Edward Cullen

Does his expression ever change?

Some people have said he is a fairy. And true, things that sparkle can very seldom be attributed to vampirism, however, the author is always right, and if Stephenie Meyer says Edward Cullen is a vampire, then we must assume she knows best. Irrespective of public opinion, the success of the character of Edward Cullen deserves attention. Thousands of screaming teenage (and middle aged) fans, I suppose he earned his spot on the Vampire Exposé.

Even in the movie posters, I feel a sense of desolation as far as character growth is concerned

I will be the first to admit that in recent years I have come to hate Twilight, feeling that the movies were lacking in inspiration and originality with gaping holes in human logic and terribad (to coin a phrase from my partner in crime, Richard) acting. The casting felt all wrong and, personally, I am adamant that the director was high when he directed the acting. The movies feel emotionless, devoid of feeling in a story which should have evinced so much from the audience. But, despite all this, when a friend of mine first gave me a copy of Twilight to read, months before the movie was released, I loved it. I found it sweet and endearing. Maybe not the horrific combination of blood and romance I have come to expect from the vampire genre, but cute nonetheless.

An enticing cover

So trust me, Twilight fans, I don’t comment lightly here.

A cute picture, so why couldn’t this emotion have come out in the movies?

In the novels, Edward was funny and suave with a hint of self-deprecation to colour him. His character had an element of depth that he thoroughly lacks in the movies. Where book Edward swaggers, Pattinson’s Edward is awkward and walks like a shy dinosaur. Where the former grants Bella a combination of love and mockery, the latter combines fawning and irritation – something we would not have expected from the character in Meyer’s books. I simply disliked Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of a character that I really pictured – at the time – as not entirely god-awful. Unfortunately, the prolific nature of the movies soured the books for me. So badly, in fact, that I went back and reread them with an editor’s eye (something I had avoided at the onset), discovering tense errors, horrible grammar and staid, boring syntax. Not to mention the sheer dullness of the most of the characters. All stereotyped and all too simplistic for my approval. Except for Edward.

Many Twilight haters attribute their loathing of the story to the “sparkly” vampire phenomenon… And, yes… It seems somewhat daft. But I understand what Meyer was trying to achieve with it and I applaud her on her approach. It just would not have been my choice. In Anne Rice novels we come to see vampires as being statuesque in both beauty and make-up. They quite literally strike us as being marble or solid, unlike pliable humanity. All Meyer has done is take that one step further to create of them something near indestructible. If something shimmers in the sun we imagine diamonds (for some ungodly reason). Hence the invulnerable factor. It just seems a pity to me that she made such a build-up of it for such a great portion of the first book. I was imagining bat wings, or horns, or green, toad-like skin… When he started sparkling, I had to put the book down and step outside to stifle my laughter.

As I said, not the route I would have opted for.

What I do want to explore is Bella’s strange attraction to Edward. Love at first sight does not exist. Lust maybe, but I don’t think Bella has the emotional maturity to give in to such behaviour (all evidence to the contrary in the last two books aside). In fact, all vampire literature displays some evidence of supernatural attraction. The hint that vampires exude a pheromone or aura which draws people to them. And maybe this is what we are seeing in this very broken, stalker-esque relationship.

The poor friend-zoned sucker

Perhaps vampires have a survival mechanism built into their systems? The hungrier they become, through lack of access to blood or their own martyrdom (viz Edward), the more likely their body is to override their mind and find food. Vampires are, traditionally, sexual predators. They feed through romance and lust – when I imagine traditional vampires, I see the Count rallying hordes of heaving-bosomed women around him. So, perhaps in all this, if a vampire decides to be a hero, his body resigns itself to the fact that the mind is being obstinate and starts emitting attraction waves to any eligible blood bag nearby… It would certainly explain how Bella seems all the more drawn to Edward despite his insistence on them not seeing one another.

In the Sanguinem Emere universe, we explored this notion to some extent. The level of which will become more apparent in book2, where we will see Devika struggling to come to terms with her (un)natural attraction.

