Beautiful Creatures Discussion Recap – Week 3

SPOILER WARNING: This post discusses the plot of the book Beautiful Creatures. If you have not read the book and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read any further.

Okay, before we go any further, we must take a moment to celebrate the big birthday of the day. No, not TayTay again, but LENA!!!

Now, on to the recap!

A big THANK YOU again to FireCrotch, whose guest post was definitely the wonderment. And her questions brought out lots of good answers from our commenters. I’m going to hand things over to Miss Greta for questions 1 & 2, and I’ll be back to wrap this recap up with questions 3 & 4:

1. Ethan and Lena have some pretty realistic dreams. What do you think of the drowning dream in particular?

Dreams can come true if you wish hard enough. But what do you do when you are haunted by the same one over and over again? Always falling… always not being able to hang on… always having to let go. In this week’s set of chapters Ethan dreams that he’s drowning. He’s under the murky green water of the Santee and Lena is with him. Gasping for air, Ethan tries to grab hold of Lena as she floats to the top towards the shimmering light up above. But why? Ethan is struggling to keep Lena down with him. They graze hands but the pull on Lena is too strong and she still floats to the top. (Did I just freak anyone out with my Deepness? lol!)

But why does Lena always fall… or float… or just ALWAYS get away? Is it inevitable that this is going to happen? What do you think my pets?

Dreaming the night away – I thought at first the falling dreams that Ethan and Lena had, where he can’t catch and save her, might be actual precursors of events. Now with the drowning dream, which seems to mirror the same scenario (unsuccessful rescue) but in a different location, I’m not as sure. I hauled out my dreams dictionary to consult the Freudian meaning of falling vs. drowning dreams. Falling dreams relate to insecurity, while drowning dreams indicate feeling overwhelmed by emotions or repressed issues. Seeing someone else drowning, as Ethan does Lena, means you’re too deeply involved in something beyond your control. (Glances back at last chapter). Yep, I think that’s about where Ethan’s at right now, and with the family confrontation about Lena’s upcoming birthday and this claiming thing, it’s no wonder she’d feel overwhelmed.
~ SophiaAnne

Their dreams are very realistic, down to being soaking wet, dirty, etc. I think the drowning dream signifies how powerless they are, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not. says that the “Dreams of drowning or struggling in treacherous waters may represent your fear of being swallowed by forces hidden in the depths of your unconscious. You may be proceeding too quickly with your opening of the unconscious. It may be helpful to talk your problems and fears through with a friend. They may be able to throw you a lifeline and help you ‘keep your head above water’. The dream also shows how you are being overwhelmed by your emotions.” Ethan’s unconscious is quickly awakening to his first love as well as the possibility of the supernatural. He is also dealing with his growing feelings for Lena and feels that he has jumped right in and can’t go back to his pre-Lena life.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

His dreams are crazy freaky if you ask me. I would totally crap my pants if I woke up soaking wet after having a dream about drowning. But I felt it resembled either Lena and her power with the elements and how she is always able to make it rain…That crossed my mind, then I thought the drowning part could be something to do with feeling so overwhelmed with the turn of his life and the crazy stuff that is happening to him & between him and Lena.
~ MyTwilife

Is it wrong that the dreams are some of my fav parts! I love using that as a huge indicator of how REAL this stuff is! The intensity of that dream was awesome as well as his reaction when he woke up to find his door unlocked. CREEPY!
~ uhyesplease

Oh, the drowning dream. I love that the water is green, like Lena’s eyes, and endless too. There’s a sense of inevitability in that dream, don’t you think? For all it’s horror and hopelessness, it’s as if there’s no way to stop this anymore. Maybe there never was. But one things for certain in my mind: whatever else the dreams are about, they’re also a metaphor for how our young lovers are falling for one another. Deeply. Dare I say irrevocably?
~ One Pushy Fox

I think the drowning dream could be a sign that they’re in over their heads, that whatever is facing them will be overwhelming. Each time Lena slips from Ethan’s grasp, it just kills me.
~ fragilelittlehuman

At this point in the story, I was completely thrown by the drowning dreams. I wondered if it would literally happen or if it was more of a metaphor for their relationship. As in, their feelings where inescapable and would drag them under, there was no way out. And, while they might love one another, those feelings would only led to tragedy.
~ cutie

2. Do you think Lena was afraid of telling Ethan her secret or do you think she was more afraid of not telling him the truth? The story is from Ethan’s POV, so how do you think she is really feeling?

