Live- Blogging: Grey Chapter-by-Chapter
Yep, a big thank you/fuck you to the person who bought me a copy of this to recap, because you’ve very likely ruined my entire life and, at the very least, put me behind on the schedule I intended to keep today. But here we go anyway; a condensed, chapter-by-chapter breakdown of Grey, the next book in the Fifty Shades franchise, as told from the point of view of Christian Grey. I’m going to powering through these all day, so check back for updates if I haven’t got to your favourite bit yet. I don’t think I can put this off any longer.
May 11, 2011/Chapter 1 (yes, the titles of chapters in Grey are just dates, but I’m sticking in a link to my Fifty Shades of Grey recaps too so you can see how this went down from the other point of view).
Oh my God, this writing is so bad. I’d forgotten. It’s like being with old friends. Christian meets Ana, and literally the first thing he thinks about her is that she would look good after a caning. Then he sees her “gaping” at him (but with what hole?) and thinks “Yeah, yeah, baby, it’s only a face”. Wow, you really are an unbelievably arrogant cuntbag, mate. Later in the chapter, he thinks about how he’s glad that she’s not immune to his charms. I must have had my innoculation, because all I want to do is vault the table and punch him through the face.
Since you’ve seen a lot of this before, I’m not going to bother recounting stuff you’ve already read, but suffice to say that Christian says “baby” six times in his internal monologue this chapter. When Ana asks if he’s gay, he thinks that he’d like to tie her up, spank her and fuck her, and we’re back with my old pals weird homophobia and rape. “How very dare you think I’m gay, when I only want to rape you!”
May 14 2011/Chapter 2
WE HAVE STALKING, REPEAT, WE HAVE STALKING! The chapter opens with several pages of Ana’s personal information that Grey acquired from a private detective, including her social security number and her bank account details. I like that EL has got the illegal stuff out the way early so we can focus on all the sexy, sexy romance.
Christian stalks her to her work, and wonders if Ana is gay- an idea he quickly brushes off, because it’s ridiculous to think that a woman who is attractive to men would be gay, amirite?
Christian wonders if he should have mentioned Ana to his therapist, Dr Flynn, but brushes that off when he considers the fact that he might have tried to stop Christian stalking Ana (and “stalker” is a word used to describe what Christian is doing, in the text). He’s glad that Ana is dressed in tight clothes, not the “shapeless shit” she was wearing when she met him. Yeah, God forbid she be comfortable during a work-related venture, you utter cunt.
He thinks about how hot Ana is, etc, then asks her what she likes; when she says British books, he immediatley thinks she means the “hearts and flowers” shit like Bronte. Can I remind you what other book falls into that category Christian? THIS ONE. Another man says hello to Ana, and “his eyes are all over her”, which makes Christian really mad.
Ana calls to arrange the photoshoot, and Christian gloats some more over how turned on she is, and I’m going to kill myself Or read chapter three.
May 15, 2011/Chapter 3
Christian goes to the photoshoot, where he meets Kate for the first time; he can tell by her handshake that she’s never faced a day of hardship in her life, unlike Ana, who has only been living off her rich friend all the way through college.
They do the photoshoot, and it’s pretty much the exact same as it is in the original novel, ie, shockingly boring. Ana and Christian go for coffee, and Christian asks if Jose is her boyfriend; she tells him he’s just a friend, but Christian thinks “oh, sweetheart, he wants to be more than a friend.” Because what the man wants, he gets, right ladies? It’s irrelevant that Ana isn’t interested in him if Jose wants to be with her.
Christian wonders if Ana is simply tolerating him to make sure that he doesn’t pull out of Kate’s interview, which is odd, because everything to do with the interview was over the minute they finished the photoshoot. This is a funny chapter, because Grey is basically thinking everything I thought he was- about how she’s right to be intimidated by him and stuff- except it’s written slightly worse than the original. Vis; on her eyes: “the colour of the ocean at Cabo, the bluest of the blue seas”. Wow. Just wow.
Christian asks her about her childhood, so he can mention the stuff his private investigator dug up without looking like a stalker. Man of your dreams, ladies. Man. Of. Your. Dreams.
They have their almost-kiss, Christian thinks about how she smells like his grandfather’s apple orchard (seriously), she storms off.
