The Twilight Phenomenon

Here it is, Fantasy Friday already. Some of you may feel “fantasied out” since I’ve been discussing John Olson’s fantasy, Shade all week. But remarkable, this is also the week of a movie release with the same kind of cultural impact as Harry Potter. Or nearly so.

I’ve heard some in the media refer to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight as the next Harry Potter. And last night one news program featured a story about the line of movie goers waiting for the midnight showing of the film version of the YA novel.

Why did I say this was “remarkable”? Because Twilight is a vampire story and Shade is a vampire story (no matter what Olson says about it being a vampireless vampire story. A Mulo is, for all intents and purposes, a vampire, and there’s no getting around it). When we planned the Shade CSFF blog tour, we had no information about the Twilight movie release, so there was no intentional connection on our part.

The thing is, what little I know about Twilight, I surmise the vampire may actually be vampires, ranging from good to evil. This idea introduces many questions, some of which one of our tour participants, Nissa, dealt with here and here.

I found this line in particular interesting:

In particular, can a vampire be saved, or are they doomed to hell? I know, worrying about the eternal salvation of imaginary beings is a little silly, but still….

Imaginary beings. Like wizards who can wave wands to make things happen or ride broomsticks?

If J.K. Rowling can fancify witches and wizards, how much more can Meyer do so with creatures that never have existed?

I remember when Bryan Davis’s first book Raising Dragons came out, one critic wrote a scathing review, saying he shouldn’t have changed the “real King Arthur story.” As if there was a “real” story. An established myth, yes, but a real story?

So too with vampires, it would seem.

Honestly, I never imagined myself taking this position. Vampires, after all, live off the blood of others. That is wrong on so many levels. But what has Meyer done with this fantasized creature? Once again the caution seems necessary—no knee-jerk reactions. Take a look at what the story is actually about and, with discernment, measure it against Scripture.

If only I wasn’t so repulsed by the whole vampire idea … 😮

Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 12:33 pm  Comments (7)  
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  1. Hi Becky,
    I am thinking that the Twilight Saga belongs more in the realm of chick lit than in the fantasy genre.

    The reason is that all the fans I can see are female. So Twilight is clearly pushing the same buttons as other successful chick lit, for example the movie Titanic.

    Phyllis Wheeler


  2. I finally broke down and bought the first book. My son is reading it right now–loving it.

    But it is a girl book. Not chick lit, but romance. All the girls I’ve talked to at church, love, love, love the book, and more interestingly they are all crazy in love with the vampire boy. I figured I had to buy it to see what was up with this boy.

    I’ll let you know what I find out as soon as I can get it from my son and read it.


  3. I suppose the Twilight books are romance – not chick-lit. Meyer is a good writer with an ability to keep long description interesting for the most part and build with a slow burn an engaging plot. I’ve read all of her books (including her stand-alone “adult” novel “The Host”), and she is a good writer.

    When I first heard about them, I was dismissive about “more vampire books” thinking they were in the vein of Anne Rice’s works (which I admit I dismissed without reading them). Then I saw her in an interview and started talking to people who read them. It seemed they weren’t written to promote or encourage darkness, so I finally got curious enough to read them and find out for myself.

    The vampirism is a plot device to wrestle with questions of love, sacrifice, and eternity. The books are in no way “Mormon”, yet I still believe the eternal life of the vampires and Bella’s desire to join their “family” echoes the LDS belief of eternal marriage and families, at least unconsciously if not deliberately.

    I would definitely say Meyer’s heart is good and she wouldn’t intend on promoting vampirism. From her books she is a romantic and it shows. I think the books are fine for older teenagers or mature kids. The characters stay chaste, but they still have steamy moments, and there are issues with “perfect” Edward.

    Hope this helps the conversation. (And it may not have been intentional, but the Shade tour timing was excellent!)


  4. It sounds like romance might be the best designation for the Twilight Saga. But I’m with you, Sally, about the whole vampire thing. The idea of drinking blood, or feeding off another person, is about as revolting as it gets as far as I’m concerned. It is a huge stumbling block for me to ever consider a vampire as a hero of a story.

    Jason, I’m guessing the Meyer’s Mormonism comes out in the subtle ways you mentioned. I find the whole “control yourself” angle a part of the Mormon philosophy too. I mean, apparently the vampire-ism is something to be denied. And here is this hero who denies it. Sounds a lot like wrestling sin under control—all by myself, without any of this redemption and forgiveness business. 😮



  5. I enjoyed your post and comments about Twilight. I have been wondering what the big deal is about this movie so decided to look online.


  6. BTW, just a minor correction, but the author spells her name “Stephenie”, no “a” in there. Pretty common mistake. I reviewed the movie today, if you wanted to check it out.


  7. seems likely that they will come out with a Twilight sequel pretty soon, there’s a crazy lot of ticket sales at stake


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