Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

A discussion of the novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby misspikaboo » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:51 pm

[color=#000080]The point that I'm arguing, however, is that each oh those 20 vampires only survived because they were special. Not telepathic special, but above the average special. Those twenty lived while countless others in their same environment died. All of the newborns Riley created were more-or-less the same; about the same age, same strength, same intelligence, same blood thirst. But what separated them was those who survived and those who did not.

You're operating under the assumption that all vampires have the means to survive, that survival does not depend on the individual vampire. I disagree with that; I think that if a vampire survives, it is by their own will, their own cunning, their own skill. One vampire might do better then another, it all depends on who it is. Those vampires who survived - Bree, Diego, Fred, Raoul - had what it took to make it to the top of the newborn coven or at least survive in a very hostile environment. The one who died did not, it's as simple as that. Survival of the fittest. So it stands to reason that the twenty that made the journey to Forks possessed some trait about them that made it possible.

I wouldn't go so far as to rank this ability up next to someone like Alice or Edward, but if we go by Carlisle's assumption that each vampire carries on trait to their second life that are enhanced to insure their survival, then we can not overlook it. Was it Raoul's ability to lead that allowed for his continued life? Was it Bree's analytical thinking that helped her stay out of harms way? Was it Diego's ability to be open and honest that gained him friendships from Bree and Riley, whom proved to be allies in a hostile coven, that assisted him in his second life? These are the things I'm wondering, and if these traits constitute signs of a possible gift.

This could be applied to all vampires, including Peter and Charlotte. Perhaps they posed subtle gifts that allowed for their survival - I doubt we'll ever know though since Steph skims on the details regarding most extra vampires - but it is a distinct possibility. What I'm trying to say is, the vampires that survived in their world did so because they possessed the means that others did not. They were "special" and had to be because the world they were thrust into demanded it from the survivors.
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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby ringswraith » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:06 pm

Okay, for purposes of this discussion, I think we need to be specific with the words "special" and "gifted."

If what you're saying is they're "special" in the same sense that no two individuals are exactly alike (one might be stronger, one faster, etc.), then yes, I agree with you. But does that mean they're "gifted" in the sense that they have a power? I doubt it.
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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby dreamony » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:23 pm

ringswraith wrote:Okay, for purposes of this discussion, I think we need to be specific with the words "special" and "gifted."

If what you're saying is they're "special" in the same sense that no two individuals are exactly alike (one might be stronger, one faster, etc.), then yes, I agree with you. But does that mean they're "gifted" in the sense that they have a power? I doubt it.


Yes this clarification is defiantly needed, I was getting a little lost. I had been focusing on actual gifts, and not the special traits. So then yes the newborns that survived longer than others could have possessed a hightend trait that helped them survive. To make up for the losses due to the constant fighting Riley and Victoria were continuously creating newborns.
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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby ment2be134 » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:11 pm

I wouldn't say that any of these vampires have "gifts" or "special" powers, such as Mind reading or seeing the future, however I would like to point out that these were all newborns not even a year old. I honestly don't think that they had the time or self control to develop any skills even if they had them. Yes, I know that Fred was that age and he had a skill but as we learned from Bella and Edward some powers are stronger then others and even then you need to work on them for them to be full out. Plus when you don't have any clue what is going on only the strongest powers will be noticed. I did think that maybe Raoul's ability to attract other vampires was a gift kinda like Jasper's but I don't believe that any more. Forgive the corny comparison but it's kinda like high school some people are just popular no matter what.
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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby Heart_in_Hand » Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:42 pm

I haven't read the book yet, but I have a theory on the original question of why gifts among these newborns were rare.

In BD about one in 3 vampires had some special "gift". The Cullen's are a bit of an exception to this because of the nature of Alice's gift. Before Alice and Jasper came along it was really only Edward that had an obvious "gift"... making it 1 out of 4. Alice and Jasper's gifts brought them together in a way, and when they joined with the Cullen's it put the ratio of gifts into a perfect balance (3 out of 6 or 1/2). This all seems really intentional, like it was meant to be this way... which makes it kind of special. This does not mean that gifts like this are common. Just that this group of vampire had some sort of destiny, and thus their gifts drew them to one another... specifically Alice and her gift. In the case of other covens, many vampires seek out humans that show signs of a gift before changing them. This was shown with (I forget his name) but the guy who could control the elements and the vamp. that created him. It was intentional, because he saw the power there before the change. The Volturi do the same thing. There are a lot of vampires with gifts in the Volturi, but that's because they actively seek them out. In any case, Victoria was not seeking out any special type of humans to change. They were literally just people off the streets of Seattle. She likely took no care in her selection of the humans she changed. Therefore, I think it is reasonable that there would be so few gifts among these newborns. Nobody was out to create vampires with gifts, and as far as I see it, these "special gifts" are pretty rare. If you accept that most vamps. don't create other vamps. on purpose without some sort of reason (eg. the potential for a useful gift), then it would make sense that a lot of covens would have at least one or two members with a special gift. Creating vampires for a newborn army has a completely different purpose, so the selections would be less controlled, and thus the gifts would be less common.

