By guest writer Nate Gotchy
Back in 2005 an unknown writer had her first book published with a fresh take on the fictional creatures known as Vampires (as well as Werewolves). This series took a while to gain popularity often being spoken about, almost as if it were a great secret, by groups of mothers and young women. Soon you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about the revolutionary love founded between a human named Bella and a Vampire named Edward. Soon after that Twilight became a household name and has hit popularity akin to Harry Potter (though not quite as lucrative). During the years it started to burst in popularity, I happened to be away from it; forsaking all media outlets like TV, computers, and entertaining literature. When I had returned the first movie had just come out and I saw a frenzied battleground of those that love the twilight series and feel they need to spread that love like a new founded religion and those that believe vampires are evil blood sucking monsters that shouldn’t be shiny and that twilight makes a mockery of all that is Vampirism. Seeing the body’s strewn hitherto one mangled soul grabbed my pant leg. She was part of the former group and with her last ounce of strength thrust the cursed book series for which this battle raged into my arms. Then she was gone... she said her kid was done with soccer practice and headed to her mini-van. So I found a quiet fox hole to read this series. After finishing, forming a personal opinion, I began to talk to my friends about what they had thought. My friends consist of literary hipsters (a fancy term for book snobs ;-) , those that grew up on Anne Rice and Buffy, and those that simply hate things that are mainstream. Hearing both their intelligent and silly thoughts on the series I formed another opinion. Both sides had good points. Here is what I have gathered:
Team Twilight is great!
· A new concept on Vampires and Werewolves as well as their lore and physical makeup’s
· Bella: a 2D character with a very vague personality, but an uncommon strength and carries a strange ability to not freak out when surrounded by supernatural beings (as long as they are gorgeous). Contrary to belief, how she was written was genius. She was written in such a way that the majority of the female populace (the exception being those women that read lots of literature or are involved in a lot of fantasy in some way) were able to place themselves in the shoes of this vague Bella girl and picture themselves being in the entanglements that come with hanging out with mythical creatures.
· A wonderful love story both enthralling and (if given a chance) has the ability to really pull you into the plight of the characters.
· One of the few if only mainstream vampire novels written with a squeaky clean overall story; no over the top gore, graphic sexual encounters, or anything reaching over a PG-13 feel. Let’s be honest, married couples will have sex at one point and there was fear that all the sexual tension being built throughout the series would be swept under the rug when Bella and Ed were married, but at the same time they didn’t want to be overwhelmed with a overly graphic scene akin to what is, sadly, popular in today’s media associated with Vampires. But Stephanie Meyer wrote that part of their relationship very tastefully that really went well with the audience that follows her works.
· Characters that are well built with rich backgrounds
· Shiny Vampires: This is very well done whether you think so or not. Vampires have always been written as hunters. Stephanie simply took this concept to a whole new level gleaning certain elements of allure from sources like the original Dracula, Sirens of greek mythology, and even Phantom of the Opera rather than taking the forceful approach found in Anne Rice, Buffy, Underworld and various other Vampire outlets today. Nature has made the vampires in Stephanie’s works the top of the food chain; having all the lures (good looks, charm, strength, speed, even the intrigue of shininess drawing humans in with curiosity) needed to be the greatest predator of what used to be the deadliest prey; Man.
· The Twilight Rifttracks
Team Twilight has ruined vampires FOREVER!
· Stephanie Meyer is obviously a new writer using a lot clichés in her attempts to describe everything from the physical to the feelings between characters. Overall her writing is that of a young writer of her first series; unable to write things she doesn’t like but are needed (battles for example), unable to let go of characters (For example, forgoing an all-out battle at the end of the series, making the things she was writing in preparation for the battle useless and burying all the tension she built, all in fear of knowing she would have to kill some main characters and instead left us with an unfulfilling ending and thoughts of what could have been), and the only real personal knowledge applied to her characters were mainly applied to Females leaving the males missing a few key components. Making many of the characters seem not as well rounded as they could be.
· Not a huge fan of Bella’s breakdown when Ed left. Really? You’re going to have a mental breakdown for months over a guy you barely knew when you have a sexy friend with more abs than seems humanly possible who wants to help you back on your feet? Girl, you gots to get some respect fo’ yo’ self…
· Going with the pervious bullet point, it can put a negative light on women and their personalities. Often making apparent ideology that women will be attracted more to men that will push them away and keep them at a distance rather than men who will be there for them and lift them up whether or not either party is extremely good looking. This can make women seem self destructive and weak. I am more a fan of characters that will build the reader rather than give them misconceptions on how they should act.
· The Vampires were a little over powered even with the application of Werewolves being the vampire hunters of the story. They seem to be on par with Superman. The werewolves being Batman. Batman can take out Superman given the proper prep time and equipment, but taken by surprise he would be toast and this makes things a little strenuous having the only real threat to the vampire world being other vampires. Honestly the series would have been really different is these were the case:
· There were a few loose ends that seemed like they were going somewhere and dropped off; preparations in case anything should happen in the last battle that never got used, the actual history of the vampires, the difference between Jacobs werewolves and the werewolves that were described like werewolves from other literature, as well as hints that there were other factions other than The Cullens and The Volturi out there; just to name a few. Honestly if Stephanie could get over her aversion to battle and killing her characters she could write about an ensuing war that could bring a whole new element and flavor to the Twilight universe.
