The Imaginary Heroine

searching for the plot

Why Summit? Why?! April 27, 2010

Fug via TresSugar

Apparently they’ve released a replica of Bella’s engagement ring. It’s available in faux version for $35 and a version with real diamonds for $1,979.

I blushingly admit that I’ve amassed a not inconsiderable amount of Twilight related merch. I may or may not frequently sport purple ruffled sweats from Aerie or a cadet blue B.B. Dakota jacket.  So, clearly I have no problem with people who want to have fun with movie memorabilia. If you have lots of disposable income and truly want a Cullen engagement ring, more power to you.

My main issue is the design of this ring. It is HIDEOUS. As some commenters have noted, it looks like a bug’s eye.

Wasn’t this supposed to be Edward’s mother’s ring? If you consider Edward died at 17 in 1918 and the typical short time window between marriage and first child at the time, his parents were probably married in the late 1890s. Shouldn’t the ring be Victorian style jewelry? This doesn’t look anything like what should have been around in Victorian America.

I mean, for cripes sake! Look how flipping gorgeous these Victorian rings are!

Why, Summit?! Why did you make the movie ring the fugliest ring ever? Are you just trying to piss off Twilight fans?

UPDATE:

So, here’s the description of the ring from the book:

“The face was a long oval, set with slanting rows of glittering round stones. The band was gold — delicate and narrow. The gold made a fragile web around the diamonds.”

So, I suppose the movie ring somewhat matches the book description. But it is still hideous. So there.

UPDATE2:

Other suggestions for Bella’s ring

I like the first one better, but I think the second one matches the description more. Either one is preferable to the monster we’re promised in June.

Update3:

Oddly, the artist rendering is by the same company that is producing the replicas. The final products don’t seem to match the drawing very well. The inset “web” is more delicate and there’s scalloped edging in the drawing that are nowhere in evidence on the real rings.

Unfortunately, the fug replica rings are officially authorized by Stephenie Meyer herself. Maybe she authorized the drawing and not the rings? I don’t know.

Yikes. I mean, you can’t argue with the author. If that’s what she says the ring looks like, that’s what it looks like. I’m not keen on the canon description, the presumably approved prototype rendering, or the final authorized replicas.

I’m going to go cry in the corner now.

Somewhere in the world, someone is writing the shortest alternate universe Twilight fan fiction ever which says something to the effect that Elizabeth Masen’s ring was lovely and understated with a single stone and delicate Art Nouveau scroll work on the band.

 

My Life in Fiction March 29, 2010

“We see the future, we see something waiting for us even when we don’t feel it inside sometimes.”
– Psychosister23, “The Great Debate” by Rachel Caine from A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins.

I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t you…over this whole A New Dawn book review thing yet?! Well, yes, I am. This isn’t really a book review. Just something I was reminded of when I read this bit from Rachel Caine’s essay. It was part of her discussion about Twilight’s positive lessons for young women. Namely, that in encourages them to think about what their adult life could and should be like. Even though they feel like misfits, they can become the heroine in their own story.

This definitely struck a chord with me. I read. A lot. I also watch a lot of movies and TV. I love stories. They give me hope that there is meaning in a really confusing, chaotic world.

This is the origin of this blog. My life has started to feel kind of pointless. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know how I’m going to get there. I go to work, I come home, I do dishes, I go to bed – what happened to the great life story I was supposed to be the star of? I’m not sure. Maybe that happens later. Maybe this is the great adventure I’m supposed to be having. I’m just too close to see it. Maybe my “post-adolescent idealistic phase” is crashing and burning. In any case, I need a project. I need to feel like there is a point to life, the universe, and everything.

It’s a whole lot easier for me to do that when I’m reading and writing and trying to tease out pearls of meaning from between the lines.

I want to make myself clear. I don’t expect to become a heroine in a fantastical quest against evil. I am fully cognizant of the fact that life is not like a novel or movie. This doesn’t keep me from using narratives to explain the mysteries of life. In fact, the reason we read books and watch TV shows and see movies is because well all do this to some extent. This may be why people my age often go through this kind of disillusionment phase (you know it kills me to admit I’m going through a phase, but I think it’s a pretty well documented fact if it’s being discussed by fifteen year-olds in Clueless).

