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[[caption-width-right:201:First edition cover]]

A 1995 novel by Creator/StephenKing, and the final part of what some fans call [[ThematicSeries "the abused wife trilogy"]] and some others call "that phase in the 1990s where King became preoccupied with misogyny and feminism".

Rose Daniels walks out of her marriage after years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. She arrives in a new city and slowly begins a newer, better, more hopeful life. Only this is a Stephen King novel and her husband, Norman, is not going to let her go as easy as that. And is also befitting King, there's also a mysterious portrait of a woman in a [[TitleDrop rose madder]] dress...
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!! This novel contains examples of:
* ActionGirl: Gertrude Kinshaw. She even manages to fight off Norman, who is much stronger, is a reasonably skilled fighter, is armed with an electroshock weapon, and IS UTTERLY BUGSHIT PSYCHOTIC.
* AlienGeometries: The Temple of the Bull, and the Bull Erinyes itself, don't quite fit with conventional geometry: looking at them is described as giving a headache like watching a movie out of focus. The temple's geometry becomes 2 dimensional when the Bull is no longer in residence.
* AntiHero: Rose Madder is a very psychotic individual but she does help Rose out in her strange way.
* AxCrazy: Although Rose Madder is Rosie's ally, she's a few cards short of a full deck due to [[spoiler: a disease that is making her slowly rot, losing both her mind and control of her magic.]]
** Norman is most of a deck short of a full deck, into outright delusional.
* BatmanGambit: Rose Madder wanted to kill the Bull Erinyes and save the child being guarded in its maze, but it was invulnerable as long as it remained within. So she had Rosie do it knowing that it would leave the maze in order to kill her, where it would be vulnerable.
* BecomingTheMask: Inverted with Norman, as it is implied that the mask represents what he really was all along: a mad, mindless, charging bull. [[spoiler: In his case, he also ''literally'' becomes the mask, as it soon becomes his actual face.]]
* BodyHorror: [[spoiler: Although Rose Madder appears to be a beautiful woman, underneath her glamour she's rotting from the inside out. And on top of THAT she's actually some sort of spider being hiding her true form so she doesn't drive mortals insane. Also, Norman when possession by the Erinyes turns hhim into a cyclopean Minotaur.]]
* BlueAndOrangeMorality: Rose Madder's value system is... different.
* CatchPhrase:
** Norman - "I want to talk to you ''[[DomesticAbuse up]] [[InsistentTerminology close]]''."
** Rose Madder - "I repay."
** Rosie - "I'm really Rosie, and I'm Rosie real..."
* ClingyCostume: [[spoiler: Norman should not have put the bull's head mask on. Though actually its more like he's clinging to the mask once he's possessed by the Bull Erinyes.]]
* ContrivedCoincidence: [[AWizardDidIt A wizard seems to be doing it.]] For example, as [[spoiler: Norman is being possessed by the Erinyes]] he happens to see a kid with a bull mask that he steals for a disguise.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler: Peter Slowik and Anna Stevenson are bitten to death by Norman. In the end, Norman gets one of these when Rose Madder talks to him up close.]]
* DemonicPossession: [[spoiler: Once Rosie angers the Erinyes by rescuing the child it was guarding, it possesses her (already insane) husband to get its revenge.]]
* DepravedBisexual: Norman may be a homophobic bastard, but he does rub a guy off to get information about where Rosie is (though it turns into a GroinAttack at the end). [[spoiler: It's also implied that he ''bit off'' Peter Slowik's penis.]]
* {{Determinator}}: Norman, when it comes to finding Rose. Not a good thing for anyone in his path.
* DirtyCop: Norman and, to a lesser extent, his partner. (It says something about Norman that this "lesser extent" includes rape.) After her life with Norman, Rose thinks that ''all'' cops are like this, but eventually realizes that it isn't so. A police detective working Norman's attacks specifically tells her that he hates cops like Norman above and beyond "ordinary" criminals because they have betrayed the public's trust in them, and make the job for honest cops that much harder.
