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Chapter 3
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16 Posts
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10/16/2018 - 10:58 am

To Benedek:
Feelings is a complex thing. Sometimes you conciously want to not like a person, but deep down emotionally, you like the person. Like your own concious and senses contradict your heart. Robin conciously knows she shouldn't fantasize or focusing about this one man Strike in her own wedding, but her heart just can't lie. And also she's in an emotional turmoil at the wedding, she's really, really mad at Matthew after the deleted calls discovery (oh my God my husband really dare put an end my chances to work with Strike!). Talking psychology, each person has its own psychological self-defense when in an emotional limit to avoid getting insane. I think, Robin focusing on Strike in the wedding, comforts her emotional condition at the moment. She's psychologically wrecked at that moment (nearly getting killed by Shacklewell Ripper, Matthew deleting calls, whether or not she will work again for Strike), and her emotional instability goes on throughout Lethal White.

As to why she stays working with Strike, not joining police force or something, you're right, it could be the best option out there (one of the reason that could cross Robin's mind of joining police force or Scotland Yard is "why would I work for Strike again, he sacked me once, he could sack me again another time" and also the money could be much more promising), In my opinion, she just likes the concept of being a private investigator rather than joining a police force. The reason also applies to Strike, because with his background he could still be in police I think. For me the sense of familiarity that drives her, she's already used to this private investigating thingy, and she's already close and comfortable with Strike.

Graham Norton asked JK Rowling in radio interview on why Strike doesn't join and security services or police, and she said the reason is more of a romantic notion, the concept of being a private detective with few partners investigating, because there's already many story about police procedurals. Private detectives stories like Sherlock Holmes for example, it might seem more delightful for her. Their limited access for certain things unlike the police is what makes it fresh because these private detectives need to put more effort to discover things legally or legally. The stakes is higher, and makes it more compelling and entertaining to read, watch and write for Rowling. It's like questioning, why that great Sherlock Holmes didn't become a police officer, why did you choose to be an aircraft pilot when you can be an astronaut. So it's more about Rowling's own characters' preferences.

In Career of Evil, I think Robin just disliked Sarah because she's an annoying person, rather than because of Matthew likes her as a friend. Robin just doesn't click with Sarah, like Matthew doesn't click with Strike. I don't think Robin's ever jealous of Matthew and Sarah's relationship (before she finds out about the cheating). Well it's a normal thing to have opposite sex friends when you're married right? IMO Robin resents Matthew because he cheated with Sarah, the person Robin generally already dislikes. In other situation, Robin wants to dislike Lorelei because of her relationship with Strike, but for Robin, Lorelei is likable, and so Robin becomes pretty conflicted at heart. Robin quietly has inferiority complex, for her, her friendship with Strike will never top Strike's romantic relationship with Lorelei. She's very lonely in Lethal White, doesn't have many friends in London, she feels she's less worthy than Lorelei for Strike, and she doesn't feel emotional comfort with Matthew.

It's just so complex, maybe I would find myself hard to decide in Robin's love life situation. She decided to stay with Matthew after Matthew declared that he needs Robin in his life (in honeymoon after the poisonous coral incident), he begs Robin to stay. Yes she wanted to annul the marriage right away after endless pondering in the honeymoon, but seeing Matthew breaking down and begging, she saw that the idea of her leaving him could destroy Matthew's life, might drive Matthew insane. So she stayed. And after a year, turns out Matthew cheated on her, all that begging and needy stuff wasn't that deep as it seemed. Robin saw that Matthew no longer needs her in his life. For her, it's best to leave. Rowling also stayed in an unhappy first marriage for a year, maybe Robin's love life kinda inspired from Rowling's own experience.

There are many unhappilly married women in Strike series: Tansy Bestigui, Leonora Quine, and Charlotte Campbell. Why didn't they leave their spouses, after knowing their marriage is doomed, like many women in the world? They have their own different reasons. It's that complex.

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10/16/2018 - 8:52 am

I don't really know what those many risks could be of a divorce (/annulation) of a fresh marriage.
I fully agree that there are circumstances where it is reasonable to try and give the marriage a second (even a third) chance. Provided of course, that the problems are not very major (e.g. physical violence). Such circumstance would be (in my opinion) the existence of a common child (/children).
I also see that it could be embarrassing to step out of a marriage right after the wedding. This holds true both for Robin and the relatives. But... Should it really be a reason not to step out from a marriage that is doomed? I don't think so. And even if it is: for how long? Is it OK to leave half a year after the wedding? One year? Two years? Five years? Ever?
You say that Robin would be bithcy if she left Matthew right after the wedding (don't forget that she seriously considered this), and would be no different to Matthew. I can't agree with this. Matthew lied Robin about his relationship, Robin would openly tell Matthew that she is leaving, because she doesn't love him any more. And: is she morally better staying with Matthew and fantasizing about an emotional hug with her boss on the day of her wedding?
OK, I am seriously trying to accept the concept that she made a moral decision (maybe she is very religious and her oath at the wedding matters or for any other reasons) not to leave her husband but stay. But in this case, should she not leave Strike? Is her staying with Strike not the same as Matthew's continued friendship with Sarah Shadlock? I think in Carreer of Evil Robin resented him that he kept seeing Sarah as a friend. And why do you say that her only two option would be to work for Strike and to stay at home? Through the there successful cases she also became a famous detective (definitely less than Strike but still). I think she would have good chances even at the police, but if not police, definitely by another private detective agency.
But fine - she stayed with Strike. (Maybe she hoped for more interesting cases due to their famousness, or more money as a partner or the mixture of the two.) In this case at least she should be happy that Strike keeps arm's length between the two of them. --- Or is she? Well, maybe she is. Maybe it's only me who thinks she isn't. Or maybe she isn't but this is not what she consciously wants. I'm still a little bit confused but probably this is the best explanation I can find for the happenings.

