Thursday, 25 June 2009

TwiSaga: Midnight Sun story line

~ Twilight ~ New Moon ~ Eclipse ~ Breaking Dawn ~

***WARNING: Lots and Lots of Plot Spoilers Ahead***

Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun is presently only available in a partial draft 12 chapters long, online at Stephenie Meyer's website. Begun as a character study into Edward Cullen, it presents his point of view for the events during the time covered in Twilight chapters 1-11, just before Edward takes Bella to the meadow. I will only cover the additional events of Midnight Sun here.

Of all the TwiSaga books, this is my personal favourite because it gives such insight into Edward's character - although I must admit the intensity of the Biology scene in the first chapter was pretty hard to take the first time I read it. Being only an unedited draft, there are numerous grammatical errors in the text, so keep that in mind when reading the quotes.

The first chapter relates Edward's disparaging boredom over the thoughts of the human students who seem overwhelmingly enamoured with the new girl, Bella Swan, and the spark of curiosity he feels when he realises he cannot read her mind, unlike that of every one else he has ever known. When she walks past him in Biology, he is struck with her particularly delicious scent and is very, very close to attacking her in the middle of the class; he is filled with hate at her for inspiring such violence from him, when no-one else's blood had been able to tempt his inner "monster" in such a way for decades; the only things that keep him from attacking Bella are his fear of disappointing his "father" Carlisle and the way he is able to stop breathing, avoiding her scent.

Edward takes off from Forks in an attempt to flee temptation and ends up with a coven of vegetarian vampire friends in Denali, Alaska; Tanya tells him she expected he would face his problem head on; determined not to be a coward, Edward returns to Forks. When Edward instinctively protects Bella from Tyler's out-of-control van in the school car park, he reveals his vampire strength and speed to her, and his family are furious at the risk of exposure; Jasper wants to kill Bella to prevent her talking about Edward's strangeness, but Alice has visions of Edward falling in love with Bella, and Bella becoming Alice's friend, so insists Jasper doesn't attack her. However, Alice also has visions of Bella as a vampire or drained of blood by Edward, which shake Edward to the core.

If I forced her into this empty half-life through my weakness and selfishness, surely she would hate me. ... Alice's bleak vision filled my head, and I writhed internally with the agony it caused. Meanwhile, the monster in me was overflowing with glee, jubilant at the likelihood of his success. It sickened me.

Attempting to avoid Bella, and thus put off the danger he poses to her life, Edward spends a month pretending to ignore her but actually examining her every move from the perspective of the eyes of those around her, reading her fellow students' minds. He begins to develop a list of character traits that differentiate Bella from other humans, such as her unselfishness, bravery, patience, kindness, unselfishness and (in Edward's estimation) genuine goodness; it is this list combined with Bella's apparent indifference to him and his jealousy at the attentions of three other boys from school that eventually lead him to give in to his curiosity; he creeps into her bedroom one night and listens to her talk in her sleep, and when she calls his name in a dream, he realises he does love her.

Edward feels as if Bella is the sun rising in the midst of his life of perpetual midnight. This description, taken from later in the text, portrays Edward's speculation on his reasons for falling in love with Bella:

With a heedless smile on her lips, her sky-coloured eyes full of mischief, the angel formed Bella in such a fashion that there was no way I could possibly overlook her. A ridiculously potent scent to demand my attention, a silent mind to enflame my curiosity, a quiet beauty to hold my eyes, a selfless soul to earn my awe. Leave out the natural sense of self-preservation - so that Bella could bear to be near me - and, finally, add a wide streak of appallingly bad luck.
With a careless laugh, the irresponsible angel propelled her fragile creation directly into my path, trusting blithely in my flawed morality to keep Bella alive. ... I was not Bella's sentence; she was my reward.

The next day he begins to court her attention in earnest, although part of him still hopes she will protect herself by staying away from him; he manages to control his blood lust for her through a gradual acclimatisation, but later he will be equally drawn by her body heat and certain physical elements which pinpoint her human fragility, such as her collarbone, like "silk over glass". Edward's happiness at Bella's apparent interest in him bears fruit in a piano composition of a Lullaby, which fills Esme with motherly joy.

"You, out of everyone on this plannet, are perhaps best equipped to deal with such a difficult quandry. You are the best and brightest of us all."

The others don't react in quite the same way: Edward realises that Rosalie's antagonistic attitude towards Bella is born from her vain jealousy over his interest in someone who is much less beautiful than herself; Emmett is merely confused, "Honestly, I can't really see the draw." And Alice is impatient for Edward to introduce her to Bella so they can begin the friendship she has forseen.

