Twilight - Chapter Fifteen

The chapter title is a LIE!

This chapter is titled "The Cullens", and I assume this means we finally get to meet Edward's much talked about (and talked about, and talked about ...) family. Personally, I'm actually interested in getting some face time with the rest of the Cullen clan. It's about time the other characters actually got some decent screen time in this book.

The chapter begins with Bella waking up and literally throwing herself on Edward when she discovers that her type 2 bastard boyfriend had stayed the night. At some point he'd left the bed and assumed the creepy "watch her sleep" position on her rocking chair. I have to say I found this funny because of how over-the-top Bella's reaction is. It feels like I'm reading a parody. In fact, if Meyer had intended Twilight to be a parody of romance books I'd think she was a genius. That she is dead serious when she writes this makes it even more funny, but also a little sad.

And here I make my first strike against Charlie, who had disabled Bella's truck by pulling the battery cables. Personally I think that is a little extreme and shows a lack of trust on his part. I could understand it if Bella had a history of sneaking out or if she had given him some reason not to trust her, but she really hasn't. As much as I hate her attitude, she hasn't given Charlie cause to disable her truck based solely on one conversation. It also strikes me as out of character for him, given what's previously been established. Me thinks this is attempted character assassination to make Charlie look overbearing and thus make Bella more sympathetic. (+1 Stupidity)

Edward is amused.

"... I have to admit I was disappointed. Is that really all it would take to stop you, if you were determined to go?"

Funny, considering how Edward will later show us how to properly disable Bella's truck so he can control her.

I deliberated where I stood ...

Meyer seems to really love that word, using it several times in place of "considered," "thought," "contemplated," or other less formal words. Juries deliberate. Committees deliberate. Regular people think. (+1 Thesaurus Rape)

"You're not usually this confused in the morning," he noted.

In case you forgot how much he stalks her. (+1 Bad Boyfriend)

She skips to the bathroom. Geez, these descriptions are so flamboyant that I half expect to see a unicorn trot through the hallway. We now see Bella wash her face (why show us this?) before she rushes back to Edward and describes his presence in the room as a miracle. Excuse me while I heave.

Bella notices that Edward's clothes and hair are different and pouts because he'd left to change his clothes the previous night. Really? She's so fucking clingy that the man can't even leave to change his clothes? Oh cry me a river, bitch! (+1 Wangst)

I had noted at least a few times how Meyer likes to use the strongest, most dramatic sounding language she can think of even when describing the simplest things. For example, a character can never be sad, they must be "spiraling into an agony of despair." The same thing extends to the so-called love in this book. Meyer doesn't appear to know how to write genuine emotions or portray real affection, so she compensates by instead using grandiose language and spouting the strongest declarations of love she can think of.

That is why instead of little moments of chemistry that cement her characters as a couple we instead get descriptions of Edward's physical appearance. It's why instead of real interaction between the characters we get a scene where Meyer substitutes any real depth with basic questions like "what's your favorite color?" It is also why instead of those golden moments where you can see the love between the characters without the need for them to necessarily come out and say it, we get this.

"You are my life now," he answered simply.

Meyer has no idea how to write a romance. Corny gestures and grand statements are fine in a certain context, but Meyer keeps piling grandiose gesture on top of grandiose gesture as if that somehow adds up to true love. It does not. Simply throwing in grand declarations without actually SHOWING any love only robs the words of all meaning.

In another story, one that takes the time to establish and develop a romance rather than just telling the audience that it's there, the words "you are my life now" could be very profound and emotionally moving. Here it sounds cheap and contrived. Without any history, any context, they're just words he's saying. There has been no chemistry, no truly romantic moments. Meyer is not expressing her characters' love, she's trying to convince us of the existence of something that has not been demonstrated.

Their conversation is peppered with references to Edward's supposed vampirism, which at this point is really starting to get played out. We know that Edward is a sparklepire and Bella is human. I just wish Meyer would actually do something with it rather than cracking jokes. You can practically feel Meyer nudging the audience and winking, then patting herself on the back and saying "aren't I clever?"

Edward decides it's time for Bella to have breakfast, so the two walk down the stairs lovingly holding hands and ... wait, sorry, I was thinking about what an actual couple would do. Edward just throws the bitch over his shoulder.

He threw me over his stone shoulder, gently, but with a swiftness that left me breathless. I protested as he carried me easily down the stairs, but he ignored me. He sat me right up on a chair.

Mind you, this is not the first time he's done this. This is not how you treat a girl that you love, it's how you treat a whining child that refuses to eat her vegetables and runs from the table. It isn't romantic, it's degrading! (+1 Bad Boyfriend)

What really bothers me is how Bella just accepts Edward treating her like a child. Sure she protests while he's doing it, but she doesn't make an issue out of it. Like in the parking lot scene, when Edward dragged her to his car and threatened her until she got in, she protested at first then instantly forgot it, thereby giving Edward the green light to control her again. If she had any self-respect she would put her foot down and tell Edward "this is not okay, don't ever do it again." There is absolutely no reason why she shouldn't. Failing to do so only makes Bella a doormat and gives Edward permission to walk all over her.

I don't care if he's an all-powerful fairy. If he crosses the line he should be called out on it. Being a sparkling fairy with superpowers is not an all-purpose pass to excuse his abusive behavior.

