Midnighters trilogy

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The Midnighters Trilogy is a science-fiction fantasy series written by Scott Westerfeld. It was published by Eos in 2004. It comprises three books; The Secret Hour, Touching Darkness and Blue Noon. Over the course of the trilogy Jessica encounters other Midnighters with whom she allies herself. The protagonists in the trilogy are the eponymous Midnighters Desdemona (referred to as Dess), Rex, Jonathan, and Melissa. The antagonists of the series are Darklings and Slithers, dangerous and powerful beings that created and live in the Blue Hour.

The Midnighters[edit]

In the Midnighters Trilogy, individuals born at midnight are able to live within the Blue Time while in Bixby, Oklahoma. These individuals are referred to as "Midnighters". As well as the ability to travel within the Blue Time, each Midnighter is gifted with super-human abilities. It is implied in Blue Noon that a Midnighter's power will not work outside of Bixby, however this remains unconfirmed, as none of the Midnighters leave the town during the course of the trilogy. Alongside their superhuman abilities comes the disadvantage of being highly sensitive to intense light.`

In The Secret Hour, it is revealed that prior to the current generation of Midnighters, there used to be a large collective of Midnighters who, for all intents and purposes, ran the small town of Bixby in an attempt to protect it from the Darklings. Rex manages to deduce this from both historical accounts and "The Lore", notes made by previous Midnighters. However approximately fifty years before the beginning of the book the lore ceased to be updated for unknown reasons. The disappearance of the previous generation of Midnighters remains a mystery until the second book Touching Darkness.

The Midnighters Trilogy features five main protagonists, all of whom are Midnighters. Despite all possessing the ability to pass into the Blue Time, they do not always work together - resulting from personal conflicts between members.


Jessica Day[edit]

For the majority of The Secret Hour, Jessica's ability is unknown. At the conclusion of the novel, it is revealed that Jessica is a "flame bringer", a rare talent that allows her to create fire and use electrical devices during the Blue Time. This makes her a valuable addition to the team, as she can use this ability to be a formidable opponent against the darklings, who fear light, fire and technology. Her first use of this power was a flashlight initially named Serendipitous. As both fire and technology can be used outside the blue time, Jessica's power is effectively useless in regular-time. (However, she is the only one who does not suffer adverse effects from being in daylight; Rex is effectively blind, Dess becomes photophobic, Melissa is plagued by the thoughts of humanity, and Jonathan must constantly shift between low and normal gravity)

At the climax of Blue Noon, Jessica uses her ability to harness the power of a lightning bolt to fight the Darklings. While this proves effective, wiping out the majority of the Darklings, it also has the side-effect of trapping Jessica within the Blue Hour.

Jessica is in a romantic relationship with Jonathan.

Jessica has red hair and green eyes. She is on the cover of The Secret Hour, the first book in the trilogy.

Desdemona ("Dess")[edit]

Desdemona, called Dess for short, is a polymath, which in these books means that she has an inherent aptitude for mathematics, not the usual definition of polymath. Her skill with numbers is seemingly unparalleled. In the books, it is even suggested that ability is so extensive that she can process mathematical data at a greater rate than even a regular computer. Throughout the series she uses this ability to deduce the "shape" of the Blue Time, allowing her to predict abnormalities in the fabric of time and space within midnight. Along with her skill at mathematics, she is also easily able to locate and identify thirteen letter words. As a result, she is the group's expert on anti-darkling defence and weaponry. Dess' power is useful in both the Blue Time and regular time. Dess has dark brown hair and eyes, with olive skin.

She is the only Midnighter who is not dating someone, and although bothered by it, it doesn’t consume her.

Dess has an extreme dislike for Mindcaster, Melissa, whom she thinks to be manipulative, nasty and bordering insane. In the epilogue,she acknowledges that her hatred towards Melissa has 'evaporated'.

Rex Greene[edit]

Rex is the only natural born midnighter in the group, a Seer, and can read the lore, which is the history of all Midnighters in Bixby. During the day he wears glasses. Without them he can see the other midnighters and anything touched by Darklings or slithers in a strange focus, while everything else is blurry. Rex loses his need for glasses at the end of "Touching Darkness", after the Darklings turn him into one of them, making him able to go without them during "Blue Noon". He is the self-imposed leader of the group because he is the seer and he enjoys being in control.

After Rex is changed into a Halfling, he begins to struggle with the Darkling forces inside of him. When he returns to school he begins to view his classmates as prey, noting that they look “delicious”. Rex also finds himself hating and being incredibly uncomfortable around all human things and often describes things made by humans as “clever”.

Melissa is his best and oldest friend, and he has known her since age eight.

Over the course of the series, Rex and Melissa develop a romantic relationship.

Jonathan Martinez[edit]

Jonathan is an acrobat. During the Blue Time, Jonathan's personal gravity is reduced, increasing his jumping distance dramatically. Jonathan enjoys the freedom this allows him and, in turn, dislikes regular time. By making physical contact, Jonathan is able to share the effects of reduced gravity with both people and objects. Unlike the powers of Dess, Rex and Melissa, Jonathan's acrobatic skills only function during the Blue Time. Because of this his movement back into real time is more physically intense, as he must readjust to regular gravity.

He is constantly in trouble with the police and has spent a weekend in police custody after being caught during curfew hours with Jessica. His father has also been to jail, though the specifics are left untold.

Before the events of The Secret Hour, Jonathan rarely associates with any of the other Midnighters, due to a personality conflict with Rex.

Over the course of the series Jonathan develops a romantic relationship with Jessica.

