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Nessie

Nessie embodies several interesting archetypes, including the Magical Child and the Teacher, but my favorite is the Savior archetype.    I know many people will associate the Savior archetype with the literal figure of Christ, and this is not meant to spark a debate about denominational issues.    From a purely archetypal perspective, the Savior is the highest, most exalted form of the Martyr archetype.  It relates to extreme measures of sacrifice of the self for the sole benefit of others with no personal agenda.    Bella has the Martyr archetype in a very clear and significant way, but often we see (as is true for most us in real life), there are personal agendas/motives attached to her choices.   Not always, but often.

From an archetypal perspective, Nessie transcends the typical Martyr and represents the more glorified and more pure Savior form because she acts out of total service to others; she brings the vampires together from all over the world — one by one through interaction and/or observance of her mystical powers and presence, they are compelled to stand with her and for her.    Even the vampires who cannot rationally embrace or accept her powers are compelled to stand with her family in her defense.   And not only are the vampires compelled by her existence, the wolves are united with the vampires to stand against anyone who would threaten her existence (and by extension, their own).   She quite literally “saves” them all, and arguably their entire species as gifted vampires and wolves who otherwise would have been wiped out (or enslaved) by the Volturi.   Some will argue Alice actually saved the day, and that is entirely true, however even Alice acted based on her compulsion to do anything to serve the true Savior (Nessie) and to keep the Savior archetype safe.

Aside from the archetypal characteristics of Nessie, there are indeed compelling parallels between Nessie and the figure of  Christ when you consider the following (and remember Steph is Christian, so it makes perfect sense that her subconscious would be wired this way; whether she intended these parallels or not, they still exist for observation):

1)  Both Bella and Mary had a miracle pregnancy beyond rational/biological norms and were otherwise thought to be “impossible” by typical earthly standards.

2) In both instances, the King of the empire heard about the baby, and he felt threatened by the baby’s existence.  In Nessie’s case, Aro is the metaphoric “king,” and he heard about the baby from Irina.  This news became his excuse to further his perception that the Cullen clan and their powers were the ultimate threat to his control.

3) In both instances, because of the King’s threatened power, the King set out to destroy the baby.

4)  In both, a savior was born to the mortal mother and otherworldy/non-human father and had to be protected from the King.

5)  In both, the savior brought peace and comfort to all who believed in him/her.  In Nessie’s case, she brought literal and physical peace and comfort to all whom she touched (literally touched) who “received” (literally, received) her message and who were beholden to her because of her message.

6) Both babies had exceptional gifts — intelligence, wit, charm, persuasion, etc. — and are thought of as the embodiment of perfection.   Also consider that Nessie grew and matured very quickly.  We do not know about Jesus’ early childhood and teen years, but in parallel, those are the same years that Nessie will blur past, too.

7) There were wise men who had the Savior’s birth foretold to them, and they made a long journey to see the baby in person.  (They showed up of their own accord.)   In Nessie’s case, remember the two ancient Romanians, Stefan and Vladimir.  No one sought them out — they came on their own.  They were considered “creepy” by everyone, but they were indisputably “wise” because they knew the King (Aro and company) would be successfully challenged for the first time by this special child’s existence and by the powerful gathering of believers who would stand together to bear her witness.

8)  Both Jesus and Nessie chose communication means other than direct, clear language.  Jesus preferred parables for a powerful and profound reason, as he explained to his apostles; and Nessie, while capable of normal speech, also preferred physical contact and imagery.   Parables are essentially verbal imagery.

Bella dies giving birth to Nessie (Christ died to bring forth salvation), and Nessie represents salvation because she brings everyone together as brother and sister without regard for species or class/race, past all of their fears and any perceived differences that separate them.  All is one, and in her, they embody that Divine truth.  Her conception was like the Immaculate Conception because her mother’s pregnancy was not thought to be possible.  She is born of half human, half mythic/mystic parentage.   In the archetypal sense,  God made sure Bella would conceive when and how she did to bring forth to the world this impossible miracle, that of salvation.   In Bella’s human death, she was resurrected as the Holy Mother and was reunited with the salvation she gave birth to, still very much a part of that mystical world as the half human/half mythical child (Nessie) becomes God-like in the way she literally saves all of creation in her universe (all of the vampires, wolves and their very way of life).

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject since I find the Savior archetype so fascinating in Nessie.   I have heard many people speculate that her character was an after-thought, or a way to satisfy the need to create a mate for Jake, etc., but it’s hard for me to imagine a more important archetype than Savior in any story, and I’m genuinely curious what others think about Nessie in this role…?

5 Responses to “Nessie”

  1. Melissa says:

    Wow! I never noticed all the similarities. I’m interested in religion even though I’m an atheist and I like how this symbolism is incorporated in the story.

  2. Melissa, I want to sincerely thank you for your comment. Your words reveal some nice things about you, including that you are open-minded about the genuine mysteries of the world around us, which is an important quality regardless of any religious affiliation. Your comment also dovetails extremely nicely into the Universal truth that “all is one” because while you are atheist, you engage the world with reverence and respect for its many layers and the symbolism present all around us.

    We all come to the table with unique perspectives and life’s experiences, but we all come to the same table nonetheless — so it must be, and so it was intended. We are all the same and yet we are unique — it’s one of life’s great sacred paradoxes, and your comment as an atheist in response to a post about the symbolism and beauty of the Savior archetype is a stunning example of this principle in harmonious action – so again, I thank you. (For more about this principle, see the link called Duality versus Oneness.)

    While my site is written from my own faith-based perspective, it is intended to include all people, not exclude, and your presence and feedback are very welcome and inspiring. Being “all is one” with you and appreciating the symbolism in the Twilight story with fellow fans of all shapes and sizes and belief systems, is one of the greatest joys for me in doing this, so I hope you’ll chime in elsewhere as the site develops :) All my best — Jennie

  3. [...] this is different from the Savior archetype — please see the analysis of Nessie as Savior at http://twilightsagaarchetypes.com/nessie/.)   The best evidence of Carlisle’s role as the Divine Father is in Edward’s partial [...]

  4. Amy says:

    I really thought this was a beautiful breakdown of the comparison of Nessie to Christ. I always thought of Bella as the Savior. I thought of Nessie as a mediator, but I guess Christ is seen that way, too. So, I’m readjusting my thinking on that.

    • Amy, I’m SO glad you added your comment (thank you!!!) — it gives me an opportunity to clarify that all of us have multiple archetypes, and literary characters are no different. Nessie definitely serves the mediator function (among other functions), so the fact that she also serves as the Savior doesn’t diminish the value of her mediation skills as an important archetype.

      The same is true with Christ — He had more than one archetype. He was both King and Servant; Lion and Lamb; Teacher and Student (to His Father); Healer and Victim; Judge and Judged (as a criminal); Liberator and Martyr; Peasant and Messiah; and so on. His magnificent paradoxes are one of the many things (I believe) we are supposed to learn from His life story – He served as an example of what it looks like to be a “whole” and congruent person, not despite our apparent contradictions, but precisely BECAUSE of them.

      Just like Nessie, we all have several aspects represented deeply in our core self, and Nessie’s Savior archetype is the one I focused on because it is one of the most beautiful archetypes to see in action when brought to life with humility and compassion. (All of the archetypes are beautiful in their own way, so I’m not judging or imposing relative value — it’s just that I have a soft spot for Nessie and her Savior as the story unfolds, so I couldn’t wait to feature that particular part of her character.)

      Thanks again for your message and your insight — your comment was very important! I would love any other feedback if this post raises other questions about Nessie, so your comments are always welcome.

      Take care, and all my best regards — Jennie

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