Friday, February 27, 2015

WBI: James (Twilight)

All right, I realize Twilight is not the most popular series to ever exist—nonetheless, I found James an intriguing character study and one who fits perfectly into a category we haven’t discussed yet.

(Also, I’m tired, and I know Twilight well enough that I don’t have to actually go get the book to talk about him.)

Photo Credit: Twilight Wiki

WBI Profile

Classification :: Σ1357!&
Role :: Lone Wolf (autonomous villain)
Motivation :: evil (hurting Edward), psychology (wired to track and compete), lifestyle (vampires drink blood), personal gain (Bella as a trophy)
Bonus :: superpower (tracking skills), family ties (Victoria)

Click Me to Big Me

A Study

wary—the first time we meet James, he stands back and observes the scene

sneaky—in fact, it could be considered rather suspiscious that he lets Laurent act like the coven leader

(as a side note, I really like how the filmmakers encouraged that idea by giving Laurent the power when he says, “James, let’s not play with our food.”)

prepared—of course, in deceiving the Cullens, it’s obvious that James is accustomed to the vampire lifestyle and knows his game

vampire—obvious, but true: James is a vampire and claims all titles that come with it, including power over humans

normal—even though James is an antagonist, it is a vampire’s nature to want blood, and eating people is nothing personal

it’s personal—James sees how protective Edward is of his “snack” and in a blink he’s ready for the challenge: hurting Bella isn’t about hurting Bella; hurting Bella is about hurting Edward

gaming—on that note, this challenge is a game to James; he’s messing with the Cullens because it’s fun

skilled—James has brought his tracking skills to the other side; he is a master at what he does

teamwork—although Laurent was passing through, Victoria is James’ mate, and they work in tandem to overcome the Cullens

love—although Meyer doesn’t examine James’ emotion so much, we can see from Victoria’s actions in the subsequent books that they were mates and therefore perfect for one another; James has a heart to him (somewhere)

seeker—in order to set his trap, James hunts down Bella’s home and starts taking notes

manipulative—James lures Bella with the perfect bait, and he sets it up so she will believe him, as suited to her character

unforgiving—the vampire who created Alice was killed by James; he was cheated out of his snack and that was annoying enough to warrant death

gaining—by getting to Edward, James is boosting his own ego; this is another prize for his shelf

eager—James really, really wants Edward to try and avenge Bella; this is thrilling

polite—he really is rather polite and remembers to say please; apparently it’s not your lack of manners that makes you brutal

dramatic—filming Bella’s torture and death is a little over-the-top; again, this is his demonstration of his own power to the world

alone—in the end, Edward has the rest of his family to help him defeat James; without Victoria, James is alone

dead—through his pride or through his foolishness, James was burned in the fire that took the ballet studio

alone—regardless of anything else, James did everything because he felt like it; no one beyond his circle was involved

Big Idea

everything is not as it seems—James’ deception seems to fool the Cullens; because Edward-the-mind-reader doesn’t even catch on, it indicates that James was not only willing to participate in body but also in spirit. He stood back, observed the Cullens as he would any other enemy, and almost let them go, until they offered him a game to play. Then he let his true colors show.

the gain is gain for a reason—James, Laurent, and Victoria all drink human blood, but Laurent, the unattached vampire, only sees Bella as another human. Whatever. There are seven billion others. However, Bella is special to James because she is special to Edward. The personal gain he seeks comes from triumph over his enemies, it comes from showing his dominance, and it comes from playing with other people’s hearts. The reason he enjoys the hunt for Bella says a lot about his character, and why the rest of the book played out the way it did.

vampires are gods—James does not feel bad at all about breaking into Bella’s mom’s house. Or destroying the ballet studio or eating people or putting Charlie in danger, etcetera. James’ lifestyle, his innate nature, grants him the right to do whatever he wants when it comes to mortals. He sees himself as better. Because he’s better, he feels no qualms about killing Bella. She is just another bug.

there are different kinds of love—James loves Victoria the way all vampires love each other; essentially through perfect companionship, partnership, and physical-lovership as they carry on in the field. It adds to James’s character, but he doesn’t seem to understand the rest of the Cullens—Edward won’t go looking for Bella alone. Edward and Bella have Carlisle and Esme’s parental love, and the brotherly love of Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie, and Alice on their side. Granted, it is the numbers that eventually defeat James, but this is the reason Edward had the numbers to begin with. Being part of a family made him more protected against a rival vampire—and when said rival vampire didn’t take that into account, he got burned.