Melissa[edit]

Melissa has the ability of "Mindcasting". As a mindcaster, she has the powers of telepathy and mental manipulation, which are active both in and out of the Blue Time. She likens the sensation of mind reading to the sense of taste, associating certain behaviours, moods and thoughts with particular tastes. For most of her life this ability has proven to be problematic, as she had limited control over the thoughts that she read. This inability to control her power results in her reading the minds of all those within a certain proximity. Because of this, she often feels overwhelmed by the overpowering emotions of others. Melissa relishes her times spent in the Blue Time, as the only human thoughts she has to tolerate are those of the other Midnighters. There are a number of factors that can influence Melissa's mindcasting abilities, including but not limited to: proximity to the subject, physical contact, and wrinkles inherent within space and time.

Melissa's power of mental manipulation allows her to control the thoughts and actions of other individuals who she has touched. While it is possible for her to do this during regular time, she prefers to do so during the Blue Time, because the subject is both unaware and cannot resist.

Melissa found Rex when she was 8, running through Bixby on her bare feet and in her Cowboy PJ's. Throughout the series Rex refers to her as "Cowgirl." She refers to him as "Loverboy." Later in the series Rex and Melissa become romantically involved. Melissa then begins to let Rex touch her which allows him to enter her mind and relieve the strenuous pressure caused by the thoughts of others.

It is revealed in the last chapter of "Blue Noon" that Melissa chooses to leave Rex in Bixby while she and Jonathan go to find the new midnighters of the world.

Melissa is often referred to as rude, uncouth, untrusting and generally nasty to everyone with the exception of Rex Greene.

While all of the Midnighters, except Rex, dislike Melissa and only tolerate her because she is useful, Dess expresses the most disapproval of Melissa's cold and manipulative behaviour.

One of Melissa’s abilities is what she calls a “mind rip”. Melissa has the ability to enter someone’s psyche and force them to go insane, to the point where they cannot take care of themselves and are left completely incompetent. She once accidentally did this to Rex's father when he gave Rex beatings and let spiders (Rex's greatest fear) crawl all over him in attempt to make him a "man".

Darklings and Slithers[edit]

The darklings and slithers are ancient creatures that were once the dominant species on the planet. Darklings come in many shapes and forms, and have the power to change their physical form at will, whereas slithers are generally serpentine in nature. As humans began to grow in intelligence they hunted the darklings and slithers by exploiting their weakness to new concepts, such as mathematics and language (particularly the number "13" and words with 13 letters), light and heat, and new "technology". This technology consisted of anything crafted by humans. Stone spearheads were effective weapons against the Darklings, but as time progressed the Darklings adapted and grew immune to the effects of simpler technology. However humans continued to advance and began to forge weapons of other materials such as bronze and iron. As the balance of power began to shift in favour of humans, the Darklings created the Blue Hour to escape to by collapsing the twenty-fifth hour of the day.

At the time the novel begins, steel and other alloys, particularly newer and more advanced alloys, are the most common and effective tools used by Midnighters to combat darklings. The Midnighters use those things to defend themselves against the darklings. However, the metals they use must be untouched by darklings or slithers for them to be effective. To maximise the effectiveness of the Midnighters' weapons, they are often given names with 13 letters, or names with a number of letters equal to a multiple of 13, and are sometimes inscribed with certain patterns representing mathematical concepts. The names given to objects can only be used once, but the metal can be used several times, depending on how strong a darkling it was used against.

Setting[edit]

The Midnighters trilogy is set mainly in the town of Bixby, Oklahoma, with reference to the nearby towns of Broken Arrow and Jenks. Particular reference is made to its latitude and longitude - 36°00′00″N 96°00′00″W / 36.00000°N 96.00000°W / 36.00000; -96.00000. It is implied that the Blue Hour only occurs in Bixby and the surrounding areas because 36 (as a multiple of 12) is a number strongly associated with the Darklings, as is 96, and the digits of these numbers added together is 24, another multiple of 12. In reality Bixby, Jenks and Broken Arrow are all real towns in Oklahoma, however they are not located in the formation described in the book, and the point 36 N, 96 W, located in a backyard in a Jenks subdivision, is not where it is described as being.

Television Adaption[edit]

The rights to a Television Adaption of the Midnighters Trilogy have been optioned to The WB. Brad Kern, former Executive Producer of the TV series Charmed, has expressed an interest in helping launch a Midnighters series [1]. Despite Kern's support for the series, Scott Westerfeld has stated on his blog [2] that he is not in favour of Kern's vision of the show, which would have the Midnighters aged into their mid-to-late twenties. Apparently since then this idea was dumped according to http://addicted.informe.com/midnighters-tv-show-dt233.html

As of October 10th, 2012, the idea was once again brought up with the creators of "Chuck" - Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz. "Midnighters" has received a script commitment, meaning a script will be written. If the script is successful, a pilot will be aired. If the pilot is successful then the television show will go ahead. But, as it stands, there is only the promise of script being written. [3]

Trivia[edit]

  • Parallels can be drawn between "The Blue Hour" from the Midnighters Trilogy and "The Dark Hour" in the Atlus game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3. The Dark Hour is also a hidden hour that occurs between midnight and 12:01 A.M.
  • Jessica Day's working name was "Gillian Flood".

References[edit]

  • Westerfeld, S. (2004). The Secret Hour, London: Atom.
  • Westerfeld, S. (2004). Touching Darkness, London: Atom.
  • Westerfeld, S. (2005). Blue Noon, London: Atom.
  • *Westerfeld, S. Westerblog. Retrieved March 15, 2008, from http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/.
  • *Kern Eyes Midnighters Show, SCI FI Wire. Retrieved March 15, 2008, from http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?id=38500.
  • Scott Westerfeld's Weblog on Midnighters' names, from http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/2006/09/midnighter-names/.