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When The Monster Is Too Good For Angst

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Aug. 22, 2020

There's nothing more entertaining than the angst of a monster that was once a human being. A monster that hates who he/she is, that strives to regain all the terrible loss he/she has sustained, to strive to become human again.

Or if it starts off a monster, to be free of vices of his/her monstrous nature, to make right whatever it was that makes him/her a monster…

To find torturous, desperate ways to overturn the rules of the monster's nature, either with success or failure…

…and then, there's the monster that is sad because he is practically perfect in every way. Like Eddie, here, from Twilight, and now, lately, Midnight Sun

Not only that, but he's perplexed and appalled when mortals want to be like him, which basically means: immortal, able to enjoy day and night, able to have superhuman strength, gorgeous looks, run like the wind, possibly develop even extra superpowers, not ever get sick, not ever get hurt, not ever need to even breathe, so you can like, stroll at the bottom of the ocean without issue, not ever be hot or cold, AND if you practice a bit, able to charm all humans with your pretty face.

Wow, the downsides to all of this are staggering. I mean, who can bear all these curses at once!?

So, he has the little issue of needing to drink blood- not even ONLY human blood to survive, which could create some kind of conflict and struggle with a moral vampire, but he is also just so good at self control that he has conquered even that.

(and ok, Eddie and his fam might be a bit less than intelligent, and go through all this torturous abstinence in present day when they can just order blood units on the black market or something and have a feast without killing anyone for it. Duh.)

What is the problem with Edward Cullen as the “angsty monster”?

He's just too perfect. He's basically a mary sue, just like Bella is. There are no real flaws in his ‘monstrous nature’ to warrant him having actual issue with it, at least not the issues he is very melodramatically whining about.

Rogue from X-Men has more grounds than Edward in hating who she is, because she can't satisfy a very important, very real need: human touch. Lately with COVID-19 we're all getting a bit of an idea how important being able to touch others is. She is right to have an issue.

Edward is not. There's nothing he can't do, he has lost no access to anything he had before becoming a vampire, except eating food- but even that isn't described in the book as having been a pleasure he is missing, or a thing that is pleasurable to him now that he is a vampire.

So when he laments his lost humanity, there is no concrete reason to base it on. Not even spirituality. Had he been established as a deeply religious character who believed that by being a vampire he lost his soul, then that would be grounds for ‘monster angst’. But he really isn't religious, at least not enough, and definitely it isn't referenced at all in his thoughts when he's feeling sorry for himself.

As a result, Eddie's angst is just …unintentionally funny.

Don't let your angsty monster be like Eddie.

(Yes, I was commissioned to read Midnight Sun for a summary & analysis on it. It was painful, yes.)

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usedbooks at 4:46AM, Aug. 23, 2020

Tbh, I find angsty characters irritating but quite realistic even (and especially) if their situations are awesome and their lives are amazing. Because in real life, that's what real people do. Some people are drama addicts and WANT to be tragic victims. So they brood. Nothing to brood about? They brood anyway. Want to connect to a teenage audience? Or an audience of spoiled, sheltered drama-addicted upper-middle-class woman? Pour on that self-pity! Of course the rest of us find it irritating because those types of people ARE irritating in real life.

Kou the Mad at 3:11AM, Aug. 23, 2020

I've been trying to just move the goalpost up, by making a main character who is a borderline Demi-God, but in a setting where that still doesn't make him ANYWHERE NEAR top dog, I also have made it so he doesn't typically get any closer to his endgoal due to his target being higher up on said goalpost. If you're gonna make you're character super strong with few drawbacks (I built in more than Twilight did, that's for sure.), just move the goalpost up, it's not a complete fix, but it's a start.

Tantz_Aerine at 4:31PM, Aug. 22, 2020

Hushicho: absolutely, your monster doesn't need to be angsty! But if you do go for angsty monsters, give 'em something to be objectively angsty over. That's my point :)

Avart at 3:13PM, Aug. 22, 2020

As someone who have a monster as one of his main characters (a vampire) I try to stay away from the 'Mary Sue/Gary Stu' formula. I don't like characters too perfect, I like that they make mistakes and learn for them. While my charachters have some angst, I'll avoid to make them pathetic.

hushicho at 2:42PM, Aug. 22, 2020

Honestly, Rogue is a billion times worse than Edward Cullen, though even his family seem to regard him as kind of weird most of the time. Bella is, it also must be noted, shown to be an extremely unreliable narrator. The Cullens, as all the vampires of their kind, have significant concerns and problems in their universe, though as you've mentioned, they do fail in a number of ways that the writer clearly did not think about. However, I think the ideas are still fine. You don't have to have every monster be angsty. Angst is best used sparingly, and it gets old very, very fast.

PaulEberhardt at 10:23AM, Aug. 22, 2020

Dracula's Daughter comes to mind. (got to be somewhere on I like the initial premise of her trying to get over her blood addiction by consulting a psychiatrist as a classic example of how to make the monster somewhat relatable without reducing her monstrousness too much. There is still a lot of accidental(?) comedy in there, at least for us modern viewers, but it's caused by the other characters rather than the titular monster. I guess that makes it special.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 6:18AM, Aug. 22, 2020

@IronHorseComics - Oh, I get it! Type O as in type "Oh, I'm so angsty monster"^^

IronHorseComics at 5:55AM, Aug. 22, 2020

you know, Eddie, you don't have to bite people to drink blood. You could just go to a blood bank and buy a couple packs of O type

Andreas_Helixfinger at 5:54AM, Aug. 22, 2020

Reading this analysis, I think my webcomic character Molly Lusc may have more license to the "god, I'm a monster" angst then Edward Cullen has. She has to live with the fact that she is born half-human, short and without human hands or hair, and she will never learn how its like to peel an orange with one's nails, or comb and/or put up one's hair^^

bravo1102 at 4:01AM, Aug. 22, 2020

hooray for Christopher Lee as the monster. Thing is about many Frankenstein movies is: who is the bigger monster or the one who will be saved. Frankenstein or his creation?

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