Twilight: Privilege Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

Content Note: Vehicle Collision, Cultural Appropriation, Brain Damage, Abusive Relationships

Twilight Recap: Edward and Bella have concluded their dinner conversation and are heading back to Bella's house. 

Twilight, Chapter 9: Theory

   "CAN I ASK JUST ONE MORE?" I PLEADED AS EDWARD accelerated much too quickly down the quiet street. He didn't seem to be paying any attention to the road.

Edward is telepathic, so he doesn't actually have to look at the road while he drives. He can instead just piece together a conglomerate vision of the road based on what he pulls from the heads of those around him. In this case, his passenger has a mind-shield that blocks him from reading her thoughts, and it's late in the evening so that they're the only car on the road, so it makes perfect sense that he wouldn't need to look at the road and can instead be freed up for soulful eye-gazing with Bella.


   "Well . . . you said you knew I hadn't gone into the bookstore, and that I had gone south. I was just wondering how you knew that."
    He looked away, deliberating.
   "I thought we were past all the evasiveness," I grumbled. [...]
  "Fine, then. I followed your scent." He looked at the road, giving me time to compose my face.

It's important to remember that at this point in the conversation, the word 'vampire' has not been uttered. Edward has been and will continue to blithely fill Bella in on all the details of his telepathic powers and how they work and why (according to his guess) she's immune from his telepathic monitoring, and he will explain to her that she has a persistent 'scent' that he can follow, but he will not tell her that he is a vampire, by god.

His secret is safe.

And it's important to note that because it is the fact that Edward cannot say "I am a vampire" that led to the entire existence of Jacob Black and his fictional instance of the real world Quileute tribe.

  SM: Jacob was an afterthought. He wasn't supposed to exist in the original story. When I wrote the second half of Twilight first, there was no Jacob character. He started to exist about the point where I kind of hit a bit of a wall: I could not make Edward say the words I'm a vampire. There was no way that was ever coming out of his mouth -- he couldn't do it. And that goes back to what we were talking about with characters. You know, he had been keeping the truth about himself secret for so long, and it was something he was so... unhappy about, and devastated about. He would never have been able to tell her.

This is what makes Edward Cullen a complex, tortured character: He can explain scenting out humans for tracking, and he can explain magical vampire telepathy powers, but he can't bring up vampirism because that particular secret is beyond the possibility of being broached. So, naturally, it's necessary to invent a person of color character for the sole purpose of dispensing this ancient mystical knowledge to the white heroine. Like you do.

   "Why do you think you can't hear me?" I asked curiously.
   "I don't know," he murmured. "The only guess I have is that maybe your mind doesn't work the same way the rest of theirs do. Like your thoughts are on the AM frequency and I'm only getting FM." He grinned at me, suddenly amused.
   "My mind doesn't work right? I'm a freak?" The words bothered me more than they should -- probably because his speculation hit home. I'd always suspected as much, and it embarrassed me to have it confirmed.
   "I hear voices in my mind and you're worried that you're the freak," he laughed. "Don't worry, it's just a theory. . . ." His face tightened. "Which brings us back to you."

Probably Edward is supposed to be read here as reassuring -- you're not the freak, I'm the freak -- but I feel like he's being really dismissive of Bella's genuine concern. She really does believe that Edward can read minds -- she was the one who even brought up the subject, that's how convinced she was -- but she's also noticed that her mind seems to be immune to his powers. The only guess he can offer her is that maybe she's differently, mentally, from everyone else on earth.

Alright, so she's a Unique Butterfly Snowflake, but that's not always a good thing. Bella has to be wondering what that means -- and if it's dangerous. Is there something wrong with her brain? Does she have a brain tumor or is she wired in such a way that she's a danger to herself and others? And where did she get this from, if Charlie is (presumably) not shielded like her? Should she bring Renee up to Forks for a visit and see if Edward can read her mind?

