A new dawn for Twihards

Jennifer Mills discusses the announcement of Stephanie Meyer's new Twilight sister novel, Midnight Sun.

Jennifer Mills
13th May 2020
The only girls who say they didn’t like Twilight in their early teens are either too young, too old, or (the most likely option) lying. Of course, any girl who truly respects herself will never admit to any other adult that she had, once, worn a ‘Team Edward’ t-shirt under her school uniform, or stayed up past lights-out to continue obsessing over the pages for her seventh re-read, or cried from the opening credits of Breaking Dawn Part 2. But, that certainly doesn’t mean we didn’t do it.

I haven’t heard enough people raving about Stephanie Meyer (author of the Twilight Saga) announcing that her long-anticipated rewrite of her globally sensational novel was going to finally be published. Midnight Sun will be released on 4 August (so less than three months!) and will feature the same story but from Edward Cullen’s perspective, rather than that of Bella.

Although Twilight had a teenage girl-dominated fandom, its influence touched everyone’s lives. Boys hated it because it put a societal pressure on them to behave a certain way – not necessarily in a healthy way – but in a way they couldn’t perform nonetheless. Everyone who loved it loved it because it made us feel sexy, no matter how shy or bad at volleyball we were. It helped us understand the angsty, hormonal and downright unreasonable emotions we felt during puberty and the surrounding confusion.

So now that we’re all grown up, raging hormones have been satisfied or ebbed, we’re responsible, hard-working and reasonable adults, why are we so childishly excited for another deep-dive into cringey confessions of adolescent love, repetitive plotlines, unhealthy dependency and the blatant ephebophilia that we brushed under the rug?

It’s because we miss the rush of that melodrama. It gives us a chance to escape to those feelings of it’s-the-end-of-the-world and does-he-have-a-crush-on-me and no-one-understands-me-I’m-the-heroine-in-my-own-story that we (rightly so) left at our GCSE results day. It reminds us of our own personal navigation of unruly emotions and our sexual awakening, so we can look back and be proud of what we have built. It’s the same feeling as watching 90s Disney films, expect with added dodgy sexual chemistry and some actually pretty spooky commentary on life, death and the soul.

The release announcement came at a strange time, not only nearly eight years after the last film adaptation was released, but also during a pandemic

Stephanie Meyer’s announcement for the release of Twilight sister novel Midnight Sun came at a strange time, not only nearly eight years after the last film adaptation of her novels was released, but also during a pandemic that has disrupted the entire globe. Meyer’s fans have grown up – they don’t live in low-rise black skinny jeans or thick kohl pencil. Their lives are heavily disrupted by this pandemic and they’re worrying about where they’re going to live, what they’re going to eat and whether their loved ones are safe. So why is this such welcomed news?

Even those who despised Twilight knew of it and could make their hilarious jokes about how bad it was

Meyer describes the original Twilight release as a time that “[w]e found kindred spirits” and I think this is what’s appealing to us now. Twilight unironically brought us together and gave us a sense of community. Even those who despised Twilight knew of it and could make their hilarious jokes about how bad it was. It gave us a culture norm that wasn’t based on who you were, but on a piece of art that you either loved or hated. I for one am looking forwards to telling my boyfriend that he just “doesn’t understand why it’s important” and to emphasise how “deep and meaningful some of it is”, even though we can all admit that it’s mostly ‘comfort reading’.

An aspect that has particularly interested me is the cover art and Meyer’s website’s design have adopted a pomegranate motif. This is clearly a re-imagination of the apple that features heavily in the artwork for the original Twilight, which was a reference to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, a very on-the-nose promise that temptation and religious dichotomies would be prevalent in the novel. A very different reference, the pomegranates are a clear signal to the Greek myth of the abduction of Persephone, which makes perfect sense from Edward’s perspective, as he sees himself as taking Bella away from her life and happiness and into this eternal torment of the undead. Very clever, Stephanie, I’m excited to see how you integrate my favourite myth into my favourite young adult series.

I have pre-ordered Midnight Sun. I am re-reading and re-watching the original saga. I will be using the novel as small-talk for the next three months, and obsessing over it to everyone I meet afterwards. We cannot be expected to restrain our nostalgia or excitement for the return of a community – however changed it may be – to enjoy once again the feelings of a hormonal, over-emotional teenage girl and, this time, her edgy, conflicted and manipulative(?) boyfriend.

Cover Image Source: Instagram @caseyannbooks

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