So, it’s 1:35 and I’m just now starting my post. Fail. I should totally work out a way to get online at an earlier time so I don’t start things at odd hours like this. Hm.
That aside, I’m sure any of you who actually read this (hey—in most cases you subscribed to me first) probably know that the New Moon movie is finally out. I’ve had to hear about it off and on the last few days because my sisters LOVE the Twilight series. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it…but I concede that lots of people don’t enjoy books I like, either.
Fine. We’re even.
Picking on Twilight has also gotten boring since I’ve read sooo many blog posts about how awful it is and isn’t Stephanie Meyers a horrible writer?, or how wonderful it is and wouldn’t you want your S.O. to be just like Edward?
Yes, okay. And no, never. That’s not what I wanted to post about though.
I’ve seen a lot of people commenting on these blogs with questions like, “why would anyone fall in love with a monster that wants to kill you and drink your blood?” or “um, vampires used to be monsters. How are they emo kids with glittery skin now?” and even “how on earth could vampires produce biological children? Meyers must be an idiot,” since, apparently, Bella and Edward have a baby.
All of these are very good points, but it kind of annoys me that everyone either loves vampires or loves to hate them or loves to hate Meyers’ interpretation of them without actually knowing much at all about other historic and or literary vampire stories.
Not that I expect anyone reading this to care, really…but it bugs me a lot when people complain about stuff I like, and never bother to learn about it so they can at least make informed complaints.
So, to break the monotony of survey posts and book reviews, and for my own personal amusement, I’d like to try and answer some of the questions about vampires that have most annoyed me. Yay.
1. Why would anyone fall in love with a monster that wants to kill you and drink your blood?
Why indeed. This question is beyond me to answer because there are so many answers…I mean, why do people love other creepy/abusive/evil people? Ineffable, that. Why do people go out and live amongst gorillas or grizzly bears or wolves? Because. People will insist on loving things that are dangerous, for widely varying reasons.
It’s a good question, but also very pointless.
2. How on earth could vampires produce biological children? Meyers must be an idiot.
I can’t make any valid claims on Stephanie Meyers’ mental capacities. I also don’t know if she threw in the half-vampire baby because she thought it would be a fresh take on the vampire story…or if she did it because she read up on some vampire folklore and found out that, yes, some cultures believed that half-vampire babies could exist.
At the 2008 Cornerstone Festival, I went to a seminar about vampires, and I also read about this in Matthew Bunson’s book, The Vampire Encyclopedia, so I assume that this information is true…but each of them told me that various Gypsy groups believed that men who died and became vampires would come back to visit their widows, resulting in dhampir—half-vampire—babies.
At worst, this was just a cover story for widows who needed an excuse for suddenly getting pregnant. At best, the dhampir’s clan would believe that the dhampir had special powers that would allow it to defend the clan against future attacks by vampires. Either way…Meyer’s story of Nessie, the half-vampire baby, fits right in with already existing vampire lore. Gypsies were apparently not concerned with the impossible biology of dhampirs and their dead, bloodless fathers, so I don’t see why Meyers would have to be.
3. Um, vampires used to be monsters. How are they emo kids with glittery skin now?
I can’t explain the glittery skin, and it’s one of the elements of Meyers’ vampire characters that I hate the most. I don’t have a problem with her vampires going out in daylight though. I mean, Dracula did it and he’s the quintessential literary vampire.
The other parts of this question are a little bit more difficult, I think.
I think that part of the reason vampires transitioned from being monsters to being glittery emo kids is because people in this present time don’t believe as strongly in demons or spirits or in sins as being seriously morally wrong.
Some vampire folklore talks about demons or evil spirits reanimating corpses and either drinking the blood of the living, or eating them. If you don’t believe in demons or spirits, then it’s harder to be interested in a story like that, which is why today’s zombies are mostly the results of viruses instead of evil spirits or witchcraft like in zombie folklore.
The idea of sinful people becoming vampires when they die doesn’t work either, since so many people now don’t believe in heaven and hell, or at least they don’t believe in hell, and certainly if there is a hell or some kind of afterlife punishment, it won’t happen to them.
It’s very hard for vampires to be scary in the way they used to be, because we’re not worried about losing our souls and becoming like them if we do bad things, and we sort of prefer to look at their “immortality” as something we want, rather than as a punishment, and if one doesn’t believe in an afterlife…yeah, okay. I can see how the idea of living forever as a vampire becomes appealing.
Even if we’re not scared of them anymore, our society has obviously still got some sort of deep, inexplicable attraction to them, and if we weren’t going to give them up, they had to change to fit the way we think.
So they don’t become vampires because they’re sinful. Most of the vampires I’ve read about—Dracula included—seem to become vampires at random, because another vampire took a fancy to them and “turned” them. Vampirism becomes more like a sickness than a punishment, except that as a sickness, it doesn’t seem all that undesirable because it gives the newly turned vampire the immortality and beauty and strength that seem so desirable in our current society.
On the other hand, there’s still the dilemma that various literary vampires have about killing people. Anne Rice’s vampires try to only kill “evil” people. Laurel Hamilton’s more moral vampires don’t kill people to get blood, and Stephanie Meyers’ moral vampires drink the blood of animals.
Yes, these vampires all still claim to be dangerous, and they might be if you got on their bad sides…but I think that the reason Meyers’ vampires are far from being scary is because they’ve been more successful than most of the other literary vampires I know of at sticking to a non-human diet. More than the others, they seem to have the most squeaky-clean form of vampirism. Be immortal, be good looking, have a supernatural power, eat meat…no worries.
I think Edward does try to tell Bella that being a vampire is worse than all that though—that she’ll go to hell, that she might kill people, etc…but Bella, like an awful lot of people, thinks that there isn’t a hell, or that it couldn’t be as bad as life without Edward (okay, most people don’t think that), and that she’d rather be immortal than live out her “boring” life.
And that’s how vampires went from scary and damned to being emo, because even if they still believe in heaven and hell and damnation and that killing is wrong, they know that humans don’t believe in most of that anymore. Certainly teenaged girls like Bella would rather stay young and pretty with a gorgeous S.O. for eternity. Who cares if they might have to kill? They’re not going to hell for it.
Anyway…time for sleeping now.
“Goodnight werewolf, goodnight ghosts, goodnight vampires who pine the most. Goodnight zombies, comeback soon. Goodnight bats, goodnight moon.”
Doctor Raven’s Facebook status.