Fun Despite the Depth! TUGPM Take Three

General discussion about the Twilight Series Universe.
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Fun Despite the Depth! TUGPM Take Three

Post by Tennyo » Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:29 am

Welcome to 'Fun Despite the Depth!' , the third (my goodness!) version of TUGPM: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings!

The original thread can be found here:

http://archive.twilightlexicon.com/viewtopic.php?t=9120

And thread two, 'I Got Your Soul Right Here!' can be found here:

http://archive.twilightlexicon.com/view ... hp?t=11517

Both are great reading!

This thread is here to explore philosophical thoughts and implications in the Twilight Universe. The original thread began with a question about how the Cullens atone for all the lives they have taken. Then it sort of took off and became one big, beautiful debate over every philosophical thing we could think of (vengeance, souls, empathy, etc.)!

I always go overboard with rules, but here they are:

1. This is a given, and I'm proud to say it was never problem on the other two threads, but it should be stated anyway: Be respectful of others, and especially their beliefs. Many of our debates are religious in nature, and our beliefs sometimes clash. That doesn't mean anyone is wrong. Ever.

2. When we burn out on a topic, you can ask a new one. Best wait about half day to a day to see if there haven't been any responses to the last topic-otherwise we end up with three or four debates going on at once.

3. Bold your main question.

4. You can give the background to your question ('this is the thought process I took to get this question' ), but try to make what you're asking as clear as possible. Also, please try not to ask too many follow-up questions at once. It's confusing.

5. Since we are in Quench Your Thirst and not Flight to Phoenix, make sure your question is framed in terms of the Twilight series- for example; 'Edward believes that he doesn't have a soul. Why is that?' and not 'Do we have souls?' The conversation doesn't have to stick to the story, but let's keep at least the topic relevant to the series.

6. You don't have to put any new topic you think of here. Sometimes questions deserve their own threads. I recall doing that with 'Reincarnation' , which was a hoot!

7. Despite the fact that there are limitless philosophical questions, most of them do fall into a limited number of categories. It stands to reason that we may start recycling former questions. This is not necessarily a bad thing. After two TUGPM threads and another book in the series, I found myself looking into the original 'atoning' subject with fresh eyes! Let's try for new material, but sometimes the good stuff is worth taking another look at!

8. This is very important: there are no answers to any of these questions. Even if Stephenie Meyer herself posts (as she has been known to do-the entire PC#12 is from the original thread) her take on things, that doesn't mean the debate's over. It means we got another very good opinion to add to it!

Okay, that was a very long post, so I'll leave you with this starter question (please check the posts before yours before replying. We may have moved on to another question by the time you read this):

Is Riley a villain or a victim? You could say that Victoria 'brainwashed' him with love, but does that stop him from being responsible for his own actions?
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Post by Alcyone » Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:39 am

No. But he's tough to categorize. He's all gray. :wink:

I'll grant that Victoria manipulated him but that doesn't remove responsibility for his actions. She didn't grab him, set him in front of Seth, and moved him like a puppet so he would attack. He did all that himself.

Everyone always has a choice. I'll admit that people in love tend to think irrationally--or not at all. But he wasn't a wild newborn anymore. He was sufficiently in control of his actions and his mind.

So, villain or victim? I'll go with some of both. Part of him was dependent on Victoria so his thinking was clouded. A victim. But he should have been able to realize the extent of his actions and the consequences it would bring. He disregarded them. A villain.

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Post by LisaCullenAZ » Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:02 am

Riley: Victim or Villain?

You know, it's sort of like with a driver's license. Let me explain.

When you take your test, in the US at least, you are usually 16 years old. And you're probably pretty green and clueless as far as traffic/parking laws. But if you pass your test, they give you your license...and let you loose on the world!

Now here's the part I'm getting at. I know a lot of 16 year olds with driver's licenses still make a lot of innocent mistakes. They're still getting their bearings, they're still figuring it all out. But knowingly or not, if a cop sees them break a traffic law, they WILL be pulled over - and possibly ticketed.

