My encounters with Twilight
Back in 2008, I was sitting around with a group of friends, all mothers of daughters, and we were discussing stocking fillers for Xmas. I wanted books for my daughter and their suggestion was to try out Twilight. The movie had just been released but it really was pre-hype days. However, all four of the books were on the market and reasonable prices so they seemed like a sensible idea.
I am not sure why I trusted the recommendation of the mother’s in question. We’d been drinking. We drank a lot. And ate. And crafted. Sometimes all at the same time. I think it is important to note that sequins, hot glue guns and alcohol don’t always mix. However, we did sometimes give each other good advice and they were right about the books.
My, then 12 year old, daughter devoured them. The first two in two days, the third a week later and I made her wait for the fourth for a month. When I read them she returned the favor by lending the fourth book to a friend. I thought I was going to die until that book arrived back in our house. I devoured them a further 4 or 5 times and spent at least six months pretending my car was an Audi while I drove around with the Twilight soundtrack blaring. Side note: Slug Boy’s ring tone is SuperMassive Black Hole. Think about it.
According to popular mythology Stephenie had the story come to her in a dream. I wanted to drink what she was drinking. For the next couple of years I toyed with some paranormal ideas and read some other paranormal romances – that was how I discovered Felicity Heaton and Cynthia Eden. Those angels, demons and other-worldly beings made me want to walk on the wild side. I’ve never really been a bad boy biker girl but they took me there.
Why people don’t like Twilight
Edward, the hero, was criticized because he was the boyfriend that no parent wanted for their daughter. However, for all his failings, Edward, stayed true to his core values. Values that would have been significant to the era in which he had been born. So, even though he was a stalker, he would protect Bella‘s life and innocence for as long as he could. The old-fashioned other-worldliness of Edward enabled me to forgive Stephenie for making him sparkly. Oh, hell who am I kidding? I would have happily given him a liberal sprinkling of glitter myself (see previous note about crafting, sequins and hot glue guns).
And Bella was seen as … well …
For some reason Bella was seen as being incredibly weak and one dimensional. She apparently let Eward make all the decisions and control the relationship. But I would argue that there are a lot of teenage girls who are exactly like Bella, even when they don’t want to admit it. Socially awkward, slightly isolated for no reason other than their lack of self-confidence, perhaps making not great choices in boyfriends. And there are a lot of teen boys who are slightly obsessed with their first loves to the point of some slightly unreasonable behaviors. I’m not sure that the people who criticized the relationship really read or understood it.
If they had read all of the books thoroughly – and let’s face it even if they had looked at the things Bella did to protect and save Edward in the first story – then they would have seen her as a young girl on the cusp of adulthood, working out how to be both true to herself and her relationship. And Bella pretty much kicked ass all the way through the stories. She just developed and evolved as time went on and her confidence grew. Something that a Mary Sue character doesn’t get to do very much.
I’m pretty sure that those who have attacked the stories the most have been women who grew up in the age of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the ultimate Mary Sue. The relationship was termed as being abusive and controlling.
I think they missed the point that she was a human dealing with a vampire, not a vampire slayer with superhuman powers. She was right to be scared, he was right to set the boundaries until they could work out how they could be together. She did, however, step into the vampire world, took on a few that seriously wanted to kill her, dealt with a gang of werewolves, rode motorbikes, cliff dived, fought to keep a fetus that was killing her and saved her family from being killed. I’m fairly sure that is pretty damn proactive on the kickass heroine front.
There were also people who just hated Twilight because it was chick-lit or gay. There were going to be haters no matter what.
Influence on the cultural landscape
Twilight spawned an entire fan fiction stream that seemed to have a life beyond anything anyone could possibly conceive. While there have always been fan fictions that have made it to publication, the sheer number and breadth of what came out of and continues to emerge from the fanfiction.net and twcs Twilight communities was/is like none other. Pulled to Publish seems to be a term that has been attributed to this fanfic community. Some paranormal authors (Anne Rice, JR Ward) have resisted fan fiction. Stephenie has celebrated it.
Twilight has brought us such books as Fifty Shades of Grey, Wallbanger, Poughkeepsie, Beautiful Bastard and Gabriel’s Inferno among many others. And of course, the movie brought us…
If you are here on my blog because of a love all things FSOG and you have never read Twilight then you really should check the books out. I recognised Twilight in FSOG before I knew it was fan fiction or even what fan fiction was.
