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Character Study: Demetri

Shoefreak37 joins us today (I’m totally squeeing here, we have a guest poster!!!) and she is going to talk about Demetri 😀


Demetri

From the moment I read about Demetri, I was intrigued. Here’s this guy, this vampire, who can find anybody (unless the person in question is Bella and/or they have a love shield *eye roll*). He doesn’t have to know the person, doesn’t even have to have met them, but he can find them. Scary, right? Demetri was the main concern for the Cullen family when it came to defending Bella’s mortality in New Moon, and he was the most significant threat to all their safety in Breaking Dawn. No matter where they went, no matter what they did, he would be right behind them, potentially forever.

In my first multi-chap, Tracking Redemption, I wrote Demetri as a former sailor, an experienced navigator directly pre-dating the time of Christopher Columbus. In those human days, Demetri had an almost supernatural sense for finding things. He even attended Henry the Navigator’s school during the age of discovery. I needed an ambiguous character, in morals and sexuality, and the barely hinted at character of Demetri fit the bill (the story features an Edward/Demetri pairing). It was wonderful developing such an underdeveloped character, making him a bloodthirsty vampire who feeds on humans, yet underneath has a heart of gold. Not until Ms. Meyer published her guide did I realize how off I was about the back story, but maybe not so off about the heart of gold. 😉

Let’s talk Demetri and learn a bit about the character just barely revealed in the books.

Origin

First, let’s talk about what we glean from the books. Nothing. Haha. Yeah, we get that Demetri is an old vampire, not as old as some, but he seems familiar with the Volturi.

The only comment I’ve found that even comes close to indicating Demetri’s age is one from Breaking Dawn:

Without a doubt, he would be a fighter. There was no other way he could have survived so long…

We can also assume he was not with the Volturi when they overthrew the Romanians. In fact, Vladimir and Stefan never mention him at all, only saying the Volturi have “grown stronger with time.”

I found nothing about where Demetri might have come from, how he was changed or who changed him. I had always assumed Aro. I assumed wrong.

When the illustrated guide came out, I went looking for Demetri straightaway. What I found still wasn’t enough to quite satisfy me, but it did surprise me.

Demetri was originally from Greece (I was super excited about this, because he was originally from Greece in my fanfic, which I chose because the name is of Greek origin), born and turned around 1000 A.D. There is absolutely no mention of his human life, even in the guide written by Meyer, so one can only speculate what he did. The Roman Empire had fallen a good five hundred years prior, the Crusades were gearing up and the Ottoman Empire was threatening. All sorts of good plot bunnies there. Who was he as a human? What did he believe? What events led up to his transformation? “Around 1000 A.D.” leaves a lot of wiggle room. Why, my whole back story might just fit, with the exception of Aro being the one to change him.

Speaking of Demetri’s transformation, I had always just assumed Aro had done it, had never thought much different. Turns out Amun–leader of the Egyptian Coven–actually discovered Demetri, saw his potential and changed him. It seems Aro had a problem in those days and stealing other’s finds, generally killing off the rest of the coven under some false pretense.

What I enjoyed finding out, was Demetri had not wanted to join the Volturi. Apparently he and Amun were quite close and he had no desire to leave him. Aro had Chelsea dissolve the bond between Amun and Demetri, create loyalty in him to the Volturi, and, of course, he willfully went after that. (Which makes me wonder why Aro never had Chelsea do this with Edward or Alice when he wanted them so badly in New Moon, but that’s another story. lol. I personally believe Meyer hadn’t thought much about Chelsea prior to NM.)

I like to think this explains a lot about Amun’s behavior in Breaking Dawn, how close he comes to deserting the Cullens, how fiercely protective he is of Benjamin. Amun has no desire to face the Volturi because Aro likes to mess with Amun. Understandable. After Demetri and up until Benjamin, Amun had not tried to expand his coven.

Appearance

In New Moon, Demetri is described by Bella along with Felix:

Felix and Demetri were both of a slightly olive complexion—it looked odd combined with their chalky pallor. Felix’s black hair was cropped short, but Demetri’s waved to his shoulders.

I tend to like her description in Breaking Dawn upon seeing Demetri in the clearing at the almost-but-not battle a bit more:

Both were tall and dark-haired, Demetri hard and lean as the blade of a sword

Um, yes, please. Try not perving about that quote.

We know he’s tall from context, the guide specifies 6’3”. Does anybody else wonder how these super old vampires are so tall? lol. I mean, a 6’3” guy in the eleventh century? Geez. (Sorry, it had to be said.)

Obviously Charlie Bewley (the actor portraying Demetri in the films) though handsome, does not fit the description whatsoever. With all the horrible wigs, you’d think they could’ve found a horrible long, dark and wavy wig to slap on him.

