Taking a new look at something old. What Twilight showed me.

A couple of years ago my daughter came home from university and we did our usual thing.

We settled ourselves together on my bed – me in the middle – The Daughter on one side – The Son on the other  – and we watched a movie.

Twilight.

Dim I am at times…yes I admit it…at one stage she asked me if I knew what they were – and no I had not figured it out.

Please people…remember my age. I grew up with VAMPIRES that hid in coffins during the day. Think Bram Stoker’s Gary Oldman.

I saw that movie at a friend’s flat and crapped my way home with fear. I am not kidding. I had to make my way down creepy stairs, then drive home alone. Frankly, at home I didn’t feel too safe. Dad was nearing seventy – what help would he be? So it was around this time I developed my love of garlic. Luckily I had a crucifix handy. That night I dragged it out and lay in bed until the sun rose with it clasped in my hands on my chest. My Mum was Catholic.

Bela Lugosi,

Van Helsing,

Queen of the Damned,

Underworld,

even The Interview With A Vampire

all scary vampires.

Be reasonable – Tom Cruise did a damn fine job of making Lestat scary. And there was Brad Pitt.

Most miserable vampire in the world – but oh so cute and scary – yes he was.

So here we have a high school kid who is a vampire, who can get around in the daytime, is cute, and doesn’t want to kill people – he even shimmers. Different. But isn’t that what a good writer does ? Finds a NEW take on something.

Yes I have to admit – I liked the movie. Yep – I did. The first one at least.

So, fast forward – I have now read all, and I mean all the Twilight books. The Daughter has them. I have also read ‘The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner’, a novella of one of the characters from Eclipse. I am with Stephenie when she says she is sorry she killed Bree off so quickly. The novella on Bree’s short life was riveting.

And I have heard all to pros and cons – the lovers and the haters of Twilight.

So where am I? I have to admit – I’m a lover.

Okay, okay – stop pulling your hair out while I explain why.

Humankind is fascinated by vampires. Why? My personal opinion is because they like the fact that vampires are driven. They have to drink human blood. It’s not a desire, it’s a need. And that fascinates them. To HAVE to kill so that they can survive – the dilemma – the choices – heavy stuff. As people consumed with right and wrong choices, I think we love it when the choices are taken away and I think we revel a little in the evil of it all. Because we would never succumb to that now would we !!!

Back to Twilight.

Here we have the age old struggle. Good versus bad. Vampires trying to be good. Seven of them. Even the ones you don’t like that much (Rosalie is – well she is a bitch  – I actually kinda love Rosalie) don’t kill people.

Before we go any further – something I have to say – Bella pisses me off. Whiny, whiny, whiny, What the hell does Edward see in her ???

But you have to go further. Yes. You do. Because there are some amazing characters if you do.

And now I shall explain…

  • Jasper –  How I wish Jasper had a book/movie/TV show of his own. This guy is fascinating. He was a major in the Confederate Army when he was changed. He went on to harness an army of newborn vampires for his lover. Eventually he found Alice, and joined the Cullen family. This guy is so tortured – and he tries to kill Bella (a plus if you ask me) that it is hard not to be fascinated with Jasper.

  • Alice – oh Alice. In an interview I saw, Stephenie Meyer said she loved Alice. That she wished she had an Alice in her life. Me too. Alice is even more complicated than Jasper. Abandoned to a mental institution when human, she was turned when her life was in danger from a vampire. The same vampire that later tries to kill Bella. Do you not see it? Stephenie has provided a stairwell with so many floors in these stories.

  • Aro – What a character to write. In the movie New Moon, Michael Sheen, well he makes Aro perfect. Aro is so many things. I guess that’s not surprising when you have lived for centuries. He’s completely insane in so many ways. This is someone who will kill anyone who threatens his way of life, but has a childish thrill at the smallest pleasures – completely nuts – completely fascinating.
Victoria Number 1
Victoria Number 2
  • Victoria – dear demented Victoria. In case you really don’t know – in the first book Edward (the glittering, vegetarian, trying to be a good guy vampire) killed her mate James. I liked James – but that is another story. He was intent on killing Bella – are you seeing a pattern here? So Victoria wants revenge. Her reasoning – killing Bella does to Edward what Edward did to her when he killed James. She is lethal. She is focused. She is fabulous.

