I'm a working mum writing about life in Edinburgh (and anywhere else we go) with two curious, adventurous, and imaginative children. Visit my blog at www.linzertortes.blogspot.co.uk. Follow me on Twitter: @LinzerLaw
Published November 17th 2012
Now, you might think you know the answer to this. Let me guess. Vampires, werewolves, and the unbelievable message that good guys don't want to have sex before marriage?
The Twilight series is basically about one thing: the overwhelming and bizarre nature of teenagers' feelings for each other, which are completely impenetrable and incomprehensible to anyone other than the teenagers concerned.
The cover of the American edition of Twilight. Source: Wikimedia Commons
At the end of the day, Twilight is a pretty pedestrian love story about a girl who moves house, meets a boy, and throws away all her life plans to settle down with him. But, if Stephanie Meyer had written this story about normal 17-year old boy, then everyone would have been all like, "Well, why does Bella even care? Oh my God, get over him already!", because everyone else (parents, friends, teachers) can see these people for what they really are, but to the teenager concerned they're like some demi-god descended to earth.
For this love story to convincingly represent the depths of a teenager's feelings, to grown-ups who've forgotten, the men had to be supernatural.
Think about it: look back to when you were in high school.
1. People seemed so much older than they actually were – teachers who had just graduated university and were only maybe 4 or 5 years older than the students they were teaching were simply lumped in with "adults". The boys who were already seniors seemed so much older, and worldly-wise, and their approval seemed so, well, important. That's Edward. She's magnified the effect so he's about, 90, but it's the same old (creepy) story.
2. The people you fancied were elevated to super-human levels. You doodled your name and theirs in hearts, you wrote stories about them, day-dreamed about them, and resisted all attempts by anyone else to convince you that they weren't the centre of the universe. Again, Edward.
3. You came up with elaborate lies to convince yourself that they were different to everybody else. You know, like they want you to get married before you sleep with each other. Or that they are sparkly-skinned vampire with special breath, which is obviously the only reason you are willing to compromise your morality with them. Edward? Check.
4. You found bizarre reasons not to go out with people you actually should like. The ones your parents like, and who actually are nice to you, and treat you well, and have loved you ever since they met you. Yes, Bella, I am now referring to poor doormat-for-your-whims Jacob.
Basically, the entire vampire/werewolf thing is simply a foil to explore the tediously sickening subject of teenage crushes, "love", if you will. That feeling of absolute world-ending disaster when they tell you its over, that leads you to make choices about your entire future simply based on the increasing levels of hormones in your body. That's what Twilight is about.
So, if you're expecting a dark, gothic vampires or raw, atavistic werewolves you'll be disappointed.
However, if you're hankering after the insanity of a teenage crush, followed by a celebration of a woman's place in the world as a mother first, wife second, and everything else a distant one-millionth, then this is the series for you!