Sigh… I find the image of Edward Cullen sad, to be honest. He was a likeable, if unmemorable, character when I first flipped casually though the pages of Twilight. Now, however, the sight of his tortured expression causes one’s ears to be assaulted by not just the screaming of teenagers, but the screaming of their mothers as well (creepy much?). I can understand the animosity so many intellectuals feel when confronted with Twilight paraphernalia and images.

I feel quite the same.

And is it just me, or does Pattinson’s Edward always have the same expression on his face?

This expression makes me want to punch things

 

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28 Comments

  • Reply karen gill August 27, 2012 at 1:45 am

    eddie if you are avalible so am i

    • Reply Lafaeyette August 27, 2012 at 7:10 am

      It’s good to see that youngsters still read…

  • Reply Cat Hernandez February 24, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Hi!
    I wanted to send a general comment. I really appreciate your site. It is nice to find someone that is attracted to vampire lore as much as me!
    I am a thirty-something author that is focusing on YA and of course, fantasy/fiction. It looks like you are an author as well, and I wanted to say congrats! Curious to know if you chose to self-publish.
    Also, what does the quote at the top of the page mean?
    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    • Reply Lafaeyette February 24, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Cat!

      Thank you so much, I truly appreciate the support :). I’ve been an addict of vampire literature since I was eleven years old.

      Yes, we have chosen to self-publish, you can find the links to our books on the sidebar.

      The quote means ‘we are bought in blood through the ties of blood and family affection’

  • Reply Devika Fernando February 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    An interesting take on it. Though I don’t agree with all points, I like your way of analyzing and phrasing things.
    By the way, how on earth did you stumble upon the name Devika for your own publication? Just curious because it’s my name (of Sri Lankan origin). 🙂

    • Reply Lafaeyette February 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      😀 If I’m not mistaken, Devika means ‘Little Goddess?’ Or an approximation thereof. It fit very well with our character :). Please! Feel free to argue with the above points, that’s what they’re here for ;).

      • Reply Devika Fernando February 27, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        Yes, that’s the name’s meaning. 🙂 Really makes me curious about the novel itself which I shall research a.s.a.p.
        As for the character of Edward Cullen, I don’t want to go into depth here and ramble nonsensically but I think he’s more underrated than “unmemorable”. I found him a refreshing difference from the male characters in teenage fiction because he – despite being a vampire – seemed to be more morally upright than bella as a human. he proved that holding himself together and always trying to be in control doesn’t mean that one can go through life unaffected and unerringly. to me, he was a great mix of teenager and centuries-old vampire in my eyes, which admittedly didn’t come out that well in the movies. i would have liked to read things from his point of view though there’s lamentably only the fragment of an unfinished book (midnight sun) to go by…

        • Reply Lafaeyette February 27, 2013 at 2:45 pm

          I quite agree, Devika. I will admit, that the novel version of Edward was fantastic in comparison with the movie version.

  • Reply Isabel Reyna February 28, 2013 at 1:10 am

    I agree with your essay. Honestly I haven’t read the novels. I don’t feel temted. I watched the films. And, I guess that more than anything else, these are movies made only to entertain. Just to spend time.

  • Reply Elizabeth March 7, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    I’m a huge twilight fan, but read all the books before I ever watched any of the movies which I think made a difference. The movies aren’t that great, they are more of a guilty pleasure. The books however, I really enjoy. Meyer was a new writer so of course the writing isn’t amazing, but most people can look past that or not even notice it.
    Her vampires catch a lot of crap, and I get why but I don’t agree with most of the reasons. The problem (if you look at it as a problem) is Meyer didn’t know much about vampire lore and decided not to research it when creating her vampires. In my opinion I love that she created something new. Most of it isn’t too far off though…think about it:

    Vampires can’t go out in the sun because they burn up right? Well what would happen if Anne Rice’s vampires went out in the sun but didn’t burn… what would that look like? The funny thing is, is I can tell you since it happens in Menmoch the Devil! Guess what… he sparkles! (she didn’t use that word, but that’s what happens). If you read Meyers novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner the “sparkle” effect is explained MUCH better.

