Out of all the fantasy worlds created by authors of best-selling book series in recent years, Twilight gets the most negative attention. The union between clumsy normal human girl Bella Swan and sparkly vampire Edward Cullen has attracted a lot of criticism since making its way to the big screen, but that hasn’t scared away hard-core fans of the series, who maybe wish they had a sparkly vampire or shaggy werewolf (who spends most of his time as a shirtless guy with a six-pack) of their own.
Whatever the critics say, Twilight has still made a generation of readers happy by allowing them to escape to a misty faraway world where their real problems can’t find them. As entertainment, it’s done what it’s supposed to do.
But as fans of the series, we can admit it’s not perfect. This world of the undead might not deserve the critiques it gets, and reading the books gives us a quick getaway from the real world, but there are a few issues with the storyline that make us scratch our heads. If you put on your analytical hat, you might be able to see them too. Keep reading to find out what doesn’t make total sense in the Twilight series.
In the books, the protagonist Bella Swan is hardly described compared to the other characters, allowing readers to put themselves in her shoes, whoever they happen to be. We are told she’s pretty normal without any really impressive qualities, but everyone around her seems to become obsessed with her.
There’s Edward, obviously, but there’s also Jacob, all the guys at school, and all the girls at school who want to be friends with Bella despite the way she treats them (more on that later!).
Did we miss something? In the films, we can see that Bella is intimidatingly beautiful, so maybe that explains it!
We enjoyed reading about Bella and Edward’s intense relationship as much as the next fan, but if we start being really analytical, the whole thing seems a little confusing. They fall in love really quickly despite not having anything major in common other than their attraction toward each other.
He’s basically a century older than her, and we can’t help feeling like they wouldn’t have a lot to talk about. Teenage relationships are sometimes like this—which is understandable with all those hormones raging all over the place. But their relationship seems to fit the criteria for infatuation, not true love.
Despite all the logic telling them to stay apart, Bella and Edward end up getting married and having a daughter together. Little Renesmee is much more advanced than regular babies, thanks to the vampire in her, but if we look at what we know about vampires, we’re a little confused.
From what we understand, the human in Edward died the day he became a vampire and he’s now essentially filled with venom.
Without wanting to get into too much detail, does he really have the right ingredients to create a child? Obviously, he does, but we would have thought that since becoming a vampire, he wouldn't be able to produce children.
Up until their honeymoon, Bella and Edward spend a lot of time just kissing. This appears just like normal kissing in the movies, but we’re told in both the books and the movies that vampires don’t feel like humans. Instead of feeling like soft skin, they feel like marble—rigid to the touch. That being the case, constantly kissing Edward should really leave Bella with sore lips, to say the least.
There’s also the matter of his breath and lips being cold like snow. Maybe we should assume that she has really powerful chapstick and the icy breath is just like a super strong mint.
Edward’s adoptive family, the Cullens, welcome Bella into their clan from the second he brings her home. Rosalie is a little hostile at first, but in general, these vampires are more than happy to let a human into their world. We love their enthusiasm and secretly hope for in-laws as cool as the Cullens.
But it seems like, in reality, they’d be more hesitant about letting in a human outsider.
But they aren’t worried about being exposed, or about the repercussions of a human-vampire relationship, or about endangering Bella’s life by surrounding her. Instead, they slap on smiles and make her pasta.
Vampires who have just been turned are more reckless than older, more experienced vampires. When it comes to being a vegetarian vampire, you’d think that the willpower needed would take quite a while to develop. But after Edward injects her with his venom at the end of Breaking Dawn Part 1, Bella turns into a perfectly controlled vampire.
The other characters are amazed by her top skills and the way she can ignore her thirst for human blood. It’s clear she’s great at being a vampire, but we want to know why. Even Jasper, who’s been a vampire a lot longer, still struggles with suppressing his thirst every now and then.
In the Twilight world, vampires sparkle when the sun shines directly on them. They can be in the daylight without sparkling, as long as it’s not too sunny. That’s why the Cullens choose the gray and cloudy city of Forks to live in and also why they disappear from school when the sun does eventually come out on those rare occasions.
It’s an interesting side effect, but we’re not sure it’s always consistent.
In the movie, Edward is wearing sunglasses when he and Bella first arrive at school as an item, suggesting there’s probably a bit of sun somewhere. And yet, he doesn’t sparkle here.
Years ago, Jacob’s tribe evolved into werewolves to defend the people in the area from vampires. And don’t get us wrong—we love the werewolves. But considering their huge size and their fiery tempers, it’s easy to see how they can actually cause harm to humans themselves. Sam even disfigured Emily’s face in a moment of uncontrolled passion.
Just from looking at Jacob, it’s easy to tell that he’d hurt a human that was standing too close or someone who's in the wrong place at the wrong time. This pack is supposed to have a guardian role, but they’re kind of dangerous.
If we look at traditional vampires and then at the vampires in Twilight, you could argue that the latter are slightly less complex. We love all the sparkles and the fact that the Cullens specifically choose to fight their urges and be vegetarians, but this universe seems to be missing a few elements that once made vampires so interesting.
Traditionally, vampires have served as metaphors in literature, and the exciting part was that by gaining vampire strengths, one would have to commit to an immortal life of loneliness.
