When I first came across You’ll Wish You Hadn’t, I immediately decided that I just had to read it, because deep down I secretly hate myself. I should have known exactly what I’d been getting myself into by reading a story called You’ll Wish You Hadn’t when said story is about Theon Greyjoy and Ramsay Bolton. In light of the events in the fifth novel of A Song of Ice and Fire, a whole bunch of fic between these two characters has appeared. Some of them are better than others, but all of them are creepy.
This particular story was the first one between the two characters that I read. Though I found it remarkably insightful into the two characters’ relationship and rather decently written, after reading it, I immediately wished I hadn’t. But as I said, I should have known what to expect just from the title. The summary below should also have been a flashing sign proclaiming creepiness.
A short reprieve that Ramsay gives to Theon. Sorry still not sorry.
Yeah… potential trigger and spoiler warning after the jump.
You’ll Wish You Hadn’t is a short piece at just over thirteen hundred words. Told entirely from Ramsay’s point of view, the story is exactly as the summary says. Ramsay gives Theon a short reprieve from torture. He unties Theon from the cross in the dungeon and lets him get a good night’s rest on the floor. That’s it. There’s no torture, no humiliation, no skinning, no sexual assault. Nothing like that is in this fic. It’s thankfully a very clean story, and yet it still manages to be really unsettling, which is probably due to us being privy to Ramsay’s thoughts.
Ramsay, in this story, decides to untie Theon from the cross and give him some water, not out of an act of kindness, but because if Theon loses all his strength, it’ll make torturing him in the future less fun. And he really wants Theon to regain his strength, because the stronger Theon is, the more likely he is to act out, and Ramsay would like an excuse to skin another finger.
[Ramsay] found himself carding his fingers through Theon’s hair. He took care to be gentle.
“You will sleep on the ground tonight, not tied.”
Theon shuddered in relief.
“That’s it now, pet, relax.”
Theon’s eyes drooped from the soft touches. He was utterly compliant, without pride or shame. Ramsay remembered now something that he had imagined once in a half-forgotten dream and kept at the back of his mind upon waking. He would make this Ironborn fool into his creature. His toy, his dog. Lower than his dog. His captive’s breathing was lengthening, evening out as he lie (sic) in his arms. He was falling asleep.
“You will be my Reek.” Ramsay whispered to the stillness, still stroking Theon’s lush dark hair. He thought for a moment, smiled to himself.
The light from the brazier flickered diligently into the never ending dark of the Dreadfort.
… “It rhymes with weak.”
Theon, in turn, suspects that this reprieve Ramsay’s giving him is another game, and is naturally hesitant to trust his captor. However, after all the torture and abuse he’s undergone, he still cannot help but take this ruse as an act of kindness. We as the audience are grateful for his reprieve as well, but at the same time, we become apprehensive, because we know what it will mean for Theon in the future.
This story might be really upsetting to read, but it’s not meant to be comfortable. It’s supposed to unnerve the reader. Unfortunately, it lacks any kind of trigger warning. A story based around one character giving another character a terrible case of Stockholm syndrome probably more than warrants a warning or two. I suppose the title can act as a sort of warning, but I’m not giving it credit in this regard. Other than that, I don’t have that many complaints for this fic. It’s still a really good read, and if anyone wants to check out You’ll Wish You Hadn’t, you can find it here.