Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Trying to reimagine Twilight Reimagined

Fans of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight saga were given quite a surprise the other day as the author announced on live TV that as part of the special 10th anniversary edition of the first book, a new version of that story would be included as well.

Entitled Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, this reboot of the original story has Edward and Bella trading gender places, with Beaufort as the new human in town and Edythe as the mysterious local vampire.

Meyer has said that this is the same story, even with certain other changes(Jacob is now Julie) and part of her motivation for doing this is to prove that Bella is not a "damsel in distress" but rather a "human in distress". While I do appreciate the work that went into recreating Twilight(especially  since I'm in the middle of a rewrite myself), this does feel as if Stephanie Meyer is trying to apologize for her character and she really doesn't have to, in my opinion:

 I'm well familiar with the Twilight hatred and yes, there are flaws in the story logic(that imprinting business was rather awkward) yet I don't feel that Bella Swan was the anti-Buffy as many claimed her to be.

Truth be told, Buffy didn't always make the best romantic choices there(remember the twisted nature of her relationship with Spike?) and while she would not have put up with an Edward Cullen, Buffy did get mopey for way too long during season four over a frat boy named Parker who seduced and then dumped her.  Not to mention how she still wanted Angel back even when he went full on evil in season two.

I have the feeling that if Buffy and Bella did manage to meet up, both of them would find a lot in common with each other despite their very different approaches to vampire romance:

 I get that Meyer would rather make her point via another book rather than debate her various critics(which include some of her fellow writers) but it bothers me that she feels she has to.

Meyer is not the only one who has expressed regret about her work; J.K. Rowling has said that maybe Harry and Hermoine would've been a better couple(which I strongly disagree but that's a whole other argument) and for a while, Anne Rice was doing a mea culpa over her vampire chronicles there.

Yet, even Anne Rice has come around on that and while she's not a Twilight fan, she does see what those books were tuning into and can appreciate them a little bit. Each of the Twilight novels did have a classic book as it's initial theme and it amazes me that some folks think that Heathcliff and Cathy from Wuthering Heights were an ideal couple but Bella and Edward are the worst:

I've read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, both of which have male leads who are deliberately cruel at times to those they claim to love, and trust me, Edward Cullen is not as bad as Mr. Rochester or Heathcliff. 

True, he does get way overprotective of Bella and rather insistent with his affections but on the other hand, he never locked up a mentally unstable first wife and attempted to marry someone else on the sly or forced an entire family to suffer financial and emotional ruin because the woman he loved married another man and then died(yep, that happens in both of the Bronte sisters' books!).

All I'm saying is that while the relationships in Twilight do deserve some criticism, they shouldn't bear the entire burden of questionable tropes in that genre. The vampire love triangles for the likes of True Blood or The Vampire Diaries are and were not at all perfect either and let's face it, no fictional relationship is free of flaws, mainly because that would make for a boring story:

It's too bad that Meyer wasn't drawn to write something other than a rehash for the anniversary edition, kind of a missed opportunity there. Perhaps a story about Bella and Edward's daughter or even what the Cullen clan is doing now. My personal choice would have been Bella and Edward attending their high school reunion in Forks.

Why not? This is the age of nip/tuck, so it would be easy to explain away any queries about their ageless appearance. No, I'm not going to write that but who knows, maybe Stephanie Meyer will someday. It's just a shame that she didn't feel the creative urge to this time around.

Well, I don't plan on reading Twilight Reimagined any time soon but I won't come down on those who want to for sincere, non mocking reasons. Instead, I might simply reread Twilight to recapture the magic that drew me into this saga to begin with. Congrats on your ten year anniversary, Stephanie Meyer, and I hope that by the next celebration, you won't feel the need to defend your creative choices so that we can all enjoy them together:


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

This is a great post, Tara! I totally agree that Stephenie does not have to apologize. I never thought the way many of the critics do (Bella as victim). Perhaps it's because I've never seen Wuthering Heights the way many do. Granted, Heathcliff was quite...insane, obsessed, cruel...but I also see the psychological side of things in that story. His life was so barren and full of cruelty that Katherine was that one beacon of hope and light and when he lost her, he lost everything. And you're right. Edward was no where near as bad.

I just wish she would write something else. I loved The Host. I thought it was very strong. She was supposed to continue that story, I thought. I just think that she is very easily discouraged and the critics have really got under her skin. I just hope she can overcome her self-doubt (which she obviously has in abundance) and continue giving us great stories.

Twilight was really great, in my opinion, but it was also really hard for me...both the books and movies. The love that Bella and Edward have is a love I once had with my ex, not in the sense of manipulation...I've never seen their love that way, but in the sense of a great, undying love. As I was reading the books and seeing the movies, my marriage was ending. So, certain elements make me very emotional. Like the song from the films, Bella's Lullaby. Still brings me to tears. And I can't watch the final film without tears either. I know it sounds weird, but it's like Twilight makes me remember the beginning, and the end, of my relationship so it's bittersweet.

lady t said...

Thanks, Michelle-I liked The Host,too and thought there would be more books coming from that but it didn't seem to click with readers like Twilight did(and the movie version didn't help much, from what I could see).

Sorry that the Twilight series brings back such sad personal memories for you but you're not the only one who gets a book/film connected like that. I still haven't finished reading the Inkheart series because I started it around the time my father passed away. I probably will read the last one at some point(ironically named Inkdeath) but that's more than likely the reason I haven't so far. Yet, those books did help me through a tough time, which is one of the blessings that a reading life offers.