We’re bombarded with all kinds of stories and meanings in the media we consume. To take a particularly dramatic example, in Brave Heart Young Murron gives Young William Wallace a thistle at his father’s funeral. Years later, when William proposes to Murron, he reveals that he saved the same thistle for years. Seeing the thistle, Murron knows that his affection is sincere and long-standing. She consents to marry him.

In real life, this kind of thing doesn’t happen. Stuff today is pretty disposable. Clothes are mass manufactured for no one in particular and meant to be discarded after a season. Ipods are made to survive about two years, since by that time the next generation will be available. We spend $3.50 on a cardboard cup filled with coffee, neither of which will last beyond an hour or so.

Because the tangible world is so disturbingly fluid – our setting and the objects around us so impermanent – it’s easy to start believing that we live disposable lives in a disposable culture. This may be why we are so charmed with the thistle in Brave Heart, tuppence in Mary Poppins, and Harry Potter’s scar. They’re artifacts that prove the existence of meaning.

How do we know William loves Murron? He kept her thistle. We can see his love right in his hand. The thistle, tuppence, and scar are metaphors for an abstract meaning. The thistle device is used by writers to draw the audience’s attention to central points of meaning in the narrative. They’re shortcuts on the desktop of the mind.

I think maybe the tangibility of these objects sometimes gets in the way  of their significance. The object is not the point – the meaning is the point. But instead of focusing on the meaning of the metaphor, we lock onto the physical presence of the object and become obsessed with finding tangible symbols in our own lives. Why not? That’s how several forms of media have taught us to process meaning.

What I’m endeavoring to teach myself is that even without these tangible artifacts I can still find abstract meaning in my life.

 

The Imaginary Heroine’s Fictional Boyfriends March 25, 2010

As promised, here’s a list of my fictional boyfriends.

Harry Potter, the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
I know a bunch of people are going to skeeved out when they read this. Let me just say, I started reading Harry Potter in junior high, when we were about the same age in book time. As the gaps between books widened, I aged faster than Mr. Potter did. All of this is moot though, because Harry’s birthday is July 30, 1980. So, he’s seven years and about a month older than me anyway. So there.

I didn’t really feel romantically attached to Harry until the much-maligned fifth book came out (I was still two months shy of sixteen when it came out in 2003, so I was still in non-creepy territory. Thbt!). A lot of people have complained that they couldn’t stand Harry in book five. He was a whiney pain-in-the-butt, always on about how unfair life was and losing his marbles to the Dark Lord.

Here’s the thing…that was just how I felt too. High school pretty much sucked for me. Like Harry, I spent a lot of time at odds with not only a large number of my closest friends, but also several teachers and my high school. Throw in some metallic maroon combat boots and the inevitable teenage cry of “no one understands meeeee!” and you’ve got the wretched disaster that was sixteen year-old me.

When Harry was shouting down Professor Umbridge in class and forming secret resistance societies, my bolshy (and, yes, whiney, pain-in-the-butt) sixteen year-old self just swooned. When he wasn’t defeating evil, Harry was just trying to get by and do right by people. He also had a mischief streak a mile wide without being an obnoxious “bad boy.” Something that really appealed to this goody-two-shoes. Harry also has great taste in women, as evidenced by his proximity to smart gals like Hermione and Ginny. Add in dark hair and some glasses…I’m sold.

Just like Harry, I ended up dropping out before my senior year and heading off into the world. Sure he went to look for Horcruxes and I went to college, but we can’t all be “the Chosen One.” I will always think of Harry Potter as my partner in crime, my brother in arms, and my only high school boyfriend.

Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, portrayed by David Boreanaz
This one gives me pause now. I used to think Angel was, like, the be all end all of hotness. I definitely blame him for giving me a type: dark eyes, dark hair, straight brow, tan skin, buff shoulders…. Which is basically 7abibi all over, now that I think of it…

Now I realize that it’s pretty creepy for a 240 year-old guy to be sleeping with a seventeen year-old. Even if the 17 year-old in question is a vampire slayer. Plus, all these vampire romances sound good in theory, but the lack of body heat just…ew. Ew. I have a feeling a physical relationship with a vampire would be kind of icky, actually. Who knows what kind of nasty diseases a vampire might have lurking all over their body – they’re basically invincible!

