Adaptation of Six-Part Series VAMPIRE ACADEMY Sounds Vaguely Feminist

by     Posted 4 years, 136 days ago

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After the release of Eclipse, we’re more than halfway through the Twilight Saga, but gothic teens need not fear the end of the vampire craze anytime soon.  Producers Don Murphy (Transformers) and Michael Preger (Village of the Damned) are teaming to adapt Vampire Academy, the six-part series from Richelle Mead.  The novels are centered around Rose Hathaway, a 17-year-old half human/half vampire who… well, the logline should really be printed in full, so we’ll save it for after the jump.

Here’s Variety’s take:

“[Vampire] Academy, set at St. Vladimir’s Academy in the Montana forests, centers on Rose Hathaway, a 17-year-old female “dhampir” — a half human/half vampire and a guardian of the Moroi race of peaceful mortal vampires.  She must deal with the intricacies of the Moroi social order and the Strigoi, a race of bloodthirsty immortal vampires and predators of the Moroi.”

vampire_academy_richelle_mead_book_coverThe mythology is murky enough that I still don’t really know what the series is about, but it sounds like Academy has point that could sell it to cynics.

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer famously inspired  university courses in gender studies with its 1997-2003 run, but recent vampirical works (Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood) have all suffered criticism of anti-feminism.  In particular, Twilight has been derided for the depiction of lead character Bella Swan as:

Yikes.

But unlike Bella, Sookie, and Elena, the center of Vampire Academy is half vampire from the get-go.  Surely that trait helps make her an active agent in her own life (and the plot), rather than a Bellaesque damsel in distress.

And yet it sounds like Rose is involved in a “forbidden romance,” so for all I know, the character is a perfectly blank slate upon which impressionable young girls can project themselves.  Hope it’s the former; please chime in if you’ve read the books.

The sixth and final novel in the series, Last Sacrifice, hits bookshelves on December 7th.  Here’s a synopsis of the first novel via Amazon:

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

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  • Allie

    Rose is most definitely not a damsel in distress. Theres 2 kinds of vampires, Moroi – mortal vampires who are born that way and feed off humans without killing them and strigoi – evil 'made' vampires who kill when they feed. Rose is a guardian to moroi – she also breaks someone's nose in the first book. Rose is actually a pretty likeable character, hopefully they will adapt it well to screen.

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  • DRMidnite

    “Strigoi” is Russian for witch, not vampire. You would think that authors churning this vapid shit out, could at least get some things right, huh? The likes of Rowling and Meyer have ruined horror and supernatural novels for a lot of people, not just me. My opinion, they're like the Tyler Perry of Horror and that is not a good thing!

  • http://twitter.com/carpediem1991 Oscar Rodríguez

    Well, forgive the author (singular) for not being as literal as you would like. Maybe if you write her a letter about her obvious mistake, they will recall every book sold and reprint them with the correct translation.

    I have not read the books, so I cannot say whether they are “vapid shit”, and neither should you. Now, I have (had the pleasure to) read Rowling's books and, trust me, they're neither horror nor supernatural novels. They're books about magic, and the most infantile kind at that. Oh, but you wouldn't know. After all, they're nothing but “vapid shit”.

  • Victoria Lee

    I completely agree, I couldn't care less about all those vampires books. But the same cannot be said for J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter novels.

  • Vampiregirlapparently

    these books are fantastic.ive read twilight and harry potter and all teen books.. im not some sad fanatic obsessed.. but these books I could not put down. they will make a great film

  • Vampireacademy10

    Rose can kick Bell's clumsy ass!!!

  • Kristy

    So the author of this article is slamming the books without reading them? typical. I am a 27 year old woman and I love the Vampire Academy series! I don't like Twilight because I think the “heroine” is too much of a damsel in distress. Rose is nothing like that. She kicks ass and can take care of herself. Rose is a character that is about as real as you can get. I would be proud if my daughter was like her.

  • Kristy

    Well, I believe Richelle Mead got her degree studying Romanian mythology.

    and “strigoi” in Romanian mythology is “troubled souls of the dead rising from the grave. Some strigoi can be living people with certain magical properties. Some of the properties of the strigoi include: the ability to transform into an animal, invisibility, and the propensity to drain the vitality of victims via blood loss. Strigoi are also known as immortal vampires.”

  • Emma

    I've read the five Vampire Academy books and they are fantastic and I was just thinking they would be great as movies or a tv series, so this news is very exciting.

    The whole series is narrated by Rose and she is a very forceful character and I think could be a great feminist role model. It's so great to finally have a heroine who sees what she wants and then goes out and gets it no matter what the consequences.

    The books do explore feminist issues for example later in the series you also get to learn more about the hard choices women have to make between being a working mum or a stay at home mum which is such a major issue these days for women, but also see the effect this has had on the children from these different backgrounds.

  • Guardian Hathaway

    @DRMidnite – before you go accusing a brilliant author of “churning vapid shit” maybe you should get your facts right. Richelle Mead's use of the word Strigoi, is based on the Romanian meaning of the word which means 'troubled souls of the dead'…NOT the Russian. She also uses the Romanian meaning for Moroi.

    If you took the time to read it, you would realise you are the one churning vapid shit, becuse the books are brilliant. Rose is a badass Guardian in Training, yeah she is a troubled teen, but wouldn't you be if your whole life you were told “They come first”. Rose and the other Damphirs live to serve the Moroi, they are their guardians their bodyguards, and god forbid they don't want to serve them anymore or have a life of their own.

