History Main / TheRegenerationTrilogy

22nd Feb '14 4:46:23 PM ArenaL5
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Creator/SiegfriedSassoon was a decorated lieutenant in WorldWarOne before he published this letter of protest and declared that he would no longer take part in the war. His friend Robert Graves persuaded the Medical Board not to court-martial him, and instead Sassoon was sent, to his disappointment, to Craiglockhart, a psychiatric hospital in Edinburgh. There, among the many other shell-shocked soldiers, he was assigned to Dr. William Rivers in the hope that Rivers would "cure" him of his delusions and make him fit to be sent back to the front.

This is the opening, real life premise of ''The Regeneration Trilogy,'' by British author Pat Barker, which takes place in 1917 and 1918 in Britain and France. Although the books are fictional, they feature several historical figures such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._H._R._Rivers William Rivers]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_Sassoon Siegfried Sassoon]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Owen Wilfred Owen]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Graves Robert Graves]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Yealland Lewis Yealland]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dodgson Lewis Carroll]], as well as many, many more. They explore the effects of war on the minds of soldiers and civilians, the ethics of psychological treatment, the spectrum of sexuality, and different forms of duality. In general they mix serious philosophical discussions with fascinating characters and an in-depth portrait of wartime England.

The first book, ''Regeneration,'' mainly takes place at Craiglockhart. Its principal subjects are the relationships between Rivers, his patients, and the other men at the hospital, as they attempt to deal with their trauma and the overarching philosophical and ethical questions in their treatment and past experiences. Sassoon meets Wilfred Owen, and Rivers has some extremely challenging patients, including Billy Prior, who is a central character for the next two books.

In the second book, ''The Eye in the Door,'' Prior leads a double life in many complicated ways—as a bisexual, Ministry of Munitions employee and friend of a pacifist family, who observes sexual and social class hierarchies from a working-class background, and who struggles against a developing split personality. Throughout all this, he maintains a relationship with his girlfriend Sarah Lumb, whom he met in ''Regeneration.'' The government is prosecuting pacifists, and prejudice against homosexuals rises when a “black list” starts to circulate in the paranoid wartime society. Sassoon and River’s stories also continue.

In the third book, ''The Ghost Road'', several main characters return to the front. Rivers, taking care of his sick sister and worrying about his patients who are back in the war, remembers his experiences as an ethnographer in the Pacific Melanesian Islands before the war, as he meditates on different methods of curing and cultural views towards death.

Regeneration was [[TheFilmOfTheBook made into a movie]] in 1997, called ''Regeneration'' in the UK and ''Behind Enemy Lines'' in the US. It was directed by Gillies [=McKinnon=] and starred Jonathan Pryce as Rivers, James Wilby as Sassoon, and Jonny Lee Miller as Prior.

----
!!Tropes in ''The Regeneration Trilogy'':

