Twilight

The 'Twilight' series contains four books about a dreamy vampire and the charmingly klutzy girl who loves him. It was written by Stephanie Meyer, presumably on the back of a trapper keeper while she was still in high school.

An early, rejected cover of the novel, then titled Vampires Who Love Fat Girls.

Just The Facts

  1. Too many people take these books seriously.
  2. Taken together, the series is the 'Manos: The Hands of Fate' of literature.
  3. Either because they love comedy or hate themselves, the winners of this week's Topics Page Contest read every word of the entire series.

Our Protagonists

The books tell the story of the vampire Edward Cullen, who is described as an "Adonis" no more than every time the author is able to, and Bella Swan, a "plain" girl who reads "serious" literature like Wuthering Heights because she's so intelligent. Also, she is much more advanced than the students in the school that she has just moved to, but that's okay, because she makes up for it by being clumsy, since every well-developed character needs exactly one (1) flaw.

Stylistic Choices

Stephanie Meyer's exemplary writing style is demonstrated in this conversation between Edward and our narrator Bella:

"Aren't you hungry?" he asked, distracted.

"No." I didn't feel like mentioning that my stomach was already full - full of butterflies.

Book One: Twilight

Despite being so plain, Bella is admired by everyone in her new hometown of Forks, Washington, especially Edward Cullen. Originally, Edward just wanted to eat her, but, disappointingly, realizes eventually that in fact what he is feeling is true love, and after a couple of days they start dating. After two or three weeks, Bella is begging him to turn her into a vampire because of true love.

This isn't made explicitly clear in the book, but Edward has been creeping into her room and watching her sleep every night since he met her. More on that later.

Also, Edward has mind-reading powers, except they don't work on Bella. This isn't really as big a part of the story as most people think it is, and in fact we can (and will) get away without ever mentioning it again.

A mere number of days after they begin dating, Edward takes her to the woods and reveals the real reason that vampires don't go out in the sun: they sparkle. This is the turning point in what until now has been just a bad book. Bella gasps and swoons, and Edward takes his shirt off to show her all of his glitter infection, and then they lie there chastely on the grass. The rest of the book is spent talking about true love and Edward's rock-hard abs. Kissing cold, marble, statuesque lips is apparently sexy.

Later, Bella kisses Edward so hard he almost "loses control", but luckily, as the man in the relationship, it's his duty to keep poor little overexcited Bella in line, so he tells her to stop kissing him.

Three hundred pages after "Oh, you like me too? No way, I thought you hated me!", the plot arrives late to the party, drunk, in a beat-up '53 Chevy pick-up truck. It drives away about fifty pages later and crashes into a tree, gets sent to the hospital, and is rarely heard from again throughout the course of the series.

Book Two: New Moon

Book Two begins with Bella angsting about reaching the old age of eighteen, which she worries will make her some sort of cradle-snatching freak because her boyfriend Edward is eternally seventeen. The fact that a 109-year-old vampire is sexually interested in an emotionally immature girl 90 years his junior apparently doesn't bother her. Edward cheers up Bella by giving her a mix tape. Unfortunately, later Edward changes his mind, takes back the mix tape, and dumps Bella. He leaves her in the forest by herself, and being a woman and thus without a sense of direction, she gets lost and almost dies.

Bella spends the rest of the book going crazy, imagining Edward's voice and partaking in ever more self-destructive activities. During this time she befriends Jacob Black, who turns out to be a werewolf but is still way better for her than Edward. She finally regains Edward's attention after she deliberately jumps off a cliff and almost dies. Edward, being a thirteen-year-old girl, thinks Bella has died and goes to Italy to commit suicide. He attempts to do this by exposing himself to the sun at noon in an Italian town. Since sunlight doesn't actually harm Twilight vampires, one must assume that Edward is hoping some macho Italians will see him in at full sparkle and beat him to death for being gay.

Bella teams up with Edward's sister Alice, who turns out to be straight and taken but is still way better for her than Edward, to rescue her ex from his emoness. After a crazy mix up that finds Bella and Edward temporarily in an Anne Rice novel, Edward reaccepts her.

This novel thus teaches two important lessons to young girls everywhere:

1) If a guy dumps you and says he doesn't love you anymore, he doesn't mean it. All you have to do is beg and destroy your life to prove that you really love him, and he'll come right back and love you even more!