That aside, Angel won my heart and stomped all over it again and again in college. And I loved him for it. It gave me an escape from a crazy class load, 3/4 time job, and roommate angst. Buffy and Angel on DVD definitely helped me survive some grueling semesters.

Yes, he spent some time saving Buffy, but he didn’t mind when Buffy saved him. And she did. Quite a lot, actually. That is what made Angel awesome. He loved a girl who could kick his ass. He even loved her after she killed him, for goodness sake. That is one man who knows the value of a good woman.

I ended up following Angel to his spin-off show and liking him the better for being a bit darker and a bit funnier than he was in BtVS. I have to give the writers and Boreanaz credit, because the Angel/Angelus duality helped me hash out a lot of feelings about good and evil inside myself and finding a moral compass after you realize you aren’t and never will be all good all the time.

Seeley Booth, Bones, portrayed by David Boreanaz
I followed David Boreanez on to his next project, a TV show called Bones. I had never been into a crime drama before, but I was willing to give it chance if it meant I could see his pretty face again. I was prepared to be bored or grossed out, but guess what? Bones kicks all kinds of ass.

Yet again, we see David Boreanaz sharing face time with a kick-ass woman and doing it well. Sometimes he plays the blue-collar, Catholic straight man to her intellectual, atheist jibes. Other times he plays the wise guy and urges her to listen to her heart to find the answers she’s searching for. The show achieves a delicate balance by giving the female lead traits often considered masculine and giving traditionally feminine traits to the male lead. The inversion leads to both humor and illumination as they work together to solve the crime du jour.

I would argue that Boreanaz must be a vampire in real life, because I swear he’s gotten better looking with age. He’s able to carry off both the manly man shell of FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth while staying true to an inner core of intuition, love, and harmony. He’s the thinking woman’s heart-throb.

Ramses Emerson, The Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters
I’ve talked about him before on this blog. Walter Peabody Emerson, a.k.a. the Brother of Demons, a.k.a. Ramses is totally hot.

Ramses is the scholar of the bunch, with several degrees and near perfect fluency in myriad languages, dead and alive. Don’t let that fool you though, because he’s also a master of disguise with a wicked sense of humor and enough mischief to match Fred and George Weasley. Plus he “doesn’t fight like a gentleman” whether he’s faced with drunken British Officers or Turkish spies or his dastardly cousin Percy. He’s not afraid of personal injury if he thinks it’s in the service of good, as evidence by his damaging pacifist cover for an extremely active career as a secret agent. He’s also an unabashedly adoring husband and loving dad. Swoon.

Ramses is another guy who is attracted to smart and determined women. How can he not be with a mom like Amelia Peabody? It’s an aphrodisiac, I swear. Show me a man who loves smart women and I’ll show you a milliondy-twelve women of worth willing to love him back.

Honorable Mention:
Mr. Knightly, Emma by Jane Austen
I sort of surprise myself on this one, since my favorite Austen is definitely Sense and Sensibility. But Edward Ferrars just can’t stand up to Mr. Knightly (or really anyone, come to think of it). Mr. Knightly was always trying to boss Emma around, but still loved her and sought her opinion even when she stood up to him or refused to take his advice. Sure his constant nagging could be interpreted as paternalistic and icky, but I choose to read it otherwise. Emma was written as such a stubborn and self-assured character that she needed a powerful counterpart. Someone who was willing to tell her when she was full of crap or being a bitch to Miss Bates. Someone who urged her to be better, because she could and should. That’s why I would say Mr. Knightly has the edge over everyone’s favorite haughty-to-hottie hero, Mr. Darcy.

I find most of Austen’s heros fairly tame. The guys with real spark end up being huge jerks, like Wickham and Willoughby. What is Austen saying here? Is she pulling a Gottleib and telling us to settle for Mr. Dependable-but-dull? Is she telling us that a happy marriage means turning your back on fun, exciting partners? Although Austen gives her heroines a traditional happy ending, the fact that she herself never married and her quotes on the subject of marriage, spinsterhood, and female worth are indicative of a deep skepticism of marriage and men.