Edward's brush-off of this question doesn't feel reassuring because he's once again redefining the situation to be about him. She shouldn't worry about her brain being unique; how does she think he feels, being the 'freak' who reads minds? Well, Edward, I imagine you feel like a smug, superior vampire 24-7, since you ask, and I additionally imagine that you like being able to read everyone else's minds. So, I'm not really appreciating your let's talk about how I feel act.

   I looked away from his face for the first time, trying to find words. I happened to notice the speedometer.
   "Holy crow!" I shouted. "Slow down!"
   "What's wrong?" He was startled. But the car didn't decelerate.

Oh. My. God. How much do I hate Edward Cullen right now? So much. Not only is he driving unsafely -- which, by the way, he's totally driving unsafely -- but when Bella yells at him in panic to slow down and when, were this an actual emergency, every moment counts, he refuses to respond and instead demands that she take more time and use more words to convince him that her concern is appropriate.

This is condescending and dangerous and careless and disrespectful.

   "You're going a hundred miles an hour!" I was still shouting. I shot a panicky glance out the window, but it was too dark to see much. The road was only visible in the long patch of bluish brightness from the headlights. The forest along both sides of the road was like a black wall -- as hard as a wall of steel if we veered off the road at this speed.
   "Relax, Bella." He rolled his eyes, still not slowing.
   "Are you trying to kill us?" I demanded.
   "We're not going to crash."
   I tried to modulate my voice. "Why are you in such a hurry?"
   "I always drive like this." He turned to smile crookedly at me.
   "Keep your eyes on the road!"
   "I've never been in an accident, Bella -- I've never even gotten a ticket." He grinned and tapped his forehead. "Built-in radar detector."
   "Very funny." I fumed. "Charlie's a cop, remember? I was raised to abide by traffic laws. Besides, if you turn us into a Volvo pretzel around a tree trunk, you can probably just walk away."
   "Probably," he agreed with a short, hard laugh. "But you can't." He sighed, and I watched with relief as the needle gradually drifted toward eighty. "Happy?"
   "I hate driving slow," he muttered.

Minimizing of fears, check. Intimidation by refusing to slow to a speed she's comfortable with, check. Coercion by refusing to provide her an alternate ride home, check. Putting her down by rolling his eyes at her, check. Flaunting of privilege, check.

This is what an abusive relationship looks like.

There's no reason for Edward to behave like this, at least not within the text. Sure, he could walk away from a car wreck, but he'd be hard pressed to explain to the local authorities -- who must, at least, be familiar with car collisions and the basic physics involved -- how he managed to careen his car at 100 mph into the trees without himself sustaining a single scratch or injury. What's he going to do in that case? Fake his own death somehow? It still means that the Cullens will have to pick up and move if Edward wants to ever leave the house again -- so essentially he's playing with the Worst Case Scenario of having to start over in a new town every time he drives his car.

Which would not, perhaps, be that big a deal except that this Worst Case Scenario is the big reason why his family initially objected to him spending time with Bella -- they didn't want to have to pick up and move again. So basically the big tension of their lives -- will people discover us and force us to go on the lam? -- means little to them in the face of driving safely enough that they don't seriously injure or kill their captive passengers.

For that matter, why do all the Cullens drive so fast? Why are they in a hurry at all? I thought being immortal was supposed to make one more patient, not less so. They've got nowhere to be, nothing important to do, they spend the bulk of their time lounging around in conversation or listening to music, and they're essentially just taking eternity at ease. There's no reason I can see for this rush except that it underscores that the Cullens are so privileged that traffic laws do not apply to them. They're one step away from having their own moon mansion, too, I'm sure. 

   "I won't laugh," he promised.
   "I'm more afraid that you'll be angry with me." [...]
   "Why don't you start at the beginning . . . you said you didn't come up with this on your own."

