After all, near Valentine’s Day, who could resist real-world information about how much more likely you are to get the girl if you have money, or how much someone listing the word “Church” vs. “Religion” in their dating profile impacts the chance they’ll also list “Rough Sex” there as well. Humans find it interesting to know how the world operates under the hood, especially unexpected observations. After all, it’s a head-scratcher that a person that lists Religion in their dating profile is more likely to enjoy “Rough Sex”, but a person listing Church is less likely. Do we know why? I can speculate, but won’t. Sometimes interesting is worthwhile unto itself.
With the volume of information we’ve gathered during the Book Genome Project – using computers to analyze published books – we’re in a position to search for interesting data as well.
For example, it probably doesn’t surprise you that “Cooking & Meal Preparation” is a common theme in books about Christmas, but would it interest you to know that it shows up far more often in books about Christmas than “Christianity” does? An English-language book about Christmas is far more likely to spend its time describing Cooking, Gifts, and Cold Weather than it is to ever substantially mention the religious figure it’s based on.
I find that interesting. Part of Storytime’s goal is to occasionally look at unexpected questions, just for fun, and to help people understand the world of books through a slightly different lens.
As the first such post on Storytime, and February being the month of Valentine’s Day, we figured we’d start by asking some fundamental questions of great importance…
Do Vampires Get Married More Often Than Werewolves?
With the success of Twilight, it’s hard to separate Vampires and Werewolves from their romantic overtones, now days. But when it comes to the end game in the universe of published books, who ties the knot more often? Who sticks around for the wedding?
The answer, it turns out, is that while they may be more hairy than your average wedding guest, werewolves appear to spend more time at weddings than their vampire counterparts. Of the 2,231 books in our corpus that spend a substantial amount of time talking about Vampires and/or Werewolves, werewolves go hand-in-hand with wedding themes more often than vampires.
But wait! Something is up with this. While werewolves show up at weddings more, Vampire novels have far more Romance and Desire themes than Werewolves.
Specifically, 47% of vampire books in our corpus have some degree of romance and desire, compared to 37% of werewolf books, a 10 point difference between the two samples. And when looking at our “Description of Physical Intimacy” theme – which is a bit more focused on the physical side of romance, PG13 style – vampires win hands down. About 40% of vampire books contain description of intimacy, compared to only 28% of werewolf books.
What’s up with that? Apparently, while the werewolves are off hanging out at weddings, vampires are out… *cough* … being intimate. So if you’re out for a stroll some late night and run into a vampire, don’t stress too much; while the odds are slightly against you, it’s only mildly more likely that they’ll drink your blood instead of just have their way with you (assuming it’s one or the other).
And the scores between vampires and werewolves is not even close when you look at what we call “Explicit Intimacy“, which is a more adult, R-rated description of the act. Vampire novels are about 2.5 times more likely to have explicit steamy material than are books about werewolves.
In other words, while you might marry the werewolf, you go to college with the vampire. Once again, the good guys finish last.
Yes, But… Do Vampires Have Children?
So here’s something else to consider. When you add the supernatural and romance together, what’s the natural outcome? Apparently, that’s not having kids, as neither vampires or werewolves generally appear to be out to start families, much. Of the 1,523 titles we analyzed with vampire themes in them, only 15 books had themes dealing with Vampires, Romance, Pregnancy, and Child Rearing all together in one book.
And yes, at least one of those was Breaking Dawn from the Twilight series. Apparently it breaks ground in that regard.
Check the Reality:
It’s easy to have fun interpreting some of the data we see in our corpus. For example, in the many times that my wife has forced me to listen to the Twilight books-on-tape on the morning commute into work, and the movies I’ve watched to date, I’ve come to the conclusion that I belong to Team Jacob. From a guy’s perspective, he just seems like the more logical choice to me. So, there’s a secret pleasure in declaring werewolves as getting the short end of the stick here, at least compared to the playboy vampires that run around with the impressionable young women. Date the bad boy, marry the good guy, sort of thing. But it’s also worth a bit of a reality check, so here are some more serious notes about the source of the data.
- This article is based on data extracted from the Book Genome corpus as of Feb. 14th, 2012, which contains roughly 85,000+ English-language titles. These titles are provided for analysis by a variety of mainstream publishers. It does not include out-of-copyright texts or the many, many titles from a multitude of very worthy smaller or independent publishers on the market. This is not a statement of quality, as we’re working to include everyone as fast as we can. That said, we do have a fairly good sampling of what most consider to be front-list mainstream books.
- For the purpose of this article, we identified 1,523 books as having a significant amount of vampires in them, and 1,019 titles that we identify as having a significant amount of werewolves in them. There is also a high degree of overlap; roughly 30% of the vampire books also contain werewolves to a substantial degree. This is not a keyword search, but based on the makeup of the Vampire and Werewolf themes and StoryDNA in our corpus.
- As a general rule, a great deal of the Vampire and Werewolf titles are Paranormal Romance, Romance, and Juvenile Fiction. We didn’t worry about controlling for this. For example, if you looked at just Juvenile Fiction, I imagine you’d find that a much smaller percentage of books contain Explicit or Graphic Intimacy (the R-rated version), and probably contain a good deal more simple Description of Physical Intimacy (the PG13 version).
- We also did not look at change of content over time, which we may do at a later date. I’d be very interested in looking at the percentage of Juvenile Fiction Vampire books that have some degree of Description of Physical Intimacy for each year following the release of Twilight. I’d speculate that Twilight made vampires more sexy in juvenile fiction.
- The truth is that the statement, “Werewolves marry more than vampires in books,” is an extrapolation made because it’s fun and generally harmless to do. In reality, what the data says is that books that have Werewolves in them somewhere also are more likely to have weddings in them somewhere, at least more than Vampire novels do. This does not mean they’re together at the same time and place in the story, necessarily, or that werewolves are actually getting married in the story. That’s a higher resolution than this data currently shows. An equally valid interpretation would be that werewolves like to crash wedding parties more often than Vampires. In general, all we can say with confidence is that – in our data set – when an author chose to write about Werewolves, they also tended to write about weddings more often than authors writing about Vampires.
Themes Referenced in this Article: