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The Vampire Diaries: The Fury, Part 8: Midpoint Hodge-Podge

June 18, 2010

I think “Midpoint Hodge-Podge” should be my new Rock Band name.  “Gay Agenda” was funny, like, four years ago, but it’s time to move on.  The fiance named my band while I was out: Oxford Comma Sutra.  I think the only way that could be more reflective of how he sees me is if there were a Portal reference in there.  Then again, he wanted me to do “Still Alive” with him before I went to the store, so I guess there WAS a Portal reference in there.

In other news, although I have finished grad school and am sort of on vacation, I still have responsibilities and obligations.  One of those is to recap.  So here we go:

When last we left Our Heroine, she was trying to figure out what was going on her crazy, isolated, what’s-college? town of Fells Church, Virginia.  She’d also outed herself as undead to her bffs.  Now let’s follow her ridiculous (and possibly downgraded to limbo) boyfriend/fiance Stefan as he attempts to act like a teenager for no reason that made sense till now.

See, despite being hundreds of years old, Stefan was determined to go to high school.  And even though he refused to, like, mingle or go out for sports, it was still Very Important for him to attend classes on things he’d already lived through or could’ve read about 400 times in the past 400 years.

Yeah, this’ll never fly with me again.  At least with the Cullens, there was the sense that all they were doing was trying to give themselves several years in one area before they moved on, and the best way to do that was to pretend that they were all sixteen again or whatever, but even that seems stale when you’ve got the money to back up an isolationist lifestyle.  And while I’m on the subject, how was it that everyone just accepted that when it was sunny out, Edward and his sibs got pulled from school to go hunting and camping and stuff and yet they never came home with tans?  I hung out in Seattle for a summer.  It was gorgeous the whole time, sunny for something like 28 days straight, and in the high 80s.  Perfect weather.  Very tanning.

But I digress.  Probably on purpose, because despite a lot of bits and pieces going on here, it doesn’t feel like much happens.  I guess this is the problem with having three books–they have to drag somewhere.  Plus, reading one chapter every couple of weeks doesn’t help my sense that things are flowing.  But here we are, back at Fells Church High or whatever it’s called (er, what IS it called?) and Bonnie cannot keep her mouth shut for like ten seconds without dropping the fact that she spoke to ~*Elena*~ the day before.  Way to go, psychic bimbo.

Sue Carson comes up to Bonnie and Stefan to let them know that public opinion about Stefan is turning around, the dogs are quarantined, and another fabulous Fells Church event is coming up: the Snow Dance.  I wouldn’t say the TVD books have as many parties as SVH, but it’s close.  Then again, we had a monthly dance at the church as well as school dances, and get-togethers at people’s houses every weekend back when I was in high school, so I guess that reflects reality somewhat.  Of course, if they REALLY wanted to mimic school life, they would not only have dances every month, but fundraisers as well.  And bake sales, like, every week, for this and that.

Sue babbles about taking her name out of the running for Snow Queen or whatever, and Stefan ponders the chances that the Other Power will somehow have something to do with this event as well.  He comes down on the side of “v. high to definite.”  I would too.  I mean, after all, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, plot’s gotta move somehow.  Plus, it’s on a Friday the Thirteenth.  Very ominous.

Stefan and Bonnie head to Wesley Wyn—er, Alaric Saltzman’s class and Stefan lets us know how “inoffensive” Alaric is, a flashing neon sign of “Don’t look this way!  This isn’t the Other Power you’re looking for!”  And thinking about Alaric gets him thinking about ~*Elena*~ (…okay), which gets him thinking about Damon, which makes him maaaad.  Jealous, actually.  Did you know, Stefan, that jealousy is a sign of insecurity?  If you trusted ~*Elena*~, you wouldn’t be jealous of Damon, except over Damon’s general happiness with his evil, evil life.

Stefan whines to himself about how he couldn’t kill Tyler when he wanted to, which makes him notice that Tyler isn’t around even though he’s not hospitalized or anything anymore.  And when he looks at Tyler’s empty desk, he almost catches the eye of DoorMatt, who is avoiding him like the plague.  As you do.

*

In other news, ~*Elena*~ is in a barn, ate a deer (we call that “venison,” dear) and is trying not to freak out.  Oh, and a white and gold owl is stalking her.  Sure does rock being a vampire.

