The Host: Filming to Start Soon, Sequels on the Way

Twilight expert and HogPro adjunct faculty member (only ‘adjunct’ until we can find the extra keys to the Admin Loo here) James, web master at, has written today about Stephenie Meyer’s latest film and book projects, both being adaptations or extensions of her sci-fi book, The Host. Yes, They are Making “The Host” into a Movie, and It is Part of a 3-Book/Film series.

I learned a lot there and encourage you to read the whole bit but here was the meat for this carnivore:

I assume that Stephenie is producing, and that the film will wind up at Summit, but I don’t know that.  And with the Summit studio itself in play and up for sale, things may change.

But what should prove interesting is that Niccol is known for these very overt metaphorical films. Incredibly so.  And we know Stephenie is loathe to defend, or even discuss, her works’ along those lines, even when the symbology is quite straightforward.
I’m with James in thinking the metaphors in play in Mrs. Meyer’s books, especially those involving spiritual takeovers, cults, and the place of women in both resisting and propogating this sort of thing, is a huge part of what her Twilight books, especially Bree Tanner, and her first Host novel are all about. For that, be sure to read Why Repress Discussion of Mormon Content in Twilight? Mrs. Meyer’s Anti-Cult Feminism or just The Host paragraphs excerpted from that longer post here:

Anti-Cult Dramas: The Host and Bree Tanner

The last three books Mrs. Meyer has written, then, are Eclipse, The Host, and Bree Tanner. I’ve already touched on the step-away-from-Edward qualities of Eclipse and the plea from Rosalie Hale not to choose the life of a vampire at the cost of her humanity, and, more specifically, of her life as a woman. Leah’s extinction as a woman because of the demands of her heritage and community mirror Rosalie’s message to Bella. In The Host and Bree Tanner, this don’t-sacrifice-your-life-as-a-woman all but explodes into an anti-cult message that is hard not to read almost as a cry of anguish or for help.

In The Host, the narrator is a Soul, an outer-space alien whose fellow creatures have invaded and taken over planet earth. They’re called ‘Souls’ because they live as the animating intelligence on the human “host” bodies they are inserted into. Usually the person inside that body disappears or surrenders to the parasitic Soul so the Soul has full control of the body; the Souls took over the planet by quietly and quickly inserting themselves into oblivious human hosts. Once inserted, each Soul used the still active memories of the previous occupant to find and subdue everyone that person knew.

Nota bene: the Souls are all non-violent, kind, loving ‘people.’ Once the violent, selfish humans have been displaced, war, disease, poverty, hunger, and all human problems end in short order.

The Soul in Meyer’s story is named the Wanderer. She is inserted into a hold-out human’s body in the hope that she would be able to track down this host’s hold-out community of unsubmissive humans. But there’s a problem. The human person, the real soul of this host, Melanie Stryder, refuses to disappear or co-operate. Without giving away too much of the story if you haven’t read it, Wanderer winds up being transformed by the memories, love, and desires of Melanie and living in a cave-dwelling secret society of surviving humans sans alien Souls. Most of the book takes place in this group’s caves.

If you don’t want to know how The Host ends or what it means before you’ve read it, stop reading here and scroll down five paragraphs.

As you might guess from the initials and syllable count, Melanie Stryder is Stephenie Meyer in mirror reflection. The Souls are Latter-day Saints and their perfect civilization consequent to vanquishing humanity the much-anticipated Mormon Zion, the paradise that is gentile-free. The conflict between Melanie and Wanderer is the one experienced in every Mormon woman between her LDS identity with community, call it her “conscience,” and her repressed individual desires, needs, and abilities.

The world of The Host is an inversion of America as it is today, in which the Latter-day Saints live on islands in an alien-occupied, hostile world. In Wanderer’s utopia (dystopia?), the Soul/Saints are in charge and the gentiles are on the run. In a fascinating twist, though, Wanderer-controlled-Melanie winds up in a gentile/human community living in a cave, in which cavern cult she is treated as a pariah and prisoner for having imprisoned Melanie, her repressed human host. Wanderer eventually frees Melanie in an act of loving self-sacrifice (what else?).

The Mormon Soul yields to the human woman displaced and suppressed by the inhuman righteousness of a Conscience that is a parasite. The story ends with the hope that Souls and the few human beings left can learn to live in peace with one another — meaning Soul-Mormons learn to respect for human-gentiles as more than body-hosts for Mormon-Souls to take over.

In brief, lest this already too long post become a Host exposition, Mrs. Meyer was inspired to write The Host on a plane trip to Salt Lake City, the capitol of Mormonism and in a state she has sworn she “would never live” I presume because of its remarkable LDS orthodoxy. It is the story of Melanie Stryder/Stephenie Meyer, a Mormon woman’s life as a prisoner to the Soul of her community and how she escapes from her narrow identity as a possessed person to be a human woman again.

The Twilight Saga can be read as an apotheosis drama (which it is) and, on a more mundane plain, the wish-fulfillment fantasy of a woman who wants more than anything else to open her mind to her husband and savior. The Host, too, is a profound allegory — whenever you’re in a story cave, think Plato, right? — but it also, alas, is another impossible wish-fulfillment fantasy. Here Mrs. Meyer is writing the story of her escape from Zion to regain her life as a woman, a life in which she can express her gifts and talents without restriction or repression.

How is Mrs. Meyer going to bring that story to film without her liberationist and anti-cult story content coming up in conversation with media again and again? Beats me! Your thoughts are welcome —

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