Last time I wrote about the Twilight series, I elaborated about two types of fictional universes. In the multiplicative type, the inventiveness moves outward from its source, creating more characters, more locales, more magical powers, more spells, more generations. Multiplicative universes are immersive by virtue of their breadth; the sheer variety of their many elements makes them seem like small parts of the actual, teeming world.
The other type of fictional universe is the reductive. The inventiveness here moves inward from its source or focus. There are few characters, few locales. In fact, there are usually only 2 or 3 characters and 2 settings at the most. Reductive universes are immersive by virtue of their depth. They go deeper and deeper into the psychological twists of the small cast until readers feel as if they really know the cast members.
Anyway, those media outlets that compare Twilight with Harry Potter miss key differences between the franchises.
1. Twilight is infinitely worse in quality compared to Harry Potter, although Harry Potter itself is merely good. It is not GREAT.
2. The Harry Potter series transcends age, class, sex and race in its appeal. The Twilight saga appeals 95% to white bourgeois females between the ages of 9-29.
3. The Harry Potter series has a multiplicative universe. The Twilight series has a reductive universe. It’s also a poorly done reductive universe in which the exclusive focus on Bella and Edward does not reward such scrutiny. Reductive universes work best when they have something interesting at their heart, say, a pair of characters that it’s worth staring at for 200 pages. Vera Nazarian’s Duke in His Castle provides a strong example. Tragically, Edward and Bella are not worth staring at for 200 pages, much less 2. All the reader sees when he/she stares at them for 2 or 20 or 200 or even 2000 pages is an endless cycle of mood swings.
To write in the overwrought style of my 11-year-old self, here is the experience of reading the Twilight Saga:
love! hatred! turmoil! bad hair days!
ambivalence! pathetically repressed sexual tension! pain!
the moods of the
kind of like that “chewable” calcium pill i tried to swallow
2 days ago
but i didn’t chew it
so it went
d k UP!
n and then b
until my gag reflex finally !!!!WON!!!!
and i projectile vomited pppp–ttt–oooooo–eeeeeee–yyyyyyyyyy across the bathroom
& hurked it on to the bath mat
& it was STILL INTACT.
i am never EVEREVER eating those calcium chews again.