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The Wolf House: Punk is dead and it has fangs» Blog Archive » Fabulous Vampires: Rosalie Hale

Fabulous Vampires: Rosalie Hale

Rosalie Hale

Rosalie Hale

Man, Twilight. Everyone’s got an opinion on it, right? Even me; mine’s over here if you’re just dying to know (short version: if I’d been fourteen when I’d discovered those books, rather than 25, I would have been so obsessed that you’d've had to pry them away from my clammy wee hands. Since I wasn’t fourteen when I discovered ‘em, I don’t think it’s really up to me to make a call on them, since I’m not their target audience. Fourteen year old girls are allowed to love the hell out of whatever makes them happy, and 25-year-olds — or 27-year-olds, as I am now, ohgod don’t remind me — should have better things to do with their time than standing around talking smack about things that make fourteen-year-olds happy.)

(Well, that was meant to be a short version, anyway. Don’t get me started on the way teenage girl culture is sneered at by most adult media; I get really cranky and start calling people names and find it difficult to shut up.)

Anyway! What were we talking about? Twilight, right. So. Just because I say The Wolf House is ‘Twilight for punks’ doesn’t mean I don’t think people shouldn’t be reading Twilight as well. You can have Britney Spears and Mindless Self Indulgence both present in your album collection, I promise! You’ll probably appreciate both of them better for the variation.

In all honesty, I want everyone to read the Twilight books because they contain one of my favourite fabulous vampires in the history of ever, the utterly fierce Rosalie Hale.

Rosalie and her husband Emmett

Rosalie is the bomb. My friend Erinna has joked to me that the real reason I’ve never written any Twilight fanfiction is because my stories would consist of Rosalie hanging around with my own vampire characters and passing judgement on everyone for not being as fabulous as them. And my friend Erinna is sort of right about that.

Rosalie’s somewhat of the wild card in the Twilight cast of characters — she has little to no emotional investment in the central love story of the books, between the vampire Edward and the human Bella. In fact, Rosalie’s actively against the two of them getting together, which puts her out-of-step with almost everyone else and makes for a rare counterpoint of perspective in the stories.

Most of why I love her is tied up with the fact that she’s hard and smart and beautiful and crafty — everything you could want in a vampire. She goes to university periodically, and has graduated from medical school with impressive extra credentials several times. If she doesn’t like someone, she’ll do whatever she can to make their life miserable. She’s not adverse to killing a person if it’ll cause her significant hassle to leave them alive, which is not an especially nice way to deal with the world but this series of posts isn’t titled ‘fabulous people who are especially nice in the way they deal with people’ is it? No, it’s fabulous vampires time around here, and Rosalie is one of the most fabulous of all.

Rosalie

Rosalie Lillian Hale was born in 1915 in Rochester, New York. She was the oldest of three children, with two younger brothers. Her father worked in a bank, and when the Great Depression hit his income remained stable. Rosalie was taught to believe that people struck by poor fortune brought their bad luck down on themselves. Rosalie loved being beautiful, later coming to describe her personality during her human life in the following way:

“Admiration was like air to me, Bella. I was silly and shallow, but I was content.” She smiled, amused at her own evaluation.

Edward and Bella, the central protagonists of the Twilight novels, see her as still being vain and vapid, but Edward and Bella both have a remarkable talent for only seeing what they want to see in the world around them.

Rosalie was encouraged to doll herself up prettily when taking lunch to her father at his work, in order that the owner’s son would see her and be attracted to her. Royce King the Second, the bank owner’s son, quickly became engaged to Rosalie after seeing her deliver her father his lunch. If Rosalie really was as silly and shallow as she now thinks she was, then the engagement would have meant the coming-true of all her dreams. But Rosalie’s best friend was married already, and the couple were genuinely in love with one another and had a baby together. These elements of a life were things Rosalie didn’t have, but found that she wanted very much.

Of course, all of those young, silly, shallow, fragile little dreams which were starting to shape her into the adult woman she might have become were ripped apart. As Rosalie herself puts it so hauntingly, “If we had happy endings, we’d all be under gravestones now.” A vampire’s creation requires the bloody death of the human they used to be. Rosalie, telling the story more than seventy years later to Bella, speaks of what happened to her when she was eighteen in detached, almost clinical language.

