I'm like you

A forum for discussing fan fiction related to Let The Right One In
Post Reply
User avatar
metoo
Posts: 3591
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:36 pm
Location: Södra Sandby, Sweden

I'm like you

Post by metoo » Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:30 am

Hello dear friends!

The discussion in this thread inspired me to write another one of my short pieces: I'm like you.
It is available here.

As always, there is a Swedish original as well as the English translation.
The Swedish original is available here.
But from the beginning Eli was just Eli. Nothing. Anything. And he is still a mystery to me. John Ajvide Lindqvist

User avatar
sauvin
Moderator
Posts: 3372
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:52 am
Location: A cornfield in heartland USA

Re: I'm like you

Post by sauvin » Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:14 pm

This story brings up a line of questioning I've never thought about. Here, you have Eli teaching Oskar to be like her, and the only reason she might have turned him would have been so that she could have the Oskar she'd known as friend for a very long time. The hopeless romantic in me would love to believe they'll ride off into the rising moon, hand in hand, forever.

But here's the rub: who knows what dreams of unrestrained vengeance might lurk in the deepest, darkest shadows of a boy who'd been neglected and bullied? Good little boy, shy little boy, powerless little boy who used to keep a scrapbook of murders who has now become virtually unlimited in the breadth and depth of the havoc he might wreak with impunity?

And if he were to become that, the apex predator who gets drunk by his new strengths and abilities, who eventually comes to look at regular people as walking meals or slaves, would he still be the Oskar that Eli fell in love with?
Fais tomber les barrières entre nous qui sommes tous des frères

User avatar
cmfireflies
Posts: 1123
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:39 pm

Re: I'm like you

Post by cmfireflies » Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:16 pm

But here's the rub: who knows what dreams of unrestrained vengeance might lurk in the deepest, darkest shadows of a boy who'd been neglected and bullied? Good little boy, shy little boy, powerless little boy who used to keep a scrapbook of murders who has now become virtually unlimited in the breadth and depth of the havoc he might wreak with impunity?

And if he were to become that, the apex predator who gets drunk by his new strengths and abilities, who eventually comes to look at regular people as walking meals or slaves, would he still be the Oskar that Eli fell in love with?
Pfff, o ye of little faith. 1) Your description of Oskar could also apply to Eli, and he turned out sane. 2) JAL vampires aren't all-powerful apex predators, more opportunistic hunters and humanity at large is still the more powerful force vs. two child vampires, and 3) Oskar's revenge should have been completed at the pool. Honestly the scarier post-turning scenario is if Oskar and Eli will be able to survive by themselves then really about power corrupting Oskar.

The more mind-boggling thing to think about is if the moral character of their actions change if ELi and Oskar are actually happy as murderous vampires. An unbiased observer would surely say no, right? If Eli has the right to live, he obviously should have the right to live happily, as being depressed helps neither him nor his victims. But with Oskar around, Eli should need less (or none) human attachments and would that change them? Maybe Eli and Oskar would be like Spike and Dru-pre Buffy, loving each other while seeming evil to outsiders.
"When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you love it."

User avatar
sauvin
Moderator
Posts: 3372
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:52 am
Location: A cornfield in heartland USA

Re: I'm like you

Post by sauvin » Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:00 am

cmfireflies wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:16 pm
But here's the rub: who knows what dreams of unrestrained vengeance might lurk in the deepest, darkest shadows of a boy who'd been neglected and bullied? Good little boy, shy little boy, powerless little boy who used to keep a scrapbook of murders who has now become virtually unlimited in the breadth and depth of the havoc he might wreak with impunity?

And if he were to become that, the apex predator who gets drunk by his new strengths and abilities, who eventually comes to look at regular people as walking meals or slaves, would he still be the Oskar that Eli fell in love with?
Pfff, o ye of little faith. 1) Your description of Oskar could also apply to Eli, and he turned out sane. 2) JAL vampires aren't all-powerful apex predators, more opportunistic hunters and humanity at large is still the more powerful force vs. two child vampires, and 3) Oskar's revenge should have been completed at the pool. Honestly the scarier post-turning scenario is if Oskar and Eli will be able to survive by themselves then really about power corrupting Oskar.
And who swooped in and saved Elias while he was being menaced by another kid's psycho knife-wielding older brother at the village skinny-dipping pond? Oh, wait, that never happened that we know of. Can't talk too much about what life for Elias had been like, but it seems likely that he and Oskar are/were/had been different boys. I'd think that vampirism would have an inherently magnifying effect on the id, and a single baptism in blood at the pool won't make up for years of systematic neglect and abuse.

And by the way, just how sane is Eli, anyway? Any takers?

