Twilight: the most famous YA saga ever

Twilight: the most famous YA saga ever
Twilight is the first chapter in the Stephenie Meyer saga which currently features four books (and a spin-off) and five films, the last of which is split into two parts. Stephenie Meyer, the lucky author, is one of the most followed writers in the world and the films based on her works have launched a young Robert Pattinson and a decidedly immature Kristen Stewart into the world of cinema.

Back in 2015 a book was released in America destined to make history (for better or for worse) of the Urban Fantasy drift of Young Adult literature. But why are we talking about it today? After the recent release of Midnight Sun, which definitively closes the circle, it seemed obligatory to give this saga the justice it deserves in the Olympus of this genre, of which we have recently spoken on several occasions.

The plot

Isabella Swan, who prefers to be called Bella, is the daughter of Sheriff Swan. When he moves to Forks, a sad little town on the Washington Peninsula, his arrival animates the local high school, which as you can imagine hasn't seen a new face in decades. In addition to attracting the attention of the whole school, incredibly Bella also attracts the attention of a very particular family: the Cullens.

The beautiful Edward Cullen, in fact, seems incredibly attracted to her, and this seems to be a cause of great concern for the young man. The problem, in fact, is that he, like the rest of his family, is a Vampire, an immortal being who has chosen to live among Humans without ever drinking their blood. Bella reciprocates this attraction, although a 'third wheel' immediately gets between the two, and this is where the most famous love triangle of the last decade is born.

Jacob Black is a Native American who lives in the nearby Quileute Reservation. Initially he tells Bella a legend to warn her about the dangers posed by these immortal beings who would always wander around those territories, and the two become friends. Later, specifically in the second chapter, Jacob reveals himself for what he is: a member of the local tribe of Werewolves (actually the human / wolf shape-shifters) who watch over the community of Forks, making sure that the Vampires don't have a chance to make massacres.

The Books

The adventures of Bella, Edward and Jacob follow one another for four books. After Twilight, New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007) and Breaking Dawn (2008) came out in quick succession, brought to Italy by the Fazi Publishing House.

The insights into the Cullen family as well as Jacob's tribe they open a broad enough picture to arrive in Italy, depicting the immortal society of Vampires in a very similar way to how we are used to knowing it from the World of Darkness onwards. The fundamental plot is the love between Bella and Edward and the impossible relationship between a fragile human being and a Vampire.

The short second life of Bree Tanner is in effect a tale spin-off released in a dedicated volume in 2010, again for Fazi, which tells the life of sixteen-year-old Bree Tanner after her transformation into a vampire. In the world of Twilight, vampires are called Babies before becoming aware of them because of their poor self-control. Bree will be a key figure in the Eclipse plot, and this tale was used as an insight into Jodelle Ferland, the actress who played her part in the same year's film.

Midnight Sun

After a very long wait, on September 24, 2020 Midnight Sun was also released in Italy. The idea for this novel was born in 2008, and it tells about Twilight from Edward's point of view. A few months after Stephenie Meyer's announcement, the first twelve chapters arrived online, prompting the author to abandon the project, especially given Gray's subsequent publication, which included the same experiment on Fifty Shades of Gray.

Meyer resumes the project after the publication of Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Fazi, 2016), another experiment on Twilight that involved a gender-swap between the protagonists. Bella becomes Beau Swan, Edward becomes Edith Cullen, and so all the other characters find a new identity. Completing this project gives the author the courage to pick up the twelve chapters of Midnight Sun, which is welcomed with the warmth expected of the same audience who had been waiting for him for twelve years.

The Movies

In 2008, when Entertainment Weekly released a photo of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as Edward and Bella in the Twilight movie, the fan audience sparked a media storm by criticizing the two cast actors, their makeup and general yield. The proceeds, however, were enough to stifle criticism and continue the saga for four more films. Given the size of Breaking Dawn, in fact, the last film was divided into two parts, a bit like it was for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The entire saga arrived in the cinema between 2008 and 2012, bringing entire families to the theater.

Twilight brought to the cinema even those who were not passionate about what in effect is an Urban Fantasy thanks to the love story and thriller imprint of the films, and the passion for films went so far as to create gadgets and merchandise for the last chapter that came to the invitation to Edward and Bella's wedding (if you you lost it you can recover it at this link). Ultimately, the movies were big business and allowed this saga to reach a much wider audience than book fans.

Vampires That Shine

The Twilight's reception was an inexplicable phenomenon. The legend of the 'vegetarian' vampires (who feed only on animals, actually) that shine in the sun, in fact, will remain a setback in the face of these monsters with a human face that have always inspired the horror imaginary. Despite this, its protagonists have remained in history: the book has sold an embarrassing amount of copies and the films have sold more tickets than expected worldwide.

The reason is difficult to explain. The statistics show that it wasn't just the girls who became passionate about the saga. As per tradition for Young Adult literature, many adults have also shown that they are fond of Bella, Edward and Jacob, who with their weaknesses demonstrate more humanity than many other 'monsters' and for this reason they are close to the new generations. The acceptance of diversity seems to be a fundamental point of this phase: even monsters can love and be loved. If Buffy wasn't clear enough on this point, Twilight makes it crystal clear.

A reflection

The problem with nitpicking is that these modern fairy tales contain the risk to be too reassuring. The idea that the 'monster' is closer than one can imagine and that the appearance of a human being corresponds to a depth similar to one's own risks detaching itself from a truth that today is hard to accept: the one that some monsters will remain such in spite of everything. The story that is told today is that a tormented love, however, is worth living, that a dangerous person can still be an appreciable partner, even if experience teaches otherwise.

The frightening quality of the 'old' Vampires was their ability to deceive. Today, having emerged from the deception, what is most frightening is the acceptance of risk by the Beauty on duty, who aspires to be made immortal at the cost of the future loss of her loved ones, and her constant putting herself in danger that touches the self-harm. Today we tend to justify monsters, to want to see the good that is in their little black hearts. And perhaps, in this way, the defenses are lowered a bit compared to the monsters of every day.


In any case, the incredible success of Twilight is undeniable, and this it certainly depends on the values ​​of acceptance and civilization it contains, together with the good intentions of all the protagonists. In the saga, the family has an absolute value, it is the minimum unit of the whole story. The protagonists are good guys (even if they are over a hundred years old), who always put the good of their loved ones before their own. This makes good people simply good, without those gray areas that modern fiction has accustomed us to, without anti-heroes or uncertainties.

The only criticism that can be leveled at Twilight absolutely is its protagonist. Bella is a normal girl: intelligent, cultured and devoid of the slightest dose of common sense. Bella is the failure of all modern heroines, a slap in the face of gender equality. Although there are strong female characters in the saga (first of all Alice) Bella manages to be completely useless from first to last page, and the reader only finds relief when finally someone points out to her that she is incredibly stupid.

If you want to relive the emotions of the films you can buy the Blu-Ray box at this Amazon link.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.