Friday, December 31, 2010
Twilight Chapter 17: The Game
1. As you may remember the Cullens offered to let Bella watch as they played baseball, but it’ll be a while before they actually get to that so Edward takes her home in the interim. Wouldn’t you know it, the Blacks are already there, which infuriates Edward because they’re there to warn Charlie that his daughter’s going out with a vampire. What could the Blacks possibly have wrong with Bella hooking up with a telepathic stalker who treats her like some kind of toy and has admitted he finds her blood so much more appealing than anyone else’s?
Okay, this is sort of going beyond the tribe’s agreement with the Cullens, but Jacob’s dad is Charlie’s friend. As a friend, maybe he feels he has an obligation to warn Charlie that his daughter’s going out with a complete slimeball. Maybe if Edward ever had a friend, he’d understand that.
Besides, maybe the warning’s not even motivated by the vampire stuff, just the possessive stalker stuff.
2. Thinking a confrontation between the Blacks and the guy they’re there to warn her dad about might create some minor problems for their young love, Edward agrees to let Bella handle this, but tells her to watch herself because “the child” doesn’t know the truth.
Now, I usually don’t get too involved in the grammar and word choices in these chapters because frankly, there’s too much to talk about (but if that's your thing, feel free to skip over to Reasoning With Vampires). Here, I couldn’t help but react to how Bella “bridled,” as in got mad, at the word “child.” It’s a correct usage but sheesh, I don’t even know pretentious English majors who’d talk like that.
But back to our unlikable leads. Bella reminds the man that Jacob isn’t much younger than her, which makes it sound like she “bridled” more at the insinuation that she’s just a kid than the fact that Edward took a jab at the only person she’s met since moving to Forks she thinks she could honestly be friends with (no, Edward doesn't count. Because he's a jerk). Given how this is Edward and he's filled with amusement the moment she points this out, he probably did mean she's a kid. So in case you forgot he’s not just a stalker, he’s a jerk who thinks it’s funny to taunt his true love.
Yeah, she acts like a kid, but that doesn't make the supposed best boyfriend who ever lived seem like less of a prick.
3. Anyway, Charlie isn’t back yet and Mr. Black’s cover story is that he came to drop off some of Charlie’s favorite fish fry. Proving she really is the dumbest heroine I’ve ever read about, Bella acts like that’s all Mr. Black wanted and hints he should go. After he sends Jacob to the car to look for something that’s not there so he can obviously have a private chat with her.
Mr. Black tries to warn Bella that maybe the Cullen boy’s no good for her, she retorts that maybe she’s better informed than he is (and is ignoring that information), and by pulling out some moronic troll logic meant to make her look clever convinces Mr. Black he shouldn’t warn his friend. Her father. Maybe if Bella ever had a friend she’d understand. There isn't even any sympathy for Charlie, like Bella saying to herself she felt bad about keeping the truth from him, but telling him would create more problems than it would solve.
Love how she stays and listens until they drive way, “waiting for the irritation and anxiety to subside.” How dare they try to warn her dad that she’s taking her life in her hands for the sake of getting to hang out with a pretty boy?
4. Jessica, who if you can remember far enough back is a chatty girl that wants to be friends with Bella for some reason, calls to talk about the school dance and boys. While Bella pretends to listen, “My eyes kept flashing to the window, trying to judge the degree of light behind the heavy clouds.” Glass houses, Miss Swan.
Bella snaps back to the “conversation” when Jessica mentions the E-word and asks what the status of things is between them. Bella’s caught flatfooted by the question, not knowing what their story is anymore. If she could think of anything past his face and his rippling ivory muscles maybe she could’ve thought to discuss this with him.
5. Charlie comes home and sits down to dinner with the emo kid he’s renting out the guest room to. Bella finally drops the bomb that she’s seeing Edward, and because Meyer’s about as funny as the clap, she pulls that reprehensible cliché where the square parent gets their child’s love interest’s name wrong. What romances was Meyer influenced by again? And did she really have the nerve to say Twilight fixes the problems with the old ones?
6. She groans as he starts hitting her with all the protective parent questions, and says to his face she hopes he’s getting all this out of his system now. Is this why Bella’s so eager to cut her ties to her old life and become a vampire later? I mean, I hate it when my parents ask lots of little probing questions, but I don’t hate it enough to want them out of my life completely. On the other hand I don’t think pretty face = eternity of bliss, either.
7. That’s when Edward shows up, “looking like a male model in an advertisement for raincoats.” Because Bella’s never once told us how good-looking he is.
By the way, how exactly does one make a raincoat look sexy?
Edward sits in the only chair, forcing Bella to sit next to “Chief Swan” (that’s what she calls him. 358). She gives Edward a dirty look and he’s amused by it. But he’s totally worth this.
8. Charlie and Edward discuss the young’uns making a date of going out to play baseball. Our heroine opines, “Only in Washington would the fact that it was raining buckets have no bearing at all on the playing of outdoor sports.” And what makes you the expert, missy? She pays no attention to sports or even other people if she can help it.