I'm calling vampires apex predators because (1) they hunt, kill and eat the most dangerous game on the planet, and (2) vampires themselves fear no predator. Yes, humanity at large outmasses two vampire kids by a factor of a few metric megabazillion, but look at what Eli is and what she does: lives in the dark, maintains the camouflage of the very humble and powerless, maintains distance from the bulk of the community, tends to surprise her victims when they're isolated and easily overpowers fully grown men who outmass her by a factor of three or so.

Just take a look at the scene where Oskar thwaps Conny upside the head, but take a few steps back, get some scale. It was broad daylight, Eli was probably busily purring with her arm around her nounours under a blanket in her bathtub, but she was also very much on the ice, and not just at Oskar's side. Without her encouragement and support, Oskar probably would have taken a polar dip; instead, he was busily gazing at the sky feeling euphoric, a Freudian symbol grasped in one hand and Conny on his knees before him on Stage Right. She was also on Stage Left, kids screaming their lungs out, while Blackeberg digs up yet one more body to add to a local rash of mysterious murders.

She may not have intended it, but Stage Left is probably a very common thing in her life: she brings diffuse but profound terror wherever she might happen to stay for more than a few days and nights. Body counts mount. Medical examiners often can't explain how the victims died. Radio stations and newspapers (or town criers in earlier times) get busy trumpeting it up, trying to juice it for all it's worth while it lasts. Parents tell their kids to stay home and stay indoors, and husbands tell their wives the same.

Not all the murders, you see, are "natural", but even the natural ones are a bit tough to explain. What kind freaked up nut job strings his victims up on a tree by the ankles and drains out all their blood? As for the unnatural ones, well... what kind of animal inflicts this kind of wound? - and what kind of animal just gores a victim's throat in order to siphon off all the victims' blood without also consuming all the really yummy parts (sweetmeats, liver, heart, etc)?

This is terror. It's something that you just know goes "bump!" in the night, but you can't know what it is, what it looks like or what it wants, really. Is it a man who took too many of the wrong kinds of pills? A bear with some kind of brain disease? It's bad enough to be afraid of either of these things if you know it's one of these things and thus at least theoretically able to hide from it or defend yourself in some fashion in the event of an attack, but... NOT knowing? If you don't know and can't be confident of any guesses you might make, then anything is fair game, including wyverns, clowns living in the sewers mumbling something about them all floating or maybe even aliens with phalliphorm heads and incredibly acid blood serum. Things you can't possibly defend yourself against because you don't even believe they're real (but they're still really scary ideas, aren't they?).

Oskar's revenge wouldn't necessarily target specific people because even the mind of a twelve year old boy (who, remember, kept a murder book) could appreciate a simple, fundamental truth with singularly focused clarity: it wasn't specific people who made his life a living hell, it was humanity itself. Oskar himself even before having met Eli might have said the same: people are callous, duplicitous, mendacious, manipulative, cruel, often harshly judgmental and otherwise just plain outright nasty - and this was before the other kids tried to murder him.

If Oskar were to become the monster he could become, it wouldn't be because Eli made him, it'd be because humanity made him, and humanity can't even see the demons it creates, let alone the ones that come back when the sun sets.
cmfireflies wrote: The more mind-boggling thing to think about is if the moral character of their actions change if ELi and Oskar are actually happy as murderous vampires. An unbiased observer would surely say no, right? If Eli has the right to live, he obviously should have the right to live happily, as being depressed helps neither him nor his victims. But with Oskar around, Eli should need less (or none) human attachments and would that change them? Maybe Eli and Oskar would be like Spike and Dru-pre Buffy, loving each other while seeming evil to outsiders.
What's morality got to do with anything? They can't be moral until they can co-exist with the community at large, and this, precisely, is what they can NOT do. To Eli, at least, the murders aren't murders, they're just people who died because she has to do what she has to do if she wants to live. There's no moral dimension to it. She's been at it too long for that ever to change, but that's the good news: I think it likely she'd still be the Eli we think we know even if Oskar were to go completely off the wire. The real question is: would she still love him?

An even scarier question: if Oskar were to start using peroxide on his hair and sporting an English accent, would he still love her?
Fais tomber les barrières entre nous qui sommes tous des frères

User avatar
metoo
Posts: 3591
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:36 pm
Location: Södra Sandby, Sweden

Re: I'm like you

Post by metoo » Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:32 am

sauvin wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:00 am
Just take a look at the scene where Oskar thwaps Conny upside the head, but take a few steps back, get some scale. It was broad daylight, Eli was probably busily purring with her arm around her nounours under a blanket in her bathtub, but she was also very much on the ice, and not just at Oskar's side. Without her encouragement and support, Oskar probably would have taken a polar dip; instead, he was busily gazing at the sky feeling euphoric, a Freudian symbol grasped in one hand and Conny on his knees before him on Stage Right. She was also on Stage Left, kids screaming their lungs out, while Blackeberg digs up yet one more body to add to a local rash of mysterious murders.
This is what we see in the movie. In the novel, however, after Oskar having briefly felt victorious, the scene continues with Oskar realising how badly he had hurt Jonny (worse than in the movie), and then he tries to help. This is the Oskar I see, and whom I let speak in my fan fiction.

