Last night at midnight, people waited in aggressively long lines to see Breaking Dawn Part 2. Oh course, everyone complained on election day about the lines to the polls being way too long, but the lines to see this movie were perfectly acceptable. I read all the Twilight books and I still struggle in seeing what the appeal is. The main character only becomes a tolerable person in the last book. She can't handle a break-up. She also seems to attract danger to her like a poor defenseless magnet. Maybe my disdain grew out of a love for another series. The Harry Potter series was there for me growing up and never gave me blank pages with just the months names because Harry was too depressed to do anything.
When I was in 3rd grade I read Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. I thought that I had discovered a place where being 11 wasn't scary and the whole world was opening up. Who didn't want to wake up on their 11th birthday to the flutter of owl wings and that curly signature of Professor Dumbledore. My 11th birthday passed and so did my 18th but I still got to go to Hogwarts almost every year, except for that last year in the series when I joined a quest to save the world.
Every time I opened JK Rowling's books I learned about friendship. Sometimes it's easier fighting a troll than apologizing for saying something mean. I learned about relationships; a lost one with parents, a potential romance with a world famous Quidditch player, and finally finding true love with someone's younger sibling. I learned about trust. Whether it's the mission of an army, a lemonhead loving professor, or yourself ... trust is always key to success.
I share all this because I wasn't alone in my love of Harry Potter. The series sold 450 million copies. That's 1 person out of every 13 globally that has vicariously found and destroyed horcruxes. When you finally read Harry's words of advice to Albus Potter it wasn't just the end of a book but the end of an era.
As the ink on the final page (number 4,100 in the U.S. version) dried, literary agents around the world scrambled to fill this vacuum. What would young readers clamor to buy? What would bookstores premiere at midnight to never-ending lines? The end of something great leads to panic and fear of what is next to come. I worry if in the ensuing panic a series that might have been overlooked gained literary fame and a movie deal instead.
Don't get me wrong, vampires, werewolves and strange half-human, half-vampire children are awesome. Did Twilight's author, Stephanie Meyer, capture their inherent awesomeness? Between the diamond-skinned vampires and the Catholic Church influenced Volturi clan something went amiss.
Here are my main issues about this series. Who is redeeming? Bella is in love with a stalker. If this book were told from Edward's point of view it would seem strange he was sneaking into a girl's room and watching her sleep. There have been a lot of write-ups from feminists and people who dislike boring, weak women. As a girl reading this series I want the girl to be awesome and able to handle a break up without jumping off a cliff. In Star Wars, when Leia's man was trapped in carbonite, she snuck in the lair of a horrible worm-man and rescued him.
Let's take a step back and look at Twilight.
The whole point of reading is to experience good literature. Now I understand there are some Twihards out there who will vehemently reject my analysis of the Meyer's series. I am not the first to have an issue with the book nor will I be the last. The Harvard Lampoons wrote a spoof "Nightlight," that is painfully accurate.
Here is a game. Guess if the line comes from a parody or the series that has sold 60 million copies worldwide.
1) "He was both dazzling and dazzled."
2) "He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare."
3) "Sleep, my Bella. Dream happy dreams. You are the only one who has ever touched my heart. It will always be yours. Sleep, my only love."
I could go on but if you were already imprinted with love for this series (which by the way is one of the most terrifying concepts in all of literature) this little game would not shed any light. If you were playing along, they are all from the real book. Those are a small sample of any number of quotes I could have pulled.
Twilight has done exceptionally well and it did give us beautiful things like Kellan Lutz's abs. However, as we approach the premiere of Breaking Dawn Part 2 this Friday I wanted to bring attention to some alternatives.
Unlike with the end of Harry Potter, we won’t experience a Twilight vacuum. I have read new things and there is greatness to come. We already had a taste with the bow wielding Katniss. There may never be another Harry Potter but there are better things out there than the prose that's tucked inside that apple holding cover.
If you liked Twighlight, look into reading: