How an 'intense' dream sparked the Twilight phenomenon

·News Reporter
·4-min read

When we think about vampires, we often think of the high-collared, fanged Dracula from Transylvania.

But on this day 16 years ago, Stephanie Meyer wrote about a new breed of vampire - an 104-year-old romantic vampire that sparkles.

On October 5, 2005, the Twilight phenomenon began when we met Bella Swan, Edward Cullen and Jacob Black when Stephanie Meyer published her first novel.

Making history

Stephanie Meyer has said that Twilight truly ‘started’ on June 2, 2003, after she awoke from a very vivid dream.

“In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods,” she said.

“One of those people was just your average girl, the other person was a fantastically beautiful, sparkly vampire.”

Stephanie Meyer at an event. Source: Reuters
Stephanie Meyer wrote Twilight when she was 35 years old. Source: Reuters

Meyer said that her dream detailed the girl and the vampire discussing the difficulties of being in love, and the fact that the vampire was attracted to the scent of her blood.

Following the dream, Meyer began transcribing her dream, and Twilight took form.

Three months later, after sending out about fifteen queries, Meyers signed a three-book deal with Little, Brown and Company for $750,000.

In late 2005, Twilight was published, and readers couldn’t get enough.

Edward vs Jacob vs Harry Potter

Twilight’s reception was overwhelmingly positive, with the Times applauding it for capturing “perfectly the feeling of sexual tension and alienation”, while The New York Times called Twilight a “literary phenomenon.”

The book really resonated with teens who found Bella’s character extremely relatable, and revelled in the romance captured within the pages.

However, many reviewers couldn’t help but compare Twilight to hot rival Harry Potter, as the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film hit screens just a few months after the book's release.

Twilight cover. Source: stephaniemeyer.com
The Twilight story is told from Bella's perspective. Source: stephaniemeyer.com

The Daily Herald pegged the two series’ against each other by writing that Twilight was the “hottest publishing phenomenon since a certain bespectacled wizard cast his spell on the world.”

Famed cinematographer Robin Browne also famously compared the two, stating “Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity… Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”

Internet drama soon followed with Potterheads and Twilighters (also referred to by some as Twihards) began butting heads over which fandom was superior.

Boy sleeps in Harry Potter bedsheets. Source: Reuters
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire's film adaptation hit cinemas in December 2005, which caused controversey among Twilight/Harry Potter fans. Source: Reuters

Online, Twilight fans also famously battled among themselves over which male character was more loveable, in the famous Team Edward vs Team Jacob debate.

Regardless, Twilight certainly did have an impact, which continued well past the release of Meyer’s first novel.

Vampire Mania

Following the overwhelming success of Twilight, Meyer released sequels New Moon in 2006, Eclipse in 2007, Breaking Dawn in 2008, and Midnight Sun in 2020, which tells the original Twilight story from Edward’s perspective.

Highly successful movie adaptations of the Twilight series soon followed, with the original Twilight movie being released in 2008, starring Kristen Stewart as Bella, Robert Pattinson as Edward and Taylor Lautner as Jacob.

Sequels followed over 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 with Breaking Dawn being split into 2 movies.

Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart at an awards show. Source: Reuters
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart famously dated in real life before and after filming the Twilight movies. Source: Reuters

Outside of the Twilight universe, Meyers’ concept created a culture of vampire mania, which is still prevalent today.

Since Twilight, television shows like The Vampire Diaries, Shadowhunters, The Originals and True Blood surfaced in popular culture and audiences couldn’t get enough.

And, a famous Twilight fan-fiction called “Master of the Universe” written by E.L James, was renamed Fifty Shades of Grey and published, taking on a life of its own and becoming a highly successful franchise.

Twilight legacy

Today, 16 years after the release of the Twilight novel, the series has collectively sold over 100 million copies worldwide in 37 languages.

In 2008, Twilight was among the top 4 in USA Today’s bestseller list.

And Forks in Washington, the setting of the famed novels and movies, has now become a popular tourist destination, offering Twilight themed tours to keen visitors.

Regardless of whether you’re Team Edward or Team Jacob, it is evident that Twilight left its proverbial bite mark on history.

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