The Twilight Series is No Harry Potter

Twilight BooksI watched Twilight when it came to theaters. It was surprisingly pretty good, even though it was focused more on the hormones of a teenage girl than on anything more macro such as good versus evil or protagonist versus antagonist (though one would argue that the complexities of a woman cannot be topped).

Following that, I went on to read all four of the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer. I had heard they were good, so I was willing to give them a chance. The first book was good and quite entertaining, as Bella attempted to discover what the mystery was behind Edward. The second book, however, was just OK.

New Moon, which is hastily being made into a movie this year, is not going to make much of a movie at all. The first half of the book is pretty good, as Bella starts up a quasi-relationship with Jacob, her soon-to-be-werewolf best friend. In reality, the book is just a retread of the first one, only with a werewolf in place of a vampire. Bella sure knows how to pick them, doesn’t she? It’s entertaining, but when it devolves into a race to save Edward from the Volturi, it takes a turn for the worse. Meyer ends the book with absolutely no action, and in fact there is only one suspenseful moment in the entire novel. How will this become a good movie? It’s hard to imagine.

Thankfully, Eclipse is a much-better book. Victoria, who has been lurking in the shadows since the first novel, amasses a vampire army to take down the Cullens and kill Bella. The result? A vampire vs. vampire vs. werewolf battle, which, if done right, should be amazing on the silver screen. Eclipse is exciting, smart and entertaining, and will make a perfect finish to the trilogy.

Except… the series doesn’t end as a trilogy. It ends with Breaking Dawn, a shockingly disappointing finish that takes the characters in unwanted directions. Bella finally gets to screw Edward, but not until he’s convinced her to marry at a young age (is this meant to teach young girls a moral lesson? It’s not “don’t have sex until you’re married.” It’s “if you want to have sex, get married so you can have sex.”). Then she gets knocked up, and spends much of the rest of the book lying around on her death bed, so much so that Meyer has to shift the narrative to Jacob to progress the story. Ouch. Eventually, Bella becomes a vampire, and this is the best thing that happens to her: however, how can you top being immortal and wanting to eat other humans?  Of course, Bella doesn’t get to suffer any of the consequences, as her father shrugs off her conversion with minimal conflict (that’s convenient) and she doesn’t have any of the urges a newborn vampire should have.

To cap it all off, Meyer sets up a gigantic battle between the Cullens and the Volturi, and then decides not to have a satisfying finale at all. Harry Potter, the Twilight series is not.

Essentially, the Twilight series is an entertaining series that doesn’t have a plot or much else. Unlike Harry Potter, which carefully and intelligently progresses its stories along to a massive, satisfying climax, Meyer seems more concerned about fitting her frustratingly annoying lead character into a childhood dream of immortality and endless love. The books aren’t bad, but they are overrated, and it’s sad that any young girl may idolize Bella. Bella is annoying, and her attempts to be selfless generally results in her being as selfish as possible. Driven by hormones and a silly, youthful love, she is willing to give up everything, including her family and friends, for her lover. That’s just pathetic.

The only reason I’m dwelling on the moral aspects of the story is because I’m disappointed by the general story arc of the books. They’re written by a woman for girls – and I am neither a woman nor a girl – so I understand that I’m not in the target audience. But when you write a story about vampires and werewolves and don’t follow through with such things… well, it’s embarrassing that this series is compared to Harry Potter.

By Erik Samdahl
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