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 8, 2013 at 5:44 am

      Thanks Elizabeth. As I said (at least I think I said… oops), I thoroughly enjoyed the books. But the movies really ruined the series for me. Perhaps I’ll reread them, bearing in mind what you’ve said.

      • Reply Elizabeth March 8, 2013 at 3:10 pm

        When I first saw the Twilight movie I almost cried because it was so bad, I still cringe at the so-called “meadow” scene and sometimes skip it all together… I think they got better as they went on, but you are right about the casting…yuck.

        But I always defend the books 🙂

        I did forget one more thing I always tell people about Twilight… to me it not about vampires. Sure it has vampires in it, but unlike other vampire books it’s not about being a vampire, its a love story and it’s actually about being human (I think). The Vampires are pretty much trying to be human. I’m sure if the books were about something else and focus more on the Volturi, or vampires like Garrett or the Romans we would have seen something closer to traditional vampire lore.

        • Reply Lafaeyette March 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

          That’s very true, Elizabeth. I just felt, frequently, that the book would have been well-served to include more about those vampires that suit traditional lore. I always found them to be interesting in ways that the Cullens were not 😛

          • Elizabeth March 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm

            I agree, I think Meyer could go so many places with her characters. Spin-offs, extensions….she could open up that world is so many different ways that have not much to do with the original characters and still be uber successful

        • Reply Devika Fernando April 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm

          Exactly, I always had the feeling too that even through the vampires, Meyer is writing about what it is and isn’t to be human.

          • Lafaeyette April 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm

            Yes, I kind of agree with you there. Though I think she left out the part where being human must be balanced with being a monster. After all, vampires are a creation of the human mind, are they not? Doesn’t that mean that their monstrosity is the same that resides in all of us?

          • Devika Fernando April 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm

            You’ve got a good point there. I dare say her knowledge and understanding of human nature isn’t half as deep as is anne’s but she’s doing a good job regarding the target of readers she must be having in mind / had in mind and has reached.

      • Reply Bernice Charanza April 8, 2015 at 2:28 am

        i like edward cullen i am not in love with like must people.

  • Reply Silver April 6, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Hi! Just read this article and yes, I’ve read all books and I wanted to comment: I read the first book before the idea of the movie came and I liked it for the same reasons you point: it was all new and it was like a teenager dream, you smiled at times remembering the high school blue prince with the addition of being a vampire: yup, your prince living forever… and that’s it, didn’t feel that deep Rice put on her vampires, but it made dream, that’s what it made me… but when the movie came, I hated the saga… I bought the next books (which I regret) and the forth one only made me hate the entire saga. Like you said, Meyer was trying to innovate… but not for me, and to many others, it’s just too pink contrasting the dark image we have about vampires, and the thing of having a child? that was enough, it was all too damn sweet and pink for me, but for teenagers it was like a dark disney fairy tale. Good for them but not for me. As for Pattison portraying Edward I didn’t like that either, he’s just too flat, not appealing vampire… he doesn’t fit.
    Well! that’s my opinion, and it’s good to see some opinions are same as mine. Keep up the good work!

    • Reply Lafaeyette April 6, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Thanks, Silver! You got it spot on, Edward doesn’t have any worthy changes a a character, none of the characters do. It’s just so… disappointing.

      • Reply Silver April 7, 2013 at 4:19 am

        Yes you’re right, and less for those who have read Anne Rice’s saga first (count me in). Long life to vampire chronicles saga!