Stephenie has often courted controversy as an author, but love her or hate her, she has made an extraordinary contribution to the cultural landscape. Find out more about her at her website.
- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (mchllmdm.wordpress.com)
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- Slideshow: Kristen Stewart promotes “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2” in Japan (examiner.com)
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Nicely written, Sasha. (No surprise there!) I’ve yet to read the Twilight series, but will get there eventually. Something to look forward to. I’m all about sparkly things!
At least read with an eye for some of the clever ways that Ms James converted the story line into FSOG. I think you will enjoy that little analytical journey if nothing else. Oh, and sparkly things! 😉
Well written. As persuasive as you are Sasha, I doubt I will sample the Twilight series again. For me, Stephenie Meyer takes too many liberties with vampire and werewolf mythology, and then there are her principal characters. My oldest daughter Barb has tried to convince me to finish the novels, And She has also tried to convince Duncan and I to see the movies. Even though Barb herself doesn’t care for Kristen Stewart’s acting. (Same daughter who still has my FSOG!)
See, I kind of liked the liberties. That to me was a very refreshing aspect of her story, especially the reasoning as to why they couldn’t go out in bright sunlight. As person who avoid bright sunlight myself (celtic skin tones) I felt quite drawn to this alternative. I don’t think anyone is drawn to Kristen’s acting. I’m hoping that she will grow and show a little more diversity but at the time of Twilight she was so busy channeling her mentor (Jodi Foster) but missing the mark. Jodi has a range that Kristen hasn’t achieved yet.
Oh, this woman was my heroine when I was a teenager! I read Twilight when I was 15. There were no movies back then and there were only 3 books (it was a looooong wait until the 4 came out). I loved the story from the first time. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I read that book over 20 times -and probably memorized most of the dialogues-.
I liked your analysis of the book and I agree on many things (although I can’t stand Bella but that’s just a personal opinion, hahaha).
I don’t know exactly what make this saga so special, but I’m grateful to Stephenie for it. Her mind is a fascinating place! Have you read “The Twilight Saga: The official guide”?
I get why people can’t stand Bella. I liked her more in the books than the movie. But I won’t deny that there are many girls who come across like Bella either in public or private. It was her one dimensionality that I think turns people off. I would like to have seen more conscious choices with her risk-taking instead of doing it for Edward. As my daughter likes to say, she needed to make choices and change for herself. Edward would just happen to be there when it happened. She’s 16 and never been in love so I think when she gets hit by that particular molecular collision she might have a little more sympathy for what Stephenie was trying to do with Bella. 😉
I see you’ve been extremely busy with your Blog…very impressive changes. 🙂
In my teens I loved the horror genre, I began to see the same plots and grew bored of it as I matured.
I tried my best not to follow the hype concerning the Twilight series and didn’t watch any of the films.
One day I decided to get hold of all 4 movies and over two consecutive nights we watched all 4.
I was impressed, with the exception of Bram Stokers Dracula, they have to be the best movies of that genre I have seen in a while.
I side with the wolves, rather than the vamps. 😉
Phil, great to have you back. So glad you like what I’ve done with the place and always love connecting with a fellow Twilight appreciator. xxx
I read those books when the year the movie came out. It went something like this:
Hubby: You want to watch the new HBO show about vampires?
Hubby: Apparently it as great reviews. I’ll pour you a drink and not manhandle you if you watch it.
The hour the show is over:
Me: That was awesome! I need to watch the whole season.
The season ends:
Me: Honey I am sad it’s over. I have wait an entire year for it. I am going to have to find someplace on the internet to watch the season again.
Hubby: Sorry I got you started.
Me: I’m going to call my girlfriends and see if they want to go see that vampire movie based on a book.
I set up a GNO and we sit through the movie:
Me: This is so slow but I heard the books were good. Let’s all read them.
4 days later I was done and in mourning.
Now I know the writing wasn’t that great but the story was wonderful. I really liked Twilight. My daughter has now read them. Now she is reading The Host. It was much better written but harder for people to get into.
Anyway… I digress. Great post.
Great to see you back again. I loved the Host and I agree, it was a much better book. Sx
My next stop, at my Barb’s suggestion last night while waiting in line for the The Hobbit double feature, is Divergent.
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