How can you build a relationship with someone who is not willing to tell you everything? How exactly does it work? Can a relationship survive if you don’t have all the pieces? You bet it can!!!

It builds the plot up to some sort of super delicious twist and turn that will have us on the edge of our seats just gnawing our arms off until the secret is finally revealed!!!

But what is going through Lena’s head? We know what’s going through Ethan’s. He’s all like “Baby! I feel your smooth vibes and I’m gonna be here for you no matter what these crazy town folks say. We be tight like dat. Tell me your secrets. I know you want to.”

But what is going through Lena’s head? It has to be eating away at her!!

Like she said – she hasn’t really interacted with Mortals -so she’s not sure how to act and what to share. She really doesn’t want to hurt him and she likes him. Like…likes him, likes him
~ uhyesplease

I think what is most interesting about Lena is how she operates so much out of fear. She’s erudite, eloquent and pretty as all get out, but she has no faith in herself. And consequently she has no faith in Ethan’s ability to stand by her. I think Ethan picks up on this even as he’s fighting against it. And I think part of his attraction to her is that she pushes him away. Let’s face it, guys love a chase.
~ One Pushy Fox

In my mind, Lena was scared of Ethan knowing what she is. She seemed not so much ashamed of her powers, but ashamed of what she personally was. There’s no way around answering this question without going all spoiler hardcore for later chapter! *bites lip thoughtfully* I think, Lena is just as taken with Ethan as Ethan is with Lena, she just knows more and realizes what’s at stake. She is trying to save him from herself, her family, and danger.
~ Cutie

Lena’s definitely torn. She has feelings for Ethan and wants to be with him, but she’s convinced that not only is their being together impossible but also potentially dangerous to Ethan. I think she’s afraid telling him the truth will push him away, but, at the same time, she’s afraid if she doesn’t tell him the truth she’s setting him up to be hurt. I imagine Lena having quite a few vigorous internal arguments over what do to.
~ fragilelittlehuman

Where’s Lena’s head at? I think Lena’s still afraid of telling him her secret, because she’s frightened of scaring Ethan off – despite her warnings to him that he should stay away from her. From what she’s shared with Ethan, she’s incredibly lonely – she doesn’t seem to have friends, she’s moved frequently, she’s always been the odd man out who never, ever fits – and yet she very much wants to. The fact that she’s envious that Ethan’s lived his whole life in tiny little Gatlin, with the same best friend, the same bedroom with a door jamb marking his growth spurts, speaks volumes. Being that lonely, being from this unique family, she seems desperate for someone to talk to.
~ SophiaAnne

Yeah I think she is freaked out about the prospect of Ethan finding out who she really is. I know I would be! You find someone that you really like (and he likes you) and you know or think you can never really be with him or share everything for fear of losing him. I like that the story is from Ethan’s point of view, it is a nice change. But I think if it were written in Lena’s POV we would see how much she really is trying to push him away in order to keep her secret even though that is the last thing she really wants to do.
~ MyTwilife

I think that Lena was more afraid of telling Ethan her secret at first when he seemed like he just had a fascination with her. When it becomes more clear to her that Ethan wants to be her boyfriend and he isn’t backing down, that fear is replaced by the fear of not telling him the truth. Lies, especially big ones like being a caster, would doom their relationship from the start. No relationship can be healthy when it is partly based on lies.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

3. The vision of Genevieve seeing Ethan shot…what do you think the significance is?

Are the Genevieve/Ethan visions a harbinger of things to come, proof that human-caster love is destined for failure? Maybe Lord Byron says it best:

The best of prophets of the future is the past.
Lord Byron — Letter. Jan. 28, 1821.

The comments seem to agree with him:

Oh dear…. Foreshadowing for the win, no?
~ Cutie

At this point in the book, it seems like Ethan and Lena reincarnations of Genevieve and Ethan. Lena thinks that Ethan is doomed to death if he sticks around and finds out her secret. She’s sure that she will be the one to kill her since she is convinced that she will turn dark when she turns 16.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

The Vision – Well, Genevieve seems to be connected to Lena somehow, especially now that the locket’s mysteriously appeared in the portrait of the golden-eyed lady, so I still think the visions that activate for Ethan and Lena are showing them something that will impact them. I’d though initially that the original Ethan showing up meant he was there to try to rescue Genevieve, like in the dreams – but now with Civil War Ethan’s death, I’m wondering if it’s another warning to current Ethan about how much at risk he may be.
~ SophiaAnne

