Archive for December, 2008

In Bella’s defense (and my thoughts on the Twilight series)

twilight newmoon eclipse breaking dawn

Since getting hooked on the Twilight series, I find myself clicking on the links on anything I see on the internet that has to do with Twilight. Click here and there and then I bump into spoilers and I get disappointed. I also couldn’t help reading the negative comments about the series and Bella’s character. I think the number one problem people have is that they compare Ms. Meyer’s books to the Harry Potter series. They’re both fantasies, all right. But one is a romance and the other is not. And Ms. J.K. Rowling’s work has already been established as a classic, and Ms. Meyer’s, I don’t know, but she’s still fairly new. So I think people should stop comparing the two series.

There was this article that I read about Bella’s character being a bad model for teen-age girls. At first I asked myself, did Stephenie Meyer intend to write her novels for the teen-agers or the (young) adult? Okay, her main character was a teen-ager, a 17-year old, but her plot has more of an adult theme. Another question I ask, is it a writer’s responsibility to determine if their young characters would be a good or bad model for the young readers? What if they did not intend their novel to be read by pre-teens and young teens? Doesn’t an author write to share his stories or ideas? Or do they also have to take in consideration whether they’re sending a good or bad message? Isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to monitor what their young children are reading? After reading the third and fourth books, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, I wonder how pre-teens are grasping the sex issues in the story. This is one of the times when I’m glad that I don’t have a daughter. I do have a pre-teen and two teen-aged boys but they’re not interested in reading these books. But if they were, I would have to explain to them that it is about the choices we make, and how we have to consider them carefully and I would explain to them what Ms. Meyer is trying to point out in the story. Try to do the moral thing. But then again, I’m also glad that Ms. Meyer did write about the sex thoughts in what Bella would say, a “polite way.”

You might be asking, why am I defending Bella, when I have mentioned in my New Moon post, that unlike Bella, I would not be willing to give up my human life just so I could be with someone forever?

Well, you see, I have mentioned how my girl friend and I have been discussing the series. It’s like we’re in this two-member book club and we sometimes disagree with how the characters behave in the novels. It’s fun though. I’ve always wanted to join a book club, but I think this is better. No hassles of going to the meetings and I can read at my own pace. ๐Ÿ™‚ My girl friend and I both loved Twilight, the first book in the series, for different reasons. Then she started reading New Moon and Eclipse and she started to get annoyed with Bella. Why does she put a man above everything else, above herself? So Edward goes away on a hunting trip for a few days, and she gets bored and doesn’t know how to pre-occupy herself? She’s so needy. It’s like she can’t get on with her life without a man. ๐Ÿ™‚ My first reaction was to laugh at her comments. Why? I had to admit to her that I see Bella in myself. I was that girl with the low self esteem, and that plot in New Moon resembles my first experience of a heart ache. I was the same age as Bella when “my Edward” left me. And he had the same reason as to why he left. Only, he told me the reason after 20 years. (long story) Same thing Edward told Bella. It was for your own good, he said. But how could he have known what was good for me, right? I was also devastated, but I wasn’t catatonic, like Bella was. But it sure was also one of the darkest days of my life. And then I met a guy who was somewhat like Jacob. Someone who was funny and made me laugh again. And I was also torn between the two, kind of like the song “Are you gonna stay with the one who loves you, or are you going back to the one you love?” I know, it was kind of corny. But that was me back then. And no, I did not end up with “my Edward.”

I know that the way Bella handled her feelings towards the two men in Eclipse wasn’t the best one. She ended up hurting the two people that she loved. But see, like some of us, she made her decisions based on her emotions. Not the smart thing to do. But as Edward said, she’s only human.

