The Imaginary Heroine

searching for the plot

A New Dawn part 9: “Dear Aunt Charlotte” by Cassandra Clare March 20, 2010

[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.

 

Sorry in Advance March 12, 2010

Filed under: Movies,Rants — imaginaryheroine @ 6:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Quileute Wolf Pack Tattoo from New Moon

I understand that movies based on novels require a certain amount of sacrifices to artistic license and format.

I think the insertion of the wolf pack tattoo in the New Moon movie was mainly there to serve as an indicator of association, since the effects and shots needed to make the pack look bigger, buffer, and taller than everyone else would have been time consuming and costly.

At first I kind of liked the tattoo. I even briefly considered getting a t-shirt with the tattoo screen print. It seemed like a low key way to display my Twitardation. It also feels like something of a tradition, as I used to have a t-shirt with an Angelus tattoo on the back in honor of my beloved Angel from BtvS.

Unfortunately, the more I looked at the design, the more I realized it looked less like a wolf and more like…something else. Something that can euphemistically be referred to as “lady bits” or “vajayjay.” Scroll up and look again. I’m not crazy. It totally does.

So now, all I see when I see the wolf tattoo is bunch of dudes with lady bits on their arm. I said sorry in advance, but I’m going to say sorry again.

EDIT! 3/12/10 9:26

Now that I think about it, the wolf/vajayjay tattoo reminds me of a paradox of lycanthropy that’s been bugging me for a while. Werewolves as monsters are generally gendered male, because they’re hairy, muscular, angry, out of control, and dominant. But they’re controlled by the moon (not the Quileute pack, obviously, but SMeyer says they’re shifters, not werewolves). Moon cycles are kind of a girl thing, no? It’s weird that a “male” monster phase could basically be thought of as the worst PMS ever.

Just a bit of something to think about…

 

A New Dawn part 5: “Dancing with Wolves” by Linda Gerber

[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 liked Gerber immediately, since she began her essay by confessing her membership to Team Jacob. If this blog had wider readership, I would probably start getting hateful comments right about now. Let me just reassure my dear friends on Team Edward, I think Bella and Edward were clearly destined for each other for all eternity, etc, etc, ad infinitum…ad nauseum… I just like ’em tall, dark, warm-hearted, and warm-blooded, I guess.

Now that that’s out of the way, lets talk about wolves. “Dancing with Wolves” discusses the ubiquity of wolves in the legends of cultures around the globe. From the number and variety of legends named by Gerber, the humans affinity for wolves is patently obvious. The author quotes Daniel Wood’s book Wolves, saying “these animals are “mirrors, reflecting the proximity of the primitive in human nature,” and adds a number of examples of how wolf and human social structure are similar.

The essay then discusses the prevalence in Native American legends, in particular those of the Quileute tribe, and how they relate to wolf imagery in the Twilight Saga. The legends that Jacob tells Bella at First Beach in Twilight are all authentic Quileute legends with the exception of the story about “the cold ones.” Originally, Jacob and his werewolf brethren played a much smaller role in the saga. It was only when Little Brown offered Meyer a preemptive multi-book deal, that she added the werewolf/shapeshifter embellishment upon the Quileute wolf legends in order to create the Bella-Edward-Jacob triangle.

Gerber discusses some wolfy themes that permeate Jacob and the other Quileute’s character development. Two of the most common associations with werewolves are puberty/coming of age and good/evil or evolved/primitive man duality.

Jacob, like most teenage boys, has a crisis of identity when his body begins to change. These emotions are enhanced by the werewolf metaphor. A teens body turns against them and they become a kind of half-and-half monster. Gerber points out that calling on wolves is an integral aspect of some coming of age rituals among tribes in the Olympic peninsula, which parallels the formation of the Twilight wolfpack, if not quite as literally.

Another common werewolf theme deals with good vs. evil duality. Sometimes it’s presented as evolved vs. primitive duality as well. The explosion of a human into a monstrous wolf represents an escape of either the evil or primitive, Id-like nature inherent in human beings. This jives with a Cherokee legend related by Gerber that tells of a battle between two wolves that goes on inside us at all times. One wolf is good, while the other is evil. It is up to us to chose which wolf will win and guide our conduct.

Initially, Jacob and several of the other pack members resent their destiny. They reluctantly take on the burden of being Protectors, but they are unhappy the proximity of the Cullens has robbed them of their fully human identities. Jacob settles uneasily into his new form, but he still rejects his full destiny. He refuses to be Alpha and clings to Bella, urging her to forget Edward and chose him instead.

Gerber likens Jacob’s character trajectory to that of a Spirit Journey, he “has to let go of who he thought he was so he can become who he is meant to be.” When Bella and Edward marry, Jacob attempts to avoid what is admittedly a pretty tough destiny by sinking into his wolf form and running away. It’s not until Jacob returns, claims his rightful place as Alpha, and fights beside the Cullens to protect Bella and her baby that he walks his true path. In the end, Jacob is rewarded by imprinting on Edward and Bella’s half-breed daughter, Nessie.

While this essay focused on the wolf/human connection and the ways in which Meyer’s Quileute werewolves help us to explore various philosophical themes, there was really no discussion of how the Twilight Saga has affected the real Quileutes or the reception of Twilight in other First Nations groups. It’s not a snark, since Gerber doesn’t claim to do that. She very specifically sets out to talk about wolves in Twilight, not Native Americans in Twilight. Hopefully I can come up with more on this issue later.