By the way, I decided I'm going to stop referring to Edward and Co as vampires. I'd habitually used that word in previous entries of this blog, but it is inaccurate and misleading. Edward is not a vampire. The Cullens are not vampires. There are no vampires in the Twilight series. They bear a closer resemblance to fairies, so I will call them fairies from now on.

Anyway, Edward wants Bella to meet his family and she's worried that they might not like her. Alice may or may not have had a vision of Bella. Turns out they'd been placing bets on when Edward would take Bella to meet them.

"... though why anyone would bet against Alice, I can't imagine.

Wasn't it Edward who said that Alice's powers are not 100% accurate? The future is subjective, remember? Things change, remember? Alice could very well be wrong about, well, anything. If Edward is implying that her powers are totally accurate, then way to screw continuity ... again. (+1 Stupidity)

Edward changes the subject to Bella's cereal when she asks about it. He wants to know if it's any good.

"Well, it's no irritable grizzly ...,"

Okay, this has been bothering me for quite some time. I'd actually meant to bring this up sooner, but either the opportunity never arose or I was so busy bitching about something else that I forgot to add it in. I'll point this out as clearly as possible.


Black bears, yes, but no grizzlies. You have to go way up north in order to find grizzlies. Just wanted to point that out.

Edward turns into a statue again. He does this so often that I'm starting to wonder if he's part gargoyle. Before I can get too annoyed by this Edward actually says something that I completely agree with. He wants Bella to introduce him to her father. Bella tries to dodge the issue, but Edward is not letting it slide this time.

"Isn't that customary?" he asked innocently.
"I don't know," I admitted. My dating history gave me few reference points.

Either Bella is lying or she's even more naive than I thought. Has she never had friends? Has she never watched TV? Read books? Everyone who goes outside knows that traditionally the new boy is expected to meet the folks eventually. It's practically a sociological cliche. Unless she's lived a VERY sheltered life, she should know this by default. (+1 Stupidity)

Not that any normal rules of dating applied here.

Why not? I don't see what the problem is. Fairy or not, he's a boy that is interested in her and is asking to meet her father. It seems pretty straightforward to me.

"That's not necessary, you know. I don't expect you to ... I mean, you don't have to pretend for me."
His smile was patient. "I'm not pretending.

Good Lord, what is with this girl that she automatically assumes that Edward couldn't possibly be interested in meeting her father? That he has to PRETEND for her sake? Has she no respect for the man? (+1 Bitch)

Every part of my body feels sick at once when I say this, but I li ... I liiii ... *deep breath* ... I ... like ... Edward's response here. It's the first thing he's said in this entire book so far that I actually thought was sweet. It's the first expression of caring that I think actually works.

It works because Meyer is not trying so hard. It works because it's simple, honest, and doesn't call attention to itself. I don't think Meyer was even trying to be romantic at the time, and that makes it work more. It's a simple statement, but it says more than all the lion-and-lambs and you-are-my-life-nows that preceded it. It's the context, as much as the words themselves, that make them ring true. Edward states that his desire to meet her father, to be integrated into her family in that way, is no act. That shows commitment, a willingness to put himself out there and declare himself as being a part of her life.

As you can see, Edward has just expressed a lot without the need to explain it outright. That is the kind of thing this book needs more of. This is what you'd call "subtlety." I'd give Meyer kudos for this if I wasn't convinced that she didn't really mean it that way, and that I'm just putting more thought into this than she ever did. After all, if Meyer really was capable of intentionally writing something like this we'd have seen a lot more of it before now. Still, it serves as a tiny glimpse of what this book could have been if its author were more competent.

Moving along, we get this little insight into how Bella thinks of their "relationship" (sarcasm).

"Are you going to tell Charlie I'm your boyfriend or not?" he demanded.
"Is that what you are?" I suppressed my internal cringe at the thought of Edward and Charlie and the word boyfriend in the same room at the same time.

Two things are revealed by this. The obvious thing is that Bella is mortified at the idea of her father even knowing about Edward, much less introducing Edward to him as her boyfriend. The reason for this is not explained or even hinted at, and so far has not been given any development. It feels as if Meyer is having Bella act like this simply because she's a teenage girl and is thus obligated to hate her father. Wouldn't want to rock the boat and actually write a father-daughter relationship with ... *gasp* ... DEPTH! Why have real emotions and complicated issues? That would just get in the way of more descriptions of Edward's physical appearance. I'm sure there's some part of him that hasn't been described a hundred times already.

The second thing revealed here is that Bella doesn't really consider Edward to be her boyfriend, or, at the very least, it hadn't occurred to her to think of him on those terms. She had to ASK Edward if that's what he is. This is all kinds of messed up when you really think about it. Almost immediately after meeting Edward just a couple of times she'd already been professing her "unconditional and irrevocable" love for him, and has made a LOT of grand statements as to her supposed love for Sparkledouche. Yet she hesitates to think of him as her boyfriend?

Considering how later in the series Bella will resist the idea of marrying Edward, who would have to resort to dangling the promise of Sparklepire immortality in front of her to get her to consent, and this part has a whole new meaning. What was it that Bella DID want from Edward, aside from being made into a fairy like him?

Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it? She wants him to fuck her, but she doesn't necessarily want to be involved with him in any way that extends beyond the purely physical. It's not his personality she's constantly praising, after all. This is also evidenced by how she resisted engaging Edward in a discussion that was aimed at getting to know each other a little better. This directly contradicts the very nature of this story, which is supposedly about true love. I've yet to see a definition of true love that includes "just want to fuck" as part of the description.

