So, I thought since I just posted this on kh13, I might as well here, too. Honestly, I've been wanting to explain my feelings on the saga for awhile, and since it's pretty much over, I thought I might as well now. Here are my thoughts; you don't have to agree with me, but I hope it's an interesting read nonetheless And if you do disagree, please be respectful about it. That's all I ask. Thanks. Here's what I wrote on kh13:
In Defense of Twilight from a Former Fan Who Recognizes its Flaws
The hate for Twilight has gotten to a ridiculous level. Now, I'd like to start this out by saying that I used to be a fan, but I'm not really into the series anymore. I prefer series like Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire, Percy Jackson, The Mortal Instruments, Maximum Ride, etc. I know that Twilight has a lot of flaws (and the movies are downright crap), but it's still not as awful as people say it is.
Honestly, the Vampire Diaries books are a LOT worse. You think Bella's a Mary-Sue? Then clearly you haven't met Elena, who everyone really does love and worships the ground she walks on, even though she's a bitch. Oh, and she's gorgeous, too, of course. I have to tell you though, my favorite part of The Vampire Diaries books are all the things Elena turns into. First she's a human, then a vampire, then she dies as a vampire and becomes a ghost, then she comes back a human with angel/guardian powers, and then at the end, to be with Stefan, she chooses not to become a vampire, but drink some fountain of youth water; that way she can stay with him forever (and be young), but not have to be a vampire. By the way, the fountain of youth thing came out of flipping nowhere, too! If that's not bad writing, I don't know what is. I could go on and on about how bad and overrated The Vampire Diaries are, but I'll leave that for another time.
The thing with Twilight (besides people thinking that it's cool to hate it, and having not read the books) is that it was never intended to be an epic, but people look at it thinking it was, or they want it to be one, and get mad when it isn't. Twilight was never meant to be anything like Harry Potter, so comparing it to it, The Hunger Games, and similar things is pointless. It's a completely different genre! It's just supposed to be a vampire/human love story, and I think, all things considered, it does a decent job with it. The world truly is expansive and interesting; I like the mythology. The characters for the most part are interesting and likable, so it's a decent series overall.
And it's funny! So funny. That's part of the reason I liked the books, and was disappointed that the movies took themselves so seriously. A lot of the times, I thought the books were pretty much comedies, and it was a welcome relief from the darker more intense other vampire stories.
Another thing I like about the series is that it shows how human all the characters actually are. Someone said this once, and I completely agree with them, that the reason they liked Harry Potter and Twilight was because it took creatures that were usually written as "monsters" and humanized them. I really like that aspect, and I think it makes for an interesting story, and look at our own humanity. For instance, for all intents and purposes, the Cullens should have been evil, bloodthirsty monsters, but they weren't. They rose above what fate expected of them, and were the people they wanted to be. Was it easy? Hell no. But they did it, anyway. As Carlisle says in the New Moon book, "Like everything in life, I just had to decide what to do with what I was given."
That's actually a good lesson to learn. And you know what? People are always so hungup on the "bad things Twilight teaches people" that they do forget some of the good things it promoted, such as working through your issues. Today, too many people break up the first time something is wrong in a relationship; people don't know how to compramise anymore, and Edward and Bella do that beautifully. They may meet their hardships now and then, but they always get through it together, and are better for it afterwards. Other things it teaches are to put aside your differences, and try to see things from other's PoVs (like the Cullens and Quileutes).
Another prominent theme in the books are your choices. Bella struggles all through Eclipse about her choice to become a vampire, and all she'll have to give up, and it does show that every choice has its consequence. In the end, though, she knows herself enough (and this was always a strength in Bella) to make the choice that is best for herself and not look back.
Actually, I'm going to break off here and talk about some things about that. I feel that Twilight, unlike some vampire books, dives deeper into some concepts that I wish the others had. Such as do vampires have souls, all you'd have to give up to be a vampire, etc.
Another thing I like about the series, and Bella in general, is first off, she isn't afraid of Edward when she finds out he's a vampire. In other series, it always ticks me off that when the girl finds out her boyfriend or whatever is a vampire; she forgets everything she knows about him, and start treating him like a monster for a bit. Bella didn't do this like some heroines did, because A) she knew that Edward had had ample time to hurt her already if he'd wanted to. And B) that he'd been saving her life rather than hurting her. I like this quote here that sort of sums this up (when Bella's beginning to fall for Edward, and Jessica's questioning her about it). "How could I not [like him]? The vampire who wanted to be good – who ran around saving people's lives so he wouldn't be a monster…"
I'd like to take the moment to say that I think Bella gets too much crap from people. Does she have her flaws? Yes, everyone does, but I think for the most part, she's a decent, strong-willed person who always does the best she can. And people are always saying Bella's stupid, but she's not. She's smart academically, but she's also smart in other ways. She's a good judge of character, and actually predicts a lot of stuff in the plot before it happens. Yes, Bella has a few tripups, but she's a lot better then some other protagonists I've read (especially since I usually hate first person novels and the character it's written about).
