Explorations (**BD2 Movie Spoilers!**)

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Re: Explorations

Post by corona » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:30 pm

Alphie,

I would have loved to read the Forever Dawn draft, not only for the moment when Edward first hears his child, but also for the scene between Edward and Bella when he realizes that Bella wants to keep the child. Absolutely electrifying, with everyone forced to take sides. We need to be in Bella's head at that moment because she knows she is going to have to hurt Edward, but she is convinced she is making the right choice. So much is lost from that POV shift! And then the moment of truth when Edward is able to hear his child for the first time is, instead, witnessed through the eyes of Jacob who sees it as a betrayal. Bella's moment of vindication is at hand, she and Edward are finally back on the same page again, but we are unable to experience that with them because Jacob is disgusted and has to leave. It is difficult to shake the feeling that the intent of this POV shift is that Jacob's story is more important.

However, none of this is here or there. The story has been written, and I don't think that SM was necessarily wrong in what she did, because there are a lot of Jacob fans out there. But were there more Jacob fans before BD? I don't know. All I know is that I resented the POV shift because I didn't find Jacob likeable, at all. In his first chapter he confirms to us that he fully intended to kill Edward at that "joke of a wedding", except he was somehow caught in a phase-lock. We find out he has to suffer the inconviences that go along with having a wolf pack member imprint on your family, although Jacob is actually the least inconvenienced of all other known imprintings. Yet, he breaks Paul's nose for eating a bag of chips. Jacob knows that Paul won't fight back and that Rachel will be upset with him, so he leaves before being tempted to hit him again. This irony, later, is completely lost on him. His thoughts are ugly, uncharitable, and always filled with a bitter anger. Before his first chapter is through he is racing off to kill Edward, again. He does this alone, even though he wanted his fellow pack members to join in the fight and kill everyone including Bella.

I know SM calls him funny, sarcastic, and snarky, but that wasn't my reaction. However, despite everything I find repellant about Jacob, I don't consider him evil. Jacob's self-absorption, though, is staggering, which is why I find the imprinting reveal scene with Bella so viscerally disgusting. This is Jacob's final penultimate moment to demonstrate that he is actually growing up and learning responsibility, but it is beyond him to find one drop of consideration for Bella. There is no respect or tact on display; instead Jacob makes it quite clear that Renesmee is his, although he is willing to share her. Wow, that's very big of him. I wonder how he will react if he and Renesmee have a child and some members of the wolf pack want to pay a visit; I have a feeling his reaction to a possible imprinting will be very different, but then the rules always apply differently to him. It's understandable that he would lash out at Paul for eating his chips because, hey, it's Jacob's chips, Paul should understand that, but Edward and Bella just need to deal with him taking their child.

And that was the crux of the matter for me, that Jacob doesn't play by the same rules and, most importantly, that there are no consequences for this. Edward has his hellish moments in Eclipse, which often seemed to play out as a novel-length rebuke to him for leaving in New Moon. EC even ends with Edward sitting in torture for an entire night, ala NM, wondering where his future lies with Bella. All that I asked from Jacob was a simple acknowledgement that there were times that he crossed the line himself, but there is nothing. Edward hurts Bella = Bad. Jacob hurts Bella = Noble.

It isn't the actual imprinting, it is his actions and attitude during that scene. I just get the overwhelming feeling that a message is being sent, which is that Jacob is absolutely and utterly blameless for anything that he did. The scene even ends with Jacob off with Renesmee while Bella sits in a corner of shame.

I think the logical conclusion one can make is that Edward has done some bad things, so he must suffer the consequences, but since Jacob never suffers any consequences, he must therefore have done nothing wrong; ergo Jacob is the better man. Another conclusion (one I feel more comfortable with) is that SM was grateful to have this character develop for her, but felt bad having to drag him through the whole mess and so she completely absolves him. That doesn't quite explain all of Jacob's anger, though, so I theorize that Jacob also represents SM's conflict with Bella and her choice, and it was something that she wasn't going to apologize for.