* AFatherToHisMen: Sassoon--he's more of the age to be a big brother, but still fits the trope.
* AfraidOfBlood: Anderson, a former surgeon, who can’t stand the sight of blood after his experience in battle.
** Actually, he was a surgeon who was given a patient, on a busy day, who spoke no English, and was so filthy that Anderson couldn't see a huge wound as he stitched minor ones, until the boy bled to death in front of him.
* ArmchairMilitary: The people to whom Sassoon appeals with his letter, and the main people he hates, for their WarIsGlorious attitude and disregard of the rising death toll.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: Rivers is ''very'' good at these.
* BarbarianTribe: The headhunters on the Eddystone Islands, who are under [[WhiteMansBurden British rule]], who Rivers lives with and studies as an ethnographer.
* BasedOnATrueStory
* BeleagueredChildhoodFriend: Mac and the Roper family for Prior.
* BiTheWay: Prior. He's in love with Sarah throughout most of the books, but ''The Eye in the Door'' opens with him picking up a man, and we find out that he's been sleeping with both men and women since he was (at most) a young teenager.
** He's also been a rent boy, though it was possibly more a case of blackmailing the man who was abusing him, at least at first.
** Also Robert Graves in real life (though in the novel he appears- at least to Sassoon- quite horrified by the idea)
* CannonFodder: Every soldier. [[spoiler: Including Prior and Owen’s unit at the end of the books and the war.]]
* CrapsackWorld: Both in the war and back home.
* CureYourGays: Discussed. Many people in the RealLife British World War One government would like to see this happen.
* DeadpanSnarker: Prior, all the time. Sassoon can also be quite snarky when he’s angry.
* DeathSeeker: Sassoon in ''The Eye in the Door'' and ''The Ghost Road.'' [[spoiler: He ends up surviving the war, after sustaining a serious head wound.]]
* DoesNotKnowHowToSayThanks: Prior does thank Rivers at the end of ''Regeneration,'' but he’s extremely awkward about it.
* DomesticAbuse: Prior’s father, the AlcoholicParent.
* DoubleConsciousness: This is a major theme throughout the books. Rivers, Prior, and Sassoon have many dilemmas of conflicting professional, sexual, social, and familial identity—and that’s just the beginning.
* DownerEnding: Only natural in a book about WorldWarOne, and the reader might already know about some of the historical characters' deaths.
* ElectricTorture: Lewis Yealland, who has a very condescending view towards mental illness, uses electroshock therapy on his patients.
* EyeScream: One of Prior’s worst war memories is [[spoiler: of picking up one of his soldier’s eyeballs, after a bomb hits their trench and kills two men.]]
* FacelessEye: A recurring theme—as well as the EyeScream above, the jails have a hole in the door to spy on prisoners, which Prior sees as an actual eye.
* TheFarmerAndTheViper: [[spoiler: After Prior’s “Mr. Hyde” self betrays Mac to the police, he visits Mac in jail and tells him this fable, bitterly asking how Mac and the Roper family, the farmers, could have expected anything else of Prior, the viper.]]
* GeneralFaliure The junior officers have nearly all been given unbelievably stupid orders by superiors who either don't know what the front looks like or are just out to make grand gestures whatever the cost. [[spoiler: Though one of the men's greatest horrors is having made- or thought one has made- a terrible mistake oneself.]]
* GreyAndGrayMorality: Made even more difficult when the characters are questioning their own sanity.
* HeroWorshipper: Arguably how Sassoon and Owen's relationship began, although they were much closer friends than this trope usually implies. In any case, Owen's emulation of Sassoon and Sassoon's profound influence on his style are well documented in RealLife. In ''Regeneration,'' Owen, as a fan of Sassoon's poetry, asks him to sign some books; in return, Sassoon persuades Owen to show him some of his own writing, and helps him to start writing about the war.
* InternalizedCategorism: What happens when you’re a male soldier in love with another male soldier, and those in charge tells you that gays are depraved and that homosexuality is a threat to the nation’s security? You could become ArmoredClosetGay, or end up in a place like Craiglockhart as a result of a FreakOut. Barker also makes some interesting points about internalized classism. And the self-hatred of the men who feel they shouldn't have broken down at all.
* ItsAllJunk: Sassoon throws his military cross, an award for extreme bravery, into the river. He explains that he wasn’t in agony—he was ''upset.''
** He did this in RealLife, and explains that it wasn't an act of protest; he was just in a bad place mentally and wanted to destroy something valuable to make himself feel better. His MC ribbon just happened to be all he had to hand, and one of his pre-war sporting trophies would have done just as well.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler: Manning]] has to do this after one of his men is injured and slowly drowning in a mud pit.
* MissingTime: This starts to happen to Prior in ''The Eye In The Door.'' Some of the effects:
** SplitPersonality: he describes it variously as JekyllAndHyde or the EnemyWithin.
** GollumMadeMeDoIt: When he goes to see Rivers in the “fugue state” [[spoiler: and also when he betrays Mac.]]
** TheHeartless: “I was born in the trenches…”
*** [[spoiler:Though despite all this, when Rivers meets the other Billy Prior, he doesn't consider him evil, as such- Rivers' overriding impression is of someone emotionally immature.]]
* MoralDilemma: For everyone. Sassoon’s decision of how to speak out against the war, Graves’ decision of how to respond to that, and Rivers’ decision of how to deal with Sassoon just ''start'' off the story.
* NorthEastEngland: Where Prior and Sarah are from. OopNorth. Prior likes to satirize this.
* ParentalSubstitute: By the end of the trilogy, Rivers realizes that he has become closer to a father figure than a therapist for many of his patients.
* PsychoPsychologist: Yealland might qualify, though Rivers subverts this. That doesn't stop him questioning his own sanity.
** It's very ambiguous with Yealland- partly because of ValuesDissonance, but because all treatment of the mentally ill was in its early stages- both doctors' approaches were still experimental. (The doctors at Craiglockhart also vary a bit in what they try for therapy).
* ShellShockedVeteran: The reason people come to Craiglockhart, after they have crossed the DespairEventHorizon or experienced HeroicBSOD. A few of their symptoms:
** BadDreams: many characters experience [[FlashbackNightmare Flashback Nightmares]] every night.
** DumbStruck: [[AC: NO MORE WORDS.]]
** {{Hallucinations}}: Sassoon, for example, sees a dead comrade standing in his room night after night.
** HearingVoices: Goes with the hallucinations.
** SpeechImpediment: Stammering or mutism, depending.
* TeamDad: Rivers. As well as:
* TeamMom: The role that the officers play.
* TraumaInducedAmnesia: Many patients at Craiglockhart suffer from this, including Prior. He eventually remembers under hypnosis.
* TroubledFetalPosition: often after the nightmares.
* TwitchyEye: and many other tics.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Rivers often takes on this role.
* SecondLove: Prior, for Sarah.
* ShootTheDog: Wartime standard procedure. It even happens literally in ''The Ghost Road.''
* SingleIssuePsychology: Deconstructed. The characters often have one incident that particularly bothers them but its explained that these were just the little nudge needed to push them over the edge.
* SpeechImpediment: Rivers, whose father was a speech therapist, stuttered badly as a child, and still works to control it.
* TheStoic: Sassoon.
* TheUnFavorite: Rivers is implied to be this, especially since his parents’ friend Creator/LewisCarroll [[{{Lolicon}} preferred girls.]]
* WarIsHell: TruthInTelevision.
* WarriorPoet: Sassoon, Owen, and Graves, the YoungFutureFamousPeople.
* WasItReallyWorthIt: Rivers constantly asks himself this, [[spoiler: after he declares Sassoon fit for duty.]]
* WhatTheHellHero: Billy Prior has a lot of moments like this

