Click here for Chapters 1 and 2, The Introduction and Preface and Chapters 3 and 4

Opening Thoughts

Ok, it’s been a while since I update this. Yes, I know. I’ll admit, I’d lost interest in Twilight for a while there. I suppose that, compared to school, friends, and romance, being an active member of an internet hatedome was not a priority for me. It’s not that I had forgotten the antifeminist messages in this cultural phenomenon, or the bad writing. Rather, I was noticing that the fans had quieted down, Breaking Dawn was largely considered a laughingstock, and at least half of my friends refused outright to have anything to do with the series. I was convinced that Twilight was headed the way Eragon. Acknowledged, but forgotten.

And then New Moon hit the theaters, waking the issue. In searching the internet, I found myself surrounded by new critiques of the series, and ridiculous stories about the fandom. I was reminded that Twilight still had violently obsessive fans numerous enough to give New Moon the most profitable opening weekend in film history. This is beating out The Dark Knight, and every other genuinely good movie, just because it is part of a franchise. A franchise that romanticizes abuse, and conjures a world where a strong husband is a woman’s crowning aspiration.

The point is, I’ve decided to revive this series, confident that, so long as Twilight movies are coming out, the anti-message will have an audience. So, without any further self-justification, here is Twilight: Abridged and Annotated, Chapters 5 and 6.

Chapter 5: Blood type

We begin this chapter with a stunned Bella making her way to English class. Why is she so stunned? Because at the end of the last chapter, she had this exchange with Mr. Sparkles:

“It would be more prudent for you not to be my friend,” he explained. “But I’m tired of trying to stay away from you, Bella.”

His eyes were gloriously intense, his voice smoldering. I couldn’t remember how to breathe.

“Will you go with me to Seattle?” he asked, still intense.

I couldn’t speak yet, so I just nodded.

He smiled briefly, and then his face became serious. “You really should stay away from me,” he warned. “I’ll see you in class.”

Unfortunately, affixation doesn’t come quickly enough, and she remembers how breathe again.

After English, Mike comes up and starts talking to Bella, perhaps a little more pouty after being turned down, but still into her. Business as usual.

Then everything changes when, at lunch, Edward invites Bella to sit with him. Though initially overwhelmed by his prettiness, she manages to maintain a modicum of composure. Enough at least, to participate in a remarkably creepy conversation. Choice quotes from Edward include:

“I think your friends are angry with me for stealing you[…] I may not give you back though”

“I got tired of staying away from you. So I’m giving up.”

I think it’s clear enough by now that, were Edward not the most gloriously smexy thing ever, the restraining orders would already be filed.

Basically, the way this conversation goes down, we learn that Edward’s semantic vocabulary contains three basic ideas.

1) I’m dangerous.
2) I want you.
3) Ho ho ho, I can read minds and I’m a vampire, but you don’t know that yet.

(Except we do, Edward. It says so in the second sentence on the back of the book.)

We also learn that coy smirks are extremely erotic.

Of course, when reading this, one has to wonder how a socially awkward 17 year old can talk circles around an ancient, cultured vampire? I mean, really. He’s had a century to perfect the art of conversation. So when Bella says “Are we friends now?” I expect Edward to do more than furrow his gorgeous brow and brood as if he’d never considered it before. A 100-year-old man should not behave like a middle school student around his crush. This is bad characterization.

Anyway, they talk some more. They play this passive aggressive guessing game, where Bella brings up Radioactive Spiders and Kryptonite. There isn’t much more to it. The banter is readable, but becomes frustrating rather quickly. I can only listen for so long to Edward dropping blatant hints about his nature, and then, in the next breath, warning Bella to stay away. I know, I know, this horse has already been beaten to a grainy pulp. But I’m simply appalled at what Meyer considers subtle.

Their conversation is brought to an end by the lunch bell, and as they leave, Edward tells her that he’s skipping class. After a bought of indecision, she decides to go to biology anyways, where the class was about to test blood types (just as a side note, in a modern biology class, this experiment is never done because it risks spreading AIDS and other blood-born diseases). Unfortunately, our heroine never has a chance to catch AIDS and die, because she passes out at the sight of blood. (This will never come up again over the course of the series).

Mike, as per usual, will use any excuse he can find to touch our heroine, even if she is about to vomit, and offers to help her to the nurse. Fortunately, Edward is waiting a few steps outside the class to assert his masculinity and take the nauseous girl off Mike’s hands.

Once alone, edward then goes back to taunting Bella with this “I know something you don’t know” routine (it’s funny because he’s a vampire… and there was blood involved… and… get it?). Once she feels better, he drags her out to his car and forces her to get in. But instead of breaking out the chloroform like a normal stalker, he plays her classical music.

Ugly Swan: OMG I no this song!
Eddy_Glorious: No way, u listen to classical music 2?

Well, that sound contrived. And with that awkward bonding moment behind them, Edward drives Bella home (really really fast). On the way, Bella explains that she is so withdrawn because she has the mentality of a middle aged woman (as if she wasn’t enough of an author avatar already, Stephanie). And then they talk about how selfless she is, sacrificing her happiness for the sake of her mother. Edward drops unsubtle hints that he may be interested in her, and talks a little about the rest of the Cullens.

Edward then reveals that he won’t be going to the beach party. He’ll be on a mysterious hiking trip all alone with his big brother Emmet, and Bella is so disappointed by Edward’s unquestionably heterosexual plans that she doesn’t ask the one pertinent question: “How the fuck did you know where I live?”

Chapter 6: Scary Stories

At school the next day, all the chatter is about Edward (unapproachable!) inviting Bella (frumpy!) to sit with him. Because apparently these people have nothing better to do than obsess about Bella’s love life. We meet a new girl, named Lauren, who need not be known by any name other than Jealous Bitch, who exists only to be Tyler’s love interest.

Skipping forward to the day of the beach trip, and we find Bella is regretting Edward’s absence. Alas. There’s a couple of pages of socializing, a little scenery description. Tyler gets some action on with Jealous Bitch. The boys try to hit on Bella, but soon their designated love interests come to distract them. There’s a brief hiking trip where Bella shows that, in a universe without Edward Cullen, she might have made a good marine biologist. And then we meet a group of Native Americans. Notable among them: Jacob Black.

“His skin was beautiful, silky and russet colored; his eyes were dark, set deep above the high planes of his cheek bones[…] Altogether, a very pretty face”

Our protagonist: teaching girls that you shouldn’t judge people by their appearance. Unless they’re men.

He immediately recognizes her. Turns out he’s an old family friend. They talk. He has a brilliant smile, and, on the whole, seems like a nice, upstanding kinda guy. Then a passing mention of the Cullens makes Jacob’s tribe freak out.

He said that the Cullens didn’t come here, but his tone implied something more— that they weren’t allowed; they were prohibited.

In order to express how I feel about this passage, I will use an image.

Artimaeus posted a picture about Captain Obvious that had nothing to do with Twilight, but his tone implied that he believe Stephanie Meyer’s writing was like the person who wrote the motivational poster. He was mocking her.


Anyway, in Meyer’s knack for stating the obvious wasn’t already getting on your nerves, Bella senses an opportunity to find out more about her love interest, and begins to use her feminine whiles manipulate Jacob. Yes. Yes, you read that correctly. See for yourself.

I had a sudden inspiration. it was a stupid plan, but I didn’t have any better ideas. I hoped that Jacob was as yet inexperienced around girls, so that he wouldn’t see through my sure-to-be-pitiful attempts at flirting.

*Has she no shame?* I mean, here she is, coldly manipulating someone else’s feelings for he own benefit. Ready for the really sad part? It works. She invites him to walk along the beach with her, “trying to imitate that way Edward had of looking up from underneath his eyelashes,” and he begins to preen like a pampered peacock. She gives him an alluring smile; he smiles back, “looking allured”.


Now, what’s wrong with this picture? Ok, aside from the fact that Bella is being a cad. And the strange tendency of every boy in this town to be irredeemably smitten with her five seconds after meeting her. And the fact that… ok, here’s what I want to get at: all through the book we’ve been told (and sometimes shown) that Bella is romantically and socially clueless. And then she becomes a bold seductress.

What. The. Fuck.

You can’t have is both ways, Stephanie. If your character is supposed to be insecure, she can’t forget all of her fear and anxiety just because you want her to seduce the cute Indian boy. Likewise, if your character is confident enough to put the the moves on a complete stranger, she should not be struck dumb by the sight of Edward Cullen. Is she insecure and shy or isn’t she?

