Last week saw the release of the third Twilight film The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which, not surprisingly, turned up huge numbers at the box office. Yes, the fans are loyal, but there’s one thing that divides them: which side they are on, Team Edward or Team Jacob.
Recently, I was invited by Geekosystem to participate in a feature where they asked prominent geeks [their words] to chose a side — Team Edward or Team Jacob — and explain why. There was also the option to remain neutral, but I took that to mean that you were unable to decide, not that you didn’t want to decide. So, I picked a side.
Unlike some of my fellow participants [I’m talking to you, Warren Ellis], I took my assignment quite seriously, even though I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of the Twilight series (although, I’m not a ‘hater’ — I, of all people, can appreciate obsession [hello, Star Wars/Star Trek]). Since this issue is being debating worldwide and has been popping up all over the news (no, seriously, look), I thought it time that I address it.
I can’t imagine there’s anyone left on the planet that doesn’t already know the story of Twilight and what Team Edward/Jacob means, but for the five of you out there, before I delve into my argument, here’s the deal (oh, and SPOILERS) so far…
After her mother remarries, the teenage Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington, to live with her father, the town’s police chief Charlie Swan. At school she meets Edward Cullen and immediately there’s some kind of weird attraction/repulsion between them. Eventually, Bella discovers that Edward is a vampire who sparkles in the sun and the unlikely duo fall madly in love. Then some other vampires come and ruin everything, danger, danger, danger, and but true love prevails, and that’s the first movie.
In the sequel, New Moon, the love birds are doing fine for about 5 minutes before Bella gets a paper cut and is nearly devoured by Edward’s vampire family. Figuring Bella would be better off without him, Edward breaks up with her (“I don’t want you!”), breaking her heart. For months Bella is despondent and cannot get over losing Edward. (And who can fucking blame her? They were happy, in love, promises about ‘forever’ were made, and then he abandons her. That’s fucked up.) In an effort to finally move on, Bella seeks solace in the arms of her childhood friend Jacob Black, a Native American Quileute who also happens to be a werewolf. While she seems to be falling for Jacob, she just can’t get over Edward, especially since his ghost for some reason keeps haunting her. Danger, danger, danger, trip to Italy for more danger, Edward and Bella get back together, Edward proposes.
In Eclipse, Edward is still proposing and we’re supposed to believe that this girl who can’t live without him and will give up her human life to become a vampire to live with him forever will not marry. Umm, right. Luckily for her, there’s more vampires out there who want to kill her (as always) and so the Cullen clan must join forces with the Werewolves (though they are nature enemies, supposedly) to defeat this other newborn vampire army. Leading up to the battle, Edward, Jacob, and Bella sleep in a tent, where the men have a heart to heart about Bella while she sleeps and everyone loves each other and everyone cares more about this one than that one, and she loves me and she loves me too, etc, etc. Basically, Bella loves both Edward and Jacob and so she must chose which supernatural creature she wants to share the rest of her life with — even though she’s like only 18.
Ok, so that’s where the Teams come in. The Twilight fan base is fiercely divided and so that is the eternal question: Team Edward or Team Jacob?
So, again, when I was asked to decide, I really agonized over it, not because I think they are both so hot and awesome — just the opposite. I felt that they both had really big flaws and in truth, Bella should probably just marry some normal guy. But, yeah, how do you go back to your ordinary life after you’ve been exposed to the supernatural world of vampires and werewolves? You can’t, and that’s why a choice has to be made (unless Bella could find a nice leprechaun to be with).
Here’s a list of reasons why I feel neither are good for Bella. (Note, these are all based on events from the first three books.)
- He’s killed and can kill again. Murderers, not so high on the list of prospective mates.
- As a human, Bella can barely get a kiss out of Edward let alone sex, because he’s so attracted to her blood and even if he controls his urge to drain her, there’s still the issue of his superhuman strength crushing/killing her.
