In Chapter 10, we find out how far Jill is willing to go to get what she wants. In Chapter 11, we find out what Jack is capable of when all she wants is ripped away.
Last chapter, we saw how different the sisters were, once you had them side by side. This chapter, we examine the extremes of each opposite end of the spectrum the sisters represent.
All through the book there has been a split between those who see other people as things and those who don’t. We see it in the contrast between the Wolcotts and Gemma Lou: on the one side, the parents who wish to shape their children into a mould that suits them, versus the grandmother who loves them and sees them for who they truly are. It is there in the contrast between the Master and Dr. Bleak: the vampire who feeds off those he claims to love, versus the doctor who values the truth but will not be cruel. Finally there is the contrast between Jack and Jill: the smart one and the pretty one. Jill, who doesn’t understand why the villagers are happy, and Jack, who made an effort to talk to and enlist the help of the villagers.
In these two chapters, we see the extremes of each end of the scale. Jill commits the ultimate act of savagery; Jack the ultimate act of forgiveness. These two chapters are the culmination of all that has gone before.
So first, Jill:
But Jill had never seen that side of him. Jill had been his precious little princess from the start. Jill walked on clouds and dreamt of vampirism like it was a wonderful game, still a wonderful game, and there was no way Mary could convince her otherwise.
Jill has embraced the epitome of the negative. She has become the Master’s daughter in every sense except the one she wants. She has embraced his worldview, which in its way is an extension of her parents’ worldview. There are rules and they should not be broken. There are roles to fill, and you must fill them, no matter what it is that you want. Jill accepts this, and strives not to break the system but to be on top of it.
What Jill does is a natural outcome of not seeing people as people, but rather as roles (beneath her, of course), figures to follow the rules she sets. We’ve seen this happen before, earlier in the book. We’ve seen her parents treat her as a doll they can play dress up with. We’ve seen the Master do the same, and treat her as a food source on top of that. We know it is the Master she wishes to emulate, to take the place of. So it is no surprise that when a life stands between her and what she wants, she doesn’t hesitate. Just as the Master didn’t hesitate when village children became an inconvenience to him.
It is interesting that we never see Jill react to that event. We hear Jack’s perspective of it, and we even see Mary flash back to a similar event, but we never get to see what Jill thinks of the mass murder of her own friends. The most likely interpretation is that she reasoned it away somehow, coming to believe that they weren’t worth her attention, that she was above them and deserved to die.
And then we have Jack:
Sparing Jack had never been his goal… But there was preparing her for the future, and then there was being cruel. He was perfectly happy to do the former. He would never do the latter. Not if he could help it.
Jack is Dr. Bleak’s student. When she saves Jill, it is a natural outcome of what he has taught her. It is a natural follow on from Jack interacting with Alexis and her family, with working with the village women to find a way to not smell of blood, with being friendly, and kind, and able to empathise. She represents the extreme of what happens when you see people as full people, not just as one facet of themselves: she saves a murderer. She looks at a murderer and sees her sister, someone vulnerable and in need of protection.
She is also Gemma Lou’s granddaughter, and remembers her grandmother’s teachings in that moment. From the beginning of their lives, both twins have had different role models to follow. Their differences stem not just from who they are but who had the greatest influence upon them. Now that they have grown, they can make their own choices, and oh, what choices they be!
Now it is time for consequences.