I also had a theory on why Bella was so “needy.” See, like Bella, my parents were also separated. And though she spent summers with her dad, she grew up mostly with her mom. And I thought maybe the absence of the father figure is what made her “needy” for the love of a man. Sure, in the novels, she was living with her dad Charlie, but she met Edward early on in the series, just when she started living with her dad. I can relate to that. Because when I started to notice boys, or when boys started to notice me, I immediately got attracted to anybody who would give me attention. I guess I was also longing for that male figure in my life. Just so you know, I don’t have any brothers either. But my girl friend disagrees with that, too, because she also didn’t grow up with her father and she said that she was never that needy for male attention.

But see, Edward is not really your typical 17-year-old. He’s actually over a hundred years old. It’s just his physical appearance is frozen in a 17-year-old body. And Edward watching over and protecting Bella (against Tyler’s crashing car, or against bad vampire James) is sort of very fatherly. Sure we are in modern times now and we are way past the women’s liberation phase. We want to teach the young women that we can stand up on our own and defend ourselves. But this is just a novel, a fiction. For some of us, reading is an escape from the realities of life. I know for me it is. I was just thinking about this a few months ago. Why have I been reading fiction so much? Because there’s so much going on in my life right now, and reading gives me an escape.

Once in a while we come across stories like the Harry Potter series and readers get engrossed for different reasons. Twilight, as I see it, is your once-in-a-while fairly tale told with a modern twist. There’s a few women out there that long for that knight in shining armour (or sparkly skin ๐Ÿ™‚ ) to save the damsel in distress that they are. Maybe they’re tired of trying to defend themselves and they fantasize to be rescued and taken care of once in a while. ๐Ÿ™‚

Or maybe, the men should start reading it, too. They can learn a lot from Edward. Like how to be romantic, how to make a woman feel safe, or how to be understanding, considerate and patient. But then again, maybe you have to live over a hundred years before you can achieve the level of Edward’s patience. ๐Ÿ™‚

Summaries of the books in The Twilight Saga:

Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn

My reviews of the books in the series:

Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn

December 25, 2008 at 10:31 am 14 comments

Breaking Dawn

breaking dawn

I finally finished reading Breaking Dawn. I don’t know if it was because I was always tired and exhausted the full two weeks that I was reading it (lots of overtime and Christmas shopping around that time), but I found some of the parts dragging, and there were times I couldn’t keep my eyes open and would fall asleep reading the book. It even slipped off my hands while I was reading on the bus. Sorry, I fell asleep. But as I’ve mentioned before, I was so eager to find out what happens in the end, I had to continue reading.

Spoilers Alert

I said I had a couple of theories before I started reading the book. Of course it was already a given that Bella would become a vampire. Oh, come on. She wanted to be one since Twilight, the first book in the series. And the theme of “Forever” – that should have been a give-away. My first theory was that she would be “changed” (that’s what Edward and Bella refer to becoming a vampire in the books) just before the final book ends, maybe in the final chapter/s. And my second theory was actually a second-hand one from a spoiler that I accidentally read before even reading Eclipse, the third book. I’ve read somewhere that Bella had a baby by C-Section. So I knew she was going to be pregnant, at least. My theory was that she was going to get pregnant before she became a vampire. Because I noticed that the pairs or couples in these vampire covens didn’t have any children of their own, so I figured that once you become a vampire, you can’t get pregnant. I was right in only one of my theories. But enough of my second-hand guesses.

The fourth and final book in the Twilight series is titled Breaking Dawn. It refers to the beginning of Bella’s life as a vampire. So you know now which one of my theories was wrong. The book describes how exciting and exhilarating Bella’s new life was. It was like she was seeing the world for the first time.

He took my face between his hands and leaned his face to mine–slow enough to remind me to be careful. He kissed me, soft as a whisper at first, and then suddenly stronger, fiercer. I tried to remember to be gentle with him, but it was hard work to remember anything in the onslaught of sensation, hard to hold on to any coherent thoughts.

It was like he’d never kissed me–like this was our first kiss. And, in truth, he’d never kissed me this way before.

