Vote over at TWC and you can see a wolfy panel from next week’s page!

So, I have a few concerns after skimming yesterday’s comments lol. For clarity, Tom still very much has the upper hand here, especially physically. He’s still the more dangerous one, and there is an innocent proto-life in this conflict. She’s used the vines multiple times, he’s broken through them fairly easily, and he still has power to spare. Her capturing him is more of an annoyance than a real hindrance to leaving. The correct action would be for Tom to leave, get his pack for solidarity, and then confront Connie/Flora again so she has no choice but to back down. Physical violence against a pregnant lady, even if she’s an asshole who’s trying to steal your life force, is never okay! He has options, and he is taking the one that feels good (being angry and physical) rather than the one that’s safe and appropriate. She’s still very much a terrible person, but the correct action against any abuser is to get the hell away from them. (That’s not always immediately safe, and in some cases should be done with caution, as the most life-threatening point in dealing with someone who’s abusive is when you try to leave.)

The point here is that she can make all these vine thingies, but they take EFFORT. She gets a bit of pay off from using them to sap more energy out of him, but it’s not like, a GOOD strategy. She was only able to capture Eli’s mom with the vines (end of chapter 7) because in Chapter 6, she got a little boost from depleting all her werewolves. Now, she’s gotten a little boost from capturing Sara in Chapter 7. The whole point of Connie/Flora is that she’s going to do what she wants to do, and damn the consequences. She’s not a rational player with normal priorities. Tom is aware of this, and he knows he’s still the more powerful one in this scene (plus, she’s being dragged down by the pregnancy), and therefore he’s making stupid choices by letting his werewolf lead the way.

Connie/Flora is based on people I know. Multiple people! The point when I created her was one part catharsis, and one part teaching aide for people who don’t attract multiple abusive weirdos into their lives. She’s not evil, at least not in the sense that most stories use a villain. She’s self-serving and short-sighted and narcissistic. If you met her casually in real life, you’d probably like her or have no feelings about her. The people I know who have dealt with abusers like this have told me, “oh yeah, I know that person.” Her magic powers and keeping a bunch of werewolves as batteries definitely pushes her over the line from a normal abuser, but I know a few people who’d do worse if they could do magic to be honest. My point here is this: you have met this person. You’ve interacted with them. You didn’t realize it. You’ve met many more assholes than you’ve ever been aware of. You probably thought most of them were fine. And that’s normal! Because most abusers are fairly normal people in real life, which is why you should generally err on the side of victims when they tell you someone has abused them. You don’t always know who people are behind closed doors. (Abuse also escalates over time, little by little, so victims of abuse get their metrics for normal human behavior skewed over time and will often defend their abusers.)

Anyway, my general point is this: No, Tom’s actions here are not okay. They’re understandable! And she’s an asshole! But he’s in a position of physical power regardless and should remove himself rather than escalating alongside her, because he’s putting a baby and another human being in danger by giving into his werewolf-y side. This whole section isn’t really black and white. (Which will be addressed, and not just in my notes down here!)