Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Breaking Down Chapter 39 - All Tension Was Annihilated If You Read The Table of Contents. No, I Won't Let That Go

1. “So it was a combination of things there at the end, but what it really boiled down to was…Bella.” See, she was special all along. She just couldn’t see it herself. By the way, Bella’s uncomfortable with everybody thinking of her as the one who really saved the day. So yeah. No character growth at all.

2. There’s some space devoted to the backup vampires leaving. “I was sure we would see them again--Benjamin and Tia, at least,” and “The Denalis were the last to leave, Garrett with them--as he would be from now on, I was fairly sure,” and “Try to find Alistair and tell him what happened. I’d hate to think of him hiding under a rock for the next decade,” and “And how can we fail, when I will it otherwise?”

They sure added a lot, didn’t they? A lot of things that would’ve made way better books than these.

As for the Volturi, Edward tells us, “They’ve been seriously shaken; their confidence is shattered. But yes, I’m sure they’ll recover from the blow someday. And then…I imagine they’ll try to pick us off separately.”

Siobhan, whoever that, is sure Alice will give them plenty of warning, “And we’ll gather again. Perhaps the time will come when our world is ready to be free of the Volturi altogether.” Unless they were to think of that and start with Alice, which she wouldn’t be able to see because that future would definitely involve Nessie and Jacob. In fact we can pretty much forget about Alice’s power forever now.

I’m just sayin’.

That Stephenie Meyer has no concept of strategy.

And back up a little. Remember Edward’s statement that only criminals think of the Volturi as villains? I know we found out they’re corrupt, but really, are they cruel overlords of an unduly oppressed vampkind or what? I’m suffering from a serious lack of context here, thanks to our almost total lack of exposure to the world of vampirism.

I’ll pursue that point further, but first let’s make sure everybody’s on the same page about something. Vampires really haven’t come across as particularly monstrous or scary in these books, but that’s mainly because the ones we see all the time are the Cullens. Who are made out to be an aberration from their kind in most respects.

However, from what I gather, most other vampires have a much more traditional mindset, and a sense of innate superiority because of their vastly greater strength, speed, toughness and sensory abilities than their prey. Who they can hide among easily enough if the Cullens’ example is to be believed, which it obviously is. And the Sword of Damocles the Volturi represent is supposedly the only thing keeping these creatures of the sparkle from getting unruly.

Suppose the Volturi were taken down. What then? Without the threat of the Volturi’s wrath hanging over them, would there be anything in particular to keep vampires from getting bolder? To keep the ambitious among them from being ambitious? Despite Aro’s acknowledgement of the deadliness of modern weaponry, none of the other vampires in these books seem smart enough to acknowledge that humans could be a danger to them.

The Volturi’s biggest (read: only) abuse of their power I’ve heard about is occasionally wiping out a group that has somebody with a power they want. Which presumably helps them maintain order among the superhuman bloodthirsty predator population better. No system’s perfect, but what exactly is being proposed that would be a better than the Volturi? As for the Cullens, they’re friends with plenty of other vampires, whose support they were depending on to make it through this debacle, who feed the same way they always have, on people. Don’t try to say the Volturi are wiping out innocent lives with the way they absorb vampires with useful powers. The Cullens are wiping out innocent lives in order to save their own even with their philosophy of a human-free diet.

And like the Cullens never abuse their power. steff plz

I’m sorry to keep bringing this up, but again I refer to the Dresden Files. In one book our hero wipes out an entire species of vampires (one of three known). Just like that, every single of them’s gone. Their very condition dooms them to becoming bloodthirsty power mongers or killers, so that must be a good thing, right? In some ways, yes, but…their influence also kept a number of other supernatural baddies in check. Now that they’re gone, a turf war’s broken out between those other factions eager to seize control of parts of the vampires’ former power base.

Would someone step up and try to maintain some semblance of order among the world’s vampires if the Volturi were removed from the equation? Would it be the noble Cullens? The ones who consistently failed to lift a damn finger until they were directly threatened? Who immediately decided that they would call in all their vampire friends just to talk things over with the Volturi? Would they govern arrogant predators with hugs and their philosophy of an animal diet? Hell, even most of the friends who showed up to help them against the Volturi don’t agree with them on that, and the Cullens were fine making their hunting easier by lending them cars.

I posted an interview quote from the author saying she doesn’t see the world as full of negatives, but allow me to ask, what world? The story works so damn hard to make sure it stays confined to nice safe Forks, where the only vampires around are the nice safe Cullens. Are most vampires decent folk who don’t need the Volturi looking over their sparkly shoulders? I don’t know, because evidently that would’ve been too unpleasant for the author to show us, or something. Even though all accounts point to most vampires being assholes.

I ask again, are the Volturi an evil regime that must be overthrown? Or are they actually something holding something worse back? Which will probably be harder for them now since the vampires they brought to witness the obliteration of the Cullens will no doubt carry word far and wide of how the entire Volturi got their asses kicked at a stupid debate and left feeling like idiots.