“You’ve been holding out on me,” I accused in my singing voice, my eyes narrowing a bit.

He laughed, radiant with relief that it was all over–the fear, the pain, the uncertainties, the waiting, all of it behind us now. “It was sort of necessary at the time,” he reminded me. “Now it’s your turn to not break me.” He laughed again.

(Pages 394-395)

But let’s go back to the beginning first. In the final chapters of Eclipse, Bella has finally agreed to marry Edward. You see, at first, Bella wasn’t too keen on getting married that young. She was only 18. Her mother married her dad, Charlie, right out of high school and she was so unhappy and it didn’t work out and she finally left him. Bella was worried that it would be the same for her. But Edward also didn’t want to “change” her at first. He didn’t want her to give up her human life. But because they loved each other so much and they wanted to be with each other forever, they had to compromise to get what they both wanted. Bella wanted to experience sex before giving up her human life. But Edward would only give it to her if she’d marry him first. And then he’d “change” her. Okay, this may sound off to some, and I guess it’s one of the reasons why some are put off by Bella’s character. But I’ve read somewhere (sorry, I lose track of the links to the websites) that what Stephenie Meyer, the author, is trying to point out here is that Edward wanted to do the moral thing here. Marry her first before having sex. I’ll talk more about Bella’s character later.

Back to Breaking Dawn. I didn’t have any expectations on what the plot was gonna be all about. I had an idea about the getting pregnant thing and the becoming a vampire thing, but I didn’t think about the consequences of Bella getting pregnant and having a baby. Of course, now that I look back, that would have a big impact on the Quileute wolves and the Volturi, the royal family of the vampire world and who also consider themselves the vampire law-makers and they punish the vampires who break the law. Now having said that and having finished reading the book, the final one in the Twilight saga, I felt that there was something lacking. The “showdown” between the two groups: the Cullens (Edward and Bella’s family) and their witnesses, and the Volturi and their own witnesses. There was all that preparation but there wasn’t really that much action. I know Edward explained that the Volturi were cowards, that they never fought a fair fight and when they realized that they were at a disadvantage, they ran away with their tails between their legs. But I wish that there was some more physical fighting that went on. In the end, Bella became the protector, but I was hoping that she would have like a one-on-one battle with Jane, where she could protect Edward with a shield to block Jane’s pain-causing powers against him. But maybe Ms. Meyer really just intended this to be a romance series. I don’t know about you. I haven’t really read any romance novels before this (unless you categorize Wuthering Heights as a romance), but I enjoyed it, especially the kilig moments or the romantic scenes. This is so embarrassing to admit, but I did get “excited” while reading some of those romantic scenes. ๐Ÿ™‚

The story was very long – 756 pages. It was divided in three parts. Books One and Three were told in Bella’s point of view. And Book Two, in Jacob’s point of view. At first, I found Book Two quite dragging. But after the first half, I found it okay. Only because Jake’s character is really funny and he tells it like it is. Straight to the point. I also enjoyed the blonde jokes and the bickerings between Rose and Jake.

Let me just mention that I was turned off by Edward’s moment of weakness in Book Two, when he was so worried about Bella’s delicate condition that he was willing to do anything to keep her alive, even let her have Jacob’s puppies, if she wanted a baby so badly. See, even non-humans can be crazy, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I still like Edward, though. He got over that crazy phase.

If you’re wondering what the cover of the book means, (because I also didn’t get it at first), here’s what wikipedia, says: It’s a metaphor for Bella’s progression in the Twilight series. She started out as the weakest player, the pawn, but ended up the strongest player, the Queen. Yeah, she ended up with special gifts after she was “changed.”

To be continued . . .

December 25, 2008 at 9:54 am 4 comments

Merry Christmas

I haven’t seen The Nativity Story, but O Holy Night is my all-time favourite Christmas song, and Josh Groban’s voice sounds so heavenly. I always get goosebumps whenever I hear this song.

Merry Christmas to all!

