Blogging New Moon: Part 21
Chapter Twenty-One: Verdict
Better Title: All That for Nothing?!
The story, which has been dragging for the past few chapters, is becoming interesting again thanks to the mysterious Volturi vampires. While the actual "verdict" in this chapter is laughable, and makes the previous few chapters pointless, I'm becoming a fan of Aro and Caius, two of the three Volturi lords. But Marcus? Oh boy, I don't even know where to start with Marcus. Much more on him later.
Bella, Alice, and Edward are led from the dark, scary tunnels into what appears to be the hallway of a typical office building, complete with fluorescent lights and ugly, bland carpeting. Because she's familiar with ordinary-looking office hallways, Bella relaxes a bit. But Edward does not like the look of things. In fact, "He glowered darkly down the long hallways." I wish I could glower darkly. I can only glower brightly. (That's a lie. I don't know how to glower at all. How much of my chin should I be flexing? And what do I do with my hands? Does my mouth need to be opened or closed? And can I do this while wearing shorts?)
Jane, the child-like vampire, waits for them by an elevator, and everyone piles in. The Volturi guards take off their cloaks and Bella can see them clearly. Both Felix and Demetri have olive complexions and wear modern clothes beneath their scary vamp-cloaks. (Note: Looking for a cheap Halloween costume? Simply wear "modern clothes" and tell everyone you’re a Volturi vampire. The same costume will also work if you want to go as a mannequin or Kevin Costner.)
They all leave the elevator and enter a fancy waiting room/office area that is decorated with leather couches and crystal vases. In the middle of this waiting room is a human receptionist named Gianna. Bella is surprised that a human would be working so closely with vampires, but it's nice to know that Volturi Industries is an equal opportunity employer.
Jane leads them into another room, where a vampire boy named Alec greets her and is delighted to see Eddie and the gang. Alec and Jane then take everyone down another corridor and through a secret door in the wall. Behind this door is a circular room made of old stones and darkness. To add to the creepiness, there are several throne-like wooden chairs lining the curved wall of this chamber, and in the middle of the room is a drain. Either this chamber is used for killing people, or this is where the vamps wash their cars and dogs.
There are a few vampires in the chamber, talking casually. One of them speaks up and is thrilled that Jane has returned. This vampire is Aro, one of the three original Volturi vampires, and he seems to be in charge. (His name sounds like a dog trying to say, "Hello.")
He is excited to see that Jane brought Alice and Bella to him, and Bella is shocked that he already knows her name. Aro is acting too friendly, as if they are all one big happy family and he's the wacky uncle. His scary, over-the-top good spirits make him seem like The Joker, and I like him already.
Like Edward, Aro can read minds. But to do so, he must physically touch the person. When he touches someone, he not only sees the person's current thoughts, but every thought that person has ever had. Can Aro also see thoughts that a person forgot? If so, I would high-five him right this minute, and then ask him where I put my earbuds.
Marcus and Caius enter the chamber, and Aro announces to them that Bella is not dead. But these two don’t seem to care as much as the flamboyant Aro. Caius glides to his thrown. Marcus touches Aro to give him a secret, silent mind-message.
Edward explains to Alice and Bella that Marcus just told Aro how strong the feelings are between Eddie and Belly. Marcus's super power, it would seem, is the ability to see relationships.
Let me repeat that. Marcus's super power is the ability to see relationships.
And, one more time, just so we're all on the same page: Marcus' super power is the ability to see relationships. On what planet, in what galaxy, in what universe, would this power come in handy?
SCREAMING WOMAN: Help, my house is on fire and my baby is trapped upstairs!
MARCUS: Not to worry, ma'am. I understand that you love your baby very much.
SCREAMING WOMAN: And…
MARCUS: Um…that's about all I can do here. Oh, and you think the mailman is cute in a dorky sort of way. Good luck with that fire.
Identifying relationships is not a super power. It's just being observant. Maybe Caius's power will be the ability to tell if it's raining. And Alec can sense if a dog is happy.
Aro is surprised that Edward can not only stand so close to someone as delicious as Bella, but actually fall in love with her. Edward says it takes some effort, but it's worth it. Edward and Aro talk about Carlisle for a bit. I try to pay attention, but I'm still giggling at Marcus.
Seriously, someone please tell me that Marcus has more than just this goofy relationship-identifying power? Tell me he also has heat vision, or he can talk to penguins, or he's really good at geography. Anything! I guess Marcus could make millions on daytime talk shows, during segments called, "Does My Man Love Me?" I thought Rosalie's ability to be stubborn was a lame power, but Marcus makes Rosalie look like Superman.
Finally, Aro asks if he can touch Bella to see all of her thoughts. She doesn't have much of a choice, and she offers her hand to Aro. He takes her hand...Sorry. Sorry. I can't let this Marcus thing go just yet. What does Marcus see when he "looks" at a relationship? Does he see the two people kissing in his mind? Does he see words such as, "They like each other, but they don't liiiike each other"? OK. OK. I'll try to stay focused.
