Who else would you expect to find lurking about this blog on this particular Immortal Monday than a vampire? And not just any vampire, but the pretty boy Edward Cullen! What with his big movie hitting theaters this week, he’s been extremely busy playing the part of the media whore and doing everything he can to get his face out in front of the public. Because if he doesn’t, we might forget all about those vegetarian vamps from Forks. Riiiiight.
Before taking a closer look at Edward, let’s step back and run down what we know of
traditional vampires… because Edward, as we all know, isn’t going to fit nice and snuggly into that traditional mold.
When Bram Stoker first gave us the vampire in the form of Dracula, it was a creature to
be feared! Thirsty for human blood, it was a creature cursed to walk an eternity in darkness, never again to enjoy the warmth of sunlight, for this meant extreme harm or even death. Yes, even though vampires are immortal, they can be killed. In many ways, as it turns out.
We all know the traditional ways to off a vamp. There is the tried and true favorite – a good ol’ stake through the heart. And of course, there’s exposing them to sunlight, fire, or silver. Even tearing their head off is a commonly accepted method. Thanks to Buffy (who saved the world… a lot) and more recently our friends on True Blood, Vampire Killing 101 has been solidified in our collective consciousness.
But let’s take a look at how Stephanie Meyer has changed things up a bit. With so many vampire stories in this world, it’s not surprising that some authors have chosen to add their own unique twists to the standard vampire mythology. In many ways it makes sense.
Bring something new to the reader, right? Then again, many readers are purists. Change what they expect and you end up staked through the heart on message boards. It’s the controversy that is often more interesting than the changes themselves.
One defining difference in the world of Twilight is that vampires are no longer staked through the heart. They are hard as stone and cold as ice. Killing one requires ripping them into multiple pieces. Yes, multiple… as in just the head won’t do. Then you have to burn them to cinders. Yep, it turns out the Twilight vamps are actually quite badass. Sure they look like runway models, but good luck trying to take one out. Makes you realize that Buffy had it kind of easy (we still love her, though).
At least there are fangs in Twilight. Wait, what’s that? No fangs either? Another interesting choice by Meyer, especially given fangs are the essential means of how a vampire feeds. Even death by sunlight has been changed from the standard mythology. Instead, the Twilight vamps actually glitter in the sun, revealing them as what they are if you know that sparkling skin means you’re a very attractive immortal bloodsucker.
Since Edward and his siblings first arrived on the scene, they’ve stirred up quite a
commotion. Readers everywhere have fallen into two distinct camps. They either
love Twilight or hate it. There doesn’t seem to be much of a middle ground. I find this very interesting. The haters criticize the books – and now the movies – on all levels while Twi-hards endlessly debate the virtues of being Team Edward or Team Jacob. And this is
where I think the great divide lies. Meyer chose to write a love story. It just happens to have vampires and werewolves, which provides a much more interesting foundation for telling the stories of these characters. Imagine if they were just everyday high school students. Pretty boring, right? Setting the story in the world of vampires, with their own unique twists, made all the difference.
Born Edward Anthony Mason in 1901, he was saved from death by the Spanish influenza by a vampire named Carlisle, who became his adoptive father. Taught to be moral and one of the “good” vamps, he doesn’t drink human blood. He resides with his
vegetarian vampire family in Forks, Washington. Being one of the soggiest places in the U.S, it’s always cloudy, meaning the vamps can walk around in
daylight without worrying about the sun making their skin go all sparkly. Oh, and let’s not forget – Edward can read minds!
So what is it about this immortal pretty boy that makes him so popular… so irresistible to the ladies? Here he is at 107 years old and forever frozen with the body and face of a seventeen year old. Has his mind stayed frozen at seventeen as well that he would give his undying love to Bella, a young high school girl?
Is it his undying love and devotion that makes him so attractive? Or does every girl
secretly desire a glittery stalker lurking in the dark recesses of her room at night? Okay, seriously. Did this not stand out to anyone else? My guess is that Meyer never had to deal with any stalker type boyfriends in her youth, like – EVER. Had she, she probably wouldn’t have written it into her story in such a romanticized manner.
On the other hand, despite his stalkerish ways, Edward did everything in his power to
protect the girl he loved from the big bad vamp James. AND – and this is a big one for a vamp – he sucked the venom out of Bella’s system while controlling his urge to suck her dry of blood. I’d say that’s pretty commendable. But that same devotion also has him totally abandoning her in the very next book, leaving her to become extremely messed up. Okay, maybe Edward is just a misguided soul. At the end of the day, I do love his devotion to Bella.
I’ve heard a lot of people put down Edward and his sparkling friends for veering from the traditional mythology. And while Meyer’s proficiency as a writer is often debated, it’s hard to argue what I think was a smart choice on her part to ground Twilight in something everyone can relate to – high school – and couple it with something else very familiar – vampires – but in a way that brings its own sense of identity, flair, and romance.
Sure, Twilight has its flaws, but many stories do. And the great thing is that every individual can decide for themselves what they think is flawed and what isn’t. In the meantime, don’t worry Edward. You may be a vegetarian immortal stalker, but one that is loved by millions. You will get the girl and hopefully your “happily ever after” too. That is, if the Volturi don’t return for your head. But will Stephanie ever return to write that story? Will she ever even sit down and finish Edward’s side of the story, Midnight Sun? Who’s to say? What we know is that Meyer has tapped into the hearts of many women and young girls. Just look at the craziness Twilight has created at the box office and the careers it has launched for these young actors and actresses.
It’s hard to know what, if anything, will become of Edward and the people of Forks beyond
the release Breaking Dawn Part 2 in 2012. Oh well. Guess we’ll assume all has gone well and the little E. Cullen family lives happily ever after. *Shrugs* It was fun while it lasted.
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