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Character Study: Alec

19 Sep

character

Alec

twilight_saga_s_new_moon59 Alec of the Volturi Guard.  How I love this boy! True, I never gave him a second thought until I cast him as the villain in the very first brainstorm for a certain AH Edward/Seth fic I once decided to write ;) That’s a very long story that I won’t go into here, but it is true that my love affair with Alec began with the AH incarnation of Brit Alec in Say Something Else. He still has a very cosy and warm place in my heart, of course, but it’s canon, vampire, Volturi Alec that I’m now firmly head over heels for.

The first time I wrote Alec as a vampire was in Fire, Blood, Truth for the first Beyond the Pale contest, and I wrote him canon. I re-read whole chapters of New Moon and Breaking Dawn to garner the tiny specks of information I needed to date him and to establish his gift.

But before I did that, I checked out his bio on Twilight Lexicon. Back then, they hadn’t updated to include anything about his gift, and his origin was understandably vague. One thing I did find that I’d never seen anywhere in canon, was the reference to Alec and Jane almost being burnt at the stake for witchcraft. Aha! I thought. We’re looking at somewhere in the second millennium. Inquisition I could work with, it’s an era I’ve studied before.

But lo and behold, when I re-read Breaking Dawn, I discovered that Alec and Jane had to have been changed much, much earlier.

Origin

It all hinges on the Romanian vampires, Vladimir and Stefan. When Vladimir says:

“We’ve been waiting for fifteen hundred years, Stefan. And they’ve only gotten stronger with the years.”

he is referring to the Volturi’s conquest over the Romanian coven. Later, during the epic battle that wasn’t:

“…Alec owes me many lives, but I will settle for his… He’s mine.”

suggesting that Alec was one of the main reasons for the Volturi’s conquest. Therefore, Alec existed fifteen hundred years before the events that transpired in Breaking Dawn.

I figure Alec and Jane were changed not long before. I imagine that Aro would have taken advantage of his advantage over the Romanians as soon as he was able, so I’ve dated Alec’s change at around 500AD.

There is, however, a moment in Eclipse where Jane implies that she has never met Carlisle before:

“It was nice to meet you, Carlisle—I’d thought Aro was exaggerating.”

which caused me some confusion. I can only assume that Steph didn’t have Alec and Jane’s history finalised when she wrote Eclipse, because this is one hell of a continuity issue. So when I write, I choose to ignore this little piece of canon (because it doesn’t fit later accounts). The only other option is to assume that Jane was not with the Volturi during those decades that Carlisle was staying with them—which seems a bit of a stretch.

There are no clues that I can pick up as to what part of the world Alec and Jane are originally from. Their names are English, so it’s possible that their origin is Britain in the early Middle Ages. When I first wrote Alec, however, I made him Italian and used the Byzantine culture to influence his attitudes and ideas.

Appearance

In New Moon, Bella describes Jane (and by default we assume Alec is of a similar appearance in age):

At first I thought it was a young boy. The newcomer was as tiny as Alice…

The body under the cloak…was slim and androgynous.

Her size was so insignificant…

…Jane spoke again, her childish voice…

The Twilight Lexicon entry on Alec describes his age when changed only as ‘very young’. The witchcraft story that is not found in canon implies that Aro would have preferred them a little more grown up before he changed them, but they are obviously past the uncontrollable age of the ‘immortal children’.

I’ve always interpreted this as Alec (and Jane) having been in early adolescence when changed. There’s no way they are as old as Edward was, and Jane being described as boy-like and androgynous suggests not a hell of a lot of development has gone on there.

Because I was writing for Beyond the Pale, my Alec in Fire, Blood, Truth was 12-13—though I never stated his age. When I tried submitting the fic to My Vamp Fiction, it was rejected stating they considered canon Alec to be even younger O.O

Generally I think Alec and Jane can be assumed to have between anywhere between 11 and 15 when changed, though I usually assume toward the younger end of the scale.

