Prince Lestat Entry 5: Home Stretch (Spoiler Free)

I have about 75 pages left of Prince Lestat  I’m deliberately pacing myself.  I am forcing myself not to peek and see which chapter is next.  I want to know what happens but I don’t want to reach the end of the book.

It’s quite the dilemma.

Like every Anne Rice book, Prince Lestat moves along like a fine piece of classical music, weaving in and out until the crescendo builds and the song-in this case, the story-comes to an end. The process can take a while.  The mythology must be built.  But I can sense that the end is in sight and it’s both satisfying and saddening.

Lestat is in fine form. Rest assured of that. I am thoroughly enjoying seeing friends from previous books popping up. Prince Lestat could be a thousand pages and I don’t think it would feel long enough.

But the end is in sight.  My next post will most likely be my review (still spoiler free, of course).

Poor Twisty the Clown (Spoilers for AHS S4E4)

A few weeks ago I wrote that Twisty Clown was more than meets the eye.  While some AHS fans were almost (or wanted to be) sympathetic to Madame LaLaurie last season, Twisty has captivated audiences since his debut.  Here at the same time is a character who is childlike in one moment and horrifically brutal in the next.

In Edward Moredrake Pt. 2 we get to see the man behind the clown.  Social media was aflutter with fans who wept as they listened to his story.  While it’s undeniable that he killed people, it’s also easy to see how it all came about.  He was “simple” and gentle until some mean people did mean things to him.  He loved children but the dwarves taunted him and made him flee the circus that he so loved.  He wanted to make toys but he was shunned.  He lived in a time when being different–in any form–was not accepted by society, and this was particularly difficult for people with special needs.  When he said he was so stupid he couldn’t even kill himself, my heart broke for him.  Hell, even Edward Mordrake’s demon familiar wept for him.  Twisty wanted to create a happy place for the kids, but he didn’t understand that he was hurting them.

Twisty was the ultimate tragic character.  He garnered sympathy from fans who caught a glimpse of his pain early on. He was not a brutal killer.  He was a misunderstood soul who was alone in the world, desperate for some human connection.  Dandy is the one we must fear. Dandy is sick.

I hope Twisty finds happiness and peace with Edward Mordrake and his coterie of lost souls.  He deserves peace.

(For the record, I still can’t believe they killed Twisty so early in the season, but I can see why they had to…)

Lily Rabe, Neil Patrick Harris to Join AHS Freakshow

EW is reporting that AHS veteran Lily Rabe will reprise her role as Sister Mary Eunice from Season 2’s Asylum.  Her appearance will intersect with Pepper’s backstory and how she ends up in Briarcliff. She will be seen in the 10th episode winter cliffhanger.

Also joining the Freakshow are Neil Patrick Harris and husband David Burtka, who will appear separately.

See the complete article here:http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/10/29/ahs-freak-show-lily-rabe/

Prince Lestat: Entry 4 (Spoiler Free)

I’m almost to page 300 in Prince Lestat. I could have easily finished the entire book yesterday when it was released, but I’m savoring every bit of it.

This evening I met with one of my students who told me about a project she has for her English class.  It’s a mythology project where she must study a culture and their myths.  This got me thinking.

So much of Anne Rice’s writing revolves around myths. I don’t speak of vampire mythology or lore, because she created her own world.  I speak of the mythology created every time one of the characters shares his or her story.  The history is so rich.

When people critique her work, it is often because they find Anne Rice books to be too long, too flowery, too dense. What they don’t realize, and certain can’t appreciate, is that she is creating a mythology of her own.  She isn’t creating some transient backdrop so she can insert her characters. She not only gives life to her characters, but the settings themselves become characters. Take New Orleans, for example.  The city is now synonymous with Anne Rice.  The flat on the Rue Royal is as famous as Lestat and Louis.  Anne Rice creates new worlds in her writing.

I’m happy to report, given this digression on mythology, that I am winding through Prince Lestat and stopping to appreciate the mythology along the way. Prince Lestat is a gem when it comes to mythology.

American Horror Story Freakshow Recap S4E4: Edward Mordrake Part 2

American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E4: Edward Mordrake Pt. 2

Original Airdate: October 29, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock

 

Happy Halloween (early), boys and girls!

Let me say that Wes Bentley makes a wonderful two-headed ghost.  He’s as delightful as Papa Legba was in Coven.

