Twilight: 20 Things That Make No Sense About Bella Swan
Love it or hate it, The Twilight Saga launched the craze for YA movies as we know it today. While there’s been much criticism for both the books and the movies, the franchise has been undeniably popular, sparking debate about the portrayals of teen romance in mainstream media. At the core of this paranormal romance are Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, the star-crossed lovers who fall in love with each other and must grapple with the fact that—spoiler alert— Edward is a vampire. Their forbidden romance is further complicated by the fact that Bella’s blood smells extra tasty to Edward, and that humans aren’t allowed to know that vampires exist.
As if that weren’t hard enough, Stephenie Meyer throws in Jacob Black, resulting in one of the most recognizable angst-filled love triangles in pop culture. Cries of Team Jacob versus Team Edward rapidly flooded the Internet, with some fans even opting for Team Bella as a way to redirect the focus onto the teen girl.
However, as with most major franchises, there are plenty of things that don’t quite add up in Twilight, even with a character as average and accessible as Bella Swan. As the franchise grows its arsenal of tie-in materials, perhaps it’ll be able to address some of the inconsistencies. For now, we’ve compiled some details about Bella that’ll make you raise an eyebrow or two. The list includes content from the books and movies, so proceed with caution if you’re not all caught up with the franchise.
Here are 20 Things That Make No Sense About Bella Swan.
20 Her Immunity To Mental Powers
Bella Swan is pretty much average in every way. That’s part of her appeal as a character. She’s an ordinary teen girl who gets swept up in a grand romance with an extraordinary boy-slash-man, allowing readers and viewers to relate to her. However, she does have one peculiar trait: she’s immune to the mental powers of vampires. After turning into a vampire, she’s able to manipulate her immunity to protect others from mental attacks as well. Bella’s immunity is never fully accounted for in the series.
It’s odd that she’s the only human with a power like that.
It serves more as a convenient plot piece to draw Edward to her, since he can’t figure out why he can’t hear her thoughts.
19 She's An Accident Magnet
Another overly convenient plot device is how accident-prone Bella is. Actually, she’s beyond accident-prone: she’s basically a magnet for every misfortune imaginable. She really gives the Baudelaire children from A Series of Unfortunate Events a run for their money. At least, the incidents seem unfortunate until you realize they’re all ways for her to interact with Edward.
In one of the most pivotal moments of the first book and movie, Bella’s about to get hit by a car, but Edward jumps in to save her, displaying his superhuman strength in a heated moment. This bizarre knack for attracting accidents is a perfect match for Edward’s obsessively protective tendencies. The universe has its mysterious ways of getting people together.
18 She's Way Too Oblivious to guys' attention
Bella is super shy, preferring to keep to herself and spend her free time reading classic English literature. She favors low-maintenance clothes like shirts and jeans, and doesn’t give her appearance much thought. Despite her own disregard for her physical appearance, several boys at her new school find her attractive as soon as she relocates to Forks, including Edward.
While it’s perfectly possible not to think of oneself as attractive, what’s puzzling is that Bella seems to have never noticed that people find her attractive. Ever.
Three boys ask her out to the spring dance—Eric, Mike and Tyler.
Plus, Mike apparently still has feelings for her at her wedding, yet she still has no awareness of her impact on others.
17 She Doesn't Run From Edward
Bella can be painfully shy and is afraid of a lot of things, so you’d think that even the mere suspicion of Edward being a vampire would send her running in the opposite direction. Instead, she dives headfirst into the world of vampires, asking questions and regularly hanging out with Edward alone.
Edward even notes in Midnight Sun that she has neither a sense of fear nor self-preservation.
Sure, everything about vampires is designed to lure in their prey (aka humans), but plenty of the humans in Forks avoid the Cullens. It's hard to buy that someone as sensitive as Bella would stick around and endanger her life for a nice face.
16 She's fine with Edward obsessing over her blood
Just the thought of potentially getting bitten by a vampire would drive most mere mortals far away. If a vampire told us that our blood was extra fragrant to them? We’d be packing our bags, forging new IDs, and moving halfway across the world immediately. Not our girl Bella!
The Cullens are “vegetarians” who drink only animal blood, so their vampirism might not be a deal-breaker. But Bella takes the recklessness to a whole other level when she decides to stick around even after Edward confesses that her blood smells extra tasty to him. She doesn’t even blink when he says he has to be super careful around her to keep himself from attacking her.
15 She Asks To Be Turned Into A Vampire By Her First Serious Boyfriend
Bella’s love for her vampire boyfriend is so strong that she sticks around despite the risks, illustrating the power of true love. Lest we forget, Edward is Bella’s first serious boyfriend, and after just a short while, she asks him to turn her into a vampire so they can spend eternity together.