2) It is perfectly cool to string along innocent but decent guys who are crushing on you and then dump them immediately as soon as your ex-boyfriend reappears, and totally normal if said ex-boyfriend forbids you from seeing your old friend. After all, your love for your ex must be far stronger, because he makes you feel 'alive' and 'dangerous' since he's always on the verge of killing you. And stalking you. We can't really mention that enough.

Book Three: Eclipse

The plot revolves around a villain from the first book, who is stalking Bella. But this is just a background to the real plot, which is about Edward stalking Bella. The book focuses on the choice Bella must make between Jacob Black and Edward Cullen, two tall, good-looking, devoted men with cool supernatural abilities. This is exactly the kind of problem that normal women face every day.

Halfway through, Stephenie Meyer realizes that Jacob Black is far cooler than Edward and performs a quick character assassination by having him mouth-rape her. Bella punches him and runs away, but later discovers she loves him, which teaches us more lessons:

1) If a girl says she doesn't love you, just keep sexually assaulting her. Eventually she'll realize she likes it.

2) Leading two guys on for years because you 'love them both' is perfectly acceptable, as long as you feel really bad about it at some point.


All through this we learn more about more secondary characters, who like Alice and Jacob are far more interesting than either Edward or Bella. These include:

1) Edward's sister Rosalie, who performed a massacre that sounds like Kill Bill with vampires. Kill Bill! With vampires!!!

2) Edward's brother Jasper, who is old enough to have fought for the South, and used to take part in vampire turf wars. Vampire turf wars!!!!!!!!!

Normal Vampire Turf Wars:

Twilight Vampire Turf Wars:

Unfortunately, we only get about five pages each on these guys. This gives us more space for Bella and Edward to stare into each others' eyes and quote from Wuthering Heights, in a good example of the old 'mask the inadequacies of your own work by quoting from someone who could actually write' method.

Also, Bella thinks about vampires some more.

"It was childish, but I liked the idea that his lips would be the last good thing I would feel. Even more embarrassingly, something I would never say aloud, I wanted his venom to poison my system."

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Bella Swan: eighteen and already looking forward to death, she is the perfect role model for your young teenage girl. After an unintentionally hilarious end battle Bella and Edward decide to get married, bringing us to the end of yet another 700 pages without any fucking.

Breaking Dawn: The One With The Vampire Fucking

The newly-married Bella and Edward embark on their honeymoon, where Bella spends a lot of time getting Edward to make love to her. We like to think that he is afraid of this partly because he is afraid of hurting her with his super-strength, and partly because he is still freaked out about discovering that he is supposed to be heterosexual. "If I sleep with a woman, I'll have to go home and smash my piano," we imagine him thinking. "Will I still be able to drive a Volvo? What about me and Emmett's 'hiking trips'?"

There's also some blatant foreshadowing right around the time that the "Denali clan" is mentioned. Apparently it's illegal for vampires to have babies (and it's supposed to be impossible anyway) and if that rule is ever broken, the Italian Mafia Vampires from the second book will swoop down and kill the baby vampire and its family. Then Bella has a dream about a baby vampire sitting on a pile of deadified everyone-she-cares-about. We imagine that Meyer's editor had to cross out the "DUN DUN DUN" in the original manuscript.

Around this point, the reader is shocked and disturbed to find out that Stephenie Meyer is actually using vampirism to weave quite a skillful metaphor for adolescent fears about love and physical intimacy. Bella loves Edward so much that she is willing to give up her life for him. This desire, which seems unhealthy at first glance, is only possible because of her absolute trust in the fact that he would never willingly hurt her.

Before all that, though, Edward and Bella have another one of their annoying arguments. Vampires, especially Edward because he's so special, are supposed to be super-strong and primal, and Bella wants to have sex with Edward before he turns her into a vampire. Edward thinks it will hurt Bella. Bella says she doesn't care. We skip a couple pages.

Right before they have sex, Meyer remembers that she's writing out her fantasies for an audience now, and so she abruptly pulls a PG-13 "fade-to-black", disappointing any male Twilight fans who were hoping for a closer look at Edward.

When Bella wakes up, she is covered in feathers because the sex was so rough and passionate that Edward bit a pillow. Then Edward points out that Bella is covered in bruises. She brushes off his concern and then the two of them whine about how unhappy they are now because they've made each other unhappy by being unhappy, and then we kind of stopped reading for a couple of minutes. But we learned a few more things:

1) It doesn't matter if he hurts you

2) He only did it because he loves you.

