Explorations (**BD2 Movie Spoilers!**)

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Re: Explorations

Postby December » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:45 am

Yes, and even though vampires don't have to breathe, they ordinarily do. Partly out of habit, I suppose, but mostly because they make such use of their sense of smell (remember Edward saying that having to do without that sense makes them slightly uncomfortable). It's a conscious act on Edward's part when he chooses not to breathe around Bella so her scent will torment him less. But by the time he decides to let the chips fall where they may, he has set about deliberately habituating himself to her smell -- breathing in her lingering scent when she returns his jacket to him etc. So in the natural course of events, he would be breathing around her -- except when, say, she cuts herself in the beginning of NM....
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Re: Explorations

Postby corona » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:53 am

December wrote:So in the natural course of events, he would be breathing around her -- except when, say, she cuts herself in the beginning of NM....

Yes, or when she cuts one at night. Although, Edward definitely was a trooper.

    Deliberately, I took a deep breath, and then another, letting her scent rip through me like wildfire.
    ...
    I would have to get used to this, if I were going to attempt any kind of relationship with her.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: Explorations

Postby December » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:11 pm

Yep, exactly. "I would burn now -- let the scent desensitize me -- and then it would be easier to ignore it later, when I was with her again at lunch."

*waves hi*
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Re: Explorations

Postby corona » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:49 pm

Hello December,

Yeah, the scent would be especially powerful after a burrito and beans lunch.

BTW, December, instead of being snarky and telling fart jokes, let me spill out a few thoughts I had percolating here, and something about the idea of sacrifice you had for Breaking Dawn.

First, apropos of nothing (I don't know why this didn't occur to me earlier), Edward's "third way" of keeping Bella human was always doomed to failure, even if both of them had decided that was best. Bella's dream at the beginning of NM was impossible. Edward would always want to get married, Bella would agree but never accept a purely platonic relationship. So, she would never have grown old, becoming pregnant at some point.

I'm sure I burned up some space here before discussing if Bella would have accepted that, never thinking that it simply could never happen. Linear thinking.

This popped up in my head when thinking about the two marriage vows, the human one and the vampire one.

The human version takes its vows in BD. The vampire one takes its vows in EC. Thinking of it that way makes EC a little easier for me, actually, and I can understand SM and why she wanted to work with Bella a bit more.

So, human-wise the books go 1) Dating 2) Breakup/Reunion 3) Engagement 4) Wedding and Parenthood.

Vampire-wise the books go 1) Dating 2) Engagement 3) Wedding 4) [eternity? sacrifice?]

Just wanted you to know I understood yours and Caryn's points a bit more now. Stephenie decided to return to the human story arc. That's certainly better for our characters, but does leave the storyline wanting if you thought she had chosen the darker vampire arc.

[Interesting difference between us. Your literary side saw the vampire arc clearly, but I didn't, the sub-text was too obscure to me. I know you see parts as being quite clear (wedding song to funeral dirge). But SM's avoidance of bringing it out front and center appears in retrospect to be a predictor of which story arc she would choose.]

All of this is prompted by the movie and the final Volturi confrontation and the battle that was but wasn't. You could tell there were things that Stephenie had wanted to show us but couldn't unless she put her characters on the line (or break her own canon with Alice). So, we see it in a movie, and the acts of sacrifice we see there make, in my opinion, a far more powerful ending.

And being able to glimpse that possibility helps me to see your point. First, from the human story arc that logically should have ended but didn't, and second from the removal of sacrifice save for the burning period (which I think SM pumped up once she removed the other sacrifices).

I can't say I'm swayed to your side since I tend to side with Stephenie, the characters became more important to me than the story, I confess. I have to agree, though, that being over-protective of your characters and saving them from adversity will end up sacrificing the story. I'd be willing to bet you'd say they sacrifice the characters as well.

Anyway, December, you really should watch this last movie, it's good. I know you have a rule about that, but just do it.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: Explorations

Postby Tornado » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:06 pm

Yeah, being a character writer myself, I favour them over story. However, they usually dictate the story to a certain degree themselves.
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Re: Explorations

Postby corona » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:28 pm

Tornado, I guess it is how you view your characters. I'd figure you'd think of them as your children, and at some point you simply cannot pretend you are a disinterested party anymore.

