Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twilight Chapter 14: Mind Over Matter

1. As they, or rather, Edward drives back, Bella asks how old he really is and we get the capsule version of how he became a vampire. Born in 1901, found by Carlisle in 1918 when he was dying from Spanish influenza that already claimed his parents. Carlisle only brought him over because Edward would’ve died and there was no one left to tie him to his previous existence, you understand. They have this rule about not making someone a vampire if it would mean forsaking their old life.

On vamping Edward instead of chowing down on him, “Not many of us have the restraint necessary to accomplish it. But Carlisle has always been the most humane, the most compassionate of us…I don’t think you could find his equal throughout all history.”

Yeah, aren’t those Cullens great?

2. Except, maybe not. After Carlisle had gotten himself a vampire wife his next conversion was Rosalie, the bitchy one, who was meant to be Edward’s girlfriend. He doesn’t go into detail but it sounds like Carlisle vamped her just hoping she and Edward would click. They didn’t, probably because the concept of the “emo kid” hadn’t been invented yet and that after all seems to be what Edward wants out of the woman in his life.

Since the reason Carlisle decided to vamp Edward was because he was lonely in his sparkly existence, and he seemingly assumed Edward and Rosalie would magically become soul mates (because it worked when he picked a girlfriend for himself?), you sort of think he doesn’t know an awful lot about human interaction. But then, you sort of think the person writing them doesn’t know an awful lot about human interaction.

3. More talk about the other Cullen kids and how some of them have special powers. Like how Edward can read minds, one of his brothers can control emotions, and the other brother’s strong even for a vampire. Then we get to the girls in the family, and the only one who has a special power is Alice, who…sees things. Sometimes things happening faraway, sometimes bits of the future. I can’t help but notice the only girl with a special power seems to be the only person in the family to have drawbacks on it. She can’t control when she has visions, what she sees, and they’re not that reliable. I don’t know where it was mentioned, but I’m told if someone just thinks too hard about the decisions leading up to one of her visions, that can change what happens. At the very least, “The future isn’t set in stone. Things change.”

4. Bella asks why most vampires who’ve given up preying on humans prefer to live in the “North,” in places like Forks. Because apparently the real reason he keeps her around is to have someone to feed his superiority complex, Edward teasingly reminds her about the whole sparkling thing requiring them to live in places that see a minimum of sun. Bella’s supposed to be smart and perceptive, you say?

5. They get back to Bella’s place and Edward asks if he can come in. He uses his vampire speed to get over to her side of the truck and let her out, and that’s one thing that’s even stupider when you actually see it. Really, watch the part of the movie where he takes Bella to meet his family and try not to laugh when he lets her out of the car.

6. Bella unlocks the door with a key she knows she’s never used around Edward, but he does know about it because he spends all his time watching her without her knowledge. As I’m sure you know, rather than being freaked out or anything she’s flattered at having an unkillable stalker for a boyfriend.

Even better, “He was unrepentant,” even though she has a negative amount of objection to Edward spying on her in the first place. She even fails to sound mad when he tells her.

He ups the ante and says he also watches her sleep, and listens to the things she said in her dreams. Naturally, she’s embarrassed by the things he probably heard rather than repulsed by the fact he was sneaking into her bedroom. The crowning glory of this part is she’s embarrassed when Edward tells her she said his name in her sleep. Why the hell is she embarrassed that he knows she dreams about him? Now, I mean. They’ve become a couple as officially as they’re going to. And it’s not exactly a secret she’s obsessed with him. What did she think he thought her interest was?

7. Charlie comes home and because being a vampire also makes you a ninja Edward scoots up to Bella’s room without leaving the slightest thing to indicate he was ever there. Bella tries to duck out to spend more time with her sparkly stalker ninja by saying she wants to hit the sack early tonight, and Charlie observes she looks kind of keyed up. “Why, oh why, did this have to be his night to pay attention?”

Yeah, lots of teenagers have a persecution complex, but…that’s the only thing there is to the closest thing that could be called Bella’s personality.

8. Charlie admonishes Bella to wait for college (ha!) before she starts thinking about boys. “Every father’s dream, that his daughter will be out of the house before the hormones kick in.” As if anything else could account for her fixation on Edward.

9. Bella goes upstairs and she and Edward have yet another plodding conversation. This one’s about how Edward hadn’t actually made up his mind to take his relationship with her seriously until back there in the woods. When he decided he was strong enough not to eat her. That, supposedly, is the source of the chapter’s title. And because this is a poorly-written book, that’s all it takes for him to be able to stick to his morals. Which nobody was honestly worried about him violating anyway.

Except Team Jacob.

10. Meyer tries to hide how phony Edward’s struggle against his instincts is by saying if he leaves her side the desensitization he’s worked up will be gone by the next time he sees her and he’ll have to decide not to eat her all over again. Maybe if this actually impacted the story, and Meyer had things happen between them besides a series of tedious conversations, this supposed problem would be worth bringing up again and again.

11. Bella gets back on her little self-derision trip and asks how she could possibly compete with someone as beautiful as Rosalie, who after all had been intended for Edward from the start. Maybe because she’s portrayed as a short-tempered bitch, and Edward only has restraint when it comes to not munching on people, and two people like that would have killed each other if they’d tried to be a couple?

He repeats no one in the world could have anywhere near the attraction for him that she does, as if Meyer’s hoping if she says that enough people will still stop asking what exactly it is he’s drawn to in Bella. Instead of drawing even more attention to the non-existence of an answer.

When he mentions he’s walked the Earth for a hundred years not knowing what he was looking for because she hadn’t been born, Bella asks, “I haven’t had to wait at all. Why should I get off so easily?” What makes her so bloody sure it’s her responsibility to suffer in kind? Love’s supposed to be about joy because you’re with someone who’s a great match for you, to end the pain of looking and never finding. I’d say she’s a closet Goth or something, but her reactions to everything about him sound awfully positive, not like she’s found someone who can join her in her vortex of unending misery.

12. After Charlie almost finds Edward in his daughter’s bedroom, there’s some back-and-forth about how Bella’s expected to sleep knowing he’s there, and him asking what she wants to do instead. Her answer? “I want to hear more about you.” NO! Nonononononono!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Do something besides sit around and talk!

They at least break from the topic of the Cullens fighting off their instincts to mention a theory about where their unique powers come from. Which is that somehow the strongest thing about them when they were a person is magnified when they become a vampire. Not sure how that works, especially with how Meyer’s all about how scientific her vampires are, but I’ve by and large given up trying to make sense of sparklepires.

13. The conversation turns to their relationship and pursuing it in the long term, and Edward’s doubt that he could safely get his freak on with a fragile little human. He gets curious and wants to know if she’s ever known somebody she wanted to do that to her.

Bella: “Of course not. I told you I’ve never felt like this about anyone before, not even close.”
Edward: “I know. It’s just that I know other people’s thoughts. I know love and lust don’t always keep the same company.”
Bella: “They do for me. Now, anyway, that they exist for me at all.”

WOW. She’s not only never had a relationship as intense as the one with Edward, she’s never even entertained thoughts of doing that with another boy before him. So she can tell this isn’t just teenage hormones talking. I’m amazed that with all the other things Edward finds to mock about her, her logical shortcomings aren’t among them. No, she doesn’t just know. And neither does her sparkly Adonis. Although he’s technically dead and doesn’t even have hormones.

14. To close out the chapter Bella asks if Edward finds her attractive in, you know, that way. I know I’m sounding like a broken record but what other way is there to find her attractive?

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