   "What got you started -- a book? A movie?" he probed.
   "No -- it was Saturday, at the beach." I risked a glance up at his face. He looked puzzled.
   "I ran into an old family friend -- Jacob Black," I continued. "His dad and Charlie have been friends since I was a baby."
   He still looked confused.
   "His dad is one of the Quileute elders." I watched him carefully. His confused expression froze in place. "We went for a walk --" I edited all my scheming out of the story "-- and he was telling me some old legends -- trying to scare me, I think. He told me one . . ." I hesitated.
   "Go on," he said.
   "About vampires." I realized I was whispering. I couldn't look at his face now. But I saw his knuckles tighten convulsively on the wheel.
   "And you immediately thought of me?" Still calm.
   "No. He . . . mentioned your family."
   He was silent, staring at the road.
   I was worried suddenly, worried about protecting Jacob.


When Jacob told Bella the Legend of Pretty Vampires, he told her in confidence. He told her that his tribe had a treaty with the immortal vampires, and that the one term of that treaty that the Quileute people had to honor was to not tell non-Quileute people that vampires exist or that they are named "Cullen" or that they live at 666 Blooddrinkers Drive. Jacob broke that treaty by telling Bella all this, and then he confessed to her a genuine discomfort that he'd done so.

And she told him that she would "take [his secret] to the grave".

A lot of hay -- possibly too much, in my opinion -- is made over the fact that the Twilight series is about a young woman hurtling to her own death with as much enthusiasm and single-mindedness as she can muster. I don't really have so much of a problem with this, because I do see Twilight as something of an Otherkin "vampire in a human body" story, based on Bella's dropped hints above about always feeling different and never quite being sure why.

I also don't necessarily have a problem right off the bat with Bella pursuing a relationship with a being who can potentially cause great harm to her and her family. I frankly wish it was mentioned in the narrative more and I wish it were worked out more openly in her characterization and motivation because I feel like that would be a realistic response, but at the end of the day it's worth noting that pretty much anyone on earth can hurt us, and the answer to that is not necessarily to therefore cut off all social contact with everyone. Yes, Bella's boyfriend of choice here could haul off and decide to murder her, but that statement is not -- strictly speaking -- any less true for any other eligible man in Forks.

But what I do have a problem with is how cavalier Bella is about the safety of others as she navigates this world of vampires. She believes that the Cullens are vampires and she believes Edward is a Good Vampire. That's fine and dandy, but she doesn't know anything about the other Cullens -- she's only ever spoken to Carlisle and he spent the entire meeting lying through his teeth to her. Yet here she is using Jacob as a shield in order to broach the topic of vampires with Edward. Despite the fact that she swore she wouldn't; despite the fact that she has no idea what the terms of the treaty were. Maybe the Cullens are honor bound by the pact to solemnly kill the Quileute people now, who knows? Bella doesn't.

She didn't need to bring him into this. She could have said she was searching the internet for Edward's "symptoms" and stumbled onto a vampire site. She could truthfully say that she had a dream. Why not? We're already talking about telepathy as a real thing, so why not a portentous psychic dream? Edward would believe her -- he's got a psychic sister, after all. She could have honestly said "Someone told me something that got me on the right track, but they don't know about you and I'm sworn not to share their secret." Edward, of all people, should respect that from her -- after all, she's also sworn not to share his secret, after she told him in the hospital that she wouldn't.

Instead, she sings like a canary here because she doesn't consider keeping Jacob Black's secret and his family safe to be more important than the immediate gratification of confronting Edward. And if I had a secret to be kept and a family to keep safe, I'd think twice about associating further with someone who does that, even if I believed they were spilling the beans in good faith. If you've been protecting your secret for so long that you can't even physically say the secret, you'd probably notice things like that. Well, I would, anyway.

