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#1
Old 09-02-2009, 07:34 PM
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Let the Right One In (book) (spoilers)

I just finished reading it, and was wondering if anyone else had read it? I liked it a lot, though I had some questions.

So...Eli is really a boy who had been...castrated? (I gathered from that flashback sequence that someone had cut his penis off.) Which would explain why Hakan was so attracted to Eli--he was mostly into little boys. But Eli looked so feminine, apparently.

Also, at the end, Oskar's not a vampire, is he? I just figured the two were running off together. I felt happy at the end, though I guess if you think about it, isn't it just going to turn into another Hakan/Eli situation?
#2
Old 09-02-2009, 07:52 PM
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I finished it a month ago. I read it after seeing the movie and I also loved it.

I'm positive Eli was a castrated boy. This is only implied in the movie but it's pretty explicit in the book.

Oskar wasn't a vampire at the end. I think you're right that she was grooming him to be her next Hakan. At that point he was emotionally dependant on her. (Perhaps I should put she and her in quotes.)

One interesting thing stated in the book is that there were very few vampires as most people killed themselves rather than live as a vampire. Virginia's story was pretty harrowing. The only people who stayed as vampires were a few sociopaths and one confused castrated boy. I liked that Eli was an unapologetic mass murderer and basically evil, but she did care for Oscar and it was possible to feel some sympathy for her.
#3
Old 09-02-2009, 08:01 PM
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Who was it who castrated Eli and why? From googling, it seems vampire hunters. Just seems an odd choice, instead of the old stake through the heart.

Also, maybe I'm expecting too much realism from a book, but why does everyone get so surprised to learn Eli was a boy? Are most pubescent males that androgynous? The book makes a point of saying how cute and attractive Eli is when "she" has fed. And at least one person who sees "her" (I think Virginia?) thinks she's the most beautiful female child she's ever seen, right before the attack.

I thought that part about the vampires nearly all killing themselves was interesting. After all, they were quite monstrous. And man, I think that image of Hakan as a mindless zombie-like vampire will give me some serious nightmares tonight.

ETA: I also liked how Eli asked Oskar if he wanted to be a vampire and he pretty much has to say no, and Eli's like, "Yeah, I didn't think so." Nice contrast to, "Oh, Edward, please make me a beautiful, sparkly 'pire!"

Last edited by Freudian Slit; 09-02-2009 at 08:02 PM.
#4
Old 09-02-2009, 08:07 PM
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I think it was a vampire who castrated Eli and turned him. I'll check in the book. I recall it's a little ambiguous what happened but I think the only way you become a vampire is when you're turned by a vampire. I'm pretty sure the nobleman was a vampire who for some reason turned Eli rather than killing him outright.

Zombie vamp Hakan was pretty scary. I wish he'd been in the movie.

It's definitely the anti-Twilight. Vampires are evil, though Eli has her sympathetic side. But the book doesn't let you forget she's a murderer. I don't think there's an animal blood option, or else she would have taken it when she was starving.
#5
Old 09-03-2009, 02:58 AM
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Eli was definitely a boy. I thought it was interesting how even after that was revealed, he still preferred to be seen as a girl. When told to pick something out of Oskar's closet to wear, he finds an old dress instead. There's definitely some confusion there. ( I don't remember this being implied in the movie. I know there's a very brief crotch shot, but I thought for sure it was a vagina. I interpreted Oskar's reaction as just the typical response of a pubescent boy seeing his first female nudity.)
How is Eli pronounced? With a long e? I honestly can't remember from the movie. If it is with a long e, that's a big hint to Americans that she is a he.

The scariest thing about Hakan was that he never died. Even at the end, when he's just a mashed up pulp of flesh, something's still keeping him alive. I don't think that poor little town has seen the last of its troubles.
#6
Old 09-03-2009, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by justafriend View Post
How is Eli pronounced? With a long e? I honestly can't remember from the movie. If it is with a long e, that's a big hint to Americans that she is a he.
It was pronounced like Elly in the movie.

So what's the deal with Hakan in the book? Zombie? I've only seen the movie.
#7
Old 09-03-2009, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
Who was it who castrated Eli and why? From googling, it seems vampire hunters. Just seems an odd choice, instead of the old stake through the heart.
Googling let you down here. According to the novel, Eli was castrated by the Lord of the land his family lived on, 200 years ago, in the ritual that made him into a vampire.

As to how to pronounce "Eli", in the movie, when Oskar asks her name, her reply sounds like "Eli" with a long "L" sound. Oskar repeats the name as a question and uses the pronunciation with a long "E" sound. To my ears anyway.

