Twilight's "werewolf loves baby" storyline just got creepier

Twilight: ewwwww.

Twilight, the vampire-werewolf-phenomenon, has always had some questionable elements. The entire plot of the first film, for instance, is basically "I love you but we can't sleep together because I'm a Christian and we're not married you're a vampire and your super vampire strength means you may accidentally kill me in the passion of the moment".

A few films in and the main character, Bella, and her vampire boyfriend Edward have got married and done the dirty. Unfortunately, Bella insisted on having sex once as a human before Edward completed the vampire wedding ritual, which of course means that she gets super-pregnant with a vampire baby which eats its way out of her womb after coming to full term after just a week or so.

We aren't even on the weird stuff yet.

All caught up? Enter Jacob. Jacob is a werewolf who's also totally in to Bella, creating a tense love-triangle dynamic (or so I've been told). What you have to know about werewolves is that they "imprint" on people: when one of them sees their soul-mate, they know immediately that they are destined to be together. So naturally, Jacob imprints on Edward and Bella's baby daughter, Renesmee.

Now, they refer to it as imprinting throughout the series, but whenever you see any other "imprinted" werewolf, it's all couples who are snuggling together and kissing a lot. And, at least in the film, Jacob's imprinting is followed by a flash-forward where he talks about how he'd do anything for Renesmee because he's so in love. With a baby.

Today, the set photos from Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two came out. Now that you are fully caught up, I hope you will agree that the following photo, of Taylor Lautner as Jacob and 11-year-old Mackenzie Foy as his love interest Renesmee, is the creepiest thing ever.

Twilight: The teaser poster for Breaking Dawn Part Two

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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How Dame Vera Lynn was told to “posh her accent up”

Radio 2’s 100th-birthday tribute reveals how Lynn was forced to change her voice.

“I remember seeing her near an elephant, and this elephant rolled over a bit and she had to get out of the way . . .” Vic Knibb, the vice-chairman of the veterans’ group the Burma Star Association, was one of the thousands of British soldiers serving in the Far East during the Second World War who came across Vera Lynn in the jungle, singing from the back of a Jeep, accompanied by an out-of-tune piano.

Speaking in Radio 2’s celebration of the singer’s 100th birthday, Vera Lynn: the Sweetheart of the United Kingdom (Sunday 19 March, 8pm), Knibb and others recalled what it meant to them that Lynn travelled so far to perform for the so-called Forgotten Army in Burma. Unlike other entertainers, who stayed in Europe or visited only military hospitals in the UK, she deliberately went where few others did – where she felt she was needed by “the boys”.

The programme, which featured a rare interview with Lynn herself, was dominated by clips of her recordings from the Thirties and Forties. We heard frequent extracts from “The White Cliffs of Dover”, “We’ll Meet Again” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”. The contrast between these two voices, separated by more than six decades, was the most arresting thing this otherwise pedestrian documentary had to offer. The now gravelly-voiced centenarian sang, in her youth, with a smooth, effortless-sounding tone and crystal-clear diction. But how did the cockney daughter of a plumber from East Ham end up singing with received pronunciation?

The answer, as ever in Britain, is class. Lynn had no formal musical training, and as she had been performing in working men’s clubs from the age of seven, she was considered closer to a musical-hall crooner than a “proper” singer. But with her small vocal range and flawless self-taught technique, she chose her own songs to suit her voice. The BBC, for which she made her hugely popular radio show Sincerely Yours, requested that she take elocution lessons to “posh her accent up” and even at one point took her show off air for 18 months. “Every­body’s Sweetheart” wasn’t immune from snobbishness, it seems. 

Caroline Crampton is assistant editor of the New Statesman. She writes a weekly podcast column.

This article first appeared in the 23 March 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump's permanent revolution