9. More stuff you’re getting tired of hearing me talk about. Bella’s treated like a piece of furniture or something by the men in the room, and Edward charms Charlie because he gosh darn it he’s special.
And not only are the Cullens super-awesome vampires, they own any material object it would be awesome for them to have. Like the brand new, super cool Jeep Edward came in that has tires taller than Bella’s waist. Give it a rest, Meyer.
Give it a rest with this, too. When Bella isn’t sure how to get into a monster truck, Edward “sighed, and then lifted me in with one hand.” How dare a timid girl from Arizona not know how to ride in an offroad vehicle that could eat the truck she usually drives, am I right?
She doesn’t know how to put on the elaborate harness the Jeep has instead of a seatbelt, which also annoys Edward. I admit I don’t drive a lot of offroad vehicles but is that a normal thing? And how does he know how to do that, if he’s not only a perfect driver with superhuman awareness but practically invincible? When everyone in his family is? Did Edward and Alice spend the couple hours between dropping Bella off and coming back practicing this? Edward doesn't even wear a seatbelt when he drives his regular car; he scans for cops so he can avoid them, remember?
Edward’s even amused by how clueless Bella is when she asks why he isn’t buckling up. Not to mention amused by how she reacts when she hears she’s going to have ride on his back part of the way. In what way is this supposed to be compelling again?
10. Edward parks the Jeep and does indeed carry Bella on his back into the woods, and this leads to more amusement at her expense, her being mad at the inequality of their relationship, and Edward calming her down by lying to her. What does he say? “I’m never angry with you -- how could I be? Brave, trusting…warm as you are.”
I’m going to pretend he means physically warm, because she’s one of the most selfish characters I’ve ever seen. Of the ones where it’s not treated like a bad thing, at least. And I acknowledge that personal perceptions are different for everyone, but Bella’s not the least bit “brave” or “trusting” in my estimation either.
Brave? She’s made it clear she dislikes everything and everyone around her except Edward. If she’s willing to continue pursuing him despite his repeated warnings about being a threat to her life, that feels like it’s because she’s finally found something that excites her and she’s got nothing to lose by keeping after it.
Trusting? Please. The only reason she could possibly have for thinking Edward would never hurt her is she’s read way too many stupid books with beautiful, morally upright protagonists. Yeah, she’s in a dumb romance novel herself, but she doesn’t know that. Does she? Even with being, basically, the author?
There’s more blather from Edward about how by existing, he puts Bella at risk.
Has this chapter really been going on for seventeen pages with nine still to go?
11. Truly scaring me, Bella looks at the Cullens setting up the field and can’t believe they’re really putting the bases that far apart. Scaring me because despite all the evidence to the contrary, she’s supposed to be smart.
Oh, and again it's mentioned Alice doesn’t move so much as she dances. Because Meyer doesn’t trust her readers to remember anything about her characters. Which is kind of messed up with how tragically little there is to remember about the spotlight couple.
12. Bella starts talking to Esme, Edward’s foster mom, who usually referees because the vampire kids argue so much “you would think they were raised by a pack of wolves.” Ha ha, it’s funny because they actually are predators, and there actually are werewolves in these books. Or something.
She also starts talking about being a foster mom.
“Well, I do think of them as my children in most ways. I never could get over my mothering instincts -- did Edward ever tell you I lost a child?”
…excuse me? This is supposed to be a fun family outing with Edward’s new girlfriend and you just suddenly bring up your dead baby? Oh, that’s not even the best part. Esme tells Bella that’s why she jumped off a cliff like she’s saying what kind of fruit she likes on her cereal. What the hell’s wrong with you?!!
13. Okay, better. The game begins and Meyer shows she knows even less about physics than Bella does about human interaction because the vampire kids, of course, use all their strength and speed when they play. Even though the pitches are super-fast the bats aren’t damaged by hitting them, and even though the swings are super-strong the balls don’t just explode from being hit.
It’s funny or something when Bella says “One thing’s for sure, I’ll never be able to sit through dull old Major League Baseball again.”
14. After about 375 pages we get confirmation that, ZOMG, there’s going to be something resembling actual conflict in this book when Alice realizes she misread one of her visions before. One regarding the other group of vampires in the area mentioned lightly last chapter. The other vampires heard the kids playing baseball and decided to check it out. Why do they rely on the word of a stupid fallible GIRL anyway?
Before you say anything, complain to Meyer, not me (oh wait, you can’t!). I don't think like that. That’s just how it works in the Twilight-verse.
15. They pretend to keep playing because they don’t want to set off the other vampires, but because Edward has no restraint, he “paid no attention to the game at all, eyes and mind ranging the forest.” Ranging?
“I’m sorry, Bella. It was stupid, irresponsible, to expose you like this. I’m so sorry.” Why? Dude, you just described every interaction between you and her since you first invited her to hang out at lunch. Little late to change horses.