Yesterday I was asked which Twilight Team got my freak flag flying. Truth be told, many things get that flapping — diving into myth, unexpectedly finding an old book under the bed, an unhealthily buttered bowl of mashed potatoes — but the characters of Twilight don't. They just don't ignite the cigarette lighter I have in place of a heart.
It's completely understandable why women are falling in a reverse Mexican wave over Edward, the impossibly cheekboned love interest of the Twilight melodrama. If I read four books that went into minute detail about the exquisite physical attributes of cheese, waded through how the very presence of cheese makes life more perfect than a month of pantless Sundays, how cheese could sustain me better than any other foodstuff in all of creation, but was unavailable to me, within minutes I would be down at the local fromagerie finding inventive and disturbing ways to smuggle out a wheel of heart-clogging delight. And I hate cheese.
However, in a narrative that presents men as fully realised and examined characters, readers are served up meditations on dazzling faces, smooth marble skin, and rippling muscles. All belonging to men who passionately court the underwritten everygirl, presenting themselves as beasts in desperate need of a potential maiden. Readers are enthralled to imagine themselves as Bella, who is undefined beyond her feelings for Edward and Jacob, with innocence and purity enough to tame their unpalatable savagery.
With every book sending Bella on yet another romantic saga to prove herself worthy of Edward's love, Meyer has capitalized on two powerful and perpetual feminine quests: to justify themselves as lovable and to give a love so perfect it will capture and change the unattainable man.
In her initial draft of Midnight Sun, 12 fledgling chapters which frame Twilight from Edward's point of view, Meyer is clear in her intent to present the character as a tortured romantic hero. He assumes the mantle of humanity perfected struggling to balance both the beast and the chaste lover within.
Is he a vampire? Or is Edward actually just a super-powered romantic?
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Amy Gray is a writer and photographer who is fascinated with art, literature, and the murky side of life. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her daughter.
Books mentioned in this post
Amy Gray is the author of How to Be a Vampire: A Fangs-On Guide for the Newly Undead