· This one is directed to Stephanie Meyer herself. I have begun writing a novel myself. This has allowed me to understand a little on how important a story is to its author. That being said, the fact that you cancelled “Midnight Sun” because a friend leaked what you had allowed them to read seems a little childish. Many negativities people may have with the original series maybe dispelled if you brought out the first book again through the eyes of Edward. I’m honestly interested on how that would play out seeing as how the Male element of your series seems lacking, but getting angry over this set back and punishing your fans is ridiculous. That is all
· The Twilight Rifttracks
Conclusion and Final Opinion
All things considered, I believe, if given a chance as a standalone work of fiction without trying to tie it to other works, it is a well written supernatural love story with a rich plot and character development by a young Author. Though the series is more catered to this central demographic:
· Average moms and Housewives
· Average Teen Girls
· Simple minded followers of all that is mainstream just to feel involved
· Lonely and bored women (which may also include the first three ;-D)
Rather than those that actually make up the majority of the Twilight Haters front:
· Those that don’t think vampires should ever break the rules set down through literary history or think they are vampires themselves and are appalled by their portrayal.
· Literature Hipsters that will attack anything that is mainstream and not a perfectly written masterpiece (sometimes even then because mainstream is usually all they need to be enraged against something) whether they have read it or not.
· Man haters (inadvertently, “romance involving men” haters). Believing that romance between men and women is often a portrayal of feminine weakness
· Most men (I say most to avoid an assault from male Twilight fans. They’re vicious and will fight for their fandom till the end)
That doesn’t change the fact that it is a pretty good series to read.
The biggest problem people hate the series for is because they think Stephanie has ruined the concept of vampires. I for one thing think this is ridiculous. Vampirism has gone much further than simple fandom and has become almost a religion for people. Vampires have a rich history and people believe that all of them should adhere to a set of certain rules where few exceptions apply (Daywalkers being vampires that can walk during the day for instance), but Stephanie decided to rewrite the whole template and I am fully behind that. Why should she be destroyed because she decided to push a famous storybook creature from its stagnated position with a new and fresh take? If we snuffed every new insight that came along we would still be wearing furs and driving cars made of rocks that we propel with our feet. I mean we all know that Vampires became big because of one person in history who lived in a castle and walked around like he owned the place. The Count from Sesame Street… or maybe some warlord or something… either way it’s the inventive minds of writers that keep us from getting bored and reminding us that we can try new things and not have to live in ruts.
For instance, what if I decided to make a story where vampires give of a black smoky aura and get evil red eyes when they went into the sun and instead of sucking blood they simply absorbed it with their eyes. They are deathly afraid of grasshoppers and can’t touch metal but can pass through everything else. They can rip your soul from your body and control the owner with it and can be temporarily blinded by the color blue or when you hit them in their chest too hard. They can only be destroyed by a ray composed of metal filigree and Necrofibromatics. Oh did I forget to mention that this all takes place…IN SPACE! Actually that sounds kind of cool, but that is a random direction on Vampires. There is no right and wrong to it. As long as they take in blood for sustenance they are vampy.
All in all people who hate Twilight should realize that they should be thanking Stephanie Meyer for opening the minds of a huge group of the populace, who never saw supernatural fantasy as a medium they would be interested in, to a whole new world. It may just be a gateway to Rice, Buffy, and even Bram Stocker. Also if you hate it so much then why put in so much energy hating. In battle there are 3 forms of control; fear, caring or desire, and anger. Twilight has a hold of you and if you really hate it then let it go and put your energies toward more worthwhile endeavors (and that goes for other things you spend entirely too much time hating). As for those that are fans of Twilight, realize that it isn’t the greatest literary work ever written. It is simply a series you enjoy and possibly obsess over. Please stop trying to make everyone like it and accept that people will have negative thoughts. Also allow it to open your mind to other books and series within that realm. If you don’t know any ask a hater. They have a list…trust me. All in all, hate it or love it, but leave those feeling on the shelf. People really don’t need another reason to dislike one another.
And for your final amusement for both fan and hater alike; Twilight as written by Dr. Seuss:
Jake likes a girl. Her name is Bella.
Bella likes a different fella.
See this vamp? This is Ed.
Ed is pale. Ed is dead.
Ed saved Bella from a van.
Ed must be a special man.
Ed won't kill boys. He won't kill girls.
Ed gets fed on deer and squirrels.
This is James. He's a tracker.
He's a sort of vamp attacker.
James hunts Bella for a thrill.
Will Ed kill him? Yes, he will.
But James gave her a little bite.
Will she be a vamp? She might!
Edward fixes Bella's cut.
She won't be a vampire.
She becomes one. Read some more.
She's a vampire in book 4.