So an incident recently occurred which made me question my devotion to the Twilight Saga and perhaps my own sanity. It was something stupid that set me off and I have wondered for the past few days why I took something silly so personally and why this series seems to bring out such strong emotion in me. I’m using this blog to try to sort out what it means to me and why I seem to be so strongly drawn to the story to the point that I feel the need to defend even the smallest of slights. I don’t even know if I’m going to publish this, it’s more of a free-writing exercise for me to try to figure out what’s happening in my mind and also, perhaps most importantly, my heart.
It’s been quite clear to me from the beginning that Edward is the character I am most drawn to and he’s the one who I’ve dreamed about and thought about more than any of the rest. The accusation that set me off was that someone referred to him as Bella does, as this perfect being with no flaws and that is rather boring. This disturbed me on a deeper level than I would have thought possible and I felt the need to rise up and defend a fictional character! Seriously, that psychiatrist and I are steps closer to meeting; I must need some help.
It was the idea that others viewed him as perfect and boring that really rattled me. I get it, Bella sees him as perfect and the books are written through her eyes, ergo he must be perfect right? But he’s not and I thought that fact was clearly demonstrated in the books. Maybe my perception is colored by having read Midnight Sun several times over on the internet. That book is the retelling of Twilight through Edward’s eyes and it is by far and away my favorite of the books, even though it’s only 1/3rd of the way finished. I admit that manuscript gives me more of a glimpse of who Edward really is, but I feel that I already had a pretty good read on him from the other 4 novels as well.
Edward Cullen is not perfect. Not remotely. He views himself as a monster and has a lot of self-loathing, both about who he is and about his love for Bella. He doesn’t want her to love him back; he wants her to have a happy human life even though the thought of being without her rips him to shreds inside. Yes, there is a good element therein; the desire to sacrifice his happiness for her own, but the fact that he hates himself isn’t a “perfect” trait. He’s also jealous, possessive, overprotective and overbearing. He has mood swings and quite the temper; not that he’d ever hurt Bella but the violence is there inside him at all times. When it comes to protecting Bella, he’s more than happy to shut her out of it completely and take over without letting her know what is going on. I understand his feelings; he’s petrified of something happening and her being taken away from him. His reaction to the wrong news of her death makes that pretty clear.
So does Bella love Edward because of the perceived perfection or is it because of the flaws? I honestly don’t know. I’m not sure if she sees his flaws at all; I think she gets glimpses of them but does she look deep enough? I know she sees the jealousy although she writes it off as a wolf/vampire thing; not knowing just how jealous he was of guys like Mike Newton in the first novel. Midnight Sun shows his hatred of that human boy and just how much he wishes he could kill him for being able to talk to Bella at a time when he can’t, because he’s trying to cut himself out of her life.
Is it bad that she doesn’t see the flaws? I don’t know, I don’t think I’m capable of answering that because it’s the flaws that I adore most when it comes to Edward. Sure, he’s hot. I’ve known plenty of hot guys in my lifetime, I’ve even dated a few. Some of them were worth a damn, some of them were not. He’s smart too, which I do admit is a way to my heart. I need a guy I can converse with on a more basic level than what movie we’re seeing tonight or what sport is on TV. I love sports and movies and I can chat about them ad nauseum but sometimes you have to skim below the surface stuff and get to the big things. I’m certain that Edward is capable of that. When a guy’s been around for 110 years he’s seen plenty and has plenty to talk about. That works for me and I’m certain that as they spend a lifetime together it would work for Bella too. His musical talent is a wonderful trait as well. Who’s to say if that’s a learned skill or If he already had musical skills before he became a vampire? (This was one of the comments that set me off, by the way).
But, to me, those aren’t the traits that make Edward interesting. It’s the person he is, not what he looks like and what he knows. It’s the ability to love so deeply that he can put aside his essential being; his desire for Bella’s blood, and love and protect her. That he can fight who he is, or was, at his very core and rise above his instincts. All of the Cullens have this trait, this beautiful trait; this desire to be better than the monsters they are. Some of them are better at it than others but they all try and I appreciate that about each and every one of them. But it’s Edward who takes it to an even higher level than Carlisle, by willingly putting himself around the one person who tempts him more than any other. I’m sorry but I find that sexy as hell. It’s been said time and time again that you can’t change a man, he is who is, but Edward does change for Bella. And it wasn’t because she asked him to or because he wasn’t good enough in her eyes, he had to do it to be with her. That kind of sacrifice is more beautiful than Edward himself is, at least in my eyes.
His overprotectiveness is a flaw but it’s also understandable. Here’s this fragile human that he loves with his very being who seems to be cursed to attract danger everywhere she goes. First, she attracts him above all others and he is very, very dangerous, especially to her. Then there’s the van that nearly kills her; the guys that nearly rape her; the wolves that are his natural enemies and her friends; that occasionally lose control and have been known to hurt a loved one; the vamps that are hunting her. All of that adds up to one very highly stressed out vampire boyfriend. Do I think he takes it a little bit far sometimes? Yes, I do. I think he should talk to her instead of act to get her to safety first. But I understand it. Bella, to him, doesn’t really have a sense of the level of danger she’s in and she doesn’t have that desire for self-preservation that the rest of us do. She obviously needs to have this trait in order for the two of them to even be together; lack of self-preservation would be required for having a vampire boyfriend. She’d rather risk herself to protect the others, which is an admirable trait but also one that would scare the hell out of someone who loves her.
I can also understand his jealousy. It’s one thing to know that others are interested in the person you love; but it’s another thing entirely to actually hear their thoughts about her; to witness their fantasies in your own mind. Who wouldn’t be bothered by that? Moodiness is part of most of us so I can relate to that too. He has a quick trigger temper, most often triggered by any kind of threat to Bella. There’s beauty in that to me; a guy who is angry about the thought of anything hurting you; be it a threat to your life or a mean comment by your best friend. Most guys would react strongly to the first, of course, but would they care just as much by the second, or would they be more likely to blow that off and tell you that you’re overreacting? A part of me really likes that Edward is not like that.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that Edward is not perfect. He’s complex and difficult and I really like that about him, to the point that I feel the need to defend him and write this blog. He’s a fictional character, and I am well aware of that I swear, but he’s the kind of guy a girl can want and dream about. Not his looks, not his intelligence, but his desire to be good enough for Bella and his love for her overcoming everything that he is. It’s obviously unrealistic but it’s also beautiful. I love the story and I’m not ashamed of it. So yes, I will publish this silly blog. I will show the world (alright, that’s an exaggeration, my few readers) just how gone I am over a fictional character and a series of stories that aren’t even that well written. But they’re still beautiful. And though I think the love between Edward and Bella is obsessive and twisted; it’s also very beautiful to me as well. Edward and Bella’s love gets to live forever and I honestly am happy about that. So maybe the story was for teenagers but it speaks to me and that’s what good stories are supposed to do. The writer didn’t take it deep enough for me but I can and will do that for myself; starting with this blog here I suppose. I’m part of Edward and Bella’s twisted love and I wouldn’t want to be anything else. There’s beauty in that, the kind that lasts.