  • Reply rozy March 11, 2014 at 3:37 am

    I would be careful of letting the movies sour it. Try to see them as a separate entity. Just think how many people may have been turned off of reading the VC because of the god awful QotD movie! I don’t know if you are aware but sex educator Laci Green has a video on the Mormon roots of this novel and saying that Edward has a lot of abusive tendencies and used it as an opportunity to teach kids how to spot an abusive relationship. I read Interview With The Vampire in 8th grade, only because I had read and loved Twilight in 6th grade and people were saying to read a “real” vampire novel and that was it. Meyer gets no real construction criticism because her brother Seth is very abusive, completely controls everything.

    • Reply Carmen Dominique March 11, 2014 at 7:22 am

      I understand. I did, in fact, read the books first. But, I also read the VC long before I picked up a Twilight novel, so you might say I was spoiled for good literature regarding this genre.

      • Reply Hook in Mouth May 22, 2014 at 7:00 am

        Ya I don’t think I would have liked them if I had been older and read the VC first. I read Twilight when I was in grade 6. I don’t think having vampires sparkle really works. Its seems befitting of faeries though. I do know a lot of kids who hated reading but they read all the Twilight books. It is no small feat to get reluctant readers to read. My sister is one of them and I can’t get her to read anything even a short article on the internet- even if I beg. She texts but I tell her that doesn’t count.

        • Reply Hook in Mouth May 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

          Seems I repeated myself. Fail. I just feel the need to defend that I once liked it so the haters don’t jump on me but I did really stop liking it from the movies too and I also did want to punch Edward in the face. You’re right the director was probably high. Most Hollywood directors probably are.

  • Reply Hook in Mouth May 22, 2014 at 9:14 am

    “walks like a shy dinosaur” FTW!

  • Reply Jeelyn Reyes July 9, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Well after reading all these comments I guess what I have to say is not much different or special. However, I will say it anyway because I am an opinionated woman. ;D

    I agree with your post! I read the books, all of them, way before the movies came out. I loved them! Sure they might not have been the most enthralling series I’d ever read, but they were still pretty good. Plus, I liked the change of pace. Sparkles is silly yes, but it’s different and I admire Meyers for branching away from traditional vampire books. It takes guts.

    Not only that, but she has written a book called The Host which I thought was amazing. It was strange, since her writing in that book (even her style) was much better than in the Twilight series. Anyway, I’m just giving her props. Now it’s time for the bashing. It’s got to be done, sadly. ;D

    The movies were horrible. Absolutely horrendous. I cried (on the inside) when I first saw them. The thing is, Robert Pattinson has been in other movies (most famous for Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter), in which he was a pretty decent actor. So what the hell happened? Just like you said, his face is pretty much expressionless. Maybe he was trying to win a bet with Kristin Stewart to see who could be the most devoid of emotion? ;D

    Who knows, really. Speaking of Kristin Stewart, what the heck? You know, I get that as a reader you tend to imagine what the characters are like in your head. That’s the point of reading. Sometimes, it doesn’t translate the way you’d like when it comes to a motion picture. However, Kristin Stewart and her acting skills blew me away. In a bad way, trust me. I was sorely disappointed in her, especially considering she didn’t seem as bad in other movies, like Pattinson. Not to mention, she gave Bella (to intelligent readers at least) a bad rep.

    A lot of people who may have enjoyed the books had the series ruined for them because of the movies, including myself. I mean, I get it, people make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. However, when you get so much backlash from fans that the actors are stiff and emotionless and not like the characters in the series . . . Well you would think the director would take the time to fix that for the next five (they split the last book into two movies right? I can’t quite remember) movies.

    So all in all, the Twilight series might not have been the best books I’ve ever read, but they were still pretty good. It upsets me that they’ve been ruined by the movies, and that Meyers would let it happen. Still, like I said earlier I have to give her some props. I do not hate the Twilight series. Just the movies.

    I still have nightmares.

    ;D

    • Reply Carmen Dominique July 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Well, you see, the big issue with the movies and the reason they did not get changed to suit the real fans, is because all the teeny fangirls were screaming about how “hawt!!1!” Rob Rob is, and not to mention the squeals of joy and excitement over the ever-so-shirtless Taylor Lautner… *sigh*

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