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VAMPEDIA

Vampire 1: Henry Jenkins' concepts related to Twilight Fandom

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Although the release of the last Twilight film was released almost 5 years ago, the fan base for the franchise was one of the biggest fan bases of all time, with some of the highest box office figures for the years they were released [i]. Twilight, the original novel written by Stephanie Meyer wrote three books after the original, followed by 5 movies. The fandom for the franchise was publicly recognized by major news publications in 2010, by the Los Angeles Times, and in 2014, by The Wire, according to Wikipedia [ii]. Many fans of the franchise not only saw every movie or read every book, but a significant amount also took sides over which male character they wanted Bella Swan, the main character of the story, to end up with. These fans identified with “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob,” each representing the male characters of Bella’s love life. These fans would not only follow along with the books like other fans of the franchise, but they would also wear team related clothing, meet in groups to view the movies with and even the DVD released versions would have options to view scenes only with Edward, or scenes only with Jacob. This type of fandom is very normal in today’s society, and a perfect example of convergence culture. Per Henry Jenkins, convergence culture is the desire of consumers to have the media they want where they want it, and in what format they want it [iii]. Ultimately, convergence culture in today’s society is the combination of different medias from different periods of time. The vampire and werewolf characters that the public have recently been fascinated with are all adaptions of previous works. Many of these characters are a combination of old media such as those seen in early vampire folklore and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and new media, such as Edward’s and Jacob’s characters in Twilight and Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Bram Stoker's Dracula [iv]. For example, some of the classical characteristics of the traditional vampire remained in the more recent vampire portrayal in Twilight, such as Edward's and other vampires needing to drink blood in order to survive, and having ice cold skin. Edward and the other vampires are also incredibly strong, they seemingly live forever, and are very fast. Other characteristics have been changed, such as the need for a vampire to receive an invitation to enter someone’s home.

From the fans who represent “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” to the released DVD versions of the Twilight films that have the option to show scenes only with Edward, or scenes only with Jacob, this new kind of participatory culture contrasts with older notions of media spectatorship, where producers and consumers are transformed into participants who are expected to interact with the media [v]. Thus, participatory culture reflects upon new ways for members of the audience to interact with the media and interpret it on new levels, varying from person to person. One great example of participatory culture is the public’s interest in various kinds of fanfiction. Audiences now participate with, and sometimes change their favorite characters to better fit where they think those characters in a story should go. Although fans of the franchise know that Bella ends up with Edward, even marries him and has a child with him, members of Team Jacob still hold their ground and truly believe Jacob was a much better match for Bella [vi]. In conclusion, convergence culture and participatory culture have completely changed the way that audience members embrace and interact with new and old media, as seen with fans that make up the Twilight community. 

[i] http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/franchise/Twilight#tab=summary

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight_fandom

[iii] http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html

[iv] https://arizona.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=65bbe760-33bf-48e2-94eb-3d87a119f7a6

[v] http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html

[vi] https://www.fanfiction.net/community/The-Best-of-the-Best-Team-Jacob/72864/ 

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