May 19, 2011/Chapter 4
Christian wakes up from a nightmare about his childhood, and stalks around his apartment, angry that he turned Ana down. He decides to send her some books-which he picks out from his own library so, um, kudos on the effort-then manages to patronise three female characters in the space of a page- first, by describing his receptionist greeting him as “a cheesy tune on repeat,” another drone as “fucking irritating” for “mooning” over him, and finally, indulgently calling another one of his female employees a “good girl” for remembering to put milk in his coffee. Christian, are you not the boss? Could you not fire these people if you don’t like them? Ah, but then where would the woman-hate in this book come from?
Christian talks some buisness with someone else, and it’s boring and reads like page-filler. Then he picks out a quote from the books he’s chosen to give Ana- Tess of the D’urbyvilles-inwardly scolds another female employee for looking at him flirtatiously, and the chapter is over. Merciful God!
So, Christian and his brother Elliot decide to go to Portland to do some off-roading, then watch a football game, because Christian needs an excuse to stalk Ana and Elliot has got some girl blowing up his phone after he slept with her, lest we forget that all women in this book are infinitely worse than Anastasia Rose Steele.
Christian gets a call from Ana, wherein he deduces that she’s drunk and uses illegal means to track her phone and find out where she is so he can pick her up. Man, this is JUST as creepy and horrifying as I had hoped it would be! He arrives at the bar just in time to find Ana pushing Jose away, then throwing up all over everything; he genuinely inspects her vomit and notes that she hasn’t eaten much today, thus beginning our favourite “Eat/I’m not hungry” banter from the original novel.
Christian wonders if he should get a referral to rehab from his mother because Ana might have an alcohol problem and isn’t, I don’t know, a college student celebrating the fact she’s just graduated? Christian snootily thinks about what a shit friend Kate is, but not before he informs his brother that he’ll be taking a passed-out Ana back to his apartment, which she hasn’t agreed to. What a great guy! He thinks about how he should take her home, but he doesn’t want his car to smell of vomit, so that’s reason enough to take her back to his, undress her, and ogle her naked body. Apparently her eyelashes fan out over her pale cheeks, which is odd, because that sounds like it would be literally fucking impossible.
Christian emails his bodyguard, Taylor, to get clothes for Ana, and then his brother, who tells him that he hopes Christian gets laid. Which, considering that Elliot had seen Ana passed out drunk, means that he’s encouraging him to rape her…? Yeah, both the Grey brothers seem like fucking catches, good luck with them, ladies.
May 21, 2011/Chapter 6
Christian goes to bed, not before spending a creepy amount of time inspecting the sleeping Ana. Then he wakes up next to her, and we get this:
“..to wake up next to an alluring young woman is a new and stimulating experience. My cock agrees.”
So, I’m going to assume from this point on that Christian’s inner goddess takes the form of his penis. We all on the same page here? Christian notices that Ana’s t-shirt has ridden up, and leaves before “I do something I’ll regret.” Rape her? Rape her while she’s sleeping? Is that what he’s saying right there? Jesus fucking Christ, EL, don’t dump all this on me in the first few chapters.
Ana wakes up, and Christian wonders if she’s woken up in a stranger’s bed before, unsure as to whether or not they had sex because she was passed out and unable to consent. I’m glad he recognises that the situation he’s put her in is a fucking horrible one, but it doesn’t take long for him to congratulate himself on his gentlemanliness and move on.
The conversation is the same as in the first book, ie, Christian says he would have spanked Ana if she’d done what she’d done on his watch, but we get this fun little aside this time round:
“An image of her shackled to my bench, peeled gingeroot in her ass so she can’t clench her buttocks, comes to mind.”
So, yeah, sorry if you read that while you were eating something.
Christian wonders if he should just ask if he likes her, but dismisses that immediately- that would be way too much like good sense. It’s fun to note that whenever Christian drifts off into imagining what he would like to do to Ana, her consent is nowhere near the equation, so EL got that bang-on right. Oh, and she’s also captured the internalized mysoginy, plus the weird habit her characters have of giving random female characters who are percieved to be too flirtatious or slutty dumb nicknames; here it’s Miss Dark Eyes. Funny how Christian and Ana have essentially the precise same internal voice, except Christian just says “fuck” a lot more. FUNNY.