Any well-written character must have limitations- things that must be overcome before the character can accomplish his goals. The struggle of the protagonist to overcome his limitations is the driving force behind all stories, whether these limitations are physical or psychological, external or internal. They define the story. They make characters human. They give characters something to strive for, struggle against, and hopefully overcome. This is why we at Impish Idea restate again and again the importance of FLAWS to well-written characters.

The problem is, Bella has no flaws. Or rather, she has flaws (insecurity, low-self esteem, shyness, etc…) but they never prevent her from DOING anything, even when they probably should. They never make her struggle for anything or stretch herself. In this scene, she gets an idea, considers it stupid, tries it anyway, and it miraculously works. She may profess her nervousness, but nothing in the narration indicates that seducing Jacob was difficult for her. There is no suspense; no sense that anything is at stake. We aren’t worried that she’ll be humiliated and shamed. We aren’t wondering whether or not she’ll find the information about Edward. We’re just kind of tagging along as Bella effortlessly succeeds. Of course, this doesn’t matter to a fanbase interested only in vicariously seducing hot native american boys, but the rest of us want more.

And let’s not forget that Bella Swan, the virtuous, selfless role model for girls everywhere, is coldly manipulating Jacob’s emotions for her own benefit. Hear that girls? If you lead boys on until you get what you want from them, you will be blessed with a lifetime of healthy, happy relationships. Right…

Anyway, as I was saying, Bella activates her feminine wiles, and Jacob spills about her stalker boyfriend.

“And what are they?” I asked finally, “What are the cold ones?”
He smiled darkly.
“Blood drinkers,” he replied in a chilling voice. “Your people call them vampires.”

I AM BLINDED BY THE OBVIOUSNESS!!! Yes, he calls them the “cold ones”, and says the word Vampire. Just when I thought Meyer couldn’t get any LESS subtle. Really, I don’t understand why she’s even bothering with this. Edward is a vampire. It says so on the back of the book. Just get the contrived, suspenseless mystery out of the way so you can write the soft porn we all know you want to.

And that, my friends, is the end of this chapter. Tune in next week, where Bella finally discovers the grand secret that Smeyer has been repeatedly beating us with. I can hardly wait.

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  1. Romantic Vampire Lover on 25 December 2009, 05:19 said:

    Wonderful, as always, Arty. Your perceptiveness never ceases to amaze me. ;)

  2. Puppet on 25 December 2009, 12:29 said:

    Brilliant, Artimaeus. Absolutely brilliant.

  3. Danielle on 25 December 2009, 16:19 said:


    Maybe she’s following JKR’s advice and writing the kind of book she’d like to read. And since we all know SMeyer isn’t too bright (judging from her writing style, writing topics, and every interview she’s ever given)….well….

    On another note, this was fantastic.

  4. Artimaeus on 25 December 2009, 16:37 said:

    She is certainly not the brightest bulb in the box. I was annoyed when I found out that she was a National Merit semifinalist, because the entire scholarship lost credibility in my eyes.

  5. Steph (with an A) on 25 December 2009, 20:37 said:


    asphyxiation. Fixed.

    Anyway, PLEASE don’t spell her name ‘Stephanie’. It’s ‘Stephenie’.

    Mostly I’m just raising this because I refuse to share a name with her.

    That’s my nitpicking done, and this is a really good series. Keep it up, Artimaeus!

  6. Artimaeus on 25 December 2009, 22:56 said:

    Ah, my bad. I’m afraid that, as far as proofreading goes, I’m only slightly better than Microsoft Word. “Affixation?” that’s just embarrassing.

  7. Talisman on 26 December 2009, 12:54 said:

    You also used “bought” instead of “bout,” and “whiles” instead of “wiles.” [/Captain Nitpick]

    But that was really entertaining and interesting. I appreciate sporkers who take the time to explain why things are bad, not just laugh at them.

    Glad to see the return of this series!

  8. Pearl on 26 December 2009, 15:11 said:

    Nice job, as always.

  9. Steph (what is left) on 27 December 2009, 19:27 said:

    But that was really entertaining and interesting. I appreciate sporkers who take the time to explain why things are bad, not just laugh at them.

    This is my normal beef with sporking. I should have mentioned that earlier. You’re not like the rest of them, Artimaeus. Keep it up!

  10. lizzie on 28 December 2009, 12:17 said:

    ahaha, I love your wonderful sporks :)

  11. ZeeZee on 3 January 2010, 16:09 said:

    Yay, more sporking!!!