Bella doesn't want a boyfriend or a husband, she wants a friend with benefits. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but Meyer, and much of the fanbase, seem to confuse that with true love.

Meyer sneaks in another reference to Edward's fairydom that she imagines to be clever, and then we get a line which totally undermines what little praise I've given Meyer in this chapter.

"But he will need some explanation for why I'm around here so much. I don't want Chief Swan getting a restraining order put on me."

Yep, Edward states his real reason for wanting to be introduced to Charlie, and a desire to be a part of Bella's life via her family is not it. So much for my optimistic interpretation of his earlier statement. This is also yet another missed opportunity, as this would be the perfect time to explore Bella's relationship with her father and why she thinks so little of him. You know, that little thing we like to call "character development"?

It's telling that we've gone through more than half of the book and I still have no idea who these people are. All we have after the halfway mark is that Bella thinks Edward is pretty and Edward thinks Bella is hot. That's it. We don't even have the pretense of conflict via Edward's blood thirst because it's been established that he can simply will himself not to act on it. It constantly amazes me that trees were sacrificed to print this drivel. It takes a special kind of incompetence to fill a book with so many words and still manage to say nothing!

Edward decides it's creepy-touchy time. This has actually been bothering me for a while. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about the way Meyer describes Edward touching Bella in this book just creeps me the hell out. I imagine if I got a similar feeling from someone I met, I wouldn't drink anything offered to me for fear of being date raped.

He walked slowly around the table, and, pausing a few feet away, he reached out to touch his fingertips to my cheek. His expression was unfathomable.

This reminds me of something I read in the book, How Not to Write a Novel. There is a section titled "Words fail me: where the author stops short of communication", where they discuss how some writers lack the ability to actually describe a thing and instead resort to generalized words, such as Meyer's use of the word "unfathomable" in place of an actual description of Edward's expression and whatever mood it is conveying.

The book describes the problem thusly.

It is the equivalent of showing slides of your visit to Machu Picchu, in which you stand in the foreground of each shot, smiling and gesturing at Machu Picchu but also blocking Machu Picchu from view. Your reader is thinking, "What the hell is that behind him? It looks like it might be Machu Picchu. Or maybe a McDonalds.

I'm quite sure that, for Meyer, saying Edward's expression was "unfathomable" had a lot of feeling for her, but I am not her; so she has to convey those feelings to me, the reader, in a way that I can comprehend without the need for the two of us to swap brains.

... Good God, I just freaked myself out at the thought of swapping brains with that woman. Ugh!

Moving on.

"Does that make you sad?" I asked
He didn't answer. He stared into my eyes for an immeasurable period of time.

*sigh* Scroll up and reread my previous rant.

The use of the word "immeasurable" makes no sense in this context. She probably meant that she became so lost in his eyes that she lost track of time, or something like that, but saying he stared for an "immeasurable" period of time is just plain wrong. (+1 Thesaurus Rape)

Edward tells Bella to get dressed and she magically appears in her bedroom picking out clothes. No transition, just "get dressed" and "I'm picking out clothes." A little surprising. Given Meyer's tendency to linger on the most insignificant details, I thought Bella going from one room to the next would take up a whole paragraph. Bella refers to Edward in the narration as her "vampire sweetheart" and then we get this interesting insight.

It was a relief to think the word to myself. I knew I shied away from it intentionally.

I'm not sure which word Meyer is referring to here. Is it the word "vampire" or "sweetheart" she'd been shying from? The former makes sense, as Meyer had been tiptoeing around the word. She has used the word vampire before, but in general she treats it in a way similar to how a mildly homophobic person trying to be tolerant would treat the word "gay" around his best friend he'd just learned was homosexual. He may awkwardly allude to his friend's homosexuality ("I thought you people were ... uh ... fashionable or something.") but stop just short of using the actual word for fear of being offensive. Meyer's handling of the subject of Edward's fairydom reeks of a similar awkwardness, as if the author herself is very uncomfortable addressing it directly.

If it's the latter then this would be a rather interesting look at how Bella views their "relationship" (quotes for sarcasm). If this is the case, then I think this deserves more expansion, as it could result in character development and perhaps even introduce some much needed conflict into the story. By examining why Bella would hesitate to think of Edward as her "sweetheart" we could learn more about her as a person than all the "what's your favorite gemstone" questions in the world could tell us.

But since this is Meyerland, where people don't have personalities and conflict doesn't exist, this observation is forgotten instantly in favor of describing the clothes Bella picked out. Edward comments on how she looks (surprise, he thinks she's hot). He also pecks her on the forehead, which causes her to become woozy so that the room spins. I can almost hear a laugh track playing in the background when I read these scenes.

Then he kisses her on the lips ... and she faints.

She actually fucking faints.

She then accuses Edward of making her faint. (+1 Stupidity)

Really? Is this actually meant to be taken seriously? They talk about the fainting, Edward wondering if he should take Bella out in that condition. He changes his mind after he "measures her expression" *eyeroll* and, as if Edward has suddenly become aware that he's trapped in a stupid book, makes the following observation.

And you're worried, not because you're headed to meet a houseful of vampires [fairies], but because you think those vampires [fairies] won't approve of you, correct?"

Bella agrees, and is surprised at Edward's casual use of the word vampire [fairy]. Um ... why would she be surprised that the guy who's existed as a fairy for the better part of a century is used to using the word that describes what he is?

