Friday, February 19, 2016

WBI: The Volturi

We did James. We did Victoria. Now, at the end of all things, we will do the Volturi, from The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. We couldn't just leave them.

The Volturi have ruled vampiredom since ancient times, ensuring that the existence of vampires never comes to light in the human world. They cull those who threaten their existence and collect special individuals to ensure they remain on top, unchallenged—that is, until the rise of the Cullens…

WBI Profile

Classification :: Γ2567!$#*&@
Role :: Body (vampire government)
Motivations :: idealism (upholding laws), lifestyle (blood drinkers), desperation (preventing extinction), personal/material gain (gifted individuals), power/influence (unchallenged authority)
Bonus :: superpowers (lots of them), money (I’d wager), minions (so many minions), lair (Volterra), family ties (coven, ish), names (especially Aro)


Their Significance To…

Aro, Caius, Marcus—as head honchos, the Volturi operation is their great legacy; these three share the greatest power in the vampire world, and the greatest enemies: each other.

All Volturi—these elite vampires are bound by convenience and mutual desire for human blood, among other benefits. Admittedly, some of them are in debt to Aro’s “mercy,” and will be killed if they turn on their superiors, but whatever.

Edward and Alice—gifted with telepathy and precognition, Aro covets the power to use their powers. As Edward and Alice would never abandon their family, the Volturi need to eliminate the family.

Bella—at first, the Volturi wanted to kill Bella for knowing about vampires (thanks, Caius). Alice’s vision of her future as a vampire saves Bella at the time, but they return when they believe she created her daughter, Nessie, illegally. Then it was war.

Carlisle—after living among them, Carlisle shares civilized relations with the Volturi, though they don’t understand him. Carlisle hopes to live in peace with them, but as head of the Cullen coven, he still poses a threat.

Cullen Family—after the Volturi, the Cullens are the largest coven in existence, and their radicalism jeopardizes Volturi standards. They keep company with humans and vampires and even breed a dhampir child. They walk a narrow line there, and if other vampires got the same idea, they'll jeopardize the entire power structure.

Denali Coven—the Volturi murdered their mother after she created a vampire child (which are illegal due to their uncontrollability, which is bad for secrecy). Only their ignorance spared them from death, so they tread carefully.

All Vampires—as long as you remain unobtrusive, they will not come and rip off your head and burn your corpse.


Notable Actions

releasing Bella and Edward—the Volturi drop their charges against these two in both New Moon and Breaking Dawn. While they have a corrupt justice system, the Volturi aren’t inflexible. They strategically pick their battles, and they’ll choose the illusion of justice over utter victory any day.

observing—though the Volturi hold back during Eclipse, they’re still around. The best battle is one someone else fights for them, which is why they don’t prevent Victoria from attacking the Cullens. As it turns out, observation is their strongest tactical move in picking their battles.

endangering the Cullens—Nessie is the battle they choose to fight. They can fight it under the illusion of justice, trusted and respected, and even saving all vampires from exposure. In the end, the chance to disband the Cullens, gain Alice and Edward’s powers, and remove opposition is the most tantalizing opportunity they have, and why the Cullens must work so hard to fight back.


Big Idea

“family” ties—the Volturi are a coven; the Cullens are a family. Where the latter hold together through loyalty, respect, and love, the former uses fear, convenience, determination, usefulness, and obligation as indicators of their relationships. They’ve survived as a coven, but it’s important to remember that this is only because it’s the most efficient way to enforce their will.

necessary evil—they are corrupt and wicked. Not upstanding vampire citizens. Okay. Yeah. Fine. But for all of that, they need to exist. There’s a level of balance needed between vampires and humans in the world. The Volturi keep the world working as it should. For both humans and vampire, it might very well be that a venal government is better than none at all.

no defeat—to some it may seem anticlimactic for Breaking Dawn to end with the Volturi getting peacefully defeated and being like, “Oops, our bad. We’ll just be on our way.” Why no awesome battle? Well, because it wouldn’t fit. The Volturi pick their battles. They keep their power. And the Cullens can prove them unjust to an audience, but they’ll still take that over an uncertain battle. They refuse to prioritize pride over risk, and just accept the loss. After all, they have centuries to destroy the Cullens… but that’s a story for another day.

