Edward Cullen of the Twilight series may be the most famed fictional vampire of this century, but how well do you really know him? Between his love story with Bella and his rivalry with Jacob, Edward experiences many trying moments. As his story unfolds, many instances reveal his true character and values. Yet a lot of these revelations are drowned out by the public perception of Edward Cullen. He is consistently stereotyped as a stalker, a possessive boyfriend, a traditionalist, a romantic, etc. In truth, Edward is a bundle of contradictions that don’t always add up.
His actions and attitude throughout the series sometimes differ from what the public has made him out to be. With so much controversy surrounding the Twilight franchise, the image of Edward evolved to be somewhat one-dimensional. People either loved or hated him for some of his more memorable qualities. Even his telepathic powers are a point of interest that people often misunderstand. There is hardly an area of his life that hasn’t been obscured or distorted in at least one minor way.
Whether you were a fan of Edward or found his character infuriating, there are many things about him that are easy to forget or overlook. It’s worth delving deeper into Edward’s past to discover the most unnoticed details of his character and life story. Some of his assets and decisions turn out to be better than anticipated, while some worsen his reputation. Before you debate the merits and faults Edward Cullen, make sure you know all these surprising features hidden within the series.
Here are 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Edward Cullen.
20 He has a strong moral compass
Edward has built up a bad reputation for his creepy tendencies when it comes to Bella. For a vampire, though, he actually has some highly admirable values. Most vampires in the Twilight world feed on human blood, typically ending their prey in the process. Edward did this during the solitary early years of his transformation, but vowed to take down only the vilest members of society. You could argue his vigilante ways were still wrong or at least morally ambiguous, but he eventually gives these up as well.
Edward eventually transforms into the vegetarian vampire we are familiar with in the Saga. Along with the rest of the Cullen family, Edward feeds only on animal blood and willingly limits his strength. It may not make him a saint, but you have to appreciate the willpower of a vampire on a bunny diet.
19 His telepathy doesn’t guarantee him the win
Edward’s ability to read minds is one of the most prized strategic powers in the vampire world. It’s what helps him constantly win practice fights against his siblings despite not being the strongest member of the Cullen clan. It’s true that having the greatest strength or agility isn’t necessary when you can predict your enemies exact move before they get a chance to make it. However, there are times when Edward’s skill has failed him in critical circumstances.
Edward reads Victoria’s mind in order to track her down in New Moon. However, her gift of self-preservation comes out on top. Due to her innate ability to evade danger, Victoria escapes despite Edward’s knowledge of her location. This costly loss comes back to haunt him when she returns with an army of vicious newborn vampires.
18 He’s not just an eternal high schooler
Even the most avid Twilight fans may find it bizarre that Edward is 109 years old and chooses to relive high school over and over. Along with his siblings, he attends the local high school in Forks, Washington and relatively manages to look the part. There's no reason he can't swing it, but many see it as a plot hole that Edward would purposely put himself in a high school science lab on the daily.
In truth, this is a more recent gig for him and the rest of the Cullens. Edward actually has two medical degrees, putting him on more equal footing with his “father,” Dr. Carlisle Cullen. While it is still an odd choice to willingly downplay your intelligence, it’s not like Edward hasn’t chased his potential in the past. Besides, when you live forever, nothing is a waste of time.
17 He’s had many other opportunities for love
The idea that there was no one for Edward before Bella is not entirely true. True, he may have chosen only her to be in a relationship with during his century of existence, but Edward has had opportunities to be with other women. It’s not just the giggling high school girls in Forks who have pursued him, but also vampires who share his values.
He rejected Rosalie, his now vampire “sister,” even though Carlisle had transformed her partially for Edward’s sake. He was also disenchanted with Tanya of the Denali clan of vampires, who, like the Cullens, only feed on animal blood. These seemingly good matches ended up being meaningless, as the series rests on Bella and Edward only ever loving each other.
16 His sparkle is actually a good plot device
The fact that vampires sparkle in sunlight is definitely in the running for most ridiculed aspect of the Twilight saga. When Edward dramatically takes off his shirt on sunny day, his gleaming skin mesmerizes Bella. The general public was not so impressed, though. Even vampire novel author Anne Rice added to the debate, saying her characters “feel sorry for vampires that sparkle in the sun.” While "sparkle" seems juvenile, Meyer was likely going for a more subtle effect. It's as if Edward's unbreakable skin is a precious stone.
The sparkle actually a pretty solid way to conserve part of the established image of vampires. It’s not so dramatic that vampires burst into flames if they see the light of day, which could limit the plot. An element of danger still remains with the risk of vampires exposing themselves to humans.
15 He hates himself
Edward’s vow to harm none has nothing to do with any hope for salvation. Despite the lengths he goes to in order to respect human life, he is adamant that he is no saint. It is for this reason he is so reluctant to change Bella into a vampire. He would be directly transforming the love of his life into what he views as an irredeemable monster.
Rather than indulging in the privilege his vampirism offers, he seems himself in a very harsh light. He believes he cannot go to heaven regardless of his empathetic attitude toward humans. In any case, it’s pretty tough for vampires to perish, so maybe Edward doesn’t need to worry about that for a while.
14 He’s not romantic
Fans fell head over heels for Twilight’s supposedly epic love story, but when it comes down to it, some of Edward’s most memorable acts of “love” come from a concerning place. In New Moon, Edward is under the false impression that Bella is deceased. He then tries taking his own life in melodramatic fashion by forcing the Volturi to destroy him.
It’s hardly the epitome of romance that Edward simply can’t live without Bella; it really just points to some personal problems. Maybe it adheres to the traditional Romeo and Juliet version of love, but nowadays this type of story is overblown and even harmful. We’re not saying Edward should stick to chocolate and flowers, but there has got to be a happy medium.
13 His mind reading ability is weaker than Aro’s
It is well known that the Volturi regularly try persuading Edward to join their coven. Anyone would want to access his unique ability, but this is especially true for the world's most powerful coven. Aro of the Volturi is the only other vampire in the known Twilight universe with mind-reading skills, but he’s made it no secret that he still envies Edward’s power. Aro has to be touching a person in order to read their mind, while Edward is constantly bombarded by the thoughts of every person in the vicinity.
However, many overlook the fact that Aro can search through people’s past thoughts and gain valuable information. Edward on the other hand is limited to hearing what a person thinks in the present moment. People who know of his ability can attempt to control their thoughts when he’s around.
12 He appreciates the wolves
The Quileute wolf pack may be a sworn enemy of vampires, and Jacob’s love for Bella didn’t help Edward’s initial impression of them. By the end of the series, though, Edward definitely learned to value the pack in his own way. Though even their bodies are meant to be polar opposites, with vampire being icy to the touch and wolves radiating warmth, they end up being in close quarters throughout the Saga.
Edward had to work with the wolves to protect Bella, tapping into their minds to retrieve information during crucial battles. This experience wasn’t all business, however, as Edward maintained a genuine friendship with Seth. He even tells Jacob in Breaking Dawn that Seth has a kind and sincere mind. In the end, we shouldn’t forget Edward is able to put differences aside and empathize with his natural rivals.
11 He’s not that mysterious
The hype of the Twilight series revolves around the mystique of vampires, especially Edward. But once Bella guesses Edward is a vampire and his secret is out, it seems that the air of mystery is gone for the rest of the saga. Part of this is due to the fact that Edward has a pretty straightforward past for a vampire.
Carlisle transformed him so he wouldn’t perish of Spanish influenza, and he spent a few solitary years living nomadically before joining the Cullens. Now he chooses to live a quiet life in the Cullen household, playing piano and attending school. It's not a bad deal, but it's far from a mysterious and enchanting existence.
10 Bella isn't the only one who limits his telepathy
The fact that Edward can’t read Bella’s mind is part of the reason Edward and Bella’s relationship is supposedly extra special. It infuriates him, but also gives him a reason to be even more in awe of her. We’re reminded of this throughout the series, but people often forget that Edward also has trouble reading Bella’s father, Charlie Swan.