-----

to:

Creator/SiegfriedSassoon was a decorated lieutenant in WorldWarOne before he published this letter of protest and declared that he would no longer take part in the war. His friend Robert Graves persuaded the Medical Board not to court-martial him, and instead Sassoon was sent, to his disappointment, to Craiglockhart, a psychiatric hospital in Edinburgh. There, among the many other shell-shocked soldiers, he was assigned to Dr. William Rivers in the hope that Rivers would "cure" him of his delusions and make him fit to be sent back to the front.

This is the opening, real life premise of ''The Regeneration Trilogy,'' by British author Pat Barker, which takes place in 1917 and 1918 in Britain and France. Although the books are fictional, they feature several historical figures such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._H._R._Rivers William Rivers]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_Sassoon Siegfried Sassoon]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Owen Wilfred Owen]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Graves Robert Graves]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Yealland Lewis Yealland]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dodgson Lewis Carroll]], as well as many, many more. They explore the effects of war on the minds of soldiers and civilians, the ethics of psychological treatment, the spectrum of sexuality, and different forms of duality. In general they mix serious philosophical discussions with fascinating characters and an in-depth portrait of wartime England.

The first book, ''Regeneration,'' mainly takes place at Craiglockhart. Its principal subjects are the relationships between Rivers, his patients, and the other men at the hospital, as they attempt to deal with their trauma and the overarching philosophical and ethical questions in their treatment and past experiences. Sassoon meets Wilfred Owen, and Rivers has some extremely challenging patients, including Billy Prior, who is a central character for the next two books.

