Stephanie Meyer’s first installment of the Twilight saga was released in 2008 and became the obsession of middle schoolers and married women alike. When it was first released during the most awkward years of our lives, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen were in love, and we were in love with them. The way Edward was completely dedicated and obsessed with Bella never seemed like a bad thing. Instead, the intimacy between them left audiences with a deep longing for something similar. Our 13-year-old selves were completely sold (or at least mine was). As time went on and the Saga was more or less completed by the final Breaking Dawn installment, the audience grew up and we have realized several questionable aspects from this problematic romance. Now we are in 2020, and Meyer has released Midnight Sun (Twilight but from Edward’s perspective) and the response is mixed. We aren’t naive 13-year-old anymore who will fawn over the young-love obsession, so how does this relationship stand up to today’s mature audience?
First of all, I hope that we have all realized that Bella and Edward’s relationship is unhealthy. If you haven’t concluded that yet, I understand if you haven’t read or seen it since Jr. High, so go read an excerpt or watch the movie really quick then come back to me. Now that we are on the same page about the insanity of this relationship, we can talk about some new elements from Midnight Sun that I never saw coming.
One of the craziest things about Midnight Sun is that it made me take these vampires more seriously. I’m not going to lie, Bella and I were on the same page about not being very intimidated by Edward and his family. I never realized how close Bella came to being slaughtered. We all should know the iconic scene in the first movie when Bella walks into class and Edward subtly reacts to her smell. Bella and I both were fairly confident that Homeboy was being dramatic, and his killing instinct wasn’t so intense around Bella because his love was supposed to be more powerful. Boy oh boy, were we wrong! Apparently, she and everyone else in that classroom during that first encounter were actually breaths away from being mauled like a holiday dessert. When I realized, I was definitely on Edward’s wavelength about leaving forever and not messing with Bella.
I think one of Bella’s biggest goals in this series is to get Edward to sleep with her. She isn’t worried about her safety in the slightest; she only cares about how much she loves her man and wants to be as intimate as possible with him. This is mainstream teenage behavior, so it doesn’t come as a shock that she would want to sleep with her boyfriend. His reaction towards this is confusing because he wanted to be with her but his desire to be an old-fashioned, respectful, heroic, gentleman for Bella. Let me remind you that our man has been on this earth for 119 years. He sneaks into Bella’s bedroom to watch her sleep every night, and thanks to the Midnight Sun, we know that he likes to grease the windows so Bella isn’t any the wiser to his night-peeps. If we are supposed to be okay with that, then I think that he could have been more consistent with his morals. There were so many lines that were already being crossed by this man, so why couldn’t he throw Bella a bone (no pun intended) and cross one more?
Maybe we already realized this before, but I want to point out here that Edward had an overbearing case of Savior Complex. It was a perfect pair since Bella was truly written to be a damsel in distress, and Eddie was more lenient after Bella changed. He was still insufferable while she was human, killing spiders in the name of love when he snuck into her bedroom, kidnapping her from her amazingly wholesome father, and following her out of town to make sure she stays safe. Edward does all of these things and says it is for her own good because she is always getting into situations, but I am not buying that. By our standards today, this would be labeled a controlling and abusive relationship. This was such a toxic habit he found himself in and that’s not even including how many times he kept trying to leave and manipulate her.
How come, despite all of these (and several other) bad things, we are still obsessed, or at least willing to tolerate it? My theory is that the emotions we felt for the saga were so strong and important in our lives at the time, that there is no choice but to feel an attachment to these characters and stories. I will not be the one who bashes Twilight readers and tries to exile it from my life totally. I bought all the movies and pre-ordered Midnight Sun as soon as I heard about it. I think that we can acknowledge all of the bad qualities of this series but still enjoy it today so long as we agree that the only team options are #teamAlice and #teamCharlie because they are simple and lovely!