Explorations (**BD2 Movie Spoilers!**)

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Re: Explorations

Post by corona » Tue May 03, 2011 1:57 pm

How long does it take me to work out Jacob’s role in this series? Well, apparently it takes months. I keep wanting to come back and discuss more, but I either don’t have to time to write things up or I start formulating a different opinion or theory.

Here is my latest unified theory for all things Jacob, and it also addresses some concerns about Bella and Edward and SM’s view of the whole thing. Very briefly, I don’t think SM ever “fell out of love” with her young couple, but I do think she became conflicted over the whole eternal consequences of vampirism stuff. I keep seeing quotes about choosing between life and death, and wanting to delay Bella’s choice, and Edward’s “weakness”, and I think she really developed a problem with all of it, regardless of her separating, within her story, vampirism from death and demonic elements and then creating a vampiric transformation and nature based on “science”. SM went to a lot of effort to do that, but she doesn’t use that language in her interviews, which I think is significant. Her interviews often tend to use language that leans towards the more traditional view of vampires as creatures of death rather than mere supernatural.

I think Jacob was a character that eventually became the avatar for her own conflicts. I can go into more detail, but basically the most jarring thing about him was his complete and utter self-absorption at the imprinting “reveal” scene with Bella and Renesmee. That was stunning. A few changes in that scene would have reduced a great deal of antipathy to his character, but it wasn’t done. My theory is that it wasn’t done for a reason, because Jacob had actually come to represent SM’s own huge conflict with the subject, and it was something that she wasn’t going to apologize for, and therefore neither would Jacob. I think that Jacob, the character that lives separately even from SM, might have actually acted differently, but he wasn’t allowed to. And because of that, I cannot go back and reinterpret any of his prior scenes with a measure of sympathy, a kind of meeting in the middle where I can grudgingly think “OK, Jake, you may have a point there”, and where Jacob might reflect “OK, maybe I took it a little bit too far there, especially knowing what I know now”.

In reference to prior comments about Wuthering Heights, I had always thought that that book was actually the archetype of everything SM didn’t want in her story. There are a million Wuthering Heights out there, and we all wonder why those books always end that way, and then our English Lit teacher always has to patiently explain how stories about real love are really uninteresting and how these kinds of books are based more on reality and why that is a good thing. And they certainly can be very good stories, except everyone is really disappointed and depressed at the ending. SM’s genius was giving everyone what they wanted, which is of course the worst thing to do unless you want to create a multi-billion dollar series. What a novel concept, giving the customers exactly what they wanted instead of telling them what was best for them. The whole series was an anti-Wuthering Heights, based on the really dumb proposition that a girl chooses love above everything else, and then pursues it relentlessly for eternal happiness. Wow, what a crazy amateurish idea, it couldn’t sell millions of books now could it? But it turned out to be sheer genius. So, why then the ambivalence in the Illustrated Guide, with SM switching back and forth between whether one choice is good or it’s the other? It seems to be another conflict that arose within SM while writing this story.

Let me throw in something else real quick. I think it is a hell of a lot harder writing "feel good" romance than it is writing heartbreak romance, because it is just so difficult to evoke true passion. SM not only pulled it off, she actually did both in New Moon.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”

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Re: Explorations

Post by Openhome » Wed May 04, 2011 10:27 pm

All I can say to that is...
:clap: :good: :clap: :good: :clap: :good: :clap: :good: :clap:

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Re: Explorations

Post by Jazz Girl » Mon May 09, 2011 11:10 am

Hot damn, Corona. You did it. You really did it. You took every objection I've ever had to SM's treatment of the central romance in The Saga, all the interuptions and interferences she threw in, the fact that she never seemed to be okay with the fact that her heroine was choosing her hero AND the fact that she never truly LET her heroine choose her hero and vice versa and wrapped it up in one nice neat little package, with an "anti Wuthering Heights" bow. Ummm... wow?
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Re: Explorations

Post by Knives » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:49 am

I'm alive! *sheds putrescent flesh in obvious zombification*

Sorry that I've been away folks - real life's been hectic, and truth be told I kinda forgot about the site (my "soft ban" kinda nerfed the amount of participation I was having anyway). But life's good at the moment, the little dude just hit ten months and is now climbing stairs with a vengeance, and I've got more stuff to bring to the table, though this time I may be hitting the Science thread a bit more as well. I swear, my next post will have more actual substance!