Gift

I don’t read much more into Alec’s gift than is given at face value in the books. He’s the antidote to Jane—and I used that literally when I wrote Fire, Blood, Truth—he takes away the senses. You can still move, as Edward explains in Breaking Dawn:

“If he uses his gift against us, we will all stand blind and deaf until they get around to killing us—maybe they’ll simply burn us without bothering to tear us apart first. Oh, we could try to fight, but we’ll be more likely to hurt one another than we would be to hurt one of them.”

but you can’t feel, see or hear. One thing I am unsure about is if any extrasensory stuff would be affected. Could Alice still have visions? Could Edward still hear thoughts? The thing is, we’ve never seen Alec’s gift used successfully in canon, so much of it is guesswork and interpretation.

Character

Alec doesn’t actually have a lot to say in any of the books. Poor lad has very little screen time. In fact, he gets spoken about more than he ever speaks. Consequently, we don’t actually know much about his personality or character. I like to think that Alec is the opposite of Jane, because frankly, she’s a raging bitch. I like to imagine Alec as I portrayed him in Fire, Blood, Truth—trying to fix the mess Jane made with her gift before they were changed. I like to think he is as playful as she is serious. I always write him as having redeeming qualities, and damn it, I just think he’s a cute kid—albeit one who has been alive for fifteen centuries.

I think the thing that fascinates me most about Alec is the dichotomy between his youthful appearance and his great age. He’s not a child, but he’s not an adult either. And something that gives me endless plot bunnies is the fact that neither he nor Jane are mated. Were they changed too young as Esme once feared for Edward? Surely if they were going to mate they would have done so in 1500 years?

I’ve based all my Alec research on what I’ve found in The Twilight Saga and what was on the Lexicon. I don’t own the Twilight Saga Guide (or whatever it’s called) and I’ve not read Bree Tanner.

Other vamp Alec fics I’ve written are The Way of Virtue, Worth the Wait, and Déjà Vu. Some others I’ve enjoyed are A Very Different Gift by giselle-lx, Numb by afragilelittlehuman, and Forbidden Love by upsidedownntwisted. I really wish there was more vamp Alec slash fic. If you know of one I don’t, please do rec me something!

Feel free to offer your own observations on Alec in the comments :D

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9 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Character, Writing Vamp

 

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9 responses to “Character Study: Alec

  1. H.E. ELLIS

    September 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Wow! Very impressive! I am interested in reading more about some others. Honestly, I think Carlisle might be my favorite.

     
    • vampireisthenewblack

      September 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      Carlisle is my second favourite :) I’m definitely not qualified to write about him though, so I’m looking forward to seeing what someone else has come across while researching him.

       
  2. venisenvy

    September 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Fantastic character study. I love your love for Alec, and that it drove you to want to know more about him. Your dedication and determination are just two of the many things that make you such a great writer/story teller.
    The first fanfic I read that mentioned him was VanPireNZ’s The Awakening (http://m.fanfiction.net/s/5315902/1/) which wasn’t slash – or porny at all, for that matter – but I’ve always absolutely loved it. Fantastic little piece and an excellent glimpse into what could have been the beginning of Jane and Alec’s eternal lives as vampires.

     
    • vampireisthenewblack

      September 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm

      You flatter me, sweet. If you only knew how incredibly lazy in regards to research I really am ;)

      I remember The Awakening well. It might have been one of the very first twifics I ever read in fact (probably because VanPireNZ was one of the girls who takes the blame for dragging me into fandom).

       
  3. avioleta

    September 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I loved reading your character study. So very well done. And not at all what I was thinking.

