Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sparkly Vampires Will Kill You!

Grab the Totally Twilight Button!





Sparkly Vampires Will Kill You!

Stephenie Meyer gets a lot of flack for creating tame vampires. You’ve seen the slogans: Real vampires don’t sparkle. These naysayers make me imagine a vampire sparkling in the sun like a glittery craft project gone bad strumming a guitar singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and kissing babies on the head as he sashays by.

Where did the Twilight vampires supposedly go wrong? The sparkles are a scapegoat for greater issues with Twilight. I think the biggest crime the Cullens committed again traditional vampire lore is their morality. They don’t exude sexuality like most of your steamy vampire romance novels. Humans drool over the Cullens’ unearthly looks, but that’s as close as they’re going to get. The Cullens try to live good, relatively normal lives and embody “traditional” values, in a sense. And of course, they’re vegetarians.

Don’t let the sparkles deceive you. The vampires Stephenie created, particularly the non-Cullens, veer way from traditional vampire legends in two key ways: Brutality and Invincibility. Over the past three years, I’ve read dozens of vampire books. The Twilight vampires are still the most dangerous vampires I’ve encountered.

Let’s explore this a little further...

1. Eat To Kill: In many vampire novels, the vampire’s bite and taking of blood is innately sexual. There’s a little nip in the midst of a passionate love scene. Or the bite gives the human a big-time high. Not the Twilight vampires. Humans are food. If a Twilight vampire feeds from you, you’re dead. And while you’re dying, you’ll be in incredible, paralyzing pain as the venom seeps into your veins. Consider the feeding scene in New Moon with the Volturi. A crowd of humans was herded into the castle like a crowd. While we didn’t see the actual feeding session, we can imagine that the vampires descended like a flock of vultures. The humans were sucked dry. There was nothing romantic about it.

2. Humans Are Helpless: The Twilight vampires are the only vampires I’ve read where humans are completely defenseless against them. A human cannot kill a Twilight vampire. Yes, a werewolf can, but there aren’t any outside of the Washington coast. Stakes don’t work. Vampires don’t have beating hearts and their skin is so strong that even a steel stake would break against them. Nor do garlic or religious icons do a thing. Fire can destroy them, but no human could hold down a vampire long enough to light a match. Bella is perceived as weak and helpless throughout the first three books. This is not because she is a weak individual, but because she's human. Even the strongest body-builder or best marksman would be no more than a mosquito, an irritation easily slapped dead, to a Twilight vampire.

3. Vampire Sex: Stephenie’s vamps aren’t all choirboys. Tanya, Irina, and Kate of the Denali coven are succubi. For a long time, they had sex with human men and then killed them. They developed consciences and didn’t want the men they “loved” to die. So instead, they hunted animals and had sex just for fun. Of a more sinister nature is Joacquim, Nahuel’s father. He purposely had sex with and impregnated human women to create his own science experiment. He glibly let the mothers die. Within the saintly Cullen family, it becomes clear in Breaking Dawn that Emmett and Rosalie and Edward and Bella can't keep their paws off each other. The lack of detailed descriptions or the desire to wait until within the bounds of marriage does not mean that the Twilight vampires are less sexual beings than humans or other vampire legends.

One more thing: Let's not forget that vampires are not real! Vampires are legendary creatures, subject to the imagination of each author or artist who envisions them. An author should be celebrated rather than scorned for looking outside the box of plastic fangs.

What do you think? Have you read any other books where humans are incapable of destroying vampires?



24 comments :

  1. I gotta admit, I love Twilight, but I do think the sparkling is kinda lame. I wish there was something else that stopped them from going out in the sun... I know it was the whole basis for the series, in Stephenie's dream and all, but it's not very tough.

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  2. Sparkly vampires kill the scariness of them. They just look like pansies.

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  3. My favorite line: "One more thing: Let's not forget that vampires are not real!"

    People are way too critical of Twilight vampires. It is fiction and it is the way Stephenie Meyer envisioned them. I for one thought Victoria and James were VERY scary, and they sparkled too.

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  4. I have to say, the whole "humans are helpless" thing is one of the things I most disliked about Twilight. Even though I read the occasional PNR, most of my favorite vampire books have completely inhuman, irredeemably evil vamps, and the plot is generally try-to-survive-long-enough-to-kill-the-monster. Vampires should have a weakness, otherwise, there's no reason for them not to just take over. No reason to stay hidden if they can't be killed.

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  5. Meyers' vampires have it harder. They don't get to snack. It's all or nothing.

