Why are we so ashamed of Twilight?

Earlier in the year I read The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness and really enjoyed it. I loved that it gently poked fun of the YA fantasy genre. This, coupled with the fact that the films were recently added to Netflix (but not Breaking Dawn Part 2, why?), made me want to rewatch the Twilight films. Because Twilight was such a huge deal for a few years, then faded into obscurity a little bit. It's not forgotten, but it's not like you really bump into Twi-hards any more. Once upon a time I really loved Twilight. But I grew out of it just as quickly as I got into it. And for a while I was kind of ashamed that I ever liked it. I don't think I'm the only one...

My friend Ailsa got me into Twilight. She was pretty early to the party and had been going on about the books for a long while. It was when the first film came out that I finally decided to get the first book. I committed the cardinal sin and went to see the film before I'd finished reading the book. All I remember is that the heating was gone in the cinema that day, so I had to keep my coat and scarf on, and that seeing it made me want to go home and finish book one and get cracking on the other three. However, by the release of Eclipse in 2010 my attention was waning, and I didn't even see Breaking Dawn Part 1 or 2 at the cinema. I watched them to see how the book was adapted (why did they need to do two films?) but gone were the days of being a big Twilight fan. New Line had gone beyond flogging a dead horse, and had now reached the stage where said dead horse's bones had been exhumed and paraded around for all to see (before being flogged). I suppose the same could be said of the Hunger Games - it wasn't until a few months ago that I actually bothered watching Mockingjay Part 2! It was kind of crap.

In the summer of 2010 I visited the Pacific Northwest with my family, and it was one of my favourite holidays that I've ever been on. It really is a stunning part of the country. We visited a lot of places featured in the series but not because of it. We had lunch in Port Townsend, stayed the night in Port Angeles, visited La Push and Forks as we travelled to stay at Lake Quinault. The beaches at La Push were amazing, despite the rather gloomy weather. There were huge trees that had washed up on the shore as driftwood that made you feel so tiny. It really did feel like something out of a film. However, Forks was rather dull in comparison. It's just like any other small town. With one difference - the Twilight store. There was a smaller branch of Dazzled by Twilight in Port Angeles, but in Forks it was something else. It was a haven for Twilight fans, but for an outsider it was rather overwhelming, and rather cringe-worthy. Just about any Twilight merchandise you can think of, they had it. They even had a place where you could get your photo with cardboard cutouts of Edward and Jacob. It was almost a little bit embarrassing. When you think about this, coupled with images of Twi-hards online, it does make me wonder whether the obsessive fans gave Twilight a bad rep?


I suppose another thing that gave Twilight a stigma were its main characters. Come on Bella, everyone is clumsy. You're not the first person to slip on a patch of ice. As for Edward and Jacob, neither of them would be what I'd call 'an ideal man'. But I think Twilight really shines in its supporting players. Meyer fleshed each and every one out to create three dimensional characters. One of my favourite parts of the later books/films is getting to find out the Cullens' backstories and meet other vampires from across the globe. The lore of the Twilight saga is fully realised and intricate (even if some of it seems a little ripped off from other vampire novels). Everyone is so interesting, even Renesmee (don't get me started on that name) even when she's that really creepy CGI baby. Although I just can't take that part seriously!

Despite its problems, the Twilight film series has some real highs. For example, I absolutely adore the soundtracks. Forget Muse and Paramore (I don't mind them but they're not my faves), I'm talking about Bon Iver and St Vincent, Lykke Li, The Killers, Iron and Wine, Band of Skulls, Death Cab, Metric, Florence and the Machine, Bat for Lashes, I could keep going on forever and forever. It's like the perfect songbook for the alternative genre.

So, there's only one thing left to ask: are you Team Edward, Team Jacob, or Team Switzerland?

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