Saturday, October 10, 2009

twilight at 30,000 feet

A delightfully unexpected bonus of my recent travels was the Twilight series, by Stephanie Meyers. Looking for a light read, wondering what the teen fuss was all about, I picked up Twilight for the flight between Sydney and Los Angeles. Intrigued, I engaged New Moon over various cities in the United States and then Eclipse (The Twilight Saga) returning to Christchurch via Sydney. I then gave Twilight to my 12 year old, who finished it in about 24 hours.

They are a good read. Good dialogue, helpful characterisation. Pacing is good, with a nice gathering of mystery and suspense. The engagement with classic literature offers an intelligence. The three novels manage to be both stand alone, yet build on each other.

So is there any theological value? I’m still processing this. Yes, there is some exploration of themes of good and evil. A number of Bible passages are engaged. While the front cover is that of an apple, we all know that no apples actually appear in the Garden of Eden! There is some sense of what it means to be human, albiet limited by the teen lens. There is an ongoing processing of love, although the fact that this is grounded in loving a vampire made it hard for me to take it seriously.

But ultimately, I suspect that the books should be left simply as a good read, a window into some of the pressures of being adolescent.

Posted by steve at 09:24 PM


  1. The Twilight series has been a big hit in our household for around 18mths now, with Miss 16 often referring to herself as “Tash Cullen”. Robert Pattinson adorns the walls and the DVD has pride of place on the bookself! Have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed all the books but found the second one a bit too “teen angsty” and drawn out. Looking forward to the second movie coming out in a few weeks, Tasha and I have a date!

    Comment by Jill W — October 11, 2009 @ 9:43 am

  2. The ‘don’t do anything or I will hurt you’ is a pretty unhealthy model for relationships, and the whole obsessive nature of the relationships is a bit of a concern.
    But theologically, the exploration of what it means to be human I find fascinating; and the themes of salvation. In essence, I thought it boiled down to having sufficient self control, at which point I hear echoes of Frank Herbert’s Bene Gessert (the witches) in Dune. To be human is to be in control, to not give in to temptation. And the whole debate about the soul, whatever that is…

    If you and Miss 16 enjoyed this, you might also enjoy T K Roxborogh’s “Banqo’s Son,” which builds an excellent tension between love and honor or duty. Mostly healthier relationships too.

    Comment by Mary-Jane Konings — October 13, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  3. Hi Mary,
    thanks for the comment. Can you explain a bit more about “โ€˜donโ€™t do anything or I will hurt you”. I don’t see Bella doing this. I think Jacob does this a bit, more an emotionally hurtful stance. I see Edward as being “don’t do anything or I will protect you.” So would love to have you unpack this a bit more please.

    in terms of obsessive, I did feel that. but then i began to remember my early days of falling in love! i think i was pretty smitten. ๐Ÿ™‚

    i struggled to find anything “salvific” in the books: i just couldn’t see eternal life as a vampire as being attractive. certainly the what does it mean to be human is worth pondering.

    cheers for the hat tip re Banqo’s son.


    Comment by steve — October 13, 2009 @ 2:10 pm

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