The Twilight book saga is a phenomenon that divides people entirely. Love it or hate it, there are some lessons to be learnt from it.
1. The word ‘saga’ is perfectly justifiable to use to describe four books basically consisting of an author’s wet dream. No longer shall ‘saga’ conjure up images of Beowulf-esque heroes, fighting in the snow in an epic tale of love and revenge. Instead the word ‘saga’ shall be used forthwith to describe angsty teenage interspecies romance, with sparkly vampires and plenty of ridiculous platitudes.
2. Watching your potential girlfriend while she sleeps and following her around all the time is not called obsessive stalking. It is called romance.
3. The image of Edward Cullen performing a Caesarean on his wife with his teeth to remove their baby that eats her from the inside is not a ridiculously disgusting and funny image, but a tense, sombre and gripping moment of Breaking Dawn.
4. Each book follows the same pattern – boring Edward/Bella lovey-dovey bits, nothing else much happening, completely random threat of danger, flee to another country/different location, nothing much happens, it all gets resolved, more boring lovey-dovey bits. This is a mastery of the literary structure and definitely not lazy and unimaginative writing.
5. It is not weird and creepy that a fully-grown man/werewolf is in love and is planning to be with a three month old baby. This is called imprinting and shows the range and scope of Stephenie Meyer’s talent for writing, rather than just a copout to make the love triangle fit neatly together.
6. The main heroine of a book need not have any personality at all. Describing her trait of clumsiness is all the personality you need. Said heroine does not need to have an active role in the action either, it is preferred that she merely has things happen to her until the last book when she inexplicably gains a ‘special power.’
7. It’s OK to be a 107-year old virgin.
8. It is possible to have such amazing sex, so powerful that Edward breaks the headboard of the bed, without internally damaging you in some way. Only when you’re both married of course. The book saga is not a subliminal extended advert for abstinence either, but a true and realistic representation of daily life.
9. Vampires, supposedly the fiercest and most menacing scourge of the earth, sparkle. Yes, sparkle. This improves their ferocity.
10. Whether you are Team Edward or Team Jacob is one of the characteristics that define you as a person. I’m Team Jacob by the way.
Originally published on The Yorker 2nd July 2010