So yesterday I was out with my friend Sinéad, seeing the movie Twilight. (Warning for vampire fans - Sinéad is not sympathetic to the plight of vampires in love. She is heartless: it's a character flaw.)
Which reminded me of something else Twilight-related. For those of us unfamiliar: the Twilight saga is a gigantically bestselling series of books about a young girl beloved by a vampire and a werewolf.
This summer I was wandering with my friends through a bookshop in Massachussetts, indulging in an orgy of book buying. I passed by a big stand of the Twilight series, looped with ribbons and adorned with badges, and paused to admire the great beauty of the covers. Then I saw 'Team Edward' and 'Team Jacob' badges strategically positioned on the stand.
SARAH: Teams? I do not understand. In the next book will Edward and Jacob play baseball against each other? Is there going to be a dance-off?
HOLLY (patiently): No, it means some people like one guy, and some people like the other guy.
SARAH: ... Hmm.
I thought about this, and decided it was sheer marketing genius. This is because I like picking sides. I get all passionate about my favourite characters, and I am extremely competitive. No, extremely: as a child I worked out a system for winning at Pass the Parcel that would totally have worked if my mother had been more co-operative, and my house at school was pretty infamous for cheating on Sports Day.
I think lots of people do this - pick sides, that is, not cheat at Pass the Parcel, for that you have to be born with a criminal mind. One of the reasons people went for Harry Potter, another mega bestselling series you may have heard of, was because you had the sides arranged for you: people could think of themselves as aligned with the different houses and cheer for them to win cups. People can get into heated debates about which character/relationship/side/TEAM is best and of course, if one team wins, the other has to lose, so tempers can run high.
Of course, as is my way, I immediately began to take this too far and apply it to everything. A little while later, while rambling around New York with my friends Jen and Sarah Cross, I explained how Teams worked in Wuthering Heights.
JEN: They don't work in Wuthering Heights.
SARAH: Sure they do! Sure they do! It's Team Heathcliff versus Team Edgar Linton!
SARAH C: Sarah, nobody is on Team Edgar Linton.
SARAH: I AM ON TEAM EDGAR LINTON. He's hot and blond and rich and he doesn't hang puppies! He's clearly the team to be on. Everyone should be on Team Doesn't Hang Puppies!
They seemed unconvinced, which I think is very unfair. And cruel to animals. For the record, if Heathcliff and Edgar Linton had a dance-off on the moors, I believe Edgar Linton would win!
So is anyone else on Team Edgar Linton, or a lonely supporter of some other fictional character or relationship others don't like? Does being on Team Someone make you like a book or a TV show more? Is it human nature to like teams, or are there lots of people on Team No Teams, Please?