In the second book, ''The Eye in the Door,'' Prior leads a double life in many complicated ways—as a bisexual, Ministry of Munitions employee and friend of a pacifist family, who observes sexual and social class hierarchies from a working-class background, and who struggles against a developing split personality. Throughout all this, he maintains a relationship with his girlfriend Sarah Lumb, whom he met in ''Regeneration.'' The government is prosecuting pacifists, and prejudice against homosexuals rises when a “black list” starts to circulate in the paranoid wartime society. Sassoon and River’s stories also continue.

In the third book, ''The Ghost Road'', several main characters return to the front. Rivers, taking care of his sick sister and worrying about his patients who are back in the war, remembers his experiences as an ethnographer in the Pacific Melanesian Islands before the war, as he meditates on different methods of curing and cultural views towards death.

Regeneration was [[TheFilmOfTheBook made into a movie]] in 1997, called ''Regeneration'' in the UK and ''Behind Enemy Lines'' in the US. It was directed by Gillies [=McKinnon=] and starred Jonathan Pryce as Rivers, James Wilby as Sassoon, and Jonny Lee Miller as Prior.

----
!!Tropes in ''The Regeneration Trilogy'':

* AFatherToHisMen: Sassoon--he's more of the age to be a big brother, but still fits the trope.
* AfraidOfBlood: Anderson, a former surgeon, who can’t stand the sight of blood after his experience in battle.
** Actually, he was a surgeon who was given a patient, on a busy day, who spoke no English, and was so filthy that Anderson couldn't see a huge wound as he stitched minor ones, until the boy bled to death in front of him.
* ArmchairMilitary: The people to whom Sassoon appeals with his letter, and the main people he hates, for their WarIsGlorious attitude and disregard of the rising death toll.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: Rivers is ''very'' good at these.
* BarbarianTribe: The headhunters on the Eddystone Islands, who are under [[WhiteMansBurden British rule]], who Rivers lives with and studies as an ethnographer.
* BasedOnATrueStory
* BeleagueredChildhoodFriend: Mac and the Roper family for Prior.
* BiTheWay: Prior. He's in love with Sarah throughout most of the books, but ''The Eye in the Door'' opens with him picking up a man, and we find out that he's been sleeping with both men and women since he was (at most) a young teenager.
** He's also been a rent boy, though it was possibly more a case of blackmailing the man who was abusing him, at least at first.
** Also Robert Graves in real life (though in the novel he appears- at least to Sassoon- quite horrified by the idea)
* CannonFodder: Every soldier. [[spoiler: Including Prior and Owen’s unit at the end of the books and the war.]]
* CrapsackWorld: Both in the war and back home.
* CureYourGays: Discussed. Many people in the RealLife British World War One government would like to see this happen.
* DeadpanSnarker: Prior, all the time. Sassoon can also be quite snarky when he’s angry.
* DeathSeeker: Sassoon in ''The Eye in the Door'' and ''The Ghost Road.'' [[spoiler: He ends up surviving the war, after sustaining a serious head wound.]]
* DoesNotKnowHowToSayThanks: Prior does thank Rivers at the end of ''Regeneration,'' but he’s extremely awkward about it.
* DomesticAbuse: Prior’s father, the AlcoholicParent.
* DoubleConsciousness: This is a major theme throughout the books. Rivers, Prior, and Sassoon have many dilemmas of conflicting professional, sexual, social, and familial identity—and that’s just the beginning.
* DownerEnding: Only natural in a book about WorldWarOne, and the reader might already know about some of the historical characters' deaths.
* ElectricTorture: Lewis Yealland, who has a very condescending view towards mental illness, uses electroshock therapy on his patients.
* EyeScream: One of Prior’s worst war memories is [[spoiler: of picking up one of his soldier’s eyeballs, after a bomb hits their trench and kills two men.]]
* FacelessEye: A recurring theme—as well as the EyeScream above, the jails have a hole in the door to spy on prisoners, which Prior sees as an actual eye.
* TheFarmerAndTheViper: [[spoiler: After Prior’s “Mr. Hyde” self betrays Mac to the police, he visits Mac in jail and tells him this fable, bitterly asking how Mac and the Roper family, the farmers, could have expected anything else of Prior, the viper.]]
* GeneralFaliure The junior officers have nearly all been given unbelievably stupid orders by superiors who either don't know what the front looks like or are just out to make grand gestures whatever the cost. [[spoiler: Though one of the men's greatest horrors is having made- or thought one has made- a terrible mistake oneself.]]
* GreyAndGrayMorality: Made even more difficult when the characters are questioning their own sanity.
* HeroWorshipper: Arguably how Sassoon and Owen's relationship began, although they were much closer friends than this trope usually implies. In any case, Owen's emulation of Sassoon and Sassoon's profound influence on his style are well documented in RealLife. In ''Regeneration,'' Owen, as a fan of Sassoon's poetry, asks him to sign some books; in return, Sassoon persuades Owen to show him some of his own writing, and helps him to start writing about the war.
* InternalizedCategorism: What happens when you’re a male soldier in love with another male soldier, and those in charge tells you that gays are depraved and that homosexuality is a threat to the nation’s security? You could become ArmoredClosetGay, or end up in a place like Craiglockhart as a result of a FreakOut. Barker also makes some interesting points about internalized classism. And the self-hatred of the men who feel they shouldn't have broken down at all.
* ItsAllJunk: Sassoon throws his military cross, an award for extreme bravery, into the river. He explains that he wasn’t in agony—he was ''upset.''
** He did this in RealLife, and explains that it wasn't an act of protest; he was just in a bad place mentally and wanted to destroy something valuable to make himself feel better. His MC ribbon just happened to be all he had to hand, and one of his pre-war sporting trophies would have done just as well.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler: Manning]] has to do this after one of his men is injured and slowly drowning in a mud pit.
* MissingTime: This starts to happen to Prior in ''The Eye In The Door.'' Some of the effects:
** SplitPersonality: he describes it variously as JekyllAndHyde or the EnemyWithin.
** GollumMadeMeDoIt: When he goes to see Rivers in the “fugue state” [[spoiler: and also when he betrays Mac.]]
** TheHeartless: “I was born in the trenches…”
*** [[spoiler:Though despite all this, when Rivers meets the other Billy Prior, he doesn't consider him evil, as such- Rivers' overriding impression is of someone emotionally immature.]]
* MoralDilemma: For everyone. Sassoon’s decision of how to speak out against the war, Graves’ decision of how to respond to that, and Rivers’ decision of how to deal with Sassoon just ''start'' off the story.
* NorthEastEngland: Where Prior and Sarah are from. OopNorth. Prior likes to satirize this.
* ParentalSubstitute: By the end of the trilogy, Rivers realizes that he has become closer to a father figure than a therapist for many of his patients.
* PsychoPsychologist: Yealland might qualify, though Rivers subverts this. That doesn't stop him questioning his own sanity.
** It's very ambiguous with Yealland- partly because of ValuesDissonance, but because all treatment of the mentally ill was in its early stages- both doctors' approaches were still experimental. (The doctors at Craiglockhart also vary a bit in what they try for therapy).
* ShellShockedVeteran: The reason people come to Craiglockhart, after they have crossed the DespairEventHorizon or experienced HeroicBSOD. A few of their symptoms:
** BadDreams: many characters experience [[FlashbackNightmare Flashback Nightmares]] every night.
** DumbStruck: [[AC: NO MORE WORDS.]]
** {{Hallucinations}}: Sassoon, for example, sees a dead comrade standing in his room night after night.
** HearingVoices: Goes with the hallucinations.
** SpeechImpediment: Stammering or mutism, depending.
* TeamDad: Rivers. As well as:
* TeamMom: The role that the officers play.
* TraumaInducedAmnesia: Many patients at Craiglockhart suffer from this, including Prior. He eventually remembers under hypnosis.
* TroubledFetalPosition: often after the nightmares.
* TwitchyEye: and many other tics.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Rivers often takes on this role.
* SecondLove: Prior, for Sarah.
* ShootTheDog: Wartime standard procedure. It even happens literally in ''The Ghost Road.''
* SingleIssuePsychology: Deconstructed. The characters often have one incident that particularly bothers them but its explained that these were just the little nudge needed to push them over the edge.
* SpeechImpediment: Rivers, whose father was a speech therapist, stuttered badly as a child, and still works to control it.
* TheStoic: Sassoon.
* TheUnFavorite: Rivers is implied to be this, especially since his parents’ friend Creator/LewisCarroll [[{{Lolicon}} preferred girls.]]
* WarIsHell: TruthInTelevision.
* WarriorPoet: Sassoon, Owen, and Graves, the YoungFutureFamousPeople.
* WasItReallyWorthIt: Rivers constantly asks himself this, [[spoiler: after he declares Sassoon fit for duty.]]
* WhatTheHellHero: Billy Prior has a lot of moments like this

