Yes you read that correctly. I like Twilight. The books and to some extent the films as well. It’s true I haven’t read them in years but I haven’t read Harry Potter for a while either I hate to admit. A lot of the books I like I talk about frequently and it’s quite well known in my friend group the books I enjoy. Twilight is not one of them, not unless you go far enough back. Back when I was in college and had reread The Vampire Diaries books for what felt the thousandth time in a row and I was bored. I had free time between classes and didn’t know what to do with myself. I chanced a trip to my local bookstore on one of my free classes and wandered around waiting to see what would catch my eye. It was actually New Moon that made me stop, I figured it had to be about werewolves and I liked the simple looking cover and font. Thankfully the super helpful bookseller mentioned it was a sequel book (and she’d loved the first) and helped me find a copy of the first book. Twilight.
I read Twilight cover to cover in a matter of days. A feat I hadn’t achieved in years despite working in our school library in secondary school, the summer holidays and six months of college had been blur of too full of music concerts and staying out late with my friends, a new boyfriend, a new girlfriend and a new boyfriend again and I hadn’t had what felt like a spare moment to pick up a book. I moved onto New Moon a day later after spending a day somewhere with family yearning to get stuck into the book I’d stupidly left at home and I ate all my meals in my room that day and I cried. A lot. I know to a lot of people this already sounds ridiculous, I’ve been told for years how toxic and harmful the relationship between Bella and Edward is and I’m not disagreeing, well I wouldn’t if they had been real human people but as it turns out one of them was a vampire and they were both fictional characters. So I cried because Bella was hurt and I was young enough to remember being hurt and left alone by people who I thought cared about me and it felt to get that out. I was awkward like Bella, I didn’t really like other people and I was unbelievably clumsy as heck so as lame as it sounds I related to her. A lot of people complain that Bella is too weak but to be honest I can’t say that at her age I wouldn’t have done anything different, in fact she might have handled it better than me! Not forgetting that by Breaking Dawn and on occasions before that although she isn’t conventionally “kick ass” she shows that she can be strong. She is literally willing to die to keep her family safe and I love the character she becomes.
Time went on, turns out Eclipse was already out or came out not long after and I eagerly awaited the release of Breaking Dawn and made sure I got a special edition version and then it was announced they were making films and everyone was reading and talking about this book series that I loved. By this point I’d seen Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, two of my other favourite series brought to the big screen and was beyond excited for these films, especially when they announced that Catherine Hardwick, a female director would be in charge of the first film! I followed every piece of information I could get, i reread the books and I loved the film. I still have all the reference books about the making of the film that I brought after seeing it and the directors handbook filled with notes and sketches etc from the director is still my favourite.
As time went on and more films came out the franchise gained more and more fans. Other kids at school would recognize my Twilight keyring on my bag, the quotes on my notebook and my favourite replica bracelet with a heart and a wolf which was nice. Pretty soon though I discovered a darker side of The Fandom were you weren’t a big enough fan or if you didn’t read the books first you weren’t allowed to like it because you weren’t a real fan and there was some real bullying going on which all sounds absolutely absurd but sadly still happens among some fandoms today, especially in comics it seems. Soon fans of the franchise were dubbed as “Twihards” and gained a reputation for being sad, obsessive, screaming teenagers who would kill each other for a lock of Taylor Lautner’s hair etc and I didn’t correct anyone who said otherwise. I kept my enjoyment of the franchise to myself after then afraid I would be lumped in with the few that gave the other fans a bad name.
Fan reputation for Twilight just got worse over time with people verbally abusing fans because of the material itself, people who hadn’t even read the books going on about how badly written they were and how laughable the idea of sparkling vampires are, how disgusting imprinting is (that was rarely as they would have to read/watch past the first book /film) and don’t forget the plethora of necrophilia and beastiality jokes anyone even breathing a mention of Twilight were subjected to. Don’t get me wrong, they are not especially the best written books, some of the plot points are silly and in a “real world” circumstance a lot of the behaviour would be harmful and worrisome but please give me some damn credit to know what is a fictional world and people and what is not.
I get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I really do but for love of the written word please just let people enjoy things! As long as they’re harming themselves or anyone else let them love what they love, let them be free to express their enjoyment of fiction, Twilight or otherwise. I’m not saying you have to like things everyone else likes but don’t make the mistake vice versa. Some of my favourite films are considered trash but as I fast approach thirty I’m rapidly finding I couldn’t give a hoot but other people, younger people especially will be hurt and feel ridiculed and that’s not okay. Much like in my “Why I read YA” post, let people be free to read what they enjoy.
So yes. I like Twilight. No I’m not obsessed with Edward Cullen and can tell the difference between him and Robert Pattinson (I’m more of a Team Alice fan anyway to be honest). Yes I read the books before the films came out and no it doesn’t matter one bit. You like them as well? That’s awesome! I’m always here to chat about them if you want. Don’t like them? No problem! Still here to chat about them if you’re interested in that kind of friendly discussion. Also yes I own more than one copy of each book (three or four of New Moon I believe – Yes I may have had more money than sense as a teenager but to be fair I own just under ten copies of The Hobbit and three of City of Bones). No I do not own a Team Edward or Team Jacob shirt (It’s totally fine if you do, I personally have a Team Charlie one – I kid you not. Twitter picture evidence).