I'd highly suggest you avoid stopping by Borders tonight; I'll personally be picking my vampires up at Barnes & Noble, and not the former store, where wannabe 'pires will actually be encouraged by hosts to act a fool, debate which hottie vampire they'd rather get with, and dress up as characters from the hyper-successful Twilight series—the reason for tonight's mayhem. At midnight, the fourth book of the set, Breaking Dawn, will be released, to undoubtedly hefty sales.
Perhaps I missed the boat (or whatever vampire-transportation analogy is appropriate here) on Twilight, because to me, the most striking thing about it is how it seemed to come from nowhere. I personally discovered it in a rather unconventional way: Near the end of last year, while shopping for the most obnoxious and inappropriate pieces of Facebook flair I could find for my friends, I found myself looking up and saying, "Okay, who the fuck is Edward Cullen?!" after seeing countless flair dedicated to him.
Cullen, it turned out, is the male lead in Stephenie Meyer's masterpiece, and he came out of nowhere for her too—she literally dreamt of him and his girlfriend Bella one night (seriously not kidding) and began writing the book the next day.
Twilight seems to be some kind of undercover sensation; now it has bonafide, very widespread popularity, but is it possible that two or three years ago, it succeeded in being some kind of massive underground hit, more commonly seen in music than in adolescent fiction? Last summer, the third installment dethroned the final Harry Potter book from bestseller lists within a week and no one heard about it.
And tonight is far from the Cullen culmination. The first movie comes out on December 12, starring Kristen Stewart as Bella, who proves again that the deeper your voice, the more beautiful you are. (Don't start smoking.) Cedric Diggory of HP4 fame has been resurrected from the dead, but apparently not completely: Gorgeous Robert Pattinson plays vampire Edward. On that subject, the movie will help highlight another aspect of Twilight that surely lends to its feverish fan base, an element fiction queen J.K. Rowling, for the most part, left out of her off-the-charts successful series: vicarious infatuation and desire.
In Edward, Meyer has created a character whom the majority of her audience will fall in love with in the literal, jealous-of-Bella, wish-he-was-real sense in a way that they didn't fall for Ron Weasley. Hence the endless flair reading "I'm in love with a fictional vampire." Ironically, the hottest guy in Harry Potter was played by the future Edward Cullen. If only he weren't frozen mere months shy of legal for all eternity.
Still, love is a literary device; and Meyer is sure to win extra hearts through girls hoping for an epic romance in high school and women nostalgic for when they thought it would happen that way. The element of projection the novels afford can only help.
And though hype can often discredit art, tomorrow's release of Breaking Dawn comes at a good time: It will give newcomers four months to read the four books before the movie's release, and there's an appropriate break between this film and the next chapter. Though Meyer will not end her series with Breaking Dawn, it will no longer be narrated by her everygirl (if unnecessarily popular with guys) heroine, Bella.
WATCH: The first but not as common trailer here.
SOUNDTRACK: "I Want You" by Third Eye Blind. Or you can listen to some Linkin Park, which is apparently what Meyer listened to throughout the writing of her novels. Weird.