Thursday, August 20, 2015

Blast From The Past Post #4

Twilight: How I Learned to Enjoy It

(Original post date May 31, 2013)

Now, you've probably never heard the phrase "I used to hate Twilight" but I'm sure it's happened.

For me, it was when I read another terrible book.

A friend let me borrow a book called Crank, by Ellen Hopkins. It was, hands down, the worst book I have ever read. Not so much with grammar or the flow of the story, but the subject matter itself. It's about a girl who gets addicted to crystal meth and other such substances. One part in particular has stuck in my mind where she smokes a cigarette for the first time, after coughing and hacking she says (I paraphrase here): "I did the sensible thing: I took another drag." I think eventually she gets raped and has a crack-addicted baby. The end.

No, seriously, the end. That's the end of the book.

And then my face was stuck like this for three days.
Bad books stick with you about as well as good ones, and you can't help but think "This book was actually worse than X!" (in my case X=Twilight). You then begin to compare and contrast the level of suckitude. However, I stated blending the ideas of both books when I realized the character's withdrawal from crystal meth in Crank sounded eerily like Bella's feelings and actions when she was away from Edward in Twilight.

I've heard some people describe Edward as less of a vampire and more of an incubus, so let's take a side-step here for some learning (which I will keep at PG-13 for my own sake) and some references so I can try and get you into the right mindframe for a theory.

An incubus is the male equivalent of a succubus. The incubus in folklore are known to seduce and "lie with women" in order to produce offspring. Enough horizontal mambo and the woman starts to get ill and, eventually, die.

In The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher there are three different types of vampire: Black Court, Red Court, and White Court. For the sake of discussion I'm just going to focus on just certain aspects of the Red and White. Red Court a very narcotic and addictive saliva, which make humans enjoy every moment of their oncoming death, and the White Court are basically incubi and succubi that feed on human emotions and desires. Humans get addicted to White Court vampires as well, and keep coming back for more until, eventually, they're totally consumed and die (though they enjoy every moment of it.)

Combining the crystal meth, incubus folklore, and White and Red Court vampires from those sources, I suddenly had a very interesting take on Twilight. Here it is:

At some point Edward says vampires "sparkle" to attract their prey, but that's just silly. No one is just going to go "Shiny!" and walk right into a pit of spikes where a diamond was dangling from. However, what if the sparkly vampires had a less obvious means of making themselves attractive to humans?

Stephanie Meyer explains a lot of the Twilight-verse in her website that she was either too lazy to explain about in her so-called "saga" or else didn't think about it until people started bugging her about it. One of those questions being how their eyes manage to move around in their heads despite pretty much being made of solid rock. The answer is that they're made entirely of stone and venom (the venom that causes other people to become infected) their eyes are rocks that float in the venom. That means all of their bodily fluids are venom.

Now, logically, the first kiss from Edward would have Bella rolling around and screaming because she'd gotten infected from the saliva in his mouth. Or, later, she'd have certainly gotten infected, erm, on her honeymoon night.

My theory is that, in small doses, Smeyer's vampire venom acts as a highly addictive narcotic. Only in large doses does it cause full-blown vampirism.

I read the book, keeping all this in mind, and it's got some pretty sound evidence to it.

When Bella first meets Edward, sure she's going to watch him, he's a pretty boy. Still, at her first description she does describe the Cullens as the skin around their eyes looking dark like they were all recovering from broken noses. With every description after that, Bella's description of Edward is "Perfect" in one word or another.

I took some notes, so you can even look it up yourself it you want.

Page 45 is when they first touch. Bella describes it as an "Electric hand sting" it's not pleasant to her, it's actually a little painful. We come back to the "All bodily fluids are venom" thing that Meyer herself has confirmed, along with my "Narcotic venom" theory. If all fluids are venom, then that means sweat would be, too, as well as the natural oils on the skin. Edward is, literally, covered in a small amount of venom. When Bella touches him she's coming into contact with the venom for the first time, it would explain the sting she feels as some things can be absorbed though the skin.

By page 56 she's already anxious to see him. You've probably heard of some drugs that take only one use to become addicted. Maybe vampire venom is the same.

Hey Steve, I'm gonna need about 3 more ounces
of Edward Cullen's underarm sweat
The more body contact there is, the more skin absorption Bella has of Edward's sweet, addictive substance.

On page 56, there's full-blown half-body contact while Team Tyler's Van cheers one determined Forks highschooler tries to shorten the series an entire four books by running over Bella and Edward pretty much smothers Bella all over trying to keep the Van of Awesome away from her.

That night, she dreams about him.

Zzzz...Heroin...Er I mean....Edward.

By page 70 she's become incredibly depressed when he ignores her. A few pages later her hands are shaky.

Page 74: "I couldn't allow him to have this level of influence over me. It was pathetic. It was more than pathetic, it was unhealthy." Sounds more like an anti-fan than Bella herself, right? Go check, I'll wait right here...

Are you back? Good...then Ha! I knew you had a copy, too! You're never gonna live this down! I'm going to tell everyone you're Team Jacob and you make out with your Siberian Husky and-

Oh, sorry, got a little off track there. Let's move on.

Of course, by page 79 she's calling him perfect. Page 92 her mind just goes blank. Shaking hands, thinking constantly about getting a fix, and losing her thought processes at the drop of a hat? Hmm, sounds like withdrawal symptoms.

Page 138 and continuing into 139, she's considering Edwards advice that she avoid him and she feels a "Sudden agony of despair" and her mind "rejects the pain." Not bad for knowing him for less than a month.

Page 139: "I didn't know if there ever was a choice. I was already in too deep. Now that I know, if I knew, I could do nothing about my frightening secret. Because when I thought of him, of his voice, his hypnotic eyes, the magnetic force of his personality, I wanted nothing more than to be with him right now."

Replace all mentions of a person with a substance, and if you're like me, it sounds creepy.

Page 141: "I couldn't feel the right kind of fear."  If people are smart, they know the drug they're addicted to is bad, it's wrong, they're aware it's going to kill them.

At page 145, Bella's been having a great day, but all it takes is not seeing Edward at lunch for her to think this: "Desolation hit me with crippling strength" so either she's trying to be poetic by using large words, she's overreacting, or she's freaking out because she can't get her fix, which is becoming more and more needed.

There's the whole alley scene where Bella's rescued by Edward, and he gives her his jacket. She takes a big ol' whiff. Now, I don't have to quote anything for you to know there are inhaled addictive substances.

Page 175, he freaks her out a bit, but her "Spasm of fear" is "stifled by a sense of safety." She has alarm bells going off in her head but there's something tamping them down. Again, we come back to the fact that people are aware that a drug is bad for them and they use it anyway. Also, she's wearing his jacket at the time, the one probably just dripping in venom from being worn so often (sorry, too gross?)

Page 190, Bella says "Not seeing you. It makes me anxious, too." I can understand Edward being anxious, his food (ie: Bella) is off wandering around being stupid. You'd be worried too if you had a delicious bucket of chicken wandering around a city full of cats and dogs (You attached wheels to the bottom of it...I have no idea why.)

On page 193 she smells his breath and notices it smells the same as his jacket. I don't know about you, but I would never want my breath to smell like my jacket or my jacket to smell like my breath. The only explanation is that venom has a smell to it.

By page 195 she's totally in love.

Page 211 "If I had to, I supposed I could purposefully put myself in danger to keep him close." That's certainly a far cry from the previous "I couldn't allow him to have this level of influence over me." Although she discards the idea of putting herself in danger, she does so for the wrong reasons, not because it's stupid or even a sick idea, it's because she knows she'd get in trouble....It's also pretty impressive what people will do to get another hit of their addiction. You know...just saying...

Page 219, she's got an "Overpowering craving to touch him."

This is only half of the book. I didn't manage to read it all in time to make this post. It's just slow and I had other books occupying my time.

A satyr in a wedding dress. How could I resist?
Anyway, I didn't really need to finish it. I've made my point. I'm loving every moment of my reread because it's not the loving story of an air-headed moron falling for a bi-polar prettyboy. It's the dark, sick story of a normal girl who becomes addicted to a narcotic substance that causes her to fall out of touch with her friends, school, family, the real world and eventually ends with her death (and subsequent rebirth into a venom-producing monster to lure more hapless humans.) This doesn't even count all the eye-gaze-induced brain-scrambling Edward does to control Bella and everyone else around them.

So remember kids, don't do drugs.

...And don't lick Edward Cullen.

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