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Author Topic: My theories on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight conclusion (spoilers)
Belle
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I was laughing at most of that blog, but I really lost it with this quote:

quote:
(You know how long this book is? "Renesmee" is starting to look like a really cute name.)
Then, of course the final sentence is priceless:

quote:
it was the best series starting with a teenage girl in love with a mysterious boy in her class that ended up with a teenage girl defending her growth-accelerated mutant hybrid baby from an ancient clan of evil vampires with her magical psychic shield that I ever read, THE END.

Thanks Shanna! Made my day. [Smile]

[ August 08, 2008, 03:19 PM: Message edited by: Belle ]

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Scott R
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I'm serious about wanting to know how to pronounce Renesmee.
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scifibum
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I'd bet it's Ren - ez - may.

(Sorry I don't know any actual phonetic notation rules.)

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ketchupqueen
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I know what happened. The result of extra chromosomes, when it doesn't cause death, is usually mental retardation.

So, there you go.

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pooka
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I feel so smug for listening to Annie now.
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Bella Bee
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I've read the rest of the series, but I wasn't planning to read this book for a while - but after all the controversy, I just had to get my hands on it.

Yes, it does seem like Meyer lost the plot. But...

According to Meyer's website, she actually wrote a sequel to 'Twilight' a couple of months after she finished the original book. This was called 'Forever Dawn' and it was Edward and Bella and presumably Renesmee (horrible name!). She has a mock up of the cover she made for it - a picture of Bella with bright red eyes.

The title - Forever obviously implies eternity. Dawn suggests a new beginning.

But when Meyer got a publisher's contract, it was for three young adult books. Which meant she couldn't publish the 'adult' sequel she'd already written.

So, Meyer had to spin out the story of Bella's last year in high school for another two books.
Along the way, she appears to have accidentally raised all sorts of other issues which had not occurred to her when she wrote the original sequel.
Such as, among others, the theme of choice - and how choosing to be a vampire meant sacrificing humanity. Or whether becoming a vampire meant losing one's soul.
Plus the love triangle with Jacob. And so on.

To the casual reader, it seemed that they had some idea where the books were leading.

But behind it all, Meyer was still in love with 'Forever Dawn'.
She told her publisher that she could not tie up the story in three books - it was going to have to be four.

And this fourth book was guaranteed to sell millions. What publisher could refuse?

So Meyer seems to have gone back to her original draft. She seems to have updated it, worked it, as best she could, into the new storyline she had since created.
This was book which appears to have been published as 'Breaking Dawn'.

The lesson? Learn to kill your darlings.

Meyer could have sold just as many books and made more of her fans happy if she had written a new book which fit better with her new storyline.

However, I suppose we should praise her for sticking to her vision - it clearly meant a lot to her to end the series this way.
It's her story after all, it came out of her head and it would be a sad day if all writers felt that had to give everyone what they want.
I think she probably even knew that a lot of people would hate it and darn well wrote it anyway.
Good for her.
And also, oh dear.

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Belle
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In the book there is an explanation of the pronunciation. IIRC, it is "ruh-NEZ-may"
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Teshi
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quote:
However, I suppose we should praise her for sticking to her vision - it clearly meant a lot to her to end the series this way.
If every author stuck to their original ideas that they came up with at the beginning, I can guarantee that most series would have this same problem. All stories modify and develop as they are written, be they long or short. It is important, I think, to be able to go with the flow.

All writers, I think, have pet endings or pieces of content that they've had to toss away for the good of the story.

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PSI Teleport
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I haven't read these books but the "plot" seems to be the mutant 24-chromosome having child of L.J. Smith's "Vampire Diaries" series and Christopher Pike's "The Last Vampire" series. Except that those were pretty good. At least, they were when I was 14. Seriously, pretty much every one of the plot elements Belle named came straight out of one of those two series.
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Belle
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Speaking of pronunciation, how do you pronounce "deus-ex-machina?"

My theatre professor said the following:

DAY-oos ECK MACK-eee-nuh

but I've never been sure that was right.

