Sunday, November 25, 2012

City of Bones chapter 14+ Comments on Breaking Dawn

My stepfather has a strong love for the Twilight Saga.

I am not remotely kidding.

I sat through BDpt2. They cut most of the stupid out by omitting unnecessary character interactions (a'la Emmett's commentary on Bella's sex life during her post-vamping reunion with Charlie) and Bella's running commentary. Charlie got shafted, but then he got the same in the books too. You got to see Leah's profile once. Renesmee is the creepiest fucking baby in the history of CGI, is just as creepy as a toddler, and is pretty much a prop through the whole movie. Alice saves all the things, of course. Christopher Heyerdahl (AKA Marcus) needs to get a bigger part in a better movie because GOD is he wasted as an actor. Stephenie decided to show everyone who bitched about the book's ending what would really have happened had everyone thrown down (Spoiler: Carslile, Jasper, Seth *sob* Caius, Leah, Jane--VIA ALICE AND WEREWOLF IN SCENE OF SHINING AWESOME. Allowing the strongest actress and character in the movie, respectively, to have a showdown was probably a mistake--Marcus and Aro all die, as do Ed and Bella by implication.) and then undid it because dream/vision ha ha everybody lives isn't this totally better. No, Stephenie. It wasn't. I actually got emotionally involved in the war scene, which the rest of your glittery blood-sucking soap opera failed to do.

Also? One of the Romanian vampires was also Cottontop from Hatfields and McCoys, which I finally watched two days ago. Needless to say after watching that actor play a mentally disabled boy, I was unable to buy Vlad 2 as a scary individual. I kept hearing "They Hornswaggled me with Love!" and experianced the wild urge to curl up sobbing in a corner every time he opened his mouth.

So. City of Bones.

...this is the vampire chapter, isn't it? Fuck.

Now, they're supposed to go to the Hotel Dumort to get their rattified friend Simon back, but Clary and the Murder Trio are at a church instead. A Gothic church. New York City. I am assuming we mean "in the gothic style" and seriously, the vampires are in a gothic church. I'll bet they have a heavy metal mass and everything.

Oh, right, they need holy stuff for fighting the vampires. Well, at least now we'll find out what makes things holy in this book, right? RIGHT?

Jace’s profile in the moonlight was serene. “We’re not going to,” he said, sliding his stele into his pocket. He placed a thin brown hand, marked all over with delicate white scars like a veiling of lace, against the wood of the door, just above the latch. “In the name of the Clave,” he said, “I ask entry to this holy place. In the name of the Battle That Never Ends, I ask the use of your weapons. And in the name of the Angel Raziel, I ask your blessings on my mission against the darkness.”
You know what? I'm actually offended. I made it through Hubbard, Gor, and the last twilight movie, and this is the shit that offends me. THIS. Yo, Cass? I accept that you have to write your book as all enclusive as possible, respecting all religions and yadda yadda yadda. The problem is that they're not going to a Druid grove or a pagan circle. They're going to a church. Churches are sanctified to a very specific deity. This Deity does not like it when you play with His toys outside of their intended use. He does not like it when you do not respect His holy ground, and He sure as horses love hey does not like it when you ask for His blessing in the name of things other than Him. These characters might not be believers--and again, if they aren't they should be SOL in the Christian holy object department--but they sure as hellfire sucks should give the Deity they are invoking the fucking courtesy of naming him.

In. The. Name. Of. Christ. You are using Angels and Demons, holy objects and now you're using a fucking church. In Jesus name. Your book will not burst into flames if you treat religion like something other than your toybox.

Clary has never been in a church before. Jace has to explain what everything is. Then he starts looking for weapons. Because all faiths have demons in them. And all churches/synegogs and whatnot keep weapons for Shadowhunters at the alter.

HEY KIDS! IT'S BIBLE STORY TIME! No, no, sit back down. It won't take more than a second. God chose the Israelites as his people. He told them to build him things like a pretty tent AKA Tabernackle, gold cups and candle holders and the Ark of the Covenant, which could have destroyed the Nazis if Indy hadn't been a pest. Now, eventually they took the tent down and put all the gold stuff into a temple. The rule was, only the preists could handle these things and only on certain days for certain reasons. One day the Babylonians came along and took most of the Hebrews and all of the shiny gold things back to Babylon with them, including God's gold things that no one but his preists were supposed to use. The king at the time respected God, because God wrecked his shit on more than one occasion, but eventually that king died and his son had to prove that he could party longer and harder than the old king ever did. So he threw a big party and gave all his guests God's gold cups to drink out of. That night God's floating hand appears and writes things on the wall. New King sends for Daniel to interprete the writing. Daniel takes one look and says "Boy are you fucked" before explaining that God is going to hand Babylon over to the Persians in the next couple of days. The Persians invade and the new king, and all his party friends, die horribly.

All because they drank out of God's gold cups. Because these cups, like the eucharist and holy water and concecrated ground (You know, the same shit Jace is depending on to protect the institute?) are all concecrated and dedicated to the use of Yheweh, aka YHVH, aka the God who has a history of wrecking your shit if you disrespect something dedicated to him.

I would CONSIDER giving Cass a pass on this, but there are angels and demons and they are depending heavily on blessed/holy objects, and she just disrespected God so hard I think if I set my bible on top of my hardcopy of this book the covers would start to smoke. You CANNOT have it both ways. If the objects in a religion have power, it is because there is a Deity behind them. If there is a Deity behind that power, that Deity will expect you to follow His/Her/Its rules. If you do not follow those rules, then the best you can hope for is that these objects you need will fail you when you need them most. The worst? Honey, God can be very creative when he is pissed off at you.

What does Jace find under the alter?

