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midnight sun twilight
midnight sun twilight
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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Indy chapter.

It’s fall now – the leaves are turning, the air feels chilly, and nothing truly welcomes the season like lighting a candle, curling up with a blanket, and watching the entirety of the Twilight Saga. Or, if you’re like me and can recite most of the first movie by heart, then maybe it’s time to pick up the books again.

The movies, though iconic, have some serious differences from the book series itself. For starters, Bella’s character is much more diverse on a page and is easier to relate to. And if you’ve read Midnight Sun, you learn that maybe it’s a good thing Edward tried to push Bella away, as he is a little creepier and more obsessive than we once thought. But hey, at least these behaviors are socially acceptable under the veil of romance and true love.

However, reading the books might make you realize something society is in denial of: Jacob’s potential. I know it’s about time we stop entertaining men who have nothing BUT potential, but we need to consider that this was written in 2005, and in the eyes of Bella Swan, the only fish in the sea come with baggage. So, while Edward and Jacob need therapy more than they need a girlfriend, their male manipulator traits, and terrible coping mechanisms are canceled out by the coolness of being supernatural.

If you’re not a fan of the unconditional and irrevocable love shared between Edward and Bella, look no further than the relationship she shares with her long-time friend Jacob. Jacob is similar to Edward – attractive, protective, and obsessed with Bella. He even avoids her for a brief period because he can’t accept his wolfhood. I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing a pattern in the type of men Bella goes for, and I can’t say this isn’t an issue some of us face in our own dating lives.

But in New Moon, we’re able to see a different side to Bella. She was incredibly unhappy without Edward, but she was always excited to see Jacob and spend time with him. They bonded over a similar interest and shared humanity that Edward lacked. Once Jacob makes the transformation, he becomes short-tempered and cocky, as did all werewolves in the Twilight universe. As Jacob helps Bella feel normal again, Bella returns the favor by embracing him for who he is after his transformation. And for a second, we are confused about whether she’s going to choose Jacob when the two almost share a kiss. Unfortunately, Team Jacob fans were disappointed by the sudden reminder of Edward’s storyline that tore Bella away from that intimate moment.

If there was any hope for a possible romance between these two, it was destroyed by his behavior within Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Jacob went from being a character that was incredibly sweet to one that faced very real struggles of self-acceptance and denial to being downright toxic in the subsequent books. We start off Eclipse applauding Jacob for keeping a healthy distance from Bella after she reunites with Edward, but Bella can’t let him go. For the remainder of Eclipse, she pushes that boundary, gives him false hope, and then admits she is in love with him. Jacob’s behavior isn’t any better, as he gives her a nonconsensual kiss, is incredibly manipulative, and uses the possibility of letting himself get killed in battle as leverage over her emotions. Jacob tells Bella she can only have him in her life if she accepts his bad behavior, and Bella tells Jacob she is going to keep choosing Edward. Both communicated their intentions time and time again, yet they both completely disregarded the other by prioritizing what they believed was best for the other.

All hope is lost for Team Jacob when author Stephenie Meyer unites Bella and Edward in marriage in Breaking Dawn. Then, in an interesting attempt to give Jacob a happy ending, she has his imprint on Renesmee, Bella and Edward’s daughter. Bella, and fans of the series, were upset by this. It’s a very questionable concept, but you could argue that the norms of reality don’t necessarily apply to fiction. As far as I’m aware, we don’t live in a world of werewolves, so imprinting remains in a moral grey area. If any werewolves are reading this, feel free to contact me so we can discuss this issue further.

Edward, on the other hand, fits the brooding vampire trope well. He’s mysterious and kept to himself up until the arrival of Bella. We get to see him loosen up a bit, but he remains overly cautious and serious, which makes sense, considering their relationship was the first of its kind due to the predatorial nature of vampires and the looming judgment of the Volturi.

Edward always planned and with his ability to read minds, he could plan around people as well. But since Edward couldn’t read Bella’s mind, he became obsessed with her every thought and move. She was unpredictable and clumsy, and he anointed himself her protector. Edward and Bella invested so much into each other that they sort of lost themselves. Especially in Midnight Sun, where it’s page after page of Edward’s thoughts, feelings, and observations of Bella. We get to learn about Bella from his eyes, but we get little additional insight into other aspects of his life or character. You really can’t think about Bella Swan without thinking about Edward Cullen. Everything they think about or do revolves around the other person. When you’re in a relationship, it’s important to prioritize your significant other, but those two are the type of couple to be overly touchy in crowded spaces. Like, we get it, you’re in love!

Edward also wasn’t shy of having his own flaws. Having flaws as a character is integral, but he wasn’t written to overcome flaws unrelated to the romantic aspect of the plot. It feels like he was simply written to be in love with Bella, and not exist on his own. I must admit, I used to be too busy gawking at Robert Pattinson to notice the lack of depth Edward’s character had. At least we get to see Jacob develop into a different person over the course of the series, while Edward remains relatively the same. Jacob experiences a range of emotions related to his transformation, heritage, love, and relationships with the other wolves. The difference is, though, that Edward seems to be self-aware of his obsessive behavior, while Jacob is not. If Bella had chosen Jacob, Edward would’ve respected it, something Jacob struggled to do for the entirety of the series.

In hindsight, Edward was right when he said that it was safer for Bella to be with Jacob, as the wolf species were not predators of humans. Her being with Jacob also wouldn’t have sparked outrage amongst the vampire elite. Additionally, there wasn’t a seriously questionable age gap between Jacob and Bella. But hey, the more forbidden and unconventional the love, the more entertaining the drama.

So, while I’m a self-proclaimed Team Edward fan, the first two books do a great job of detailing the deep connection Jacob and Bella shared. And Jacob deserved better from Stephenie Meyer. There’s nothing wrong with characters having flaws, but his toxic traits weren’t painted as such. They were almost written off as normal because Jacob was fueled by passion and longing for a girl he couldn’t have, and he was barely held accountable for the mistakes he made. I imagine that Jacob and Bella could’ve had so many fun adventures, considering his character is better at going with the flow. They’re also teenagers, and Bella wants to settle down pretty early for Edward. She sacrificed an important part of her youth to get married and turned into a vampire to spend eternity with him. But with Jacob, I feel like she would’ve embraced her humanity more. So, while the evidence for Jacob’s potential is definitely notable, it’s not up for debate that Edward and Bella were made for each other.

Hi, my name is Sydney and I'm a sophomore at the University of Indianapolis studying Psychology with concentrations in Clinical/Counseling Psychology and Honors. I've been writing my entire life, and just recently decided to join the Her Campus team at UIndy to further indulge myself in something I love :)