And then Bella teleports, going instantly from her house to in her truck and exiting the main part of town. You can tell that Meyer is in a big hurry to get to the Cullen's place, so much so that she glosses over details and makes the next paragraph read more like a grocery list than prose. She picks up her usual wordiness when they reach Casa De Cullen, however.

... there were six primordial cedars that shaded an entire acre with their vast sweeps of branches.

Primordial? Seriously?

... making obsolete the deep porch that wrapped around the first story.

Someone really needs to file a restraining order against Meyer on behalf of her thesaurus. Obsolescence refers to a thing going out of style or becoming useless through the changing of the times. Unless those "primordial" cedars were planted after the house was built they could not render a porch obsolete. Not only is it the wrong word, it also contradicts what she'd just written! (+1 Thesaurus Rape)

The house was timeless, graceful, and probably a hundred years old.

Wow, a hundred years old? That's absolutely amazing! Nobody lives in a house THAT old. Oh, wait, I do. And my neighbors. And a large portion of the U.S. population. Well, at least Bella is such the studious architect that she can immediately recognize the age of a house just by looking at it. She's so good, in fact, that she can also tell that the doors and windows are part of the original structure (or else perfect restorations).

So, according to Bella the house is 3 stories, white, and "well proportioned" (which tells us nothing), and a hundred years old. She just described any number of houses in the USA. Hell, if my house were rectangular it would match this description. I can tell from Bella's reaction that I'm supposed to be impressed, but I'm finding it hard to share her enthusiasm with a house that is described in such vague terms. Here is where some fine details would really help. What is it about the house that is graceful? What small touches can she point out that gives the place its timeless quality? She doesn't have to pull out the blueprints, just point out a couple of things to differentiate this particular house from others.

How about this, Meyer. Pretend that the house is Edward. No, wait, then she'd spend the rest of the book describing its "perfect" architecture and "angelic" windows. Bella would be chagrined whenever she climbed the front steps and ringing the doorbell would cause her to faint.

Also the house would stalk her.

He took my hand easily, without thinking about it.

Why does she need to point out that Edward doesn't have to stop and think about holding her hand? Aren't they supposed to be "unconditionally and irrevocably" in love? Aren't they a lion and a lamb? Isn't Bella Edward's life now? You'd think that, for two people with such a deep and profound connection, hand holding would be a given. It certainly wouldn't be necessary to point out that he doesn't have to think about it, as if that is somehow out of the ordinary.

You see what I mean? Meyer says one thing about their relationship, and Bella and Edward's actions tell a completely different story. For all of Meyer's aggrandizing, the two barely even know each other. That's not a bad thing, mind you. The problem is that Meyer pretends that their "relationship" is this magical, transcendent thing when in reality it's just two kids (yes, I mean Edward as well; he hasn't shown much more maturity than your average teenager) dealing with their hormones. Again, that is not a bad thing. If Meyer had recognized this and built their relationship up from there, this would have been a better book. Instead she asks us to take her word for it that their relationship is oh so special, telling of their supposed twu wuv rather than actively showing it. That is why she fails as a writer. Your ability to see the much lauded magic of these books is directly proportional to your willingness to swallow Meyer's bullshit without asking for any real proof.

They walk towards the house, Edward rubbing circles into Bella's hand. As I mentioned earlier, something about the way Meyer describes Edward touching Bella seems kind of off to me. Bella, the architect, makes some comments about the construction of the inside of the house, and at last we get some real details about the place.

One thing does jump out at me. Everything is white. The Cullens, the supposed good guys, are all pale (I'm guessing the Cullen family has a "no blacks allowed" policy), which has been pointed out several times as an example of their beauty. Even the house they live in is white. The walls are white, the floor is white, the carpet is white. So far the only confirmed non-white people we've run into have been Jacob and co, who are beast-men, and a dirty-looking rapist (confirmed in Midnight Sun). There seems to be a running theme of white = goodness going on here. A more suspicious person would wonder if Meyer was trying to tell us something, if you know what I mean. Correct me if I'm mistaken here. Maybe there was a non-white character we've met so far that I've simply overlooked (and no, I don't count the movie).

Given that Meyer is obsessed with drilling it into our heads that Edward is perfect in every way, it naturally follows that he's also filthy stinkin' rich, which Bella is happy to point out. So, for those of you following at home, the things about Edward that impresses Bella are his looks and his money. Can't you just feel the twu wuv in the air?

Bella sees Carlisle and Esme and, of course, comes close to wetting the white carpet in her amazement at their pale beauty. Also they dress to match the house. She immediately shows Carlisle much more respect than she shows her own father, and continuing with the white = goodness theme, she compares Esme to Snow White.

Elf Willow (Alice) shows up and gives Bella a hello peck on the cheek, which shocks everyone. You see, Meyer has been describing Carlisle and Esme as being cautious, on guard to control the blood hunger that only seems to show up either when the plot needs a contrivance or Meyer is trying to create false tension. Since nothing is ever done with it and it has been established to be non-threatening, it's presence here adds nothing to the scene.