It was hard to tell in the moonlight, but it looked like her bone white face got paler.

“It was dark in the streets, the lamps already on. I hadn’t realised how late it was.” She continued to whisper almost inaudibly. “It was cold, too. Very cold for late April. The wedding was only weeks away, and I was worrying about the weather as I hurried home — I can remember that clearly. I remember every detail about that night. I clung to it so hard… in the beginning. I thought of nothing else. As so I remember this, when so many pleasant memories have faded away completely…”

She sighed, and began whispering again. “Yes, I was worrying about the weather… I didn’t want to have to move the wedding indoors…”

Her fiance, Royce, and some of his friends suddenly crowd around her, a few streets away from her home. They’re drunk.

“”What did I tell you, John,” Royce crowed, grabbing my arm and pulling me closer. “Isn’t she lovelier than all your Georgia peaches?”

“The man named John was dark-haired and suntanned. He looked me over like I was a horse he was buying.

“”It’s hard to tell,” he drawled slowly. “She’s all covered up.”

“They laughed, Royce like all the rest.

“Suddenly, Royce ripped my jacket from my shoulders — it was a gift from him — popping the brass buttons off. They scattered all over the street.

“”Show them what you look like, Rose!” He laughed again and then he tore my hat out of my hair. The pins wrenched my hair from the roots, and I cried out in pain. They seemed to enjoy that — the sound of my pain…”

Rosalie looked at me suddenly, as if she’d forgotten I was there.

“I won’t make you listen to the rest,” she said quietly. “They left me in the street, still laughing as they stumbled away. They thought I was dead. They were teasing Royce that he would have to find a new bride. He laughed and said he’d have to learn some patience first.”

Carlisle Cullen, a vampire so badass he can hold back his bloodthirsty instincts completely and work as a doctor, finds the dying Rosalie on the street. He takes her home and makes her into a vampire herself, which in Twilight’s mythology means she has to undergo three days of absolute agony as her body changes. What does Rosalie say about this torture, which is so intense that it’s the defining memory of life for most vampires?

“Edward wasn’t happy. I remember hearing them discuss me. I stopped screaming sometimes. It did no good to scream.”

That is how amazing Rosalie Goddamn Hale is, right there. She’s made of STEEL. Other vampires get lost inside an incoherent stretch of agony for three days, but Rosalie’s such a cool customer that she doesn’t even bother to scream the whole way through, since it won’t do her any good, and listens to her new family talk about her instead.

“”What were you thinking, Carlisle?” Edward said. “Rosalie Hale?”" Rosalie imitated Edward’s irritated tone to perfection. “I didn’t like the way he said my name, like there was something wrong with me.

“I couldn’t just let her die,” Carlisle said quietly. “It was too much — too horrible, too much waste.”"

And so Rosalie Hale joins the Cullen family. She doesn’t take their name, though — she stays Rosalie Hale. She never explains why she made that decision, or later allowed one of the other vampires who joined the Cullens, Jasper, to use her surname as well and pretend to be her twin. A lot of Rosalie’s story remains unknowable.

Jasper and Rosalie

Once she’s become a vampire, she engages in a bit of gross victim-blaming, which icked me right out when I first read the books. I try to see it now as something she thinks as an unreliable narrator, rather than something the book is directly telling the reader, because ICK ICK ICK.

“Shallow as I was, I felt better when I saw my reflection in the mirror for the first time. Despite the eyes, I was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.” She laughed at herself for a moment. “It took some tie before I began to blame the beauty for what had happened to me — for me to see the curse of it. To wish that I had been… well, not ugly, but normal. So I could have been allowed to marry someone who loved me, and have pretty babies. That’s what I’d really wanted, all along. It still doesn’t seem like too much to have asked for.”

NO, ROSALIE, NO. YOU WERE NOT GANG RAPED AS PUNISHMENT FOR BEING TOO BEAUTIFUL, JFC. CUT THAT MENTALITY OUT RIGHT THE HELL NOW. Ew. Ew ew ew. Victim blaming is SO GROSS.

