Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Digression: Regarding Twilight and Sparkly Vampires

Twilight (The Twilight Saga)

How can I possibly have a blog about vampires and not mention anything about Twilight?

Well, first of all, I haven't read the entire Twilight series, so you may take my comments with a grain of salt. But from what I've read, it doesn't seem considerably better or worse than a lot of typical "girl meets vampire and finds True Love" paranormal romance novels. Not really interesting enough for me to finish except to snark, and the snarking has been thoroughly covered by a lot of people already, most of whom are more interesting than me.

What I do want to comment on is the one thing everyone knows even if they don't know anything else about Twilight: the vampires sparkle. (Link is NSFW, by the way.)

People's main complaint seems to be that making vampires sparkle goes against all the traditional vampire tropes. To which I say: isn't that a good thing?

Don't get me wrong: I have my beef with Twilight vampires and similar fictional creations. The main issue is that there don't seem to be any drawbacks to being a vampire, other than a severe case of Generic Angst. Getting rid of the usual tradeoffs one must make for immortality, such as losing one's soul (a la Buffy) or not being able to be around other vampires (a la Tanya Huff's Blood Books), makes the vampire's existence way too simple. It also provides an easy way for the vampire to be with the one he loves forever -- because vamping the human girl will have no ill side effects whatsoever -- thereby removing the romance's essential conflict.

But, problems aside, I think it's a great thing when authors do something original with how the rules of vampirism work. I also find it frustrating when people treat the laws of Hollywood vampires as if they were the real traditional vampire, rather than old and varied folk legends -- or even early vampire fiction. If someone made a film of Varney the Vampire, for example, people would be pissed at how he's not super attractive, he can enter homes uninvited, and he can go out in the daylight.

Sparkly vampires seem silly on the surface, and it hardly has the same symbolic significance as vampires needing to avoid the sunlight because it could kill them. But it is an original twist and an interesting explanation for that particular vampire trope. It's a pity that Stephenie Meyer stopped there, because in the hands of a better author, sparkly vampires could have been the beginning of an intriguing deconstruction of the "traditional" vampire.


  1. You've actually pointed out the very thing I disliked most in the series MOONLIGHT. But to be fair, the TWILIGHT vampires are slaves to their desires and are terrifying creatures on top of that--as well as having to go through hell (pretty much literally) to gain their immortality (that comes with literally unending thirst).

    True, Edward and the other Cullens are just too frickin' powerful. Not so much Vampires as blood-drinking Kryptonians.

  2. I saw the first episode of "Moonlight" and dismissed it as a cheesy ripoff of "Forever Knight" (which was itself, to be fair, pretty cheesy at points).

    That is interesting about "Twilight," though. I should at least skim through it so my criticisms and comments are more informed, rather than just reactions to others' criticisms and comments.