But Edward doesn't mind here because Bella hasn't really breached a trust. Jacob isn't a real person in this case any more than his tribe was considered to be real people when they promised not to tell the white people about the Cullens' secret, which of course only worked as a threat because the Volturi didn't want people to know and, by people, we mean real White People. To quote myself

And before someone says, "well, clearly the Volturi are racist", that is not a hand-wave. Information is fluid. It doesn't matter if Racist Volturi Voltronsalot doesn't care whether or not a brown person knows that he is a vampire. He is still going to care that the brown person could tell someone. So, no, the Volturi being racist doesn't solve the problem one little bit, even if it were hand-waved that way in-text which as far as I know, it's not. It's just world-building that was written by someone who forgot that when crafting the vampire rule of "people can't know", that said framing didn't take into account that actually quite a lot of people already know, it's just that apparently you sort of failed to think of them that way because they're magical minority characters designed to dispense information and do the wash. 

Yes, Jacob Black broke the treaty, but the person he told is practically an honorary Cullen already. So that doesn't matter. And, yes, Bella doesn't keep Jacob's secrets yet sees no irony in expecting Edward to trust her with his secrets, because obviously telling the secrets of a person-of-color invented solely for the purpose of dispensing the secret in the first place is totally different from keeping the secrets of the privileged vampire who can kill Jacob with a flick of his wrist and then disappear into the Alaskan wilderness without a trace. Naturally.

By the way, to the best of my knowledge, Jacob doesn't appear again in this book. Bella will not rush home to warn him that she broke his trust and shared his confidence with Edward. She won't give him the heads-up that she thinks it will be alright, but that just in case he might want to lay low for awhile. She won't check to be sure that he and his family are safe and don't all suffer an 'accident' for their indiscretion. I'm pretty sure she doesn't waste another thought on him or on her betrayal of his trust.

Why should she? Privilege means she doesn't have to worry about little stuff like that, just like Edward's privilege means he can drive however dangerously he wants and Bella can learn to know her place and hold her tongue.


Nathaniel said...

Yes! Join us in our hate! We loves it very much.

Edward's such a jerk I half expect him to chide her for having "irrational fears" from his driving. Cause that's the sort of thing that always makes people feel better.

On a more minor note, Jacob does show up again, right at the end. He's at Bella's prom, mostly to reassure the reader that all the boys still want her, yes they do.

Beroli said...

Probably Edward is supposed to be read here as reassuring -- you're not the freak, I'm the freak --
Rather, both Edward and Bella have a very firm, bedrock belief that "everyone in the world is better than me and knows it, particularly Bella/Edward." Edward isn't addressing Bella's concern that there's anything wrong with her because Bella thinking she's less than perfect clashes with his mental concept of reality and loses.

For that matter, why do all the Cullens drive so fast?

Hilarious as the image of Alice skipping with Bella's truck over her head is, I'm pretty sure the answer, to this and to the "silent truck" question earlier, is that Stephenie Meyer wanted to write books about super-fast, super-silent vampires, and responded to any part of her mind that tried to point out that a vampire's reflexes/silence cannot be exactly the same in a vehicle as on foot with, "Shut up."

Edward and the vampires in general don't plan for "What if I actually do crash the car?" for the same reason I don't plan for, "What if there are Martians in my cereal?" Who plans for things that can't happen? And as long as Stephenie Meyer is the one writing the books, a vampire driver getting in a car accident is less likely than Martians in my cereal.

chris the cynic said...

I could not make Edward say the words I'm a vampire.

I have the TV on, right after reading that I heard the words, "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means."

"Holy crow!"

Bella is clearly a worshiper of rainbow crow, by whose sacrifice winter was prevented from destroying the world. It is unfortunate that the crow's feathers were singed black and the crow's beautiful voice became significantly less so, but given that those things were, basically, traded for the life of all things on earth (or at least the end of the White Witch's reign) the crow gained the eternal gratitude of all who hear the story.


Meyer said that Jacob wasn't supposed to show up outside of that one chapter originally, but she had already started on New Moon when she was doing revisions of Twilight and added in some more Jacob and Quileute to the Twilight as a result. He does appear at least once more, I think twice. Pretty sure that Bella doesn't tell him a damned thing in those appearances.

Omskivar said...