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10/15/2018 - 6:55 pm

benedek said

'Sticking with it, then, are you?' he had said roughly, after a glance at her ring finger.
His tone had nettled her, as had the fact that he had never asked why she was trying, never asked about her home life from that point onwards, never so much as hinted that he remembered the hug on the stairs.

I still cannot process the whole thing. (Why Robin stayed with Matthew one year long, but worked for Strike in the meantime, and even resented him.) Did she seriously expect Strike to ask her something like: "Why didn't you leave Matthew, Robin? Didn't you find our hug on the stairs on your wedding day romantic enough? Are you not in love with me instead of your husband by any chance?" She clearly decided to try with Matthew. I don't think there was any other way for Strike to act. Seriously - what did Robin expect?  

Deciding to leave and split from a spouse is never an easy decision. There are many risks to consider and many people involved for the wedding. Robin is honorable and responsible person at heart, she stays true to those principles. Her family already paid for her wedding, Matthew's and Robin's family pride for each others in-laws is at stake, etc etc. Robin's values and decision to not bring shame to both families is what driving her through the marriage. As a responsible person and gratitude towards the people who sacrifices for their marriage, her sense of responsibility tells her she should at least try to save the marriage. As for she keeps working for Strike, what should she do then otherwise? Being a full-time housewife and giving up her love of the job, which is her only escape for the terrible marriage? Staying at home do nothing but chores, while Matthew having fun doing his work (and banging Sarah)? Put all the feelings aside, Robin loves her job, why should she give up on her job she loves just because of her confusing feelings?

Should Robin just leave Matthew at the wedding and sleep with Strike right after Robin finds out that she doesn't love Matthew anymore, especially after she finds out that Matthew cut her communication ties with Strike? We don't want that kind of bitchy Robin, do we? If she runs away with Strike, she's no different than Matthew, who cheats on her.

It's what makes Robin a wonderful and strong character. She stays firm on her principles, although the world seems ending in front of her. She's not perfect like all of us not perfect. Thankfully Matthew made the marriage ending easier by cheating on Robin, an unforgivable thing, after Robin's a year effort trying to save the marriage by keeping up with Matthew and learning to love Matthew again.

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10/15/2018 - 4:07 pm

benedek said

I still cannot process the whole thing. (Why Robin stayed with Matthew one year long, but worked for Strike in the meantime, and even resented him.) Did she seriously expect Strike to ask her something like: "Why didn't you leave Matthew, Robin? Didn't you find our hug on the stairs on your wedding day romantic enough? Are you not in love with me instead of your husband by any chance?" She clearly decided to try with Matthew. I don't think there was any other way for Strike to act. Seriously - what did Robin expect?  

One thing is definite here. People have to talk with their mouths in order to comprehend each other. It was all "he thought she thought" for that 'gap' year and about 1/3 of the book. They both are to blame for their miserable time apart.

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10/15/2018 - 1:40 pm

'Sticking with it, then, are you?' he had said roughly, after a glance at her ring finger.
His tone had nettled her, as had the fact that he had never asked why she was trying, never asked about her home life from that point onwards, never so much as hinted that he remembered the hug on the stairs.

I still cannot process the whole thing. (Why Robin stayed with Matthew one year long, but worked for Strike in the meantime, and even resented him.) Did she seriously expect Strike to ask her something like: "Why didn't you leave Matthew, Robin? Didn't you find our hug on the stairs on your wedding day romantic enough? Are you not in love with me instead of your husband by any chance?" She clearly decided to try with Matthew. I don't think there was any other way for Strike to act. Seriously - what did Robin expect?

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Nelli
3
09/20/2018 - 3:06 pm

I was so happy after the prologue and sure that matt was done. The missed calls are just ... urgh.

But the swan in the end of this chapter gives me hope. Which i think was it's purpose? Felt like leda was watching over robin and on their side.

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09/18/2018 - 10:17 am

Urgh. Can I just say, how convenient for Matthew to get sick the moment Robin decides to annul the wedding. Not that he could have planned it, but still. Okay, so I was wrong. Robin considers whether her feelings for her partner might be romantic for the first time. We have officially reached the trope, "both are pining for each other without the other one knowing." Hee.

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09/18/2018 - 12:02 am

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