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ketchupqueen
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According to my high school Latin teacher, that would be DAY-oos eckx mah-SHIN-uh. We were taught High Classical pronunciation, or some subset of it, though, and I think that term would be Church Latin... Only one school in the state that was part of the JCL learned Church Latin so I hardly heard any of it.
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ketchupqueen
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(Oh, but the sound I've transliterated as "sh" is halfway between English "sh" and "ch" sound.

So your prof wasn't that far off...)

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katharina
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DAY-oos ecks MOCK-ee-nah

Classical pronunciation, anyway - time of Cicero and Caesar and so on.

The term refers to the way Greek plays often ended, with literally a god wandering by and producing a resolution out of the ether. I'm not sure what your teacher meant by the high classical pronunciation - the high classical period is usually Greece circa the fifth century B.C. That's the right time for the plays, but the wrong time for the term deus ex machina, which is Latin. Latin-speaking Rome wouldn't get really into Greek culture until another hundred years or so later.

"machina" is a Greek word, or at least comes from a Greek word. Classical Greek pronounce "ch" somewhat like an aspirated "k," not the "ch" sound or "sh" sound we would use for it.

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Goody Scrivener
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quote:
Originally posted by Zalmoxis:
Nah, if it was a Mormon thing the name would be Edella or Belldwarda.

My daughter just explained it to me. Edward's "parents" are Carlisle and Esmee. Bella's parents are Charlie and Renee. The baby's name is a merge of the two grandmothers. Had the baby been a boy, he'd have been given a name that was a blend of Edward's and the grandfathers.
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Synesthesia
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It's an odd, odd, odd name
Nessie sounds a lot cuter I think.

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Teshi
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quote:
Carlisle and Esmee. Bella's parents are Charlie and Renee.
Obviously Meyers likes the double 'e' and the C-a-r-l-i-e ordering of letters, since she gave both sets of parents the exact same names.
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TomDavidson
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Maybe a son would've been "Charisle?"
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katharina
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quote:
Originally posted by Goody Scrivener:
quote:
Originally posted by Zalmoxis:
Nah, if it was a Mormon thing the name would be Edella or Belldwarda.

My daughter just explained it to me. Edward's "parents" are Carlisle and Esmee. Bella's parents are Charlie and Renee. The baby's name is a merge of the two grandmothers. Had the baby been a boy, he'd have been given a name that was a blend of Edward's and the grandfathers.
So it is a Mormon thing. Huh.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Maybe a son would've been "Charisle?"

I like it better with the extra L:

Charlisle.

It is funny that the two sets of grandparents have such similar names.

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Joldo
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Am I the only one pronouncing Charlisle like some kind of bizarre rapper's name?

Yo yo, dis is Char-lizzle in da house!

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Darth_Mauve
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quote:
I'm serious about wanting to know how to pronounce Renesmee.
The name to me seems to be a very bad fan-fic desperate thing. Pronounced, "Ren is me". Perhaps an indication that the author see's Ren as a fictionalized version of herself or what she wishes she was.
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Occasional
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The "Mormon" naming thing is also a "Black" naming thing. The difference, I think, is that Mormons combine parent's names while blacks seem to pick two names they like and combine them to make a new one.

As for Stephanie Meyer's book, I am shocked that people are shocked by how bad the last book is. I enjoyed the first book, but completely understood after starting the second book that the whole series was going to be repetitious and bad. I think those who are upset by the ending fall into three categories. There are those who hate the books from the start (or at least from the second book on), those who had their own idea how it should have ended and it didn't, and those (usually secularists. The overly religious would almost never read a vampire love story) who hate Mormons. All of these come from the criticisms I have read over the Internet.

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Belle
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Well, I feel like an idiot because I'm gathering that Meyer is Mormon??? I truly had no idea.

Not that it matters, the religious beliefs of an author don't figure into my desire to read books.

I thought you guys were just being funny about Mormon names and didn't realize you were joking about Meyer choosing Mormon names because she's Mormon.

Learn something new every day.

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BlackBlade
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Either nobody truly knows what's up with Mormon names or you all don't know what you are talking about.

Caiden and Wacy to me are quintessential Mormon names. Or really anything with "SEE" or "DEN" sounds.