The thing is, Meyer already wrote super-fast, silent vampires. In Midnight Sun Edward mentions running to Alaska in one night - clearly if they like going fast, they should stick to running since a car is unlikely to reach vampire running speeds. So she really shot herself in the foot there, I think.

Omskivar said...

I know Jacob shows up at the end when Bella and Edward go to prom, dances with Bella, and warns her to stay away from Edward. She definitely doesn't tell him then. I don't think he shows up at any other time in the book, but I can't be certain.

JonathanPelikan said...

Oh, man. I've hated Edward and Bella for the longest time, but my only real thorough read (of an online PDF of it) stopped at, about, the car accident in the parking lot, so apparently I missed the really good (soul crushingly turrible) stuff.

(Yes, I know that I should read the whole thing before bashing the Hells out of it, but probably the biggest single reason I stopped and could not go on was that Bella's perspective and her thoughts towards every single sapient being who had the gall to commit the unpardonable offense of not being Cullen and Perfect.)

It's gotten to such extreme Bad levels that I'm legitimately surprised and impressed when Edward does, finally, agree to slow down a bit and take that bit of unnecessary terror and risk away.

chris the cynic said...

That's the "at least once" I was talking about, the other time is Chapter 12: Balancing.

The Google books search is messed up for Twilight* at the moment so I was reduced to flipping thorough the book at random hoping to bump into something to find that.

That time didn't have the conversation I was thinking of, so I looked some more, Chapter 17: The Game.


*It's mixing with some other book, one which has a character called "Jacob Lucas." Jacob Lucas lives in a very different dialect. For example:
"Jacob," his mother's gaze held his," hast thou been tormenting thy sister?"

Jacob Lucas' story also appears to be Mormon in nature, and I wonder if google somehow got their Mormon stories crossed.

depizan said...

Vampire driving is a classic case of explaining makes it worse. While the idea of pulling the info from a bunch of people's heads is interesting - and could be used to great effect in a superpowered spy thriller or in a super-variant of Holmes' fighting method in the new movies - it makes almost no sense for driving. Even in a crowded city, with lots of people paying attention to various degrees to the road, there's still the fact that they are paying attention from completely different vantage points. Assembling all their visions into one picture and figuring out how that relates to where you are is a superpower all by itself. And seems like far more work than simply, you know, watching the road.

The. Meyer promptly has Edward do it in what I'm fairly certain is not only a fairly low traffic area, but a wooded area. Not only is there no one around to mind read (except animals, which, even if he can, introduces whole new levels of effort to his power), but the likely hazards are the aforementioned animals, trees, road damage, and drunk drivers - only the last of which could his powers help with. Not only that, but he has to be assumed (or did he actually state that he is?) driving from memory. I challenge Meyer to blindfold herself and attempt to navigate her -house- from memory while carrying on a conversation with someone. I know vampires are super and all, but I think she's vastly underestimating how much would go into what she's having them do. And for no reason.

Mostly I just feel like ranting about ridiculous vampire behavior/powers because discussing what's wrong with everything else is too annoying at the moment.

thousand said...

Wow. I feel sort of bad for you, Ana, that you are subjecting yourself to this tripe for the sake of us blog-readers. That said, your dissection is quite amusing and interesting.

The unconscious privilege shown by the protagonist and other characters in this story is immense. I'm really starting to loathe them, even though I have never read the books personally. Perhaps if you read it without stopping to consider all of it piece by piece it's less horrible?

Meyers really seems like one of those authors who writes stuff without thinking through the background information at all well or in detail, or thinking through the actual motivations and senses of minor characters and what a scene would look like from outside her characters' sheltered, privileged worldview. You'd think she would have gotten at least one editor or beta-reader who would suggest to her, "These characters are annoying pricks and there's a huge amount of ... problematic ... material in these books, you ought to consider revising it.", but apparently not.

Something that occurred to me when seeing this review and the Bella & Edward discussion of her immunity to mind reading: Bella Swan, the only Philosophical Zombie in the world.