I do find the tenderness, and the bitterness, of the end of that speech touching, however. “It still doesn’t seem like too much to have asked for.”

Rosalie concept art

So now we get to the biggest part of why I adore Rosalie so terribly, terribly much.

“You know, my record is almost as clean as Carlisle’s,” she told me. “Better than Esme. A thousand times better than Edward. I’ve never tasted human blood,” she announced proudly.

She understood my puzzled expression as I wondered why her record was only almost as clean.

“I did murder five humans,” she told me in a complacent tone. “If you can really call them human. But I was very careful not to spill their blood — I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist that, and I didn’t want any part of them in me, you see.”

Rosalie is cool and logical and vicious and amazing: she’s going to get revenge, but even though she’s a perfect apex predator now, she’s not going to kill them the way a vampire kills a human, she’s going to do it in a way that means those slimebags never pollute her body ever again. I know it’s not especially noble of me to love revenge narratives as much as I do, but I can’t help it. There’s something utterly satisfying at the trope in fictional terms such as these. I want to cheerlead for Team Rosalie until the end of time.

Rosalie and the Cullens hunting

But oh, she’s not finished yet.

“I saved Royce for last. I hoped that he would hear of his friends’ deaths and understand, to know what was coming for him. I hoped the fear would make the end worse for him. I think It worked. He was hiding inside a windowless room behind a door as thick as a bank vault’s, guarded outside by armed men, when I caught up with him. Oops - seven murders,” she corrected yourself. “I forgot about his guards. They only took a second.”

“I was overly theatrical. It was kind of childish, really. I wore a wedding dress I’d stolen for the occasion. He screamed when he saw me. He screamed a lot that night. Saving him for last was a good idea - it made it easier for me to control myself, to make it slower -”

ROSALIE.

This entire post would probably be more useful if I could do more than flail in awe at how cool Rosalie is, but seriously. She’s just NEAT.

Rosalie and Emmett

She falls in love with a boy named Emmett, whom she finds in the woods after he’s been mauled by a bear. She carries him home, resisting his blood the whole way, so he can become a vampire like her. They have a sex life that’s so enthusiastic that they destroyed several houses during their early years.

“I got luckier than I deserved. Emmett is everything I would have asked for if I’d known myself well enough to know what to ask for. He’s exactly the kind of people someone like me needs. And, oddly enough, he needs me, too. That part worked out better than I could have hoped. But there will never be more than the two of us. And I’ll never sit on a porch somewhere, with him gray-haired by my side, surrounded by our grandchildren.”

That’s why Rosalie doesn’t like Bella: because Bella is alive and human and will someday have the chance to grow old, but Bella wants to throw it all away to become a vampire and be with Edward. Rosalie consistently votes against turning Bella into a vampire, explaining to Bella that she still wishes that she herself had been given circumstances where someone could have voted ‘no’ on her behalf.

When Bella herself falls pregnant with Edward’s child — life-threatening circumstances for a human to be in — it’s Rosalie she turns to, despite their animosity, because Bella knows that Rosalie will defend Bella’s pregnancy when Edward demands they abort the fetus. It’s not about whether she cares about Bella personally; it’s about the choices a young woman should never be forced into against her own free will, choices Rosalie was never given the opportunity to make for herself one way or the other.

Rosalie is cooler than you.

Apart from dressing up pretty, being clever at university, and going on revenge sprees, Rosalie’s hobbies include playing baseball with her family, working on her red BMW M3 convertible — she’s a highly talented mechanic — and getting repeatedly married to Emmett, because she loves being the centre of attention.

And to end this post about how Rosalie is the coolest ever, here is a picture of myself, Nikki Reed, and my friend Erinna. Nikki Reed plays Rosalie in the Twilight movies. I’m the one going : | and Erinna is the one going : D … I have no idea what made me decide to be such a sour grumpface that day — I’m standing next to Nikki Reed and yet I’m frowning! Obviously I am a fool.

Me, Nikki and Erinna

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