It’s night at the Freakshow and the fog is moving in.  It’s a green fog, and it’s headed for Legless Suzi’s tent.  Edward Mordrake wakes her up from her bed by tossing her across the room.  He pays a visit to Paul, and to Salty and Pepper as well.  He’s looking to add another freak to his unhappy number.  In order to pass his test, his potential victims must answer his questions.  Suzi admits that she committed a sin.  Her legs were amputated when she was two, and then her parents abandoned her.  She ended up on the street.  At Edward’s urging, she confesses that she stabbed someone in the leg because she was jealous of his legs.  He died.   Paul was born, and that was his crime.  He was at home in the dark, watching movies.  He couldn’t make a living the way he is, so he decided to become the monster everyone wanted him to be.  He tattooed himself all over, but he avoided his face because he likes how he looks.  He didn’t want to sully his handsome face.  Can you imagine, he asks, what he would look like on a regular body?  Edward and his familiar listen to their stories.  Neither are his intended victims, and Salty and Pepper are too innocent for what he has in mind.

Edward goes to Elsa’s tent.  She has been expecting him.  She chides him for running off after her number.  Perhaps, she says, he must have needed a moment to collect himself after seeing her talent.  Elsa has done herself up for the moment, thinking him to be her salvation.  She needs a new arranger to develop a more modern nightclub act.  When Edward doesn’t respond, she thinks it’s because he is overwhelmed by her talent.  He laughs and says that he’s speechless because of her presumption.  She banishes him from her room, thinking it all a prank.  He shows both of his faces and his ghostly minions pin her to the bed and pull off her legs.  It’s sad, he remarks, that the “zookeeper” pretends to be normal, when in fact she’s worse than her charges.  As he strokes his thumb along her jaw, he says that it’s time for her to tell him her secrets.

Jimmy and Maggie ride along a dark country road.  The bike stops and Jimmy thinks that they ran out of gas.  She thinks he’s making it up.  He says they need to get off the road because of the curfew.  She says that she still isn’t sure about him.  Jimmy feels the same about her, really.  He doesn’t just trust her because she’s a pretty face, especially not because of the way the “normal” people in town treat him.  A car’s headlights interrupts their chat.  They duck into the bushes.

Mike and the Jane talk while poor Tommy slumbers fitfully from lack of food.  He asks if they’re going to make it out alive, and Jane says they will.  They all will.  Twisty doesn’t feed them, she says, he just makes them watch his “clown stuff.”  Her hands are tied behind her back so she asks Mike to untie her feet.  They can hear Twisty approaching, so they return to the way they were sitting.  When he comes in, he bows to them.  While he’s bending to pick something up, she rushes him and runs out the door.

Back on the road, Jimmy is about to start walking again when they hear screaming.  Suddenly Jane emerges from the bushes, but she is quickly subdued by Twisty, who picks her up and walks back into the woods.  Jimmy makes to follow them, to see if he can help her.

Edward has returned Elsa’s legs to her.  She thanks him sincerely for them, as she prefers to he “upright” when entertaining gentlemen.  But Edward isn’t a gentleman anymore.  His familiar wants her dark secrets.

Weimar Republic, 1932.

Elsa says that it was a sexual playground.  Men took out their frustration at the German defeat with their cocks, she says.  In private clubs, men paid to do all kinds of things to all kinds of people.  Elsa was a Dominatrix  of sorts.  She was paid royally to humiliate men and put them in submissive situations.  She never allowed them to touch her.  We watch as she puts a collar on a man and leads him around like a puppy, then she forces him to use the toilet, but instead of standing, he must sit on a toilet rimmed with nails.  As he sits, he thanks her for the pain.  In the background there are people watching.  She says they were the Watchers, and they paid the most money of all.  Edward is intrigued by the story, but this has nothing to do with her pain.  He wants to hear about her legs.  Elsa takes a deep breath.

Jimmy is hot on Twisty’s trail.  He tells Maggie to stay put, but of course she doesn’t listen.  Jimmy goes on top of a tree so he can peer into the trailer.  He sees the missing kids and tells Maggie that they’ve found the killer.  He’s a maniac, Maggie says.  Ironically, he’s not the one they need to worry about.  Dandy hits them both on the back of the head.  He pulls off his clown mask and smiles.  Now it’s time for Halloween to begin, he exclaims.