I found it was far more enjoyable to just have my 14 year old sister describe all four books to me in detail and then just joke about everything.

I was shopping for clothes with my wife and I said that I rather liked a particular bag, she said it wasn't really doing it for her and we continued down the rack. She suggested another bag and I said, "Nope, I've already imprinted on that other bag." Three women nearby all started laughing, and this was in California.

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Mrs.M
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I read a spoiler summary of the book a couple of days after it first came out and I couldn't even finish that. She lost me at Renesmee. That's the worst name I ever heard. Much worse that Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo.
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katharina
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Occasional,

I disagree with almost everything you said. This, especially:
quote:
(usually secularists. The overly religious would almost never read a vampire love story)
Why not? I can see the overly religious refusing to participate in a vampire love story, but being religious certainly does not mean that you never read anything that might be about someone who does things you disagree with. Do you think that the religious would not read Harry Potter, as well?

Secondly, while I'm all for calling people on their crappy prejudices when they occur, there are so many other, more effective ways to be anti-Mormon than disliking some badly-written, chaste romance novels.

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JennaDean
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All the Mormon women I know* are carrying around Twilight books. It cracks me up that we're now into vampire stories! Seems like a disconnect to me.

*Okay, not ALL the Mormon women I know. I know a LOT of Mormon women. But there are quite a few of them ... it's like the next Harry Potter, at least in Mormon Women circles.

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scifibum
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Guilty pleasure with a veneer of respectability because the author is known to be an active Mormon?
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katharina
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I don't think so. It's not really a guilty pleasure of the kind that makes it okay if the author is Mormon.

It's a love story and a romance novel and the whole hing drips with sensuality, but it isn't about sex itself. As EW puts it: "If this sounds steamy, rest assured (or don't get your hopes up): Meyer writes about even furniture-wrecking sex with the decorum of a Victorian schoolmistress."

It is a guilty pleasure in the sense that it is total fluff, but it being written by a Mormon doesn't make it literature.

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Vyrus
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I can assure you that while she wrote the book dripping with sexuality, going so far as to say that they would have a period of ten years of insatiable lust, as happened with vampire family members Rosalie and Emmett, she went little into the actual details of sex.

My theory for this is that while she wanted it to be a tween-appropriate book she went further and further along her original ideal, until the whole thing was dripping with sex without actually mentioning any of it.

As for Jacob imprinting on Renesmee, I had mixed feelings about it.

Because I am a huge Jacob fan, despite his former rapist tendencies, I did want him to imprint in the last book.

In a silly moment, I thought the Twilight series was a trilogy, not realizing that she was releasing a fourth book, and in a way appreciated the ending that happened there. Just picture it; it has mystery and intrigue and left the reader to draw their own conclusion.

I think I liked it that way better.

Clearly, in writing this book, she had no idea where she was going, or at least presented it that way, as she seems to be rambling for a large part of it.

Why else would she completely ignore all of the loose ends? She never commented on Leah's fate, one of the deeper characters in the book; she fleshed her out, only to dead end her story right there.

Renesmee was suddenly meant to solve the problems between Bella and Jacob; Jacob completely forgot about his love for Bella, all of the werewolves and vampires became friends despite not being able to even handle the smell of each other, let alone company. Bella instantly forgot her older feelings for Jacob, making all of the drama and buildup in books 2 and 3 absolutely pointless.

This presents a paradox; while I am glad that everything seemed to work out, it was presented in such a way to confuse the reader, leaving mixed reviews raging from absolute fangirl-love to complete hatred in the mind of some of the more dedicated readers.

Too many loose ends.

Too much bullshit, pardon my language.

Alice left, all of the sudden she's horrible and completely left the family, left cryptic clues that did nothing to further the storyline, Bella got papers from a man that made absolutely no sense whatsoever why he was even in the story or what Alice was telling her in the first place.
The ending was as scatterbrained as my post and made little to no sense.

So, to summarize, I'm confused, I liked the book at several points, but hated it at others, and think that I was better off falsely thinking that the third book was the end, leaving the "trilogy" on a perfect note.

Some people hate undecisive endings, in this situation I think it would've been better than the confusing drivel.

