|Family||Jamie Stryder (brother)|
|Job/Calling|| Jamies Caretaker (prior to Jamie joining Jeb's Rebel Cell)
- Jeb's Rebel Cell Member
|Portrayed By||Saoirse Ronan|
"Tell him. Please tell him that I love him." - Melanie to Wanderer regarding her brother, Jamie Stryder
Melanie Stryder, born to Trev Stryder and Linda Stryder, is one of the protagonists of The Host. She is of the human resistance on Earth when the invading souls came. When running away from the Seekers, she knows what would happen if she was caught and jumps down an empty elevator shaft in order to escape that fate. She does not die and her body is healed for Wanderer's insertion. However, Melanie does not lose her conscience like others before her because she was aware of what was happening before it happened, and also because she is very strong as a human. She continued to talk to Wanderer.
"Melanie has always been one of those characters that shows strength and bravery and formost freedom"
- Entry on Melanie StryderGrowing up, Melanie was an average child and nothing significant happened in her childhood. When she was 14 or 15, she realised what was happening to the human race. Uncle Jeb once came to their house and warned them of the souls taking over people's minds. He was dismissed by Melanie's dad angrily but warned Melanie of danger and told her about the lines which lead to his hiding place, as we later find out. A little while later, Melanie's dad, Trev's body was taken over by the souls and lead Seekers to their house to look for Melanie, Jamie, and their mom. They realise what had happened and escaped. Their mom wasn't so lucky. Ever since then, she and Jamie has been hiding and stealing to survive. Three years later, whilst on a raid by herself, Melanie meets Jared Howe. She had walked for 6 hours from a cave where Jamie was hiding, to the nearest civilization. She had been spying on a house that belongs to an old soul couple. They had left the house for an unknown reason, or as Melanie hoped, gone out for a night in town, since it was a Friday. Raiding the house with an empty stomach, she tried to make a quiet but hurried escape, thinking of Jamie, more hungry than she is. She runs into Jared in the house and, mistaking him for a soul, she tries to fight him. Jared, upon feeling the smooth bare skin of Melanie's neck, realises that Melanie has not been through insertion and therefore was still a human. Without thinking, he kisses her with disbelief and happiness. She jerks her leg up in an attack towards his groin, and runs away. Jared follows and quickly catches up. He forces her to see that he was still human. She is in shock but believes Jared. He kisses her again but, touching the self-inflicted scar on the back of his neck in an attempt to blend in, she screams.
How Jared reacts to the scream, she does not tell Wanderer. But it is assumed that after they kiss, Jared goes back to the house to get his bag and fill it up, and then they drive back to Jamie in Jared's jeep.The next memory Melanie throws at Wanderer happened 29 days after meeting with Jared. They arrive at Jared's cabin somewhere in the desert. Melanie is in love with Jared. In the cabin, there is only one bed and a couch. The plan was for Melanie and Jamie to share the bed, and Jared on the couch. Melanie hints at sharing the bed with Jared, and Jamie sleeping on the couch. When he thought that Melanie only asked because they are the last human man and woman on Earth and she feels obliged. She is greatly embarrased that he thought that and wishes she hadn't mentioned it at all. When Jared finally catches on, he reminds Mel that when he was stocking the cabin, birth control was the last thing on his mind. Mel realises that he was right, this was not a world where they would like to bring a child into.