    Amy @ www.bookgoonie.com

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  6. YES, YES, YES!!! I love this post so much. (not just because you set the record straight by letting people know that vampires dont exist...although I think they just might)I love that you defended my beloved twilight because the scariest thing to me is the thing you cant defeat, even if it does sparkle!

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  7. Ha! my dad just said that if Harry Potter's delores Umbrige in her excessive pink and cats was scary, why cant people who sparkle be scary

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  8. Try David Wellington's vampire series. They can only be killed through Herculean efforts, are the complete opposite of sexy unless you -like- bald monsters with sharks' teeth ripping limbs off to get a drink, and do not sparkle.

    (I reviewed the second one over at my blog just yesterday.)

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  9. It's been so long since I've read the Twilight books that I've forgotten some of the details of the mythology she created. I remember the sparkling (how could you not), but I'd forgotten about the invincibility and the fact that some of the vampires were succubi. Such a fun post Alison!

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  10. Ok, I'm going to confess and say that I laughed uncontrollably in the movie when Edward came out in the scene and the music sounded like it came from Tinkerbell. I don't understand the sparkle and after reading the books several times, I still don't get it. Perhaps it was a way to decrease the fear of the vampires, especially for an author who had absolutely zero interest in vampires before writing this book. I will say that after reading Twilight, I wasn't scared of vampires anymore.

    I do, however, understand where the sexuality comes from especially now that I read "Dracula" for the first time (review to come on Friday).

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  11. Love this! I like how Ms. Meyer created new elements to vampires.

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  12. Alison, you always defend my favorite vampires so eloquently. I cannot tell you how many times I have said "Vampires are mythological creatures. They do not exist. You can make them what you want them to be, because they are 100% fiction." People just want something to hate and Stephenie Meyer has made a lot of money off her sparkly vampires, so I might watch who I judge...

    Thanks for this wonderful post.
    ~Kristin

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  13. I agree with you! Twilight vampires are the scaries kind, they are almost impossible to kill, I loved them anyway!

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  14. I honestly don't get what all the outrage is about. I remember when I first read Twilight I enjoyed it because the vampires where so different and I was OK with the sparkle. Do I want ALL my vampires like that? No but for this particular story it worked.
    Personally I like mine mean with a touch of remorse.
    I'm with you. they aren't real so to say any one author isn't writing them correctly is bullsh*t. Who cares? just don't read it if it's not your thing.

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  15. I love Stephenie Meyer's vampire lore. I love that it's different. It's what makes it exciting to me. And, the sparkle doesn't bother me one bit. I don't like how it's portrayed in the movie. I imagined it a little bit different, but I can't explain how. But, I agree with you, no other vampire is as invincible as those in Twilight. And, I think it shows extreme constraint on the Volturi's (and other non-Cullen vampires') part to not just eradicate humans all that once. After all, what would they eat once all the humans were dead?

    By the way, I'm not sure if you saw my response to you coming to SLC. I'd love to get together! :)

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  16. "Humans are food."

    YES! It would have been so easy for SM to just go with the norm and make sex and blood what it is in most vamp books, but she didn't and I admire her for it!

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  17. I love it when you talk about Twilight. You could probably convince me of anything :P But you're right, aside from the sparkling and the kinda lame "vegetarian" thing, Stephanie Meyer's vampires were pretty brutal.

    But we only get to see them through Bella's perspective, and in that she's almost an unreliable narrator. It's kind of hard to look at the vampires and think of them as these horrific monsters because Bella is never truly afraid of them. She's always so confident that Edward would never hurt her and never let anyone else hurt her that the vampires seem only mildly threatening. She also considers the majority of the vampires we meet her family and she's in love with one. Since we know them the most, they sort of set the image of a vampire in my mind more than the bad vampires who we only hear about in a peripheral sense. At least that's how I remember it (it's been a while).

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  18. I do love your reasoning - I really do. That said, I'm sticking to my guns. I hate vampires, and I only like them when they're deranged or mad haha I want them to be twisty!

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  19. Sparkling sucks in the teenage girls - less effort to kill them.

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  20. I totally agree with you. Twilight vampires, regardless of the flack they cop, are really freaking scary! Sunlight, a stake, most other vampires you'll be outmatched, but in with a chance.

    Twilight vampires? You're done for. Fast, invincible, the only thing that can kill them is a wolf or another vampire, and by decaptitation and fire :S
    Scary.

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  21. Yes, exactly! I completely agree. Twilight vampires are the most badass of vamps, despite their sparkly-ness, and that's why I love them!

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