Also, you'd think that at least Carlisle would have an easier time of it. The guy is a friggen doctor. If he has to put that much effort into greeting one girl, what happens when he sees a patient that is bleeding? Oh, wait, nothing happens. Tyler was bleeding when he and Bella were in the hospital and he barely even noticed him. Oh, I get it, he has trouble with Bella because she's a super special awesome snowflake whose blood smells like flowers. Fucking Mary Sue. (+1 Stupidity)

I was startled to feel Edward stiffen at my side

God dammit, Meyer! The last thing I want to think about is Edward stiffening! *feels sick*

Elf Willow tells Bella that she smells nice, and Bella handles this compliment about as well as you'd expect. Cue the "extreme embarrassment." Jasper shows up and Meyer, of course, doesn't miss this opportunity to comment on his beauty as well. I'll actually give her some credit; she remembered that stuff she'd previously established about Jasper's powers and uses that here, though it is kind of sad that Meyer getting her continuity straight can be considered a noteworthy event. They exchange platitudes and Meyer not so subtly points out that Edward and Carlisle look at each other meaningfully.

Bella looks at the piano and we finally, FINALLY, learn something of substance about one of the other characters: Bella's mother. How funny is it that Renee, who so far has only appeared in this book in one scene, has now officially had more character development than the main characters?

It turns out that Edward plays the piano, having learned in Gary Stu camp. Bella says that of course she should have known he can play because "Edward can do everything, right?" Meyer is not even pretending that Edward is anything other than a Gary Stu, so it surprises me that some Twilight fans get offended at that observation.

At if to further cement this fact, the next bit of dialogue seems to exist for the sole purpose of reinforcing how awesome Edward is supposed to be. It's official: Edward Cullen is now the Wesley Crusher of this book. To illustrate, here is a quote from the page I just linked to.

The main characteristic of The Wesley is that the writers' focus on them is detrimental to the show, not so much that the parts featuring this character necessarily suck more than the rest, but that so much effort is being directed to them that it detracts from the quality of the series as a whole. It's as if the writers think that there's nothing more important than browbeating the viewers into falling in love with this one character. And it never works.

That is Edward ... so ... much!

It gets to the point where you wonder why any of the other characters are even in this book. They all seemingly exist only to point out how awesome Edward is, talking about him constantly. If Edward is not being talked about its usually because either the plot is busy setting up a way to shoehorn in another contrived scene involving Edward, or Meyer is simply too busy giving us flowery descriptions of his physical appearance for the thousandth time.

How can a book devote so much time to a single character and still tell us so little about him? Those few things we DO learn don't even add to his personality, but instead serve only to beat us over the head with how super special awesome he is.

Don't believe me? Let's take a look at Bella's thoughts about the piano and how they relate to Renee and Edward respectively.

She wasn't really good--she only played for herself on our secondhand upright--but I loved to watch her play. She was happy, absorbed--she seemed like a new, mysterious being to me then, someone outside the "mom" persona I took for granted.

Here we actually LEARN something about Renee, and Bella's relationship with her. Here you actually get a sense of the bond that exists between the two characters. This paragraph gives us some real insight into them. I now know something about Renee that goes beyond a mere bullet-point fact. By describing how she reacts to playing the piano, we've had a small glimpse into her soul.

And now Edward.

"No," she laughed. Edward didn't tell you he was musical?"
"No," I glared at his suddenly innocent expression with narrowed eyes. "I should have known, I guess."
Esme raised her delicate eyebrows in confusion.
"Edward can do everything, right?" I explained.

Here the piano serves no purpose. It's just another item on the list of things that makes Edward awesome. It contributes nothing to his character and is only there to impress the reader. That is why the piano counts as character development for Renee and not for Edward. With Renee it explores her personality, her passion, and the time she'd spent with her daughter. With Edward it's just a fact. This blog is written in English and Edward plays the piano. Those two observations carry the same weight.

"Well, play for her," Esme encouraged.
"You just said showing off was rude," he objected.
"There are exceptions to every rule," she replied.

This only strengthens my argument. With Renee, playing the piano for Bella was a moment of bonding. With Edward it's just "showing off." Edward plays something on the piano and, of course, Edward is the best damn piano player around.

... the room was filled with a composition so complex, so luxuriant, it was impossible to believe only one set of hands played.

Also, as if Meyer thinks that she's perhaps being too subtle, we get this.

I felt my chin drop, my mouth open in astonishment, and I heard low chuckles behind me at my reaction.

I know, I keep going on about the piano thing. It's just that I see so much potential for character development here that is being ignored for the sake of "ooh, look at how awesome Edward is! He can play an instrument!" Something that could add depth and soul to Edward is reduced to a meaningless fact.

This just serves to remind us of how shallow this book is, where the closest one gets to (intentional) character development is "what's your favorite color?" Even THAT is just more Edward body worship, as Bella's answer to that question was basically whatever color Edward's eyes happen to be at the time. Even Sideshow Bob wasn't that obsessed with a single person, and he wanted to murder Bart for ruining his life. Even he said "you know, I DO have a life outside of you."

Meyer seems to think this might be a little too subtle, so she has Edward look up and wink, as if this is the most awesome thing in the history of awesome. You know what? I'm going to forget about the piano before I am compelled to kill again.

As if we hadn't gotten enough infodumping last chapter, it's Rosalie exposition time! Oh goody. Now I know what you're thinking. Since Rosalie is close by we might get to see Bella interact with her and see some of her personality. If you honestly believe that, you've clearly forgotten which book you're reading. No, Edward exposits about her to Bella. Turns out Rosalie is angsty about being a fairy and she's jealous of Bella.

"Rosalie is jealous of me?" I asked incredulously. I tried to imagine a universe in which someone as breathtaking as Rosalie would have any possible reason to feel jealous of someone like me.

Because physical attractiveness is the only thing that matters in Bella's mind. Attractive people have absolutely no problems and it is impossible that anyone who is less attractive could possibly have something she doesn't. Ugh, this book makes me sick!