A while later, Melanie sees Sharon, her cousin, on TV. They were on a raid, but the owners of the house have gone to work for the day, and so they settled down and relaxed in the house. Switching to a news channel to see the weather forecast, Mel spots Sharon by the corner of the camera by her bright red hair. She can see by her uneasiness in the crowd that Sharon is still human. She was in Chicago, and Melanie felt that she had to go find her. Setting off for Chicago by herself, she leaves Jamie with Jared after a pained departure with both.In Chicago, Melanie is ultimately caught by the Seekers when a neighbour spots her entering an old run down building, and calls the Seekers to report this unusual behaviour. They track her down and chase her. Melanie quickly writes a note for Jared that says Not fast enough. Love you love Jamie. Don't go home. A close chase follows, and Mel is trapped. In front of her is an empty elevator shaft and she jumps in, hoping to die. However, 10 days later, she wakes up in a Healing facility but her body is not hers anymore. Wanderer has been inserted. She can no longer move her own body like she used to be able to, but she is still partly in control in their mind. She can block Wanderer from seeing memories she doesn't want her to see, and she can still talk to Wanderer inside their mind. Wanderer lives her life and her Calling with Melanie's presence always there in the back of her mind. The hate they feel for each other is mutual. One night, Melanie's control over her memories slips. That day was Jamie's birthday. Mel had kept it a secret all day, afraid that Wanderer would tell the Seeker and they would hunt Jamie down. But at night, Melanie's grief took over and Wanderer dreamed one of Mel's memories. It was the first time she'd met Jared, and her memory was full of worries for Jamie. Wanderer woke up and emailed the Seeker about the existence of Jamie. Melanie could not stop her. After a few struggling days, Wanderer considers the option to skip Melanie's body and move on to a new one, while Mel would be possessed by the Seeker. They go on a road trip to Tucson, where Wanderer's first Healer lives. Wanderer wishes to get a second opinion on what she's about to do. Mel realises there is no hope left and is overcome with sorrow and grief. On the road, she fills Wanderer's mind with memories of better days with Jared and Jamie. Wanderer begins to feel sorry but does not know what to do in this situation; what other option does she have? Mel decides to trust Wanderer and tells her the secrets of Uncle Jeb's lines. They are actually the outlines of the mountains in the desert, leading to his secret hiding place. Melanie hopes that Jared has figured it out and is safe there. Wanderer considers, and since she is in love with Jared and sees Jamie as a little brother also, she agrees. Mel instructs Wanderer on what to get from the roadside shop and they start their hike. After three days, Wanderer is absolutely exhausted and all their water and food has run out. They wait to die in the desert. After nightfall, there is a sound near them, and something shakes their arm. Water pours over their face and they drink greedily. They open their eyes and see Uncle Jeb. He shines a torch in their eyes and sees the silver. He is saddened by this, but not angry. Leaving a water canteen with them, he goes off somewhere, with the promise to return.
Later, other humans come, including Sharon and Maggie. Wanderer loses control over Mel and Mel cries out to Sharon. The humans, mistaking Wanderer for a Seeker, punch her for acting. They bring Wanderer into the caves. In the caves, Melanie is satisfied and happy, even though they are being mistreated by everyone, because the residents in the caves here are all human, including Jamie and Jared.Melanie's presence in Wanderer's mind is kept secret by Wanderer in fear that if she told the humans of it, they would kill her for lying and think that she was a Seeker. However, soon afterwards, Jamie sees Wanderer (her presence in the caves had been kept secret from Jamie because Jared did not want to see Jamie upset) and talks to her. Wanderer, overcome with Mel's emotions that had become her own, tells Jamie stories of the planets she'd lived on. Jamie asks whether Mel is still in there, and Wanderer tells him. What she did not know was that Jeb had been listening on the outside, but he believes her. Soon, Ian believes her too. They become Wanderer's shield. Melanie is joyed that Jamie knows of her existence but saddened that Jared does not believe and still wishes to kill them. When the humans bring back a soul for Doc to examine, Wanderer sees his failed attempt at removing the soul from the brain and the smeared silver blood and body parts of the soul. She is enraged and horrified at the humans who she had been beginning to trust. Mel, in an attempt to talk Wanderer out of thinking they were all monsters, disappears out of Wanda's mind when Wanda screams at her to go away. After three days of grieving, Wanda learns that Jamie's wound from the last raid had become worse and he was now mostly unconscious. She goes to see him and asks Mel what to do, to which there is no answer. She realises that Mel has gone. Wanda seeks Ian and Jared for help and when Jared kisses her, Mel is brought back to life, not knowing where she had actually been in the whole three days of Wanda's grieving. Jared believes that Mel is still conscious inside Wanda's mind.
When the humans bring back Wanda's Seeker, Wanda realises that she doesn't want the Seeker dead, and shows the humans how to remove a soul without damaging either the soul or the body. She sacrifices her own happiness in Mel's body so that Jared and Mel can have her body back. Melanie is horrified, though tempted, by Wanda's plan and attempts to stop her. She fails and Wanda makes a pact with Doc to remove herself secretly.
When Wanda wakes up in a new body, something she had not expected, Melanie is in control of her body again and together with Jared. Melanie now sees Wanda as a sister, making them best friends for life.
"How Melanie could stand Wanda after she took her body, and has now kissed Jared multiple times, is a mystery. Melanie has never been one for her kissing Ian while inside her, so I can only imagine how hurt it makes her that Jared has kissed Wanda."
Melanie has dark shiny hair that goes down to her shoulders, sun-browned skin, almond-shaped muddy hazel eyes, has an average height and is strong. She is said to be really pretty. Physically, Melanie is strong and fast. It is said in the book that she is able to run for miles without stopping.
Film AdaptationIt's been announced that Saoirse (Seer-Shah) Ronan will play Melanie in the film adaptation of The Host. Ronan has had a very succesful past, especially when she was Hannah in the movie Hannah.
"In some aspects, Saoirse Ronan is an even better actress than Kristen Stewart. She's mastered many accents, and has played two characters in one. Saoirse is beautiful, and I couldn't imagine anyone else for the part of Melanie Stryder."