Either way, I am sure that SM felt blindsided by much of the reaction, but can you see how many fans would get the impression that she loved Jacob more? Edward has flaws, but Jacob has none. Choosing Jacob is choosing Life, so choosing Edward is...

I've gone on too long again.
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Re: Explorations

Post by The Real Alice Cullen » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:56 pm

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Hi there everyone! I’m here to invite all of you to Edward’s 110th Birthday Party! Isn’t it wonderful? One-hundred-ten, and still going strong!

Anyway, we Cullens are opening a Birthday thread for him on the 20th, and we would LOVE for all of you to stop by and wish Edward a Happy Birthday with us!

This year, the Mods are not just allowing pictures of presents, they are allowing EVERYONE to make him a birthday card or greeting and post it as an image! Esme and I are so excited to see all your artistic creations!

Here are the boring details:
The banners MUST be rated PG, and must be appropriate for the Lexicon, of course :roll:
The banners must not be bigger than 640 X 400
You need to post the banner on another site (such as Photobucket or DeviantArt) and then link the image here.

So, everyone get creative, and let’s see what you can come up with!

Oh dear, I see where this is going... NO headboards!
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Re: Explorations

Post by StellaBlueBella » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:55 am

I am posting to confess to lurking on this thread... I really have been intending to make a proper post for some days now but time keeps slipping away so I will "briefly" throw a few thoughts out there:

1. JazzGirl: It's funny that the Volturi non-conflict in BD reminded you of the Civil War because it always reminded me of the Revolutionary War... I guess that was an obvious correlation to make but for me, it helps to understand why the other vampires were so willing to take risks and help defend Nessie. I mean, the Volturi has this like self-asserted illegitimate power, they have no true source of authority. They weren't elected nor even born into leadership roles. They are tyranical (sp?) and I think deep down most of the vampires realize it but have never felt they had the power to do anything about it but once they start to become organized and sense their power in numbers they become more confident and therefore more willing to take risks.

2. Nessie's gift(s). I felt this area was one of several that were left a bit mysterious. I will agree with Corona that there were unresolved issues but, I don't think this was unintentional. There definitely seem to be more than enough plot threads left with loose ends to justify another book. I do think they power of persuasion is a good Nessie gift theory... Maybe someday SM will be kind enough to eloborate.

3. The tricky one... Jacob vs Edward's "presence" in BD. Ok so here is were I will try to stay brief because it is late and I think really, I can be of two minds about this so I could possible ramble on endlessly, really I mean it. Plus, I haven't read their sections of the guide. I've mainly read about the smaller, lesser known characters so I could be missing some insight but here's my take on it...

We love Edward and will basically always want more of him, hence the enormous amounts of fanfic out there devoted to him. Could SM ever really give us enough Edward? Is such a thing even possible? And his POV is basically infinite. I read Midnight Sun and immediately went and re-read BD. All throughout my re-read I was thinking I would love to have an EPOV of the entire book but especially after Bella is turned. He must see and know so much more. I would have to go back and review in order to provide specific examples but the entire time, I felt these whispers or hints or clues that there were things going on that Edward knew that Bella did not. So, maybe it was a "technical decision". Either commit to tell SO much more story in order to have a more present Edward or limit his exposure. I mean lets not forget what he was off doing... Researching with Carlisle for away to understand Nessie's growth, etc. Some pretty serious work that honestly no one but Edward and Carlisle could do. Also, from a more technical standpoint, the conflict for Bella and Edward was resolving. I think SM had a choice to let that wrap up naturally or to keep it open by adding new conflict to the Edward and Bella story. I think the reason we have a more present Jake is because this is were the conflict still needs resolution. I think at some point SM expects us to trust Edward and Bella, to know they love eachother and Nessie. That doesn't mean we don't crave more Edward interaction or that we or SM love him any less... It's just that it was time to let the Edward and Bella story come to a natural conclusion. Jacob still needed some work to get to a good place.