It has been said before that ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking it. You've got to get the facts, people! It is our responsiblity to seek out knowledge and truth before we take action. So in that sense, YES Riley is guilty.

But does that mean he is all villain? Not really. Usually people aren't all good or all evil. Even Victoria. Her arguement can be explained in an understandable way, too. Most everyone has a reason behind their actions that people can appreciate.

Also on the subject of ignorance not robbing accountability -

A child has less to be held accountable for, naturally, because it's harder for a child to understand the concept of consequence and cause/effect. Their minds have not developed the capacity to fully grasp that yet. So if Riley is a child in that sense, then YES Riley is a victim.

I guess that means it's pretty much gray for me.
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Post by cullengirl » Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:07 am

Is Riley a villain or a victim? You could say that Victoria 'brainwashed' him with love, but does that stop him from being responsible for his own actions?

Hmm...tough question. I'm on the fence on villain and victim. I agree with Alcyone in that he's all gray. I would need more information. I would need to know his state of mind before being changed. For example, did he know that Victoria was a vampire and agreed to be changed? If the answer is yes, then I would say he falls under some shades of the victim category because it's more than likely that Victoria didn't tell him all of the truth about being changed. If not and he was changed then he's a victim all the way.

Did Riley develop a conscience when he was a newborn and while he killed other people? It seems to be that newborns can't think of anything else other than blood and their thrist. So the answer to that question would be no. At the end of Eclipse, he didn't feel remorse about what he did. So he would fall under the villain category.

Bottom line: IMO, he's both. I would lean more towards villain though.
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Post by Cocoa » Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:23 am

Isn't this kind of the age old question...nature verses nurture? And in this case Riley got it bad on both ends. The Cullens were nurtured out of their natural state. Which totally brings us back to...one of the original topics on this thread...is it ethical for a vampire to take life at all...it is his nature. Like is it ethical for a Lion to stalk its prey?

So where does him being responable for his actions play in? Maybe in that he raised an army...because thats not nature. That is certainly nurture.

And then was Riley old enough to be responsible?

I think I have just talked myself in a circle. I now need chocolate.

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Post by llovetwilight » Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:51 am

Riley: Victim or Villain?

It seems like we all see a bit of gray here. I too, think Riley is both.

What got me was that Edward seemed to get through to him a little during the fight scene. Of course, Victoria's pull on Riley was much stronger and so he didn't waver in his loyalty for more than a second, but it seemed to me that if Edward had been able to get Riley alone for a little while, he may have been able to talk him down.

Remember when Jasper was describing his time with Maria? He wasn't happy, but he had no idea that there were non-violent ways to live let alone that he could choose the "veggie" life and not kill people at all. It wasn't until much later that he realized that there were other ways to lead his life. Perhaps Riley would have choosen to live differently if he had not been under Victoria's influence? Then again, maybe not. I guess we would need more information on his character and who he was as a human. Did Victoria choose him at random or was he a shady guy before she bit him?

With the info SM has given us, I would have to say that Riley became a villian as a result of being Victoria's victim... Does that make any sense?! Hmmm... I think I need some of Cocoa's chocolate :wink:
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Post by lovesvampiresANDwolves » Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:28 am

I agree that we would need much more information about Riley to come to a solid conclusion one way or the other. But, based on the information we do have, I would also have to say he is both victim and villian.

At first, Riley was most likely changed without giving consent. Right off the bat that would make him a victim. Then, being a fresh newborn, Victoria took the opportunity to show him the way she wanted him to act, think, etc. He didn't know any difference, and his ignorance added to his "victimness." He killed humans out of thirst and helped raise an army simply because he did not know it was wrong.

However, it seems to me that just before the fight started between Riley/Seth and Edward/Victoria, when Edward was trying to talk to him, Riley was pulled from ignorance. Edward's attempts at persuasion caused Riley to suddenly question everything Victoria had told him, and everything he knew about his new life. He realized that there were options. He was no longer ignorant.

Then, Riley CHOSE. Granted, he was somewhat biased in his last-minute loyalty decision, but the fact still stands that Riley chose to stay on Victoria's side. At that point, he became a villian.

