Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Inner Children, Inner Wolves

When the whole "Twilight" phenomenon first blew up two years ago, my inner teen girl demanded to have her curiosity satisfied, so I started reading the novels. (However, my midlife curmudgeonly skinflint man has so far refused to pay full price to see the films, so I've only been catching them as they become available on video-on-demand.)

Since I'm naturally drawn to the warm, passionate, earthy and familial, I aligned myself with "Team Jacob" in the ongoing war of who was better for Bella. Edward and the Cullens are gracious, sacrificial, giving, and noble, but they struck me as too perfect, too formal, too rich and too cold. The pack of shapeshifters on the otherhand were rowdy, playful, fierce, passionate, dedicated and rooted in nature and the environment. If I had been Bella, I'd have run to them and stayed. "Edward who? We don't need no stinkin' Edward."

But of course, that is not what Stephenie Meyer had in mind. Breaking Dawn finally came out in paperback recently, and armed with a deep discount* coupon from a bookstore chain, I bought the book and tore through it this past weekend. Now, having come to the end of the saga, I can say I'm with:

Team Leah

[Spoiler alert: while not a full exposition, there are enough hints here to ruin it for those who haven't read all the novels. You've been warned.]

It's quite simple, really. Leah Clearwater is the one 'good guy' whose heartbreak and longings weren't wrapped up nicely at the end. Although she is powerful and determined, she remains heartbroken and a little bit bitter. She gets no mate, no knight-in-shining-armor to ease her essential loneliness. She finds purpose as a beta to Jacob's alpha, but she remains unmated. (Even Leah's fully human mother ends up with Bella's fully human father by the end.) She soldiers on, because it gives her purpose and it's the right thing to do. But she doesn't get any reward for soldiering on other than that purpose. In the end, of the 'wolves' in the story, she's the loneliest, the closest to being a 'lone wolf.'

I feel her pain.

Whatever you think of the "Twilight" oeuvre, I have to hand it to Stephenie Meyers for creating a new mytho-fictional universe. She took the vampire-werewolf tropes in some new directions, and while her morality and fatalism seem a little heavy-handed at times, no one can argue that they haven't impacted our cultural data set. Team Edward and Team Jacob will be duking it out for sometime yet, but Team Leah and I will watch and shake our heads, and go about our business.

*The midlife curmudgeonly skinflint man had to have his needs met again, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment