Great achievements in Western Culture : Breaking Dawn

Posted on: November 18, 2011

I have said a lot of negative things about Twilight, and its sequels, over the years and, while I regret none of them, there is one thing, one thing that I never mentioned, one thing that those who are familiar only with the movies will discover this weekend when they see Breaking Dawn, one thing that Stephanie Meyer did spectacularly right. I speak, of course, of the scene in which [major spoiler alert! ] Bella gives birth.

I don’t want to get into all of the pros and cons (mostly cons) of a story in which a vampire can father a child; I will, however, on that subject say that Angel, a form of vampiric entertainment superior to Twilight in every way possible, went down that road as well. Rather, it went down it one better, as both Angel and Darla, mother and father, were vampires. And while I loved Connor dearly, it was not because of any strongly held beliefs that the (un)dead should have the same reproductive capabilities as the living, nor because I was interested in the challenges facing vampire parents.*

(Incidentally, I’m not riding the big old zombie wave that I think has probably crested by now, but just in case it hasn’t – when the zombies start having babies, the time about which Kenny Rogers sang so eloquently – the time to fold ’em – has come.)

Connor’s birth was itself spectacular, as it occasioned the total disintegration of his vampire mother (while it was, obviously, raining; that show was so good), but it has nothing on the birth in Breaking Dawn. In Breaking Dawn. . . man, I don’t even know how to explain this; I could try to give some background, but that wouldn’t actually make anything clearer. So I’m just going to say it:

In Breaking Dawn, Edward chews the baby out of Bella.

Let me repeat that: Edward chews the baby out of Bella.

Understand? The love story that apparently has defined a generation culminates in the undead husband CHEWING HIS BABY OUT OF HIS DYING HUMAN WIFE.

Again, it is beyond my capabilities to describe how incredible this scene is, so you’ll have to take my work for it, but it’s phenomenal. And not just because you briefly have hope that Bella might die, but because, in the 2000+ pages of the entire series, this birth scene is the only one that’s appropriately disgusting. Something which no one will read and think “How dreamy; I hope some day I will meet the man who chews our child out of my uterus. With his teeth.” For one brief moment, the reality (such as it is) of this relationship – that Bella has to die to be with Edward, and that he is literally ripping her apart – shines through the romantic gauze, and it is beautiful.

Also, on a visceral level, it’s just gross. I’ve avoided the Twilight movies up to now, mostly because I was afraid of choking on my own rage and Twizzlers, but also in part because there was nothing any filmmaker could bring to the story that you can’t get from the book itself (maybe some lip biting and b.o.). But this birth? I’ve imagined it so many times, I might have to see if it looks like I pictured. Although, even without seeing it, I am already disappointed that they didn’t shoot it in 3-D.


*It was because Connor was delightfully psycho. Seriously – that kid caused some trouble.



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