Another thing I like about the series is that (unlike what the movie shows), it takes a long time for Edward and Bella to fall in love. Heck, even for them to become friends! Unlike most pairings in things that seem rushed and unexplained, you actually saw the build up of their relationship, them getting to know each other; you see why they start having feelings for each other.
This brings me to another qualm of mine in vampire books: someone dating a vampire when they don't want to become a vampire themselves. I can't tell you how much that irritates me! I swear, the characters in those things (except Sookie in True Blood, because I actually get her PoV), drive me insane! Clearly they're not thinking things through at all! If you don't want to be with a vampire, why are you dating one?! Especially since if you want to be together, you'll probably have to become one yourself. I can't even begin to tell you how happy I was that Bella was actually smart enough to think about some of these things, and wasn't one of these dumb girls. Ugh.
Other lessons I liked from Twilight are: fight for/to be with the person you love, love really can accomplish anything, the value of family, etc.
Another theme that most people will probably laugh at, but I actually think people need to remember in this day in age, is the no sex before marriage thing. Now, I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with it (even though I do understand it from Edward's PoV, since in his time that's the way it was, and some religions still hold that value), I'm saying that in this day in age, I think sex has become too glorified. Mainly, I don't think young people should be allowed to be exposed to it as much as they are. I think since they see it everywhere, that's part of the reason we have so many teen pregnancies. With some really young teens, too! But I'm going to get off this topic before I get yelled at.
Oh! Other things that Twilight was good about was literary references. Not only did it cite some great literary masterpieces, but it got people wanting to read them! Actually, Twilight got people wanting to read in general, so you at least have to like it for that. And honestly, I think it did a decent job in drawing ties to Pride and Predjudice, Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the Merchant of Venice.
I know most people criticize Twilight for being the light, happy ending kind of book, but I enjoy it for that. Sure it's not epic or a literary masterpiece in the slightest, but if I'm ever feeling down, I can flip to a random section of it, and have it bring a smile to my face. So surely that's a good thing about it, too. It's a light, easy read, but that doesn't necessarily make it bad. Plus, that's not to say it's all light. Some of the vampires' histories (for example) were really dark, messed up, and captivating. Oh, Twilight was really good with incorporating actual history, too!
–sigh- You know, one of my biggest complaints about the movies is that they didn't get any of the character's stories in. Like Alice's was important! She became a vampire because someone had changed her to save her from James! You know, I think that's why a lot of people hate Twilight; because the movies didn't do a lot of the important connections, foreshadowing, etc. that they were supposed to.
Now, moving on, here are some of the reasons I personally like Twilight; you don't have to agree, but it is what it is.
First off, I like that the characters actually seem realistic, and we get to know them. I can't tell you how many books I've read where all the characters talk about are plot related things. A book series that did this, for example, was The Vampire Diaries. On their day off, they weren't talking about the concert coming to town or anything normal like that, but if there was any new weird thing happening in the town. Ugh. I can't tell you how unrealistic that is! It also makes you feel like you don't know the characters at all! At least with Twilight we knew things like: Bella loves to read, Alice loves fashion, Rosalie likes to work on cars, etc. In The Vampire Diaries books we didn't know any of the characters hobbies or likes/interests.
Another thing that I like about the series is that for most of it, the villain was Victoria. I HATE it, when a story has too many villains (that often come from nowhere), and you don't even know why they're antagonizing your characters. With Victoria, we knew why she was after revenge, and it was believable. Harry Potter just had Voldermort, and for the most part, Twilight just had Victoria. This is a good thing, because otherwise it seems too random, and like it could have happened to someone else. That was actually one of the criticisms of Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. A reviewer said that the game was good, but really, the chances of the plot happening to the main characters (after evertything they'd already been through) wasn't likely, so it could have just been about another cast of people.
And this reason's more personal than the others, but here it is. I, personally, hate the slice of life story. Normal, everyday stories about marriage and whatnot bore me immensely. Twilight, however, was a slice of life story, but with a vampire twist to it. Therefore, it's probably the only time I've ever liked that sort of book (and ever will), so I do thank it for that. It is interesting to see how vampires would complicate the falling in love, breaking up, getting back together, getting married and having a kid (plus other ramifications) story. I know, though, that most people actually hate the story for that, and I can understand if you do. I'm just saying for myself, it's the only way I could enjoy that type of plot.
