Discrepancies

A discussion of the novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

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Re: Discrepancies

Postby Seeker-Mar » Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:54 pm

We've know that vampires are flammable since Twilight. This issue doesn't seem like a discrepancy to me. Just a new perspective. I agree that before BT burning the pieces seemed like a way to make the vamps seem even more indistructable. That even their pieces needed to be buned.

However, this is the first time we've seen through the eyes of Human blood drinking vampires. They have opened a new world of vicious possibilities. I still think Victoria licked Diego's fingers one by one to coat them in venom and then burned them. This was only possible because she ripped off his legs first and had Riley hold him down.

Also if you think back to the nomads from Twilight they approached the Cullen's in the baseball field very respectably. This implies that they had fear of a Superior group and what they might be able to do to them. Again showing that even in Twilight vampires had weaknesses.

I also don't think this vulnerability makes vampires like a new version of humans. There is one big difference. Everything on this Earth will die. If you believe in souls then you believe that we are eternal and Christian's believe we will be given new perfect bodies in the afterlife. However, this first earthly body will perish.

Vampires have the ability, if uninterfered with, to keep their bodies forever. To never die. They may be killed by other vamps or wolves but they also might not. That is a big difference from humans and not more of the same.

Potentially a vampire with Fred's ability could live until the Sun goes nova and maybe longer if we find out how to live beyond our solar system.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby December » Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:04 pm

Oh, no question that even if you CAN die, it makes all the difference in the world that you don't HAVE to die. Vampire immortality is far from meaningless. And certainly we've always been aware that vampires can lose their lives -- properly and for all time. (I mean, that's the whole point of NM). As I said it's just a matter of emphasis. There are parts of Stephenie's story where the idea of omnipotence and endless life is very much to the forefront of Bella's (and our) imagining. Bree's story (along with BD and Jasper's backstory in EC -- which I've always found slightly discordant as well) belongs to a different imaginative register: one where in practice it's vampire mortality that comes through most vividly.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby Openhome » Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:34 pm

December wrote:
Openhome wrote:It makes the choice so much more profound. It also makes the books much more fun because the Cullens aren't immutable, and their existence is much more dangerous than I thought it was before.

Intriguing. More fun, possibly (certainly more adventure-filled and uncertain). Definitely less like heaven on earth.* But for precisely this reason, I would myself have said that it makes the choice that much LESS profound. One reason why BD sort of rolled up the Choices thread as we knew it.

I'm curious now what about it strikes you as adding to the significance of Bella's transformation, not diminsihing it.

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*Or indeed, hell on earth, depending a) on your view of immortality (some people can't think of anything they'd hate more -- see Cats on Mars on the old Choices thread) or b) if you think true earthly immortality has to be counterbalanced by some compensatory suffering (like the penance of the vampire's eternal and unassuageable thirst, as Sparkling Diamond once suggested on the same thread). But either way, more like ordinary life as a different species than something with profound spiritual implications.


Maybe this is more of a conversation for the Explorations thread. ;)

I am not taking into consideration the whole soul or no soul thing, because that adds another level of argument that I don't want to hit on right now. On Explorations, one of the common topics has been that Bella's HEA and the Cullen's lives were simply way too good. We see the Cullens as having it all with the only caveat being an eternal sore throat. However, Bree's story brings up two essential issues. First, vampires in their natural state do come across as what we would judge as evil. They assume godhood (see the first five pages of the Bree book) and see humans as lesser snacks. They are truly without moral guidance at all. Secondly, it isn't true eternal life. There are weaknesses and a horrible downside to being a vampire. THAT is why I see it as more profound. The soul aside, Bree's book does show the two sides (Cullens and newborns) and shows us a little of what Bella and the others will spend eternity fighting against. Certainly, Bella doesn't get it at all until the end of EC, and then she only gets a glimpse. IF she knew, the choice would have been that much harder.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby December » Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:43 pm


Openhome wrote:Maybe this is more of a conversation for the Explorations thread. ;)

Heh. I was thinking the same.

I think maybe we need a branch of the Explorations thread here in the Bree forum, while we're keeping the rest of the boards spoiler-free. I'm going to copy the relevant part of this thread onto a new Explorations of Bree Tanner thread, and we can continue our discussion there.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby ringswraith » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:56 pm

So I just finished the novella. And I'm posting to say- I don't see how this changes anything we've learned about killing vampires. There's nothing that suggested (to me) that they simply took a lighter and held it up to someone to let them burn. So I guess I don't get what the confusion's about...
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby December » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:16 pm

Well, that was the impression I got about what Riley and/or Victoria did to Diego. At least...at the end, when Bree knows Diego's dead, she thinks back to the nasty threats Riley made to the newbies on about burning off bits of them slowly and realizes that he was reporting what he'd just done to Diego. Or am I misremembering this?...
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby ringswraith » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:20 pm

He also mentions that the legs were ripped off and that he (Diego) was held down, so it's not like Diego was a willing participant.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby December » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:32 pm

Granted. Though I think it would be hard to get anyone to stand still, vampire or otherwise, while you burnt bits off them!

My thought was more that there's a difference between using fire to hurt someone (alive) and relying on it as a kind of final "die and STAY dead!" measure to ensure that the vampire you've just torn to shreds doesn't reassemble himself and come back to life. This is not a practical difference, you understand, but a difference in the way we feel about it: does it reassure us (phew, at least vampires are flammable!) or underscore how creepily indestructible they are (the bits don't stay dead until you've reduced them to a pile of ashes!).

Do you see what I'm getting at?
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby Openhome » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:40 pm

I think what most non-fanfic readers found new in the book is the whole briefness of the newborn lives. In the series, Bella sees stable, adult vampires whose lives have the potential to extend until the sun goes nova as Seeker-Mar put it. Most readers saw the flammability as a means to an end, not as a weapon. If you read or write fanfiction, using venom and fire as a weapon is fairly common.
The difference is that the vampires in Bree's book come across as far more killable than they do in the series. This is because we finally get a glimpse of just how volatile these beings are. To become a vampire only to die within a year is only mentioned in EC, but this novella brought it to the forefront.
I understand where some of the series readers are coming from, to be able to be ripped apart and slowly burned is new for many people and makes the vampires seem much less omnipotent. In my opinion, it does change the game a bit. Bella is entering a dangerous world in which most vampires that die, die a violent death. We don't see this in any of the saga. I've considered it as a fact for ages, but I do remember the first time I realized that a vampire could indeed be tortured and killed it changed how I viewed the whole sparkle-vamp thing.
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Re: Discrepancies

Postby ringswraith » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:56 pm

Hm. I guess I see that.

What I don't see is it sounds like people are shocked (or at least, a little disturbed) that vampires are so vulnerable to fire. It's been driven into our heads from Twilight (heck, the movie repeats this fact twice in rapid succession, if I recall). That hasn't changed at all. As far as Diego is concerned, he was legless (and likely in a lot of pain just from that) whilst being held down by two vampires- one much more experienced than either of the others. He may not have held still, but I bet there wasn't much he could do anyway.

I think what everyone should be seeing, as Openhome puts it, is that this (Bree's) version of events is the norm for the vast majority of vampires that get... let's say, "introduced" into this (un)life. Bella's is by far and large such a departure from what we expected that it cannot be taken as the norm, so we kinda have to switch gears and realize just how lucky (oh, how lucky) Bella was/is with her transformation et al.

I guess I never saw the TW vamps as "omipotent." Yeah, they've got quite a bit of advantages over humans, but that doesn't make them omnipotent. We know they have vulnerabilities. This novella hasn't changed any of that- likely, it just brought them up for closer inspection.
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