Fixing Twilight: Save Jacob Black

Poor Jacob. Look at Twilight from his perspective. Even before that vampire shit happens, he doesn’t live an easy life. He’s not poor exactly, but his family isn’t exactly vacationing in sunny places where they’re served drinks with little umbrellas. They have a crappy house in the ass-end of nowhere and he ends up ferrying his disabled father around. It’s not a bad life: he gets to tinker with engines, something he likes doing, but it’s not an amazing life of privilege.

Then vampire shit happens. In the Twilight mythos (Twythos!) the Quileute (Twileute!) Indians (Twindians!) are shapeshifters who just happen to turn into wolves, not classical werewolves. This seemed like it was thrown in to appease nitpicky fans, but they’re already reading Twilight, so… Not really necessary, SMeyrz. They took on the whole wolf thing when vampires were a threat. When the vampires aren’t around, the magic goes dormant.

Jacob doesn’t know any of this shit. He’s a teenage boy and he’s grown up hearing some stories about how the weird pale rich people who sometimes live in town are vampires, but he doesn’t buy it. He’s a teenager and he knows everything. Suddenly, he has a growth spurt, as do the other guys around his age. It’s a weird coincidence, but nothing that weird. The elders periodically exchange knowing glances and speak of the old legends, Jacob just rolls his eyes.

But it gets weirder. Suddenly, some of the guys Jake’s known his whole life start hanging out without him. One by one, they disappear for a few days or a week, then come back and have no time for him. They only hang out with each other. Jacob’s first thought is a gang or cult, and it’s stressing him out. It seems like they’re waiting for something, he notices them giving him the side eye when they can’t avoid him. Worse still for a teenager, he has girl trouble. This childhood friend has come to live nearby, and she’s giving him the worst mixed signals. Jacob knows she’s using him, but he’s young and crushing hard.

And then he goes through magical puberty. That’s what lycanthropy is: you grow hair and have animalistic urges. It turns out that’s what’s happening to the tribe’s young men: they’re werewolves. The magic has quirks: it can’t be spoken of to outsiders, the wolf pack has invasive telepathy that’s just ungodly annoying, and the magic wants to propagate itself. The tribe has a geas, a magical compulsion, to defend the area against evil. They have a treaty with the local vampires so long as they’re not eating people, but they don’t like it.

So there’s some fighting, blah blah whatever. It turns out Jacob is the heir to the Alpha position, and people expect him to assume that role even though he doesn’t really want it. (In my version, Jacob has ambition to get off the rez, become a doctor or lawyer, but the wolf thing screws that up.) He has to deal with that shit and his girl trouble, and the pack of new vampires who have been created by evil vampires for the express purpose of eating said girl trouble.

This is a pretty basic coming of age story. We’d deal with the imprinting storyline by making it clear how not-okay it is: neither the one being imprinted upon nor the imprinter have a choice in it. But the magic doesn’t care, the magic wants to propagate itself and make more werewolves.

And that’s one way to fix Twilight: tell the story from the perspective of just about anyone besides Bella.

About Susan Thomas

Omni-nerd fueled by tea and Star Trek tie-in novels.
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5 Responses to Fixing Twilight: Save Jacob Black

  1. Here’s an alternative way to fix Twilight: an incinerator.

    • Susan Thomas says:

      Dude. Why do you hate it so much? The idea of this series is that I’m engaging with the text as something that’s important to a lot of kids. I’m sure you’re not concerned about the social mores depicted in the books and movies, because most of the adult men who hate on these books aren’t. So what’s your deal?

      • I’m sorry. They are just so much fun to make fun of. Actually, I haven’t even read the series, so feel free to ignore my opinion. Like I said, they are just fun to hate on. I mean, sparkly vampires? Seriously?

  2. Wyn says:

    The way you just described it would make this an almost readable book! Bonus points if the sheer creepiness of the Bella/Edward ‘relationship’ is either changed or pointed out as “WTF dude!”
    I confess that I didn’t manage to finish the book; somewhere around page 30 I nearly slit my throat with the pages out of sheer boredom. I keep meaning to try again, I just can’t convince myself it’s worth it. But so far it does seem that the story from any other POV would be an improvement. Heck, I’d love to hear it from the truck’s side :)

    • Susan Thomas says:

      One of the reasons why Breaking Dawn is somewhat more readable than the rest of the series: about a third of the book is from Jacob’s perspective. I find that actual Twilight fans like that book the least.

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