Now, the last thing I'd like to talk about is one of the prime reasons people don't like Twilight or Bella. New Moon. Though I can get why some of you might hate it, I would like to point out you probably cannot understand or appreciate what Bella's zombie stage, unless you've gone through a depression like that yourself. My sister and I have (and I know a lot of other fans have), but most people probably haven't. Though I understand most of you probably see Bella's reaction as ridiculous, let me try and help you see it clearer.
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. Most people forget that Edward and Bella's relationship wasn't the high school first love kind of thing. It was the real deal, true love, you're my other half, I can't live without you, blah blah blah sort of deal. Even so, most people still don't think her reaction was justifiable, but that's because they usually think her reaction is just for losing Edward. It's not.
First of all, Bella never really had any confidence. When Edward left (after telling her he'd never really loved her after all, and never could), all of the little confidence she did have was completely shattered. And, as Bella thought it (when Charlie's talking to Alice in New Moon), "It was like someone had died — like I had died. Because it had been more than just losing the truest of true loves, as if that were not enough to kill anyone. It was also losing a whole future, a whole family — the whole life that I'd chosen..." There, Bella says it herself. She's not just all messed up because of Edward, but because she'd lost the future she'd chosen, a whole family she'd loved, and with them, her best friend Alice.
To make matters even worse, Edward took all of her things from the Cullens with him "so it would be like he'd never existed." Add all this to the fact that Bella's friends at school are crap, she can't talk to anyone about all of this, etc, and you'll probably see why she went insane. And, yes, most people don't realize she really was crazy in New Moon, so her actions were a little bit more forgivable that way.
Another thing to consider to explain Bella's state is that Victoria, Laurent, etc. are after her, and she's pretty much defenseless. In her head, the Cullens wouldn't even care that she'll be killed, as she was just a pet of theirs they discarded. And worst of all of this, is that even after what Edward did to her, Bella still has to keep his sectet for him, and know she'll always love him no matter what… Yeah. Bella's world in New Moon really was like it had been "destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation."
So I hope this helps you guys understand Bella's side a little bit more. I know a lot of people criticize her by comparing her to Hermione; saying that Hermione wasn't destroyed when Ron left her in Deathly Hallows (instead, she actually helped save the Wizarding World), but most people don't take in all of Bella's situation. And Ron only left Hermione for like three months, where as Edward was gone six (and Ron and Hermione always had squabbles and got over them, anyway). Plus, Hermione still had Harry and the War to distract her. Bella didn't really have anything. And you know what, people forget to take into consideration how Hermione was a crying mess in the HBP during the Ron/Lavender thing, so I don't think Bella's as bad as people make her out to be in New Moon.
Now, another thing people don't like about Bella in New Moon as how easily she forgives Edward. Remembering the soulmate mumbo jumbo, it's a bit more understandable, but let me try and put it into perspective for you. Two years ago, around the time of my birthday, all of my best friends (about seven of them) that I'd been best friends with most of my life, pretty much abandoned me. I didn't hear from them once for six months, and I was a wreck like Bella was. Pretty much telling myself that they must hate me or something. Granted, we're all good again (and I think they were all just busy with work and stuff), but I still can't easily forgive how they left me hanging all that time (especially since they still contacted each other a bit).
However, I've never told them any of this, or just how much they hurt me. Believe me, I wanted to be angry and read them the riot act, but I just couldn't. I love them, you know? And at the end of the day, I always will and am just happy to be near them again. When you truly love someone, no matter how much they hurt you, you choose to forgive them. And, actually, it takes more strength to forgive something then it does to hold onto it. That's exactly what happens with Edward and Bella. And though most people would argue that makes her weak, I think it makes her strong.
So, in conclusion, I personally do not think Twilight is as bad as people think it is, and that it doesn't deserve all the hate. I'm not going to lie, it can be bad at parts, and could have been written a whole lot better, but I still enjoy it for the most part. After all, nothing is perfect (and since these were Stephenie's first books, I think it's a bit understandable). If you don't like Twilight, that's fine. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but I think all the pointless hate and cyber bullying needs to stop. You can't even like the series anymore without getting death threats. None of that is okay! People are allowed to have different opinions.
And you know what, the hate has gotten so bad that someone beat up the actor for Seth just because they don't like Twilight. That is NOT okay. And that kind of behavior Needs. To. Be. Stopped. I can't even- Grr!
So, yeah. If you want to dislike Twilight, please be respectable about it. And at least know what you're talking about (unlike a lot of people). Also, don't just hate it because you want to be "cool". Don't do anything because you just want to be cool, actually. Just remember that when you're insulting this (not only might there be things "as bad" or "worse" than it *cough*The Vampire Diaries*cough*), but you could be really hurting someone when you talk bad about it, like those who did go through Bella's zombie stage.
With that, I'm going to end this really long post and thank you all for reading.
Kingdom Hearts forever!