I may be revisiting an old subject - Bella Show vs. Tell - with some new observations, if no one minds me rehashing old ground.

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Re: Explorations

Post by corona » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:01 am

Openhome, Jazz Girl, thank you for your comments, I will likely follow up with some additional ones and I am very interested in your views.

Knives, have you read the Illustrated Guide? I am curious what you think about the additional info there. As far as "showing" versus "telling", I am familiar with that discussion, but I frankly didn't see much in that argument until the last half of BD. I think BD part 2 is going to be a very challenging film to make. It is the only part in the entire series that really begins to lose me, because I'm just not convinced about some things and I have to take them entirely on faith. Specificially, that Renesmee is more special than any other child...ever, and that bloodthirsty vampires are suddenly willing to lay down not only their own lives but the lives of their mates for her and her family.

"A mind reader for a father, a shield for a mother, and then whatever magic this extraordinary child has bewitched us with. I wonder if there is a name for what she does, or if it is the norm for a vampire hybrid. As if such a thing could ever be considered normal! A vampire hybrid, indeed."

This is something we are told, but that is the very last mention of this "magic" that Renesmee has, and yet it appears to me that this magic plays the most crucial part of all in the remainder of the story, even above Bella's gift. In my opinion, this is the great Achilles heel of part 2, and the filmmakers are going to have to find a way to fix that.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”

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Re: Explorations

Post by Jazz Girl » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:04 pm

Corona~ In my mind, it was not necessarily Renesmee's "magic" or a special ability that drew the vampires together against the Volturi. She was, in a way, the Helen of Troy of this battle. The Greeks didn't actually go to war because Helen took off with Paris. But, she gave them a damn good excuse to use to justify finally acting on strategies they'd been planning for years. I always felt that a major part of Renesmee's "magic" in entrancing the allied vampires, lay in her uniqueness, or at least her uniqueness to the vampires in question, and a part of it lay in the protection she had from the Cullens and her ability to bridge the animosity between vampires and shape-shifters. The uniqueness is an easy concept to see. The existence of human-vampire hybrids was so inconceivable that even the Volturi did not know that they existed. Traditional vampires may be bloodthirsty, but they are also intelligent and able to reason. Renesmee is so unique that destroying her without question or without cause goes against logic, against reason. These are not feral animals, out to destroy anything that they see as a threat to their existence. Yes, they feed on humans and do so without any guilt whatsoever. But, isn't that what creatures one-step up the food chain always do? As humans, do we not feed on cows, pigs, chickens etc without guilt? But, killing Renesmee is not killing to feed. It's murder of one of their own and they recognize that. And, worse, it's murder of an innocent without so much as a justification other than, "she's an unknown". To the logical mind, that's the worst possible justification for killing. So, accordingly, Aro's actions look like exactly what they are; an action designed to ignite a war so the Volturi can come out with all the power and remove a threat to them.

Renesmee's steadfast protection from the Cullens and the wolves also played into the willingness of the vampires to lay down their lives. This started with Carlisle. Carlisle's compassion, it seems, is known far and wide. His collection of friends across the globe is evidence of that. Despite their strict rejection of his chosen lifestyle, Carlisle is able to have meaningful relationships with a wide variety of individuals. From the veggies of the Denali Clan to the nomad Garrett, all count Carlisle as a friend and regard his opinions and thoughts very highly. It also follows reason that Carlisle (and likely the rest of the Cullens) has, over the years, helped many of his friends in many ways. So, when Carlisle, who admits he thought that Renesmee was a threat and even tried to convince Bella to have an abortion, swears that she is not a threat, that she is not one of the immortal children, that she is something altogether new but wondrous, his friends are willing to stand by him and his family in their defense of Renesmee. Add to that the fact that this is an innocent child who has brought about an alliance between mortal enemies through her mere existence alone. Taken together, Renesmee becomes something worth fighting for. But, when you include the Volturi's dishonesty and powergrabbing, it becomes a powerful mix of something to defend; not just an innocent child and the family that will die to protect her, but also a future where tyranny is still somewhat in check. In a way, I see the battle between the Cullen allies and the Volturi as a microcosm of our Civil War.
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Re: Explorations

Post by corona » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:06 pm

Jazz Girl,

Your post deserves more comment than I am writing here, because you bring up excellent points, but let me quickly throw out a few thoughts. There certainly must be deeper things going on which explains the reason why the allies stick together, but I don't think they are very well explained in the book. The Romanian and Denali motivations are crystal clear, but others are not, at least to me. Most of them simply fall into place after contact with Renesmee and talking to Edward. That doesn't mean they don't have their reasons, but I think the movie is going to have to do a better job.