Eli told Oskar to fight back. Everybody does that to the bullied kid. Oskar even did it to himself, in his fantasies in the woods. So why didn't he do it in real life?

You might say that he was scared, intimidated by the other kids. Surely he was, but there was another, no less important factor at play: Oskar simply didn't like to hurt people. It didn't make him feel good, but the opposite. Therefore he was an easy target, defenceless against kids with less capacity for empathy. And, I like to think, Oskar sees this bit of himself in Eli, too. "I'm like you."
Last edited by metoo on Sun Feb 07, 2021 7:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
But from the beginning Eli was just Eli. Nothing. Anything. And he is still a mystery to me. John Ajvide Lindqvist

User avatar
sauvin
Moderator
Posts: 3372
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:52 am
Location: A cornfield in heartland USA

Re: I'm like you

Post by sauvin » Sun Feb 07, 2021 7:18 am

In that case, your Oskar is probably always going to be different from mine. I am far more heavily influenced by the movie that I'd already seen a few dozen times before running across the novel. I'm not wrong, and you're not right, we're just looking at different representations of the same thing.
Fais tomber les barrières entre nous qui sommes tous des frères

User avatar
cmfireflies
Posts: 1123
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:39 pm

Re: I'm like you

Post by cmfireflies » Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:25 pm

sauvin wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:00 am

And who swooped in and saved Elias while he was being menaced by another kid's psycho knife-wielding older brother at the village skinny-dipping pond? Oh, wait, that never happened that we know of. Can't talk too much about what life for Elias had been like, but it seems likely that he and Oskar are/were/had been different boys. I'd think that vampirism would have an inherently magnifying effect on the id, and a single baptism in blood at the pool won't make up for years of systematic neglect and abuse.
I mean if we're talking about abuse, Elias suffered more than Oskar. He was castrated and kidnapped with no one to rescue him. And his vampirism didn't turn him into a monster. Even going by the movie, there's no reason to believe that Oskar was really attracted to violence once it became a reality rather than a fantasy-he didn't stay for Lacke's death, and the ending made a point of Oskar ignoring the carnage around him while staring into Eli's eyes. :wub:

Anyone *could* become a monster, and Eli would probably feel guilty if Oskar did become one, but there's no reason to believe that he's more likely than Eli to succumb.

And humans with guns and cameras and internet are comfortably still apex predators, even if a bear or vampires are stronger. There's no indication during the movie that the public at large believed the killings were anything supernatural. There's little shown of the terror of the unknown that you mentioned in the movie. In fact it'll be in the interest of Eli and Oskar to make their killings as "mundane" as possible. In the modern age, Oskar and Eli are very much underdogs, living in the shadows, always on the run. I don't see their lives becoming a power fantasy. Not when they are super vulnerable half of the day. Maybe if Eli were Dracula with a castle and servants, Oskar could be corrupted by such power, but as they are they are very unglamorous, having to trick their victims most of the time, unless they happen to be very very pissed off.
"When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you love it."

User avatar
sauvin
Moderator
Posts: 3372
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:52 am
Location: A cornfield in heartland USA

Re: I'm like you

Post by sauvin » Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:19 am

cmfireflies wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:25 pm
sauvin wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:00 am

And who swooped in and saved Elias while he was being menaced by another kid's psycho knife-wielding older brother at the village skinny-dipping pond? Oh, wait, that never happened that we know of. Can't talk too much about what life for Elias had been like, but it seems likely that he and Oskar are/were/had been different boys. I'd think that vampirism would have an inherently magnifying effect on the id, and a single baptism in blood at the pool won't make up for years of systematic neglect and abuse.
I mean if we're talking about abuse, Elias suffered more than Oskar. He was castrated and kidnapped with no one to rescue him. And his vampirism didn't turn him into a monster. Even going by the movie, there's no reason to believe that Oskar was really attracted to violence once it became a reality rather than a fantasy-he didn't stay for Lacke's death, and the ending made a point of Oskar ignoring the carnage around him while staring into Eli's eyes. :wub:
Yes, Elias was tortured and turned, but it wasn't a slow process. Who knows how long it might have really taken? - but one seriously doubts it dragged on for months and years. The damage wrought by months or years of psychological and emotional harm can be even more pernicious than simple physical abuse. When he met Eli, he was already a bird with a broken wing, all set for life to just run him over, just one more roadkill as humanity itself continues to seek its end.

Eli is a monster by definition.