    I can't believe the writer of this article has the hide to say VA will be like Twilight…They are so far from being anything alike. Twilight focuses on the Human/Vampire/Shapeshifter realtions….VA is based in the world of Vampires. The Moroi – the Elite. Without Moroi, Damphir couldn't exist, they are the magic users, they live on both blood and food, but they never kill to eat. Then you have The Damphirs – the protectors, born from a Moroi and Human relations, they know they exist to give their lives so the Moroi can live, they eat normal food. Finally you have the Strigoi – the Evil ones. They kill to eat, lliving on blood only. They were either Moroi who murdered someone, or Damphirs who were turned by someone who is already a Strigori. They are super strong and fast, and they will do anything for Moroi blood. And Rose's relationship is nothing like Bella's.

  • Jade Rose

    if it were not for “Guardian Hathaway” comment, i would have written that myself. Its like you too the words straight out from my mouth. I agree 1100% with what you said and i also think that people should give it a chance before they even begin judging the series. It is an absolutely amazing series and i thank Richelle Mead for bringing her creative down-to earth characters and realistic plots to life. (in a sense such as the forbidden romance, friendship and many more)

  • Future Guardian

    Agreed. It's such a great series and I can NOT WAIT for the movies. I just REALLY REALLY hope that they make it good and don't screw it up like they normally do. I read the Twilight series too and I fell in love with the books. The movie's were okay, but I really do wish people would read it instead of assuming that since the movie is kinda crappy that the whole thing is. So glad to see other's think Rose is the most awesome chick ever! She's basically a role model to me with how she can defend herself and doesn't need anyone to tell her she's weak or anything like that. It's kinda inspirational to me! Anyways, love the series! Hope I love the movies too!

  • Rachel

    i hope they make do with the book to movie. it can be really inpowering to girls, to see how the girls in the book carry themselves. i fell in love with the story, it is an amazing story that pulls you in right away. i would love to audition for a role if they make the movie too.

  • Crazytiffness

    I love the books I cant stop reading them over and over. Rose is definitley not a damsel in distress, she is actually very out spoken and kick a**. I can say that I think the books are way better then twilight and I think will be a bigger hit then twilight as a movie!

  • muse

    Clearly you're just some sad pathetic guy who thinks the simple idea of a strong-minded, brave and kick-ass GIRL can be the main protagonist and doesnt have to be all about lovey dovey stuff and the damsel in distress. Or is it that you only have a small-minded idea that 'horror' or 'supernatural' have to be about men being the main charcters and that you cant find love or a sense of self during story's journey.
    Not every novel written has to please YOU. Dont like the idea of this movie or others alike it, then p**s off and keep your mouth shut.
    Its a great series and she had it right, the author obviously DID study her facts otherwise it wouldnt have been published!!! There a lot of stories that may have the same backbone, but their all different in their own ways and people are just expressing their imagination. Shame people like you cant see it that way and have to shoot them down any chance they get.

    Go back to 'War of Witchcraft' or 'COD' game, moron.

  • rlr

    Rose is more prideful, headstrong and the buttkicking type has to much fight in her to sit back and depend on a man. She takes care of herself and those she cares about and even those she doesnt. Her romance doesnt get in the way of her priorities. A little wild but rather innocent and very loyal. The books dont fully focus on Rose’s romance, there is a lot lot more action and plots in these than in twilight novels which i thought of as just romance books.

  • rlr

    Rose is more prideful, headstrong and the buttkicking type has to much fight in her to sit back and depend on a man. She takes care of herself and those she cares about and even those she doesnt. Her romance doesnt get in the way of her priorities. A little wild but rather innocent and very loyal. The books dont fully focus on Rose’s romance, there is a lot lot more action and plots in these than in twilight novels which i thought of as just romance books.

  • Team Belikov

    There is a big difference in the ”forbidden romance” in Twilight than there is in Vampire Academy. Twilight- he was a vampire and she liked him. Big whoop. Vampire Academy- He is not only her teacher (and who wouldn’t want to have a ”secret” love with a hot, badass teacher?) but a ”co worker” and the conflict with that is they have to choice between their jobs and reputation or their love. The Vampire world in this series is almost as close knit as a small country town where everyone knows everything and to keep things hush hush about something that serious is a hard thing to manage. Not only does it make females take on a different way of thinking, such as they can do things on their own, go after their own goals and no one can stop them, but it gives them a different perspective on love as well and how far you would go to keep it. I fell in love with these series and if they do make it into a movie awesome!! I think males will get into it as well, there is a lot of action in these books, more action packed than twilight could even muster!

  • Jess

    I am a big fan of the books but this is a mistake they need to leave these books alone
    they are going to ruin it! by making it into a movie or watever…
    i thought twilight books were okay but after they made it a movie it just ruined it
    i dont want some idiot actress trying to be rose cause she is awesome

  • Alyssa

    I absolutely love these books mainly because the amazing development of characters. Rose is not at all a “damsel in distress” and unlike twilight, the romance is not part of the main storyline at least not at the start. The books are actually more focused on the relationship she has with her best friend, Vasilisa. Unlike many of those series it is not just an instant romance(which is really annoying) but is slowly developed over the series. Every character in these books are so strong, flawed and realistic, and if that was translated well to the screen it would make an amazing movie!

  • liz jones

    please make this movie..i loved the books

  • Kimberly

    Vampire Academy is the best vampire books I have ever read …it’s way better then twilight & i was a fan but in compasin twilight lacks in action,cursing &everything I REALLy hope they made VA into a moive & Bloodlines!!!

  • Hannah

    Rose can kick Bellas ass any day. She has been through real shit, just like KAtniss in Hunger Games. Half the stuff Bella cries about is freaking boy trouble. No glittering Vampires, just hardcore, bad-ass Strigoi, Guardians/Dhampirs, and I truly sexy Russian God. And of course we can’t forget the ‘hint’ of romance.

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