Monday, January 10, 2011

Twilight Chapter 18: The Hunt

1. The three outsider vampires make their way onto the baseball field. “They closed ranks before they continued cautiously toward Edward’s family, exhibiting the natural respect of a troop of predators as it encounters a larger, unfamiliar group of its own kind.”

“Edward’s family.” It’s always about him, huh? It’s like she only agreed to meet his family to make the business of deepening their relationship go easier.

When did she get to be the expert on predatory animals, anyway? By that same token I find it sort of hard to believe Bella knows what she’s talking about when she says the outsider vampire girl’s “posture was distinctly feline.”

One of them was “easily the most beautiful.” This is to contrast them not being as beautiful as the Cullens. Being a vampire makes you hot, you see, but it makes you a lot more hot if you're hot already. And if Bella hadn’t been taking literally every possible opportunity to say so before this, the description would be a lot less pointless and annoying. By this point in the narrative it’s like saying the sky’s blue. If she hadn’t gone on and on and ON about Edward’s perfection, a much stronger contrast would’ve been drawn between the Cullens and the other invasive vampires, who Bella describes with words like “regular” and “nondescript.” And unlike the Cullens’ designer clothes the ones the new vampires wear are all frayed. You hardly even notice it anymore (but you still do and its only impact is still annoyance).

Plus, their eyes aren’t gold or black, but “a deep burgundy color that was disturbing and sinister.” Because they’re bad guys, you see, despite what you might be tempted to think from how they don’t immediately attack the Cullens (if you haven’t read this, yes, it’s that kind of book).

2. The outsider vampires, by the way, are James, Victoria, and the “most beautiful” one is Laurent. Carlisle, Esme, Rosalie, Jasper…so many minor characters with no development, and weird, archaic names and we’re supposed to keep them all straight?

3. As if the baseball thing wasn’t dumb and random as it was, Laurent asks if he and his friends can join the game. Carlisle politely turns them down, and explains that they’re the only vampires living in the area. Given how cloudy it is, and how only one person in town’s been able to see through their pitiful act, you’d think more vampires would be living there.

Carlisle even explains he and his family are permanent residents of the area, and Laurent asks how that’s possible, “honest curiosity” in his voice. Okay, for real this time, how does Bella know what “honest” curiosity sounds like? She’s portrayed as the ultimate wallflower. What the hell does she know about reading people when they’re not in a book?

4. Fortunately, just when it looks as if diplomacy might win the day, Meyer whips up a breeze that carries Bella’s oh-so-intoxicating scent to the other vampires, alerting them to the fact that she’s human. Technically.

This results in James flaring his nostrils and Edward flashing his teeth and snarling at him. This takes me back to one of my earliest complaints about what the hell Bella knows about reading anybody, and all it said was one of the mortal guys beneath Bella’s notice had unfriendly body language toward Edward. See Meyer? That’s showing, not just telling. Or can she only write “hostile” body language?

James, our villain, jokingly asks if Edward brought a snack, but it would be beneath me to say that’s closer to how Bella’s treated by her so-called boyfriend.

5. For what it’s worth, despite the promises from Laurent that he and his friends won’t hunt in the Cullens’ territory, Bella’s “terrified into immobility” by these new vampires. While it’s sort of nice to finally see she’s capable of parsing the fact that a predatory species is a threat to her life, it makes Edward’s claims that veggie vampires are still dangerous even more meaningless. It’s like she really does know Edward’s the hero of the book and all the dangers he mentions from being around him are only there for the sake of adding to the mystique.

6. The vampire kids hustle Bella back to the Jeep in an “impossibly short time” (after everything she’s still saying that?), and they drive away as fast as they can while ignoring Bella when she says she has to tell Charlie what’s going on or he’ll get the cops and the FBI down on the Cullens. To which Edward counters that’s nothing they have to worry about. Gee, aren’t the Cullens awesome that even the feds aren’t a problem for them?

Bella refuses to let the Cullens ruin what they have going in Forks over her, because she’s so humble and there’s only a problem if it’s a problem for them.

Alice tries to get Edward to calm down, but he’s having none of it. He declares James to be “a tracker,” which is so serious he says it twice. As if we should know what that means. In a book that does just about everything it can to venture from the typical portrayal of vampires, that’s bad form indeed.

Plus, the first mention is “He’s a tracker, Alice, did you see that?” Like Edward’s attacking the accuracy of her premonitions. What happened to you’d have to be crazy to bet against her?

We do get some half-baked, awkward exposition about what a tracker is: “Once he commits to a hunt, he’s unshakable. We’d have to kill him.” So…what do they think they’ll do, since he’s already made up his mind to hunt Bella?

Before letting this part go, it says a lot about Edward that he admitted it was his stupid fault that Bella was exposed to the evil vampires (he kept mentioning how dangerous it was for them to associate, who could’ve imagined it actually would be), and now he refuses to listen to anyone’s opinion on what should be done but his own.

7. Seemingly catching on to how Bella’s supposed to be special but hasn’t done anything except ignore her survival instincts up to now, Meyer has her come up with a plan for how the Cullens can protect her, deal with James, and keep her dad safe all at the same time because James would obviously look at her house first.

She’ll tell Charlie she broke up with Edward and wants to go home to Phoenix, which is where some of the vampire kids will actually take her. Supposedly James will know they know he’s watching and so he won’t think that’s where they’re actually going. Meanwhile the rest of the Cullens will stick around to deal with James, so Charlie won’t think they had anything to do with Bella’s sudden departure.

That this is supposed to be a wonderfully devious plan (if the Cullens say so, it must be), let alone one that can throw a superhuman predator who literally lives for the hunt, is pretty funny. What’s even funnier is how Meyer goes back on it later, and makes the Cullens look like morons for praising it.

8. As Bella goes in to kick off the plan, Edward asks Alice if she can handle this. She replies with animalistic snarl. Edward‘s response? “But keep your opinions to yourself.” Ha ha ha. I’d say Meyer should stick to the romance but that’s even worse than her jokes.

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