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Post by puprlepenguin » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:14 pm

Is Riley a villain or a victim? You could say that Victoria 'brainwashed' him with love, but does that stop him from being responsible for his own actions?

I would have to say he's a combination. He clearly was a victim in the beginning. He didn't believe in vampires I'm guessing then someone attacks him probably and from there he's changed. She starts feeding him lies and all and manipulating him and he starts to believe. So that parts makes him a victim, he didn't know right from wrong and thought Victoria was right so that became his world.

Now if he had redeemed himself like he could have when Edward approached him and tried to clear things up for him he would have just been a victim. But during that time he decided to stay with Victoria and tried to get Bella and all so that's the villain. However one could argue that he was suddenly bombarded with all these new things and couldn't sort them out in that small amount of time and thus remained a victim with no chance because he got killed.

I personally believe that he was both, victim and villain. He truly didn't know what he was getting himself into and didn't have a chance to sort out all the facts. How was he to know about the rules and all when Victoria was clearly manipulating him and the whole army. That doesn't mean he shouldn't be held responsible for his actions and all though, he had choices and he made them with knowledge.
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Post by Heart Song » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:22 pm

Is Riley a villain or a victim? You could say that Victoria 'brainwashed' him with love, but does that stop him from being responsible for his own actions?

llovetwilight wrote:Remember when Jasper was describing his time with Maria? He wasn't happy, but he had no idea that there were non-violent ways to live let alone that he could choose the "veggie" life and not kill people at all. It wasn't until much later that he realized that there were other ways to lead his life. Perhaps Riley would have choosen to live differently if he had not been under Victoria's influence? Then again, maybe not. I guess we would need more information on his character and who he was as a human. Did Victoria choose him at random or was he a shady guy before she bit him?


I was thinking along the same line as you. Jasper said he had been with Maria almost as long as Edward and Carlisle had been together before Peter showed him that there was another way to live. It took Jasper most of that time to even become disenchanted with the warring life. It was all that he knew. He could have left when Peter and Charlotte left the army but at that point he saw no alternatives. It wasn't until they returned with real knowledge of an alternative lifestyle that he was able to leave.

In real life there have been cases where kidnap victims have turned and sided with their captors not because they necessarily want to but because the mind "breaks" and begins to sympathize with the captor. Most of you are probably too young to remember Patricia Hearst, the newspaper heiress, but she stands as a textbook example of this. It's commonly referred to as Stockholm Syndrome. (I know, it's also the title of a Muse song.)

I don't see Riley (or Jasper for that matter) as being much different than those kidnap victims. In the course of his time with Victoria Riley has not been allowed to see any alternatives. Victoria has cared for him, saw that he was well fed and even pretended to love him. When Edward presented him with another option he didn't know what to do with it. His life revolved around Victoria and he had no reason to doubt her until he met Edward. Riley may have considered Edward's offer if the moment had not been so heated and the person he had come to trust and love, for right or wrong, had not been in visible danger. Everything he knew about the amber-eyed vamps was that they were evil. He chose to side with the person he thought he could trust.

Is Riley a victim? Without a doubt.

Is Riley a villain? Yes, because he was offered an alternative but chose to turn away from it and continued to put his trust in the deceiver.
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Post by amoredward » Mon Sep 17, 2007 4:37 pm

Is Riley a villain or a victim? You could say that Victoria 'brainwashed' him with love, but does that stop him from being responsible for his own actions?

Well, let me see...

I think that Riley is a victim (at least at this point in his life). And here's why:

I believe that almost all newborn vampires are victims. (I say almost, because I consider the idea that some (like Bella) could possibly choose it for themselves. That's a different story) They don't really have any control over their actions--the need for blood consumes them to a point of mental incapacity, from what I am understanding.

Also, he was manipulated. Victoria obviously was messing with his mind, and how can I blame him for that?

But then there's also a part of me that can understand how he is seen as a villain--he did want to kill Bella (and Edward) also...

I think that if he had been a bit older, and been a vampire for a bit longer, then I would more readily see the evil. But since he was so young, I lean toward victim on this one.

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