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"And for all that, I have spent the night in his hotel suite, and I feel safe. Protected. He cares enough to come and rescue me from some mistakenly perceived danger. He's not a dark knight at all, but a white knight in shining, dazzling armor - a classic romantic hero - Sir Gawain or Lancelot."
In one of their only tender scenes, Christian rescues Anastasia from a terrible night out, and takes her to a private hotel room where he cleans her up, gives her fresh clothes, and brings her breakfast. He did not sexually assault her while she slept, showing that he wants some level of perceived consent from her. However, Christian did not find Anastasia passed out in a public space by accident; he tracks her using her cell phone without permission, which is considered stalking. Additionally, he treats her like his possession; he commands her to eat and refuses her desire to pay him back for the new clothes. In this scene, James defines a conflict that will plague their relationship for the rest of the series: Christian is in control, and Anastasia has a hard time saying no to him.
"I wander to the far corner of the room and pat the waist high padded bench and run my fingers over the leather. He likes to hurt women. The thought depresses me.
'You’re a sadist?'
'I’m a Dominant.'
His eyes are a scorching gray, intense.
'What does that mean?' I whisper.
'It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.'"
Here in Christian's "Red Room of Pain," he and Anastasia define the dynamic of their relationship – she is the submissive, and he is her dominant. Through her body language, James shows the trepidation Anastasia feels about embarking on this dangerous yet sexually liberating journey. While Anastasia moves away from Christian upon seeing the painful-looking bondage machinery, indicating her displeasure, she eventually agrees to his terms. This passage foreshadows the consensual issues in their relationship; oftentimes, it is unclear whether or not Anastasia truly wants to submit to Christian.
"'Anastasia, I'm not a hearts and flowers kind of man, I don't do romance. My tastes are very singular. You should steer clear from me.' He closes his eyes as if in defeat. 'There's something about you, though, and I'm finding it impossible to stay away. But I think you've figured that out already.'"
Christian identifies his addiction to Anastasia and warns her about entering into a romance with him; however, even though she tries several times throughout the series to leave their relationship, he refuses to let her go. This scene shows how paradoxical their relationship truly is – while Christian theoretically values Anastasia's consent, and even refuses to kiss her without a written contract, he also stalks her, physically abuses her, and eventually rapes her. Their relationship is not based on consent or safety, and Christian acknowledges here that he is dangerous for Anastasia.
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