Excluding all the questionable sex, you might start to think that maybe this book isn't an entirely bad influence on teenage girls, with its 'don't go to bed with anyone unless he has proven that he loves you' message. And then Stephenie Meyer takes that trust, uses it to get your address and credit card numbers, and then breaks into your house and poisons your dog.

Long story short: Bella gets pregnant. It goes downhill from there.

After a bunch of vampire/werewolf crap that nobody cares about, Jacob, Edward and Edward's sister all gather around Bella waiting for Edward's doctor father to return so that he can help her birth the fast-growing demon spawn. Bella has one fucking job, which is to not mess up until the doctor arrives. Being an adorably klutzy flawed heroine, she can't manage it. She trips on her way to the bathroom, and the reader is treated to the sound of the placenta displacing (a 'muffled ripping sound'--thanks for the image, Meyer, you bitch) and a description of Bella's bladder releasing, racehorse-like urine flowing down her legs and onto the floor and - oh wait, this is a Stephenie Meyer novel, so the heroine only does more delicate things. Like 'vomiting a fountain of blood'. No, we didn't make that part up.

Bella (artist's interpretation)


With the baby suffocating, Edward and co decide to perform a vampire cesarean. Jacob takes some time off to write down 'Vampire Cesarean' as a possible future name for his punk band, and then races to Bella's side in time to hear her spine break.

Once again, we are not making this up.

Another shattering crack inside her body, the loudest yet... Her legs, which had been curled up in agony, now went limp, sprawling out in an unnatural way.

"Her spine," he choked in horror.

It's only implied, but we like to think Edward tries to cheer Bella up about the whole paralysis thing by saying 'Hey girl, at least we don't need an epidural!' Bella gurgles some more, and Jacob takes some time out of the birthing to randomly beat up Edward's sister. That's just how Jacob rolls. At some point, Edward rips open Bella's uterus and delivers the baby.

He rips open her uterus.

With his teeth.

Then stabs her with a vampire venom-filled syringe.

At this point the reader is filled with something not unlike calm relief. At least nothing, nothing in the world, could be more disturbing than this. Except, like, quasi-child porn or something. Luckily, of course, that would be entirely--

Then Jacob falls madly in love with the newborn baby girl.

No, we don't mean in the sense of 'Oh, I fell in love with that kitten the moment I saw it'. We mean in love love. Really, what we're trying to say--and let us know if you don't understand--is that Jacob the borderline rapist and the tiny baby vampire chest-burster are going to get married and have babies.

What Jacob did, Meyer explains, was "imprint" on the baby. Imprinting, in the Twilight universe, is what happens when a werewolf finds his soulmate. It means that the two of them are now destined to be together, no matter what. What if the girl is unwilling at first? Too bad, because she isn't any more! It's the psychic equivalent of GHB.

We must have misunderstood, though, because we found this quote from the author:

"They ended up being vampires in the way they are because I have strong opinions on free will. No matter what position you're in, you always have a choice. So I had these characters who were in a position where traditionally they would have been the bad guys, but, instead, they chose to be something different-a theme that has always been important to me."

Apparently Jacob is choosing to be a pedophile.

Meanwhile, newly de-babied Bella wakes up and describes being a vampire, which to us sounds an awful lot like being on shrooms.

"The brilliant light overhead was still blinding-bright, and yet I could plainly see the glowing strands of the filaments inside the bulb. I could see each color of the rainbow in the white light, and, at the very edge of the spectrum, an eighth color I had no name for. Behind the light, I could distinguish the individual grains in the dark wood ceiling above. In front of it, I could see the dust motes in the air, the sides the light touched, and the dark sides, distinct and separate. They spun like little planets, moving around each other in a celestial dance."

She then stared at her hands for forty minutes and announced "The real person is like, beneath the skin, dude."

Then there is explicit vampire sex. Well, not really, of course, because it's Twilight. We do, though, get the next 300 pages of sparkly boredom briefly livened up by Edward's brother Emmett implying that Edward is unable to satisfy his new wife. Edward reacts to this by playing the piano and wearing khakis, because that proves that he's straight.

Meanwhile, Bella has been transformed into the most beautifulest sparkly vampire lady ever omg!!!11! Everyone comments on how beautiful she's become, because just when you thought this book was already its own fan-fiction the author changes her Mary Sue character into a... well, we're not even sure where you go from there. Also, Bella names her child Renesmee, after her mother Rene and Edward's "mother" Esmee. Renesmee immediately sets out to be one of the creepiest things ever, and it's only made worse when everyone talks about how perfect she is.