Fred/George Weasley, the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
They’re a ton of fun, that’s for sure, and plenty brave. They also seem to be appreciative of powerful women. Fred took the Angelina Johnson to the Yule Ball for cripes sake! Don’t remember her? She was a quidditch chaser who was good enough to make captain and a witch talented enough to try for TriWizard Champion. I hear she married George after the Second Wizarding War! My admiration for the twins is somewhat limited by their secondary (tertiary?) character status. There’s not much to go on here since the Harry Potter series is mostly limited to Harry’s POV. What did they get up to when Harry wasn’t looking? I’m betting they were “up to no good,” of course.

Eric Northman, the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris and True Blood, portrayed by Alexander Skarsgård

This is a fairly recent one for me. I just started reading the Sookie Stackhouse books this year. If I talk about why, I’ll be giving up a crapload of spoilers about the book series and possibly the TV show, so I’ll just zip it. He’s definitely got the high mischief factor going on. I can’t like Eric all the way since he’s definitely a selfish jerk. On the other hand, he’ll tell you so up front. Points for honesty? Being a former viking, he definitely goes against my normal physical type. I’ll stay tuned on this one. The jury is still out.

Who are your fictional boyfriends? Have they changed over time? Want to fight to the death over Angel? I’m dying to know!

 

Failbooking Twilight Style March 23, 2010

Filed under: Books,Movies — imaginaryheroine @ 6:00 am
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[Buffy says “Now this is not going to be pretty. We’re talking violence, strong language, adult content.”]

I came across this a while back and thought I should add it to the growing pile of Twi-snark.


see more funny facebook stuff!

What does happen when Bella has the painters and decorators in?

EDIT: I guess SMeyer had to think up an answer to the menstruation question.

“Several girls wanted to know if Edward would have a more difficult time being around Bella when she’s having her period.  Answer: Yes, a little bit, but he would never say anything about it–much too much of a gentleman.  And Bella would be way to embarrassed to ask.  (It’s not the same as a cut, though.  It’s sort of “dead” blood, if you get my meaning).” – Stephenie Meyer, Personal Correspondance #2, Twilight Lexicon

 

New Moon Ending Gripes March 20, 2010

Filed under: Books,Movies — imaginaryheroine @ 12:53 pm
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[Spoilers for New Moon the movie]

Is anyone else bummed out that Edward got the last line in New Moon?

I think they were going for something like this:

Edward/RPatz: Marry me, Bella.
Bella/KStew: *tiniest gasp imaginable*
*Blackness*
Audience: ZOMG!!!AAAAHHHH!!*lustsplode*

Which is what happened in the theater my mom and I went to. There weren’t too many people there, as we saw it over a week after the release and early in the afternoon of a rainy Sunday. There was a giggly group of middle aged women sitting behind us and a few teens in the seats below who seemed to really enjoy it.

I wish when they panned to Bella that she hadn’t just gasped. Why doesn’t she get to say anything? It should have gone like this:

Edward/RPatz: Marry me, Bella.
Bella/KStew: You have got to be kidding me.

or

Edward/RPatz: Marry me, Bella.
Bella/KStew: Oh shit.

or

Edward/RPatz: Marry me, Bella.
Bella/KStew: Seriously?

Just…something. Something from Bella!

I feel like this would have been more fitting in a lot of ways.

For one, Bella is not into his proposal at all. I guess we’ll see that in the Eclipse movie, but I wish Bella had gotten the chance to let it be known in this movie. Here’s how it went down in New Moon the book:

His eyes were cautious – he spoke slowly. “Marry me first.”

I stared at him, waiting…. “Okay. What’s the punch line?”

He sighed. “You’re wounding my ego, Bella. I just proposed to you, and you think it’s a joke.”

“Edward, please be serious.”

“I am one hundred percent serious.” He gazed at me with no hint of humor in his face.

“Oh, c’mon,” I said, an edge of hysteria in my voice.

– New Moon p540

See what I mean? Bella’s having none of this nonsense.

