Twilight: Before I Begin

Whether or not you like the books, you’ve gotta admit – this is a valid point.

Brace yourselves, my friends.

I’m going to read the Twilight series and blog my thoughts about it.

Why, you ask? I’ve been asking myself that same question, actually.

A couple of months ago, my friend Sarah posted a link to this photo on her Facebook page. I immediately loved it and reposted on my own Facebook wall. Within a few hours, 4-5 friends commented about how much they loved the series, assuring me that I too would love it. One friend even said that it wasn’t that different from Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or other fantasy series.

I’ll be totally honest here. I have no true desire to read the books. Or watch the movies. Or anything to do with the series. There was a point in time in which I considered reading the books to find out what the hype was all about, particularly when two close friends at the time fell in love with the series. But once pre-teen girls everywhere became frenzied about it, I determined that I would never waste my time on it.

Mythology-lovers world-wide weep openly at the disregard of mythlore displayed by Meyer’s depiction of vampires and werewolves alike.

Of course, I’ve not been able to completely ignore it. The books are international best-sellers. The movies are block-busters. Anyone who is interested in fantasy and mythology cannot ignore or dismiss the Twilight movement, especially given how she depicts vampires and werewolves. But particularly those who, like me, love the Harry Potter series…once they cast the same actor who played the beloved Cedric Diggory to play Edward Cullen, we could not ignore Twilight.

Cullen Crazies aside, however, all that I’ve read about the series does not endear it to me, either. Elizabeth Esther sums up nicely my pre-reading opinion in her hysterical post, “Why ‘Twilight’ is a misogynistic piece of hard-boiled crapola.” (And frankly, whether you agree with her assessment or not, it’s so worth a read for the hilarity.)

Nevertheless, I am attempting to set aside my cynicism and read the books as objectively as possible. And I plan to let all of you, my dear friends and readers, know exactly what I think as I’m reading.

I want to document my expectations going into this little project, few though they be:

  • I expect to feel simultaneously akin to and repulsed by Bella Swan. Every girl has her awkward moments, particularly in high school. But all I’ve read about her makes her seem entirely dependent as a person on a man – and that sits very ill with me, particularly the message that it sends to impressionable young people.
  • I expect to hate Edward Cullen. Taking the quotes from Elizabeth’s article above, I don’t understand why any girl would want to be with him. Also, reference the first photo.
  • I expect to be unable to immerse myself in the story. As a lover of mythology and fantasy (to a degree), I’m quite used to suspending reality in order to follow a story – so long as the overarching themes of the story are firmly rooted in reality. Using Lord of the Rings as an example, things like wizards, hobbits, dwarves, and magic put the books firmly in the fantasy realm, but the overarching themes of friendship, compassion, honor, courage, and sacrifice make the series easily relatable. I don’t expect that to be the case with Twilight.

Obviously, my expectations are not high. But I would love nothing more than to be pleasantly surprised.

Before I close, let me be perfectly clear: if you enjoy the books, I’m okay with that. We all have different tastes, and at times we all need a mental escape. It’s okay for us to find escape in a book. But I think we need to analyze what we read – and that’s what I plan to do here.

Have you read the books? What did you think? Any advice for me as I set out on this endeavor?

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