Ana and Christian smooch in the lift, then he drives her back to her apartment. Hope she throws up all over your car, creepy little shit. Christian picks up Elliot, who’s been fucking Kate, and thinks about how he needs Ana’s consent before he touches her- let’s see how this plays out, shall we?
The chapter cuts to Christian picking Ana up from work and whisking her away in his sex-copter, which is really a chance for EL to prove that she is the queen of excruciating page-filler as Christian performs pre-flight checks like the sexy dom he is. They arrive at his apartment, and Jesus Christ is this a waste of pages as they rehash the precise same conversation they had in the original book. Nothing is added to it by his internal monologue, and if I actually paid money for this, I would be beyond furious at the lack of new content. I know this is a re-telling, but a re-telling is there to add a new layer to the story, no?
Chapter 7 (not actually a new chapter in Grey, but this is where Chapter 7 came in the original book)
He shows her the playroom, and again, it’s the same fucking shit I covered back in Fifty Shades of Grey. Is this book all some kind of cruel joke? When EL claimed that the manuscript had been stolen, did she just mistake a copy of Fifty Shades for her new novel because they are literally the same book?
Ana tells Christian she’s a virgin, and we get a better look at his outright rage, his monologue snarling “What the fuck do I want with a virgin?”, when the real question should be “what the fuck does anyone want with Christian Grey?” Christian gets over his rage, and decides to “break her in”, so they go to bed.
So, they have sex for the first time, Christian finds Ana’s “fumbling inexperience” a turn-on, because virgins are the only kind of women worth having sex with. When Ana tells him she doesn’t masturbate, he thinks “I’m going to make you come like a freight train, baby,” which, well:
The sex is as bland as ever, though slightly better now that we don’t have to read about him “ripping” through her virginity. HOLD UP! Christian thinks that he “starts to move, really move”, and it’s genuinely like EL just switched out some pronouns here and there and published the same book. This is brilliant, doubling the lifespan of every erotic novel ever written with next to no effort! He “comes violently” and they have sex again. He keeps going on about how wet she is, and that would be because you broke her hymen and she’s bleeding quite a lot, if we remember from the first book, so don’t get too self-congratulatory there, mate.
May 22 2011/Chapter 9
Christian thinks about how much he will enjoy training Ana, and his cock “twitches in agreement”, so let’s go with that being his Inner Goddess. There’s a weird bit of editing as Christian flashes back to his time with one of his previous subs, who, spoiler alert, is going to try and kill herself in front of his housekeeper:
“Can I speak freely? Sir,” Leila asks.” Surely that question mark should be after the “sir”, no?
Christian catches Ana dancing around bottomless in the kitchen, and he tugs on her pigtails and tells her that they won’t protect her, same as in the first book, but now we get this fun little extra:
“Not from me. Not now that I’ve had you.”
Because once you’ve fucked a girl, she doesn’t really get a say in whether or not you get to do it again, amirite? Christian continues to get aroused every time he fucking considers the concept of Ana, and then they go for a bath together so she can suck his dick. And then we get the reason that snowballing wasn’t on the list of hard limits:
“I taste my ejaculate in her mouth. Grasping her head, I deepen the kiss.”
He goes down on her, and they fuck again, and it’s just as creepy as in the book because he doesn’t outrightly ask for consent even after she’s said how sore she is. And I know fans are going to hold up that bit where he says he wants consent as proof that he doesn’t do anything wrong, to which I reply “OMG, just read the book!” as they have done to me for generations. Then his mother arrives.
We don’t learn anything new from the encounter with his mother, except that he doesn’t go to church. Ana gets a call from Jose, and she radiates anxiety “as she should be” over Christian’s reaction. Damn, this is where we get into some serious abuse territory, so let’s see what EL comes up with to try and justify it this time round! Christian wonders if Ana was using him to break her in before she goes off with Jose, so there’s your excuse for frightening Ana with his moodiness right there. He gives her the contract.
He gets annoyed at her asking to speak to Kate about sex, then they head off back to Ana’s together, but not before the romance hero of your dreams ignores the fact that Ana isn’t hungry and forces her out to lunch. They discuss all the stuff they did in the original chapter of Fifty Shades, and then Christian goes home and thinks about how much he’d like to fuck Ana. We even get to re-read the email he sends her, in case we’d forgotten.
