Wanderer Wants To Sacrifice Herself For Someone She Hates Because No One In This Novel Has Any Motivation: The Host Chapters 49 & 50

Posted on September 20, 2013 by


(Long sigh)

Today is my birthday. I’m 23. Let’s just move on.

Ariel says: When I went to add my comments into this post on Wednesday I had a minor panic attack that I’d somehow missed Matt’s birthday. Being ahead of schedule on posts is weird. Also can we get a round of applause for Matt, you guys? WOOO YEAH! 

Chapter 49: Interrogated

So the previous chapter ended with this shocking twist:

“Oh, Wanda! Oh, Jared!” he sobbed. “Wes is dead! He’s dead! The Seeker killed him!”

And this chapter starts with this:

I killed Wes.

I’m getting conflicting information here.

My hands, scratched and bruised and painted with purple dust in the course of the frantic unloading, might as well have been painted red with his blood.

Oh, wait, it’s a metaphor for Wanderer’s guilt. Meyer’s being artistic.

Got it.

Got it.

Ariel says: It’s not always about you, Wanderer. Your need to feel responsible for everything has actually somehow gone from making you selfless to selfish. I fart loudly in your face, Wanderer. Loudly and smellily. 

Wanderer devotes page after page of narration to repetitively explaining her guilt for how she’s made everyone she loves suffer. Like most of The Host.

Ariel says: Also, she says she’ll “never see her friend again,” I thought Wes was one of the ones who distinctly didn’t like Wanderer? 

There’s a very long, dragged out, mostly-implied explanation of what happened: The Seeker kept looking for Wanderer, got too close to the cave, and they decided to capture her. See, I did it in under twenty words. It can be done, Meyer.

If, if, if… If I had not come here, if I had not given the Seeker the clues she needed to follow

Or you can write the word “if” four times in a row. That is another option.

The humans decided to keep the Seeker alive in case Wanderer wanted to ask her anything first. She doesn’t but, uh, decides to anyway? Because they’re going to kill her as soon as Wanderer’s done with her, so, Wanderer thinks she should talk to her? Hey, if the characters in this novel started acting like they had any motivation now it’d just be weird.

“Well, hello there, Melanie,” she mocked me. […] “Did your little friends think I would talk to you? Spill all my secrets because you carry a gagged and lobotomized soul around in your head, reflecting through your eyes?” She laughed abrasively.

Where the fuck is any of this coming from? Hasn’t Meyer spent the entire book crafting an alien race that is purposefully bland and uninteresting? These are characters who object to the level of moral decay on The Brady Brunch (no, really), so how are we supposed to buy an antagonist that doesn’t even speak for the antagonists? This would be like if, in Harry Potter, the Death Eaters that Harry faces are a bunch of prejudiced wizards who want to use magic to control non-magical people (which they are), but their leader Voldemort was instead, say, the fish from The Cat In The Hat.

Voldemort warned the Death Eaters, "He should not be here while your mother is out!" The Death Eaters expressed confusion. "My Lord, what about the mudbloods?"

Voldemort warned the Death Eaters, “He should not be here while your mother is out!” The Death Eaters expressed confusion. “My Lord, what about the mudbloods?”

Ariel says: Oh my god, I just realized the souls probably banned Harry Potter not because of all those terrifying anti-Christian pro-pagan symbols (PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN) but because Harry kills Voldemort in the end. That’s like a thousand times worse than what happened in The Brady Bunch.

Also, we get a fuck ton of details about how the prison area of the cave is actually right by the exit/entrance. It’s like we’re on another cave tour, except it’s just revealing things about the layout that are really not all that significant. Telling me that it’s a Y shape and not a V shape is really not fucking interesting, Meyer. (Matthew adds: I have no idea what the “the tunnels looked like a Y and that’s why I couldn’t find my way out” thing was supposed to mean. Remember our drinking game rule about drinking when the cave is physically impossible? Drink.)

Wanderer continues her quest of making sure no one in this book has any reasonable motivation:

“Why? Why couldn’t you let me be dead, like the rest of them? Why were you so determined to hunt me down? I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I just wanted… to go my own way.” […]
“Because I was right!” she shrieked.

Oh. Okay. So The Seeker’s motivation to find Wanderer is to find Wanderer. Cool. Amazingly enough, Wanderer’s motivation is even worse. And more long-winded.