She’s crying.  WHY though?  Although her diary entry touches a little on the oddness of her situation, we’re just meant to instantly empathize with the fact that she’ll live forever, stay young and beautiful, and end up more carnivore than omnivore.  BFD.

*

Alaric asks Bonnie and Caroline to stay after class, and Stefan tries to catch up with Matt, who isn’t hearing any of it, certainly not the part where ~*Elena*~ is alive and he just saw her and she bit him and all.  I love how his eyes are referred to as “a lighter, less complicated [shade of] blue than Elena’s.”  Schlubby Matt, always being put down so we remember he’s not the hero, strikes again.

The one bit of writing I really like here is that after Matt flounces off in total denial, Stefan hangs out by the Snow Dance poster and “knew every inch of it by the time the girls came out.”  One line, so realistic and good in the midst of me being generally disappointed by this chapter.

Bonnie says that Alaric is going to have another party, which doesn’t thrill Stefan, and they both notice Meredith, who was supposed to meet up with them, disappearing briefly and then reappearing as if nothing had happened.  Uh-oh!  Stefan is apparently unable to read thoughts again at all.  I guess it’s a waning vampire moon.

*

Later sometime, ~*Elena*~ wants Bonnie to do some more spells.  Doesn’t she know that leads to lesbianism?  This one is all about reading wax dripped into water.  I think I did this myself after reading the book but nothing much happened.  Meredith gets off a wisecrack about Druids (religious insensitivity!), but Bonnie’s not even up for repartee –she’s afraid that she’ll be taken over again.  Not this time, though.  The wax tells them that unity will be the key to defeating the Other Power, and ~*Elena*~’s thinking “I told the boys so!”  Pfffft.  If this is supposed to justify her decision to be slightly more hands-off with her boyfriend so that her boyfriend’s brother sticks around to help them fight they-don’t-know-what-yet, PFFFFFFFFFT.

Also, Bonnie says there will be a sacrifice involved in winning the fight.  Uh-ohs!

In case we were wondering, ~*Elena*~ is in all black and looks “dangerous, like a sheathed sword.”  Whatever that means.  Phallic metaphor, maybe?  That doesn’t even fit.  I guess it’s supposed to go with the whole “line of wax symbolized a sword/sacrifice and foreshadowing that ~*Elena*~ is that sacrifice” thing, but isn’t that a bit clunky?  She doesn’t think anyone would recognize her when she’s not in dessert colors, and Bonnie RIGHTLY suggests that ~*Elena*~ could go to another school to finish out her education.  You know, like Stefan does?  But ~*Elena*~ dismisses it out of hand, without any reasoning, except that we’re told that, you know, sitting in a barn thinking all day does things to you.  What those things are–who fucking knows?

Instead of being reasonable in any way, ~*Elena*~ asks that Bonnie read her palm.  Bonnie refers back to ~*Elena*~ having two guys in her life–which isn’t anywhere near true, except in a sort of assholeish way–and then sobers up quick when she realizes how short ~*Elena*~’s lifeline is.  They’re like “Whew, it’s because she’s a vampire, right” except…what if it isn’t?

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN.

Next up: It’s all downhill here from here.  Well, as a numbers game anyway.  Eight more chapters to go!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Serena permalink
    July 29, 2010 2:49 am

    Your recaps are very entertaining. 🙂 Been awhile since I read the books, so I don’t remember Elena’s reasons…but if I were her I’d probably cry a bit too over leaving your old life behind, not being able to speak to your family again, outliving everyone you love, having to give up your favorite food… that sort of thing. 😉 There are downsides to being a vampire and living forever!

    • July 29, 2010 7:44 am

      I don’t think it’d be as much of a problem for me if she hadn’t been consistently horrible with her family the rest of the time. If you do get back to the books, look specifically at her interaction with her sister Margaret–which is to say, try to find it. She DOES still interact with her friends, so she’s only lost the ability to gossip with them during the daytime about what Caroline’s been doing lately. She can do that at night. What also bothers me is that she’s shown no sign of caring about the outside world other than her trip to Paris–and even those memories she basically ignores as soon as she sees a cute guy–really, none of them have. Nothing about college. Matt and Stefan are, so far, the only ones who leave town (and that’s for the vervain). Heck, nothing about going to bigger towns for shopping. Nothing about musical interests, not even here or there. I know I say “Even Bella Swan…” a lot, but heck, even Bella Swan had musical preferences. Hm, I think I’m scattering this comment. (I just woke up.) Let me look at the other ones you left.