May 23, 2011/Chapter 11/12
Christian wakes up and emails Elena, the woman who statutorily raped him when he was a young teenager, so at least EL gets a chance to misrepresent that relationship as healthy, too! There’s some interminably boring crap as Christian does some conference calls and spreadhseet work, and then we get back to the good stuff.
They email the same emails back and forth, then Christian recieves the email from Ana that reads “Okay, I’ve seen enough, it was nice knowing you.” Christian is infuriated at her lack of gratitude, and decides that “she needs to look [him] in the eye and say no”. Because it’s totally cool to force a woman you’ve had sex with a few times to give you closure after she has politely turned you down. As he arrives at her house, he wonders if it’s reckless or presumptuous to be there, to which the answer is yes, Christ yes, so many times yes. Kate lets him in, and he goes to Ana’s room. He demands to know what she meant by the email, and Ana throws herself at him for some fucking reason.
In this chapter in the original book, Ana says “no” as she kicks Christian away, and he carries on. We know because of her internal monologue that she’s talking about her smelly feet, but Christian has no way of knowing that. Unless, of course, the author intervenes- “I know that it’s because she’s been running and doesn’t want me to remove her shoes.” How do you know that, Christian? Pray tell, because I’m sure it’s a defense lots of rapists could do with knowing. He ties her wrists to the bed (without her consent), blindfolds her (without her consent), and spits wine in her mouth (without her consent). Do I have to make a point about actions being louder than words, or have I made myself fucking clear?
In his head, Christian thinks “This is not a no”, which, you know, defense for rapists once again. I’m not saying that this is a rape scene, just that Christian Grey happens to have the internal monologue of someone who IS a rapist, what with all the “she’s not saying no, so I’ll carry on” stuff. They finish, Christian says he wants to go, then gets annoyed at Ana for wanting him to leave.
May 24 2011/Chapter 13
Christian goes back home, and then he- oh, you have GOT to be shitting me. Yep, we get another bunch of pages dedicated to reporducing the fucking contract in full. Because that wasn’t a thunderingly boring piece of shit the first time round, was it now? Why the christ does Christian need to look over it again? He fucking WROTE it! This is bullshit, and the publishing industry needs to take a long, hard look at itself.
He reads Ana comments on it, then they email back and forth-again, crap that we’ve already read, crap that is not expanded on at all by Christian’s inner monologue-and Christian thinks how funny and charming Ana is, which is funny in itself because Ana is about as funny as fucking Legionnaire’s Disease.
Christian goes to some buisness meetings that do nothing to expand on his character or the plot, he and Ana email back and forth some more, and he gets annoyed at her refusal to submit to him. Because that’s exactly the kind of thing you want to think about your submissive, isn’t it? That she doesn’t like the idea of being a submissive? Christian Grey is the best and most responsible dominant ever, y’all.
May 25 2011
Ana and Christian meet for dinner, and to discuss the contract. Christian keeps thinking about how Ana needs to trust him, apparently bypassing the idea of actually doing things that might lead her to believe he was trustworthy. It goes as well as the first time we read it, except EL James is trying to justify everything Christian does- including obliquely threatening to rape her in the bar- because he’s so damaged and broken and boo hoo fucking hoo.
“For a moment I wonder if we should have held this meeting in my office, but I dismiss the ideas as ridiculous”. Note that this is how this scene went down in the movie; a little venom for those who dared mess with your masterpiece, EL?
His inner monologue reveals that he chose this room to see if she could be quiet while he fucked her, which bothers me because she came here to discuss a contract, not to screw some idiot fuckwad. Ana tells him he uses sex as a weapon, and he agrees in a way that implies he doesn’t know that’s a bad thing. Streaming right by the abuse, Ana’s fear and his lack of interest does not make it go away, to be clear. Ana wants to leave, but Christian is desperate to seal the deal, so he ignores what she wants and tells her that he could seduce her right now if he wanted. She leaves, they email some more, it’s dull etc.
May 26 2011/Chapter 14
Christian gets huffy that he hasn’t heard any response from Ana, and goes to her graudation where he bumps into Kate. He listens to her speech, and describes her as “smart and popular and confident”, then wonders why she’d be friends with Ana. Me too. Me. Too.
