A Twilit Triumvirate?
The Twilight Saga has just been read. Yes, I know I’m very late to the party but I seemed to subconsciously want the hype to go away so that I could draw my own conclusions.
My opinion of the books is of little matter to anyone but myself. But what I will say is how much I preferred the other male protagonist, Jacob Black, the Quileute werewolf. This prompted me to think on Finnian of the Færan, the male protagonist in A Thousand Glass Flowers and I felt the need to compare him with Edward Cullen (blasphemy) and with Jacob Black (secondary blasphemy).
Edward is frigid, in a tactile sense. He is considered to be marble-like, sparkles like the hardest substance in the world when he is in sunlight. To hold him is like holding a slab of stone. Jacob is unusually warm, a wolf thing, his skin the colour of toffee silk, the kind a woman’s hand must reach out to touch, to slide her fingers over. Finnian too is warm, his body lean and powerful, as muscled as Jacob because the fey are known to be perfect. Which is why the Færan are so terrifying… one cannot look away, one must… one wants…
Edward is subdued, intellectual to be sure, but contained and only ever emotional when pushed to his limits both in love and in anger. Jacob has humour, he is kind, grounded, has a heart that beats strongly. Finnian has Edward’s intellect and more but his humour is in its infancy, kept stunted by his selfishness. But his heart beats steadfastly and with purpose as he searches for value in his life. But what is it that he will value? Is it a finite thing? A fortune? An inheritance? A charm? Or perhaps a woman.
Edward has a sense of right and wrong, a moral code carved out of ancient vampire law and then added to through centuries of trial and tribulation to achieve some sort of redemption. Jacob has a moral code as well, but rather than one based on the need to hunt to survive, his is based on the need to hunt to protect… a chivalrous approach to living that requires no need for redemption. In the beginning, Finnian’s moral code is non-existent, a product of being fey where actions are never deliberated and where self-indulgence is the motivation for living. He is a creature ripe for redemption… but how and why?
I would love to be able to show what it is that makes Finnian able to stand beside these two most recent heroes, to explain why he makes his mark in the annals of Other fables, but you see if I do, I am guilty of revealing fey secrets and I promised never to betray Others. But I see him standing with these individuals, looking down on them as is his want because he is a tall man.
I suspect he would befriend Jacob… he trusts him and argues the value of a good man at his back. He despises Edward’s cool manner and his introversion, sees into his mind and recognises shadows of himself that he would prefer to forget, so he might turn away from the vampire. To be faced with a reflection of one’s inadequacies is confronting.
All three have their own immortality; Edward and Finnian for what they are and Jacob for the legend he manifests and the mark he makes. And all three have a woman who weakens them, reducing them to their most fallible state. Interesting, that.
Love is the foundation stone of their lives. For Jacob it’s unrequited, for Edward it’s almost a forbidden love, for Finnian its a desperate search for something he believes might exist but which the past tells him may not be possible. But in every case, it is a woman who brings them to their knees and takes them forward… but to what?
In the end it’ll be readers who say if they think Finnian fits into the triumvirate because in the end, they are the ones who will weigh and measure him. But given that Others have the power to influence thought and action, it may pay to beware, to look over the shoulder, to never turn the back completely, because one never knows just who might creep up on one’s sensibilities!
A Thousand Glass Flowers available from the end of August via http://amzn.to/nNB7tw and http://amzn.to/m01qxa
Two people… one an extraordinary young woman, the other an embittered immortal man. Both seeking concealed spells that could annihilate Life.
In a quest through a world where Others lace their way in and out of the lives of mortals, this is a story of legend, love, and clashing ideals. A story of murder, regret and revenge… a story that journeys across a world too hauntingly like our own.
“A sweeping, gorgeously written tale of magic, adventure, intrigue–and the very human power of enduring love. It held me spellbound.” Anna Elliott, author of The Avalon Trilogy
“A magnificent evocation of a parallel world whose joys and sorrows are our own. Beautifully done.'”– Ann Swinfen, author of In Defence of Fantasy.’
Not having had the pleasure of AYGF yet I’ll have to restrict myself to the Twilight observations.
I loved Twilight as a fine example of niche writing – the niche being the early-teen girl audience it was written for. Read in that context it is little short of a masterpiece.
