Study Guide

Vampire Academy Transformation

By Richelle Mead

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You might have more speed and strength than a Moroi or a human, but you are nothing, nothing, compared to a Strigoi. They are deadly, and they are powerful. (3.70)

Here we learn that Strigoi are actually just Morois transformed into super strong, resilient fighting machines. Isn't it interesting that the enemy is really just another version of the protected race?

"No one wants to waste the bond—but no one's going to give her an inadequate guardian either. If you want to be with her, then you need to work for it. You have your lessons. You have me. Use us or don't. You're an ideal choice to guard Vasilisa when you both graduate—if you can prove you're worthy. I hope you will." (3.94)

Dimitri warns Rose that she better shape up or ship out—she can't keep fooling around and ditching school if she wants to be an awesome guardian to Lissa. His words surprise her; for all she knew, she was being a kick-butt guardian.

I didn't realize until that moment how badly I did want to learn, how I wanted to prove myself to him, to Lissa, and to everyone else. The fox incident had made me feel powerless, and I didn't like that. I wanted to do something, anything. (7.70)

At this point, Rose decides that she wants to train herself to become something else—a strong, powerful fighter who can protect Morois against Strigoi. Her transformation into what she wants to be starts at this moment, when she dedicates her time and energy to training instead of to boys and booze.

I didn't stay to chat with Lissa after school like I usually did. Dimitri had stuck to his promise about extra trainings, and I was trying to stick to mine. I now had two additional hours of practice with him, one before and one after school. The more I watched him in action, the more I understood the badass-god reputation. He clearly knew a lot—his six molnija marks proved as much—and I burned to have him teach me what he knew. (11.13)

Check out how she describes it—she burned to learn from Dimitri. This isn't the same chick who drank peach schnapps in the woods or made out with Jesse while she was supposed to be on house arrest; this is a mini-warrior. We might even call her a guardian.

"People change. We're always changing, right? You aren't the same as you were then. I'm not the same as I was then." (11.64)

Natalie might be geeky, but she's good at comforting Lissa after the queen snubs her in front of everyone. And the thing is, Natalie is right—people can change if they want to, and Lissa can to. We also get our first hint from Natalie that she knows more than she's letting on. Just think—she's not the same as before, because now she's in cahoots with daddy dearest.

"I know your character. I know you're going to be a great guardian." (13.90)

Transformation complete. Dimitri has complete faith in Rose, and she's floored. She's gone from being known as a blood whore with a nasty right hook and a penchant for sassy remarks to a responsible, selfless guardian, willing to risk it all for her Moroi. If that's not a transformation, we don't know what is.

Black. Angry. Merciless. Startling feelings to be coming from sweet and steady Lissa. I'd known her since kindergarten, but in that moment, I barely knew her. (15.92)

The night Rose watches Lissa hypnotize Wade because he brought a feeder to the party and let everyone take turns sucking on her blood, Rose is astonished to encounter dark qualities in her friend. Not all transformations are permanent—some happen for a particular moment.

"It comes from you, from your own essence. To heal another, you must give part of yourself. The more you do that, the more it will destroy you over time. You must be noticing that already. I've seen how much certain things upset you, how fragile you are." (22.39)

Leave it to Victor to explain: Lissa's spirit element transforms her from alive and well to down in the dumps and weak. No wonder she's so emotional and depressed all the time—her magic is literally sucking the life from her.

"You have a greater sense of life and the world—far greater than even I have—even if you don't realize it. You should have stayed dead. Vasilisa brushed Death to bring you back and bound you to her forever. You were actually in its embrace, and some part of you will always remember that, always fight to cling to life and experience all it has. That's why you're so reckless in the things you do. You don't hold back your feelings, your passion, your anger. It makes you remarkable. It makes you dangerous." (23.67)

… or maybe that's what makes her a remarkable guardian. Rose is willing to take risks and do things other people her own age won't, like escape the Academy with Lissa. Her brush with death transformed her entire worldview. We might not see the before, but we definitely see the results of this transformation throughout the book.

"The greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly, hidden in the shadows." (23.71)

Victor wants to transform society, not just himself or the academy. We're betting this isn't the last we'll see of Victor in the series, but we also think this comment is worth discussing on its own. He hints that a revolution is already underway—but it's happening in secret, behind closed doors so no one suspects it. Do you think this is true for individuals too, though? Do our transformations begin quietly within ourselves first?

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