*Originally posted to the Monkey in the Cage Website on August 29, 2012
A segment where Kevin Smith goes on and on about a subject he seemingly takes way too seriously that no one else likely cares about or has given any consideration. Likely unnecessary but SPOILERS AHEAD!
Today’s Issue: The Twilight Saga
With K-Stew and R-Pat’s recent falling out and the final Twilight film coming out this November I thought it time to put fingers to keyboard on a major frustration of mine, The Twilight Saga. This rant is not likely going to be what you think it will, I’m not leaping atop a pedestal to proclaim why I loath Twilight, quite the opposite, I’m here to describe a seething love\hate relationship with the product. You see, I don’t outright hate these books. In fact there are tiny gems of highly intriguing lore peppered throughout the novels that draw me in just long enough for the attention to shift back to the core storyline I had little to no interest in.
Reading these books was highly frustrating for me, many times I had my interest peaked for just enough of a minutia, before ripping me away once again into the masochistic relationship at the story’s core, to keep me on board until the next interesting paragraph or page. In any event, today I’m going to discuss some of the items I wished Stephenie Meyer had spent a little more time on. Hell, she could have easily taken out about 50-60 paragraphs where Bella describes how much she adores Edward to make room. By the way, this may be unnecessary but SPOILERS AHEAD.
I don’t know if I’m alone in this or not but I was always intrigued by the idea that the Meyer vampire might also come with a mutant ability. It is a fresh addition to the vampire idea that does not rankle, the way sparkly skin does, but instead adds a bit of personality to each vampire rather than the age old idea of only older vampires could have mysterious powers. In fact Meyer actually has a reason for why her vampire might have such an ability, being the enhancement of something the human form already had. Because of this every vampire you meet in the story becomes an immediate interest, I would wonder what power they might have.
VARIOUS VAMPIRE BACKSTORIES:
I’m a sucker for an origin story, so I loved any time the attention turned to the long lived vampires in these books. It was always too short, and though it often involved similar romantic undercurrent to the main storyline it was never nearly as heavy handed. Some of Ms. Meyer’s best work in the novels is found in these minor storylines, especially the backgrounds of the Cullens.
Carlisle Cullen was a monster hunter with his father, and once he was bitten he hid away utterly silent through the incredibly painful transformation and once changed has never drank the blood of a human for sustenance.
Esme Cullen was saved from her attempted suicide by Carlisle when he worked at a morgue in 1895’s Columbus Ohio.
Alice Cullen initially recalls nothing of her former human life but later discovers she was committed to an asylum for premonitions that eventually led to her ability to see the future now that she is a vampire.
Emmett Cullen was mauled by a bear and saved by his future wife Rosalie after she carried him over 100miles without succumbing to her thirst for human blood. It was initially very difficult for him to adjust to animal blood.
Rosalie Hale had a very abusive beginning that ended in a revenge scenario involving the torture and death of her previous abusers. She is an interesting case because she continues to envy humans for being allowed to have the humanity that she never fully enjoyed
Edward Cullen even old Eddy boy has a pretty good story. He even spent time feeding on humans, albeit mostly the scum of society as it would not do for Edward to have ever been all that bad.
Jasper Hale Okay, his story is so awesome it needs its own post.
In book three, Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer needed an explanation for why the Cullens should fear a “Newborn” army being created in the nearby city of Seattle and in order to set the stage for this we finally get to hear the most enticing vampire back-story yet, that of Confederate Soldier Jasper Hale. Apparently during the Civil War there was a constant vampire shadow war being waged using small armies of newborn vampires who stronger due to their leftover human blood that still coursed through their veins but more difficult to control (not to be confused with the Shadow War fought against Abraham Lincoln). America was a new land and vampires of the old European countries sought to make their claim. Once becoming a vampire Jasper had an ability to manipulate other’s emotions making him a perfect general for one of these small armies. To this day he carries countless crescent moon shaped scars from the bites of the newborns he trained and eventually killed when their place in the army was no longer needed.
This is so close to a “Weird West” style story that I found myself incredibly intrigued, and it was given almost an entire chapter’s worth of attention. To this day it is what I consider the best handled portion of the entire saga. Jasper is probably my favorite character in the series.
THE VOLTURI AND THE COVENS: or basically all of the other vampires
The Volturi are briefly touched upon in the worst book of the franchise, New Moon. Their impending part in the book is the only reason I picked it up again. I was done with the series, not even a third into “New Moon”, until a female friend told me about the ruling government of all the vampires and how they played a role in the final moments of the book. In hindsight, if I’d known how bad the remainder of New Moon was going to be I probably wouldn’t have pushed through it for the painfully short section on these interesting vampires, all with new abilities to ponder. Granted this has been done before, it has been done better before (Vampire: The Masquerade or Ann Rice’s work namely) but I always like getting to know the power structure in any vampire myth story.
Now with the Covens lies some of the worst frustration I’ve had with the saga. They are all interesting and all have reason to be fed up with The Volturi, laying down the framework for why they decide to side with the Cullens, Bella, and the wolf shape shifters in the final book Breaking Dawn. Problem is it is only lightly touched upon. Even worse a very interesting character is introduced, a dispossessed noble, an individual of mighty lore, someone by the freaking name Dracula!
Meyer introduces the concept of the ruling class before the Volturi took over, the Romanians. Only two Romanians remain some guy named Stefan (who cares) and then a dude by the name of Vladimir… he is obviously Dracula. DRACULA! I mentally scream, this is awesome! So worth reading up to this point! What sort of power will he have? What kind of stories will Meyer regale us with now that he is in the mix? He is going to be the flipping tits! No. NO! Wrong thought process Kevin, Dracula gets himself about two paragraphs and then is politely asked to stand over there and not get in the way… WHAT!? Ugh, hated when that happened and let’s just say if I hadn’t been so close to the end of the book I’d of stopped right there.
THE CHILDREN OF THE MOON:
A throw away line in “Breaking Dawn”, I forget who said it and I don’t feel like paging through the book to do so. One of the Vampires says something to the effect that they are surprised to see the wolves of the La Push pack working together, he says that normally the “Children of the Moon” are solitary beasts that do not work well with anyone and terrify vampires. We are given the impression that the “Children of the Moon” are even more powerful than the Shape-Shifters of the Quileute Tribe.
That’s right everyone, Jacob Black is not a Werewolf (which I ranted in my brain from the earliest meeting of their tribe) but instead a Shape-Shifter. In this throwaway portion of the book, real Werewolves are introduced… for about two sentences and then forgotten. Now I don’t know how Meyer could have truly incorporated The Children of the Moon into her story but she could have at least spent some time explaining them. Werewolves are a particular obsession of mine and it would have been a nice effort on her part to think of me :P.
I feel I’ve droned on far too long about these books, looking back over this you may find yourself wondering “Hmmm… maybe they are worth a read if there are little nuggets of interesting supernatural stuffs like that”, my answer would be meh. Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have read something else during that time. My article here probably spends more time on some of these topics that he books do, my advice read the Wikipedia synopsizes if you really want to catch some of this good stuff, the books are largely pretty awful for anyone who isn’t into the love story. That being said if the love story is your bag read on fellow nerd! Never let my, or anyone else’s words get in the way of your enjoyment of anything!
And now I present how you likely feel about my diatribe –