Also, this story is supposed to be Bella’s story. It’s kind of hard to translate first person book narratives on screen, but I think both installments of the Twilight Saga on the silver screen have done a pretty good job. Bella has narrated the intro to both Twilight and New Moon. With a few notable exceptions, most of the action takes place within Bella’s frame of reference. I would say the films are fairly true to a Bella first person narrative. So, why didn’t we get her reaction?

I’ll probably be coming up with more New Moon discussion as time goes on, but this was my biggest beef with the film. There were some other big and small flaws here and there, but I was actually pretty happy with it over all.

 

What a Marshmallow!

Filed under: Current Events,Movies — imaginaryheroine @ 11:21 am
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Went and got my New Moon DVD (the Target version) early this morning. And when I say early, I mean I left the house at about 8:30… Yeah, I guess I’ve lost my youthful enthusiasm.

Hopefully the movie will be over before 7abibi gets home from soccer. I’ve got to say I’m team human for New Moon. Charlie, Jessica, Eric, Harry Clearwater – the humans get all the great lines:

Charlie: Alright… girl’s night… shopping… I like it. Go…buy some… stuff…

[The genius of Billy Burke is undeniable. If there’s some sort of casting fiasco like the one with Rachelle Lefevre, I may have to just…something. Something bad!]

***

Jessica: I don’t know why you want to sit through all those zombies eating people and no hot guys kissing anyone.  It’s gross. Why are there that many zombie movies anyway? Is it supposed to draw a parallel to leprosy? My cousin had leprosy – It’s not funny, y’know. Is it supposed to be a metaphor for consumerism?  ‘Cause don’t be so pleased with your self-referential cleverness…

[Ditto for Anna Kendrick…]

***

Bella Swan: We should get a bunch of people… You guys wanna go see Face Punch?
Eric: Yeah! Hey, Mike, remember we were suppose to watch that? The trailer’s all like “*Pew!Pew!* Punch his face in!”

[SMeyer has said she’s not particularly happy with the whole Face Punch thing. I thought it was one of the best parts of the movie. But I’m kind of crazy like that, I guess.]

***

Harry Clearwater: Don’t worry about the bears, Bella. My Kung Fu is strong.

***

I have to give the best quote of all to Jacob, though.

by ~Taylor-LautnerLover on DeviantART

 

A New Dawn part 9: “Dear Aunt Charlotte” by Cassandra Clare

[Part of a series discussing the essays in A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins. These posts may contain spoilers about all four Twilight novels and Midnight Sun.]

I enjoyed Cassandra Clare’s humorous, yet wise advice about how to choose between Team Jacob and Team Edward. Which mythological beast would make the best boyfriend? Decisions, decisions! Aunt Charlotte kicks her letter off by noting that “this kind of question is a nice change of pace, since in books it always seems to be a girl torn between a vampire and a werewolf, unlike in real life when she would be torn between a mailman and an area insurance adjuster named Bob.” Indeed (+1000 lol points).

Sadly, Taylor's wig here looks better than KStew's in the Eclipse trailer.

Since werewolves and vampires are, y’know, not real, Clare must use movies as evidence upon which she can base her advice. This means she gives us a great overview of the film portrayals of vampires and werewolves over the years. Like Steiber, Clare notes that movies did a lot for both monsters, pulling them out of scary/gross out territory and placing them into the roles of romantic leads.

I have to admit, I used the numerous movies she listed as suggestions for my Netflix queue. Poor 7abibi… Some of them are on demand, so I’ll have to stream them in my copious (+1001 lol points) free time.

In general, her outlook on both werewolves and vampires is mixed at best. Werewolves are strong, sexy, and in touch with nature, but they tend to be more than a wee bit out of control. Vampires may be erotic and aristocratic, but dang are they emo. Romance with mythical creatures is nice in theory, but Aunt Charlotte seems to think the hypothetical real world consequences would be pretty messy. That is, if the mythical creatures in question aren’t too busy fighting centuries old wars, protecting nature, or partying until the cows come home to be in a relationship at all.

I wont reveal the conclusion, but I gave it +eleventy lol points.