Just saying if some vampire somewhere decides they’re not afraid of the Volturi anymore after this and they decide to go to war over some territory they want and innocent people (vampiric and otherwise) are caught in the crossfire, that will be on the Cullens. Specifically on fncking Bella and her fncking kid.

Are the Volturi just bad, because they threatened to kill Bella and her kid? Wouldn’t surprise me.

On the other hand, I might just be assuming things about how complex Meyer meant to make issues of morality in her books. After reading this RwV post a while back, I’m firmly convinced Steph put a lot of extra content into finished drafts for no other reason than to drive up the word count. Wouldn’t surprise me if this was all black and white in her mind after all.

3. Edward continues to relate the awesomeness of his wife. Specifically about how Aro was terrified by the power of Bella’s power which they’d never encountered before, and she can’t accept that someone like Aro could possibly have been scared of her. It’s almost cute how Meyer keeps up the assurances like the Volturi ever inspired awe and those last chapters weren’t just the last couple nails in the coffin.

“When will you ever see yourself clearly?” So yeah. No character growth at all.

4. A bit more about Children of the Moon, or actual werewolves, who the Volturi hunted almost to extinction. They’re a lot more like what you’d expect than vampires, except no silver bullets. “[T]hat was just another one of those myths to make humans feel like they had a sporting chance.” You know, I’m sort of reminded of Linkara’s review about superheroes after the end of the world, where he goes off on bad writers who can’t see any depth to a super-powered character’s identity beyond their powers. Humans don’t have any, and Meyer seems to think that makes them worthless. She has said she’s anti-human.

Bella: “And you never mentioned this because…?”
Edward: “It never came up.”

If these books had shown any ability to be self-deprecating BEFORE the very end of the entire series, that could’ve worked.

But they didn’t, and shoving this “Children of the Moon” crap in at the last minute should  serve to sum up the entire experience of reading this series. Steph created a world with vampires, werewolves, and magical spirit powers. What did she think was the best use of that world and the possibilities all that represented? Surrounding her avatar with hot guys and other fawning admirers.

The Children of the Moon are like the strength-of-relationships vampire. In the larger world of Twilight, they undoubtedly served an interesting role. Within the confines of Bella’s extraordinarily limited and boring exposure to the supernatural world we actually get to read about, they feel like nothing more than cheap ass pulls Meyer came up with to prove a point.

The narration’s not removed from the action by the author’s chosen perspective, but because the author always chooses to remove the narrator from the action.

But I’m almost done, and way too tired to expect anything from her anymore.

5. Then things swing back to something that had to do with the actual plot, which is Bella’s indignation at Alice and Jasper up and running out on them. “I’ve been a wreck for weeks.” Maybe that actually is abnormal for Bella, but since the books only focus on the parts where she’s a nervous wreck over one thing or another…that’s more the norm than the happy times.

Alice tells her part of it is Bella never would’ve been able to fake not knowing what they were doing if she knew, and it really is well past time somebody got away with telling her she sucks. Although the bigger reason is that they didn’t have time; to get what they needed and get back before the Volturi killed everyone they had to set out right away. Because they had to somehow use Alice’s power to track down something she couldn’t see with it (how did that work, anyway? Then again, why the hell am I hoping for an answer to that?).

Bella tries to apologize. “I know it was rough for you, too.” Yeah, Alice had to go off and do something, not just stand in a group and focus on the word “elastic.” Alice calls her “the superhero of the day.” Following that, “Everyone else laughed now,” like it’s the end of a lame kids’ cartoon.

6. Bella notices how the other halfbreed’s staring at her daughter, fixating a little on how “He couldn’t be oblivious to the fact that Nessie was the only female of his kind that wasn’t his half-sister.” That he knows about. And because I guess in Bella’s mind that automatically means he’s interested in her. After all this, her worldview’s as two-dimensional as ever. So yeah. No character growth at all.

“I didn’t think this idea had occurred to Jacob yet. I kind of hoped it wouldn’t soon. I’d had enough fighting to last me a while.” Oh, haw haw haw haw! Hee ho ho haw HAW haw haw…People were mad at the ending of this book because after all that buildup there was no fighting at all, just a couple chapters of limp debating leading up to a flawless resolution anyone could see coming. And it sounds like Meyer doesn’t even realize what an anticlimax it was. Oh. My. God. At least I’m going out on this laughing.

7. “I looked at Edward and felt for a moment like I could read his mind. I could see he felt exactly the same way. Ready for some peace.” That was hard to figure out, huh?

8. Jacob can apparently turn off his obsession with Nessie as he goes home to sleep under his own roof while the Bella and Edward take their kid back to theirs. “I guess things are going to be kind of boring now, aren’t they?” Whaddaya mean “now,” Jake?

