Welcome to my Fandom: The Weird World of Twi-hards

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 scored the eighth biggest opening weekend of all time in the United States and has made an early global total of $340.9 million. The final installment of the popular vampire franchise was released just over two weeks ago.

Fans of the vampire romance first became fixated with the Stephenie Meyer novel series after the release of Twilight in 2005. It was an instant success, debuting at number 5 on the New York Times Best Seller list within a month of its release. Three years later the film adaptation was released, giving the remaining three novels of the series worldwide acclaim. With this popularity came a loyal and somewhat obsessive ‘fandom’, known as Twi-Hards.

Discussions about who would be the best partner for main character, Bella Swan, is a hot topic for Twi-Hards. The whole ‘Team Edward vs Team Jacob’ debate originated from online fansites. Twi-Hards treat the series and its characters like a real life situation and many are devastated at the thought of its climax. Life-size pillows of both Edward and Jacob can be bought online so “they will always be near you” even when the series is over. If that is not weird enough for you, Edward Cullen toilet paper is also available, as well as a ‘Love At First Bite’ cookbook featuring the fictional character’s ‘favourite recipes’.

Another novel, that was actually inspired by the Twilight saga, was released in 2011 resulting in a whole new dimension of the term fan-fiction. 50 Shades of Grey had women worldwide in a frenzy over main character Christian Grey and his avid interest for S&M. The trilogy of books are disturbingly described as being “Mammy porn” and the first novel of the series is the biggest selling book of all time in Britain. No train, bus or work canteen was free of a member of the 50 Shades fandom reading the novel and author E.L. James has since been listed as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”.

However, ‘fandoms’ are not a new trend. Fifty per cent of the early world wide web (that wasn’t made up of porn) consisted of Star Trek: The Next Generation fansites. Science Fiction fans are believed to be the initiators of the fandom. Science Fiction writers use the fandoms associated with their work as a tool to broaden their success. The Guardian journalist Damien Walter spoke about the importance of these fandoms by saying: “Frankly, trying to become a Science Fiction author without an intimate understanding of Science Fiction fandom is like trying to become a Catholic priest without talking to the Vatican.”

It is not known whether people today have more addictive personalities than before, are more inclined to be ‘in’ on current trends due to the internet or are just happy to let their true interests be shown, but one thing that’s certain is that fandoms are on the rise. What was once kept to the ‘Trekkies’ is now practiced by everyone, from One Direction fans to football fanatics.

Today, it is acceptable to be obsessed.

Megan Ecock

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