Whether it be Graham Greene’s Marlon from The Last of Us or the recently reopened Team Edward vs. Team Jacob debate, it’s clear that the Twilight renaissance is still going as strong as ever. As the former cast moves on to versatile projects and new milestones on and off-screen, the chapters of The Twilight Saga will never fully close for fans.
However, the opinions surrounding the book series that started it all are ever-shifting, especially 18 years after Twilight‘s first publishing. From Edward’s cringe-inducing reverence of Bella to realizing the best stories were omitted from the films, many harsh realities come with re-reading the beloved saga.
10It’s A Decent Romance Series
While the Twilight films undoubtedly prove Bella and Edward to be one of the most romanticized toxic movie couples, the books actually depict a decent love story for the couple.
They are still problematic in the books, but they are also fun and dramatic and full of tropes that make them a more bearable couple that readers can’t help but root for. Plus, the books give more pages for their love to blossom, and with devastating quotes such as “sometimes it seems like you’re trying to say goodbye when you’re saying something else,” Meyer skillfully captures the angst of early 2000s romance novels.
9The Final Volturi Conflict Is Disappointing
While the film version featured one of the most nonsensical movie plot twists, the book version of Breaking Dawn offers a simple and far less exciting resolution for the Volturi showdown.
It’s disappointing that the big confrontation Meyer spends eleven chapters building and depicting bears no real consequences for the Cullens or their supporters. Because of this, the unnecessary conflict feels less like a plot device and more like a means to flesh out a third act with some drama and unsatisfying suspense. Perhaps this is why they decided to spice things up with the fake-out battle screen on-screen instead.
8Bella Was (Almst) Equally In Love With Jacob
In the film series, Jacob Black is made out to be a movie character robbed of romance as Bella chooses Edward. However, in the books, Bella feels almost as strongly for Jacob as she does Edward – a harsh reality that is especially hard for Team Edward fans to swallow.
Bella’s progression of feelings for Jacob gives them a slow-burn love story, as she develops an attraction in New Moon and finally acknowledges the truth in Eclipse. She even admits to loving him and wanting a future with him, spending most of the next day crying over choosing Edward and thinking of how she craved Jacob’s arms to comfort her instead. Unlike popular belief, it’s clear upon a re-read that Bella was always close to choosing Jacob, too, as she felt for him almost as intensely as she did for Edward.
7Bella Is Problematic Too
The Twilight Saga is often remembered for the toxicity of Bella’s suitors and her friends, but Bella’s problematic nature is typically forgotten. This is even more true given how her on-screen counterpart presents a much more bland and simple girl-next-door vibe.
A re-read of the series, however, makes it evident that Bella is a flawed and questionable protagonist. She is shown to be judgmental, dismissive, and far too Cullen-centric, treating all those who don’t meet their standards with a condescending view. Yet, Bella’s problematic nature is one of the better parts of a re-read as it reminds old fans that she is much more than the two-dimensional character she’s remembered as.
6The Best Backstories Are Forgotten
When fans are reminded of The Twilight Saga, a few signature characters come to mind, such as Bella, the Cullens, the Volturi, and a few of Jacob’s pack members.
However, despite many interesting other characters and more powerful vampires in Twilight, the best backstories get forgotten in favor of those more popular and mainstream characters. From Jacob’s sister, Rachel Black, being imprinted on by Paul to Alice and James’ prior history, a re-read reveals the much richer history of characters that deserve more attention than the fandom grants them.
5The Lack Of Diversity
Many aspects of The Twilight Saga have aged poorly; however, perhaps the worst is the blatant lack of diversity among its main characters, a harsh reality that is blatantly obvious upon a modern re-read.
Standing in line with Meyer’s appropriation of Quileute culture, almost all the racially diverse characters in the series are reserved for side characters. Given the supernatural concept of the series, it would have been easy for any of the Cullens to originate from different countries. It may have even benefited their credibility as adopted siblings that date one another. Furthermore, most of Meyer’s BIPOC characters are two-dimensional, villains, or over-exoticized – a fact that fares even worse today than it did in the early 2000s.
4Charlie Is Not The Best Dad
Lately, fans of the series have reclaimed their love of Charlie Swan as they mature and realize he is one of the least problematic characters within the series.
But a re-read of the series shows that Charlie is not the faultless, great dad fans remember him as. Charlie’s inexperience with fatherhood meant he often avoided awkward conversations with Bella, choosing to stay clear of her emotions rather than discuss them with her, especially given how “nothing scared Charlie more than tears.” Whether it was Bella chastising her “Charlie-esque tantrums” or Charlie congratulating Jacob for kissing Bella against her will, there are many details that showcase Charlie’s flawed parenting.
3Edward Worships Bella To A Fault
While Bella and Edward’s relationship in The Twilight Saga was in many ways already ruined by their painful romance, it was ruined further by their obsession with one another. Bella’s preoccupation with Edward can be somewhat justified by her naivety and fascination with the newfound supernatural, but Edward’s over-glorification of Bella cannot be easily dismissed.
Not only does his every waking action revolve around Bella, but he also chooses to constantly compare everyone else to her, going so far as to put down his siblings (and even his daughter) to declare Bella the prettiest among everyone. Instead of romantic, his behavior comes off as delusional and creepy.
2Imprinting Is Worse Than Remembered
Jacob and Renesmee’s storyline in Breaking Dawn was a romance that ruined the movies and books. However, re-reading the series reveals just how inappropriate and horrifying imprinting is.
Beyond the three adult imprinting relationships in the series, Eclipse also discusses how Quil imprinted on Emily’s two-year-old cousin, Claire. While Bella is rightfully appalled, Jacob’s comments on their situation not only seek to justify the creepy nature of the relationship but also make it clear that an adult Claire will be expected to submit to Quil’s grooming and see him as the perfect suitor. Over-romanticized and easily dismissed by characters, Meyer’s concept of imprinting is even more awful than remembered.
1Bella Is Well-Written
Despite her bad reputation, Bella Swan is a well-written character, a harsh reality that is easier to swallow after a re-read of the series. Unlike the passive, boring, and two-dimensional caricature she has been made into by fans and haters of the franchise alike, the book Bella possesses much more depth to her than people may remember.
As a flawed protagonist, Bella has a few abrasive traits that add to her character and make her more relatable and human than the emotionless vampire-lover she is seen as. From her complicated high school friendships to her practically raising herself, many components of Bella Swan make her a likable and complex main character.