-----
[[redirect:Literature/TheRegenerationTrilogy]]
6th Jan '14 5:01:08 AM LongLiveHumour
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* TheUnFavorite: Rivers is implied to be this, especially since his parents’ friend LewisCarroll [[{{Lolicon}} preferred girls.]]

to:

* TheUnFavorite: Rivers is implied to be this, especially since his parents’ friend LewisCarroll Creator/LewisCarroll [[{{Lolicon}} preferred girls.]]
8th Oct '13 8:53:28 PM Pigeon_
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Added DiffLines:

** He did this in RealLife, and explains that it wasn't an act of protest; he was just in a bad place mentally and wanted to destroy something valuable to make himself feel better. His MC ribbon just happened to be all he had to hand, and one of his pre-war sporting trophies would have done just as well.
31st Aug '13 1:37:49 PM LittleZelina
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** TraumaInducedAmnesia: Many patients at Craiglockhart suffer from this, including Prior. He eventually remembers under hypnosis.
** TroubledFetalPosition: often after the nightmares.
** TwitchyEye: and many other tics.

to:

** * TraumaInducedAmnesia: Many patients at Craiglockhart suffer from this, including Prior. He eventually remembers under hypnosis.
** * TroubledFetalPosition: often after the nightmares.
** * TwitchyEye: and many other tics.
31st Aug '13 1:32:15 PM LittleZelina
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Added DiffLines:

** He's also been a rent boy, though it was possibly more a case of blackmailing the man who was abusing him, at least at first.
31st Aug '13 1:31:01 PM LittleZelina
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* BiTheWay: Prior. He's in love with Sarah throughout most of the books, but ''The Eye in the Door'' opens with him picking up a man, and we find out that he's been sleeping with both men and women since he was a teenager.

to:

* BiTheWay: Prior. He's in love with Sarah throughout most of the books, but ''The Eye in the Door'' opens with him picking up a man, and we find out that he's been sleeping with both men and women since he was (at most) a young teenager.
3rd Aug '13 10:06:08 AM Peteman
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* PsychoPsychologist: Yealland might qualify, though Rivers subverts this ''hard''. That doesn't stop him questioning his own sanity.

to:

* PsychoPsychologist: Yealland might qualify, though Rivers subverts this ''hard''.this. That doesn't stop him questioning his own sanity.
22nd Jun '13 5:55:19 AM LittleZelina
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Added DiffLines:

* GeneralFaliure The junior officers have nearly all been given unbelievably stupid orders by superiors who either don't know what the front looks like or are just out to make grand gestures whatever the cost. [[spoiler: Though one of the men's greatest horrors is having made- or thought one has made- a terrible mistake oneself.]]
28th Apr '13 11:20:41 AM LittleZelina
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Added DiffLines:

** It's very ambiguous with Yealland- partly because of ValuesDissonance, but because all treatment of the mentally ill was in its early stages- both doctors' approaches were still experimental. (The doctors at Craiglockhart also vary a bit in what they try for therapy).
28th Apr '13 11:15:50 AM LittleZelina
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Added DiffLines:

*** [[spoiler:Though despite all this, when Rivers meets the other Billy Prior, he doesn't consider him evil, as such- Rivers' overriding impression is of someone emotionally immature.]]
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.TheRegenerationTrilogy