Preface: This ONLY deals with the books! I don’t like the Twilight movies (especially Kristin Stewart) any more than any of you.
Why must Harry Potter fans always make fun of Twilight? I get that they teach very different stories. “Harry Potter is all about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity…” but I would have to say that Twilight is about much more than “…how important it is to have a boyfriend.” (quote by Andrew Futral btw- not Stephen King)
Twilight teaches us that there can be true love in this world, and that it can rise above impossible odds. Why is it such a travesty that the series doesn’t depict Bella as a hero fighting a dark lord? How many of us will be faced with the need to do something like that in our everyday realities of life? What we may be faced with though is that love is a real thing. It can sweep us off of our feet and make us crazy, and it can last a lifetime! Marriage is not a cop-out! Marriage is real. And to make it work, and keep love alive is hard work, but it is important work. Our world needs an example of real love that never gives up no matter what the odds. OK, so Twilight is set in a “fairy tale” but it shows that, unlike Cinderella, the work of a relationship goes on after marriage. And why does the fact that Hermione gets married in the end never come into these discussions?
Another lesson I learned from Twilight is that we have to rise above ourselves. Sometimes life “deals us a hand” that isn’t easy. Who we really are isn’t always pretty, and it would be very easy to just sink into that image of ourselves and do what is easy. But the Cullens don’t do that! They choose to rise above what they are and lead very hard, self-sacrificing lives in order to do what is right. If you doubt this, go read Midnight Sun (even though it was never officially published you can find it on Stephanie Meyer’s website and it is fascinating, I truly hope that someday she finishes it and gets it published—Ms. Meyer if you happen to be reading this: Please, please, please finish Midnight Sun. It might possibly be my favorite of the 5 and I would love to hear the rest of the story). There is a part of us as humans that, no matter who we are, is sinful. I may offend some people with that word but it is true. Deep down inside everyone is a dark side that would rather do things that aren’t nice. Twilight really just highlights that human side that we each face and puts it in a new perspective. Maybe we wouldn’t ever kill someone else, but haven’t we all said things that have made someone die a little on the inside. Our words are lethal as razor sharp teeth and venom, and we’ve all used them in just as hurtful ways.
So Edward isn’t just an overbearing boyfriend (yes, he does go overboard a little at times, but wouldn’t we all want to be loved that much). He is a man who has taken what life has dealt him and made a very conscious choice to rise above it daily; to set aside who he is and be something more. And so what if he sparkles. Meyer had to come up with some explanation of why a vampire can’t come out in the sun. If the traditional "burning" thing were true he couldn’t come out during the day at all and then how would Edward and Bella have met.
Bella may be a very flawed heroine. She doesn’t set aside everything to seek out and destroy something evil like Hermione, but she still loves passionately. And who of us can really say that each and every day we choose to love. I have to think that Dumbledore would approve.
I also have to say: so what if she curled into a ball for a week when the love of her life left her. I’ve dealt with loss, and just the fact that she came out of what she did with the courage to face life and loss again is remarkable. I think that honestly her months of mourning are much more realistic and touching than most accounts I’ve read about what it is like to lose someone you love. Maybe her actions aren’t “heroic” but they are real, and honest about what a loss like that does to you. There are many hurting people out there who need to know that it’s ok to mourn. It’s ok that life doesn’t just return to “peachy” after someone hurts you. It takes time to heal, and many times we will never be the same person we were before, but that’s OK. Bella would probably never have been the same after Edward left, but she would have moved on. Yes, it makes it that much more of a fairy tale that she gets him back, but come on, if we were reading for pure reality we wouldn’t have picked books with vampires or magic, right?
So, what it boils down to is this: I am an avid reader (to the point of addiction, really). I’ve read the Harry Potter series 14 times, and the Twilight saga 9 and I can honestly say that JK Rowling is one of the most brilliant writers I’ve ever read. Stephanie Meyer is not nearly the master that Rowling is, but her stories still touch me deeply and I’m sick of people telling me I have to choose which one to be a fan of! I’m a Potterhead and proud of it, but I’m also a Twihard and am just as proud of that!