December 20, 2008 at 6:49 pm 14 comments

Eclipse

eclipse

I have finished reading Eclipse, after eight days. I’m not sure if I broke my own record, but that’s pretty fast for a slow reader like me. I love the story and I couldn’t put the book down in whatever spare time that I had. Or maybe I just wanted to keep pace with my girl friend who’s also reading the books. She only started reading Twilight a couple of weeks ago but she’s a fast reader and has more spare time than I do. We discuss the books and I wouldn’t want her telling me what I haven’t read yet. I know she’s going to finish all four books before I do. But she knows I hate spoilers.

I love Eclipse! I already said that, didn’t I? It’s my favourite of the series so far.

I love the unique love triangle. I love the character developments. I love how the characters – friends, lovers, rivals, enemies, even father and child – can be so honest about their feelings towards each other. I love that Ms. Meyer injected humour in the right places in this story which has quite a heavy theme.

Some of my favourite funny parts: When Jacob asks Bella if she has already kissed Edward and what it feels like to have a vampire as a boyfriend. When Charlie had the sex talk with Bella. The part where Bella’s trying to seduce Edward. The parts where Jacob calls Edward a bloodsucker and Edward calls Jacob a dog, or pup. ๐Ÿ™‚

Just one thing though. I couldn’t help but notice the typographical errors. My girl friend has noticed this, too. In Twilight and New Moon, I noticed only a couple of typos in each of the books, but in Eclipse, I noticed quite a few. Who edited these books? They didnt’ do a good job in proofreading, eh? It’s not a big deal though. What I noticed is they missed little words like “to,” or instead of “at,” they typed “as.” I can easily forgive the typos in Eclipse since I love the story so much. I just hope that they correct the typos when they publish the paperback.

Now, on to the SPOILERS. I know, for someone who hates spoilers, I like writing them. I just find it hard to talk about a book or movie that I like and not reveal what happened in the story. The spoilers are for those who have already read the book so we can discuss them, or if there’s anybody else who’s interested, they can join in.

“He’s like a drug for you, Bella.” His voice was still gentle, not at all critical. “I see that you can’t live without him now. It’s too late. But I would have been healthier for you. Not a drug; I would have been the air, the sun.”

The corner of my mouth turned up in a wistful half-smile. “I used to think of you that way, you know. Like the sun, my personal sun. You balanced out the clouds nicely for me.”

He sighed. “The clouds I can handle. But I can’t fight with an eclipse.”

(Pages 599-600)

That was Jacob Black talking to Bella about her love for Edward. They had this conversation while Jacob was healing after he got hurt from that “war” against the bad vampires. This took place a few chapters after I found out that Bella’s in love with Jacob, which I didn’t see coming. I was so convinced that Bella loved Jacob only as a friend. Well, that’s what she had been telling the readers. But I guess she was just in denial or she just didn’t know it yet.

I’m talking about the Chapter “Fire and Ice,” which is my most favourite part of Eclipse. Fire and Ice. Werewolf and vampire. Jacob and Edward. This is when Edward and Jacob discussed their feelings about Bella and when Jacob told Edward that she’s in love with him, too. “But she doesn’t know it,” Jacob said. I was impressed at how the two men handled their rivalry over the same girl with such tolerance and diplomacy. And how they were both willing to fight for her love.

At first Bella thought that Edward was self-sacrificing, but in the end, she realized that Jacob was, too. Both were willing to let her go, if she decided to choose one over the other. But we know who was the guy she couldn’t live without.

I’d like to read this book over again. I might go back to this post once I’ve re-read it and maybe add some more to this.

But that will have to wait until I finish reading Breaking Dawn, the final book in the series. I am so eager to find out what happens in the end.

I already have a couple of theories. And after reading the first part of Breaking Dawn, I think I might be right about them. ๐Ÿ™‚

December 7, 2008 at 11:35 pm 11 comments


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