  2. Serena permalink
    July 29, 2010 6:32 pm

    Thanks for responding 🙂 You’re right she still does interact with her friends, but there’s still the whole having-to-watch-them-grow-older-and-die thing, which she might be sad about. It has been awhile, so I may be wrong, but I thought I remembered Elena expressing some regret over not spending more time with Margaret when she had the chance? (pre-vampire) I have the impression that the author portrayed her as self-centered at first, so that she could have some sort of epiphany later on, about taking her life and family for granted…

    I’m sorry I can’t remember details from the books to back up anything I’m saying! (I’ve had the urge to re-read other L.J. series over the years, like Night World – even though it has no ending 😛 – but not TVD. I should probably force myself to, so I dont sound like an idiot here. 😉

    • July 29, 2010 10:04 pm

      I hear if Night World does finish, the result will be awful, like new TVD books awful.

      She’d only be sad about her friends getting older if she ever expressed any sense that the world will still be happening the next day, which she never does.

      She does have one second of regret about Margaret, which is in one of my recaps. I was unimpressed. Margaret then wakes up and Elena just feeds her a pack of lies that will end Margaret in therapy for the rest of her life.

  3. Serena permalink
    July 30, 2010 12:10 am

    Haha… Margaret will think it’s a dream, or forget, I hope. I don’t remember much from when I was 4.

    Used to look forward to Strange Fate, but now I don’t have faith in L.J. to end it well. Or at all. But yeah, her writing style got so much worse (did you see the short stories that were up on her official site?!) and after reading disappointing reviews about the new Vampire Diaries books… I don’t even *want* her to finish Night World. It sucks having no ending, but I’d rather have none than a sucky one. I can imagine my own, like I have to do with favorite shows that are cancelled abruptly.

    (Unfinished stories, hurt though. As opposed to Neverending stories, which I like ;))

    • July 30, 2010 9:09 am

      It’s not about Margaret’s perception, as far as I’m concerned, but how the “reformed” Elena makes her choices, and they’re still as selfish as ever. So much for reformation.

      I meant to read the short stories, but I assumed Megan and I would have more time to play through Night World, so I decided to wait on them till I’d reacquainted myself with the characters. That…did not happen. Yet. But yeah, no faith in Strange Fate, which is too bad because Secret Vampire blew me away with how great it remained. This old e-friend of mine (for like fifteen years now) started reading Night World and didn’t like it till the middle books, and I was like “…Wow, really?” I guess as a reader I’m looking for completely different things than she is. Well, as a REreader. I’m looking for characters with interests, and personalities, and Secret Vampire, in two chapters, gave Poppy about 15 times the personality Elena ever had.

  4. Serena permalink
    July 30, 2010 10:22 pm

    You’re right that she’s being selfish in that scene… I didn’t perceive it that way when I first read it. Bought into the “touching reunion” L.J. was trying to portray.

    Pretty much every main female character in the Night World books had more personality/interests than Elena who just wants to be popular/loved by everyone. 🙂

    I loved the series from the very beginning with Secret Vampire, as well – and am glad that you won’t be snarking *too* much on NW, or I wouldn’t want to read it! 😉 Snarky recaps of TVD are fine with me since it was always my least favorite, but I used to have a pretty high opinion of L.J. Smith otherwise. So sad that we fans can’t look forward to Strange Fate anymore. Sometimes I really miss my childhood innocence and the unthinking trust of a reader just getting lost in an author’s world … before being disappointed in your “heroes” and learning to be cynical (or at least, cautious.) Back when I’d automatically buy anything by a certain author and expect to like it, without doing any research beforehead. Ooh boy, those days are gone! Not just L.J. but others I used to collect (Mercedes Lackey for instance) …It takes awhile for the painful truth to sink in that one of your formerly reliable favorite’s writing has severely declined… not emotionally engaging or even basically competent. I mean, when I start to notice technical errors/structure/grammar/continuity problems… I’m obviously not lost in the *story*. Sorry for going off-topic there… It’s a sore spot that had to burst open, I guess! (Ick. :))

    • Serena permalink
      July 31, 2010 12:57 am

      um, “beforehand”…meant to type. Doh!

      • July 31, 2010 9:09 am

        No, you could definitely say our entire posts to Night World so far have been gushing and glowing. But I think that is in part influenced by me doing the TVD recaps first, and her reading the new books. D:

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