Alright, I’ll just come right out and say it: I kind of like Twilight now.
Don’t worry, though, I haven’t completely lost my mind. The story is still garbage. What I’ve come to like about Twilight is the worldbuilding. Now hear me out…
1. The Volturi
So, the vampire world in Twilight has a royal family of vampires that establish and enforce the laws for vampires everywhere. The leaders are Marcus, Caius, and Aro, the latter of which is the chief authority. I find these three vampires fascinating. Vampires in this world sometimes have superpowers, but these three, the highest authority of the vampire world, don’t have particularly special abilities. Aro can read every thought you’ve ever had by touching you. Marcus can sense relationships, like who is loyal to whom, and who is in love with whom. Caius, on the other hand, has no powers at all. Needless to say, none of these are impressive in terms of being domineering and invoking fear. These abilities, and lack thereof, would be useless in battle.
Caius is the ruthless leader. Yes, Caius, the one without any special abilities at all. And I learned that he is likely ruthless and sadistic because he has no powers. I’ve read him being described as insecure. He seizes every opportunity to be cruel so that other vampires fear him, so that he feels more powerful.
Marcus is the indifferent leader. He almost doesn’t even care about anything. He lost his lover thousands of years ago and never emotionally recovered from it. He is not an intimidating presence whatsoever. His power is somewhat useful, such as sensing traitors, but for the most part, he’s seen as a passive, indifferent observer no matter what’s going on.
Aro, the supreme leader, is the most fascinating of them all, in my opinion. He’s not big and scary, he’s very average-looking. His power isn’t like Jane’s, it’s also a useless power like Marcus’. Even more interestingly, though: He’s not really good or evil. He always has an agenda to gather the most powerful vampires to his side, but whether they do or don’t, he tends to let them be. At the same time, as leader of the Volturi, he commands the most powerful vampire clan in the world, and he never sought to conquer humanity and turn all humans into cattle, like in the movie Daybreakers. The whole reason the Volturi rule the vampire world is because Aro started a campaign to do exactly that. And yet, he doesn’t rule with an iron fist, he only uses his authority to keep vampires hidden from humans …, even though vampires are vastly superior to humans physically.
2. The Cold Ones Metaphor
Twilight encapsulates its vampires as a near-perfect metaphor for death. They are ice-cold to the touch, and their bodies are near-indestructible – so sturdy that the only way to kill them is to literally break them, and when they break, they shatter like ice. The fact that Twilight vampires never sleep is, I think, reinforcement for the cold metaphor, in that they are living dead creatures. Falling asleep would be like entering into a … more dead state? And I know it’s common in vampire stories to make them ageless, but in Twilight, this seems to be intentionally added to their physiology. Whatever age you are turned into a vampire, that is the age you remain, physically and mentally, for eternity. You are frozen in time.
Part of me believes that Stephanie Meyer intentionally had Bella die in the middle of Breaking Dawn right before turning into a vampire. I think this was intentional, because it seems Meyer wanted to drive home the point that being a vampire is, in essence, being dead already. Being dead is how humans, in real life, spend eternity, and Bella is just going to spend her eternal death being with her lover.
3. The Vampires
I’ll address the one thing everybody who hates Twilight points out when they talk about Twilight: the sparkling vampires. Well… When you piece everything together, it actually kind of makes sense.
Recall what I said about the vampires being a metaphor for death/cold. Also recall the fact Twilight vampires’ bodies are made of a material that’s stronger than diamond. Recall their bodies don’t get injured, they break. Anyone who knows this from the lore couldn’t expect anything different than vampires with reflective skin. ‘Sparkling’ is just an insult word, though technically an accurate word. Diamonds sparkle. Diamonds reflect light and split into its spectral colors. So, on the surface, it sounds really cheesy, really dumb, and really gay … but it actually does make sense.
I have even more to say about Twilight vampires specifically. They are not typical vampires. Instead of sleeping in a coffin, they don’t sleep at all. Instead of being weak to garlic, wooden stakes, silver, holy symbols/water, or of course, sunlight, their only weakness is their own species. The werewolves in Twilight aren’t so much their weakness as they are just creatures strong enough to kill them. Also, they have reflections in mirrors, and they can come into your house without invitation.
My point is, Stephanie Meyer clearly put effort into the attributes of these creatures. She didn’t just give her vampires traits that would make girls fawn, like, “Oh, they sparkle! How romantic!”
Last thing about Twilight vampires is their beauty. When their bodies are made of a material stronger than diamond, that has very similar properties to diamond, and they don’t age, it should make sense that these traits would very naturally come with great beauty. Their skin wouldn’t have complexion problems; not to mention, their skin is so pale it’s translucent. Basically, they are walking human-shaped snowballs (appearance-wise). So, what, you think that would make people uglier? In real life, humans find things ugly as a natural instinct to recognize what is dangerous, whether it’s a beast, or food. Twilight vampires are both. And they feed on humans, which would, naturally, require them to be beautiful anyway to draw humans toward them.
So, yeah, I’ve recently come to actually like Twilight. At least, I like the worldbuilding. This universe could easily have great stories told in it. The actual story of the 4 Twilight books is terrible, and I don’t like how the vampires sometimes have superpowers. But at least the world in which it takes place is actually well drawn-out. You may not like the worldbuilding, but I don’t think you can say it’s bad.