Rikalous said...

They're one step away from having their own moon mansion, too, I'm sure.

I doubt it. Dracula probably wouldn't appreciate the new neighbors.

Silver Adept said...

A stray thought strikes me -

Edward is nominally trying to drive Bella away from him before his urge to kill and drink her sweet, sweet, blood overcomes him and he can't help himself, correct?

Now, for whatever reason, (enchantment in the manner of Beauty and the Beast, maybe?) maybe it's not possible for Edward to let someone else kill her or otherwise force Bella to be without him, because he timeloops and has to start again every time he lets it go that way. Edward is supposedly full of self-loathing. Maybe enough that he wants to deliberately fail the True Love test and be consigned to nothingness.

What if Edward's ineffectual gaslighting, bad Masquerade, and persistent rudeness, endangerment, and belittling are his sincere attempts to get Bella to declare she hates him and that she wants to go back to Renee and Phil, so he can fail and finally die?

What if Bella is just too dense to catch on? (Or, much to Edward's silent horror, Bella really is vampire Otherkin and his attempts to make her fear for her life only make her cling tighter, even if her bodily instincts are saying "He's going to kill us!")

Makabit said...

I do see Twilight as something of an Otherkin "vampire in a human body" story, based on Bella's dropped hints above about always feeling different and never quite being sure why.

Unfortunately, always feeling different and never being sure why may be indicators of being Otherkin, but they're also well-known indicators of being a sixteen-year-old human. I mean, I sort of like the idea that she's really supposed to be a vampire, but then again, I, and practically all of my friends, would have signed up for 'always so different, reasons so mysterious' at that age, and I, at least, am a homo sapiens sapiens. If any of them aren't, they haven't mentioned it to me.

mandassassin said...

Hmmm... I wonder if, in-universe, the Volturi don't care so much about the color of people who know about vampires so much as the supernatural race of the people who know about vampires. There's definitely the possibility of mutual blackmail here: if the Quileute out the vampires, the vampires could out the Quileute werewolves. I have no idea if Meyer thought this way or not, but it would explain the contradiction of "no one can know/except PoC".
It doesn't excuse the mystical Native tropes she uses, but it does make just a little more sense in terms of world-building.

chris the cynic said...

They don't know yet.

True werewolves are to be slaughtered on sight, the Quileute are not known.

When their existence comes to light in Breaking Dawn (this is the only part of Breaking Dawn I've read) their responses are like this:

Initial response is: Werewolves! We must kill them.
Edward: No. They're shapeshifters that can only shift into one shape, that shape being a wolf. Totally different.
Second response: Well maybe they're not werewolves, but they're not vampires either. Someone who isn't a vampire knows our secret, this a offense punishable by death! Death I tell you.
Third response: Lay off jerkface, if they expose us we'll expose them. It's mutually assured not really destruction because there's not thing the humans can do to hurt us. So our secret is, like, totally safe with them.
Fourth response: Fine! But I'm not leaving without killing someone. You there, would you rather that you die, or your friends die?

Which is to say, almost immediately they ended up bickering amount themselves and couldn't even fake having a united front. Still, they don't know about the Quileute yet, and definitely have no signed off on them knowing about vampires.

mandassassin said...

Ah... right. It's been way too long since I read the other books in the series. ^_^() Well, in that case, it would have made more sense if it were a mutually assured not-exactly destruction scenario from the beginning, but not so much the way it actually worked out.

Ana Mardoll said...

Whoa. So Bella is being even more reckless than I had previously realized by outting Jacob. Classy!

depizan said...

Well, to be fair, Bella has no idea what vampire-notwerewolf relations are like beyond what Jacob told her.

Which really doesn't help at all.

Fluffy_goddess said...