Target audience is key to the success of most books. Steph Meyer could have played any number of cards with her paranormal / horror / folklore elements that would have appealed to a much wider demographic, but she clearly had a specific group of readers in mind and never veered from that target.
That she did so just as social media among teen girls came into its own, meant that word-of-mouth wildfire turned a quaint YA fantasy into an unstoppable juggernaut. Unstoppable, that is, until her core audience outgrew her.
Would love to see Steph in the Red Chair one day.
Stephanie Meyer in the Red Chair? If I could get past HER gatekeepers I’d find it very challenging. But I’d rather have JK Rowling first up though.
The problem with both is that is that neither are Indies and till now Red Chair has only ever been about Indie authors. But that qualification will be broken in the first instance very soon by one Anne R Allen.
I agree with you about Ms. Meyer. Whatever people might say about the quality of the writing, it IS a good story. There is nothing like the eternal love triangle and particularly one that might show no resolution. So many young hearts out there must have broken and hoped, broken and hoped again. The power of social media on the rise and rise of its popularity is undeniable… that any of us should be THAT lucky. Well that I should be… you have been!
Sadly, I never touched the Twilight books and, having watched the first movie, never will.
it was a journey of discovery through the minds of the reading public, SJAT. No matter the criticisms that ran riot from other authors, the simple fact is that Ms.Meyer wrote a series of books that captured the female (young and old) mind and is laughing all the way to the bank.
I read a manga version of Twilight only.
But I like the parallel you’re drawing! 🙂
It pays to read all sorts of literature Barb… if we are going to be considered worthwhile in our own craft.
Am I really alone in considering Stephanie Meyers to be an apologist for misogyny?
Actually, I know I’m not, but it never ceases to amaze me how many women still. don’t. get. it.
I think most female readers who became fans of the Twilight Saga probably read the titles purely and only because of the implicit romance. Anything deeper than that would most likely be ignored… their argument may be ‘what’s deeper than romance?’
As I said in my opener: my actual opinion of the books is mine and mine alone. I just wouldn’t mind the same spread of fans of my own writings and that’s just because I think Finnian is three times of more the man Edward is and without any of the perceived misogyny by readers such as yourself.
*Anything deeper than that would most likely be ignored…*
And therein lies my sadness & my anger…
The insidious & most worrying aspect of these books (I confess I only read the first one & only then as an experiment & so I could argue from a point of knowledge) is the abstinence porn agenda. Abstinence porn is abuse by another name – these books glorify abusive relationships & send out subversive & terribly negative messages to girls. Bella is a victim – a passive, moping creature to whom things happen, who has men making decisions for her.
Bella falls for mystery & good looks. There is little else to fall for! There is no relationship in this story beyond Edward telling her he is dangerous so she should stay away from him. Cue clichéd, formulaic ‘Oh but I love danger!’ moment. Etcetera… If Edward is so old & so wise [sic] what is doing with a 17 year-old girl?
I care as passionately as I do because ‘Twilight’ is written by a woman for girls, & it advocates an anti-feminist, deeply damaging view of gender relations.
I take your point about the money – wouldn’t we all? But if I became rich on the back of an overt & deliberate (SM is a disgrace but she isn’t stupid) anti-feminist agenda, I would be ashamed.
I just read the whole series as entertainment… as books. I didn’t look for agendas, for messages, for anything really other than whether the plot could sustain my interest and whether the characters were as three-dimensional as the fans would have you believe. The plot did sustain my interest, the characters a little less so.
The thing with fable-based stories (and werewolves and vampires are fabled-based, let’s be honest) is that they deal with something that isn’t real, with a fiction as old as time. I think when those readers who are fans move on to the next best thing, they will see Twilight for the fiction that it is… in fact I think they see it as that now. Unless you have bald black and white evidence to the contrary.
Never under-estimate the capacity of your reader… that’s my attitude.
Hmm – you argue your point well, but I’m afraid I don’t agree. As a feminist I do look for agendas. Writer’s have a responsibility. And adult women, particularly those who claim feminism (Meyers does, apparently, although I am at a loss to work out how she justifies herself) & are targeting an audience of young women, have an even bigger one.
Fiction reflects real issues – even when it’s shaped as fantasy or fable!
Thank you for engaging – I appreciate it.