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The Twilight Saga is a four book series written by bored housewife Stephenie Mayer based on a wet dream. The books, imaginatively titled Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn- chronicle the stirring love story of listless Bella Swan and lifeless Edward Cullen, with hopeless Jacob Black tagging along for scraps. The books sold approximately 116 million copies, spawned four box-office movies and legions of screaming fans. It even has its own religion. This article explains why Twilight’s appeal is so damn appalling.

* For those who have been blissfully ignorant of the Twilight phenomenon, yet have a morbid curiosity to eventually sample the books someday, a word of caution before proceeding. Here there be spoilers.


Isabella Marie Swan is one of the most unlikeable protagonists to have ever graced a page. Exaggeration? Not really. Within the first few chapters we find that she whines about nearly everything, for example like the weather. She only thinks of herself, and has a contemptuous/derisive opinion of her father and mother and the town he lives in, Forks. She can’t be arsed to be nice to people who are nice to her and is only interested in the beautiful and rich, like the Cullens. That despite being desired by almost every boy she encounters such as Mike and Eric early on, and later Jacob and Edward – she thinks herself plain and unworthy. But truth is she just wants to be adored by the right kind of people; those that are better looking, hotter, than the ones that pursue her. So yes, Edward was perfectly suited to attract Bella’s attention.

Here is one of many reasons why some think she’s a nasty piece of work. When Bella heard that Tyler was telling people he was taking her to the prom, her reaction is telling:

“I ground my teeth.”Do you think that if I ran him over with my truck he would stop feeling guilty about the accident? That he might give up on making amends and call it even?” “ (Twilight)
Tyler was trying in his own daft way to make amends because he almost killed her, and this is how Bella reacts? It’s unbelievably crass and self-centred. Here she demonstrates an utter lack of empathy for the poor guy who was probably wracked with intense guilt and who was trying to make it up to her. Maybe another reader can find this tolerable. Not this reviewer.


A Mary Sue is often defined as “a fictional character, usually female and especially in fanfic, whose implausible talents and likeableness weaken the story.” (Wiki)

Bella is a ‘Mary Sue’ because firstly everyone wants to be her friend, or get to know her. Edward informs Bella that he had read the minds of Fork residents and everyone wanted to know about her. Despite thinking herself plain the other girls are jealous of her looks, proving she is actually otherwise. She thinks them shallow, yet is fascinated by the rich, beautiful Cullens and ultimately falls for the ‘hottest’ of them all.

Her powers make her unique, special. Her mind cannot be read (unlike all other humans before). She also develops a psychic shield to block vampire abilities. Rendering even the Vampires powerless before her. Not only that but whereas Newborns (newly sired vampires) have a thirst for blood that is uncontrollable, Bella (you guessed it) is the only one able to control her blood lust.


Bella Swan is a self-insert of Stephenie Mayer because this is at heart, her fantasy. Compare Mayer’s own vision of what Bella’s appearance is like with a photo of Mayer.

Note the resemblance. Bella Swan is a younger, more slender, more beautiful version of her own self. Bella is her projection, that is why Bella is a ‘Mary Sue’ and the story revolves around her. It is also why in the novel, Bella is always loved and adored and the world, the universe adapts itself so that Bella is never wrong- because the Twilight-verse itself conforms to her.

Mayer admitted that Twilight came about because she had a dream one night. In it she saw a girl and a vampire in a field. Bet you a dollar that girl was Mayer herself. Bella Swan gets her hearts desires, the perfect lover and his hunky rival, even a baby with an awkward name (despite earlier being stated in the novels that Vampires cannot have children) yet the universe and the author not only grant her a special dispensation but she also escapes her parental burden since she now has ‘Uncle’ Jacob to groo- take care of the little super powered brat.

Those that offend Bella, or just rouse her ire for simply existing, experience a form of ‘Bella- Karma’ and are punished in the book. Lauren Mallory was the most popular girl in school before Bella arrived, and according to our noble heroine was ‘standoffish’ with her. Later Lauren gets duped by a fake model agent to the tune of fifteen thousand dollars and has a boyishly short haircut as her reward. All because she was one of the few that did not fawn over Bella on sight (another is Leah Clearwater, but more on that later).


“He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare.” (Twilight)

This is how Bella sees Edward, the second half of the pairing at the heart of these books. Even his breath is described with an otherworldly, irresistible quality. Everything about him is just, perfect. It goes on like this for the entire four book saga.