    When I first began considering his character, I also immediately thought Spanish Inquisition or the subsequent witch hunts of Europe. That made sense to me, as that reference says Aro saved Alec and Jane from burning as witches. During the Inquisition they had literally executed over 2000 “heretics” at the stake by 1490 (and I imagine a witch would count), and then in 1532 the Holy Roman Empire passed its law against sorcery (punishment to burn at the stake). I figured this HAD to be the time period for Alec and Jane’s change b/c the location seemed to fit, and it was clearly the heyday for burning people alive.

    BUT, I completely totally entirely missed your BD reference with Vladamir’s comment to Stefan. (1500 years is a long time to hold a grudge, but that’s beside the point). And yes, I agree — surely Aro would use his newborn weapons to his advantage during his conquests. So it has to be around 500 BC assuming Vlad is correct and Alec was present at the Romanian conquest (though that does also seem a long time to remember particulars).

    I think you were spot on to make him Italian and use the Byzantine Culture to influence his attitudes. That seems to be the best possibility, as the only historical references to burning at the stake in the 500s occur under Byzantine Emperor Justinian (r. 527-65) who ordered death by fire as the punishment for heresy against Christianity. The dates don’t quite match up, but I suppose Vlad may have been rounding.

    And The Eastern Roman Empire included Romania, so that actually works quite well for aligning their change with Aro’s Romanian Conquests.

    But, that leaves me with one major question: what in the hell were two children named Alec and Jane doing in the Eastern Roman Empire in 500 AD. With those lovely English names they seem rather far from home.

    Perhaps Stephanie simply needed to choose better names for these two.

    I promise I will stop rambling soon. Your character study was so lovely I simply HAD to know more.

    I was particularly intrigued by your comment about how neither of them had ever mated. Yes. 1500 years seems like far too long, unless they truly are too young…making them, what, pre-adolescent? But clearly (as you say) past what Aro considers a ‘child.’ He did make an exception though, to save them from death as he coveted their gifts. I believe he would have considered it worth the risk…to gain something so great (knowing he could eliminate them should they prove unmanageable).

    And, yes, I’ve always considered them far younger than Edward…who at 17 IS young.

    It’s official. I belong in jail for what I intend to do to Alec.

    Thanks for your analysis.
    *hugs*
    avioleta

     
    • avioleta

      September 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      Ick…I meant 500 AD…just like you said.

       
    • vampireisthenewblack

      September 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      Hubby thinks I should be shot for having written Fire, Blood, Truth. And The Way of Virtue for that matter. I certainly was sure I was up for a fandom lynching myself, but, it never happened.

      Can’t wait to see what you come up with ;)

       
  4. Rachel (@Stitch_cat)

    September 24, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Hmmmmm. I agree wholeheartedly with your view that SM simply didn’t think things through – there is so much evidence of that in all the books. I’ve always pictured them as around 14 or 15, but I couldn’t tell you why.

    I find their relationship fascinating. SM had great input into the movie scripts, and so I tend to take the aspects of minor characters in the movies as canon if they expand on the written version. Maybe that’s just me? Alec and Jane seem to me to be totally co-dependent, yes they are twins but I read it as almost incestuous – not because of their physical age but more that they were forced to face such incredible suffering together before their change. Not to mention their gifts are mirrored.

    Would/could they find mates? Maybe, but I tend to think they are not able to recognize a potential mate – Jane’s utter need to cause harm (perhaps because she has suffered so much and she has no other outlet to express herself? She is a child “acting out”?) and Alec’s need to protect her by calming her down. Would either one of them – stuck in perpetual early adolescence with their last human memories of fear, pain and the burning of their mother – really ever be emotionally able to connect with a mate?

    As regards the time/circumstances of their change, I have always assumed they were British. The fall of the Roman Empire, the Saxon invasions, the start of the Dark Ages – I believe fear of the future and the unknown would be a perfect time for these strange children and their mother to be sacrificed on a pyre in a surge of fear-based mob-mentality.

    Great post, V!

     
    • vampireisthenewblack

      September 24, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you very much for that new flood of Alec plot bunnies. I so did not need it ;)

       

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