4. Honestly, BD is my favorite book in the saga. I know I am alone on this little island. I think it's funny how everyone says BDs too perfect but yet there are still all these things to issue with.... Like Edward having to deal with Jacob forever. And how is poor Nessie supposed to mature into an adult women while her father can read her and any of her love interest's minds? I know I have heard other issues but, you all get my point right? Sure doesn't sound perfect to me.
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Re: Explorations

Post by Alphie » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:44 pm

Corona - I see what you are saying that Jacob doesn't have to face the same rules as Edward and how tortured Edward is while Jake is pretty carefree. I see that, I really do. But can it be argued that the reasoning behind that is simply... that is their character? Could it also have to do with the idea that Edward loves her more? And she loves Edward more? I've ALWAYS felt that no matter how much Jacob loved Bella that Edward loved her more. So it tortures him more and he goes into that dark mood. Where as Jacob wants her and lusts for her, but when the alternate path is shown to him, he bounces right into that other way of life without looking back because he no longer wants or lusts for Bella.

Stella - I don't hate Breaking Dawn! I like it and I got a big kick out of the Jacob sections... and out of the honeymoon! But I had a VERY different experience with it than the rest of the fandom. I liked the plot because I knew what was coming. I didn't even mind the happy ending! What I did mind was how it rambled. I felt it needed tightening and editing. I felt this way about Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows to some extent. Did BD REALLY have to be over 700 pages? REALLY? I don't think so. Thus, my issue with it is that there is a LOT of rehashing and restating that we didn't need. I think the movie will hurry those bits up and give us etra moments that are just more interesting - like the Volturi getting the wedding invite and such!
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Re: Explorations

Post by December » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:08 am

Alphie wrote:I felt this way about Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows to some extent.

Oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah. Do not start me on the parallels here. December in full-flung analytical mode -- it's not a pretty sight! (*grin*).

So much I want to say about all these conversations. Working on it! Like Knives, basically only flinging out a promissory note now, in the hopes of being back soon properly!
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Re: Explorations

Post by StellaBlueBella » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:58 am

December wrote:So much I want to say about all these conversations. Working on it! Like Knives, basically only flinging out a promissory note now, in the hopes of being back soon properly!
So good to see you here Ms Longa! Look forward to your thoughts but know how RL can be.... *sighs*
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Re: Explorations

Post by Knives » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:14 am

I'm back! With thoughts on Bella! Please, please forgive any unintentional insult this causes: I know many people, especially here, get defensive when I bring up what I see as flaws in Bella or her characterization, and none of this is meant as an attack on the readers, even if it does come across as an attack on the character (or the author).

I want to address some fundamentals on Bella, because there's several cases where SM tells the reader something (often attempting to invoke Word of God) and utterly and completely shows something else. So the questions I want to ask are: Is Bella a strong character? Is Bella a particularly memorable character on her own virtues? Does Bella participate equally in her significant relationships?
Is Bella a strong character? Is Bella a particularly memorable character on her own virtues?
SMeyer's Answer: Yes. Ms. Meyer is repeatedly on-record comparing Bella to classical heroines such as those written by Jane Austin (comparisons to Wuthering Heights [Yes, I know, different author] are also fairly common). Ms. Meyer feels that Bella is a strong character that has a significant impact on the story world around her via her own merits.

Knives Says: You're Kidding, Right? Bella begins the series from a position of weakness (leaving one parent to go to a place she doesn't like with the parent she doesn't prefer) and doesn't really get any stronger from there. From the moment she first claps eyes on Edward (after pages upon pages of self-esteem issues and teen angst despite inexplicable interest from every single male but her father and Jacob's father, including her biology teacher) her focus is on him. Edward then proceeds to control and direct their every interaction through the book, and when Bella finally gets to make a choice on her own merits (when James kidnaps her mother) she doesn't just make the wrong choice, she makes the stupid choice. It wasn't noble and it wasn't valorous; she did the dumb thing by walking right into what she knew was a trap without calling for backup and without telling anyone and she got ripped to shreds for it and was lucky to survive.

