Friday, December 10, 2010

Twilight Chapter 13: Confessions

1. And the awesome revelation we spent all this time building up to? Yeah, vampires sparkle in the sun. That wouldn’t have been worth it before people who never even read these books knew about that.

Now, I’m not jumping on the disliking sparkling vampires bandwagon because it defiles traditional interpretations of vampires. Whatever it says about me, I’ve never thought vampires were all that cool. I’m also not some kind of mega-purist who automatically hates anything that doesn't match up with what I'm used to. Heck, one of my favorite episodes (“Fly By Night”) of one of my all-time favorite cartoons (Mighty Max) was all about deconstructing the usual list of what defines a vampire. So I’m fine with writers wanting to shake things up.

The thing I object to is making a change that’s stupid, and not only pointless but counterproductive. Unlike in Mighty Max where the change to the vampire mythos involved them turning out to be giant, bloodsucking horseflies, Edward “literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface.” Sparkle. Just roll that word around in your mouth for a minute. I can only speak for myself, but I automatically start thinking “non-threatening and cutesy” when I think that word. Or at the very least, “like an inanimate rock.”

Why yes, Edward, that's terrifying. I just filled my pants.
Edward sparkling isn’t cool, it doesn't add anything to the already dubious idea he's supposed to be beautiful but deadly Meyer tries to push. It just damages my ability to take Edward and this whole book seriously. He’d look right at home standing next to the Care Bears.

The cherry on this sundae is a little question Edward poses: “I don’t scare you?” He’s over a hundred years old. He’s got no excuse for not knowing sparkles aren’t scary.

Look, if Strong Bad's more in touch with reality than you, something's wrong.

2. I love Bella’s response to that question, which is “No more than usual.” Which is true. The only genuine fear he’s ever created in her is the fear of not having him around to enable her codependence.

3. While he’s zipping around really fast, because he’s a vampire and he can do that, Edward points out he’s so physically appealing as a lure to prey. “As if you could outrun me, as if you could fight me off,” says the least threatening vampire since Big Bad Beetleborgs. Are we talking about any regular person, or just hopeless klutz/Darwin Award contender Bella?

4. Edward explains to Bella just why he can’t steer clear of her. It’s got to do with her smell, and he compares himself to a recovering alcoholic locked in a room with crappy stale beer. He could control himself then. Bella’s blood on the other hand would be like top-of-the-line liquor. Meyer shows she really knows how to pull the ol’ heart-strings when he corrects himself that it’s more like a drug addiction, and Bella trots out the legendary bit of romantic dialogue, “So what you’re saying is, I’m your brand of heroin?”

Oh yeah, the romance authors of old have nothing on you, Meyer.

But…that’s why Edward’s spending all this time with Bella, even thinking it might be love? Because of her smell? I can’t say their personalities are incompatible, they don’t really have any, but she still continually annoys him with not doing what he wants her to, even if it’s for her own good. Does the smell really make up for it? Especially when her presence means he’s supposedly constantly fighting his training not to eat humans?

5. Edward continues to explain, this time about all the stuff he did while he wasn’t around her. One major point that comes up is how put off he was by not being able to read Bella’s thoughts and the lengths he had to go to have any idea what she thought about him. He has this power to invade the minds of anyone around him, uses it casually, and is uncomfortable when it’s taken away (“It was all extremely irritating”). Wow Meyer, your dream guy sure is a creep.

6. Bella’s not so rosy either: “Common sense told me I should be terrified. Instead, I was relieved to finally understand. And I was filled with compassion for his suffering, even now, as he confessed his craving to take my life.”

It’s not like she’ll show that same compassion by taking the source of the craving away or trying to find out if there's anything she can do about it. If she knows the threat to her life’s as much of a load of hooey as the reader, it’d help her standing a bit if she’d say so.

7. Maybe the fact that they’re both such dummies leads to Edward saying “You are the most important thing to me now. The most important thing to me ever.” Because she smells good and annoys him all the time for using her brain. Because he’s never had a meaningful relationship in the century-plus he’s been alive. That’s how he can be so sure.

8. “And so the lion fell in love with the lamb,” and our stars admit to themselves how stupid they are for thinking this has a chance in hell of working. Thanks, I was getting tired of saying that.

9. Meyer really can’t keep her stories straight. Even though Edward said, earlier in this same chapter, everything about a vampire’s outward presentation is meant to help them lure in prey, now he says, “Most humans instinctively shy away from us, are repelled by our alienness.” Which is it?

I’d be willing to think the truth is a combination of both--that people are a little put off by vampires but still find them irresistible--if, well…anything, ANYTHING about these books merited some slack.

10. After some more mindless talk about how in love they are, Edward puts Bella on his back and runs back to the car at super-speed. And he’s amused when she gets motion sick. Yeah, I still don’t care if they make it.

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