That’s a pretty big commitment, and a bold move on Bella’s part, especially when she's only seventeen years old.
In fact, Bella’s desire to turn into a vampire is a central conflict between the young couple. Edward refuses to bite her, concerned that he’d be condemning her soul to eternal damnation. He does ultimately give in thanks to pressure from his family and the Volturi.
14 Their Relationship Progresses Way Too Fast
Young love and undying devotion is as much of a staple in YA romance as rebellious teen heroines fighting against society with her scrappy found family. Of course, many people think they’ll stay with their first loves forever, and high school sweethearts spending their lives together isn’t unheard of. Twilight takes the theme of eternal romance to a whole new level when you consider how quickly things progress for Bella and Edward.
The lovebirds meet when Bella is just seventeen, and by the time she’s eighteen, she’s already had a kid and committed to vampirism. That’s a lot of milestones in just one year, and it doesn’t seem to occur to them to slow things down just for a hot second.
13 She's Okay With The Huge Age Gap
Bella has a bit of an identity crisis when she turns eighteen in New Moon. She has nightmares about her becoming a shrivelled old grandma while Edward stays seventeen forever. Except he’s not really seventeen, is he?
Edward became a vampire when he was seventeen, but he was born in 1901.
Bella, on the other hand, was only seventeen in Twilight, which takes place in 2005. That means he’s a 104-year-old dating a seventeen-year-old. He even confesses that his views on things like marriage might be a bit antiquated for the 21st century because of how old he is. It’s a bit odd that Bella thinks of Edward as a teen, and kind of creepy for Edward to be dating someone who’s 1/5th his age.
12 She's Super Attracted To Edward's Angst
The trope of the Byronic hero is nothing new, but Twilight as certainly renewed the popularity of the archetype. Tall, dark, and mysterious, Edward is a tormented soul with an extra pinch of dangerous bad-boy vibes thrown in for good measure. His air of enigma has captured the hearts of fans all around the world, but perhaps nobody is as infatuated as Bella.
It’s almost as though the more depressed he is, the more attractive he is to her. Her love for tragic figures doesn’t come out of nowhere, though. Bella has a taste for tragedy, quoting classics like Romeo and Juliet and Fire and Ice throughout her journey to eternal love.
11 Watching Her Sleep Is Romantic
Most people like a bit of privacy when they sleep and don’t appreciate unsolicited attention. After all, it’s a vulnerable position to be in. However, Edward sneaks into Bella’s room several times to watch her sleep, and even realizes that he’s in love with her when she says his name.
It’s presented as something of a romantic gesture in the books and movies, but it’s actually creepy.
Bella doesn’t seem to mind, though. When he confesses that he’d been watching her sleep, she’s mostly horrified by him hearing her sleep-talk, and not upset that a virtual stranger had been breaking into her room to stare at her as she slept without her permission.
10 Stalking Is A-Okay
A key moment that propels the plot of Twilight is Bella and Edward’s encounter in Port Angeles. Bella, Jessica, and Angela head to Port Angeles to buy new dresses, and Bella wanders off to look for a book store. However, she meets a gang of men who intend to harm her. Luckily, Edward comes to her rescue.
At first, it seems like another overly convenient but harmless coincidence to have Edward hanging around. As it turns out, he’s essentially been stalking her. It’s a relief that she escapes from the men unscathed, but Edward admits to following her, which is hardly the most romantic gesture in the world, even if he does save her in Port Angeles.
9 The Love Triangle Is Pointless
Love triangles are another staple of young adult romance, or any romance-heavy story, really. They help build tension as the main character tries to decide between two love interests who are vying for her affection. However, the key to any literary tool is good execution. Despite the fierce battle between Team Edward and Team Jacob, it’s clear from the get-go that Bella is going to end up with Edward, rending the love triangle pretty pointless.
Bella’s entire existence revolves around Edward ever since the moment she laid eyes on him.
It's obviously sentiment that is reciprocated, so Jacob never really had a chance even though he’s known Bella longer. It’s really more of a love line, with a single dot (sorry, Jacob) just floating to the side of it.
8 Her Self-Destruction In New Moon
Bella is understandably distraught when Edward just up and leaves her at the beginning of New Moon, due to his misguided sense of responsibility and protectiveness. She gets seriously depressed and engages in some incredibly self-destructive behavior when she realizes that she can hear Edward's voice when she’s in danger.
Mental illness is no joke, and it’s unfair to blame mental illness on the person who's experiencing it. What makes this story choice especially hard to swallow is how little support Bella’s getting, and how flippant the text is about her hallucinations. New Moon had the chance to raise awareness about teen depression, but primarily uses it as a plot device to drive the storyline and create angst.