When Jasper's friends (non-vegetarian vampires) come to visit for a short while, and Edward begins to see himself in the role of Bella's protector, and he continues to watch over her in her bedroom each night, although a string of sunny days keeps him restricted to the shadows of the woods. Edward follows Bella's excursion with her friends to Port Angeles, but isn't paying close attention to Angela and Jessica's thoughts so he doesn't notice when Bella leaves them, while anxiously scanning minds to find out where she is, he realises she is about to be attacked by a serial rapist and murderer; filled with dread, he frantically searches for her, and when she is safe in his car he struggles again with an immense desire to commit murder: this time it is not Bella's blood that is bringing out his inner monster but his fury at her attacker. Edward's need to stay with Bella to protect her and his accompanying desire to be worthy of her love keep him from hunting her attacker, but after taking her safely home he returns to Port Angeles with Carlisle, who has agreed to resolve the problem (he incapacitates the man and anoymously delivers him to a police station interstate). The conversation between Edward and Carlisle is very revealing, here; it shows Edward's struggle to do the "right" thing as well as Carlisle's admiration for his efforts, and the reason that Carlisle attaches to Edward's internal war for self-control, while also providing a glimpse of the debates on a moral justification for salvation which are sprinkled throughout the TwiSaga.

"I've got a dilemma, Carlisle. You see, I want... very much... to kill him." The words started to flow fast and passionate. "So much. But I know that would be wrong, because it would be vengance, not justice. All anger, no impartiality. Still, it can't be right to leave a serial rapist and killer wandering Port Angeles! I don't know the humans there, but I can't let someone else take Bella's place as his victim. Those other women - someone might feel about them the way I feel about Bella. Might suffer what i would have suffered if she had been harmed. It's not right -"
His wide, unexpected smile stopped the rush of my words cold.
She's very good for you, isn't she? So much compassion, so much control. I'm impressed. ...
Carlisle was thinking of Bella, too.
I didn't forsee that she would be so good for him. That's unexpected. Perhaps this was somehow meant to be. Perhaps it serves a higher purpose. Only...
He pictured Bella with snow cold skin and blood red eyes, and then flinched away from the image.
Yes. Only. Indeed. Because how could there be any good in destroying something so pure and lovely?
Edward deserves happiness. He's owed it. The fierceness of Carlisle's thought's surprised me. There must be a way.
I wished I could believe that - either one.

Later, the newer, more compassionate side of Edward shows itself again when Edward determines to repay Angela's kind thoughts and friendly actions towards Bella (in contrast to Jessica's jealousy) in some way; he and Emmett converse about Angela's attraction to Ben in his hearing, in an improvised attempt to convince Ben to ask Angela out, as Edward's "anonymous gift" to her. In contrast, Edward's antipathy towards Mike continues to spiral upward as he seeks to win Bella for himself, despite having begun dating Jessica. And despite Edward's developing ability at understanding Bella's thoughts from her facial expressions, he is still mystified at times by her words and actions, particularly when she doesn't react as a human would, in his opinion.

Why can't she see what a circus sideshow he is? Like they all are. The way he stares at her. It gives me chills to watch. "He looks at you like... like you're something to eat."
I cringed, waiting for her response.
Her face turned bright red, and her lips pressed together like she was holding her breath. Then suddenly, a giggle burst through her lips. ...
I leaned against the gym wall and tried to compose myself.
How could she have laughed at Mike's accusation - so entirely on target that I began to worry that Forks was becoming to aware... Why would she laugh at the suggestion that I could kill her, when she knew that it was entirely true? Where was the humour in that?
What was wrong with her? ...
Brave - that was one word for it. Others might say stupid, but I knew how bright she was. No matter what the reason, though, this lack of fear or twisted sense of humour wasn't good for her. Was it this strange lack that put her in danger so constantly? Maybe she would always need me here...
Just like that, my mood was soaring.
If I could just discipline myself, make myself safe, then perhaps it would be right for me to stay with her.

This last sentence provides the key to a major theme of Meyer's TwiSaga, the submission of natural desires and the victory of self-control in the choice between good and evil. I will discuss this in my next post.

[All excerpts are taken from Stephenie Meyer's Midnight Sun Partial Draft 4, and are used here solely for the purpose of criticism. Copyright for the material belongs to Stephenie Meyer. The first cover image is from the Borders exclusive Midnight Sun excerpt, given free with purchases of The Host, Meyer's scifi novel (marketed at adults, although I am not sure I know why it qualifies as adult and Breaking Dawn, with its graphic violence and adult content of marriage, pregnancy and traumatic childbirth doesn't. The second cover is an amalgamation of several fanart covers I found on the internet, none with their original attributions so I can't pass them on, sorry.]

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