Shadowed: Chapter 19: Ranold Sucks
Okay, I don’t think Ranold sucks, obviously. I think Ranold is basically the hero of the story, being the only person so far who has a rational reaction to finding out there is a vicious, mass-murdering god up there: resolve to fight him no matter what. But Jerry Jenkins for sure thinks Ranold sucks, and his entire purpose in Chapter 19 is to tell us that. He especially feels the need to remind us of Ranold’s suckitude, since we haven’t even seen him since Chapter 5, when he was dealing with the few moments right after both his son and wife died.
Oh, and for those who are keeping an eye out for references to Ranold’s shocking weight (which honestly sounds to me like he’s just a strapping guy with a big build), we have this:
…he shaved and showered and dressed in a suit tailored for his massive frame.
I’m pretty sure that Ranold’s weight and/or eating habits are referenced every single time he makes an appearance. But we’ll see as we go along.
And references to Ranold’s weight always make me spare a thought for poor Charlotte, currently having her chubby ass roasted for all eternity in Hell for the crime of being raised in Atheistopia.
But the real point of this chapter isn’t Ranold’s humongous girth, but his heartless attitude towards his loved ones. He takes care of Berlitz and Margaret’s bodies, and considers it not a tragedy if they don’t get buried in the near future, seeing as how millions upon millions have died in the past three days.
And he looks back on Margaret and Berlitz with realism: he thinks Margaret was “boring.”
This is, of course, completely in contrast to Our Hero, Paul, who…okay, he also thought Margaret was boring.
So you can see how much more awful Ranold is than Paul.
And Ranold considers Berlitz a “loser,” what with his multiple marriages and non-military career, while Paul…okay, he didn’t specifically use the word “loser,” but he certainly seemed to think little enough of the brother-in-law…little enough that it didn’t even occur to him to warn said BIL about the coming slaughter.
Jenkins also drops in, rather out of nowhere, that Ranold had repeatedly cheated on Margaret.
Just like Paul, except for how Paul had a change of heart and abjectly apologized and begged Jae to take him back—
Oh wait. Paul never did apologize to Jae for his decade of affairs.
I know I keep asking this question, but why do people like this even get married in Atheistopia? Jenkins could have had so much fun showing the evil atheists and their evil ways, like the lives of never-married, serially-monogamous. In fact, wouldn’t it have reinforced the point that evil atheists don’t give a crap about “traditional” marriage, and are just in pursuit of our own ever-changing desires?
Hell, Ranold himself admits that he “could pay for the services [Margaret] rendered, in the home and in the bedroom.” So why would such a man as this even bother to get married? (I’m sure Jenkins would never watch the work of such a nonbeliever, but Joss Whedon of course explored the idea of a world in which someone wealthy and powerful like Ranold could, legally and without shame, hire the services of a respected prostitute.)
All that to say, as usual: I don’t get Jenkins worldbuilding.
And the hits just keep on coming: after several days of basically humoring Aryana in her grief, he blows her off entirely, even telling her to her face (well, over the phone, skull or otherwise) that he never bothered caring about her, since she was Berlitz’s third wife and he figured she’d go the way of the other two.
This actually is in contrast to Jae, who liked Aryana and thought her Berl’s best choice for a wife. Though Jae made that assessment and built that relationship back when she was an atheist, and hasn’t spared a single sympathetic thought for her grieving sister-in-law since coming to Jesus all the way.
It’s funny to consider that Berlitz and Aryana, people whom everyone else saw as silly at best, had the happiest and healthiest marriage of just about anyone we’ve seen in this entire series. (With the possible exception of Enzo and Maura Fabrizio in the last book, though I have to deduct points because he is a murderer, and she badgered him into faith.) But Berlitz and Aryana, unlike Ranold and Margaret or Paul and Jae, seemed genuinely love each other and (gasp! choke!) enjoy each other’s company.
Talk about you “traditional” marriages.
Anyway, Ranold continues his reign of awfulness by being rude to his driver, insisting that the man carry his bag from house to car and not just sit in the car and honk for Ranold to come. Which, honestly, I rather prefer, it being a more direct approach, to Christian Paul’s smug condescension and lecturing to those he perceives as “under” him.
And…that’s it. A chapter to remind us that Jenkins doesn’t care for his designated bad guy.
Oh well. I guess it’s only fair, since we’ve spent three books cataloguing how much his designated good guys sucks.