(Side note, this is where Victoria differs. She never once tries to meet with the Cullens alone or head-on. She’s tricky.)

And, hey, here’s a quote:

“I would just like to rub it in, just a little bit. The answer was there all along, and I was so afraid Edward would see that and ruin my fun. It happened once, oh, ages ago. The one and only time my prey escaped me.” –James, Twilight, pg 447

So, was that bearable? How do you think James served as a Lone Wolf? Would you ever write a Lone Wolf character yourself?


  1. I'd have to say James was one of the most intriging bad guys I've come across. And in answer to your question, yes, I might write a Lone Wolf character from time to time, if only because I'm fascinated by Jame's psyche. Long after I watched the movie (I haven't read the book), I found myself wanting to crawl inside his head and pick apart his brain. So thank you for doing the work for me! (Another interesting, though different "villain" I liked was the seeker in Meyer's The Host. Have you read it?)

    1. I found him intriguing, too—it's a crying shame that no one talks about him! I think it's awesome that you decided to write such a Lone Wolf, just because I'm not sure I could! I hope this is useful to you, though, as you continue. :D

      I haven't read The Host yet, unfortunately, but it's been on my list for quite some time, now! :) I'll be sure to check it out!

  2. Hmm, I haven't read Twilight personally but I did enjoy the Lone Wolf analysis. In fact, he bears a little resemblance to one of the characters in WTA that has become my darling in the last round of revisions. Also, I would really love an analysis of Victoria sometime, because the fact she doesn't meet enemies head-on? Just, awesome.

    1. Well, it's good that it works as a study even if you haven't read the book! That's also really cool, that you can see your own character in this—I hope I get to read those bits soon!

      And yes, Victoria will be a trickier analysis, but I'd be fascinated to see what I'd come up with! *writes down notes for later*

  3. I haven't read Twilight, so I don't really know who this guy is, but you really do make him sound intriguing. I'm curious now. I'll have to go and read this book now:)

    1. I hope I did—James added an animalistic dimension to Twilight that helped carry the story. You'll have to tell me what you think of the story, though—I've never heard anyone talk about James before; they only concern themselves with the main characters.

  4. This was a really interesting read - you have an amazing way of breaking down and explaining character's motivations as the author would want us to see them (which isn't necessarily how they're seen). I've not written a lone wolf character before, but I may well try...
    Beth x

    1. Haha, thank you. Unfortunately, I think we easily underestimate our villains, and I love digging in and seeing what is truly hidden in those corrupted souls. :D If you do write one, you'll have to share how it goes!

  5. So I'm just getting to this now, but I want to say: SO MUCH RESPECT FOR YOU RIGHT NOW. Really. It takes guts to post in-depth about anything Twilight related in the book bloggy world. xD
    It's been a while since I read these books (and yeah, I probably will again sometime this year!) but I do remember being super intrigued by James, so this was neat to see. I'm glad you did it!
    I'm quite fond of the Lone Wolf characters myself...

    1. XD Wow, thank you. And yeah; people get kind of cranky about Twilight but I am willing to accept that heat.

      They're quick reads (at least, they are for me...) and so you'll have to let me know what you think of James the next time you run into him. I certainly enjoyed him! :D

      Oh? I've never written one myself, but I'd certainly like to hear about it. :)

  6. Wow, this was really interesting. I've read Twilight, but never really thought that much about James. After reading this, though, he seems like one of the most intriguing characters in the entire series.


    1. I'd never really thought about James that much either, until I was thinking of villains to analyze. I'd have to disagree a little—the other vampires fascinate me a lot more, but I think James does a good job of representing his species to the world. :)


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