The Bittersweetest Thing

Lead Writer of BioWare's Dragon Age game series, lover of fan tears. This is where I blog about game development, fandom, and narrative design. Anything I say here is my opinion alone.

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On My So-Called Love of Twilight

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"David Gaider loves Twilight!"

I’ve seen this comment repeated in a number of places, usually followed by something like “HURHURHUR that explains so much!” Etc, etc.

Yes, I get it. It’s funnier to repeat that, how a writer for a major franchise known for its romances might have a burning love for the Twilight series. Especially to those who think the romances I write are juvenile, and how anyone who likes our romances is clearly either a fourteen-year old girl with moonpies for eyes or an emotionally-stunted guy who’s never had a relationship in his life.

I’ll ignore the irony for now, considering the basement-dwelling nature of most of these commenters. Instead I’m going to respond to the accusation, primarily so I have a place to direct someone the next time it comes up.

(Warning: language may follow.)

First: fuck your hat.

Second: Here’s what I actually said— a post on the BSN, responding to a discussion about game romances where Twilight was referenced:

Well, I think Twilight is far more effective with its romantic elements than most people give it credit for. Granted, it has little else going for it— but the romance it does well. I find it a fascinating exercise to analyze exactly why that is.

Notice that I said effective. The romance in Twilight clearly touched a chord in its audience, and it’s worth understanding how it does that. In the course of my job, I take in a lot of entertainment to analyze it— I play RPG’s, good and bad, to understand what I think works and what I think doesn’t  and why. The same applies to movies and books, particularly ones that focus on romance— since occasionally I do, in fact, write romances. Astounding revelation, I know.

I have nothing against someone who dislikes Twilight. There are many reasons one might, after all. I made it about half-way through the first book before I figured I’d seen all I really needed to see. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, but then no book that revolves around the romance is likely to be. I later saw most of the movies (all but the last one) and thought they ranged from decent entertainment to physically painful. Bella giving birth in the fourth movie still haunts me, and not in a fun way.

Did I think the book was bad? I certainly didn’t think it was good. In my opinion it doesn’t deserve to be singled out for being awful the way it often is. I heard a lot about how its romance was problematic, and I could see that interpretation. It’s a rare romance in entertainment that couldn’t be interpreted in a way that makes it seem creepy and horrifying, though admittedly Twilight has a shorter trip to get there than many (by its very nature). That is, of course, if someone wants to spend their time looking for that. Not everyone does, and more power to them.

All that is, of course, just my opinion. But it’s an opinion I wanted to arrive at on my own, rather than trusting what everyone else was saying about the series. See, I think that most people who go on and on about how bad Twilight is don’t have the first fucking clue. They heard it’s bad, and can probably repeat the talking points, and enough “cool kids” repeat it so that the only way to seem equally cool is to hate on it with everyone else.

Not only that, I felt like I really needed to take a closer look because I suspected that part of the hate was the apparent default that anything teenage girls like is inherently bad. Think about it. Teenage boys like something? Awesome. Teenage girls? Terrible. That boy band is a blight upon the world, for instance, and oh god I heard a song of theirs on the radio and it was kinda catchy I better not say anything because BLIGHT UPON THE WORLD.

And that bugs me. Be a fucking sheep, if that’s what you want to be, but don’t then pretend like you know what you’re talking about. Don’t pretend you actually make a practice of engaging in critical thinking. Don’t tell me I should be more interested in figuring out what appeals to you than in figuring out what appeals to a young woman, not unless you’re dishing out way more money for the stuff we make than she is. And while you can try to tell me that analyzing popular entertainment, both good and bad, makes me a shittier writer, I won’t believe you.

Because I’m pretty confident in my opinion, and I don’t need to justify it to anyone. I came by it honestly. The only thing that bugs me about the misquoting (deliberate as it may be) is not that I might love Twilight but that the possibility of my loving it is an offense to people who mostly think it’s awful because they were told to think it’s awful.

Speaking for myself, I have some theories as to why the romance is effective at reaching its audience. I don’t know how much of it is transferable to different audiences, but I think it’s still good information to have. As to what those theories are…

…do your own fucking homework.

Notes

  1. nahni-surana reblogged this from dgaider and added:
    [[MORE]] ((My personal qualms with Twilight were that the author spent too much time on description and too little time...
  2. shewantsthed-ogs reblogged this from dgaider
  3. spaceeoddity reblogged this from dgaider
  4. angririku reblogged this from dgaider
  5. how-come-i-get-his-shoe reblogged this from targarysaurusrex
  6. targarysaurusrex reblogged this from dgaider and added:
    Rebloging because even though I don’t like Twilight, I LOVE him defending teenage girls and the things they love. I wish...
  7. sparklyfireflies reblogged this from dgaider
  8. princessprocrastinata reblogged this from dgaider
  9. masseffectyaoi reblogged this from dgaider
  10. sarmc reblogged this from dgaider
  11. kekebe reblogged this from dgaider
  12. jotunsauce reblogged this from dgaider and added:
    This is my exact same feelings about Twilight, and I think Gaider words it all quite nicely. (Especially fucking...
  13. fostby reblogged this from flutiebear
  14. conversationswithdeath reblogged this from lvl1magestuckinreality

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