He talks some more about the other characters, explaining their reactions and what they think about Bella. This is simply inexcusable. The people he's talking about are IN THE SAME FUCKING HOUSE! Would it KILL Meyer to actually show us these things rather than telling? There is no reason or excuse for an infodump here. This is lazy writing!

I would add a "bad writing" count to this blog, but that would not only mean going over my old entries and retroactively adding points, it would also result in a count that is higher than the stupidity count!

I mean, Good Lord, isn't this chapter called "the Cullens"? Isn't this supposed to be about meeting Edward's family? They didn't even get to do anything! It's just: "Good to see you, Bella. Oh, here's a piano. Edward is awesome at the piano, aren't you Edward? Edward is so amazing. Why don't you play for her, Edward? Oh, do show off Edward. We'll be going now because the awesomeness of Edward is so absolute that we're no longer needed in this scene. EDWARD!"


Edward has news for Bella.

"I have to, because I'm going to be a little ... overbearingly protective over the next few days--or weeks--and I wouldn't want you to think I'm naturally a tyrant."

So ... he'll pretty much be the same as usual.

Turns out Elf Willow used her vaguely established plot device powers to predict the arrival of other fairies, of the variety that actually eat people. Naturally, Edward concludes that he has to stalk Bella even more in order to keep her safe.

Um, question. Forks has a population of a few thousand, yes? And Edward said the other fairies probably won't even go into town at all. So ... why not just ask Bella not to leave town for the next few days? Is he really afraid that they'll magically zero in on Bella specifically, even though they don't even know who she is, out of thousands of people, from the outskirts of town, simply because she's just that special?

Oh, who am I kidding? This is Meyer we're talking about. Bella's Mary Sue status will ensure that any danger naturally homes in on her specifically, no matter how little sense it makes. (+1 Stupidity)

Meyer tosses in the obligatory "my vampires are different" lines that every modern writer is obligated by law to include in any story that has anything even remotely to do with vampires. Her fairies don't sleep in coffins! Oh, how original! A side note: I find it funny how so many writers try to make vampires different from the myths to the point where "my vampires are different" has itself become a cliche. At this point writing a story featuring vanilla vampires pulled straight from lore would actually be a refreshing change. This has nothing to do with anything, I'm just rambling because I'm bored.

Bella sheds tears. Edward tastes them. HE TASTES HER FUCKING TEARS! Am I the only one who sees how creepy this guy is? Why do people think this is normal/romantic behavior? I feel like I'm the only sane guy in the room! (+1 Bad Boyfriend)

Edward gives Bella a tour of the house ... which consists of one line of dialogue.

"Rosalie and Emmett's room ... Carlisle's office ... Alice's room ..." He gestured as he led me past the doors.

That's it. That's the tour. I'll say it again: LAZY WRITING!

They stop at a cross (SYMBOLISM!) and Edward explains Carlisle's backstory and--

No. NO. That's it. I've had it. I'VE FUCKING HAD IT! No more pointless backstory. No more explaining the other characters rather than actually talking to them. I'm skipping this part. For my own sanity I'm no longer going to pay attention to character backstory unless it is either relevant or it's coming from interactions with the characters themselves.

Thankfully, mercifully, the chapter ends here.

So, what did we get from this chapter? A whole lot of nothing and another infodump. Bella briefly meets the Cullen family, but they don't stick around long enough to do anything. They just leave so that Edward can hog all the screen time and give exposition.

God this book sucks!

Oh, and by the way, I'm officially back now. I know it's been a long time, what with the personal issues cropping up, but I got my groove back and now that we're at the home stretch I just want to get this godawful thing out of the way so I can FINALLY delete this book from my Kindle and pretend it doesn't exist.

I need a drink.

Final Tally:

+6 Stupidity
+3 Thesaurus Rape
+3 Bad Boyfriend
+1 Wangst
+1 Bitch


TheUnbeholden said...

"Me thinks this is attempted character assassination to make Charlie look overbearing and thus make Bella more sympathetic. "

I agree, seems out of character of Charlie. Can't remember reading that but seems Meyer tried a bit to hard here... breaking her established character (which is stupid considering Charlie was actually along with Jacob (and obviously Bella) the only decently constructed characters, everyone else is basically paper thin. And the characters also have no character development which seems to be a bit beyond Meyer, also not counting Breaking Dawn, Jacob almost got some character development at the end of New Moon, when he finally has Bella admit that she loves him as well as Edward (but Edward more obviously lol) and the ending has Leah trying to convince him to get over Bella (eventhough he lashes back at her harshly) and then begins to run through forest changing into a werewolf, where we get a good hint that he runs so that he can forget his troubles and to me seems like a sign that he is going through a stage of 'getting over Bella'... perhaps even leading to a love/hate relationship with Leah?

to bad that this is short lived in that Breaking Dawn totally destroys that possibility and gives Bella EVERYTHING without any of the bad. She has to have Edward and Jacob as stupid as that sounds, seeing as Jacob is a werewolf and Bella becomes a vampire, vamps and werewolves are naturally opposed to one another. Breaking continuity.

TheUnbeholden said...