“Vials of holy water, blessed knives, steel and silver blades,” Jace said, piling the weapons on the floor beside him, “electrum wire— not much use at the moment, but it’s always good to have spare— silver bullets, charms of protection, crucifixes, stars of David—”
And it turns out that Jace is an athiest.  I have nothing against athiests as people who have gone through a long soul searching and found themselves unable to reconcile the concept of deity with the universe as they understand it. However, if you are an athiest raiding a church for the protection of a God you do not believe in?

...Oh, but his DAD believes in God.

Knowing how this book ends, my level of PISSED THE FUCK OFF just went through the roof.

Jace goes on a long monologue:

“My father believed in a righteous God. Deus volt, that was his motto—‘ because God wills it.’ It was the Crusaders’ motto, and they went out to battle and were slaughtered, just like my father. And when I saw him lying dead in a pool of his own blood, I knew then that I hadn’t stopped believing in God. I’d just stopped believing God cared. There might be a God, Clary, and there might not, but I don’t think it matters. Either way, we’re on our own.
You know, I could go off on this one paragraph for hours. I could explain how this character is pretty obviously Cassandra Clare's mouthpiece. I could go on about how I fucking well know what Clare's opinion of Christianity is, given shit she's said online that somehow made it back to internet drama sites. I could explain why this "all religions are one but we need CATHOLIC HOLY WATER to fight vampires with" bullshit is offensive to every fucking religion on the face of the planet. I could go on about how Jace is the most infantile sociopath to stalk the universe since they electrocuted Ted Bundy. But I won't. I'm going to counter just the bolded part of that paragraph. Cassandra Clare, meet C.S. Lewis:

Not many years ago when I was an atheist, if anyone had asked me, ‘Why do you not believe in God?’ my reply would have run something like this: ‘Look at the universe we live in...The race is doomed. Every race that comes into being in any part of the universe is doomed...All stories will come to nothing: all life will turn out in the end to have been a transitory and senseless contortion upon the idiotic face of infinite matter. If you ask me to believe that this is the work of a benevolent and omnipotent spirit, I reply that all the evidence points in the opposite direction. Either there is no spirit behind the universe, or else a spirit indifferent to good and evil, or else an evil spirit.’

There was one question which I never dreamed of raising... If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator? Men are fools, perhaps; but hardly so foolish as that. The direct inference from black to white, from evil flower to virtuous root, from senseless work to a workman infinitely wise, staggers belief. The spectacle of the universe as revealed by experience can never have been the ground of religion: it must always have been something in spite of which religion, acquired from a different source, was held.

That's from The Problem of Pain, and if you have any interest in Christian theology I REALLY recommend that book.

So after addressing the concept of religion in the most offensive way possible (GOD doesn't matter, just his toys!) we go on to the Hotel Dumort. It's abandoned and boarded up, so the kids break in. But only after paragraph on paragraph of the kids digging through garbage and making cutsy quips. They also collect a random Hispanic boy, because if you're in a bad neighborhood all you're gonna find are people of color and street kids.Of course, the kid is a vampire, which Jace figured out a long time ago, even though he's been muttering about how much he hates mundanes since they picked up the idiot.

The other vampires show up, they use Random Vamp Boy as a hostage to get Simon back. Jace balks at making an oath, though, because oaths are important to Shadowhunters.

And concecrated religious artifacts aren't. Right. Jace? Seriously? Go die in a fire.

And then Clary blows her own negotiations to get Simon back, right when Jace was about to swear that oath. We're approaching Strawchick level stupid here, kids.

So they're running around the ballroom, trying to escape the pissed of vampires who have been interrupted, stabbed and chewed on by rat-boy, when suddenly WEREWOLVES!

They break through the windows. And the chapter ends.

Vampires and werewolves in the same chapter I review the night I watch Twilight.

Yep, I'm gonna go get a drink now.



  1. "However, if you are an athiest raiding a church for the protection of a God you do not believe in?"

    Then you are not an atheist. You are a sullen and rude theist, putting on a claim of atheism as an adolescent show of defiance against your deity. Which is what C.S. Lewis did as a teenager, despite his claims of atheism.

    I suspect the writer thought Not!Draco's claims of atheism were edgy and cool, and never bothered to examine things any further than that.

  2. Re Lewis: it's plausible, though I'd like to think he was a little more honest with himself than that. Then again, I'm biased as hell.

    I was actively surprised at how thoroughly this offended me. I'd feel the same way if these kids were raiding a heathenry...thing (Though TBH I think Odin might be a little more charitable towards this stupidity if the end result meant more warriors for his table) or a Scientology center (and I had this sudden vision of Jace trying to fight demons with the soup cans. "STOP IN THE NAME OF...CAMPBELL'S CHICKEN NOODLE!")

    Basically, the supernatural elements in this book run like follows: there's demons and angels, who both reproduced with humans AND gave their blood or something, and there's a REALLY GOOD REASON why the demons have to be killed, which we're never going to articulate, and the demons can be fought using consecrated tools, only we're never going to explain how that works because Invoking Deity is bad. Or something. LOOK! SHINY OBJECT! In fact...brb, I got a great rant coming on.

  3. Wait. *random neuron fires in brain* If all this demon hunting is Super Secret and can only be seen by the Geneticly Pure, how and why do holy places maintain these stockpiles of weapons? There's a church near where I live dedicated to Saint Michael (Dragon-killing knight), and it has a ceremonial relationship with the local Reserves Armoury, but they don't stockpilecweapons no matter how thematically appropriate it would be.


  4. ...I had a totally reasonable response to this, but my brain read "Dragon killing knight" and "churches with stockpiles of weapons" and went off on a tangent of awesomeness.

    Simultaneously, I realize just how freaking WASTED some of the ideas of this book are.