Friday, November 25, 2011

Wolding Twilight

This is going to make some folks unhappy, but I'm finding it difficult not to include the Twilight novels into the WNU.  It belongs due to a solid link noted right here by James Bojaciuk.  Honestly, that some mythologists so dislike anything aimed at a primary audience of teenage girls (or whatever) to my mind simply cannot count as a factor in this.

Instead, let us examine precisely what the genuine problems of including the Twilight Saga might be.

First, the bloodline of vampires involved.  Actually, this one proves pretty easy to narrow down.  The Cullens (who are the vampires with whom we must deal at the moment) nearly always kill any human being they bite, but can (out of habit and rigid discipline) avoid human blood by feasting on animals.  More, they suffer little or no ill effects from sunlight.  In the books sunlight doesn't bother them at all, but they avoid it anyway--because they sparkle.  Leave the sparkling aside, all this pretty much matches up to the Dacian bloodline to which the Karnsteins belong. Yet there remain disparities. 
A Karnstein vampire in sunlight
The Cullens are much stronger and faster and more durable than any Karnstein.  More, we are told they never sleep whereas Karnsteins evidently most certainly do.  And as far as we know, no other Dacian vampire sparkles.  Unless we consider the question of fictionalization.

Storytellers tend to exaggerate for effect.  In fact the extreme degree of personal strength and power demonstrated in Stephanie Meyer's book would seem exactly the kind of thing an author might bump up.  Just as Superman went from being able to leap tall buildings to easily capable of picking up and throwing a white dwarf star, so the vampires in Forks could easily be a lot less Kryptonian.  When you think on it, that detail makes zero difference to the story. Neither does the sparkling.

If we then identify the Cullens as a group of Dacian vampires who're trying to be "good" a la Nicholas Knight, the vampires of Sundown, etc. what of the other undead in the series?  Who are the Volturi?  Most likely some upper level members of the Myskatos Sect (as identified by Marvel Comics in The Death of Dracula) aka the Corvini Coven (so-called in the Underworld films and novels), rumor of which may have suggested the Camarilla to White Wolf Publishers, creators of the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade and later Vampire: The Requiem.  It seems clear from these and other sources that some kind of social order exists among the undead, rather loose in structure but iron-clad when it comes to certain matters--especially allowing the bulk of humanity to realize vampires exist.  Within this social structure Dracula would appear to be a monarch--preferably an absolute one but (as ever) having to contend with efforts by other undead to get away with what they can.  My theory, then, is that the Volturi (named for the town where
Death Dealer
they make a base, Volturra Italy) are the equivalent of upper level aristocrats under the vampire 'king' Dracula.  Most likely their concern about Edward and Bella successfully bringing for a child stemmed (officially) from fears over the creation of yet another dhampir.  These beings, such as Blade, have often proven extremely dangerous vampire hunters.  Of course we also know that the leader of the Volturi hoped to "collect" some members of the Cullens for his court.  In which case the Volturi 'guard' are essentially what in another context we would know as Death Dealers.

As for the other vampires in the tale, they are simply other undead of various bloodlines, pursuing their own agendas.  Much is made of Forks' cloud cover, which might account for why various undead were willing to act during daylight (if indeed they did any such thing).  The Wolf Tribe of shape-shifters offer no real impediment to the story's inclusion.  Actually, given the Corvini centuries-long war with werewolves they justify the Volturi's reaction even further.

Having read the Rip Haywire strip used as a crossover, I must also point out the lack of anything I could call sparkling.  At least I didn't spot it.  But then, I can also pretty easily explain why one specific vampire might sparkle--namely his presence at an explosion near some diamond dust.  The dust became embedded in his skin and there's just too much of it to feasibly remove.  Voila!

And there's also a comic book called Female Force that explains how Stephanie Meyer is under the control of one of Dracula's soul-clones, in an effort to diffuse fear of the undead (Many thanks to the aforesaid Mr. James Bojaciuk for uncovering this tidbit as well as the Rip Haywire comic)!  One the basis of the above, here therefore is a scenario to explain the true history behind Twilight:

Carlisle Cullen
We know a movement exists among some of the undead to live in harmony with human-kind.  At least two of Dracula's soul-clones actually adhere to this idea (Grimpod as well as Latos).  The Sutekhim Nicholas Knight as well as Turokians Angel and Spike plus the Varnean undead Barnabas Collins do as well.  An entire colony of vampires in Arizona have dedicated themselves to exactly such a lifestyle (as chronicled in Sundown The Vampire In Retreat).  Evidently two other covens do as well--one of rather sirenesque women who make their home in Alaska, and the wandering Cullen family, who sometimes make their haven in Forks.  The Cullens are quite clearly Dacians and their sire Carlisle an elder.  He personally turned four others--Edward, Esmee (who became Carlisle's mate), Rosalie and Emmett (who became a couple).  In time their coven was joined by two others, Alice and her mate Jasper--evidently both Dacians and the former (like Edward) possessing extraordinary psychic gifts.

