Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s vampire anti-hero, Angel, drinks animal blood he picks up at the butcher and, by some devilish magicks, acquires a soul. This soul grants him the ability to reject the blood lust of his brethren. Also, if you hadn’t noticed, his name is Angel, and not Lucifer or Satan T. Spawn or even Spike. (Although everyone knows Spike is way better, but I’ll get to that later.) True Blood’s southern gentleman-vampire, Bill, drinks the recently invented synthetic blood, ironically called True Blood, and also rejects the cruder vampire ways by leading a moral, non-murderous existence.
The Cullens, including EDWARD, are the central vampire family of the Twilight books, and they too are weirdly moral for their race, choosing to drink animal blood (albeit not from a bottle or plastic container, but straight from the throbbing neck of a big stag) instead of hunting humans.
The point is, every vampire tale features an unvampirely hero who adheres to human codes of ethics. This and many other examples from True Blood, Buffy and the Twilight saga reveal a troubling self hatred among vampires. JK. These things really reveal that most vampire stories are celebrations of human life; we don’t have to make the choice to kill or not to kill whenever we go to eat! Evil is a choice for humanity; evil is written in the genetic code for vamps. Folks like Bill and Angel would trade their good looks, deadly speed, and immortality for a frail human body any day of the week!
But why would anyone try to celebrate humanity through the conduit of the unhuman, the supernatural? Well, it’s all about the deep structures, methinks. No better way to examine the deep structures of what makes humanity human than looking at how inhuman non-humans can be. These tales give us a taste of the sexy power of what it is to be a werewolf/vampire/shape-shifter, but ultimately we don’t end up thinking, “Gee, I wish I were a werewolf!” We end up being glad we are humanz.
EXCEPT FOR IN TWILIGHT! In what is either a brilliant shift in the genre, or an ill-thought-out accident by a terrible writer, the Twilight books exult most of what is vampirely. And I am troubled by this.
SPOILER ALERT regarding Breaking Dawn! Don’t read on if you want to be surprised in the books. Once Bella becomes a vampire, she discovers that it was always her destiny to become one of these pale-fleshed immortals. She smugly recalls human life as a time of dim colors, weak twinges of emotion, and perilous physical incapacity. As a vampire, she is more graceful, more powerful, more at home with herself, and, most importantly, more fully able to love Edward forever and ever!!!
Moreover, there is apparently no down-side to being a vampire. In Meyer’s books, vampires don’t even need to sleep, much less be limited to sleeping during the day, so they lead a restless, ceaseless existence. Does that sound like a special ring of hell to anyone else? And yet, there is no reflection by any Twilight character that it might very well be awful to be alive and AWAKE forever. This is just one of many reasons I do not want to be a vampire.
Why does Twilight‘s human-shunning ways suck? Well, for a number of inter- and extra-textual reasons. Firstly, Bella became a vampire for her boyfriend–she literally dies for Ed, just like she always wanted! Family? Friends? College? Future? Whatevs! Bella’s true self is actually achieved through abandoning this self, for a DUDE. Secondly, Bella’s self-love as a vampire just flat out degrades life as a human. It doesn’t illuminate any aspect of what it is to be human, as Angel’s and Bill’s struggles do, it only shits all over the human condition, claiming that our sense perception and emotional life is but a glimmer of what could be, were we superior creatures.
But maybe Meyer is just taking the vampire genre the logical step further. It is important to note that even though Angel and Bill are the good boys of their respective fictional universes, and they win the hearts of the golden blondies/heroines of the tales, the heroines always eventually fall for the bad guy. The dark side can only be resisted for so long. In Buffy, Ms. Buffy eventually falls for Spike, and he doesn’t even have a soul! Though he makes pains to become good, Spike’s goodness is always in doubt, and he can only fight his nature so long. Yet I know not a Buffy fan who doesn’t root for Spike. I seriously didn’t care if Buffy crossed over to evildom, her devotion to Angel and all things of the light gets a little old. Likewise, in True Blood, clearly Sookie and Eric are about to have an affair. All I can say is, SOOKIE, DO IT!!!! Eric is way hotter than Bill. Eric is a delightfully immoral being of Swedish descent. He is also blond, has an accent, and is the arch-nemesis of the series’ hero, kind of like Spike.
So if all ladies in the vampire-verse are unable to resist the darkness, mayhaps Bella’s full-on conversion to the darkness is an alright conclusion. Why fuck em when you can join em? Eh?
But no, not really. I have advocated and continue to advocate stories of the supernatural where humans come out the winners. SO THERE.