I used to compare this story with Harry Potter, in that J.K. would end up sacrificing (literally) her characters. But, there were some deaths she had planned she just couldn't do in the end, and she cheated a little with showing Harry that there was a definite afterlife. Well, with the afterlife being questionable for our vampires and THAT being a core part of the story and Edward's misgivings, it's no wonder she wanted to avoid any death at all. She didn't have that "out" that J.K was able to work in, and I'm sure that influenced not only the final confrontation but the rest of the story as well. Harry had a lot of support there at the end, but Bella isn't going to have the ghost of Grandma Swan pop up and hold her hand and tell her she is doing the right thing.

Of course, we know she was planning on coming back to Nessie anyway. I think if she was ever tempted to go the darker, more romantic, sacrificial vampire path she simply couldn't see a way to keep it from getting too dark for her liking.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: Explorations

Postby December » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:05 pm

God, it's ages since I've been here -- or thought properly about any of this. Forgive me if I'm a little rusty! But it's fun to pick up again.

Corona wrote:Anyway, December, you really should watch this last movie, it's good. I know you have a rule about that, but just do it.

Heh. You know, I've been wondering about this myself. Partly because it sounds from what people are saying that it's actually...good. But it also sounds like it might shed interesting light on the themes we were wrestling with -- some might say wrestled to the ground! -- for so long on this thread. Seems like you're telling me: yes, it does.

So maybe, maybe I will.

I can't say I'm swayed to your side since I tend to side with Stephenie, the characters became more important to me than the story, I confess. I have to agree, though, that being over-protective of your characters and saving them from adversity will end up sacrificing the story. I'd be willing to bet you'd say they sacrifice the characters as well.

Oh God, this is unbelievably germane to something I've just been thinking about in relation to a completely different story. How funny. I hadn't put the two together in that way: just goes to show that (surprise surprise) one's mind runs on well-defined lines. In the case of this other author, she's made an interesting stab at having her cake and eating it -- saving her characters and her story -- a bit the way Stephenie did at the end of The Host by plucking her eucatastophe out of the jaws of realised tragedy (and yeah, Tolkien may be another model here...). Still trying to decide if she's succeeded. (Not sure Stephenie does either).

But you know, the way you put it makes me think maybe the difference between us isn't as big as it seems -- or at least it's in a slightly different place. I am SO with you about saving characters from adversity. I hanker after happy endings with the pathetic, helpless, softheartedness of a five year old. As far as I'm concerned, that's what one reads escapist fantasy for. If it ends badly, it's not my kind of book, period.

It's just that if you squint at Stephenie's story in a very particular, Swoonygirl, Old Choices Thread kind of a way, that story of sacrifice we were banging on about BECOMES an exceptionally romantic happy ending. Win-win for both the story and the characters. I doubt if I can explain that paradox any better this time round than all the other times I've tried (possibly because it doesn't really hold together under scrutiny!), but the thought is roughly this: Yes, there is genuine pain and loss entailed by the choice Bella makes. BUT -- and this is the crucial point -- the magnitude of their love for one another makes that sacrifice pale in comparison with the joy of being together forever. So you get the HEA without giving up the story of sacrifice. In fact, the sacrifice is crucial to delivering the HEA, inasmuch as it's the way of conveying just how impossibly deep and transcendent Edward and Bella's love is. Of affirming a passion beyond the reach of any adjective or breathless moment or romantic declaration to convey -- because yes, they're sacrificing so much and still they are so happy together. THAT, I suspect is where we part company: because I've got a kind of fantasy in my head where the sacrifice is transmuted to joy and you listen to me and scratch your head and wonder (reasonably enough) "what is she imagining here?"

Tornado wrote:Yeah, being a character writer myself, I favour them over story. However, they usually dictate the story to a certain degree themselves.

And conversely, story without characters is nothing. (I should know: can't write characters to save my life. Why you find me here battening on other people's characters.... *grin*)

[Interesting difference between us. Your literary side saw the vampire arc clearly, but I didn't, the sub-text was too obscure to me. I know you see parts as being quite clear (wedding song to funeral dirge). But SM's avoidance of bringing it out front and center appears in retrospect to be a predictor of which story arc she would choose.]

It does, doesn't it?