The dynamic this establishes repeats itself through the entire series. Edward leaves Bella in New Moon; she turns into an emotional husk, capable only of stringing Jacob along like a punk and engaging in borderline-to-actual suicidal behavior (I've heard all the rationales before; that cliff dive was a suicide attempt, plain and simple, and you aren't changing my mind on that). She does nothing on her own merits and doesn't interact with anyone but Jacob until she finally goes to Italy to rescue Edward from an untimely suicide attempt (side note: great way to glorify suicide, making it seem romantic and cool instead of selfish and damaged), after which she instantly and without hesitation forgives him for the pain and cruelty he put her through.

These kinds of situations repeat in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn; Bella lets others control her life and whenever she gets to make her own decision she doesn't make the noble, right, or smart decision - she goes for Option Four: The Dumbest Thing She Could Possibly Do. The fact that the things she does are intentionally self-sacrificing does not diminish the fact that they're so overwhelmingly lacking in thought or intelligence that even the other characters in the books comment on them. Her weakness both as a person and as a character is so blindingly manifest to me that I am honestly putting out an open call for someone to point out a positive or, heck, simply defining trait that marks Bella Swan as being different from Generic Victorian Heroine #626.
Does Bella participate equally in her significant relationships?
SMeyer's Answer: Strictly speaking, dead silence, though she implies that Bella is supposed to be an equal partner in her relationship with Edward with some of the language she uses when talking about their relationship.

Knives Says: No, Not Really: Again, Edward is in complete control of all aspects of his relationship with Bella until she becomes a vampire, from every moment of intimate contact to the dates and times of their meetings. It was his decision to end their relationship in the second book (and, again, the method by which he did so was cruel, unusual, and to me an unforgivable breach of trust) and it was him that forced Bella's hand with regards to marriage with his ultimatums (which she caves to without a thought or word of protest, I might add). Her relationship with Jacob is similar, if slightly less one-sided. Bella is utterly submissive in just about every significant relationship she has, except for her dysfunctional parental relationships (both parents are astoundingly irresponsible and uninvolved in her life; in fact, in those terms the depiction of Charlie in Vampires Suck wasn't too far off the mark, if slightly exaggerated. Side note: "Dinner is in the oven. Weed is in the top drawer!" made me laugh so hard I cried). Now, this isn't a question of Bella needing to be dominant in her relationships or even in only some of them, but as I've read it, Bella's barely even a participant for how much input she actually gets - she's just a tagalong, an extra in the story of her own life.
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Re: Explorations

Post by Jazz Girl » Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:54 am

Knives~ Welcome back. Let me first wish you a happy Father's Day, as I'm betting that the reason you were awake to post at 1 am on this fine morning was the lovely bundle. I should clarify, though, that it is not necessarily your aspersions on Bella’s character that some of us mind, it is the way in which you cast them. It must be said that simply saying you mean no offense does not avoid the offense being taken. That being said, many of us have grown thick enough skin to handle what I’m sure are unintentional barbs just below the surface of many of your arguments.

To your latest questions; I suppose, as with all things, it depends upon point of view. Often, what one person sees as weakness, others see as strength. For instance, your first example of Bella's weakness; leaving Phoenix and Renee for Forks and Charlie, I see as one of her many strengths. Self-sacrifice is not always a bad thing. Wanting the happiness of others is not a bad thing. Yes, I totally agree that doing so at the complete sacrifice of your own happiness is a bad thing. However, Bella does not do so. In fact, she does the opposite. She finds greater happiness than she ever thought possible. Does she suffer to earn it? Yes. But, in the end, it is Bella who ends up with everything she wants. And, she doesn’t have to kill anyone, run rough-shod over their feelings, or do anything that most people question as immoral or unethical to get it. I call that both strong and memorable.