Later on he and Bella kiss for the first time. And her heart literally stops. This scene should have ended with Edward frantically calling the paramedics as Bella rolls on the ground suffering cardiac arrest. Seriously where does a writer go from there? What other way is left to impress the reader and show that Edward is a piece of hotness, if just a kiss causes one’s heart to stop beating? Imagine what will happen when he kisses her in other places.

Personality wise Edward is primarily driven by jealousy and this colours most of his actions. By stalking her and preventing her from fraternizing with other boys he takes control of her social life.

He is emotionally aloof, withholding his uncertainties, doubts and fears. He is condescending with Bella, treating her like a child who needs him to be around to protect her from everything and everyone because without him she’d be helpless. Unfortunately, Mayer makes this true. He does protect her, swooping in all the time. Bella herself feels she cannot exist without Edward by her side.

A jealous, emotionally distant, possessive and controlling man; dominating a submissive, co-dependent girl. The stuff romance is made of, if you’ve abandoned all sense.


Out of the three, he’s the most tolerable. In the early books wolf-boy was presented as a pretty decent guy with a fondness for Bella.

He presents Bella with a wooden Charm bracelet. But Edward later trumps this by buying a diamond heart shaped Charm bracelet. Since Edward ultimately gets the girl, so…umm nice guys finish last is the lesson here? Being filthy rich trumps a gift from the heart? Girls can be bought with diamonds? Take your pick.

His character is later destroyed, especially in Breaking Dawn. He sexually harasses Bella kissing her without permission. Then to add insult to injury not only does he not get Bella, Mayer pairs him with Bella’s baby daughter instead, turning him into an adult male who nurtures an infant for the purpose of someday copulating with her (aka paedophile). He is emotionally there for Bella even while she admits he has no chance. He is her doormat. He even takes care of her baby free of charge, if one forgets that his incentive is to breed with little Renesmee when she matures.


“He tells her he killed 40 or 50 people and uh is that you really shouldn’t… and I wanna kill you so much, every single day, every moment I’m with you. I’m desperate. She’s like, I don’t care. I love you. Well there’s definitely something wrong with her and there’s very obviously something wrong with me.” Robert Pattinson on Edward x Bella

The Twilight novels present a depiction of love, romance and relationship that is fundamentally contradictory because romantic love is equated with abusive, co-dependent behaviour.

Edward originally wanted to kill Bella for her blood. What a healthy way to begin their relationship. Then he declares eternal love after barely knowing her. Edward engages full on stalker-mode. By breaking into her house, going into her bedroom and watching her sleep. Night after night for months. Breaking and entering, trespass and a whole host of other criminal acts is laudable if it’s for getting into a 17 year-old girl’s knickers. It is text book psycho behaviour that no-one sane would countenance. But in Twilight-verse this is held as a sign of attachment and affection.

Edward is jealous and possessive of Bella. Keeping her away from other males as if she were his possession, or pet. Bella has no personal say in the matter. He goes further by taking out the engine of her car without permission. Because his love trumps her independence and de facto legal, moral, and ethical ownership of her own possessions. Everything she owns is now his. Also it was to prevent her from seeing Jacob. The green-eyed monster rears its ugly head again. He even threatens to kill himself if she ever leaves him. Thus holding her hostage against her will (if she were to ever think of, ending the relationship).

Bella goes into a coma for a few months, then tries to commit suicide, has a death wish and hallucinates about her ex after Edward leaves in her in New Moon. I mean, dependency much? Throughout the novels, in her eyes Edward is this indescribably beautiful creature, the epitome of the male form. She obsesses over him ceaselessly (to the annoyance of this reviewer) and is blind to his flaws. She marries him under duress since Edward refuses to have sex with her until she does, becomes a vampire and has no thought of college or career. By the end her world is literally all Edward.

He treats her like an object, literally. In one scene in Twilight, while waiting to meet Carlisle, he physically yanks her about like a display mannequin. He also drags her along across the school parking lot to his car even when she refuses to come along. Doubtless avid fans may think young girls being dragged by their arms by a man to his car, against their will, is romantic. Ted Bundy would certainly agree. Not enough with that in Eclipse he even asks his sister Alice to kidnap her for the weekend, because Bella really doesn’t know what she wants, really.


The views expressed are the writer’s own. Like navels everybody has one and they all stink.


  1. Brilliant! A perfect and long overdue evisceration of the series. Any chance you might do 50 Shades of Grey next – its very much like the BDSM version of Twilight – I believe it might have actually been inspired by same, though that may be a myth – not sure. 🙂 Anyway, loved this, its completely spot on!! 🙂

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