Then there are pages and pages on the speech that EL deemed not important enough for the original book, but had to fill out in this one because there is nothing to say about the lingering fart of a character that is Christian Grey. Afterwards, he yanks her into a locker room, locks the door, and gets irrationally angry at her when she tells him that Jose services her car. Ana goes to meet with her stepdad, where Christian gets furious again because Kate’s brother is greeting Ana. This chapter is mostly just Christian being really angry that men who aren’t him have dared have contact with his woman, and that’s gross as fuck. Then we get this:
“Ana, baby,” I whisper, holding out my hand, and, like the good woman she is, she steps into my embrace”
Like the good woman she is?! Why does this sound so godamn awful? Maybe because, in Christian’s eyes, a good woman is one who knows that daring to have male friends makes her a dirty whore? Christian insists on referring to Ana’s stepdad as “Steele”, as if he couldn’t be more of a sub-Bond villain cock. Ana’s stepdad warns Christian that it’s up to Ana whether or not she wants a new car, something that Christian will ignore and then curse Ana out for later in the chapter.
Christian does some more buisness bullshit, then talks to his mother about the meal his family is having to celebrate his sister Mia’s arrival home. His mother wants him to bring Ana. So Christian of course emails Ana some more boring fucking emails and heads over to her house.
Christian hopes that giving Ana some champagne will loosen her up, which falls neatly into the “while he has not outrightly raped her, it’s strange how much of Grey’s monologue could be that of a rapists” category. They argue about the books, and he steamrollers her even after she offers to donate money made from auctioning them to charity. He thinks “you could burn them for all I care”. I hope she fucking does.
They discuss the contract some more after Christian says he’s going to spank her if she rolls her eyes again (without her consent). Then we get another treat of a line that fits perfectly into the above category:
“Steady Grey, you just want her tipsy, not drunk.”
Yeah, I just want her moderately impaired when it comes to making these decisions about sexual boundaries. Because I’m a gentleman! There’s also this, after Christian snaps at Ana and scares her:
“ignore her reaction, Grey. Get on with it.”
Which is EXACTLY the kind of mindset I’d want my sexual partners in, especially when they’re going to be pushing my boundaries in a potentially damaging way.Christian takes her outside to show her the car he’s bought for her, after getting rid of her old one, and thinks “You wanted more, this is the price,” which isn’t really fair as this was never made clear to Ana as part of their deal. This chapter is a clusterfuck, I’m telling you.
She begs him not to be angry, and he thinks “don’t blow it, just because she doesn’t know how to behave.” And maybe, just maybe, if the woman you’re throwing into the deep end of submission doesn’t understand how she’s expected to behave, you should take some time out to explain it to her in more detail instead of getting her drunk to get her to agree to everything?
They fuck, yadda yadda, Christian threatens her some more with stuff she hasn’t agreed to, then he spanks her, which, according to his internal monologue, he’s wanted to do since she asked him if he was gay. Have a little homophobia with your abuse, why don’t you?
“She gasps and tries to rise, but I hold her down.” Do I really have to explain why it’s utterly horrible that Christian ignores the fact that she tries to get up and away from the spanking, and instead just pins her down so she has no choice but to finish it?
He finishes spanking her, and notes that Ana is subdued and seems upset but leaves anyway because aftercare is really just besides the point as long as he’s had his fun, right? I honestly thought that the books might just show that Christian was oblivious to how upset Ana was, but no, he knows full well and just doesn’t care.
Christian and Ana email back and forth and Ana expresses that she’s upset, so Christian comes back. Kate tries to keep him out of the flat, but he ignores her because he, as a man, knows what’s better for Ana. He sees that she’s been crying, and basically gets annoyed at her for making him come all this way only for her to continue to defy him. Then they fall asleep together.
Christian goes home, does more buisness pish, then reads an email Ana sends him regarding their encounter. Twice during reading, he blames her for not using her safeword, and not himself for not being able to read her signals-LIKE TRYING TO GET UP AND WALK AWAY- because he is the best dom ever. They email back and forth some more while Christian gives patronising nicknames to women who dare be around him, because dammit if
EL James Ana Steele isn’t the only woman for him!