I hope that made sense to anyone other than me. :D
Now I'm off to find this book.
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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby AyaDiefair » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:58 pm

I think you brought a whole new perspective to this conversation, Heart_in_Hand.

The reasons why the Volturi are constantly asking Edward and Alice to join their coven is because of their gifts, and since Victoria had no real kind of human she was wanting to turn in mind, just 'dreg' kids, then the gift factor would be less common, and Fred just happened to be the only real special newborn in the mix.

But, like I said before, they all seem to have their own particular trait, just not an advanced and a really useful one to be considered a 'gift'. Remember Rosalie was really pretty and attractive pre-vampire, when turned her beauty seemed to be magnetized. Little things like that I think can be found in all of Steph's Vampires, they just aren't pointed out or particularly desired by another Vampire seeking out a special human.

Sort of off topic ish but Bella happened to be an accident find on Edward's behalf of having her special shield thing. Aro mentions he was very curious what her gift would be when turned, meaning he knew she was special, and was really interested in her and probably wished he got to her before the Cullens did.

Hope this makes sense.
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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby olorin » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:11 pm

Riley said, that the gift ratio among vamps is something like 1/50, and that's among mature vamps, who usually have already been selected out of thousands of humans, and then only survived their first decades partly because of their gifts.

Of course, the chance that Victoria would find any gifted human, by picking them at random from the dregs, who had already no success in their human lives, was beyond slim.
And for her to find Fred, with probably the most powerful gift we have seen so far (next to Alice maybe),
that's just beyond unrealistic. I think SM just put him in the story, to satisfy her gift-greedy readers, and to give Bree a way to survive and Riley a way to explain about the gifts. But she knows it's unrealistic.
EDIT:
[Unless he wasn't picked at random by Riley of the streets. Maybe he was part of a freak show traveling the country and making the papers. And Victoria went to find him herself. That would also explain his calm analytic manner. Living with freaks (just a job description, not meant to be offensive), would have taught him to stay calm, tolerant, not easily provoked, and expect the unexpected. And that's why he can control his gift so well at his age, because he trained and experimented with it, while he was still human. His gift would also help him survive Victoria's bite, and his first newborn weeks.
But still that would raise the odds of Victoria finding someone like him from 1/Billion to maybe 1/1000. Still ridiculously lucky.]

The reason why BD had so many gifted vamps is, because there were so many "large" covens involved, (meaning more than 2 mature members) and large covens usually have at least one gifted member. Alice said in New Moon, that large covens are extremely rare, because vamps are naturally very independent and territorial. Aside from old and well-adjusted vamps seeking specifically gifted humans to join them, it's that gift, that keeps the coven together long enough, to form deep codependent relationships.

The gift increases chances of survival, or makes coexisting easier, like Edward waiting for almost a decade because of his gift, before leaving Carlisle and Esme in the beginning. Like the ancient Volturi staying together this long, because of Aro's and Marcus's gifts. Like Maria depending on Jasper, and waiting almost a century, before trying to kill him. Like James's coven staying together through all those adventures, because of their 2 gifts. Like Siobhan's and Amun's covens staying together, despite Liam being very territorial and Benjamin being very free-spirited.

Again there are so many gifted vamps in BD, because it's a fight between mostly large covens. (Alice made sure of that ;) ) Of the 6 nomads that helped the Cullens only Alistair was gifted. (and he only wanders alone, because he prefers it) And it wouldn't surprise me, if Charles was the only gifted member of the Volturi witnesses.
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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby Tiger_kitten » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:05 am

I am going to peek my opinion in real quick, and I must warn you, I did not read the whole thread! Just random parts. So it may or may not have been said.

I think the reason that there are not any prominant special powers in the newborn army, other than two, is mainly because when a leader of a coven is looking for members, they want someone with a power. Or they might even transform a person into a vampire for the sole purpose they think they will have powers. Like I believe happened with Jane and Alec, and the vampire in Breaking Dawn who controlled elements, Benjamin was his name I think?

ALSO, this is a newborn army, all other vampires we have been introduced to have been around awhile, and it's survival of the fittest, vampires without special talents might have just dwindled down and therefore those with special talents are more frequent in the vampire world.

Plus Stephenie already knew the outcome when she wrote the book, if there were numerous special talents in the newborn army, how believable is it that not a single werewolf or Cullen got killed/seriously injured (except Jacob in the end of course)?

And a final thought, Riley needed to be relatively inconspicuous, so I assume he was smart enough to take people who nobody really cared about, the lower dredges of humanity. If those people were in those circumstances, is it hard to believe there wasn't anything special about them?
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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby Lyra-Bess » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:08 pm

Riley says that being 'gifted' is quite rare, there's a 1 in 50 chance, and that there's only a small percentage of Vampires that show the kind of aptitude for mastering their skills. So, I think actually what we see in 'Bree Tanner' is more of a general picture of Vampires and that the Cullens and the situation of a concentrated number of gifted vampires in BD is the unusual thing, rather than the other way around.

From the sounds of all the in fighting that goes on with the newborn army and how often Riley has to replace members Fred is their 1/50. However, I got the impression that perhaps Raoul's ability to lead, to draw other people into his circle of influence was maybe the beginnings of a gift. Perhaps had he matured and mastered it he'd have either been able to create the illusion that what he was saying was the truth (to conince people to follow him) or be able to make people want to follow his lead, kind of like the Alpha in a pack of werewolves.

Towards the end I was starting to wonder if Bree's ability to stay out of trouble and remain unnoticed was a sort of early stages of a gift? Okay it was smart of her to use Fred as a kind of sheild, but later on in the book, like when the newborns are all training for combat they forget to include Bree and they don't notice her when she's watching them train, kind of like she's invisible. This could just be because she keeps her head down in general and they'd forgotten about her, but she seemed to want to be invisible and not noticed, which made me think it was more willfull than them just being ignorant of her. I could be wrong about it though, it was just my impression.

But yeah, like I said before, I think the Cullens are actually the anomaly and not the newborn army.
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Re: Vampire Gifts - and Their Scarcity in Bree Tanner

Postby StellaBlueBella » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:43 am

I am officially up way way too late but, I didn't expect to be so engaged when I first started reading this thread... *sighs*

Lyra-Bess wrote:Towards the end I was starting to wonder if Bree's ability to stay out of trouble and remain unnoticed was a sort of early stages of a gift? Okay it was smart of her to use Fred as a kind of sheild, but later on in the book, like when the newborns are all training for combat they forget to include Bree and they don't notice her when she's watching them train, kind of like she's invisible. This could just be because she keeps her head down in general and they'd forgotten about her, but she seemed to want to be invisible and not noticed, which made me think it was more willfull than them just being ignorant of her. I could be wrong about it though, it was just my impression.


TBH, I only read the free online version of BT but, I remember thinking the same thing. Obviously Bree had some potential of since we are told the story from her POV. Whether that potential would have translated into more than a being special (like Rosalie's beauty) or being gifted (like Bella's shield) we will never know. But I agree with Lyra-Bess there could have been something more there... Also, Raoul or Diego likely had some sort of potential as well or they wouldn’t have made it into the novella. I mean why would SM write about characters that didn’t? They have to be interesting in some way or there’s no point writing about them. But that doesn’t automatically mean they have a “gift”.


by ringswraith » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:26 pm I disagree with regards to Bree's having any special ability at all. They did mention that Raoul's power only worked on certain people, and Fred did let her near him consciously- she mentions the effort it took for her not to feel like retching whenever she tried to get near him. Lastly, if she had some kind of resistive ability, one would reasonably expect Jane, Edward, or Jasper to have noticed this during the conversation in the field


I know Rings mentioned this in a much earlier comment but I have a question if you are still keeping up with this thread... Am I to assume you meant that Jane/the Volturi would have kept Bree alive if she truly had a gift? While I would agree that this may have been the case with Aro, I seriously doubt Jane would have been in 'recruiting' mode at that particular moment. She was focused on making sure she didn't make any glaring mistakes that would embarrass the Volturi while making decisions on Aro's behalf. Plus, she always struck me as the jealous type. I don’t see her bringing home a shiny new toy to compete for Aro’s attention with. JS.

This brings me to Fred who is the only obviously gifted newborn and it’s only obvious to the readers not the other characters adding to Fred’s mystery and appeal… I guess.

I totally agree with some of Rings comments here, that there would be no reason for Edward or any Cullen to search out Fred to witness for them. They didn’t know each other so not only would there be no reason for Fred to be compelled to act on their behalf but, what kind of character witness can someone who doesn’t know you – at all – make?

If we are to go with Carlisle’s theory that all vamps bring something of their human traits along with them to be amplified in vampire form, what conclusions can we draw about the human Fred? He is antisocial and possibly by conscious choice, perhaps. I think that type of person is very likely to be found living somewhat on the outskirts of society, unlikely to be missed. This doesn’t make him a ‘dreg’ junkie. So to me, Riley’s odds of finding people like Fred really weren’t all that insurmountable. IMO.

And misspikaboo, if you’re still reading this, I am with you on the whole Fred developing feelings for Bree thing. I wonder how this will play out in the future if we meet him again. Will he have been greatly impacted by her death and who will he hold accountable for her demise other than Riley and Victoria, since they are dead and it’s impossible for them to be made any more accountable.

Heart_in_Hand sort of hit on this but, I wanted to make a note on the Cullen’s gifts. Alice, Jasper and Edward seem to form the Holy Trinity don’t they? Definitely not common and what makes them worth writing about. This aspect has always reminded me of an old 1950’s sci-fi book More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon. I really wish I could find one other person who likes this old book and Twilight so I could have someone to talk to about it. Oh well, woe is me, lol.
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