Hotel Olympia, Brandenburg, 1932

Elsa’s Watchers paid her to make movies.  They said that she made men “ejaculate gold.”  In the most intent movie, she was dressed in black leather and told to quote the line “am I ready for my close up?”  They drug her, and while they roll cameras, they cut her legs off with a chainsaw.  “Snuff films,” she says they called them.  They told her she was the lucky one.  They left her to die.  Her soldier boy saved her life.  He’d fallen in love with her and saved her, which she’ll never forgive him for.  The movie went all over Europe, and she was a star.  But her career was over.  She had no legs.  They had been so beautiful.  Edward’s familiar whispers and says that she’s the one.  She’s ready, she says.  She wants to be taken.  She screams and begs for him to kill her, but he never drops the knife.  He hears music.

Out in the woods, Dandy is putting on a show for Tommy, Jane, Mike and Jimmy.  Maggie is in a box about to be sawed in half.  Dandy introduces Twisty as his assistant, and Twisty claps in the most childlike way.  As Dandy prepares to make the cut, Jimmy frees himself (so much for Dandy’s knot-tying), knocks out Dandy and rescues Maggie.  He tells everyone to run while Twisty is distracted by his own attempts to make everyone laugh.  Twisty manages to capture Jimmy and drag him into the trailer.  That’s when the green fog seeps in.  It’s Edward Mordrake, and he wants to see a show.  Twisty’s eyes grow large.

Dandy screams at the departing audience.  Maggie tells Jane to go to the road and follow it, then she gives Dandy something to chase.  When he can’t catch her, he says she ruined his Halloween and he hates her.  He hates her, he hates her, he hates her.  Yes.  He hates her.

Edward asks Twisty again to talk to him.  He tells him to take off the mask, and Twisty slowly complies, revealing a hideously deformed face.  Edward wants him to focus his mind and tell him story.  Suddenly, Twisty’s voice returns.  It was 1943 and he was the Westchester special children’s clown.  He loved making the children laugh, but he hated the freaks.  The freaks were mean to him because he was simple.  As the freaks watched, they plotted to stop him.  Later that night, they lure Twisty outside and tease him that he was dropped on his head.  They tell him that the children say that he does things to him, and that the police are coming to take him away.  He ran away.  Edward hands him a handkerchief to wipe his tears.  Word had spread along the Carny circuit so he couldn’t get work as a circus clown, so he went home to Jupiter but his mother had died.  So he set out to make toys from garbage, turning it into gold like Rumplestiltskin.  But when he went to the toy store, the owner, Mr. Haney, didn’t want his toys made from garbage.  The little boy in the shop was afraid of him.  Mr. Haney threatens to call the police when Twisty throws a tantrum, and so he flees.  Dejected, Twisty returns to the trailer and puts a shotgun in his mouth.  He says he’s so dumb he can’t even kill himself.  With a piece of gauze around the gaping wound where his mouth once was, he has the idea to draw a face on the bandage.  Next we are at the Freakshow, where Jimmy is barking for people to come see the human oddities on display.  Twisty is there making balloons animals, but Twisty isn’t part of the show and you’ll have to pay Jimmy for a balloon.  Edward immediately senses the inequality and injustice done to him.  Twisty continues by saying that he saved his children from the freaks.  We flash to see Twisty killing Tommy’s parents, and killing Jane’s boyfriend.  He did it to give them happiness in his own twisted way.  Edward hears his familiar talking.  Twisty’s story has made the demon weep, which means he is the one.  Twisty doesn’t understand what Edward is talking about. Edward stabs him repeatedly in the chest.  The other ghosts gather around until Edward extends an invitation for Twisty to join them.  Twisty’s ghost stands up, and his face is back to normal.  In a weird way, Edward has granted freedom to this tortured and misunderstood soul.  Jimmy watches the whole thing in wonder, seeing the ghosts exiting the scene.

Dandy walks up and sees Twisty’s dead body.  He starts to get mad…but then he takes Twisty’s mask and puts it on.  His eyes go wild with excitement.  Sirens blare in the distance, so he runs off.  Jimmy sighs in relief.

Maggie sits in the back of a police car and smokes a cigarette.  The cops are gathered around the scene and they want to know if Maggie or Jimmy saw the other man in the clown mask.  The detective is congratulating Jimmy on being a hero, but Jimmy says that he isn’t a hero, that the real hero was Meep, and the police are going to pay for what they did.  The detective’s face falls when he realizes what could happen.