To be honest, I'm not sure it's my literary side: I think it was as much Stephenie's own comments about her story. Things like "But a decision like marriage is (sometimes too easily) reversible. Ending a life is something else--something that can't be taken back....Is Edward unwise to suspect that Bella might feel differently in ten years?" (TUGMP April 18, 2007). "When you are a vampire, things are pretty much over." (Cincinatti Q&A Sept 2007). "In both Twilight and New Moon, Bella commits to becoming a vampire without once really examining what price she’ll pay. In Eclipse, Bella fully comprehends that price. And then she chooses to pay it." (EC FAQs). Which I guess simply suggests she did have both arcs on her mind.....

All of this is prompted by the movie and the final Volturi confrontation and the battle that was but wasn't. You could tell there were things that Stephenie had wanted to show us but couldn't unless she put her characters on the line (or break her own canon with Alice). So, we see it in a movie, and the acts of sacrifice we see there make, in my opinion, a far more powerful ending.

And being able to glimpse that possibility helps me to see your point. First, from the human story arc that logically should have ended but didn't, and second from the removal of sacrifice save for the burning period (which I think SM pumped up once she removed the other sacrifices).

Now this sounds really interesting, but I think I have to ask you to unpack it a little further for me, because -- not having seen the movie -- I don't think I'm following you!

I think maybe I'm going to mark this thread as SPOILERS, and then we can be as spoilery as we wish!

ETA
Corona wrote:Of course, we know she was planning on coming back to Nessie anyway. I think if she was ever tempted to go the darker, more romantic, sacrificial vampire path she simply couldn't see a way to keep it from getting too dark for her liking.

Yes, well. It's all in how you imagine it. As I said, I think for the gals on the Choices thread it didn't seem that dark. (And we were a pretty soft-hearted, swoony bunch). I'm wondering now if that's because we pictured it differently.
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Re: Explorations

Postby Tornado » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:08 am

corona wrote:I used to compare this story with Harry Potter, in that J.K. would end up sacrificing (literally) her characters. But, there were some deaths she had planned she just couldn't do in the end, and she cheated a little with showing Harry that there was a definite afterlife.


I don't know if it's correct to say that she cheated. After all, there were ghosts at Hogwarts from our first encounter with the school in book one, so we knew there was an afterlife. In fact, if the characters she killed off hadn't gone to join the other spectral inhabitants at Hogwarts (or wherever) it would probably have seemed a little odd.

December wrote:And conversely, story without characters is nothing. (I should know: can't write characters to save my life. Why you find me here battening on other people's characters.... *grin*)


And the characters can make the story downright painful, as SM found out when she looked seriously at expanding her story after Twilight and found that, because of the nature of his character, Edward was leaving. A horrible thing, yes, but it's the natural direction for his character at that point.
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Re: Explorations (**BD2 Movie Spoilers!**)

Postby December » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:54 am

Tornado wrote:And the characters can make the story downright painful, as SM found out when she looked seriously at expanding her story after Twilight and found that, because of the nature of his character, Edward was leaving. A horrible thing, yes, but it's the natural direction for his character at that point.

Yeah. No kidding.

It's a dangerous thing to put two characters in a room together. You have no idea where they may take you. Or what unexpected depths of their personalities might emerge....

Have any of your characters sprung uncomfortable surprises on you?
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Re: Explorations (**BD2 Movie Spoilers!**)

Postby corona » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:01 pm

December, it isn't that I can't exactly see it, it's that it is an entirely different story. The battle scene in the movie allows you to glimpse what is missing from Breaking Dawn the text, which is the awesome POWER of sacrifice and heroism. It's one thing to say someone would do this in a particular situation, and it's another thing to have them actually do it. This is one thing that the medium of film has over the text, in that the vision battle actually works for the film. I don't think it would have worked nearly as well for the book.

Somehow, even though this vision isn't real, the film makes it so. I don't know how to explain it, I thought it would come off cheesy.

Three moments from Edward: 1) him and Nessie sitting at the piano, and 2) him holding Nessie at Christmas (and happy!), and 2) him and Carlisle the night before the battle.

[Book Bella says it's like her heart has grown larger to be filled with love for both Edward and Nessie. We don't quite see that this has happened for Edward as well in the book. The film makes that clear and real. Didn't Kayla say once that Nessie was for Edward? The book doesn't make that clear, the movie does.]

It's bizarre, the film often works better than the text for this last part of BD. Things like subtle changes to the imprinting reveal scene make it much better than the book. I'm not going to say the film is perfect, but it can be very surprising what things actually work in it. Bella manhandles Jacob, she is genuinely angry, things have changed for her. Bella holds Nessie, by herself. Jacob does reach for her but Bella doesn't give her up. Small changes but things finally work now.

