High stakes photobombing

I must confess that I’m not really excited by the whole Twilight thing. Romantic vampires don’t sit well with me.

Friend Keagan doesn’t like the Twilight vampires because they shimmer. And vampires don’t shimmer. Everybody knows that.

Everybody also knows that vampires are African American and get in trouble for tax evasion. These Twilight kiddies are imposters, and must be dealt with


Amy says:

Link isn’t working Nathan – and goodness knows I need all the Twilight dissing I can get.

I’m not sure you can classify them as romantic. The books are in fact a brilliant depiction of a highly abusive relationship.

I am going to get utterly flamed now.

Nathan says:

Fixed. I hope. Well, the link won’t work, but the photo should appear.

Amy says:


There’s a great Buffy/Twilight mashup out there which is good fun too.

Leah says:

I enjoy the Twilight books, but mainly for the secondary characters and background storyline. The main characters and their love story makes me want to repeatedly beat them over the head.

But I am so extremely sick of people knocking it just because “vampires don’t sparkle” or “everyone knows vampires can’t be exposed to sunlight”. The entire premise underlying the books is that these are ‘real’ vampires and the myths are actually wrong.

If you happened to bump into a vampire in the street, would you expect all the legends to be true? I wouldn’t.

Nathan says:

I would expect most fiction authors leveraging off existing legends to stay true to the existing legend.

You don’t write about Robin Hood and put him in bright red, because every other account of Robin Hood has him in Lincoln green.

Explaining away all the other “mistakes” with a line of dialogue is pretty poor.

Keagan says:

Lol, thanks for the reference Nathan. TO be honest, I only watched half of the movie due to the terrible distraction of an author (and director) trying to get a foot in the door for yet another vampire theory. I was going to basically say what Nathan said but go further by saying there are already conflicting “accepted” myths on vampires (especially wrt reflection) so why add any more!

I just feel that myths about: reactions to crosses and other ‘holy’ things, reflections, teeth, sunlight, alliances, intelligence, clothing colour, affinity to each other… the list goes on… is PLENTY for anyone to write a thrilling novel about without trying to say, everyone else is wrong and I am right.

If I wrote a book saying that vampires were ACTUALLY killed by moonlight and could only live during the day, I would expect to be ridiculed by everyone, bar a small sect that thought that was plausible seeing as they are mythical anyway.

Changing the myth is not what people want, and is risky for any author or director to attempt. I think that the author tried to do this and failed, and lost ratings because of that.

*Let me also say that I am not doubting the authors ability or the quality of the story line. I am just a bit pedantic on people lining their story with already accepted myth truths, that is the only reason I did not finish the movie and will never read the book… And my inability to read books in a time frame suitable for my lifestyle.

Amy says:

I really don’t think the author was trying to write a ‘traditional’ vampire story.
Leaving out whether or not Stephenie Meyer should have been published, why should authors be limited by other’s perceptions of acceptable tropes? That is going to lead to some pretty boring story telling. I love that vampires can be depicted as diversely as they are, from the lost souls in Buffy to the genetic defects in Blade. It keeps it interesting.

Mark says:

Those myths and legends came about because people added to or twisted the stories that came before. The public domain is riddled with variations on a theme, why should ‘vampires’ (or any fictional concept) now be limited to what was always done?

How well and and how far a story-teller can shift the audience from the ‘accepted’ traditions of genre while still suspending disbelief can demonstrate a measure of skill (at least in traditional Sci-Fi/Fantasy circles, where the ‘world’ is almost a character in the story). Note – this isn’t the only measure and doesn’t guarantee a good story.

Nathan says:

I haven’t read the books – I probably won’t. My problem isn’t that they’ve changed the legend so much, but that they’ve done so while acknowledging all the others because as Leah points out “these are real vampires” unlike the ones from all the other stories.

Stephenie Meyer hasn’t got a patch on Bram Stoker.

Mark says:

@Nathan – also haven’t and won’t. Have seen movie on a rare “date night” and was disappointed (in the movie – it was still a good date), even with low expectations in the first place.

I have no problem with the premise as the fanatasy setting is meant to be “real world”. Therefore all “real world” legends are besed on “the story’s” reality. That’s standard fare in most ‘vampire/lycan/supernatural’ romance novels as they try to place themselves as close to ‘real world’ as possible.