As far as Renesmee herself, the first group is the Denali clan, and after contact with Renesmee, who displays her touch-telepathy gift to everyone, Eleazar proclaims the entire family as talented and then names the talents, but does not mention Renesmee's telepathy. Instead he mentions her bewitching magic. If this magic was simply her uniqueness and inspirational qualities, then why make it confusing by presenting it like this? The chapter preceding is called "Irresistable", followed immediately by Eleazar's proclamation of the family gifts; and this is the guy that is able to spot supernatural talent. Subsequently, every single person that has telepathic contact with Renesmee then immediately agrees to witness. Amun refuses to touch her and is hostile; he agrees to witness but then immediately leaves with Kebi after doing so. Alistair refuses contact and leaves before the battle. The Romanians don't bother, but they have their own motivations for revenge. The Romanians aside, 100% of the vampires that let Renesmee "communicate" with them are all in at the end, and 100% of the vampires that refuse contact are not.

Ha! First we start talking about telling vs. showing, and now we are talking about whether or not Renesmee actually had two gifts or only one. I love it!

Keep in mind that Eleazar also says "I wonder if there is a name for what she does...", and he is not referring to her telepathy. That doesn't sound like he is referring to Renesmee's "irresistable" qualities as something that comes from a natural appeal but more that she is projecting something else in addition to her thoughts. I could be way off base, but if I am then why did SM present this the way that she did?

Also, up to this point in the series, 100% of the veggie vampires are good, and 100% of the "regular" vampires are evil (although I do cut a bit of slack for Laurent). Suddenly we are surrounded by honorable and noble red-eyed vampires. It just smacks of a little too much perfection for me, like how Renesmee's birth solved about two dozen plot problems and how the Charlie situation got solved so quickly. It just feels like, this is the ending that needs to be told, but there isn't enough time to really build a better foundation or plausibility for the plot developments, so let's just wrap it up.

And here is an errant thought. The Denali clan were undeniably willing to let members of the Cullen family die in Eclipse because Irina was put out with the wolf pack, even though their presence minus Irina would have made the fight easy. Now they are willing to go to almost certain death, along with all of the other allies. OK, I get the remorse thing, but they were family and still had turned their backs on the Cullens. And now most of the red-eyes are showing a loyalty even greater than the Denalis? The Denalis had very coldly contemplated the deaths of the Cullens as being acceptable, even though they were close, because of their loyalty to one that was truly one of their own, Irina. As in, OK, the Cullens are "like" family, but they really aren't real family. But isn't Benjamin's real true family Tia and Amun and Kebi? Why is he willing to sacrifice all for the Cullens, but Tanya was willing to let Esme or Carlisle or Alice die in EC? I'm sure the reasons are there, but doesn't this require some more explanation in the narrative?

It's not that it isn't possible, it's that the presentation is weak. I'll fill in any gap needed for Bella and Edward, but I needed more when stepping out of that bubble. Let me put it another way: I'm willing to buy everything up to this point because I love our young couple's romance, but this willingness starts fading once Irina puts in her appearance. I'm just trying to put my finger on exactly why this happened to me and I'm stumbling around a bit now, trying to find the right words.

Oops, this post went on longer than I thought.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”

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Re: Explorations

Post by Alphie » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:35 pm

I just had a way too long conversation with Openhome about all of this trying to figure out what is the general "problem" that you are all trying to sort out. Forgive me if I jump around a bit, but I'm going to try to organize thoughts and I writing.

Ok, so let's start with the "Stephenie loves Jacob more than Edward" issue. From what I am reading the problem stems from two situations/moments/ideas. First, Edward isn't really "present" in Breaking Dawn and the second being where Stephenie mentioned loving Jacob so much in the Guide. Here are my thoughts on those ideas... and please, these are my thoughts and not Stephenie's! I am going to speculate on what she was thinking, but I really don't know for certain.