I think the significance of watching Ethan get shot is like watching your heart break… watching a piece of you die… feeling you blood run out but you’re still breathing. It represents the worse piece of heart ache imaginable. And since I THINK that G and E are Lena and Ethan’s past lives… then I think the significance is— Ethan is somehow going to get hurt further on down the line. I think I think that’s a clever foreshadowing. Just like with last week’s “Hello Darlin’ ” Well, G found her Ethan just like Lena found hers… something BAD is gonna happen.
~ Greta

Well that totally explains why Lena is freaked about this. I know she’s thinking she’s Genevieve and Ethan is – uh Ethan. And so she’s freaked out she’d going to end up killing him too.
~ uhyesplease

It’s clear that the locket is wrapped up in a tragedy. Genevieve and Ethan clearly are connected but we’re not led to believe the union ends happily. Plus, if it had, it would mean Lena and Ethan are related and that would just introduce too big of an ick factor. But I agree with uhyesplease that the echos between the relationships (G & E and L & E) are strong. The question becomes: how closely will they mirror each other. And at this point in the story, I’m hoping the similarities are only on the surface because I don’t want to see our Ethan shot!
~ One Pushy Fox

It is obvious that the locket has some weird voodoo attached to it! Amma and Macon freaked out about it and touching it causes them to have visions of the past. I think the visions are showing them actual events from the past. I think the visions are there in order for them to somehow change what will or could happen to them. Kind of like a “here is all the facts about what happened in the past” so don’t let history repeat itself. I think it is all about righting a wrong somehow.
~ MyTwilife

4. Who or what do you think Ridley is? What do you think she means about the Dark and the Light?

The second Ridley came on the scene, I just knew she was badbadbadbadbad news, and I was totally screaming at Ethan the entire time: “Get away from the skank!!!” The general consensus agrees with me: Ridley’s definitely not good.

Ridley is Bad. Bad with a Capital B. The reaction she had with the family was awesome…I loved the party scene – just awesome! And when Lena dropped the boyfriend word. WOOT!
~ uhyesplease

Ridley is clearly Lena’s bad seed cousin and the family is not happy with her using Lena’s boyfriend to gain entry to the mansion.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

From the moment Ridley showed up I thought she was trouble. Plain and simple, but not all bad. There was something deeper going on. What exactly that could be? At this point in the story I wasn’t so sure.
~ Cutie

Ridley is clearly what she presents herself as: Lena’s cousin. That however is no simple thing as we learn more and more about the unusual nature of Lena’s family. She definitely oozes power. From her Lolita-esque lollipop, to her doesn’t-take-no-for-an-answer attitude, to the crazy encounter with her family and Lena, Ridley is not a person to mess with.
~ One Pushy Fox

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Ridley – Ridley scares me. Seriously. The gold cat eyes, the freaky lollipops, she sounds like a tarty Britney Spears. (Is that redundant?) The family seems frightened of her presence, and yet sorrowful at the same time – and Ridley herself seems to veer between petulant child and malevolent woman. She’s clearly a member of the family, and yet it’s as though she’s being shunned – cut out of the family tree as surely as the original Ethan was lopped off the Wate family tree. (Guess even Castor families in the South like to revise). Whatever will happen to Lena at 16 seems to have already happened to her, and it didn’t turn out so well.
~ SophiaAnne

HAHA! I so explained that lolz… but I’ll do it again. First off! I am sooooooooo jealous that you got to tackle Ridley. I mean how cool is that chick? I always root for the bad guy (this shocks you? — What if I’m— the bad guy? — HAHAS!) as I’m sure Fragile or Erika will tell you so, I really really dig this chick! She’s the Black Sheep of the family in awesome motorcycle boots!!
~ Greta

I did read ahead so I know more than I will say. But when I first read about Ridley I thought she was Lena’s cousin and they did really send her to get Ethan to come to the party. I was suprised to learn that wasn’t the truth.

By the way I totally shouted “YEAH BABY” when Lena said to Ridley “Get the hell away from my boyfriend, witch.” Awesomeness!
~ MyTwilife

As for the light & dark? Think Obi Wan vs. Darth Vader:

When she speaks of the light and the dark, she’s talking about good and evil. She doesn’t think there can be a grey area where one can be neither entirely good or entirely evil.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

Yet, the dark and light thing seemed pretty cut and dry to me, Lena was scared of what she was going to become and her family is trying to save her from something. I always felt so badly for Lena….
~ Cutie

The Dark/Light thing starts to make more sense, except it doesn’t seem like the family all fits into one category quite yet. Macon is a big scary….Larkin is a snake dude, and last time i checked snakes didn’t represent Light magic. But hey, who knows.
~ uhyesplease