"Being a sparkling fairy with superpowers is not an all-purpose pass to excuse his abusive behavior."

haha, commendable statement and it applies here,
(they are in a relationship.. supposedly) but highly ignorant. It doesn't apply to vampires in general, whats right and wrong is thrown out the window when its a human and a extremely powerful creature. It becomes 'might vs right', might wins... right just protests with shaking fists, or begging on its knees. And I bet the vampire doing it probably thinks its fine to play with humans in such a way... especially if the vampire and human in question don't have any relationship or if its a different sort of relationship like a love/hate, or if the human is a slave its personal slave and so forth.

See the thing is vampires are powerful, and because of this most of the time humans can't do anything about it if a vampire decides to kill them, protests or pleading will usually come on deaf ears... and if it doesn't then the vampire may leave them (because they aren't the sort of human they where looking for) Edward wouldn't of course (hes to perfect for that *sarcasm*)

But if someone has power then they are entitled to use it. And plus they are vampires, they have bloodlust, that's why they have power, to help them feed on the blood that gives them life. And even vampires have the right for self preservation, and even if a vampire is a 'vegetarian' (takes up animal blood) accidents can happen :)

I understand that Edward wouldn't leave her, or kill her, and Bella doesn't even think that he would, she merely loves him so much (or atleast thinks she does) that shes willing to ignore any faults he may have. Dominating her may be something of a character trait of either wanting her to be weak so he can 'take care of her' subconsciously acting out some sort of father figure role (hence why hes so against turning her into a vampire), or merely him doing it to amuse himself (if its at her own expense then hes a bit of a bastard)..or treating her like a ragdoll or like some human that's so weak that they can't do anything on their own (delusional).

I'm willing to go with him doing it for his own amusement. Though naturally if she demanded that he stop doing it, full stop. He probably would.
But Meyer doesn't want that :D I would think her fans wouldn't want it to stop either lol
I wouldn't put it passed them.... seeing as how popular these books are.

TheUnbeholden said...

[quote]Their conversation is peppered with references to Edward's supposed vampirism, which at this point is really starting to get played out. We know that Edward is a sparklepire and Bella is human. I just wish Meyer would actually do something with it rather than cracking jokes. You can practically feel Meyer nudging the audience and winking, then patting herself on the back and saying "aren't I clever?"[/quote]

I agree. Funnily enough its the sort of things vampires would find funny, and a vampire would be the one to make the joke and not the human. And the joke would be based around something the human wouldn't really understand, like implying 'your going to kill someone', a human would think your not being serious even though in the vampires case, the vampire may not be joking LOL

It would be interesting Meyer making a joke like that, hahah... Vampires kill people, yes its totally not a serious subject at all! lets all make the joke and laugh together!

[quote]I had noted at least a few times how Meyer likes to use the strongest, most dramatic sounding language she can think of even when describing the simplest things. For example, a character can never be sad, they must be "spiraling into an agony of despair." The same thing extends to the so-called love in this book.[/quote]

There is such a thing as to much descriptions of someones physique (and this coming from someone as Narcissistic as me).
Something that can be tolerated if its only done once and not mentioned again (like Anne Rice does) purple prose can be done right though, Anne Rice uses overly descriptive words but never repeats words that mean the same thing in the same sentence like the amateurish Meyer. And Anne Rice uses the words in context well, Meyer seems to throw them around without fully comprehending their meaning.

And in Anne Rices case the vampires have extremely heightened sense, so it makes sense for them to describe things so beautifully because it appears that way to them.
In Meyers case its Bella talking, a human.
And Anne Rices vampires are very old, and so using uncommon words and having a large vocabulary also makes sense.

A excellent example to show the complete opposite sides of the fence, purple prose done perfectly, and one done amateurishly and repeated to ad nauseam. The latter using it as filler to cover their thin storyline and characters.
Anne Rice has the most engaging characters, deep and sensual narrative that one certainly cannot put the book down let alone think the purple prose is covering anything.

sonicpurgatory said...

You're jealous of Bella, aren't you? YOU will NEVER get a guy like Edward...BTW THIS BLOG SUCKS!! NEVER WRITE AGAIN!! YOU MISSED THE POINT OF TWILIGHT!!!! THE AUTHOR(Stephenie Meyer) says it's a romance, and she says they're in love, so just accept that and move on! Did you even read the book?? NEVER MESS WITH TWILIGHT AGAIN

Lin-chan said...

to sonipurgatory. Please read the text above the comment box. It says to keep it civil. Also, you've missed the point of this blog, which is to poke fun at what Twilight is.

It's true that Meyer just blatantly tells us Bella and Edward are in love, but as a reader, you have to consider if it's really love rather than just have the author tell you. As a reader, you take the story and interpret it. This is TwilightSnarker's interpretation, which you may or may not accept, and that's fine. But please, back up your own interpretation before you say something about another.

To TwilightSnarker, it's good to see you get your groove back. I've missed reading your commentaries. It's sad that that the first four comments you got were from Twilight fans.

sonicpurgatory said...


@Lin-chan But Twilight Snarker missed the point of it. Bella is a teenage girl; give her a break; she only does it all because she's so in love with him. And Edward watches her because he loves her; Bella doesn't have a problem with it, or anything else he does. In fact, they had a baby (Renesmee) in the last book. And Meyer was trying to make her vampires different from the cliche ones we knew from the past. Bottom line: This wasn't funny.

The Twilight Snarker said...

@Lin-chan: That's no problem at all. It would be awfully naive of me to expect everyone to agree with me. Actually, I enjoy some of the more well thought out comments from folks like TheUnbeholden. Even if I don't agree, I appreciate their perspective.