Anyway, yeah, Demetri seems like he’d be a nice looking fellow. 😉

As far as his physical age is concerned, that is left entirely up to speculation. We know he would be on the young end, as most vampires seem to be. As tall as he was, I would assume he would’ve had full time to mature. Males stop growing (on the average) between 17-20 years of age. We can guess Demetri was 20-25, but there’s really nothing wrong with assuming he would be even as old as 30. The average life span in the eleventh century would’ve been rather short (between 30-40, maybe older for men, since they didn’t have to go through childbirth), so if he was much older he would’ve been considered somewhat of an old man.

Gift

Demetri is the most highly-skilled tracker in the world. Tracking is obviously the most common gift in the vampire world, as I can think of three vampires we were introduced to with that ability right off the top of my head. James, Alistair and Demetri.

The way Demetri’s tracking skill works is a far cry from the other vampires mentioned, however. Demetri doesn’t track by scent or sound; he tracks entirely in his mind. Demetri can find a mind no matter how far away he is. There aren’t many limitations to it. All he has to have done is either met the person he is looking for, or met someone who knows the person he is looking for.

For instance: Demetri has met Carlisle. Since he knows Carlisle, he could find Esme although he had never met her prior to the conclusion of Breaking Dawn.

If you believe in the seven degrees of separation, then you should be afraid of Demetri. Haha.

When I went researching Demetri, I couldn’t believe the amount of times he’s mentioned in Breaking Dawn. He’s the one all the Cullens want to kill. Sure, they want to take out Alec and Jane, but Demetri is the one to fear. They can kill all the Volturi, but if Demetri isn’t dead, he will find them.

Demetri is a skilled fighter as well. Continuing the quote from above, from Breaking Dawn:

My face was perfectly smooth as I considered Demetri. Without a doubt, he would be a fighter. There was no other way he could have survived so long, always at the spear point of any attack. And he must always lead, because he was their tracker–the best tracker in the world, no doubt. If there had been one better, the Volturi would have traded up. Aro didn’t surround himself with second best.

Funny, but I just realized we never really find our whether or not Demetri can find Bella. Everyone just assumes he can’t (except for Bella, she’s constantly pondering maybe his ability works differently), but we never get a confirmation. Huh. Plot bunny? Someone correct me if I’m wrong on that.

Anyway, Demetri is hardcore; he can find you and then also kick your ass.

Character

Like so many other awesome Volturi characters, Demetri doesn’t get many speaking lines.

He is one of the first members of the Volturi guard who makes an appearance in the books: New Moon, the alleyway in Volterra just after Edward exposes himself in a sparkly suicide attempt. We get right away Demetri is the kind of vampire who smooths things over, the good cop to Felix’s not so good cop.

“Felix,” the second, more reasonable shadow cautioned. “Not here.” He turned to Edward. “Aro would simply like to speak with you again, if you have decided not to force our hand after all.”

“Certainly,” Edward agreed. ‘”But the girl goes free.”

“I’m afraid that’s not possible,” the polite shadow said regretfully. “We do have rules to obey.”

I also think he can be a bit flirty and snarky. From New Moon as he escorts Bella, Edward and Alice out of underground Volterra, he speaks in reference to the flock of humans Heidi has brought:

“Nice fishing,” Demetri complimented her, and I suddenly understood the attention-grabbing outfit she wore… she was not only the fisherman, but also the bait.

“Thanks.” She flashed a stunning smile. “Aren’t you coming?”

“In a minute. Save a few for me.”

And in Breaking Dawn, in reference to the wolves:

“Interesting company you keep,” Demetri murmured to Edward.

Edward didn’t respond, but a low growl slipped through Jacob’s teeth.

It seems Felix and Demetri are sort of a package deal. Where one is, so is the other. Kind of like the Starsky and Hutch of vampires. Or the Laurel and Hardy. Ha. Picture that one. Bella is always comparing the two, mentioning them both together. Even in Eclipse, when Demetri is never mentioned by name in the clearing after the battle with the newborns, Felix shares several glances with “another shadow”.

“She has surrendered,” Edward explained, answering the confusion in her mind.

Jane’s dark eyes flashed to his face. “Surrendered?”

Felix and another shadow exchanged a quick glance.

And, when discussing the amount of newborns:

“Eighteen, including this one,” Carlisle answered.

Jane’s eyes widened, and she looked at the fire again, seeming to reassess the size of it. Felix and the other shadow exchanged a longer glance.

Sometimes I wonder about the true dynamic of their relationship.

What I find the most interesting about Demetri is the fact he did not want to join the Volturi. Aro turns away vampires all the time who wish to be a part of the guard. Vampires and humans alike seek them out either for the security, the notoriety, the fear and respect. What was so good about his vampire life he didn’t want to leave? The Cullen family refuses because of their morals, which Demetri obviously doesn’t share.