Isn't the treaty specifically between a group of vampires who *do* know, though? So it's a treaty of mutually-assured not-exactly-destruction, and the vampires are basically doing what anyone who's had a super predictable but annoying boss does at some point -- take whatever action you know you're going to be told to take eventually anyway, skip talking to the boss, and hope the documentation doesn't get back to him/her when you're not there to explain.

DavidCheatham said...

Yeah, I said the same thing back a post or two, when I pointed out that none of Edward's superpowers would actually help with driving at all, with the minor exception of being able to deal with a disaster slightly better. I.e., if he has to swerve to miss something, he can swerve just far enough that he feels the wheels start to lift, and then swerve back, going _just_ far enough to miss something but not enough to roll the car. But that assumes such a thing is physically possible, momentum-wise.

I think the logic is supposed to assure us that he can account for other people's mistakes while driving, but, how? If he senses ten people just driving normally, can he somehow figure out that one of them is coming in from a side road and missed the stop sign and the fact there's an intersection? And is about to hit another driver? _They_ don't know that, how does he?

Apparently, he can perfectly visualize where every mind is, and what that mind intends to do. And we're not talking conscious thought here, but the mostly automatic process of driving. That's some sort of super-telepathy. (And requires an advanced computer for a mind, which vampires sometimes have, but I don't think we really see any evidence of this.)

And this is assuming that car accidents somehow all are human error, or even involve other people.

And it's ignoring the fact it is impossible to drive without your eyes open, or some other way of seeing where in the road you are. I don't mean 'No one can pull it off', it literally is impossible. Changing tire pressure due to temperature, changing winds, changing car acceleration due to engine temp and fuel injector differences, etc. Add those up, and exactly the same amount of steering and thrust will put you off the road the second time.

I mean, imagine how a 0.1% change in speed would end up with you turning 5 feet early a mile down the road, or the wind angling your car a tenth of a degree to the left so you slowly drive off the side? Does anyone actually think cars are that consistent? It's basic chaos theory, right up there with trying to predict the weather. It's is uncalculable, unless he has some sort of 'I can sense the ground's passage under me and exactly how fast and in what direction it goes' superpower.

GeniusLemur said...

I think that's a lot more likely than the otherkin theory, especially when the work is by as shallow an author as S. Meyer.

So WHY wouldn't Edward admit he's a vampire? He has no problem saying anything else on his mind, and all-but-admitting his "secret" anyway (which, as Ana mentioned way back when, they keep extremely ineffectually).

And here's another one that just occurred to me. Edward can never say "I'm a vampire," even to protect Bella from his oh-so-dangerous self. So Meyer created an extraneous character who walks up to a random white girl and nonchalantly blabs the deepest tribal secrets (endangering the whole tribe by doing so). This is an improvement?

Beroli said...

And when she does find out, she's completely uninterested.

"Uh? There are some vampires in Italy who enforce laws? Whatever."
[Most of New Moon later]
ALICE: Well, there's only one actual law. And I bet you can guess what it is.
BELLA: Alice? I don't guess. It would require having a brain.
ALICE: ...okay. Secrecy!

(Beroli's sarcasm aside, Alice really does say that there's only one law and Bella should be able to figure it out, and Bella really does give her an uncomprehendingly blank look by way of response...and Bella really, really should be able to figure it out.)

Beroli said...

In New Moon, Jacob and Bella have a discussion about the treaty, after Jacob tells her that if any of the Cullens bites a human--like, say, biting Bella to turn her into a vampire--it will break the treaty and the werewolves will slaughter them all.
BELLA: Didn't you break the treaty?
JACOB: Yes, technically, I broke the treaty, when I was just a human boy who didn't think any of the legends--werewolves, vampires, the treaty--were real. But there's no provision in the treaty for offsetting injuries, if that's what you're getting at. The leeches had the option of declaring the treaty null and void and attacking us because I broke it, or of letting it pass; they chose to let it pass. If one of them bites you, we'll have the option of declaring the treaty null and void and attacking them, or of letting it pass. We're not going to let it pass.

Bificommander said...