First, to Bella’s self esteem and her lack of it, I can only say to you that, rather like a man’s understanding of pregnancy, unless you’ve been a shy, 17-year-old girl, you cannot understand her point of view, period. No matter how much you say you understand the psyche of the average adolescent girl, you simply cannot. Why doesn’t Bella’s total obliviousness to the male attention she gets surprise most women? Because we understand that, when you are concerned with blending in and dealing with what is right in front of your face, you just do not see those things. There is an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (ironic, I know) that sums it up perfectly. In the episode, a student at Sunnydale High contemplates suicide because he feels invisible. Plainly, he’s pissed because no one notices him or how much pain he’s in. As Buffy so succinctly puts it, most teenagers are too wrapped up in their own misery to notice anyone else’s. That Bella is so self-sacrificing is something that stands out about her, makes her memorable. She may be oblivious to what others see as special about her. But, she is not oblivious to others’ pain and suffering and she will work to prevent it.

I will say that I find it highly ironic that you see the power dynamic between Edward & Bella as a very bad thing, right up until it suits your argument to say that Bella should have accepted and surrendered to it. But, I will get to that in a minute. Was Bella going to the ballet studio the best decision? Maybe yes, maybe no. Based on the information Bella had access to at the time, she made the only decision she thought she could to protect the most people she loved. Or, to use terms of military strategy; sacrifice one to save many. Personally, I cannot remember any other Generic Victorian Heroines willing to give so much of themselves.

As for Bella’s actions in New Moon, I think surviving, day after day, putting on a face, no matter what face it is, again for the good of her loved ones, WAS something done on her own merits. She is a shell of herself. But, the kind of grief she suffered can take much work and time to pull out of. I know that you don’t agree with the characterization, but unless you at least attempt to see it from Bella’s perspective, you cannot ever understand. Bella’s world was shattered as if someone had died. She was not grieving the loss of her high school boyfriend (which would have been difficult enough). She was grieving the loss of her entire future. We witnessed about 6 months of her grief, a process that can and does often take several years to completely work through. Whether you want to change your position or not on her adrenaline-seeking behavior is rather irrelevant. Even therapists and psychologists differ on what it was. Again, unless you are open to other possibilities, you cannot ever see the other side. Forgiving Edward… well, what would you have had her do? Do I agree that there needed to be more discussion? Absolutely. Do I agree that Edward needed to, at the very least, earn back her trust, atone for his rash decision? Absolutely. What do you think Eclipse was? But, in the end, another very memorable trait that I see in Bella is her ability to cut through the unnecessary and get down to the heart of the issue. Bella has an acute understanding of what she is willing to fight over, fight for, and what she’s not. Bottom line; she knows she loves Edward and that he is the future she wants, she knows she’ll forgive him and that he will earn her trust back. So, where is the value in hurting herself and people she loves by making them think she won’t. Cut through the BS and be as happy as you can while you work it out in your own way. To me, another very memorable thing about Bella.

I’m not sure I understand what you mean by her making the dumbest possible choice she could make, therefore I don’t have a good argument against that extreme generalization. Looking at her decisions in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, there are many to evaluate. But, if we stick to the big ones… 1) Choosing to maintain a friendship with Jacob despite Edward’s objections; a choice based on wanting independence and caring about her friend. Well, unless you are reverting back to agreeing with Edward’s initial reaction that the shapeshifters are too dangerous to interact with, I don’t see anything dumb about that decision. 2) Choosing to be present for the life-and-death battle between her family and friends and the army trying to destroy her. An emotional decision, to be sure. However, I will never fault a choice to be strong and present over being weak and hiding. So, I can’t see why that might be called dumb. 3) Choosing to marry Edward. Determining the course of one’s own life and pursuing the happiness you want. Again, not seeing the dumb there. Just because it is a choice you do not agree with does not make it the less intelligent choice. As FilmCharlie so wisely states, “sometimes the right choice for one person isn’t always the right choice for someone else.” 4) Choosing to consummate her marriage with Edward. Again, determining one’s own life and happiness is never dumb. Neither is having faith in the people you love. 5) Choosing to carry her child to term and try to give birth despite the risk to her life. That is a choice that women across the globe struggle with every day. No one but Bella has the right to make that choice and whatever the decision, it is never dumb. 6) Choosing to fight by her husband’s and family’s sides to ensure the safety of her daughter. A mother’s fierce protection of her child is never questionable. Maybe if you gave specific examples, I could provide better argument.