- Personal issue for me: While Edward’s family does not feed on humans anymore, they still have to live on blood, which means they feed off of the blood of animals. I’m a veg and would not want to have to live that way. (Again, personal issue for me.)
- He left her once and it nearly destroyed her, both emotionally and physically (the latter because she was left in Forks unprotected against the more dangerous vampires). How do you trust someone who’s left you before? (Yes, I know it was ‘for her own good’, but that’s really no excuse.) She did nothing wrong, and he broke her heart. That’s just not right.
- He’s too controlling and doesn’t let Bella make her own decisions. Granted, for the second half of Eclipse he seems to have finally come around, but his first instinct is to control her actions, make decisions for her, and impede her efforts. Not cool.
- If Bella becomes a vampire to be with him, she has to give up the rest of her friends and family, although, she seems to be doing that already (another unhealthy aspect to their relationship).
- The world of vampires is dangerous, whether Bella is human or becomes a vampire herself. If she is turned, it just means she’ll be more involved in the vampire world.
- If you’re a religious person, you might just be concerned about what happens to you after you die. Choosing vampirism just might not get you into Heaven. Bella believes that everyone has a ‘soul’ and Edward definitely feels that he’d be condemning Bella’s if he changes her. Eternal damnation is a bitch, you know.
- If Bella becomes a vampire to be with Edward, there’s no going back. Yes, she could leave Edward if she wanted to, but would most likely have to choose another vampire to be with, which would defeat the purpose of her giving up being human. If she happens to fall for a human, she would then be in the same predicament as Edward is with her.
- He’s too immature and hot-headed.
- Since he believes that Bella is in love with him, regardless of how many times she says she loves Edward, he forces himself on her and Bella ends up breaking her hand punching him. Now, kissing her is no big deal, but the fact that he is so much stronger than her and she’s unable to stop him, is what I have a problem with.
- Having grown up on a reservation, he knows little of the world outside of it, and it doesn’t seem like he has any plans to leave.
- Bella would still be human, while Jacob is a werewolf. That means she would age, but he would age at a much slower pace. This is one of Bella’s issues: she doesn’t want to grow old while her mate stays young. With Edward, she can become immortal and stay young; with Jacob, she would age.
- Life on the reservation seems to be a lot about watching sports and drinking beer. This is not the life Bella wants for herself. This is why her mother left Charlie, and this is why Bella could never stay with Jacob. I know she’s obsessed with doing dishes, but if her life was to cook and clean while Jacob hangs out with his wolf buddies watching football and drinking beer, she’d never be happy. And if her only purposed was to squeeze out wolf babies, forget it, she’s history.
- No privacy. The wolf pack can read each other’s minds, whether they want to or not. That means they’d all know every intimate detail of Bella and Jacob’s personal life.
- Since Bella would still be human, she’d be left behind while Jacob ran with his wolf buddies — left behind to do those dishes and change those diapers, because what the hell else is she going to do? Oh, yeah, she can take up knitting and sit with the other wolf wives. How fun.
- Bella would still be in danger. Sam, the head wolf, lost control one day and disfigured his girlfriend Emily’s face. Seeing how hotheaded Jacob is, it’s possible he could inadvertently harm Bella this way, or even kill her.
- MAJOR ISSUE: We know that Edward is mature and worldly and understands that Bella loves him and Jacob. I believe that Edward would never hold this against her. Jacob, on the other hand, would probably never get over it. I imagine that every so often in an argument he would accuse Bella of still loving Edward or of wishing she had chosen to be with Edward instead. I think the riff would always be there, which would be unfair to Bella.
- There’s still a chance that Jacob can ‘imprint’ on someone else. This means that even if he promises to be with Bella, another person can come along who he’s destined to be with and then he’d have to go be with that other person. We’ve seen this happen when Sam imprinted on Emily, leaving his girlfriend Leah bitter and brokenhearted.