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Sachiko
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The veneer of respectability thanks to Meyer's membership in the LDS church is exactly what I've seen.

I work with the 12-16 year old girls at church. Needless to say most of them, and their moms, have drunk the Kool-Aid.

And when I asked them about it, most of the moms said, "Oh, but I bought it at Deseret Book. It's by a Mormon, so I know it's okay."

and also said, in a slightly shocked voice, "Oh, I would never, ever read a romance novel! We don't read that sort of thing."

What I thought was dumb and sweet at the same time was how Bella is set on going to Dartmouth. Like, Oh, yeah, immortality as a rich beautiful person, and being involved forever in things beyond a mortal's yen...but I really want a college degree, too.

Maybe it's Meyer's stab at a "hey, kids, stay in school" moral.

Why bother staying in school? What, to get a job? To impress other humans at cocktail parties?

Gosh, I'd rather just find an ultrarich ultrahot scary-devoted vamp boyfriend, wouldn't you?

Hee.....

(Belle, thanks so much. I read this last weekend and it's been so cathartic to read what you've written.)

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Sachiko
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And I couldn't get over everyone's special superpower and how everyone is sooo gorgeous and dangerous and cool. It got so billowy-coat-king-of-pain I started reading BD for laughs.

I normally am not this catty.

I found myself drawn into the book, but after finishing BD I felt like I was surfacing from eating an entire bag of Cheetooes. And not in a good way.

Being drawn into a book, anyway, doesn't a good book make. Another thing people can't look away from: car wrecks.

I am ambivalent about the virtue of girls reading romance novels like this, anyway. The books are superficially chaste but sex-ridden underneath.

(Er... pun not intended)

I think the equivalent to a bunch of Mormon girls reading the full Twilight series would be to pass out Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition to the young men at church. The girls are covered up, so it's not technically porn, right? And the young men won't be able to look away--a sure sign of great, compelling literature.

And between the girls reading Twilight and the young men ogling SI, both groups will gain a wonderful education in what to expect from and how to relate to the opposite sex.

*eyeroll*

Like I said, I'm a hypocrite about this, because I also read Charlaine Harris' vampire series, and used to read Laurell K. Hamilton's stuff (before it was nothing but porn).

But at least most erotic vampire fic doesn't associate itself with the LDS church and pretend to be "good for you" in some way.

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Synesthesia
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I really don't see how the book and series is that bad... *shrug*
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Sachiko
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It's not, hee hee, this should offend some people, as bad as Robert Jordan.

But it has been hyped to be "the ultimate reading experience", according to my unintentional survey of the starry-eyed teenage girls around me.

Gosh, I feel so OLD--complaining about what teenage girls are reading. Normally, I just READ what teenage girls are reading.

I object to Stephanie Meyer's books on literary grounds--it's silly.

Silly is fine; sometimes we need brainless, and I will read brainless stuff, too, when I need to just cool down.

But people act like it's groundbreaking vampire fic, when, honestly, a vampire with the "I want to eat you, but I mustn't, but I really want to, ooooo *angst*" struggle is sort of....old. The real meat of the moral/theological struggle is sort of ignored. It's more like just a support structure for the highly sexed non-sex sex scenes.

Okay. That's fine. Like I said, I expect romance novels to be a little silly, and to not have a moral lesson.

Which people keep telling me is part of the appeal of the series--you take a Mormon author, have a superficially "chaste" romance novel, and, viola! Moral infotainment!

Okay. I won't call it "bad". I'll call it "overhyped and misleading". Better? [Smile]

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katharina
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Have I just not been talking to the right people? I don't know very many people at all who read this, even at church.

Maybe they are hiding.

When someone does, though, I am going to recommend Buffy the Vampire Slayer to them. I think it would be interesting to see the reaction - my general impression when I recommend Buffy is that it isn't kosher.

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Olivet
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So, um, I started reading Twilight to see what all the fuss was about, and I have to give it snaps for readability. The main character is a bit of a passive paper doll, but that's not that unusual, I guess. Not a deal-breaker, anyway, as she is less fatuous than the heroines of some novels aimed at the age group.