Christian gets angry when Ana doesn’t call him, and we have to sit through his attending a dull fundraising dinner. Then he finds out she was with Jose, more irrational anger, etc,
May 28 2011
Christian goes to pick up Mia, and it has literally just struck me that we’ve seen so much more of Christian’s life outside of Ana than we saw of Ana’s outside of Christian- because nothing a woman can do is as important or interesting as what a man can, right, ladies?
We get to see a Grey family dinner, where Elliot is a massive wanker and Mia is the only other female in the book of Ana’s age that EL can talk nicely abut, because she isn’t a threat to Christian’s sexual interest. His family strongarm him into inviting Ana to dinner (read: politely enquire as to her plans), and Christian huffs off.
May 29 2011/Chapter 18
Ana comes over to Christian’s, where she’s about to get neutered because he doesn’t like to use condoms. She arrives, she looks great, Christian’s erection practically leaps free of his body, etc. She says she’s hungry but not for food, and Christian thinks that she “might as well be addressing my groin.” I wish she had. Because that would have been hilarious.
Ana goes on the pill, Christian stresses about the fact that he’s falling for her, etc, which you would think would be a good thing because Ana has consistently expressed her desire for a more intimate relationship. But then where would the conflict come from, I ask you? Where would the conflict come from?
They go to the playroom again, and again, it strikes me that Christian’s inner monologue is a thousand times as explicit as Ana’s was, because it’s fine for a man to know about sexuality but if a woman does it’s gross, right? As evidenced by the fact that Christian AND Ana have consistently been judgemental at the thought of other women-like Kate, or any of the tertiary female characters who are attracted to Christian. Cool. Cool. Great. Cool.
They fuck, it’s precisely the same as the first time I read it. Then Christian notices that Ana looks tired, so he decides to show her what being a submissive really means by…fucking her? Real ground-breaking, buddy. Ana goes to sleep, then she wakes up and they have to get ready to go for dinner at his parents. They dance together, where we get a brief flashback of Christian dancing with his molestor, so EL gets the chance to present their relationship as something healthy and brilliant once again.
Chapter 19 (to be clear, I’m only going to be recapping this book for as long as it matches up with the Fifty Shades of Grey recaps I already have-up to Chapter 22- but I’ll be doing the rest of it in tandem with my FSOG recaps, so do come back for those if you want to see how it turns out)
They get to the house of Christian’s parents, and Christian huffs and puffs over the fact his family seem to like Ana and are welcoming to her. When Elliot mentions that he’s going to Barbados with Kate and her family, Christian thinks “Kavanagh must be good in the sack- she certainly looks smug enough”, because any woman expressing their sexuality who isn’t Ana Steele is a disgusting, dirty, manipulative whore, in case you’d forgotten.
Christian continues to think horrible things about Kate-that she only has an internship because her father bought it for her, that she’s intrusive and he doesn’t know how Elliot puts up with her- apparently not realizing that Ana has been scrounging off both Kate and him- intentionally or not-for years now. Kate brings up Jose, and Christian goes nuclear, furious to think that the guy who tried to rape her (not that he thinks of it like that, because then the blame would be on Jose, not Ana) actually saw her again, and deciding that “She deserves to be punished” because she’d “already agreed” to be his. Gross. Gross. Gross. Gross. Because this is not in the context of the BDSM relationship they’ve barely established the boundaries of; this is in the context of an abuser demanding control over the woman he’s abusing.
Christian tries to finger Ana at the table, and, when she closes her legs, he thinks “that’s it”, and finds an excuse to take her away from everyone so he can whale on her. Christian picks her up, spanks her (without her consent), and carries her to the boathouse, where Ana pleads with Christian not to hit her. His reaction? “But…I gape at her, paralyzed…that’s why we’re here”. Remember all that stuff Christian thought about needing consent to do stuff to Ana? Here he is, directly contravening that rule. She is saying “don’t do this thing to me” and his response is “we’re going to because I want to”. They fuck, and he tells her that she’s still getting a spanking for making him angry. One of the things he’s angry about, which isn’t covered in the original, is her not wearing panties, which is odd because he put her up to not wearing them.
So I’m sorry to say that things outside my control mean this is the end of my live blog, but do feel free to check out the rest of my Fifty-Shades related stuff in the blog directory up there, and stop by for the next few weeks when I’ll be finishing my recapping of both this book and Fifty Shades of Grey. Thanks for tuning in!