Lately, in idle moments, I’ve been reading recaps of the Twilight books. At first, I did so in a mood of semi-fond nostalgia, forgetting the terrible things I wrote about Twilight back in 2008. Maybe Fifty Shades of Grey grossly distorted my standards of what constitutes total crap – who knows?
But anyway, I forget how bad the Twilight books were. I remember them being boring – dear God, were they boring. They all had about 80,000 words of useless padding before the plot raced in like a nervous child running late for a ballet recital – whereupon it did a sad little frightened dance, fell off the stage and was carried home in tears by its mother.
For those not in the know, 80,000 is about the average length for a trade paperback. That’s a whole novel’s worth of pointless crap. (Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of monstrous word counts, did you know that the Fifty Shades books are a total of 621,000 words long – that’s only 207,000 words on average per book. I say ‘only’ because they feel a lot longer when you’re reading them.)
I can kind of forgive the Twilight series for being awful, since they led to a bunch of extremely funny movies being made. And in a way I can almost forgive it spawning Fifty Shades of Grey, since the movies for Fifty Shades are surely going to be the biggest steaming piles ever made. They may even approach Showgirls levels of ghastly magnificence. I’m serious here. And you know I don’t invoke Showgirls lightly.
Over dinner we were trying to figure out which Twilight movies we’d seen and which ones we hadn’t, and it transpired that we hadn’t seen New Moon, which of course is the second book where Edward tries to commit suicide by sparkling (no, really) because he thinks Bella jumped off a cliff to her death. Unfortunately, because Bella is such an extreme Mary Sue that she not only warps the plot but also the laws of physics, she survives a thirty metre plunge into icy water and lives to whine another day. Then Alice turns up, is twee, steals things, is twee some more and they fuck off to Italy to prevent Edward from sparkling in the morning sun and revealing his vampiric nature.
Nobody but Bella knows that vampires sparkle, so it’s kind of a mystery why a bunch of Italians are going to look at a sparkly Robert Pattinson and think ‘Oh look – there’s a vampire’, as opposed to ‘Easy on the body glitter there, Nelly,’ or however you say that in Italian.
Then they all go to see the Volturi, the elder vampires who hang around in Italian catacombs and churches and….I dunno. They do something. I’m told this is the reason I really need to see New Moon, because apparently Michael Sheen makes Alan Rickman’s performance in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves look quiet and understated. I’m all about that.
Oh, wait – no. I’ve got it. They make laws. I looked it up. The Volturi make laws. Like the one about not revealing themselves to humans.
Somehow Edward gets away with this, even though he’s sparkled in public at Bella on several occasions and Miss Mope is, as she never stops reminding us, all too human. So, yeah. I’m all for the spirit of the law over the letter of the law, but come on, people – he’s broken rule numero uno long before he ever got his glitter on in the town square. Major infraction. It’s got to be maiming time, at least.
But nooo, because this is Twilight and these two lamebrains must be the most coddled couple in fiction. They are so much the author’s lovesome fluffy darling lambkins that she cannot conceive for a second of anything really bad happening to them. It’s one of the reasons why the Twilight books are objectively bad – there are no stakes, no real danger. It’s also one of the reasons why they are occasionally hilarious.
So, I was explaining that Edward gets a stay of execution because the Volturi have powers. My better half is at this point squinting at me in a way that suggests he doesn’t completely understand what I’m saying, but who gives a shit because it’s Twilight and it doesn’t have to make sense.
So he asks me what powers, and here comes the moment, one of those joyous ‘Twilight means never having to say “I’m kidding”,’ moments.
“The camper-than-Julian-Clary-in-a-big-pink-tent one can see your whole life in an instant. Um…there’s a little one who can shut off all your senses, which does sound quite frightening, although it’s got to be cheaper than a flotation tank session. Then there’s the Dakota Fanning one who can cause you extreme pain simply by thinking it…”
“Okay, good power.”
“And then there’s Marcus.”
“Ri-ight. And what does Marcus do?”
“Marcus has the power to see relationships.”
“No, that’s what he does. He sees relationships.”
“Was he late to the session when vampire powers were handed out?”
Yes, it’s true. That’s Marcus’ vampire power. He sees relationships. Sort of like an undead marriage guidance counsellor. He’d look at you and say ‘good job’ or ‘Try salsa-dancing – you need more activities in common,’ or ‘He’s cheating on you with Kyle from the gym.’
His other vampire power was Ignoring Massive Steaming Plot Contrivances, apparently, because he takes one look at Soggyknickers and the Discoball and says ‘Your relationship is so intense and special we’re going to let you live.’
However, my other half was still reeling from the disclosure of Marcus’ power. “But that’s crap. That’s not a power – that’s something you can do on a weekend workshop and get a certificate for it.”
“I know. It’s rubbish.”
“What do the others do? Do they have one whose special power is ‘having really nice hair’? Or one that can unscrew pickle jars first time?”
So then we had an unreasonable amount of fun thinking up Crap Vampire Powers for the Volturi. We couldn’t remember what they were all called so we renamed them Corky, Samantha, Albrecht, Billy-Bob and Reg.
Corky – Always wins at Twister. It doesn’t matter how the spinner falls, but that motherfucker just can’t lose. Ever.
Samantha – Knows where lost things are, but only if they’re useless things you’ve completely forgotten about. For instance, Samantha can’t tell you that your missing keys are in the fruit bowl, but she does know where to find that buttplug you mislaid back in 2009. Also you should vacuum under your bed.
Albrecht – Can unclog sinks with the power of his mind.
Billy-Bob – Can guess people’s shoe size simply by looking into their eyes.
Reg – Is able to predict the death of the light bulb in your refrigerator. Accurate to a fraction of a second.
What’s your Crap Vampire Power?