Bear in mind I'm not stating unequivocally that Oskar's psychological makeup would make him unsuitable material for the "monster that ain't" that Eli seems to be, but it's idiotic to consider the proposition impossible.
cmfireflies wrote: Anyone *could* become a monster, and Eli would probably feel guilty if Oskar did become one, but there's no reason to believe that he's more likely than Eli to succumb.
Likely? Maybe yes, maybe no. The whole concept of probability is such that if you flip two identical coins at the same time, you can't predict that they'll both land the same way, and Eli and Oskar have never been identical.
cmfireflies wrote: And humans with guns and cameras and internet are comfortably still apex predators, even if a bear or vampires are stronger. There's no indication during the movie that the public at large believed the killings were anything supernatural. There's little shown of the terror of the unknown that you mentioned in the movie. In fact it'll be in the interest of Eli and Oskar to make their killings as "mundane" as possible. In the modern age, Oskar and Eli are very much underdogs, living in the shadows, always on the run. I don't see their lives becoming a power fantasy. Not when they are super vulnerable half of the day. Maybe if Eli were Dracula with a castle and servants, Oskar could be corrupted by such power, but as they are they are very unglamorous, having to trick their victims most of the time, unless they happen to be very very pissed off.
We are many. Eli knows she needs to be careful, yes, because she knows she's not invulnerable. This may well be why she domesticated a perv: to be a guard dog while she slumbers.

No, the folks of Blackeberg (and Angsby, maybe) don't know what's going on. It's enough to fear that there is a single deranged yahoo somewhere whose motivations and predilections are unknown. Husbands are still going to tell their wives to never go anywhere alone and to stay home when they can, the parents are still going to tell their children the same. Mundane terror is hard enough to handle without bringing in preternatural or supernatural beasties, and the modern so-called modern mind doesn't need statues and stick figures from antiquity to add texture, depth and flavour to the terror. Yes, very little of the communities' fear was depicted in the film because the movie wasn't about the horror; the horror was used to contextualise an extraordinary love story.

Still and all, how WOULD one go about considering the apparent case of a wild animal interested only in its victims' blood? We're acculturated almost from birth to believe in things that go "bump!" in the night and live under the bed, but later in life we profess confusion at van Helsing's claim that we don't let ourselves see what our eyes see, that we're blind to anything not encoded into the bodies of knowledge we call the "sciences". If Eli were real, our modern rational mind would make us much more vulnerable to her than would be the case for a more primitive society that does still believe in witches, hobgoblins and politicians. At some level, I think we all know this, which is why we tell ourselves "this can't be real!" when we're confronted with things we don't understand.

Eli apparently wants what she needs, and nothing more, and in this way, too, she's in direct opposition to Dracula. She doesn't have the fading memory of immense power and glory, and she doesn't have a decomposing castle to call home. To what extent did being turned change her, though? She had very little trouble flipping with a far "older" and "more life-experienced" nurse at the hospital, remember - would Elias have been able to do the same? Maybe, maybe not.

But suppose - just suppose - that a turned Oskar gets sucked in by his new abilities. Truthfully, in that case, he wouldn't need Eli for anything anymore because now anybody who brandishes a knife in his face, well, said schmuck's head is going to go flying one way with his butt the other. Metoo's Oskar probably won't turn that way because he did try to offer Conny a clean sock for his newly bifurcated ear, but movie Oskar, who stabs trees acting out revenge fantasies and dances with his knife in his bedroom in his underwear demanding "Skrika!" might.

So, my question stands: if turned Oskar were to go down that road, would she still love him? Could she? Would he still love her?

... while Dru, Darla, Spike and Angelus run riot all over Europe and the Russias.
Fais tomber les barrières entre nous qui sommes tous des frères

User avatar
metoo
Posts: 3591
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:36 pm
Location: Södra Sandby, Sweden

Re: I'm like you

Post by metoo » Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:40 pm

sauvin wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:19 am
So, my question stands: if turned Oskar were to go down that road, would she still love him? Could she? Would he still love her?
Love can be strangely persistent, but who can tell?

Their love would probably end up rather tarnished, though, if it did survive.
But from the beginning Eli was just Eli. Nothing. Anything. And he is still a mystery to me. John Ajvide Lindqvist

User avatar
cmfireflies
Posts: 1123
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:39 pm

Re: I'm like you

Post by cmfireflies » Wed Feb 10, 2021 6:55 pm

sauvin wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:19 am
So, my question stands: if turned Oskar were to go down that road, would she still love him? Could she? Would he still love her?
Depends, Eli probably won't have a problem with Oskar taking revenge upon bullies, but indulging in carnage for carnage's sake would probably push Eli away. Novel Eli, at least, looks down upon theatrical and empty vampires. Movie Eli is absolutely sad that she has to kill and seeing Oskar take joy in it will probably shock her. As for whether they'll still love each other, probably, if only because kids tend to be more resilient and, honestly there's nothing like first love.
"When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you love it."

Post Reply

Return to “Fan Fiction”