Welcome to the twenty third article in our Pride series for the month of June! Each day we will be highlighting a different LGBTQ+ character who we think is a great example of representation, dynamic characterization, and overall badassery. Check out the rest of the series here.
Damianos, or Damen, is the Crown Prince of Akelios who has his crown and his freedom stolen from him by his bastard-born brother. Kastor, his brother, has him beaten and sent to the enemy country Vere as a slave. Once he reaches Vere, we learn that he is not just going to be any slave, or pet as they are called in Vere. No, he is to be the new pet of the Crown Prince of Vere, Laurent.
Damen is very much the opposite of Laurent. While Laurent is very fair with light blonde hair, blue eyes, pale skin and lithe, Damen has brown hair, brown eyes, skin tanned from the sun. From the beginning, Damen talks about his sex slaves as beautiful and sweet, leaving us to infer that they are women. But he also talks about being with men and the difference between the two. There is no question as to his sexuality because it is a non-issue. There is no gay or straight or any type of reference to choosing one or both, there are simply men and women and whomever you choose to lay with that night.
Damen talks about laying with men because he wanted a man that night. Again, there is no self-consciousness about it, just simple fact. Throughout the entire book, the one thing that Damen is unconcerned about is the gender of his partner. He tells Laurent that he usually prefers women, but makes no secret of the fact that he is drawn to him and wants him as well. Damen faces sex as a matter of fact part of life without taboos or artifice. And when he finally comes together with Laurent, it is very clear that he is doing it because he desires him. Afterwards, when he is thinking about the encounter, he thinks about he was unable to fully control himself because he was overcome with feelings for Laurent. He is also shows his vulnerability when he thinks and talks about how he is unsure if Laurent will ever be able to forgive him for being the one to kill Auguste, Laurent’s brother. Once again, Damen shows us that it is not the gender that concerns him, rather the fact of how he was responsible for taking away Laurent’s childhood.
As we hear Damen’s inner dialogue throughout the the books, we can see that his struggle is not with Lauren’t gender, that is a non-issue to him, rather it is with the fact that he has been helping and is falling for someone who is supposed to be his enemy. How can he tell this man that he loves, who he truly is and what he has done to Laurent’s family. Damen has taken away Laurents big brother, the person he idolizes, and forced Laurent to abandon his childhood because of it. Damen also thinks about how he never saw Laurent as someone to be protected; instead he saw him as a cruel, unfeeling boy, a worthy advisory, a brilliant tactician and finally the man who eventually wins his respect and love.
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