Also, in the film, when Oskar peeks as Eli is changing into one of his Mother's dresses he briefly sees her pubic area which has a black horizontal scar. Though its very brief, it looks more like a too low cesarean scar than anything else. It doesn't look like a vagina, in that the vagina is an internal organ and is not visible at that angle.
#8
Old 09-03-2009, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by randwill View Post
Googling let you down here. According to the novel, Eli was castrated by the Lord of the land his family lived on, 200 years ago, in the ritual that made him into a vampire.
That's an odd ritual to become a vampire. Do we know why? Or are we not suppose to know?

In the book, Eli bites Hakan and sucks his blood and he dies but because his head isn't turned around, he comes back from the dead. But he's this mindless (also, pretty much faceless) zombie-vampire who just walks around killing what he encounters because he's trying to find Eli. Then Tommy runs into Hakan and beats the crap out of him. He's on the ground when the police get there and he's still twitching a little, despite the beating.

ETA: Zombie Hakan also has a boner all throughout. Shudder.

Last edited by Freudian Slit; 09-03-2009 at 11:43 AM.
#9
Old 09-03-2009, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
That's an odd ritual to become a vampire. Do we know why? Or are we not suppose to know?
I don't know of any other vampire fiction that details such a ritual. I'd guess that author John Ajvide Lindqvist intended this to be a particular perversion of the vampire Lord who infected Eli and not an all encompassing addition to vampire lore.

On the other hand, speaking of vampire lore, the novel and film is supposedly the first time the consequences of a vampire violating the 'invitation rule' has been depicted.
#10
Old 09-03-2009, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by randwill View Post
I don't know of any other vampire fiction that details such a ritual. I'd guess that author John Ajvide Lindqvist intended this to be a particular perversion of the vampire Lord who infected Eli and not an all encompassing addition to vampire lore.
Cool. Any thoughts on why Eli made such a good girl? I would think that most guys who were castrated, even at that young an age, would still look like boys.
Quote:
On the other hand, speaking of vampire lore, the novel and film is supposedly the first time the consequences of a vampire violating the 'invitation rule' has been depicted.
Yeah, that was disturbing. All the description of what it was like to violate the rules were (the way Virginia felt when she went out into the sun before she realized what was wrong with her, the feeling of being weak from not eating because of how repulsive the way of getting said blood is, the invitation rule violation). It definitely didn't have the feel of, "Look, being a vampire is COOL!" that so many others had. I mean, yes, there was the strength but there were so many extreme limitations.

I liked that it could give a vampire POV but not have it be, "Ooh, isn't it awesome?"
#11
Old 09-03-2009, 05:06 PM
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Haven't read the book, but saw the movie two weeks ago on Netflix's site, and was TOTALLY ROCKED!

According to wikipedia, some flashback scenes of how Eli was castrated & vampirised were filmed but not used.

I get the idea the vampire-lord was supposed to be some Gilles-de-Rais type.

I preferred that the movie did not explain Hakan. I like the possibility that about 50 years ago, a lonely bullied pre-teen Hakan met & fell for Eli, and so it went.

As for Oskar being the new Hakan, though? I can't see Oskar ever being the type to just kill innocent bystanders for Eli. Maybe if he went into a line of work giving him access to blood supplies? Medical or mortuary?

I gotta love any movie where a scene of
SPOILER:
decapitated & dismembered kids
makes me smile.

I am thinking that I gots to get my hands on that book.
#12
Old 09-03-2009, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
Cool. Any thoughts on why Eli made such a good girl? I would think that most guys who were castrated, even at that young an age, would still look like boys.
Apparently Elias was just a very feminine looking 12 year-old boy. I would speculate that he choose to live as a girl to make himself appear more sympathetic to victims or anyone else he had to deal with to get something he needed.

The forum for the film at the Internet Movie Data Base is very active with 15 pages of discussion by very rabid fans (and a few detractors) who, since the film's release, have analyzed nearly every conceivable aspect of the film and much of the novel. You might want to check over there if the film and the story interests you.

http://imdb.com/title/tt1139797/board

Last edited by randwill; 09-03-2009 at 05:14 PM. Reason: spelling
#13
Old 09-03-2009, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FriarTed View Post
I preferred that the movie did not explain Hakan. I like the possibility that about 50 years ago, a lonely bullied pre-teen Hakan met & fell for Eli, and so it went.
That's a cool idea. Yeah, the book definitely did explain. He was drinking a lot and had lost his job and I think also had been in jail for pedophilia. (They make it VERY clear that Hakan's a pedo, for boys.) Then one day Eli came to him and sat down and said something like, "You're going to stop drinking and you're going to live with me," and that was that.