The first time I read the plot of the 4th book it was called Forever Dawn and Jacob was nearly an after thought in the story up until the imprinting. The entire story was told from Bella's point of view. The pregnancy, the birth, the imprinting - all of it was from Bella's point of view. Jacob wasn't around much at all until he actually saw the baby (when Nessie was a few weeks old) and imprinted on her. And Edward was there all the time. Edward was there worrying over Bella at ever ultrasound, for ever sip of blood Rosalie tricked her into drinking, for every conversation about how to save Bella. And then there is the scene where he hears the baby for the first time. It was amazing and beautiful and it actually made me cry the first time I read it. From that point on, Edward is in love with his daughter and fighting to keep the baby AND Bella alive. The birth and transformation all take place from Bella's PoV, which is difficult because it's nothing but pain and horror. The only moments of clarity and peace come when Bella focuses on Edward or his voice or something along those lines.

That is all lost on us when we read those moments from Jacob's point of view in Breaking Dawn. There is so much more conflict in those scenes by telling the story from Jacob's perspective. But in showing the conflict happening with in Jacob, we lose the love and compassion of Edward in those moments. But for me, as a reader, since I had read those moments from Bella's PoV, I still recalled them from her PoV when I read them from Jacob's PoV. I could still feel how Edward was falling in love with his daughter even though Jacob was there getting angrier by the minute. I discussed this with Openhome and she made the excellent point that the rest of the fandom didn't have the experience. All you got was the anger and the tension. And it makes me wonder... did the same thing happen with Stephenie? Since she had written it and seen it in her mind play out from Bella's PoV very lovingly, did she just assume the rest of the fandom would see that, too, even when told from Jake's aggressive PoV?

Also, just looking at Breaking Dawn itself, I never got the sense that Edward was absent. Openhome suggested that after Alice has her vision of the Volturi coming, that Edward is pretty much out of the story until the VERY end when he reads Bella's mind. I didn't see it like that. He stayed with Bella and Nessie as each of the witnesses arrived. And he has that fantastic line about being her father - not her creator! He's there as Bella is learning how to shield. He's there for Christmas. He's next to Bella in the battle, telling everyone what the thoughts of the Volturi and the Wolves are. How does this make him "absent?" Is it that Bella changes so much as a vampire, and essentially as a character, that she has more of a dominating presence in the story and Edward is more by her side than standing tall over her, protecting her?

The other side of it is that Stephenie fell out of love with Edward and came to love Jacob more than Edward. First off, I didn't get that from the interview in the guide. What I got was that she grew to love Jacob more than she expected. I don't think she ever flat out said that she loves Jacob more than Edward. Consider that in her original story line Edward never left Bella and Jacob was there to warn Bella, loving her the way a boy loves his high school crush, and that was the extent of it until he imprinted. Then in the process of expanding and deepening the story, Jacob became this huge, central character that was a foil for Edward and offered Bella a choice... Stephenie came to "meet" Jacob through the writing in a way that she didn't do with Edward. I think what Stephenie is saying is that she grew to love Jacob so much more than she expected. That her feelings for Jacob changed from liking him as a side character to loving him as a fully fleshed out character. It almost echos what Bella went through, doesn't it? Edward was always the central focus for Bella's love... but Jacob pushed his way in just enough to tempt her away. But he didn't. In the end it was Edward... because it was always Edward.

There was something else Openhome and I talked about that I can't remember. Hum. Maybe it was the point to the imprinting? I can't remember. She'll have to jump in here and tell me what it was! But for now, go ahead and chew on those thoughts for a moment.

Would it have made a big difference for you if you had seen those scenes from Edward's PoV? Would you change your opinion that Edward was "lost" in the book if you had seen how much time he spent with Bella? And why, exactly, do you think Stephenie fell out of love with Edward just because she loves Jacob? Make me see what you are seeing!
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Re: Explorations

Post by Jazz Girl » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:44 pm

Alphie~ I would first hazard to speak for a great majority of us and say you have been gifted with an experience that many of us would give our eye teeth for. I know I would. I think you have a very interesting supposition. Perhaps if we had seen those events through different eyes, through the scope of love and devotion rather than hate and rage, it could indeed make a difference. It would at least be an experiment I would gladly undertake, strictly for research purposes, of course. Oh who am I trying to kid. I'd probably sell my soul to get my hands on that original version.