So yes – I liked the movie Twilight, which led me to the books which I loved. So far the jury is out on the rest of the movies. New Moon – not so great. Eclipse – darker, edgier, getting better.

The Twilight Tweenies are out there – screaming for either Edward or Jacob. They have made Stephenie a bucketload of cash. They have also made it cool to knock the series.

I don’t think that is entirely fair. Different strokes folks.

Stephenie took an old legend and turned it on its head. Bravo Stephenie !!! She created a raftload of interesting characters that she could quite readily milk forever, but she doesn’t. I admire her ability to find the new in the old, and make it interesting, make it relevant to this generation of readers.

She got kids to read. Isn’t that something? Whenever I go to our local library, out of curiosity I always check the young adult fiction section. Those books – I’ve never seen them ALL on the shelf at the same time. Somewhere out there some kid is reading them. I think that is fantastic.

So I am a fan – and I celebrate her success wholeheartedly. Because her success means many things to me. It showed me how a writer can find inspiration in anything. How that same writer can twist and change things to suit HER story. How that writer can get kids to be invested and love her characters no matter what the critics say.

Kids. Tweenies. Whatever you call them – these guys are the most critical of all critics. They pick up on the slightest error. They are unforgiving when you make a mistake. And they LOVE The Twilight series. So – Stephenie has to be doing something right.

I hope that when she drinks her morning coffee – she also sends out a “stuff you” to all the nay sayers.

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Author: Jo Bryant

I was born in the land of Banjo Paterson, gum trees, and weather extremes. I am a freelance writer. I live in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, but still like to claim my Australian heritage. I graduated with a Bachelor of Communications in 2008. I am writing my first novel. I love to write poetry, short stories, and also write for the web. And there is nothing that is on a par with a sunny summer's day spent at Waihi Beach.

34 thoughts on “Taking a new look at something old. What Twilight showed me.”

  1. Interesting view on the novel. I am thinking maybe I should read the novels since I was first introduced to them through the movie. Even though I have a close friend that is “totally” in love with this entire series. But after watching the first two movies I saw the decline and decided against seeing or reading anything else from this story but now I might give it a second chance a dive into the book.

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    1. After I saw Twilight the movie – I read all the novels, and I loved them. The movies do not do justice to the books – but there are so many levels and characters in the books, to do justice would take a mini series I think. I love all the side characters – once you begin to learn their stories – fascinating !!

      So yeah – I say do read them.

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  2. Hi Jo, I’ve never watched any of these films or read the books. I’m not sure I’m into this stuff but do confess to playing one of the tunes I’m told is from Twilight (River Flows In You by Yiruma) on my piano – it’s beautiful. I also like the fact my heronine, Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), is into it all and her latest album mentions vampires more than once! So it’s not my cup of tea but I can appreciate where you’re coming from.

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    1. Thanks Marcia.
      Me, well I am into all that stuff – I love any type of mythology.
      But I am with you on Stevie Nicks – she is awesome.
      I saw Fleetwood Mac in the seventies – WOW and WOW again.

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  3. well goodness me.. and oh um gosh.. good for you, it is very brave to come out in support of these novels, I also have read them because one should keep up if there are teenagers around.. so ..mm good..but I still think they are a bunch of terribly dull and vacuous vampire, mills and boons stories designed so that they sell .. .. sorry.. c

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    1. Cecelia – don’t ever be sorry for what you think !!!
      Are they great literature ? No – they aren’t – I agree.
      But they do what they are supposed to I feel. Essentially they are a love story for young readers. So that is how she has written them.
      But for times when I wanted a book that kept me turning the page to see what happened, and for a read that wasn’t heavy and work – they fit the bill.
      The character Bella drove me insane – boring as hell I thought.
      But I liked some of the others in the stories, and would have liked to know more of them.
      And what I liked as a writer was the way she took a legend – a couple really – and made of them what she wanted.
      Promise you won’t tell anyone – but I like the True Blood books as well. Except for this last one that is – all simple reads – but for me there is also a time and place for that as well.
      I even went through a Mills and Boon stage myself.
      You can’t always be reading Tolkien…hehehehehehehehe
      😉

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    1. You are so funny 🙂
      Read my reply to Cecilia before you buy one – actually borrow it first – in case you hate them. If this is you rude – wow – nice must be sugar sweet. 😉
      Gonna delete that other silly comment you left – funny lady…

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          1. Hehehehehehehehehe – that video – the Hamsters – OMG – I can’t stop laughing – it is taking foerever to reply to this cause I can’t see through the tears, and the laptop won’t stay still from my belly jiggling with laughter OMG !!!!