It doesn't matter how well Edward reads the minds of all those around him, or how good his reflexes are. Cars are not designed to go 100 mph on curvy forest roads. He can't read the mind of his car, nor of any rocks or dead trees that may have fallen on the road. In super-vampire running mode he might be able to turn and stop on a dime, but his car can't handle that. Nor is it designed to take sharp turns at such high speeds. The machine will wear itself out much faster than a normal car. Unless they bring them to the garage every week (which would be suspicious) or they spend an inordinate amount of time fixing them themselves (but they're far too white for that, menial car-fixing labor is for Jacob. Edward only knows how to remove the entire engine block from a car.) Edward can not be certain the car won't crash due to mechanical failures, with Bella still in it.

Also, while we're on the subject of the uselessness of Jacob as a character, I have a question for those who have read the books or (preferably) seen the movies: How do they explain that the werewolves pose any feasable threat to the vampires? From the clips and trailers I've seen, vampire superspeedeasily surpasses cars and possibly helicopters. More importantly, their acceleration, agility and degree of control seems ridicilous. This is no Claymore, where super-speed requires a great effort to control. They seem able to quite literally turn or stop on a dime. Their reflexes are evidently superb, their reaction time nonexistence. Add potential telepathy, and how does it make any sense that a werewolf in either form could even come close to hitting one of them?

Which is just a subset of the whole problem of Meyer God Mode Suing the everloving crap out of her vampires, what with having no weaknesses, basesline superpowers on par with Superman, and all with their unique telepathic abilities that the mascarade is completely pointless. The five Carsilles, between Edward's telepathy (combining his 'seeing from every mind to make sure I can drive without hitting anything' with his superspeed and reflexes he would never need to be where any human with a gun is aiming.) and the prophetic abilities of his sister (negating the risk of a supersonic cruise missile or ICBM suprising them), could probably take on the entire United States and win.

chris the cynic said...

I have neither seen the movies nor read the later books (except for the occasional excerpt, see above for example) but my understanding is that the werewolves have superspeed too, with Jacob roughly equal in speed to Edward. (I think someone might have said that it is canonically unresolved which would win in a race, which, if true, would mean that it was canonically mentioned for some reason.)

CleverNamePending said...

Despite there being so very much wrong with this series, I think this post sums up why the fact that this series is so popular that it makes me deeply sad. The fact that so many people have romanticized a truly abusive relationship, main characters that are openly racist, and that just rolls around in privilege merrily really freaks me out. I get that it's supposed to be a light and fluffy thing, but the fact that so many people choose racist abusive privileged as their escape = terrifying.

Selcaby said...

Maybe Edward has GPS in his brain.

Silver Adept said...

From what I understand, at least from the movies, the werewolves gain size and mass, as well as speed comparable to the vampires, or perhaps a bit faster. There's also a semi-assumption that the werewolves hunt in packs all the time, while vampires could theoretically be alone or in smaller numbers. In mass battle, none of those are really advantages, but in keeping the stray vampire dead or away from your land, that's pretty easy.

Beroli said...

Also, while we're on the subject of the uselessness of Jacob as a character, I have a question for those who have read the books or (preferably) seen the movies: How do they explain that the werewolves pose any feasable threat to the vampires?
I haven't seen the movies, and I'm blinking at having seen the movies being preferable to having read the books, but to expand on what some other people have already said, the werewolves aren't just "people who turn into wolves." They're superhuman, as the vampires are. When Jacob forces a kiss on Bella and she breaks her hand hitting him, the hand breaking is not because a woman punched a big strong man--it's the equivalent of "because an Earth woman punched Superman."

Ana Mardoll said...

The wolves are genuinely dangerous in a pack, I believe. Don't they kill Laurent in New Moon? I can't remember.

Yes, the pack takes him out when he tries to kill Bella:

Makabit said...

Of course they do.

Orion Anderson said...

Clearly Bella did carry her secret "to the grave" -- Edward doesn't count because he's already dead.

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