@sonicpurgatory: One of the aims of this blog is to deconstruct the story of Twilight and view it in a more realistic context. For example, whereas some people may see Edward break into Bella's house without her knowledge or consent and view it as romantic gesture, this blog asserts that, had someone done this in reality, he would be considered a stalker and would most likely be facing a prison sentence.

I also find the "he only does it because he loves her" argument to be woefully inadequate, and downright disturbing. It is uncomfortably close to how abused women sometimes defend their abusive spouses. "He only hits me because he loves me!" For this reason, Bella being "okay with it" is no excuse. Many abused women are ostensibly "okay" with what's happening to them because they've been conditioned to think that they are somehow deserving of the ill-treatment. It can be argued that Bella is naive and inexperienced, and Edward is taking advantage of her vulnerability.

Many horrible, cruel things are done in the name of love. Like how a court of law would not excuse a crime of passion because the criminal loves the person he did it to, so too do I assert that Edward's actions are not excusable simply because he thinks he loves Bella. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Lastly, Bella being a teenager is no excuse for her being an idiot. There have been instances in this book, which were covered in this blog, where any rational person of even below-average intelligence wouldn't have acted quite as stupidly as Bella has. To say that Bella is the way she is because she's a teenager is, frankly, an insult to teenagers.

You may or may not agree with what I have to say, but if you present your opinions in a civil and thoughtful manner I would be happy to read them.

Anonymous said...

Spotted something I think you misread. You say the rest of the Cullens were placing bets on when he'd bring Bella to meet them? Actually, I don't think they were. Pretty sure they were just having a friendly, lively, fun round of betting on whether or not Edward would kill her.

Aren't these people just so wonderful.

Redd said...

About the white = goodness thing, in Eclipse, in Jasper's backstory, it describes how he was turned by a "beautiful, pale Mexican vampire." The woman's description was clearly Mexican, she wasn't a white of hispanic ethnicity. So being turned into a vampire/fairy/whateverthehellyouwanttocallit makes you paler than many Caucasians. And of course, once you're turned, you become incredibly beautiful. Maybe it wasn't her intention, but there's some serious fucking unfortunate implications in that, namely white = beautiful.

Lin-chan said...

@TwilightSnarker. On a side-note, I do have a correction to make. The color white is used a symbol for goodness, not really a theme. It's a really small technicality, but I thought I should point that out.

Big Bad Blog Writer said...

"It gets to the point where you wonder why any of the other characters are even in this book. They all seemingly exist only to point out how awesome Edward is, talking about him constantly. If Edward is not being talked about its usually because either the plot is busy setting up a way to shoehorn in another contrived scene involving Edward, or Meyer is simply too busy giving us flowery descriptions of his physical appearance for the thousandth time."

And this is the main reason Twilight sucks, Meyer's total obsession with Edward and how freaking awesome she thinks he is. Rather than getting to know his feelings and quirks, all we know about him is that he is perfect, talented, perfect, talented, and perfect. Blah.

Jessica said...

@Twilight Snarker: Having read your response to sonicpurgatory, I was reminded of this talk I had with a friend of mine recently. It was a conversation about the abuse boyfriend topic (and how we see forms of it appear in stories written by young girls), and my friend told me about this one song sung by the Crystals called "He Hit Me (And it felt like a kiss)." I never heard the song so I looked it up on youtube, and sure enough I found it! Yikes!

I don't know if you've heard of the song, but I thought I'd mention it.

Tonya said...

So glad you're back! Hope life stays out of your way long enough for you to get through the rest of this - thing.

Mari said...

First of all, I greatly enjoy the blog, though I do disagree with some points. For one, you really do give teenagers too much credit. Teenagers, as a whole, are very hormonal and really do have a lagging thought process. As long as the guy is hot, it's forgivable.

Secondly, I think I may have figured out what Meyer was thinking when she wrote this book. Obviously, Stephanie Meyer is a weeaboo. I've noticed that all of Edward's behaviours, while disturbing in reality, are perfectly normal and expected in animes. Edward is that cliche bad boy from every anime, like the Usui from Maid Sama, or the Ikuto from Shugo Chara. They abuse the girls because they want what's best, and distance themselves because they want to "protect" their loved ones.

In other words, I don't think Twilight is a romance novel at all, but a badly written shojo fanfiction. In Meyer's head, it was probably an anime, to the readers, it's retarded. Then again, how am I supposed to know?

TheUnbeholden said...

"Jacob almost got some character development at the end of New Moon, "

Woops I meant Eclipse (smacks forehead)

Anonymous said...

@ sonicpurgatory

Oh my god. Please tell me you're a troll.

angelgem43 said...

Okay, for starters, I love this blog. It has been a source of laughter for me for some time now, and has cheered me up when I was recovering from surgery. I think I know why Edward touching Bella is creepy. It's because he does everything slowly, kissing, touching,etc. like he's afraid he can't control himself. Not from the blood lust(it's "mind over matter") but from like being generally violent. I also think I know why he can read minds. He was probably a stalker looong before he met Bella, and mind reading is just another tool to stalk. Here's something I find odd: If Eddie is such a perfect turn of the century gentlemen, why does he creep into Bella's room? In the early 1900's, it would have been woefully inappropriate for men to enter women's rooms even with her consent. Since he really only exhibits human behavior, it is a plot hole. He is supposed to be old fashioned, but then he does things that would have been unacceptable in the era he's from.

Dave said...

Spoony Bard. Good taste.

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