Aro first smiles at Bella, but then looks confused. He was unable to see her mind, and wonders if she is immune to other vampire powers. He summons Jane, and Edward growls. One more Marcus question: Can Marcus see how much I love kettle corn? Does that count as a relationship?
Aro wants to see if Bella is immune to Jane's power. Alice and Edward are having a fit, which means Jane's power might be dangerous and awesome. Edward leaps at Jane, but before he can get to her, she shoots him a look and he falls to the ground, doubled over in pain. The creepy child-vampire Jane simply grins. Her vampire power involves causing severe pain with her mind. Finally! We have a decent vampire power.
As Bella screams, Aro tells Jane to stop attacking Edward with her mind. She stops and Edward lies still on the ground. I wonder what Jane's power actually does. Perhaps it squeezes your liver like a tube of toothpaste, or it makes you feel as though you've been electrocuted. Or maybe you just hear pop country music in your head.
Jane then turns her attention to Bella, who braces herself for the mind-pain. But it never comes. It seems as though Bella is immune to all vampire powers. Plot question #1,192: How can Bella be immune to vamp powers if Jasper used his power to make her feel happy way back in book one? And how would Marcus (giggle) be able to see her relationship status if she was impervious to vamp abilities?
Aro is happy with the result and "chortles." (Between "chortles" and "glowered," this chapter wins the award for best verbs.) But Aro isn't sure what to do now. He asks Edward and Alice to join him and become Volturi guards, but they both say no. He then asks Bella to join them, which shocks her.
Caius (who is the most level-headed vampire of the group) finally speaks up. He doesn't know where Aro is going with this. But Aro says Bella's immunity to vampire power has a lot of potential, especially if she were transformed into a vampire. He thinks she could be even more talented than the evil Jane.
Bella could also be better than Marcus, though she wouldn't need to become a vampire to do so. Simply give her the serrated edge of an aluminum foil box, and Bella would instantly be more powerful than Marky.
Bella declines the invite, and Aro sighs. Edward assumes that this means all three of them will die. But Aro says no one is going to be killed. He thinks killing Edward and Alice would be wasteful, even if Caius disagrees.
The frustrated Caius says Bella knows too much, so she must die. Aro makes an excellent suggestion: everyone can go free if Bella becomes a vampire. That's more than fair, no?
But this trial becomes silly, because Aro isn't forcing Edward to turn Bella into a vampire right now. Eddie simply must promise that he will eventually transform her into a vamp. Remind me that when I visit Volterra, I should commit lots of crimes, because the judicial system there is as lenient as the truancy policy at Forks High School.
Edward thinks it over…for a bit too long if you ask me. What the heck, Edward? Why don't you just lie and say you'll do it? Would you honestly rather have Bella eaten instead of making an empty promise? What a jerk. Emmett? Jacob? If you're reading this, please come back to the story.
Alice steps in and lets Aro touch her hand. She wants to show him that she was already considering transforming Bella into a vampire. And Aro sees that Alice even had a vision of the future in which Bella is a vamp. Aro is pleased with Alice's thoughts, even if Caius thinks it would be foolish to let Bella live.
Aro tries to convince Caius that they should let everyone go. Even if the Cullens refuse to join the Volturi today, they might change their minds in the future, and Aro thinks Alice, Edward, and potential-vampire Bella are too powerful to waste.
So Alice has promised to turn Bella into a vampire at some later date and time. And with that, Eddie, Alice, and Bella can all go free.
Were the last three chapters completely pointless? Aro wouldn't have killed Edward even if Eddie broke the one and only vampire rule: Don't reveal to anyone that vampires exist. So if Edward went through with his plan to sparkle mightily in the plaza, his only punishment would have been a job offer. Does anyone else feel ripped off?
Before heading out, Caius says they will be visiting the Cullens to make sure they keep their promise. (And maybe Marcus will tag along to tell us if E-Rock and his girlfriend have gotten to second base.)
Edward says they need to leave quickly because Heidi, another vampire, is coming back soon and bringing some victims for everyone to feast upon. Aro throws Edward a cloak, since all this time Edward was shirtless. (Who does he think he is? Jacob?)
They follow Demetri out of the death/dinner chamber. As they exit, a group of confused humans (probably tourists) walk past them. They're obviously going to be the next meal for the Volturi, and Edward doesn't want Bella to be near any part of this feast. They run into Heidi, the Volturi vamp who has rounded up the "food" and is herding them into the chamber. Edward tries to hurry Bella along, but isn't fast enough. She can hear the screaming begin.
Prediction: Before leaving Volterra, Bella steals Aro's iPod. But she is caught. Her punishment is that, at some point in the future, she must apologize. Edward doesn't like the sound of this deal. He thinks about it for 45 minutes before deciding they should refuse the offer and die for their crimes.