You can’t beat the Volturi. You can’t. They just win. They never sacrifice their power and they aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to do that. To be honest, I admire them so much for that reason. They’ve built an amazing empire for themselves. I almost hope they keep it.
“Then we are free to go now?” Edward asked in an even voice. 
“Yes, yes,” Aro said pleasantly. “But please visit again. It’s been absolutely enthralling!” 
“And we will visit you as well,” Caius promised, his eyes suddenly half-closed like the heavy-lidded gaze of a lizard. “To be sure that you follow through on your side. Were I you, I would not delay too long. We do not offer second chances.” –New Moon, Stephenie Meyer, pg 481

What do you think of the Volturi? Would you ever write villains like them (please, please do)?


  1. Cool post! I've actually been waiting for this one, because I was really interested in what you had to say about the Volturi.
    They're definitely really brilliant, really powerful villains, and your post helped me to better understand why there was no epic battle at the end of Breaking Dawn. I'd never thought of it that way before, but it is more true to the Volturi's characters to not pick a fight, if that's the best way for them to keep their power.
    At the same time, the whole series after New Moon is partially carried on the threat of the Volturi's return, and the whole last half of Breaking Dawn is building up to fight them. So even if it makes sense for the Volturi not to attack, for the story, it still feels very anti-climatic. Just because of how much went into preparing for them, and because it is a vampire story: readers generally expect a fight.

    So I don't know. I think I like the way they handled it in the movie: staying true to the Volturi, while still giving the audience the action the story's buildup had promised.


    1. I hope I satisfied. :)

      *nods* I know. I think it also wasn't characteristic of the Cullens, either, because the Cullens also resist war at every turn. They would fight, as evidence in Eclipse, but it isn't one of their values, so they avoid it as much as possible.

      I think that it might only be anti-climactic simply because people are attuned to think that all conflict must end in some showdown, but I also think it's appropriate to have books that resist solving conflict violently all the time. There are also times when it's good just to change our expectations of the characters we're reading about.

      The movie totally upset me at first... but yeah. It did probably resolve that for those audiences.

  2. I haven't read this serious, but these characters sound really fascinating! I like how you noted observing as a notable action, because I totally agree. It seems like most the time the villains always rush into action because that protagonist needs opposition, right?! Riiiiight. So it's cool to see some villains who are more in depth and actually think things through like that. :P

    1. Yeah, I think Twilight has a strong pattern of conflict that doesn't always arise from the presence of villains... which means that the villains have plenty of time to be patient in the meantime. :) Thanks for reading, Bailey!

  3. I haven't read the books (but I've been trying for the past month to get them from my library--the first two books have been out for forever now). Anyway, the Volturi sound like they would be right up my alley. I like the idea of a necessary evil. I like that they are important but also corrupt, and I like their different driving forces.

    Thanks for sharing about them! I really enjoyed reading your analysis. :)

    1. Agh, that is a bummer! Hopefully you can try them soon. I do like the Volturi, too. Their ability to force need on a community makes them awesome.

      Thanks to you too, Liz. :D

  4. This was a really interesting breakdown. I only ever read Twilight, so I never got the full effect of them. I definetly like the idea of coven-esque villain, so maybe I will write something like that in the future.

    Thanks for your insight with this post!

    1. Yeah, they were only briefly mentioned in Twilight. They are super cool villains, though, so I'd love to see similar ones out there! :)Write them!

  5. I haven't read the books... or seen the movies... so I don't really have any idea of what you're talking about but the Volturi sounds interesting, anyways. I like the idea of a villain/group of villains who won't lose but who'll still avoid conflict.

    On a side note, I think that's interesting that there wasn't a fight in the end. I think it'd be interesting to have a character who has to fight to resolve a conflict without violence, especially because people who don't fight are often seen as cowards while it can be just as hard to peacefully negotiate. Plus, that person is almost stronger because they're valuing human life more than a person who draws a sword at the first opportunity (even though they look pretty awesome).

    Also, suggestion for the future? Could you analyse Diego from "Ice Age?" I don't know if you're interested or not, but I think it'd be interesting to see your POV for the first movie. Just a suggestion :)

    Thanks for sharing, Heather!

    1. Ah, yes. But I'm glad they sound cool even to those who haven't heard of them. :)

      Indeed, I think it might say something about our own culture that demands that we always have a huge fight-to-end-all-fights at the end of our conflicts, rather than engaging in equally taxing negotiations for peace. It's interesting, though, because the Volturi don't value the lives of others more... only their own necks. But that's why I love them. :)

      Sure! I sort of forgot that Diego was the antagonist in the first one, but I'd be more than willing to look into it. :D Thanks, Victoria!


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