Nessie is great here too. She is Edward and Bella's child in this, not the special unique snowflake from the book. I found her treatment in the book irritating, but she is simply adorable in the movie.

[Irina sees Nessie when she leaps high into the air to catch a snowflake in the palm of her hand. Was that a BC inside joke?]

There's a sequence starting with an altered discovery of the J. Jenks note. It initially seems to be a let down, but this segues into Bella returning to Charlie's and seeing Edward and Nessie (happy!) there while it is sinking in that Alice doesn't believe Bella or Edward will survive. This in turn goes into Bella packing the survival bag for Jacob and Ness with money and their passports, and Alistair seeing this all and having words with Bella. This is why Alistair leaves. This is all nicely done, scenes blending from one to the other with purpose and impact.

********************

That's really all I wanted to say, is go see the movie.

********************

Rambling on, though, I'm going back to Bella's dream in those opening paragraphs of NM, which is simply a statement of fact concerning their situation. Edward wants to keep Bella human. Bella knows this. Bella will grudgingly accept it and (she believes) will grow old. Nessie is not going to tolerate that fate, but only Stephenie knows that at that point.

So, without the paper cut, they get married and Bella gets pregnant and neither one of them are ready for the consequences. At least they're not ready in her new imagining of the expanded story.

I would say Edward's path is harder, but more straightforward. Stephenie has to work him and prepare him so when the time comes he will follow through and bite.

Bella's path is somewhat easier but a lot more complex. In my opinion, it isn't just that Bella finally comprehends the price she must pay and decides to pay it. She finally comprehends the price Edward will pay, yet still demands it of him. Jacob is the choice for both Bella and Edward, he's the potential "out" for both of them. Bella finally owns this decision which is directly related to Edward's greatest fear, that Bella will regret becoming a vampire at some point. Bella finally comprehends the full scope of her epiphany in NM, that yes, Edward loves you, and he really loves you THAT MUCH, and he actually had very good reasons for what he did, and he STILL doesn't want to do this, but Bella is going to push forward anyway.

Anyway, I like that theory, it makes sense, at least to me. Edward has to bite and Bella has to ensure the best outcome of "no regrets", so she has to completely own that decision, both sides of it. Bella telling Edward to stop the lovemaking in the meadow makes a lot more sense. Knowing what she is going to ask of him, she is going to do everything possible to make it easier for him, and thinking of it this way I can see for the first time she really means it when she tells him that his soul is far too important to her (whereas before this subject was more of a joke with her). It isn't just a cheesy line she uses knowing it will work with Edward, she is finally acknowledging the moral issues involved. She will do everything she can for him, because she knows this is going to hurt him (for a while), but she is going to demand it anyway.

That just makes more sense to me. If Bella comprehends the price she must pay, her life, she must simultaneously comprehend Edward's misgivings and the price he must pay as well, the sacrifice of his conscience. It's Bella's owning both sides of that price that sets the stage for the optimal outcome and averts the potential disaster, regardless of where SM takes it from that point. Bella no longer needs Edward to bite her as a demonstration of his love, she already knows it. She will never blame Edward for biting her. She knows this and intends on proving it to Edward in due time.

********************

And now, rambling some more. I can see where this is all needed, even though Stephenie knows from the very beginning that Nessie is going to sprout up. As SM was working her characters she was working her fans as well. I couldn't say if that was intentional or not, if she was deviously leading everyone down the primrose path. I really don't know.

But then she had to do that regardless of Nessie. Edward has to bite and Bella has to fully own it, and both have to proceed as if the sacrifices and suffering that comes with everything is actually going to happen.

I have to go, but I want to make clear, I DO see your point, and I do see the potential POWER of that alternative story that was never written.

It's ironic that it took a movie to actually demonstrate the power in SM's final story, as written.

Wow. Maybe the bottom line is as prosaic as that. We just wanted Breaking Dawn to be written better, whatever the ultimate story arc ended up being. I hate putting that down in print.

I'd be willing to bet (again) that you would say if she had chosen that alternative path, then the power of that story would have naturally flowed out and wouldn't need a movie to show it. And, I'd have to agree. The movie demonstrates that something was missing from the book.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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