7 She immediately takes Edward back
Bella’s clearly depressed in New Moon, but as soon as Edward’s back in her life, she’s pretty much a-okay, which isn’t how depression works. Plus, she’s more than happy to take Edward back despite the emotional torment he has caused her. Instead of sitting down and having an open and honest discussion with his girlfriend, Edward does the immature thing and tricks her into believing he doesn’t love her anymore so that he can run off in a misguided attempt to protect her.
That’s not a deal-breaker for Bella at all.
Why would it be? She doesn't care that he's a vampire who wants to drink her blood, so abandoning her out of nowhere is nothing in comparison.
6 Edward constantly tries to sacrifice his life for her
At the beginning of New Moon, Edward admits to Bella that he would’ve ended his own life if she’d passed in Twilight. Later on, he goes to Italy to convince the Volturi—a powerful coven of vampires—to take his life because Alice has a vision of Bella jumping off a cliff. They refuse to do so even though telling a human about their existence is a major taboo.
Edward decides to force their hand by walking out into the sunlight in public. Yet none of this unhealthy behavior is enough to warrant a serious conversation about mental health for the couple. Charlie does advise Bella to go to a therapist at one point, but otherwise, nobody else seems concerned for the couples’ health.
5 She Asks Jacob To Kiss Her
In Eclipse, Victoria is still out for vengeance against Bella, so the Cullens and the La Push werewolves have to team up to fight Victoria and her army of newborn vampires. Before the big battle, Jacob hears Bella and Edward talking about their recent engagement, which drives him to despair. He then straight-up tells Bella that he’s going to fight with the intention of sacrificing himself because she doesn’t love him back. Bella then asks Jacob to kiss her.
Sure, she’s desperate to keep Jacob safe, but that’s hardly the best way to handle the situation.
Bella spends a lot of time reading some of the greatest works in the English language, but she sure is bad at using words herself.
4 She supports Jacob imprinting on her daughter
When Jacob thinks Bella has passed in childbirth in Breaking Dawn, he tries to take the baby’s life, but ends up imprinting on her instead. Bella is understandably angry when she first finds out that her teenaged friend has imprinted on her new-born baby. As soon as she realizes that Jacob’s love for Renesmee is out of his control and that Renesmee loves him back, she’s totally chill with the idea of them potentially being a couple in the future.
Then again, she is married to a vampire almost a century her senior. Plus, she suspects Jacob is taking people’s lives in New Moon, but concludes that she’d still be okay with their friendship. A little imprinting is nothing, apparently.
3 Her Breaking Dawn Flashbacks
Breaking Dawn was adapted into two movies, with Breaking Dawn -- Part 1 concluding when Bella turns into a vampire. During the transformation, the movie cycles through a montage of significant moments in Bella’s life, as if her life were flashing before her eyes as she ends her mortal life. The montage uses footage from the previous films, and as a result, the entire sequence is seen from outside Bella’s body.
It doesn’t make much sense for Bella to relive her memories from a third-person point of view.
Even accounting for the hassle of shooting additional footage, it doesn’t make sense to include a shot of baby Bella with her parents. She couldn’t have remembered anything as an infant.
2 She Cares Way More About Edward's Feelings Than Her Own Pain
Edward is clearly distraught as the Cullens wait for Bella to turn into a vampire, worrying that he’d administered his venom too late. He’s especially concerned with how still Bella is, and Carlisle reminds him that it’s the result of the morphine. Bella makes sure to hide any signs of agony on her face because she doesn’t want to hurt Edward’s feelings.
It’s understandable that Bella would want to minimize a loved one’s distress, but as she describes in the book, it’s the greatest pain she’s ever been in. Plenty of women in labor have no qualms about voicing their pain, trusting that their partners would understand. With eternity ahead of them, maybe it’s time for Bella and Edward to sit down and have a serious talk about their relationship.
1 No Vampire Birth Control
In Twilight, Bella starts to suspect that something’s off with Edward, and promptly does research on vampires. When Edward finally admits to being a vampire, she bombards him with question after question, quickly discerning facts from myths.
For some reason, she doesn’t even bother researching the possibility of getting pregnant with a vampire baby before going on her honeymoon in Breaking Dawn. Instead of channelling the curiosity she shows in the first book, Bella just assumes that she doesn’t need birth control.
Edward should’ve been more diligent and proactive.
Yes, he’s aware that he could accidentally hurt her, but seems completely oblivious to the risks of pregnancy and childbirth in general, let alone the dangers of paranormal pregnancies.
What else doesn't make sense about Bella Swan in Twilight? Tell us in the comments!