Jimmy and Maggie ride up to the breakfast tent the next morning.  Elsa wants to know where they were.  There’s a curfew, after all.  Jimmy says the curfew has been lifted, and Maggie says that Jimmy saved the day, caught the killer and rescued the kids.  She runs off the pee (try holding it for five miles on a bike) but she doesn’t hesitate to give Jimmy a kiss.  Elsa says that they had a visitor last night.  Jimmy knows who it was-Edward Mordrake.  But he tells Elsa that he claimed his victim.  Before they can say anything else, cars start pulling up outside the Freakshow.  Elsa thinks they are being run out of town…but instead they find the whole town assembled to meet Jimmy, the hero who saved them.  One man wants to shake his hand, and seeing them coming together in this moment is a huge turning point for everyone.  A little girl offers browning to Jimmy, then she sees Desiree and asks if she’s a real lady.  Her mom chastises her, but Desiree smiles and says she is, “and then some.”  Elsa sees the opportunity to invite everyone to a command performance tonight.  Jimmy looks at Dot, but beyond her is Maggie.  Dell steps out of his trailer and sees the crowd.

Elsa tells everyone that the show is sold out.  She tells Dot and Bette that she’s made a change to the show.  They think they’re warming up for her now, but they’re actually warming up for Salty and Pepper.  Bette is outraged, as is Dot, but a stranger interrupts them.  It’s Stanley, the con man with a thirteen inch ding-a-ling.  He’s a talent scout from Hollywood and he’s there to see the show. Elsa says she’s sure that they can find a seat for him.  This might be the man she has been waiting for.

Nora is setting the table when Dandy walks in wearing Twisty’s face mask.  She tells him to take the tray to his sick mother.  She taunts him, and Dandy cuts her neck open. As she bleeds out, he pulls off the mask and stares.  At first he looks horrified, but then a smile forms on his lips and he starts to laugh.

Twisty may be gone, but Dandy the Clown is rising.

Well, that was a huge episode tonight.  And honestly, for the first time in the history of AHS, I truly feel sorry for Twisty.  He was a sad, misunderstood character hiding a pain that most people wouldn’t be able to understand.  Hopefully we’ll get to see him again.

What did you think of tonight’s episode?  Be sure to leave comments below!

 

Prince Lestat: Halfway Point (Entry 3. Still Spoiler Free)

I read Chapter 12 of Prince Lestat this morning.  I saw the words “flashing silk tie” and smiled at once because these are the descriptions I have come to know and love in every Anne Rice book I have ever read.

I became a history major largely due to her writing.  To me, the vampires were secondary.  I was never a Goth. I liked the characters because I loved their rich stories. I love the idea of having a conversation with someone who witnessed the fall of Rome and who painted in Venice.  I fell in love with the city of New Orleans and was thrilled when, in 2011, I was able to travel there for a week and stay in the Vieux Carre (French Quarter…yes…I even learned French after studying Spanish, partly due to The Vampire Chronicles).  The idea of being around creatures who are literally living history books makes my fingers twitch because I love history and I’d be the equivalent of David going from vampire to vampire asking them to share their stories. (My fingers always twitch in those situations…it’s a reflection of my continual desire to read and write “stuff”. I’m a total nerd that way…)

So now I’m at the halfway point and I’m rearing to go.  I’m racing to the finish because I honestly don’t want to put the book down.  Prince Lestat has been worth the wait.  It’s everything I hoped it would be. (So far…you never know what can happen in 200 pages…)

Prince Lestat: The First Day (Entry 2; Spoiler Free)

At the end of Day One reading Prince Lestat, the newest installment of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, I am on page 207, chapter 12.

I wish I didn’t have to sleep. I want to keep reading…but I don’t want it to end too quickly.  This is the best book in the series.  Seeing old friends, and meeting new ones, is pure joy. I have the education (I majored in history, largely due to Anne Rice’s characters who are pulled out of time) and the maturity to understand the themes and grasp the symbolism that might have previously escaped me. Memnoch the Devil came out when I was 15. It was the first new book in The Vampire Chronicles to come out since I’d discovered the series.  I was still caught up in the world of The Tale of the Body Thief and I didn’t understand a lot of the religious and existential happenings until I attended a private Catholic university years later.  This book is very different from the others (so far). It’s a wonderful departure that is true to the mythologies Ms. Rice has created.

Anne Rice’s writing is incomparable.  Prince Lestat serves as a reminder of quality and not quantity.  Each book has been meticulously researched, every detail cross referenced.  She isn’t turning out books yearly, and the quality of this book demonstrates that.

I am almost halfway through Prince Lestat. I really don’t want it to end.  But I promise to keep posting during this journey, and please share your thoughts with me about the book.  I’m eager to hear what others have to say.  I will post my own review here when I’m done.