I didn’t want… to hate the Seeker? To hate her so much that I wanted her to die. To have her die while I hated her. Almost as if she died because of my hate.
If I truly did not want her death, would I be able to think of a way to save her? Was it my hate that was blocking an answer? Would I be responsible if she died? […]
As long as she lived, she was a danger to them. To Ian, to Jamie, to Jared. She would do everything in her power to see them all dead. […]
But if she dies, and I could have saved her if I’d wanted to… who am I then? […] What if I could save her life and keep everyone here safe at the same time?
A heavy wave of nausea rolled in my stomach as I saw the answer I’d been trying to believe didn’t exist. […] The answer I must have known I would find. The answer that explained my strange premonition.
Because I could save the Seeker. Of course I could. But it would cost me.

Ariel says: Even Meyer at this point doesn’t understand the motivation of any of the characters, so she just writes all of her own thoughts on the page. Hmmm why doesn’t Wanderer just let her die…let’s just ask a lot of questions so it looks like there’s a deeper meaning and like I have a plan here. 

Chapter 50: Sacrificed

Of course, this is The Host, so not even a chapter break will break Wanderer’s train of thought.

When I told Jeb I had one more question, that was the truth. But the question was not for the Seeker. The question was for me.
The question was would I – not could I – do it?

Melanie tries to talk Wanderer out of sacrificing herself (we still don’t know how by the way) to save the Seeker because, uh, everyone hates the Seeker. Wanderer’s counterargument is that she has to be objective because she could find a reason not to save any particular soul, which is reasonable, except, um, this is still The Seeker who (inexplicably) wants everyone Wanderer loves dead. We’ve been beaten over the head throughout this book that Wanderer’s defining character trait is her selflessness – hell, it’s almost a running gag by this point in the story – but Wanderer wanting to sacrifice herself for the Seeker isn’t “the right thing to do”. Conversely, it’s ironically a very childishly black-and-white understanding of morality in a novel that tries so very, pathetically hard to do moral ambiguity.

Ariel says: I hate when we have to read about this when Wanderer says vague things like “this was the secret I’ve been protecting for so long” JUST TELL US THE FUCKING SECRET AT THE POINT. YOU CAN REVEAL IT NOW, OKAY? And her reasoning that she’ll eventually sacrifice herself for another, nicer soul is worse than saving this objectively cruel Seeker is SO STUPID. 

And Melanie and Wanderer argue and argue about this until Wanderer realizes how much they love each other. Oh, barf. 

Wanderer runs to Doc and tells him that there’s a way to take souls out of host bodies without harming the soul or the host.

“Why are you telling me this?” he finally gasped.
“Because I… I am going to give you the knowledge you need.”

Well, if that isn’t every single character motivation in this story! “Why are you doing what you’re doing?” “Because I am.” It’s almost like Meyer is trying to make everyone’s motivation inscrutable.

“You don’t want us to kill the Seeker?” he guessed.
I didn’t answer his question because he wouldn’t understand the answer; I did want them to kill her. That was the whole problem.

Case in point.

Wanderer says she’ll explain the procedure if Doc promises not to kill the souls they remove, but to “give them safe conduct on to another life”, and so “you will have to have cryotanks, and you will have to get those souls onto shuttles off planet” (fucking how?)

Ariel says: I guess Wanderer will first have to go undercover as a Mexican restaurant employee who…needs cyrotanks. The answer is so obvious I’m surprised she hasn’t thought of it yet!

Another request/demand/whatever is for Doc to bury Wanderer’s body with the other humans, which I don’t really have a snarky joke for.

Ariel says: Yeah that part was kinda sad. Especially when she thinks that Doc says no to burying her with them when really he’s saying no to killing her.

She wants to use the Seeker as a test to see if the procedure will bring back the human hosts’ consciousnesses because she doesn’t know “if the erased can return”. Even though she began her explanation by saying that she’s done the procedure before on the Bear planet. So presumably she did the operation once before, and then immediately, like, ran away?

Doc agrees to do the operation on the soul. Wanderer doesn’t say it, but she probably agrees to spend the next two chapters narrating her motivation over and over again.

Ariel says: She also says she and Jared are going to do a quick raid. I it takes a long time to go on these fucking raids, so I guess they’re sold at your local 7/11 or whatever. And for the record, I’m all for Wanderer fucking off. 

kill yourself

How I have felt the whole book.

Posted in: The Host