Quote:
As for Oskar being the new Hakan, though? I can't see Oskar ever being the type to just kill innocent bystanders for Eli. Maybe if he went into a line of work giving him access to blood supplies? Medical or mortuary?
I can't see Oskar killing anyone for her...but I'm sure Hakan never thought he could when he started. He hated doing it, and only did it because he loved Eli so much. I think that Oskar could be manipulated. After all, since Eli killed for him, he was probably in her debt to some degree.

ETA: Thanks, randwill, will do so. Sometimes I'm a bit wary of IMDb boards, though. They're not quite the SDMB to put it mildly.

Last edited by Freudian Slit; 09-03-2009 at 05:16 PM.
#14
Old 09-03-2009, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
I can't see Oskar killing anyone for her...but I'm sure Hakan never thought he could when he started. He hated doing it, and only did it because he loved Eli so much. I think that Oskar could be manipulated. After all, since Eli killed for him, he was probably in her debt to some degree.
In the movie, Oskar is portrayed as a deeply screwed-up kid who's close to killing people just for the hell of it. Doesn't seem at all a stretch that he'd kill for Eli.
#15
Old 09-03-2009, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Excellent View Post
In the movie, Oskar is portrayed as a deeply screwed-up kid who's close to killing people just for the hell of it. Doesn't seem at all a stretch that he'd kill for Eli.
True. I forgot about that part on the ice.

Plus he sort of tries to burn down the school at the end...

With a little nudge from Eli, he could be Hakan redux!

Plus in the book, he's not as elfin/effeminate looking the way he was in the movie. (Haven't seen it, but that's what I have been told/what I've seen in pics.) Book Oskar is overweight and not nearly so cute. It's not such a stretch to see him one day becoming like Hakan.
#16
Old 09-03-2009, 06:24 PM
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Did the book explain what was going on with Oskar and his father? I've only seen the movie once, and my quick impression was that Oskar's father was a drunk who cared more about drinking than he did about Oskar. Is that it?
#17
Old 09-03-2009, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
ETA: Thanks, randwill, will do so. Sometimes I'm a bit wary of IMDb boards, though. They're not quite the SDMB to put it mildly.
That's for sure. And some young troublemakers do turn up on the IMBD LTROI forum. But the bulk of the conversation is very enlightening and entertaining and at least one member of the film's production team (andreas-263, who worked on some of the CGI shots) pops in from time to time with some juicy behind the scenes information.
#18
Old 09-03-2009, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by AuntiePam View Post
Did the book explain what was going on with Oskar and his father? I've only seen the movie once, and my quick impression was that Oskar's father was a drunk who cared more about drinking than he did about Oskar. Is that it?
I think that was the same deal in the book. There's only one bit with the dad. Oskar goes to spend the night with his father and he's also kind of hoping his father will ask him about the incident where he hit the bully on the ice. (His mother sort of hints that he should talk to his dad.) Then they start playing tic tac toe at night and Oskar's really hoping the dad will bring it up at some point. But his dad's friend comes in, they start drinking, and Oskar feels pretty left out. So he just leaves, calling his dad and telling him that he's left, and then spends the night with Eli.

I read somewhere that in the movie, his dad's gay but I don't think he was in the book. I guess the main deal was his father just didn't really care about him. No one really understood him, except Eli. And possibly Mr. Avila, the PE teacher.
#19
Old 09-03-2009, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
I read somewhere that in the movie, his dad's gay but I don't think he was in the book. I guess the main deal was his father just didn't really care about him. No one really understood him, except Eli. And possibly Mr. Avila, the PE teacher.
There is nothing in the movie that indicates that Oskar's dad is gay. Some viewers get a 'gay vibe' from the looks the two men exchange. But the screenwriter and the director have said that is not what they intended and were surprised that anyone (mostly Americans) thought that the men were anything but hard-core alcoholic drinking buddies.
#20
Old 09-03-2009, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by randwill View Post
There is nothing in the movie that indicates that Oskar's dad is gay. Some viewers get a 'gay vibe' from the looks the two men exchange. But the screenwriter and the director have said that is not what they intended and were surprised that anyone (mostly Americans) thought that the men were anything but hard-core alcoholic drinking buddies.
Sorrowful drinking buddies was how I interpreted it when I read it, too. Like the dad's clearly an alcoholic and while he enjoys playing with his son, it's a pretty superficial relationship. He'll hang out with Oskar but he's not going to do any real parenting, like really deal with what's wrong in his son's life. And when alcohol is available, that's what his main focus is. And sure, he'll get maudlin and cry about being a shitty father, but he's not going to try to change.

But then when I was googling for movie reviews/info on the book or book, I found people talking about the dad's homosexuality and started wondering if something went way way way over my head.
#21
Old 09-03-2009, 09:23 PM
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The meaningful look exchanged between Oskar's father and his buddy is entirely inspired by the bottle coming out, and all they need to do to upset Oskar is fill and refill their glasses. You've got to dig pretty deep to read a gay subtext into it.