Sometime after his turning during the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, Edward left Carlisle's side seeking to hunt murderous humans.  We can guess it was at this time he suffered an accident involving an explosion and diamond dust.  Quite probably he returned home after this humiliation, when he became The Vampire Who Sparkles (mind you, how diamond dust might have interacted with his vampire physiology remains an intriguing question).

At one point, the Cullens encountered and made a treaty with the wolf-based shape-shifting protectors of a Native American tribe in the vicinity of Forks, Washington.  Many decades later, one of this tribe fell in love with the local sheriff's daughter, Bella Swan (one suspects her father was in his youth a dirt bike racer who accidentally became his own great great grandfather due to a time travel experiment).  What caused a problem was when Bella met and fell in love with Edward Cullen, and he likewise fell for her (part of the initial attraction may have been his inability to read her mind--a side effect of her father's time travel--Edward even
The start of the Swann Clan
notes in Midnight Sun how difficult it is to "read" Bella's father).

One should note this means the fictional retelling of Charles Lyle Swann in the film Timerider (with took place five years before Bella's birth) made him seem almost twice his age at the time.  Likewise, he must have been a few years older than his wife Renee rather than high school sweethearts (probably this was a projection by Stephanie Meyer, echoing her own marriage at age 21).

Leaving the details of the love triangle aside, Edward ended up marrying Bella and making her pregnant.  Vampires generally are not fertile, although this might be a little less rare than it seems.  Circumstances being what they are, the opportunity for non-Corvini or non-Wamphyri vampires to impregnate human women doesn't seem to happen that often.  Also, just because an opportunity exists doesn't mean the woman will conceive.  Yet it does happen.  Sometimes.  Whether Bella's status as the offspring of a time traveler (see River Song for one example) had anything to do with it remains to be seen.

Their child would be a dhampir, like the notorious vampire-hunters Blade and Eve as well as Lilith "Lilly" Munster and a few others.  Coupled with the Cullens' alliance with a race of beings not unlike werewolves, this combination of events brought the attention of the Volturri, almost certainly high-level elders within the Myskatos Sect, one or more of whom might be a Corvini vampire (who have a long-standing feud/war with werewolves, their former slaves).

We don't know what precisely happened next.  But Dracula Prime or one of his soul-clones saw a potential in this story to influence the mainstream of humanity.  Most likely the example of Lestat's increasingly fictionalized versions (eventually becoming entirely imaginary) of his biography as written by Anne Rice served as inspiration.  A Mormon housewife with some undeveloped writing talent became the focus of the Impaler's will.  She even admitted in interviews to the dreams which led her to write the books.  Her world-view became the lens through which she saw and related this story.  Edward sparkled, so in her mind all vampires did.  She herself almost certainly waited until marriage to consummate her relationship, so naturally her Bella and Edward followed suit (which may have happened in the real world as well--it remains perfectly possible).  Likewise she gave to "her" characters the happy ever after ending she so ardently desired for them.  Eternal happiness together, an immortal child who would mature into a young woman, reconciliation with Jacob, the Volturri in effect giving up with none of their friends having to die, etc.

But what really happened?  Well, in Rip Haywire Edward seems to have a human girlfriend.  But she's blonde.  Poetic license?  Or a hint that Bella may be no more?  Where are the rest of the Cullens?  It isn't as if Edward needs to spend every day with his family.  On the other hand... the ending in the book really does seem too good to be true.  The Myskatos as a group react very badly to disobedience or what they see as challenges to authority.  Corvini elder Viktor killed his own daughter for mating with a werewolf.

We.  Don't.  Know.  Bella and her Edward might well be raising their half-vampire child somewhere right now, along side the Cullens and a protective pack of semi-werewolves.  Or the whole group may have been decimated.   Or something in between.  The truth, as some have said, is out there--but that doesn't mean it is always easy to find.

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