For me, it was never a matter of Edward’s absence. It was a matter of him being supplanted. Every moment that should have been Edward’s, every moment between Bella & Edward that should have been beautiful and intimate between the two of them was overrun by Jacob and his moral superiority or his hatred or his prejudice or his self indulgence or his self importance. Or even by Rosealie and her all-consuming obsession. Moments between Bella & Edward & Renesmee that should have been sweet and joyous were overrun by Jacob and his sense of entitlement, or Leah and her bitterness.. And, I can’t say that it was the point of view either. Because the same was true in the first and the last books, as well as the second.

I never saw Bella’s strength as a vampire as anything other than exactly as it should have been. It’s what was needed to bring balance for them. I wanted to see her by his side, fighting with him, protecting their family as a team.

In the end, Stephanie never had to say that she ended up loving Jacob more than Edward (though I know that she said she would not have made the same choice Bella did). She showed us. Yes, Edward ends up with an amazing love with his soulmate, a beautiful daughter whom he worships and who makes his life more complete than he ever thought it could be, and a neverending future to make every wish he’s ever had come true. But, he’s earned it. He suffered for it, worked for it, been forced to look at everything he thought he was and knows he is and learn some fundamental truths for it, walked through fire for it. But, his future will always be complicated by the presence of the one person who threatened him, threatened that happiness and that love, who literally tortured him with a smile on his face. And there’s not a damn thing he can do about it except accept it with a smile. Because Jacob’s connection isn’t anything he had to work for or earn. His future was handed to him without so much as a finger lifted. In the end, Edward doesn’t lose his love to Jacob. But he has to hand over his daughter.
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Re: Explorations

Post by Alphie » Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:46 am

Trust me when I say that I am well aware how unique a perspective I have on this series! I've always felt like an outside to the fandom, if you can believe that! That I couldn't "play" the way I wanted to because of what I knew. And Stephenie warned me about that before she sent me anything. But I wouldn't change it now that it's nearly at an end.

Anyway...

I see your point about Edward having to always spend his life dealing with ths one person who almost cost him happiness and how it frustrates you. I guess I always imagined that the "perfect forever" that they get at the end includes Edward and Jacob letting bygones be bygones and moving on. But I think it's clear from the trailer of Breaking Dawn that that moment where they come to terms is going to take a while to get to. Edward throws Jacob across the room, and I am 99.9% certain that is his reaction to finding out about the imprinting.

It's for this idea that you have mentioned that I so so so so very much want another book! I speak totally from a place of supposition about this, but there has to be many complications that arise as Nessie grows up! Imagine her as an 6 year old looking like an 18 or 19 year old, as beautiful and mature as she is, and Jacob having to censer his thoughts about this beautiful girl because 1 - She is only 6 years old! and 2 - Edward can read his mind! Fan fiction gets it right, I think, when they show Edward not dealing with the sexy thoughts coming from both Jacob and Nessie as their relationship grows.

It's just another argument for the idea of free will. Not only was Jacob not really given a choice, but Edward and Bella weren't given one either when it comes to how they want to deal with Jacob. They either keep him around and keep Nessie happy, or watch Nessie be sad and long for Jacob if they send him away.

But on the flip side, I wonder if whatever plot Stephenie would have in store for these characters would put Jacob in a position to earn Edward's trust once and for all. I didn't think at the end of Breaking Dawn that Aro was just going to walk away from Nessie so easily. I can see how he wouldn't start a war over the immortal child concept, but Aro likes to collect talents people. Who is more talented than a hybrid vampire who can pass for a human, walk in the sun without giving away her supernatural qualities, and show people what she wants and have them respond favorably to it. Wouldn't Nessie be great at fishing for the Volturi? She wouldn't have to worry about how the sun would effect her, and with the touch of a hand she could show people that she wants them to come below on a tour with her. Because she is so charming and draws people in, they would willingly and happily go with her. So I absolutely think Aro is going to want Nessie for his own use at some point and it would be very possible that Jake might have something to do with stopping it from happening.

I'm pretty much writing fan fiction here, but I'm always trying to see the possibilities of why Stephenie write things the way she did. Having watched the building of the other books, I've heard her say more than once that this thing in part A has to happen so that part B can happen because she really sees them ending up at point C. I have always taken the ending of Breaking Dawn as the beginning of Nessie's story. AS much as Edward and Bella get their resolution, it is that much left open for how it will work out with Nessie and Huilen and Jacob and whatever else may come.

How far off topic did I go? I'm pretty sure I just rambled! LOL!
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