would this be a little too .... much? // POLL

I have a scene that I’m considering writing, but I want to make sure it adds what I want to my character and doesn’t throw people off. My character is a villain/anti-hero/morally grey who gets darker as the novel progresses. My goal throughout this whole time is to trick readers into rooting for her and to justify her dark behavior.

In this scene my main character Raven sits down at dinner with the main villain, Silas who is a cannibal. One of the guards betrayed Silas and tried to help Raven escape. As revenge, Silas has the guards leg chopped off and served as the course meal, as the guard sits there with his newly bandaged leg. No one but Silas can stomach it and everyone sits there with the cooked leg on their plate.
I’m considering having Silas mock Raven and undermining how bloodthirsty and feared she was supposed to be, and how all the rumors must be false. In order to prove him wrong, she eats the leg in defiance, earning some sort of twisted approval from Silas.

It’s a very important stepping stone for their relationship (non romantic! Just a mutual curiosity and competition that they have) I’m afraid that this scene will be a little too much for readers and that they may grow to despise or even be disgusted by my main character. There are dark themes and frequent blood and gore throughout, but I’m still afraid that cannibalism, especially by my main character, ESPECIALLY eating the man’s leg in front of him… is a little bit toooo much.

  • Ummm ya … too much
  • It’s do able if written correctly!

0 voters

im into it, dude

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I mean I would be fine with it but then again I’m more into dark books and films. Although the mocking that leads her to eat the leg isn’t really doing it for me and it almost makes it seem… I’m trying to word this so it doesn’t come out wrong but I can’t seem to think of another way to describe it… it just doesn’t sit well with me.

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Do you mean it makes her look bad or maybe weaker because she’s not choosing to do it?

I think her giving into the antagonist’s mocking makes her seem more like a weak person who is easily manipulated to go against her own ideals, as opposed to a badass protagonist with strong goals.

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I mean it just doesn’t come out as you probably want it to. It kind of sounds like stories that portray strong female characters wrong.

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@imtotallynotokay @Ferret-bird

Ohh okay! I could see that, good point. For sure don’t want a weak character. Maybe they sit down for dinner and instead of any ridiculing she just begins to eat and stares at Silas dead in the eyes the whole time?

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That would be better although I would still keep some conflict and conversation in there. You could probably even just have her mock him instead.

Her starting to eat without either of them saying anything isn’t really the best choice either because then the character can be seen as cruel right off the bat. But if you have some conflict or a thought process of hers or even a smaller character that’s there with them make a comment about how cruel it is that could cause the readers to be more okay with it. Although I wouldn’t just leave it there I would expand more on it.

I think a lot of it comes down to her inner thought process. If her logic is “if I impress this man, I’ll gain power” her choice to eat the meal seems smart and diplomatic, and shows what she’s willing to sacrifice to further her goals.

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I’m all for darkness as long as the darkness serves it’s purpose. What does Silas have that Raven needs from him, so much so that she would take on the (possible) taboo of eating human flesh. I feel it should be more than just approval. What is stopping her from simply not eating the leg and burying her knife in Silas’ throat? It’s not like the guard can stop her.

If she is going to consume human flesh, is there some sort of build up? Does Silas choose his words carefully leading up to it, perhaps as a way to create tension and force Raven to choose between social morals or losing face with this man.

Just some thoughts I had.

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This reminds me of the book “Hannibal” by Thomas Harris (a sequel to Red Dragon and “Silence of the Lambs) where Lecter feeds Clarice human brains and she likes them. They then become lovers.

I think it’d depend on how you structure that scene.

If he’d goading her into doing it, it wouldn’t really come across as ‘defiance’ to a reader (at least not to this reader). It’d just make the character seem as though she can be induced to do things, and, whilst that wouldn’t (on its own) necessarily make her a weak character, it might have readers wondering if this character flaw is going to be important to the plot - i.e. if, at the end, she’s persuaded into doing something that adversely affects her/another character.

The cannibalism also has to serve some kind of purpose if it’s in there. Could Silas and Raven’s relationship develop through any other means? Perhaps a show of defiance might achieve the same thing - in another manner.

I guess it boils down to: if you feel that you’re crafting this scene to make readers feel a certain way about Raven, then by all means go for it!

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I would keep it to just a bite or a nibble to keep readers from being disgusted. And throw in some stakes for why she needs Silas’s approval, even just a sudden realization this is her chance to prove some childhood bullies wrong or whatever

Do it. Chow down on that drumstick! lol

It’s way, way, way too much.

First of all, the guard would be in no position to sit anywhere. If he’s to survive, he’s laying down with his stump up in the air. The mixture of pain, shock and blood loss would make it impossible to sit upright, anyway.

Second: Cannibalism has some really mean consequences on the nervous system. If that’s how your characters are bonding, then it’s a straight way into mental degeneration together.

Third: Personally, if I read that, I’d roll my eyes really hard then drop the story. No offence, but… It makes you sound like you’re really desperate to tune the shock value up. That’d make me wonder what are you going to do next to top it, and how quickly it’d turn into a numb, boring routine.

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I think that is true, it would make her look weak. Possibly having her not eat it, or eat it with some stipulations of her own to be met or rejecting eating based on some dismissive of the mocking reasoning?

I can see it as an act of defiance or a challenge to prove her toughness to Silas. Perhaps she can have some inner mental turmoil. Disgust over what she did.

The guard would know how brutal Silas can be and see act as a means of defying him and perhaps someday she might bring him to his knees. Brief eye contact between him and Raven conveying his understanding could tempter the act of her eating his leg.

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I honestly don’t think it’s too much

I’ve seen worse in terms of cannibalism stories to be honest! It seems just the write amount of gross and admirable to work, and I’m sure you can do it justice!

There is a manga called Beastars that had a similar scene in it that might be useful to read as an example of how other people have handled similar topics. A deer has to eat another deer in order to prove himself to a pack of lions. Its premise is very different but the tension seems to be similar.

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Mmm. I don’t know. It seems like a lose-lose situation to me. She doesn’t eat it. Silas still has fun. She does eat it, then she’s eating her friend and Silas still has fun. I get the whole ‘making it seem like it doesn’t bother her’ thing, but for the most part, it just makes her seem petty. ‘See. I’m not bothered by this’, while it’s kinda clear that it does, no matter how much she pretends like it doesn’t. She gets nothing out of this exchange and Silas gets everything.

If you want her to pull off a power move, I think you’d need to ask yourself, ‘What does Raven have over Silas? What does she have that he doesn’t? What can she take away that he wants? What is Silas’ weakness? What bothers him the most?’

Does she have more allies in the…castle(?)? If so, maybe you can have her offer a sly comment like:

‘If you ate everyone who betrayed you, you’d be left all by yourself. And a king without subjects is just…a normal man.’ Then she takes a bite out of the leg.

I don’t know your story well enough to know if that scene makes sense. But my point is that Silas seems to be getting everything he a wants in this scene. So maybe try to understand what bothers him the most then have Raven exploit the situation to jab at Silas’ weakness. If he gets angry, then it worked. If he’s horrified, even better.

That’s just my opinion.

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