* DoesNotLikeMen: Surprisingly most women from the shelter avert this. Rose Madder, however, thinks all men are beasts and at best can be tamed.
* DomesticAbuse.
* DomesticAbuser: Norman is an example turned UpToEleven.
* {{Doppelganger}}: Rose Madder looks awfully similar to Rose Daniels.
* DyeOrDie: Rose dyeing her hair from brunette to blonde on a whim ends up inadvertently saving Rose from being recognised by Norm on the street one day.
* EasyAmnesia: the waters of the stream near the Tree of Death have amnesia so easy you can forget your own name. [[spoiler: A drop at a time of the water every now and then stops Bill from [[GoMadFromTheRevelation going mad from the revelation.]]]]
* TheFairFolk: Rose Madder herself-she's never ''called'' a fairy, but she has the traits.
* FreudianExcuse: [[spoiler: Norman was beaten and sexually molested by his father, though it ultimately doesn't excuse what he does.]]
* GainaxEnding: we never find out what Rose Madder really was, why she wanted to save the child from the maze, where she was taking it, what she planted the Erinyes body with, who made her sick, what will happen to the new Tree of Death...
* GiantSpider: [[spoiler: Rose Madder's true form.]]
* HumiliationConga: Norman, near the end. [[spoiler:He gets beat up and pissed on by a fat woman, forced to wear a grotesque bull mask to hide his identity, has his sanity slowly ebb away, gets taunted by the wife he's abused for fourteen years and then, just as it seems things can't get any worse for him, he gets horrifically killed by a diseased insect-woman]]. Humiliation conga indeed. Not that he didn't deserve it.
* IronicEcho: [[spoiler: After Norman runs into Rose Madder (whom he mistakes for Rose), she turns around and shows her true form a spider with bulging red fox eyes. She says to Norman, " Come here Norman, I want to talk to you and I want to do it right up close!]]
* IronLady: Anna
* ALoadOfBull: One lives in the Temple of the Bull (obviously). Later, [[spoiler: Norm gets a bull mask stuck to his head and becomes one.]]
* MagicalNegro: Dorcas, maybe literally.
* ManBitesMan: And woman. Norm's favorite instruments of torture are white and pearly and number 32.
* NiceGuy: Bill Steiner.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Norman and his ability to 'troll' for people, which reads like it could either be a psychic talent distorted by his own preconceptions or just good detective skills.
* ObfuscatingDisability: Norman Daniels. While hunting for his runaway wife, he shaves his head and pretends to be a paraplegic, to avoid being recognized by the (many) people on the lookout for him.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Norman hates pretty much everyone, but some groups he hates more than others; he's virulently misogynistic, racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic.
* PortalPicture.
* PsychicDreamsForEveryone: Rosie and Norman have psychic dreams, about each other and the future. These are not always recognized.
* RapeAndSwitch: A minor character reminisces about having been gay ever since two of his father's friends took turns performing oral sex on him when he was a young child.
* SanitySlippage: After Rose leaves Norman, he begins to slowly go mad.
** Also Rose Madder herself as a result of [[spoiler:her disease.]]
* ScarsAreForever: Rose still bears the scars from Norman's abuse.
* SpookyPainting: Before the Rose Madder painting becomes a PortalPicture, it is also this.
* SassyBlackWoman: Gertrude Kinshaw.
* ScryVsScry: Rosie and Norman spend a lot of the first half of the book doing this to each other. Especially notable since neither character is aware they're doing it. Rosie is just getting promptings from her instincts that save her without knowing it and Norman doesn't believe his detective skills are supernatural. See PsychicDreamsForEveryone.
* TimeAbyss: Implied for Dorcas, almost certainly for Rose Madder.
* TookALevelInBadass: Rosie, especially [[spoiler:once she enters the world of the painting, and has to deal with Norman.]]
* WorldTree: one of them anyway, the Tree of Death. Rose Madder makes Rosie plant a new one in her world to replace the one that died. Since this is Stephen King, it shouldn't be surprising that the CosmicKeystone isn't exactly nice.

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