I really need to get over myself.
    I haven’t read 50 Shades, and the stuff you talk about is EVEN WORSE than what I imagined. I just can’t even believe that the people who wrote this were halfway serious – was it a drunken prank that inadvertently got published? What the ACTUAL FUCK? I’m on the permissive side for what I let my kids read and watch and I don’t even have the words for how wrong this is.

  4. I haven’t read/watched Game of Thrones and I also haven’t looked at 50 shades. But I will say– and I say this as someone who loves books and would be outraged by someone defacing a boring stats manual from 1952– the more I hear about 50 Shades, the more I feel that it’s something that should be pulped. And all references to it expunged from all media. Ugh.

  5. I am late to this because the Christmas season is totally insane, but I have thoughts! In particular my first thought upon reading the list were in this order: (1) GoT, are they totally insane? I am a hard core lover of fantasy, medieval type settings, and have read more than my share of intense books and I had to put ASOIAF down half way through because it was too intense for me. There is no way that is a YA book in anyone’s universe; (2) Is there another Jamie in GoT because I KNOW they can’t be suggesting Jamie Lannister. Did they actually read that book or watch even two episodes of the show? I’m not picky, I’d accept either medium. Upon reflection there is not a single man in GoT I’d consider boyfriend material. I mean sure, Drogo was insanely hot in the show, but boyfriend material? No.

    I’ve already written too much and am repeating what you said, but I was just so aghast at the utter idiocy of that choice. I haven’t read 50 Shades, didn’t intend to, and now would rather sit and stare at a wall for hours than go there. So much ugh!

  6. I pick Peeta and Almanzo. Because any women who gets such devoted men are lucky ducks.

    I haven’t gotten far in Fifty Shades, but I will keep you posted.

  7. Wrong. Just wrong.


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