Originally the Cullens are afraid that Vampire Bella will escape and eat people, but she proves to be remarkably compassionate and able to control herself more than any vampire ever because she is a special snowflake. Also on her first "hunt" she wears a cocktail dress, and she is able to do that because it is sexy and she is so in control of herself and totally not klutzy. We guess characters don't have to be flawed to be interesting, then, although we wouldn't know because we started falling asleep at about this point.

Anyway, Jacob is left to take care of the creepy daughter while Edward and Bella just run around and do whatever. Bella is furious when she finds out that he's nicknamed the little monster "Nessie", which we think is actually a really appropriate name. Bella does not seem to care that Jacob the Pedophile Date Rapist Werewolf is babysitting the Little Loch Ness Monster Vampire Baby from Hell.

Finally something happens, in the form of the Italian Vampire Mafia from the second book swooping down in order to kill the vampire baby and its family. SURPRISE. Curiously, although one of the vampires actually mentions the fact that modern weapons are effective against immortals, the Cullens forego stocking up on rocket launchers and instead decide to take a stand using only their vicious vampire fangs as weapons.

Oh, wait.

At this point, Edward's cooler siblings Alice and Jasper are like 'WTF, we are OUT of here' and run away to start a new life. The remaining vampires team up with the pedowolves for a glorious, bloody fight against the evil powers of vampire oppression, a vampiredammerung that lasts hundreds of pages and puts the most epic of Tolkien battles to blushing shame.

As well it should, because a lot of the vampires have special powers, like the X-Men. We know, you didn't think this story was going to be awesome, and you're so wrong, because--

The Cullens sit down with the Mafia Vampires and talk about their feelings for a while. The Mafia back down without a fight and head back to Anne Rice land, and Edward and Bella kiss. Also, Jacob has made Renesmee a bracelet. Did we mention that Renesmee somehow is going to grow rapidly to seventeen and then stop growing? Jacob is going to marry her, and she will be permanantly underage.

Fuck you, Meyer.

Book Five: Midnight Sun (unreleased)

Midnight Sun is Twilight, but told from Edward's point of view. It's a disappointment. Not so much because it's bad, but because you find out exactly how many times Bella was close to being eaten. Also because of the breaking-into-her-room-every-night-to-watch-her-sleep-without-her-knowing thing. And you thought we were joking about the stalking.

Several other interesting things revealed in Midnight Sun:

  • Edward's brother Jasper is actually a barely restrained killing machine who several times offers to kill Bella simply because she's bothering Edward. He therefore gets about four lines before we go back to Edward playing his piano.
  • Up until he fell in love with Bella, Edward's sister Rosalie thought that he 'wasn't interested in girls at all'. So did we, Rosalie. So did we.
  • Edward is fascinated by Bella because he can't read her thoughts. This phenomenom is apparently genetic, because Edward can't hear her father Charlie's thoughts either. Rumors of a future book involving a forbidden Edward/Charlie romance are so far unconfirmed.

Apart from this, the most interesting thing about the book is that the word 'chagrin' is used once every 29.3 pages. This record is broken only by Stephenie Meyer's latest book, released in April 2009 and entitled simply 'Chagrin Topaz Sparkles'.

Controversies

Alleged Sexism

Stephenie Meyer, the series' author, has been criticized for her portrayal of a weak, helpless female lead who falls madly in love with a man who wants to kill her. Others disagree and claim that the relationship has fair precedent, citing the common practice of marriages to incarcerated serial killers and the notorious original ending to the movie Terminator. This idea has been backed up by legions of the books' fans, prompting others of the female persuasion to attempt to forcibly remove their extra X chromosome.

Robert Pattinson

Unaware of the popularity of the book series or the insanity of its fanbase, the young actor signed on to play Edward Cullen in a three-movie contract deal in order to hit on to the lead actress. When he found out his mistake, Pattinson took to insulting the book and its author in interviews and appearing in public after long periods of not showering in order to avoid his fans. Of course, this didn't work. There is widespread speculation as to what Pattinson will try next, including possibly gaining 200 pounds and smearing his face with human excrement. We assume that Pattinson's agents are currently negotiating a deviation from the book in the second movie, in which Edward Cullen is unexpectedly killed by Lord Voldemort.