VAMPIRES ARE JAW DROPPING, HUMANS ARE PATHETIC AND WEREWOLVES ARE MISOGYNISTS WITH A DASH OF THE PEDO
Part One was all about the Princess, the Stalker and the Sap and the dysfunctional love triangle that forms the core of the Twilight saga. In Part Two we look at the horrible world-building elements that provided these cardboard, wish-fulfilment characters the background to unleash their frankly tedious story upon a-still reeling world.
BETTER THAN YOU
Traditionally, vampires were creatures to be shunned and feared. Bram Stoker with his seminal Dracula made them somewhat approachable but nevertheless the gothic incarnation of the vampire was, though pitiable, still a monster whose existence was blasphemy to the natural order – and an affront to both man and God.
I have no problem with Mayer re-imagining Vampire lore to suit her own needs. It’s natural to be inspired by the rich, varied collection of stories and myths concerning vampires that exists the world over. It’s perfectly acceptable even for a writer to come up with their own version or variation on the Vampire theme.
The problem I have with Mayer’s vampires is that like the rest of Twilight, they are purely creatures of wish-fulfilment. They lack fangs, do not fear the sun, are nearly invulnerable, possess super strength and speed, are ageless and immortal and always depicted as beautiful. Certainly more beautiful than any of the humans. They still crave blood. Oh, they also sparkle in the sun instead of bursting into flame and ash like every other forsaken blood-sucking creature of the night in fiction.
They’re also just superior to anything else. Even the shape-changers are no match. Humans are inferior in every way to these paragons of perfection. That Mayer herself admits to being anti-human shows how misplaced her priorities are. For all their fabulous wealth, centuries’ long lives and supernatural abilities, the Cullens spend their time repeating high school. They do absolutely nothing. No pioneering discoveries, no scientific achievements for the betterment of the world. They don’t help anyone they don’t contribute to any worthy causes. They’re just a bunch of selfish gits.
Even when trying to paint them as morally ideal the implication shines through. For example the Cullens refrain from feeding on humans, slaking their blood thirst with animals instead. But the Cullens spare humans not because of compassion or because they believe killing sentient beings is wrong. They do because it proves they are better than the other vampires who do go around wasting humans. It’s a superiority complex. They still view humans with contempt however. Edward himself admits to Bella:
“I’ve never tried to keep a specific person alive before, and it’s much more troublesome than I would have believed. …” (Emphasis mine) (Twilight, Chapter 8)
But the blinkered bint is too love-struck to understand as later she dribbles with admiration:
“… he’s even more unbelievable behind the face.” The vampire who wanted to be good–who ran around saving people’s lives so he wouldn’t be a monster.” (Emphasis mine)
(Twilight, Chapter 10)
STINKY, WRINKLY AND NOT EVEN TWINKLY
In the Twilight-verse, humans are a distant third behind the transcendent vampires and the hunky werewolves/shapechangers. Bella’s attitude towards Charlie her father in the first pages of Twilight would remain the template for her interaction with anyone remotely human. She is derisive and condescending and ultimately forgoes her human friends like Mike, Eric and Jessica and her humanity by throwing herself head-over-heels into Edward and the Cullen vampire world.
Humans don’t really fare too well in the saga. In New Moon vampire villainess Victoria creates an army of Newborns that would later be wiped out by the Cullens.
Nevermind that none of the humans that had been Turned chose their fate, or that after a year Newborns can gain control over their bloodlust and become somewhat reasonable and redeemable. Also the human victims of the Newborns got a crappy deal too.
In Breaking Dawn the Cullens are visited by vampires from other clans and being gracious hosts, they were not forbidden from feeding on the humans, as long as it was outside Cullen territory. So, sucks to be a human living outside then. At the end of the book, Bella pronounces her final judgement on what being human is:
Some of the memories were not clear—dim human memories, seen through weak eyes and heard through weak ears (Emphasis mine) (Breaking Dawn, Chapter 39)
Leah Clearwater is the first known female shape changer. Which should in theory make her ‘unique’ and elevate her role in the story. But she’s regarded as an irritant and destabilizer by the rest of the pack. The reason being that she and Sam had been in love, then one day Sam left her and when he returned he imprinted on Emily her cousin. Leah became the angry woman scorned and her bitterness increased when she found herself a member of Sam’s pack. Through a telepathic link with Sam she shares her pain by bringing back memories of his betrayal of her, and this is shared with the rest of the pack members. Also by being able to change into a wolf it may have disrupted her menstruation cycle and disabled her ability to get pregnant.
