Macon Melchizedek Ravenwood is Gatlin's creepy shut-in. Rumors swirl around the town about who—or what—he really is. But as Ethan gets acquainted with him, we learn that…well, he's still a creepy-shut in. But he has his reasons!
Here's the deal: Macon is an Incubus (i.e., a kind of weird dream-eating demon). All this guy really cares about are Lena and her safety. Even when he feels the fear of uncertainty stinging clear. You might even say that whatever tomorrow brings, he'll be there for her. With open arms and open eyes. He has her best interests in mind, even if his parenting strategy may not be the most effective.
It's hard to imagine, but Macon didn't just pop into existence. He had to have been young once, with a mother and father. We don't get to learn too much about Macon's family history, but we do get a glimpse of his family tree. His great-great-great-grandfather, Abraham Ravenwood, was around during the Civil War. Rumor has it that Abraham Ravenwood "musta made a deal with the Devil" (9.12.97) to keep Ravenwood from burning when the Union soldiers marched in. Maybe just as Lena is fighting against the sins of her ancestors, Macon is fighting against the sins of his.
Keeping Up Appearances
Before we ever see Macon, we hear a lot about him: "Old Man Ravenwood made Boo Radley look like a social butterfly" (9.02.57). Woo! To Kill a Mockingbird shout-out! And if we learned anything from Boo Radley, it's that the boogeyman is rarely the one you should actually be afraid of.
But alas, people are afraid of him and, as frightened people tend to do, they spread rumors about the poor guy. Emily Asher even suggests that he's having an incestuous relationship with his niece Lena. Or, ooh, maybe he's a vampire! These kids get creative.
Macon's not either of those things, but he's not exactly warm and welcoming either. And he doesn't give two plops about what the townsfolk of Gatlin think about him. He uses his impeccable vocabulary to describe certain residents as "a pack of angry housewives with pedigrees that couldn't rival [his dog's]" (9.14.209) and their garishly dressed daughters as a "little collection of marionettes, dressed like […] unicorns" (12.16.134). Hah, we kind of like him.
He's a snazzy dresser, too (although we're not sure what kind of fashion statement his nightgown makes). But being a chic, witty, Southern gentleman doesn't explain things like the fact that rain doesn't seem to touch him, that he might be able to teleport, and that he never eats real food. We have to wonder if dust ever settles on his clothes, or if it scurries away at the mere sight of him.
Speaking of sight, we're not sure if Macon is blind or not. Ethan observes that "his eyes were dark and gleaming; they looked almost black. They were clouded over, tinted, like the glass of the hearse windows. [...] There was no seeing into those eyes, no reflection" (9.14.189). Maybe Macon is seeing things differently than we do, watching us all on some ethereal plane. Sure enough, we find out much later that Boo Radley, Macon's dog, is his ultimate seeing-eye dog.
Our favorite Incubus doesn't seem to eat real food. Instead, he eats dreams. Yep, dreams. Ethan learns this fun fact when he wakes up one night and finds Macon at the foot of his bed. Even though Macon is an Incubus, he's not a Blood Incubus like his brother. Well, phew—Blood Incubus just sounds terrible. But both he and his brother, Hunting, are Lilum, "those who dwell in Absolute Darkness" (2.04.51). So that explains why he doesn't go out in the daylight.
Macon believes he's more highly evolved than the Blood Incubus because he eats dreams, "something [humans] don't even need" (2.04.51). Wait a second, who is he to say that we don't need dreams? We might not need dreams to live in the same way we need oxygen or blood, but we still need dreams to, well, live.
That's one problem we have with Macon. He's a little presumptuous. He feels like he, and he alone, gets to decide what's best for everyone else. Using his sole judgment, he tries to control those around him. Not cool, M.
Speaking of controlling people, how about Macon's relationship with Lena? Yikes, right? Most of this control comes from keeping important knowledge to himself. Getting information from him is like trying to get answers at the DMV. You only find out what the powers that be want you to know.
Let's see: Macon doesn't tell Lena that her mom is really alive. (Strike one.) He selectively siphons Ethan's dreams to keep him from knowing the end, because it has something to do with Lena. (Strike two.) And he doesn't tell Lena that she actually does have a choice when she is Claimed. (Big whopping strike three.)
Lena spends months agonizing over the Claiming, not knowing if she's going to be Light or Dark, when all along, she could have known she had a choice. But once again, Macon has his reasons. He knows that if Lena chose light, he would die—if she knew this, she'd probably do the martyr-ish thing and go Dark, and Macon doesn't want that. Man, these two just need to be a little less selfless.
Macon was born a Lilum, a Dark creature, but as he tells Amma, "I've fought what I was destined to be. I fight it every night of my life" (2.04.70). Why doesn't he give Lena the same choice to fight her fate? What would you have done in Macon's position?
We've been talking about Macon for a while now, but we've pretty much avoided using his middle name. Only Amma addresses him as Melchizedek. It's really hard to pronounce, too. As one of Lena's classmates puts it, "It's that creepy Bible name nobody uses anymore" (9.12.68).
But why give him this crazy name? Well, the Melchizedek from the Bible is often seen as a Christ figure. While Macon doesn't seem to be a deity in Beautiful Creatures, it's important to remember that Jesus did do that whole resurrection thing. We know that Caster death isn't always permanent, so we wouldn't be surprised to see Macon return in some form or fashion later in the series. We shall see.