What I’ve gathered from my Demetri research is he’s a smooth, charming and witty bloodsucker with an ambiguous background. He is strong and powerful and dangerous. Not only did Aro covet him for his gift, but for his obvious strength as well. And, as Bella said, if there were any better Aro would have traded up by now. Demetri can find me any day. 😉

I don’t think I’ve ever read a Demetri slash story. There is much fertile ground to work with, many characters with which he could obviously be paired. Feel free to rec me something or share your thoughts on Demetri in the comments.


*still squeeing* Thanks, shoe! I’m with you, I wanna read some more Demetri vampslash. Bring it on! By the way, I totally wish I had a pic of Henry Cavill up there, he makes such a nicer Demetri than poor Charlie 😉 ~vampireisthenewblack

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Character, Writing Vamp

 

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Review: Tracking Redemption by shoefreak37

Tracking Redemption by shoefreak37

Summary: When Edward flees to Volterra after learning of Bella’s death, he is coerced into remaining as a member of the Volturi Guard. Redemption can be found even when it is not being sought after. Slash/New Moon AU

For our first post-launch review, I chose the first fic I reach for when someone asks me for a vampslash rec. With perfect glee I sat down to re-read Tracking Redemption by shoefreak37. I very very very rarely re-read fanfic. Consequently, I thought I might have to push myself to pick it up. This was only the second time I’ve read this story, and yet once again, I couldn’t put it down.

The story begins in New Moon, but Edward is running to Volterra earlier than in canon. Alice has seen Bella in the meadow with Laurent, and then she disappears from Alice’s visions. With Bella dead, Edward runs off to commit Volturicide.

This time, no one follows him. This time, Aro succeeds in acquiring Edward as a member of the guard. His first assignment is a simple one, more or less. His second, not so much.

He began scouring the hardened nails with ferocity as though trying to purge himself of the self-loathing he was experiencing. If only he could get his hands clean, then he would be free of what he’d done. He could forget it.

Edward cleansed and rubbed and polished and buffed his fingernails, but the stains would not come clean. He added more force and the brush crumbled in his hand. He grabbed another one and began scrubbing again in desperation, and, once again, the tiny plastic tool could not withstand Edward’s panicked grip.

Shoefreak37 ‘humanises’ (so to speak) many of the Volturi, making them real people with depths beyond what we might think of as ‘evil’. Edward finds a few friends within the guard, and Demetri is there from the beginning. Slowly Edward comes to realise that perhaps he wasn’t attracted to Bella in the way he thought he was, and yet he continues to feel tremendous guilt over her death.

“I know that the pieces of your heart are scattered. You feel that you will never find them all again, but, trust me, I am very good at finding things. I already know the shape they are to go back in,” Demetri stated, clutching Edward’s left pectoral tightly. “I can feel how good your heart is Edward, even in its absence.”

Edward let his breath out in a rush, and sobbed once more quietly. “How can you stand to be near me? I can barely tolerate myself.”

“Edward, I have not been moved by another in well over five hundred years. How could I not want to be near you?”

I’m sitting here trying to find words to express how I feel about Edward and Demetri. I can’t. I get stupid-happy all over again. I have a different Demetri in my head from the one in the books (and definitely the movie). He’s patient and understanding. Gentle and self-sacrificing. I’m trying very hard not to *swoon* while I’m supposed to be helpful and factual and shit 😉

Edward is innocent and very pure at the beginning of the story. His thoughts are very proper. This character definitely grows and changes in the course of the story. The sex scenes in Tracking Redemption are very very hot (OMG mountain sex), but the first time Edward says something I wasn’t expecting, it almost killed me dead. More than that superficial change, Edward eventually comes to accept himself, to accept what he is, his immortality. This I found to be a very strong theme within the story, and is part of what makes it a perfect example of alternate universe vampfic.

Tracking Redemption is compelling, surprising, and concise. It’s a hair over 100k, but it doesn’t feel like a rambling epic. Every sentence adds to the story and advances the plot. I’ve heard Shoe refer to her prose as ‘purple’. It’s not, in my opinion. If there is a smattering of turgid members, it’s completely appropriate to Edward’s point of view. Shoe writes in third person, but she does it exceptionally, never once dropping out of Edward’s head and into someone else’s.

The strongest impression I come away with every time I read Tracking Redemption, is that it doesn’t read like serialised fiction. There are no loose ends. No obvious ‘corners’ the author has written herself into which she must then waste an entire chapter digging her way out of (don’t look at me like that, I have a WIP in which I’ve done that exact thing). The first time I read it, I could not believe that shoefreak37 hadn’t written the entire story before she posted a word. It just seemed that cohesive.

I was beyond impressed.

Tracking Redemption has an outtake, Hide and Seek, and a futuretake, Cadence of Humanity.

There is also a companion story: Til Death Do Us Part by GracieBlack28, which is a Jacob/Bella story set in the same universe. I haven’t read this, so I offer the link for FYI purposes. The author seems to have a few other stories set in this universe, focusing on the wolfpack, Embry and his parentage specifically.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Reviews, Vamp Slash

 

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