So Leah is an example of a strong woman in Twilight-verse and the first female werewolf. However she is depicted as an angry, foul woman who is viewed as a burden by the shape-changers. Jacob even refers to her as a ‘harpy’. She loses the man she loves to her cousin because he imprinted on her and has no say, neither does anyone else. She loses her father when she transforms into a wolf (thereby stealing the prerogative of the male her brother, Seth who at that point was unable to and he dies from a heart attack because his son could not. And just to drive the point home, she may be unable to conceive a child.
There’s no real judgment on Sam, his imprinting is viewed as natural. Leah is the one who is perceived to be unreasonable, nasty and resentful. Whether Mayer intended to or not, the message seems to be that Leah being female and worse, one who tries to rise above her allotted role becomes the Twilight-verse punching bag.
IMPRINTING: PEDOBEAR APPROVES
“It’s not like love at first sight, really. It’s more like… gravity moves…. suddenly. It’s not the earth holding you here anymore, she does…. You become whatever she needs you to be, whether that’s a protector, or a lover, or a friend.” (Jacob Black explaining Imprinting)
“Blearghhh…” (Me, mentally vomiting)
In Breaking Dawn Mayer introduces the concept known as ‘Imprinting’. It’s one of the most controversial topics for discussion in the Twilight fandom. Mainly because it leaves neither the Imprinter nor Imprintee with any choice in the matter. There is no free will, both become mated for life. Then there is the squick factor. Jacob sees Bella’s baby daughter Renesmee for the first time and <BOOM> he imprints on her. Yes, the hunky werewolf boy who had vied with Edward for the heroine’s affection is now bonded to an infant – who happens to be the child of his heroine crush and his ex-rival in love. What a way to reward second place.
The problem is that I suspect Mayer wanted to give Jacob a commiseration prize. Of course he had no chance versus ‘The Paragon of Sulky Perfection’ that is Edward Cullen, but he was still part of the love triangle with Bella. Someone whom Bella strung along and made her bitch couldn’t have been that bad. So, to tide his broken heart, Mayer decided that Jacob gets the next best thing to Bella herself, her super-duper daughter! Wow! But Mayer was disinclined to develop a proper relationship for Jacob so decided to just make him fall in love, at first sight.
Mayer who has admitted (and the books show e.g. Brazil having a west coast) that she does little research, chose a real world fact and completely messes it up. She used ‘Imprinting’ a well-known natural impulse of baby animals to become attached to the scent, appearance and presence of their parents.
But she mixes up parental love and bonds with romantic love and sexual attraction. Or maybe she has a warped view of things. Be that as it may, what occurs in Nature between a parent and its young as an evolutionary means of ensuring the parent provides and shelters its young – in the Twilight Saga becomes a method of ensuring sexual intercourse between the two parties. Wolf parents do not imprint on their pups so that they can mate with them later <facepalm>
Of course, sexual imprinting does occur in the real world. But adopting the concept to explain ‘love at first sight’, with one party being under aged (a baby!) is either unbelievable stupidity or arrogance that whatever she writes will still sell – a great big middle-finger to proper sensibility.
When someone becomes a parental figure; or shows gentleness, kindness and understanding to a child and provide all their emotional, physical and spiritual needs in order to gain their trust and friendship, for the purpose of sexual intercourse, then that is ‘grooming’. This is illegal in most nations, even the US. And recall that little Renesmee will only grow till she is seven years old then her physical age becomes frozen. So the creep factor just ratchets up to 11 with how Mayer presents it.
Moral of the story: Twilight is not for Me
I like reading wish-fulfilment fantasies and escapism as much as the next guy, but Twilight is on a whole other level of fail. The protagonists, the setting, the themes – fact is I could go on about the pathetic villains, the skewed view of sexuality and abstinence, the Alien-style birth, the lack of a discernible plot and climax, and on and on. But that would kill my editor.
In the end, I heartily concur with Robert Pattinson when he said concerning Twilight, “…it was a book that wasn’t supposed to be published.”
The views expressed are the writer’s own.