I don’t like a vampire ‘hero’ story let alone romance, but I can understand how they can be attractive – supernatural abilities to face life’s challenges, ‘undying’ love that is everlasting (most have 1 true love they are destined to find with a passion that is eternal), the defeat of death (even through undeath), internal conquest of their darker nature in order to win the prize (often both romantic and temporal). Of course, Christianity has another answer.

Attribution – I know I’ve read some of the thematic analysis above recently but not sure where – may even have been one your links Nathan. There was also recent handout at my church that spoke about some of these themes in the context of Twilight. In both cases I found the ‘general vampire’ comments pretty representative of the several movies/books I’ve seen in the genre.

Keagan says:

I agree with you. However, from what I have observed so far is that most people like to spend time becoming familiar with tradition, and they can only base their knowledge of tradition with what is presented to them by others, which is how stories and traditions evolve.

I think that there is plenty of room to personalize your vampire story with what is available, but seeing as I am not the most experienced person is writing a novel (joke ‘cos I have never tried) I am willing to accept that the author wanted something really fresh. It was a bold move to say that all previous tradition is wrong and here is the truth as the vampiric genre followers have already voiced their discontent with the whole sunlight sparkle factor.

That is what attracts so much resentment and attention. If there was a linking story, it would be much better… for example… saying that the vampires in question happened to be a special breed/kind who could survive sunlight, however a side effect was the ‘sparkling’ (I can’t help myself from smiling when I say that)? That way, you don’t discredit every other vampiric writer and all of their followers and have a chance of being widely accepted.

I know everyone is going to say, well she didn’t want to jump on the previously written stuff, but if you draw a line in the sand, people will generally chose a side. I am on the non-sparkling side…

But yeah, ultimately God is in charge, and I don’t believe that any of the traditions previously mentioned ever actually occurred. Real “vampires” were just normal people who used to drink blood (not humans) – I presume because they liked the taste – and had a redness to their skin rather than the pale ones we see now-a-days, so it’s just a somewhat sick truth that was transformed to an exciting myth.

Sorry for the long post, I don’t do this “commenting” much.

Amy says:

Stephenie Meyer hasn’t got a patch on Bram Stoker.
There’s a great t-shirt/icon going round the web:
Thanks Stephenie Meyer – if you can get published, anyone can…

[…] 27, 2009 by Amy Nathan’s post today got me thinking again about Twilight, and why I love to hate […]

Amy says:

Twilight really fits more in the romance category than horror/spec fic, so I think that the books really aren’t aimed at the serious vampire fans who are going to be horrified at the break to genre.
Why would you when the tweenyboppers are far more lucrative?

Keagan says:

Very true. My wife liked it, and says I don’t like it simply because it’s a romance, which isn’t entirely true. But I think that that reasoning can make me and you, and Leah happy: Twilight is a romance with supernatural themes, where as Van Helsing/Dracula etc are Vampire Action/Horrors. Each to their own.

Leah says:

I would go the reverse of what Keagan said – Meyer’s storyline (at least the romantic storyline) – is ridiculous and, like Amy said, a perfect example of a controlling, abusive relationship. Meyer’s writing style also tends to dribble on and on. You could rip huge chunks out of the books and not lose much of the storyline. If there’s a reason the books are rubbish, it’s that stupid storyline.
I believe, however, that she completely has the right to mess with what is made-up anyway (ie. vampire myths). Like Mark said, the existing vampire myths were created by people twisting previously existing vampire stories.
Amy is also correct in pointing out that Twilight was never intended for the vampire/horror market, but for the teenage romance market, where such readers wouldn’t care if previous vampire myths were proved wrong – indeed, they would possibly prefer it.
Andre was a very loud opponent to the whole ‘sparkly vampire’ thing (and also the fact the Twilight vampires can come out during the day), insisting what rubbish it was that someone would make up new vampire myths when clearly the rest of mythological literacy agrees on different myths. Until he saw the movie. He now still thinks ‘sparkly vampires’ are stupid and fairy-like but understands the point Meyer was trying to make with her ‘different’ vampire laws.

Amy says:

….tends to dribble on and on
That is so hilariously true.