Yes, I realize I’ve focused on the negative here, but that’s because I feel that everyone is choosing a Team based on looks, as well as the events that have happened, not those that will happen. Right now, Bella is a teenager, she shouldn’t even have to choose who to spend her life with while she’s this young — and she knows it, too. That’s why she has an aversion to marriage. But, if she wants to be with Edward, she has to choose right away or she’ll grow older while he stays young (plus, there’s the whole Volturi issue where they pretty much said that if Bella isn’t turned, they’re all dead).
In the end, it’s obvious that Bella truly loves Edward. He is her soulmate, while Jacob is her friend. I don’t believe that she’s actually in love with Jacob at all. He’s someone she cares about and can talk to; she’s obviously attracted to him; he was there for her while she was trying to get over Edward, but that’s not love, that’s rebound. All through New Moon, Bella recognizes that she’s using Jacob to cope with her pain of losing Edward — she’s not doing it maliciously. She really enjoys being with Jacob, but her heart belongs to Edward.
Had Bella never met Edward, I still don’t believe that she’d ever truly be happy settling down with Jacob. A consistent theme through the story is that Bella doesn’t feel “normal,” she doesn’t feel like she was meant to have an ordinary life. She’s clumsy and awkward, she doesn’t socially interact very well. She’s a smart girl and a very good student; she has aspirations to get out of Small Town, USA, and do something with her life. She might not know what that something is, but it definitely doesn’t involve settling down on a reservation, pushing out babies for a wolf boy. One of her biggest fears is to be stuck in a boring life in a small town at a young age, like her mother was with her father. For Jacob, his life seems to be mapped out for him already, it doesn’t appear that he has a choice to leave his home and his wolf brothers to go and make a new life for himself with Bella somewhere else.
With Edward, Bella would have to become a vampire, but she’d have a mate who’s her equal and treats her that way. They could travel, she could see the world, they can live wherever they wanted to (as long as the sun don’t shine too much). It would probably take 200 years before she gets bored, and maybe she wouldn’t even then.
The Edward/Bella relationship, as it stands at the end of Eclipse, is not perfect, hell, it’s not even ideal. But, while I initially viewed Edward as a boring emo vampire retard who broke the poor girl’s heart, in Eclipse I finally got to see a side of him that really should have been emphasized from the beginning. He is intelligent, he’s compassionate, he’s mature, and he’s forever a gentleman. If it wasn’t for the whole ‘killing’ thing — and the heartbreaking issue (I know, it’s hard for me to forgive) — I’d choose Edward for Bella without hesitation. Plus, with him, she wouldn’t have to do the fucking dishes all day, every day!!!!
I have yet to read Breaking Dawn and while I’ve heard about some major plot points, I have no idea how Bella and Edward’s relationship progresses emotionally. What will it be like outside of the Forks community or when Bella is no longer a confused teenager? When Bella becomes a vampire, will that change anything with how she feels about Edward? Will Edward still want her? The whole ‘becoming a vampire’ thing can be a real game-changer, so I’m really curious how it all will turn out. For now, I can only base my arguments and decisions on what I know from the first three books.
In the end, this probably seems like more analysis than necessary for a franchise I’m not even a major fan of and a lot of people like to dismiss and mock, but even though we’re talking vampire vs. werewolf, finding love, suffering disappointments, facing difficult choices, and making tough decisions are all a part of life. The Twilight Moms contingency most likely knows this already, but I’d like the overwhelming majority of teenage girls obsessed with the Twilight series who relate to Bella to realize that making decisions should be based on more than just on looks and the early ‘honeymoon’ phase of a relationship. No one is perfect and no relationship is always ideal; it takes work and commitment and coming out stronger after facing hardships, and learning from your mistakes. In my opinion, that seems to be the kind of relationship that Bella and Edward have, and therefore is the reason why, after all is said and done, I had to go with Team Edward.
What about you? Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob, and why? Try to think beyond the six-pack abs or the golden eyes.