andypalmer wrote: While many of us creative types could write stories using SM's vampires that are far more horrifying, I appreciate the fact that my 10 year old son can read the series.
I submit that vampires in their basic, "natural state" are amoral, no more evil or good than a lion or shark that feeds on humans.
Perhaps some of the "better" ones try to do something like Edward, attempting to only target those determined to be "worthy" of death.
While I suspect that racists would quickly lose that specific hatred (unless it had a particularly personal basis), as they no longer have anything in common with whichever group they belonged to before, violent and sadistic tendencies would likely be amplified.
The Volturi - I consider them the most evil for, my perception is that they revel in the fear and suffering of their human prey and, additionally, try to use it to "cleanse" the morality from their followers.
December wrote:How far did she WANT to give her story a dark side? I think this isn't just Stephenie speaking with a muffled voice, or inadequate eloquence; what I hear is ambivalence.
You feel that Stephenie really wants give us an orphan heroine, adrift in the world and ripe for translation into her new life everlasting without too much left behind. Otherwise the loss might seem too heartbreaking.
Fortunately, posts written in playfulness, tend to provoke playfulness, whatever the object of their invective....
Alcyone wrote:I'd probably be more comfortable around him if he lacked that arrogance that convinced him he was able to become judge, jury and executioner because he could read thoughts.
Times have changed some since we were young. The original Hans Christian Anderson stories are not considered suitable for children, by today's standards; only their watered down "adaptations." As for Harry Potter, meh, the Basilisk was "big monster" scary, but hardly the "keep you awake at night for a week" terrifying that well-written vampires can be. Vampire mythos, especially with its strong sexual overtones, tends to be very adult oriented. If you had any doubts, check out 80% of the fanfic out there.Alcyone wrote:Scary ≠ not suitable for children. The first Harry Potter books are at a level that a child can read and yet they can be frightening. That Basilisk was more than a little freaky. And of all the books I've read, I find childhood fairy tales the most terrifying. Stories like Hansel and Gretel and their cannibalistic intentions and the original Little Mermaid, which left me in a daze when I read it (I was eight and I remember the ending perfectly due to its impact). Even nursery rhymes. I was fine with "Sing a song of sixpence" until the last line. I went around for some time covering my nose every time I saw anything even remotely resembling a blackbird.
Better compared to killing randomly. Still far from "good." Edward was at least equipped with the tools to discern the intent over say, merely an observer. I'm in no way excusing what he did any more than Edward did himself, but if you HAVE to kill people, killing people you're pretty sure are evil is at least marginally better than killing at random. I don't think it was a God complex, but merely Edward's struggle with his nature manifesting itself in a way that allowed him to live with himself at all, and badly at that.Alcyone wrote:Is that better? The premise is disturbingly close to God-mode. Who gives them the right to judge who is worthy of death? And how are the rest certain their judgement isn't impaired? Or put another way, who watches the watchmen? IMO, that's one facet of Edward's past that rattles me. I much prefer Rosalie's killing her rapists than this methodical hunting down of "villains". There are many who are just that cruel, but there are many others--especially among the serial rapist and killer populations--who are ill. Due to a mental disorder or an organic one. It's amazing how one tiny tumor growing in a specific part of your brain can kill off your empathy. If removed and the neurons aren't damaged or they are but are able to recover, empathy and returns and, with it, what some would call humanity. And with the empathy comes all-encompassing guilt. Are they deserving of death?andypalmer wrote:Perhaps some of the "better" ones try to do something like Edward, attempting to only target those determined to be "worthy" of death.
Considering how most vampires don't interact with humans AT ALL, except when feeding on them, I'm not sure how this argument holds. It's just not important to most of them, a complete non-issue.Alcyone wrote:Considering anyone with a dark skin tone who is turned ends up with splotched skin that wouldn't even allow them to go out in the shade amongst humans because their odd skin would be a visible sign that SOMETHING IS REALLY WRONG (or so Stephenie answered in one of those Q&A things with the Lex), I'd say racism would continue and would exacerbate. After all, the white vampires could still wander amongst humans, but the dark-skinned ones couldn't. The PoC vampires would get annoyed. Fast.
I'm referring entirely of how they feed themselves at home. With a room full of vampires, they could easily kill every human in their "fishing trips" in sub-second time. Instead, Bella describes screaming starting before they could get out of earshot, implying multiple screams over some length of time. This, in my mind, points to a sadistic approach to feeding, of the Volturi reveling in the terror of their victims, allowing them to process their impending death, scream for mercy, run in terror, etc. I actually found this aspect of the flight from the Volturi one of the darkest and most disturbing in the series. To me, it really solidified that evil vampires of our legends were out there and the Volturi were more than representative of that darkness.Alcyone wrote:How do they revel in the fear and suffering of human prey? When your hosts suddenly turn around and are baring teeth at you, I figure you might put out a good scream. Humans are food. They see us like cows. Really good tasting cows I want veal. Aro is interested in Bella because she can actually block their special abilities and that specific ability is unheard of even among vampires. How he casually asks Jane to test out her power is reminiscent of some amoral scientist experimenting with electricity on rats. Let's see if it hurts. Then there's the simple fact that she has a vampire in love with her, also unheard of or at least rare enough to provoke some gasps. Outside of those two things, she was nothing. He even asks Edward how he's gone so long without feeding from her.
andypalmer wrote: If you had any doubts, check out 80% of the fanfic out there.
Considering how most vampires don't interact with humans AT ALL, except when feeding on them, I'm not sure how this argument holds. It's just not important to most of them, a complete non-issue.
To me, it really solidified that evil vampires of our legends were out there and the Volturi were more than representative of that darkness.
andypalmer wrote:I'm in no way excusing what he did any more than Edward did himself, but if you HAVE to kill people, killing people you're pretty sure are evil is at least marginally better than killing at random. I don't think it was a God complex, but merely Edward's struggle with his nature manifesting itself in a way that allowed him to live with himself at all, and badly at that.
I'm trying to understand, Knives, why it's problem for you that Stephenie doesn't engage with the full spectrum of moral possibilities between the Cullens' strict "vegetarianism" and an indiscriminate red-eyed-vamp killing spree... Do you feel she's unduly critical (or that I am) of the ordinary vampire? If so, then you're probably attributing a stronger moral stance to her (and me) than is warranted. Stephenie certainly went out of her way in her conversation with Tennyo (PC#12) to condone the way of life most vampires choose, and to argue that as a different species, they should no more be blamed for killing us than we should be blamed for killing a beef cow. Less, in fact, because when a vampire forgoes their "meat", it hurts. A lot. And I think I'd say the same -- what the Cullens choose to do is superrogatory: a stunning act of self-sacrifice which one could hardly be blamed for choosing not to undertake.
vampball wrote:I read that personal correspondence and I liked it a lot, but I still don't quite buy the cow analogy. For one thing, we can't talk to cows. We certainly can't fall in love with them. And we never used to be cows.
December wrote:vampball wrote:I read that personal correspondence and I liked it a lot, but I still don't quite buy the cow analogy. For one thing, we can't talk to cows. We certainly can't fall in love with them. And we never used to be cows.
Oh yes, indeed! I don't want to go on about my own views all over again (and in fact I have to run out the door in a second!) but these are obviously issues that have come up for discussion a lot over the years. If you're interested, there were a number of interesting convos on the old Lex (now the Lexicon Archive), principally in the original TUGMP (here and here) and Choices threads (here and here). If you read around in the neighbourhood of those links, there's quite a lot to think about.
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