Beyond The Twilight Vampires

October 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Twilight Movies

Beyond The Twilight Vampires

Opinions vary greatly on the phenomenon known as The Twilight Saga. In sharing mine, I will dwell specifically on the books. As for the Twilight movies, let’s just agree that they are an “attempt” to bring Stephenie Meyer’s visions to life. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are what they are. If ticket sales are any indication, they seem to have mass appeal, vampire purists notwithstanding.

As for me, I enjoyed the first two movies and look forward to the next two. But, I enjoyed them for what I expected them to be. Third-party interpretations, compressed into abbreviated Hollywood productions, subtle and poignant details sometimes sidestepped for the sake of box office glory. Mission accomplished.

Having never heard of Twilight or having seen the movie when I picked up the book, I entered the Forks world with an open mind and no preconceived notions. I simply thought I was about to read yet another vampire story – complete with fangs, blood and a new author’s twist on some of the legendary aspects we’ve come to expect.

What I got, less than four chapters in, was a tongue-in-cheek surprise. Instead of my anticipated tale of dark creatures preying on our fears, I found myself knee-deep in some kind of teenage, social misfit story told in the first person. A female teenager. I considered setting the book aside more than once. Not my usual fare.

Fortunately, my curiosity kept me reading. Like millions of others around the globe, I was sucked into the high school drama of Bella Swan, a clumsy outcast finding her first love in the form of the one guy no one else could acquire. Edward Cullen was the beautiful boy-idol the girls found irresistibly different and secretly desirable. His unobtainable status and initial revulsion of Bella’s presence was enough to keep me reading. Like everyone else, I wanted to know why.

Twilight has been publicly mislabeled as a vampire story. In reality, it’s a love story. The simple girl with typical doubts and insecurities who meets what seems to be the ultimate, but unreachable object of her uncertain affections. Stephenie Meyer uses this romantic platform to launch a broad tale that includes suspense and fantasy as a backdrop for Bella’s impossible infatuation.

As a result, you find yourself enjoying a well-plotted relationship story that just happens to involve vampires. Meyer’s tale is so simple, yet compelling, that I found myself ordering the next three volumes before I had completed the first.

Bella Swan is the every-girl damsel in situations beyond her control, struggling to deal with her discovery of Edward Cullen and his family – and what they are. Torn between natural fears of the common dangers vampires represent and the overwhelming allure created by the mere presence of Edward, Bella embraces the attraction of an endless love. Who can blame her? A dangerous life with the perfect boy or the dreary existence of a teenage nobody.

Vampire purists have openly detracted the Stephenie Meyer versions of the fanged creatures. In fact, the Twilight vampires don’t even have fangs. Fangs are never mentioned. Only venom coated teeth. And while Meyer goes on to offer other unexpected twists on traditional vampire lore, the core attractions are still there. The romanticism of immortality. The mental powers and superhuman qualities that make vampires so magnetic to mere humans. To those who claim she has tarnished the genre, get real. Vampires are the product of fantasy and folklore. It is the artist’s right to be creative and imaginative.

To that end, Stephenie Meyer succeeded, giving us a heart-wrenching love story and unforgettable characters. Twilight deserves its iconic status in pop culture.

Looking beyond the Twilight Saga vampires, Twilight is just a good story. No abrasive language, sex, drugs or adult situations. Fun for anyone who wants to sink their teeth into tale of forbidden love with life and death consequences.

Michael Clutton is the author of the novel JUICE: Revolution and lives with his wife and grown daughter in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. They have 3 small dogs. When he’s not working on his next book, he follows NASCAR racing and poker. Find out more about him and his books at http://www.michaelclutton.com or follow JUICE progress at http://tastyterror.blogspot.com and feel free to leave comments.

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