Ten years of sparkly vampires, the #TeamEdward/ #TeamJacob debate and the Twilight Saga franchise.
Everyone and their mum had a crack at the Twilight saga in its heyday. It was basically all anyone spoke about. Social media had been infiltrated and Facebook was filled with #TeamEdward/ #TeamJacob debates. It seriously mattered whose side you were on!
Twilight was one of the series that contributed to the idea of ‘obsessive’ fandoms. There were posters, there was merch, fans were writing fan-fiction and people were getting tattoos. Twilight did more than just break the internet! Twilight was creating communities through the love/hate relationships between characters. High schoolers could relate to Bella and her awkwardness. Fans were trying to put themselves in Bella’s position so they could understand her decision making methods. It was wild, to say the least.
Parents, professionals and researchers were concerned that the series was altering the minds of teenagers and that is was a dangerous influence on society. But what about a book on teenagers and vampires caused such an uproar? While it was been proven that teenage brains process information differently than mature brains, professors like Maria Nikolajeva were worried about the lasting effects of Twilight on young adults. Nikolajeva organised a conference in 2010 to discuss how media affects the young mind. She concluded that “If you look very, very clearly at what kind of values the ‘Twilight’ books propagate, these are very conservative values that do not in any way endorse independent thinking or personal development or a woman’s position as an independent creature.”.
I remember being in English class in Year 12 and during a class exercise, our teacher asked us if we thought Twilight was an important novel. The class split up about 50/50 into Yes/No and was asked why they thought that. One of the answers was plain and simple… Of course it was important; it inspired a generation of people to read again.
Twilight was a global phenomenon, there’s no doubt about that. But since then, has anything influenced and inspired young people to the same extent? A lot of young readers had a brief interest and obsession with The Hunger Games and its characters but very little has had the same impact that Twilight did on the world. Sure, there were thousands (probably waaay more) books that had at least one vampire in it published after Twilight‘s success but no book, movie or television show could match the world that Stephanie Meyer created.
According to The Telegraph, sales of sci-fi and fantasy novels grew by almost 20 per cent after the first Twilight film hit cinemas in 2008. Industry analysts even went as far as to call it the ‘Twilight Effect’. Pat Neviani- Aston, Senior Leisure Analyst at Mintel at the time, told The Telegraph that “The popularity of Twilight fiction shows just how closely books, TV and film are linked. Different media feed off each other and overall book sales also benefit greatly from the relationship.”
While there’s an extensive list of excellent YA books out there and a slightly smaller list of great shows and movies, we’re still waiting for something that has the same lasting effect that Twilight did on a generation. It’s been ten years and people are still conflicted about if they should love it or hate it.
Were you a die-hard Twi-fan? Let us know your Twilight experience in the comments below.