I personally prefer the movie to the novel, as there are more things kept ambiguous in the movie, which makes the sudden shocks more powerful. I don't think that Eli has any scruples about killing any person other than Oskar (who she forces herself not to attack when he cuts himself), but she's definitely drawn to him because of the violence bubbling under his surface ("Scream! Scream like a pig!"). The scene where she tells him to fight back brutally against the bullies is a thing of beauty in how it shows how that she cultivates that violence, but it's framed in a way that seems like a typical 'be a man; defend yourself' sort of lecture (also represented in a nice way by Mr Avila).
#22
Old 09-03-2009, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Junior Spaceman View Post

I personally prefer the movie to the novel, as there are more things kept ambiguous in the movie, which makes the sudden shocks more powerful. I don't think that Eli has any scruples about killing any person other than Oskar (who she forces herself not to attack when he cuts himself), but she's definitely drawn to him because of the violence bubbling under his surface ("Scream! Scream like a pig!"). The scene where she tells him to fight back brutally against the bullies is a thing of beauty in how it shows how that she cultivates that violence, but it's framed in a way that seems like a typical 'be a man; defend yourself' sort of lecture (also represented in a nice way by Mr Avila).
Yeah, I think Mr. Avila genuinely wanted him to be a man. Eli seems like that's what she wants, but really she just wants blood. I don't think she's really capable of instructing him, since she's only 12. Well, despite really being 200. Mr. Avila was a cool seeming father figure. I liked him a lot in the book--and Oskar definitely was a kid in need of some genuine guidance. And just plain understanding and compassion, which I don't think he was going to get from Eli at any rate.

Last edited by Freudian Slit; 09-03-2009 at 11:26 PM.
#23
Old 09-10-2009, 02:14 AM
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Those of you who have seen the film, was there a subtitles issue? I heard that there's one version that's really badly titled. Is the one on Netflix okay? I want to see it but I want to make sure I'm seeing it properly.
#24
Old 09-10-2009, 08:59 AM
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I'm not sure about the discs they send out, but the version on Watch it Now has the good subtitles. I would assume the discs would, as well, but you never know.
#25
Old 09-10-2009, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
Those of you who have seen the film, was there a subtitles issue? I heard that there's one version that's really badly titled. Is the one on Netflix okay? I want to see it but I want to make sure I'm seeing it properly.
Here's the low-down on the bad subtitles that are on the original US DVD release:

http://iconsoffright.com/news/2009/0...les_in_to.html

Here's an update on the re-release of the US DVD with the correct subtitles:

http://iconsoffright.com/news/2009/0...subtitles.html

If buying the DVD, look for the words, "SUBTITLES: ENGLISH (Theatrical), SPANISH" in a box on the back of the DVD case.

Whatever you do, don't watch the film with the English language dub. It's terrible and for some reason is the default when you start the DVD. You have to go into Set Up and change it to the Swedish language soundtrack. Those who have only seen the film with the English language dub haven't really seen the film that the director and the actors made.
#26
Old 09-10-2009, 11:34 AM
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Thanks, randwill and interface. I'll probably end up doing the watch now option on Netflix since that seems safest.

I won't do the dub. I hate them in general anyway.

Last edited by Freudian Slit; 09-10-2009 at 11:34 AM.
#27
Old 09-10-2009, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by randwill View Post
On the other hand, speaking of vampire lore, the novel and film is supposedly the first time the consequences of a vampire violating the 'invitation rule' has been depicted.
My interest is piqued, what were the consequences?

Thanks
#28
Old 09-10-2009, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Disposable Hero View Post
My interest is piqued, what were the consequences?
The vampire starts bleeding from pretty much every pore of their body.
#29
Old 09-10-2009, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
The vampire starts bleeding from pretty much every pore of their body.
Oh....nice!
#30
Old 09-10-2009, 07:04 PM
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If anyone's wondering, the version available in Australia has the proper subtitles.
#31
Old 09-10-2009, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by interface2x View Post
I'm not sure about the discs they send out, but the version on Watch it Now has the good subtitles. I would assume the discs would, as well, but you never know.
Actually we watched it on disc from Netflix last week and based on the information in the other threads on this board it had the bad sub-titles (the one example I remember being what Hakan said in the gym... something about being trapped... which was not a very good translation?).
#32
Old 09-10-2009, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Jas09 View Post
Actually we watched it on disc from Netflix last week and based on the information in the other threads on this board it had the bad sub-titles (the one example I remember being what Hakan said in the gym... something about being trapped... which was not a very good translation?).
Yeah, that's the stupidest of the mistranslations. He clearly says, "Eli", but the subtitle reads, "I'm trapped."
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