I wondered, before I started reading, why teen and tween girls find Edward so appealing. I mean, that age group usually goes for the softer, androgynous sort of boy (remember Hansen?) and this guy is a vampire -- generally a symbol of more threatening sexuality. Then I got to this bit:

quote:
Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal.
He SPARKLES. [ROFL]

Now I get it. Edward is not really a vampire. He's not even recognizable as a boy.

He's a My Little Pony with fangs.

(Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. If they'd had My Little Ponies with fangs when I was a kid, I sooo would have had one. [Big Grin] Just sayin'...)

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Sachiko
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[ROFL]

MLP! with fangs!

[ROFL]

I'm sorry to inform of this copyright infringement, but....I am so stealing that!

And, Katharina, that's just what I've been doing. That is, rec. to the girls I know to watch BtVS.

It's funny; based on my comments about Twilight and my being a homeschooler, most people I've talked to seem to think I'm some easily horrified burn-the-smut church lady type.

But my oldest daughter is called Buffy. I cannot believe that I had to hide my Buffy fandom at church all these years....and now girls are reading Twilight at church, brazenly, right there in front of God and everybody.

Maybe I'm just jealous? [Razz]

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pooka
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I take it that scene was the first page of the book she ever penned, after having a dream about Edward. I read an interview Motley vision did with her back when the momentum was just building.

My daughter's friend who was quasi-evangelical had read the books and was into other YA vampire romance. Just getting back to whether other religious people would read these books...

I have told my daughter if she really wants to read these, I will read them with her. Though on Sunday she was reading her Primary Gospel Standards and said "So Stephanie Myers books probably aren't a good idea?" We talked about the Harry Potter books a bit too. I asked her if she could think of anything uplifting from them. But then, she thinks really big spiders are uplifting, so there you go. But I think most of the guidance Dumbledore gives Harry is pretty uplifting.

And I did have one person give an example of a good message in the Twilight books, which is that Edward's clan chooses not to follow their impulses to drink human blood. The trouble seems to be that while he also resists other impulses, the impulses are being described in rich detail, and would probably not be resisted by normal people.

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Sachiko
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Like (to repeat myself, I've used this example before) Pit Bulls Against Mauling Toddlers?

"You know, when you grab them, and shake them, and tear them up, and make them scream? Yeah...let's not do that."

There's a lotta that in the Twilight books. Both when it comes to drinking people's blood, and the more ordinary fornicatory impulses.

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Occasional
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What I find funny is there is one side that thinks the books are too dripping with sex and another side that thinks they are too chaste to the point of evangelism. As for myself, I agree with both sides. Could the books be a type of sex Rorshach test?
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katharina
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quote:
I read an interview Motley vision did with her back
This was so confusing to me.
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pooka
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I've never heard anyone complain they are too chaste. Unrealistically chaste, perhaps.

Sorry about my syntax, my sister made fun of me for my test of standard written english score in high school. I think that one comes with the PSAT.

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Sachiko
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They're both. They seem to be chaste ("It's so cool, a romance novel without sex! It's like G-rated and I can read it in seminary!") but really it's more like they talk about having sex, describe how much they want to have sex, practice nearly having sex....without actual intercourse.

Like I've said before. Romance novels are verbal porn--not said caustically, I've read some romance novels, it's just how they ARE--and Twilight is no exception. It just offends more people who, when they heard "no sex" actually thought that meant no sex in the books. Not, no coitus.

When you said "sex Rorshach test" I flashed to that scene in Armageddon where the psych evaluator is using inkblots to test Steve Buscemi. Hee. [Smile]

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PSI Teleport
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Okay, I finally started reading these books because the reviews were too funny. But I HATE them. I feel like Meyer made so many amateurish mistakes that are supposed to keep your stuff from getting published and encourage you to write better. It's completely grating to read her version of first person POV, which isn't really first person at all. Here's a good example of the stuff that is stressing me out:

"My eyes did not stray toward the black garbage bag that held my present from that last birthday, did not see the shape of the stereo where it strained against the black plastic; I didn't think of the bloody mess my nails had been when I'd finished clawing it out of the dashboard."