As for DARK and LIGHT – I’m pretty sure that’s good and evil. Dark is for people who are sinister and vindictive while LIGHT is pure and ummm… rainbowish. It’s basically — Dark is the Joker and Light is ummm….. uhhhhh… Sailor Moon (I was going to say Batman but he’s kinda dark too)
~ Greta

It was obvious to me right away by the way the family acted toward her that she was not light, that she was not welcome around them because she was dark.
~ MyTwilife

The Dark and Light seem to be the 2 paths a Castor can take – although what all that implies isn’t clear, we haven’t seen exactly what practicing Castor magic involves, and what the rules are. In the end, I almost felt sorry for Ridley – for all her using of Ethan and sly digs at the family, she seems like a little girl lost.
~ SophiaAnne

As for Light or Dark, she’s definitely looking Dark, isn’t she. But I’m not ready to buy that she doesn’t have a consciousness.
~ One Pushy Fox

Just remember, Darth Vader ended up going with the good guys in the end…

On to week four of our epic discussion!! Our guest-posting dynamic duo for next week is One Pushy Fox and uhyesplease, fanfic writers extraordinare and also know as The Lemon Sisters! Their post is sure to be awesometastic!! (Yes, I’m making up words now…)

And don’t forget, peeps, about Mrs. Vanquish’s Beautiful Creatures book discussion giveaway – every week you answer a discussion question is another time your name in thrown in to the hat. What is she giving away? A beautiful bracelet by Mary Tippett Designs. Check out Mary’s Etsy shop for more lovely BC-inspired items!

Last, but definitely not least, thank you to our wonderful commenters this week:

uhyesplease ~ One Pushy Fox
Heather (Call of Duty Widow) ~ MyTwilife
SophiaAnne ~ Cutie

~ by fragile little human on 11 February 2010.

2 Responses to “Beautiful Creatures Discussion Recap – Week 3”

  1. […] Week 3 (Recap) 9.14 The Real Boo Radley (p 102-132) 9.15 A Fork in the Road (p 133-142) 9.24 The Last Three Rows […]

  2. HAHAHA!! You didn’t make up awesometastic lmao!! Oh help us Baby Taco Bell Dog!! Help us!!! I’m rubbing off on Fragile!! Sweet!!! Uber lover dovers (you can use that next week( the whole Jessica Rabbit “I’m just drawn this way.” LOVES IT!!

    Nows… How much do you want to kick my ass? You see my little ducks… our dear Fragile here had to add to my post because I went through and weeded and sorted and ummm oops… I shouldn’t have done that. Sorries!! (sure, the kids might be confused but you know what I’m talking about. My bad!!!)

    Alrighty then… Let’s see… THE FORCE is with RIDLEY noes… I think of her more like ummm … what’s his name… gimme a sec it will come to me… oh yes… the Queen Borg. What? She’s totally powerful, hot to trot, and is uber evil. I don’t think that Ridley will change sides? OMG! Do you think? Do you think it will be all “Uglies, Pretties, and Specials” (gasp!! OMG! What can of worms have I unleased by mentioning these fabulous books that I am totally plugging during a completely different book recap? hahahas!!) and the main character will go from good to bad…

    What the hell are you talking about Greta?

    Well, I guess now I’m talking about Lena. I has no clue how the hell I started talking about her. Who was I talking about again? Oh right… LENA… no…. RIDLEY… right… RIDLEY… ok… if she goes to the LIGHT SIDE then LENA is totally going to go dark… OR… something else is gonna uber flip us around 😉

    HAHA! You know whats? Margaret Stohl tweeted yesterday wanting to know who’s birthday it was today… I tweeted her back and in all caps screamed at her TAY TAY!! lmao!! Hmmm… do you think she cringed? HAHAHS!! Well, she has to understand that I just didn’t recall and it hasn’t been on my calendar but now I can totally remembers it. It’s like being born on Christmas 😉

    (yes.. I did just do that comparasim hahahas!)

    How many words have I mispelled yet? We really need to get a spell check on this page. I bet it looks like an 8 year old banged this out. I blame the tiny box I’m being forced to type in.

    Did I just diss this blog? Uhhhh… no, I dissed the tiny box that I’m required to type in ;P That’s totally different!!

    Well, Happy Birthday LENA!! and many happy returns! As for me… I’m off to read this week’s chappies of our BEAUTIFUL BOOK. I just finished RED SWEATER and O-M-G!!!!! Must read mores!!!

    Peace out my sistas! *fist bump

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