Potter Critic Michael O’Brien Takes on the Vampires of Twilight
By John-Henry Westen
OTTAWA, January 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - One of the world's best-known critics of the Harry Potter series has produced an insightful analysis of the best-selling Twilight series of novels written by Stephenie Meyer. Author, artist and speaker Michael O'Brien argues convincingly that the latest vampire novel series dangerously twists evil into good and may even be demonically influenced.
O'Brien points out that the books have garnered immense popularity having sold more than 85 million copies and having been translated into 38 languages. "This, despite the fact they are poorly written teen romances, pulp fiction with a twist of supernatural horror combined with racing hormones and high school boy-girl relationships."
Explaining the root, of "how such a thinly plotted bloody mess has managed to obtain such an enormous worldwide following," O'Brien suggests that it is driven by romantic fantasy charged with powerful stimulation of the senses.
"In the Twilight series the main characters are highly attractive young people. For example, Bella describes Edward as 'excruciatingly lovely and forever seventeen.'" In the two films released to date, Edward is acted by the 'narcotically beautiful' Robert Pattinson, as one feminine commentator put it. Jacob Black's handsome face is matched by shirtless exposure of his muscled torso, as is the case with others in his werewolf pack. Bella, acted by Kristen Stewart, is very pretty (though not quite as much as her vampire friends). The Volturi look like exotic, exceedingly pale fashion models.
"Physical beauty is the glue that holds the whole banal tale together," writes O'Brien. "If one were to dim down the prettiness and subtract the horror from these four novels and their films … they would become no more than mind-numbing Harlequin Romances for very immature teenage girls."
The Potter critic, who was sought out by CNN and much of the world's media for his analysis of JK Rowling's works, sees a moral danger in Meyer's books as well. "The sexual attraction and the appeal to romantic feelings, combined with the allure of mystery," he says, "all obscure the real horror of the tale, which is the degradation of the image and likeness of God in man, and the false proposal that consuming the lifeblood of another human being bestows life all around."
Quoting E. Michael Jones on the subject, O'Brien notes that Vampirism is the anti-thesis of Christianity, "Both Christ and Dracula deal with blood and eternal life … Whereas Christ shed his blood so that his followers could have eternal life, Dracula shed his followers' blood so that he could have eternal life."
But beyond the evidence in the books, O'Brien points to Meyer's own accounts of the inspiration for her novels to warn of it's questionable revelation.
Meyer said she received the main characters in a dream, and that they were "quite literally, voices in my head" as she wrote the novels.
O'Brien also cites author Steve Wohlberg on the subject who drew out the eerie similarities between Rowling's inspiration for Potter and Meyer's for Twilight, both beginning with an unusual dream. "The character of Harry Potter just popped into my head, fully formed," Rowling reflected in 2001. "Looking back, it was all quite spooky!" She also stated to inquiring media that the Potter books "almost wrote themselves."
Writes Wohlberg: "When those mesmerizing tales first burst into the brains of these two women, neither was an established writer. Both were novices. They weren't rich either. Now they are millionaires many times over. Their experiences are similar, with common threads. Both of their novels are permeated with occultism. Based on this, it's appropriate to wonder, is there a supernatural source behind these revelations? If so, what is it?"
O'Brien quotes Meyer for a clue to the answer. "After her unexpected rise to stardom, she later confessed: 'I actually did have a dream after Twilight was finished of Edward coming to visit me-only I had gotten it wrong and he did drink blood like every other vampire and you couldn't live on animals the way I'd written it. We had this conversation and he was terrifying.'"
Twilight's embedded spiritual narrative, O'Brien concludes is this: "You shall be as gods. You will overcome death on your own terms. You will be master over death. Good and evil are not necessarily what Western civilization has, until now, called good and evil. You will define the meaning of symbols and morals and human identity. And all of this is subsumed in the ultimate message: The image and likeness of God in you can be the image and likeness of a god whose characteristics are satanic, as long as you are a 'basically good person.'
"In this way, coasting on a tsunami of intoxicating visuals and emotions, the image of supernatural evil is transformed into an image of supernatural good."
Read O'Brien's full analysis on his website.