If you're not thinking about it, then why am a reading about it? ARGH. I guess you could see this as Bella trying to convince herself that she isn't thinking about those things, but it happens way too often to be anything but amateurish mistakes.

So I don't think I'll be able to finish this series. But at least I had some laughs.

edit: Another thing that's cracking me up: The ad for "Afro Love" at the bottom of the page, promising me that I can find inter-racial singles. What exactly IS the definition of an inter-racial single, anyway?

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Teshi
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Ew, the writing style is so gooey.

Clearly, it's romance for teens. None of the actual gory bits, but all of the ridiculously long sentences, the use of the word 'scintilating' the idea that the man is carved out of stone etc.

Also, there's a movie.

I wonder if Edward will literally sparkle?

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Amka
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The writing isn't the greatest, that's for sure.

And sure, Meyers isn't all that great on continuity or the intricacies of world building. So I let that slide and just try to see what she does with people.

Spoilers:

I thought the birth got a little melodramatic, but I thought it was awesome she got to experience motherhood. I thought her power was interesting.

Sure, it was frustrating that the Alice instructions to her turned out to be needless, however it did make sense. Alice couldn't see the decisions of the other halflings and how that would affect things. If any reader hadn't figured out pretty much from when Alice left that she wasn't a coward and traitor, they weren't paying very good attention.

She says this is the last book, but there are lots of wide open story lines. Bella and Edward's story is finished, but I bet she'll write more in this universe, especially since the publishers probably want more of this from her. Leah is interesting. The South American vampires are interesting.

So, it was fun. But not great.

I do like The Host better.

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Occasional
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I thought it would be interesting to show two completely different interpretations of Myer's Twilight series. The first one is negative and argues the books preach Mormonism and that is a very bad thing. Then again, apparently the reviewer is one of those "Harry Potter is evil" believers. She also represents Mormon doctrine very loosely and very strictly at the same time that distorts both the book and the religion.

The other argues the seriesis good for Mormon literature as an exploration of religious ideas. It almost made me want to go back and read the book to see how Myers examines the implications of immortality and eternal family. The problem with this review, as pointed out, is ignoring the awful writing skills and poor editing.

I actually present these two interpretations because I have a question. What makes Mormon doctrine weird or even, as implied by the first, dangerous? Is that a moral or philosophical statement? Couldn't different or strange (not familiar or out of the normal) be more accurate terms?

I think, like Orson Scott Card, Stephanie Meyer is dealing with similar questions in her books. It is clear literary skills are miles apart. Yet, family, our eternal natures, and the implications of deification are to be found in both author's works. The responses have been equal to each other as well. Mormons should NEVER explore their faith outside of their own group because then it preaching Mormonism, and you can't do that! Or, I might add, its a Mormon author so whatever they say is safe.

Facinating stuff.

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scifibum
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quote:
I think the equivalent to a bunch of Mormon girls reading the full Twilight series would be to pass out Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition to the young men at church. The girls are covered up, so it's not technically porn, right? And the young men won't be able to look away--a sure sign of great, compelling literature.
This was brilliant.
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scifibum
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quote:
I actually present these two interpretations because I have a question. What makes Mormon doctrine weird or even, as implied by the first, dangerous? Is that a moral or philosophical statement? Couldn't different or strange (not familiar or out of the normal) be more accurate terms?
Different or strange would be more neutral terms. I think some sects consider LDS beliefs to be essentially blasphemous (I think this generally stems from the LDS belief that mortals can eventually become like God, and that God was once like us). Blasphemy could lead to damnation...so the beliefs might be considered dangerous in that sense, from a certain point of view.

From a secular point of view I don't think "dangerous" could be easily justified.

While the religious influence might be there - the protagonists' (throbbing) chastity, maybe sparkly immortal fluidless vampire as a type of glorious resurrected flesh? (dubious) - I kind of doubt that the Twilight books seriously attempt to explore theological questions.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
What makes Mormon doctrine weird or even, as implied by the first, dangerous?
I don't think Mormon doctrine is uniquely dangerous. Like all religious doctrines, it can be dangerous. And because it's different from some religious doctrines, it can be dangerous in different ways.
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