As if reading my mind, Meyer follows that up with “I shifted my weight carefully so that Nessie was never jostled…I was deeply grateful to see her getting a sound sleep. So much weight had been on her tiny shoulders.” Oh yeah, I could have drowned in all the tension. And Nessie really seemed worried about how it would turn out. Almost over, almost over, almost over…

9. Oh, do you care about why J. Jenks seemed so nervous about dealing with the Cullen family? Because Jasper thought it would be better to intimidate him. Bella tells him that maybe it’d be nicer to not terrorize the fragile humans. Besides, J. Jenks probably knows that unscrupulous rich people have ways to keep his mouth shut that are plenty effective without having anything to do with being undead predators anyway. She doesn’t say that part, but if this book had any brains it would realize that anyway.

And contrast this with the Bella who never batted an eye about all the people the guest vampires killed in the name of being full to defend her kid, and all of the people Edward killed when he told her his life stories, which she brushed right off as well. And all the people she claimed were her friends but who were completely ignored whenever Jacob and Edward were available. Meyer's totally pulling this out of her ass to make Bella seem as sympathetic as possible hoping it'll be how we remember her.

10. “I was sick of being under a deadline, and I just wanted to take my time.” Oh lord, if all this standing around talking’s what she’s like under a deadline, maybe it’s for the best we’re not around to see what it’s like when nothing’s happening.

11. Edward mentions how impressed he is with Jacob, and it’s got nothing to do with his willingness to stand up to the Volturi. Rather, that Jacob never once thought about the halfbreed’s delivery of the information of how quickly Nessie’s going to reach boning age. Oh yeah, totally for young readers. Come on, what else could he have been talking about when he mentioned her lupine boyfriend and how soon she’ll be a physical adult?

More about the dhampyr, how seeing Bella and Edward has changed his entire perspective on life. “Oh, he wasn’t staring at her -- he was staring at you.” See, in Edward, he sees “…what his father should have been.” An overemotional stalker? Look, even if he’s not breaking into Bella’s bedroom anymore because it’s his bedroom now, he still casually invades the privacy of everyone around him. Seriously, Bella learned how to control her power as a result of this. Is there any reason Edward couldn’t learn to control his? No, because being able to do that’s romantic or some shit. Just wait.

As for Bella, the halfbreed’s seen that someone lived through the experience of having a half-vampire kid. Because Bella has a healthy relationship with the spawn that nearly killed her (if such a thing exists in this universe), he’s started to think that maybe he’s not inherently evil for killing his mom through the birthing process. Oh, thank God the very last of the faceless characters smooshed into this book got a new outlook on life! And as always Bella changes everything without doing anything. What a damn Sue.

12. “I smiled for Nauel’s happiness and then thought that today belonged to happiness.” My, how…poetic?

“Though Irina’s sacrifice was a dark shadow against the white light, keeping the moment from perfection, the joy was impossible to deny.” Irina made a bad call against the biggest bad guys and died for it. What kind of “sacrifice” am I meant to be seeing? On the other hand, yeah, who cares about her dying? In Bella’s case it almost sounds like she’s pushing it aside so nothing’ll distract her from le sexy time.

“Tomorrow I would go see my father.” She’s lost nothing, given up nothing, did next to nothing, and not grown a bit. Boy she’s earned every bit of her happy ending.

“Suddenly, I was sure that I wouldn’t find him there alone. I hadn’t been as observant as I might have in the last few weeks,” The last few weeks? “but in this moment it was like I’d known all along. Sue would be with Charlie--the werewolves’ mom with the vampire’s dad--and he wouldn’t be alone anymore. I smiled widely at this new insight.” I thought they weren’t real werewolves. Anyway, are Charlie and Sue supposed to be dating? More to the point, am I supposed to be happy for that when Sue’s just another of the books’ names that it thinks is a character? These books’ idea of character development is lazier than sticking satanic horns on someone so we’ll know he’s the bad guy. At least that implies some minimal amount of effort.

“But most significant in this tidal wave of happiness was the surest fact of all: I was with Edward. Forever.” Yay.

“As a general rule, I didn’t pull away. Okay, it was more than a general rule. This was a first.” Before you get excited, still no character growth. Let me tell you why.

13. It’s because Bella’s learned to do one more thing with her shield. That is, she can stretch it far enough outward that it doesn’t cover her anymore, allowing Edward to invade even her mind, and see their romantic moments through her eyes. I can’t imagine why he seems excited about this. I was doing that the whole time, and it’s exactly why I hate these books. Maybe he’s marveling at assurance that she’s really as shallow as he is.

They start comparing how much they love each other again like it’s a contest, but it’s finally not obnoxious because you can finally tell they’re being playful about it. Is this the only way they can have a tender moment? When there are no problems on the horizon, no matter how commonplace? There’s being focused on the problem, and then there’s just being a deer in the headlights.

Bella can’t actually hold her shield out to let Edward read her mind if anything’s distracting her, like Edward kissing her. But they gush over having forever to get good at it, and settle into “this small but perfect piece of our forever.”

…and the people of Sniddler’s Gulch lived happily ever after, because they really weren’t very smart.

No comments:

Post a Comment