That doesn’t happen in Twilight, where all the vampires are in happy relationships and there are very few downsides to being undead.
Jacob begins the series as a genuinely nice guy but he doesn’t really stay that way. He has our sympathy for being the third wheel and getting messed around with by Bella, who will clearly never love him as much as she loves Edward.
In the end, though, he isn’t the most endearing character. In the first installment, Jacob is understanding and sweet. In the second, he’s moody, agitated, and acts like a child by storming off. We get it must be tough for him to make the transition into a werewolf, but at no point should he be mistaken for a rational and mature alternative to Edward.
The concept of imprinting is creative and adds another dimension to this world of vampires and werewolves. At the end of the series, we find out that Jacob imprints on Renesmee.
In other words, he is instantly connected to her and knows she’s his mate when they meet.
While this is a clever way to solve the love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob, it still weirds a lot of people out. Why? Jacob knows that Renesmee is his mate, even though she is a newborn baby around 18 years younger than him when he first comes to that conclusion.
If there’s one thing we know about love triangles, it’s that someone always gets hurt. More often than not, all three people end up hurting. Where affairs of the heart are concerned, rejection usually means severe pain. Because Jacob spends so long being hurt by Bella after she chooses Edward (again and again), it seems like he’d never cooperate with the vampire, no matter what was at stake.
Edward would probably feel the same about Jacob, especially given the history of their families. The fact that they can both forget everything and live happily ever after as father-in-law and son-in-law is probably a bit unrealistic.
In one scene, Jasper loses control of himself when Bella cuts her finger and tries to bite her. We’re told that Jasper is still struggling with controlling himself, but if this is the case, Bella cutting her finger shouldn’t be the first time he’s lost it.
The Cullens spend most of their time at school, after all - do students never get into accidents?
At any given time, Jasper (as well as the rest of his family) is also surrounded by menstruating girls. It’s a bit of a stretch to believe that their lives aren’t filled with the torment of having to resist temptation and sometimes failing to do so.
Twilight serves as such an escape for so many people because it’s filled with perfect conditions and perfect characters. But all that perfection isn’t realistic, and if we’re being analytical, doesn’t create complex characters that readers can actually relate to.
While both Edward and Bella act in ways that are problematic, the essence of their characters is pretty flawless. Both are extremely good-looking and liked by those around them. Edward is witty and clever and loyal and protective. Aside from being clumsy, Bella doesn’t really have any weaknesses that make a difference. This is ideal, yes, but not realistic.
Once Edward gets the message of Bella’s attempt to take her own life, he decides he doesn’t want to exist anymore, either. He plans to be taken out by the Volturi, the ruling and most powerful coven of vampires, by earning their wrath after exposing himself to humans.
Edward's idea is creative, but it’s not really necessary.
If Edward is so determined to stop living, he could probably get Victoria to take care of it, or even the werewolves who despise him. Going all the way to Volterra is certainly a big song and dance for something that could have been done in Forks.
Is it just us, or is Bella not a great person to be friends with? For starters, when she’s with her friends, she’s not really present in their conversations and is constantly thinking about Edward. Though they welcome her in when she’s the new girl, she’s not really grateful to them and doesn’t value them like she should.
Worse, when she goes on a total adrenaline bender after Edward leaves her, she directly puts Jessica in danger when they’re supposed to be out having fun together. And after all of that, they still have enough loyalty toward her that they attend her wedding.
Edward may be a pretty well flawless character, but he still tends to act in ways that are sort of creepy and not really acceptable for a boyfriend. He’s possessive over Bella, obsessed with her (though she’s equally obsessed with him), and a total martyr when he doesn’t have to be.
In reality, he’d probably be almost draining to be around.
Though he’s strong and caring and loyal to her (other than when he leaves her), he also sneaks into her house to watch her sleep. Some might find that romantic, but we find it totally inappropriate, even if he is fascinated by the concept of sleep.
Many critics argue that Bella isn’t a great role model for little girls. She doesn’t have ambitions other than to be Edward’s girl. The way she acts when she’s with him should be no more inspiring to girlfriends than Edward’s behavior should be to boyfriends.
Bella drops everything in her life to be with him, totally neglects her friends, and doesn’t even consider her own safety if it means getting to spend time with him. The hole she sinks into after he leaves her isn’t healthy, either, and definitely shouldn’t be an aspiration of any young girl out there.
Because of the way Bella acts toward Edward, some might accuse Twilight of sending out the message that women really do need men to complete them. Bella basically finds her life’s purpose when she meets Edward and nothing else to her matters after that.
He is the only thing that defines her and consequently, when he leaves, she almost ceases to exist.
She feels like nothing without him and instead of coming to the realization that she’s actually complete all on her own, that problem is fixed by Edward returning to her life and giving it purpose again.
Okay, we admit that we’re being a little nit-picky with this one. But the truth is sagas originally referred to Norse writing from the 14thcentury. The word evolved to be interpreted as a "tale of heroic achievement rife with drama and a series of events." We agree that the series is filled with tension and a few interesting events that transport us to another world, but we wouldn’t label Bella nor Edward as heroes.
Particularly where women’s rights are concerned, Bella, in particular, doesn’t achieve much throughout the series, other than landing the love of her life. Following the original meaning, "saga" is probably the wrong word to use.
References: Screen Rant, Good Reads