New blood: ‘Potter’ fans are mad for vampires
Like many other teens, Brendan Davidson has traded wizards for vampires. The Duxbury 16-year-old is hooked on a Romeo-and-Juliet-style tale set in a small Washington state town, in which a teenage girl, Bella, falls for a mysterious stranger. Her choice, while charming, has a little issue he’s wrestling with: the urge to drink Bella’s blood.
Bella, her vampire beau, Edward, and their cohorts – as woven into the “Twilight” book series by author Stephenie Meyer – have taken the place of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as the latest sensations among many book-loving teens and ‘‘’tweens.
And as with the release of J.K. Rowling’s Potter tomes, “Twilight” fans will have one last reason to celebrate this Friday at midnight, when local bookstores throw parties with games, costumes and music to mark the release of the series’ fourth and final installment, “Breaking Dawn.”
“After ‘Harry Potter’ was over, people who were fans wanted something to cling to,” said Brendan. “These stories are good stories, just like those were.”
Brendan, who went to a “Twilight”-themed prom dressed as a werewolf at the Duxbury library in May, isn’t alone in his zeal. Last spring, Time magazine has called Meyer the “new queen of fantasy” in an April 24 story.
“We don’t just read the books,” Brendan said. “We talk about them a lot, and then people have been acting out the battle scenes.”
‘Different than Harry’
While the Twilight books have their share of fantasy, including superstrong vampires and werewolves, they are nothing like Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” or even the more modern “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” television series.
Edward and his family members call themselves vegetarians because they don’t drink the blood of humans. Garlic and crosses don’t affect them, and they don’t sleep in coffins, they don’t have sharp fangs, and under the right circumstances, they don’t mind venturing outdoors during the day.
Though the book revolves around teen themes, like dating and abstinence, grownups are fans, too.
Lisa Hansen, a mother from Utah, launched TwilightMOMS.com last October, the biggest fan Web site. Hansen said she heard about the books from her teen neighbors, and at first, said she had no desire to read them.
“I’m not even much of a reader, and of course I would never read a vampire novel. I just wanted to read it to see what all of the hullabaloo was. After the first few chapters I was hooked,” she said.
Since the time the site launched, more than 7,000 people have registered as members of the site, and TwilightMOMs have been mentioned in segments on MTV that have followed the filming of the book.
The first two installments of Meyer’s series stayed mostly under the radar. But “Twilight” took off with the release of the third book, “Eclipse,” on Aug. 7, 2007. The vampire love story knocked the final Harry Potter book, on the shelves for less than three weeks, from the No. 1 best-selling spot.
That momentum has continued to grow, with a film based on the first book set to be released Dec. 12, two weeks after the next Harry Potter film, and demand especially high for “Breaking Dawn.” The book is already the No. 1 best-seller on the Web sites for Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com, from pre-order sales alone.
Stacey Toon, manager of Borders in Braintree, said she expects to receive 1,200 books in the first shipment from the publisher.
“There’s a buzz about it. We have a lot reserved but that’s only the tip of the iceberg,” Toon said. “This is a different animal than Harry Potter, with a fan base that overlaps but also includes an entirely different group of fans.”
That includes people like Ashleen Chappuis, 14, of Duxbury, who has preordered her copy of “Breaking Dawn” and plans to attend a “Twilight” party at Westwinds Bookshop in Duxbury on Friday.
“I’m extremely excited for it,” she said, adding that she plans to dress up as pixie-like vampire Alice. “I’m going to spray paint my hair black for it.”
Ashleen and her friends plan to read through the weekend, avoiding all distractions to see how the beloved series ends.
“I’m obsessed with them. I carry a copy around with me all the time, but I always end up giving it away to someone else to tell them to read it,” she said. “I hope that Bella and Edward get married and are all happy, and that Jacob (a human who sometimes transforms into a werewolf) comes over and imprints (a form of magic/love at first sight) on me and we’ll live happily ever after.”
The Patriot Ledger
Several local establishments will host parties Friday night for “Twilight” fans, marking the latest book’s release. Among them:
- Braintree: Borders, 255 Grossman Drive, 9:30 p.m.
- Braintree: Barnes and Nobles, 150 Granite St., 10 p.m.
- Hingham: Barnes and Nobles, Derby Street Shoppes, 10 p.m.
- Duxbury: Westwinds Bookshop, 45 Depot St., 10:30 p.m.
- Kingston: Borders, Independence Mall, 9:30 p.m.