If that title didn’t catch your eye, I don’t know what did. I know Twilight gets a lot of love and a lot of hate, and it depends on your personal preference. I happen to be one of those people that pokes good fun at Twilight – let’s face it, there are a lot of flaws with the series – but a thought snagged me.
“Why is Twilight so popular?”
We’ve dissected the Mary Sue and Gary Stew problems, the emotionally abusive relationships, the cliche love triangle – and yet we’re left with one remaining fact.
People love Twilight. Sometimes even people we love and respect love Twilight, and we’re left thinking either a.) What in the world is wrong with them!? b.) I choose bad friends, or c.) Maybe they’re not entirely wrong.
So I mulled this over and realized, in spite of the many (many many) flaws, Twilight got a few things right.
1. Love. 99% of humanity is a sucker for a good love story, and Twilight has more than one. It focuses on Edward and Bella, sure; but look at the rest of it – Jacob loves Bella, Rosalie and Emmet are married and love each other, Carlisle and Esme are married and love each other, Alice and Jasper are married and love each other, Bella’s father loves her and wants to keep her safe, the Cullens grow to love Bella and protect her, the LaPush werewolves care about each other…the saga is a series of love stories, and you know what? In the end, the basics are right: You sacrifice for the one you love, you protect them, you wait for them. No matter Bella’s stupid decisions or the strageness of it all, the moral there is one you can’t argue with.
2. Stephanie Meyer did something that’s fairly unprecedented in other novels – the main hero is basically AWOL for the entirety of book #2. This gave us the perfect opportunity to get to know Jacob, who – let’s face it – is a pretty likable guy, for the most part. Sure, he might flex his muscles at Edward and bare his teeth now and then, but he comforts and protects Bella even when he knows he can’t have her. I mean, let’s face it – sending the guy every girl is swooning over out of the picture for pretty much an entire book could have lost her a lot of fans, but it didn’t – instead, it drew them in, because they wanted Bella and Edward back together. The desire for a happy ending was enough to keep them turning pages and eagerly awaiting a reunion. She took risks most authors aren’t willing to take.
3. One thing I don’t understand is all the flack Edward gets. Sure, I poke fun at him (who wouldn’t), but take away the fangs and what is he? He’s Mr. Darcy on steroids. Can anyone spell p-e-r-s-p-e-c-t-i-v-e? Edward is caring, and kind, and protective of his family and friends. He’s a gentleman who will fight for the woman he loves in spite of the problems with his family, which he also loves. He’s devoted to his adopted family. And while he does a good bit of lurking before he and Bella are in a relationship, it’s not a reason to completely dismiss everything else about him. Edward is a gentleman – and gentlemen are sorely lacking in today’s YA literature. Girls want a guy like Edward, and Meyer gave them what they wanted – to the nth degree.
I’m not saying Twilight is the series all aspiring authors should look up to. I could make a much longer list detailing the plot holes, the bad writing, the no-no’s (New Moon could basically be called Never Mind, since that’s how 99% of the problems are fixed)…but so often, we get so caught up in thumbing our nose at what’s ‘popular’ that we don’t stop to see if there’s anything we could learn from it.