            Tyring to put it up here so I NEVER lose it…

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  4. You’re right, Meyer is doing something right – she’s a marketing genius. There’s not a girl my age who hasn’t heard of these books. I think the main reason they’re so popular is because Bella is an empty shell, meaning anyone can put themselves in her shoes, and what girl doesn’t want to believe that a handsome mysterious stranger will fall in love with her? I’m only on Twilight right now, but I just can’t get in to the book. The characters seem lifeless, the writing loaded down with flowery adjectives and purple prose, and the plot is hastily thrown in at the last minute. I think that if Twilight had received some good hard editing, it could have been okay.

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    1. Editing is a marvelous thing – I also felt that way with Harry Potter. I loved those books but they needed someone other the JK to take a red pen and do some slashing.
      It is an interesting point you make about Bella and her being a shell for girls to occupy – I had never thought of it that way. I think you may have a really valid point. I always found Bella empty and boring – maybe there was a point to her being so. If true then Meyer is a marketing genius – because it works.
      But I do like some of her characters and wish she had let us see more of them. You better not read New Moon – there are pages in there with nothing but the names of months on them. No conflict whatsoever…hehehehehe
      Love it when you stop by – always enjoy your point of view. 😉

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  5. Hey, Jo. I LIKE this post. I’m a hard core vampire fan from eons of years long past.

    Wonder if it all started with Barnabas Collins from the Dark Shadows sitcom. Lovely vampire, portrayed by Jonathan Frid, was he…LOL
    1
    Back then the non-vampire Quentin wasn’t bad to watch either 😀

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        1. Thanks, Jo.
          Hope this photo link works…neophyte here…LOL!
          So, about
          1

          he was played by David Selby.

          And if not, here’s the page’s link (http://darkshadows.wikia.com/wiki/Quentin_Collins_%28MGM%29) and a wee bit of character background:
          “Quentin Collins was a young newlywed, who in the summer of 1971, discovered that he had inherited the great family estate known as Collinwood in Collinsport, Maine. In June of that year, Quentin and his new bride, Tracy, moved into the great house. The only other resident was a strange woman named Carlotta Drake. Carlotta was Collinwood’s housekeeper and made certain that Quentin had little trouble settling in. “

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  6. Well it cured my unreasonable, irrational fear of vampires…not dying mind you but becoming a monster…even my brother’s justification that a sunny country like India is not a safe haven for them did little to convince me back then…I liked the first book a lot…and the first movie (if u can ignore the constantly blinking Bella’s presence)…half way through the third I wanted Edward to dump Bella and go after some as interesting as Tanya….it is nice fun read if you skip the second and first half of the fourth…the 2nd movie totally useless. no plans to watch the last 3 when if I get free Dvds.

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    1. Hahahahaha – yeah well I still eat a lot of garlic.

      So with you on the dumping Bella – what do they see in her ??

      I do think that the caesarean scene could be fun to watch – ripping her belly open with his teeth.

      Yep – that could be worth the watch maybe.
      😉

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  7. i didnt like twighlight havent got that spelling correct lol its too tame for me jo i like to be scared more have a lovely weekend xxjen

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  8. Hi Jo.. I have to say I became a Twilight fan also.. And living not far from Whitby well 2 hours away, the home of Bram Stoker.. where he was inspired to write his novel.. .. I hope you dont mind me adding a link for you here..
    http://www.dracula-in-whitby.com/bram-stoker.html .. … Whitby is a place where it gets lots of visitors of the Gothic style ….. But if you visit our mutual friend Jennygoth you will know all about it.. :-)..

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    1. I will do that – visit Jenny – she popped in here as well. Thank you for the link so much. I love Bram Stoker. His Dracula was the first time I felt sympathy for a vampire – so I will love looking at the sight. Thank you so much. 🙂

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