As to Bella’s relationships and the power dynamics within them, again, I think you give in to surface generalization. The “reality” of Edward&Bella’s relationship gives a natural power dynamic. The mere existence of a power differential does not, in and of itself, make it a bad thing. Power differentials exist in every relationship, often several within one relationship. It is in how the power is used within the relationship and with the partner that matters. You see Edward controlling every aspect of their relationship, determining its course and speed. And yet, you refuse to acknowledge that it is Bella that set its ultimate course from the word go. She set down what she wanted from Edward from the start of their relationship. And, what she wanted went against every belief and played into every fear that Edward ever had. And yet, he tried to find the middle ground, always. Yes, Edward left in New Moon. He made a unilateral decision based on his fears of hurting Bella. Does he not have the right to determine his own life’s course, just as Bella does? It is Bella’s extreme reaction to his leaving that causes most to view his decision differently than, say, if he had just “broken up” with her. When he returned, yes, he took steps to control the development of their relationship, to try and find the middle ground between what Bella adamantly insisted upon and what he could live with. Again, does Edward have less right to determine the course of his future? You say Bella acquiesced to Edward’s ultimatums and plans without thought or word of protest. But, you are reading through tinted glasses. Edward had his on sensibilities and his own wishes and he expressed them. They discussed their mutual hang-ups, desires, needs. Bella gave her own ultimatums. And over and over, HE acquiesced to BELLA’s demands. In the end, what they did is called a compromise; fairly common between individuals, particularly those in a committed relationship, who have equal vested interest in what happens.

Bella’s relationship with Jacob, to my mind and not surprisingly, was on much less equal footing. But, I ascribe much of that to the facts that, a) Bella and Jacob bonded at a time of extreme emotional stress for Bella, and b) Bella’s guilt over how she treated Jacob would not let her push for the equal power she did with Edward. Bella does allow Jacob to push the boundaries over and over with Jacob without taking him to task, making him accept responsibility or even significantly pushing back. It is, in fact, one of the many reasons why so many fans of the book really dislike Jacob. Where Edward answers for all his wrongs, acknowledges every debt he owes, and sees his every mistake, Jacob never has to because Bella never makes him. Her guilt over his pain is so severe that she allows him to take liberty after liberty that she never should. My one hope was always that her mothering instinct overrode her guilt so that she forced him to man up with her daughter where he would not with her.

In the end, it comes back to the same thing it so often does. If you are willing to see and accept an interpretation or evaluation of things that differs from yours, then many of your questions have well-reasoned and lovely answers. Even in sweeping generalizations and round about interpretations, light can be found from dark. But, that is a determination that can only be made by you.
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Re: Explorations

Post by December » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:44 am

Posting on the fly here! Two quick thoughts:

1) the usual reminder to you all: it can be hard to match up tone and goodwill. I know everyone on this thread is here in friendliness and good faith -- please keep working at making sure that comes through in how you express yourself! And remember that the less you let your irritation -- with the author, with the characters, with each other, with the weather, whatever! -- show in what you write, the nicer it is for everyone reading the thread.

2) About compromise. I have to confess (no surprise here, I guess) that agree with JG that if you stop to think about the many, many ways that, over time, Edward gives in to Bella -- or comes round to her way of thinking -- it's hard to see their give and take as a one-way street. Right from the start, Edward knows exactly what he ought to do: leave Bella alone to get on with her life. Never ever change her into vampire. Postpone having sex until they are married. Postpone having sex until she is safely immortal* One by one, every resolution he makes crumbles in the face of his love for her.

Wish I could write more, but family clamouring. It's the all-important A-Level exam period here at the moment and my time is not my own! Nice to see you back, Knives.
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Re: Explorations

Post by December » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:56 am

Just a note to say: a discussion along very similar lines to the recent conversation here about Jake and immortality and Stephenie's ambivalence also cropped up on the Edward Cullen thread. I've now pulled both convos together in a new Ambivalences thread, so we can carry on discussing that topic in one place.
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