Though not blocked out completely, Charlie’s thoughts come through to Edward merely as a general tone. With others, Edward can hear thoughts as exact phrases or see them as clear images. It may be a minor detail that Charlie is partly immune, but it shows Bella herself is not necessarily as special as we think.
9 He knows he’s a stalker
In popular culture, Edward can’t seem to get away from the label of stalker, and rightly so. As much as he wants Bella to stay away from him and protect herself, his fascination with her knows no boundaries. Coming through Bella’s window to watch her sleep is just one sign that he may have a problem.
Since Bella seems unfazed by some of his weirder actions, some may feel that the books try to give them a pass as normal behaviour. In Midnight Sun, though, we see Edward’s point of view when he tells Bella about his late night lurking. When admits to literally “stalking” her, he’s surprised that she’s still smiling. At the very least, he's self-aware!
8 He respected the Volturi
The Volturi, the ancient clan of vampires that police the supernatural world, definitely didn’t do Edward any favors in the later part of the series. They made it their mission to destroy Bella unless she transformed into a vampire, and later nearly went to war to end Edward and Bella’s daughter, Renesmee. It’s easy to overlook the fact that Edward highly respected them before the attacks on his family.
When Edward initially tells Bella and Jacob about the Volturi, he describes them as peacekeepers and a necessary part of the vampire world. He says this with the knowledge that they feed on hundreds of innocent humans per day, but still has an overall gratitude that they keep vampirism a secret.
7 He wasn’t always possessive
Another trait Edward can’t seem to shake is his controlling attitude toward Bella. Nobody forgets the moment when he tricks her into a sleepover with Alice in order to abduct her and keep her safe. Some argue Edward’s overbearing qualities made Twilight big in the first place, and then promptly got ripped apart by critics.
But the possessive Edward we know and love (or hate) had some sane periods that seem to be overlooked. In New Moon, he leaves Bella’s life completely in order to release her from what he knows is a dangerous relationship. By making it impossible to find him, Edward shows signs of wanting Bella to live out her human life on her own terms.
6 His famous golden eyes used to be green
It’s a strange feeling to remember that the honey-coloured eyes Bella falls in love with are not Edward’s natural color, nor is he the only one with eyes like that. His green eyes were lost at the moment of his transformation and, like all other vampires, he would never see them again. It's odd that Bella will never fully know what they originally looked like, but now Edward's signature smouldering eyes represent the entire Cullen clan.
They range from dark brown to a brilliant gold, depending on his appetite for blood. That particular shade also belongs to every other vampire with a vegetarian diet, including all of Edward’s family. Fans can at least be thankful he avoided the red eye look of other vamps thirsty for human blood.
5 He has a lot in common with Jacob
As Edward’s main rival in both his love story with Bella and his life as a vampire, Jacob is hardly ever likened to Edward. However, there are many values they share, perhaps without knowing it. Apart from the obvious need to protect Bella, both Edward and Jacob value human life above supernatural lives. For Edward, this is a personal choice, while for Jacob it is the tradition of his people. The two both have respect for humans and strive to protect them in different ways. They also have a deep loyalty to their respective families, yet don’t always see these similarities.
Whether you were Team Edward or Team Jacob, it makes a lot of sense for them to work together in the end.
4 His traditional values only go so far
Given that Edward is a product of a different era, his century-old values often contradict with Bella’s wishes. He absolutely refuses to sleep with her before they get married, so fans often view him as an old-fashioned stand-up-guy. But it gets weird when Edward asks Jacob to impregnate Bella so she can have the experience of being a mother. It’s meant to be a sign of the extent of Edward’s love, so Bella isn’t totally grossed out and sees his true intention.
Still, asking another guy to romance your wife would probably qualify as a huge compromise to traditional standards. Not to mention, in an ordinary relationship this would be quite the curveball.
3 He’s not completely shallow
It’s common for people to criticize Bella and Edward’s connection. Edward’s desire for her stems from an attraction to the smell of her blood and a fascination with being unable to read her mind. Their relationship builds from there, but many still can’t pinpoint why else Bella has been Edward’s sole choice for a love interest. This makes him seem relatively shallow\. However, it is revealed that he’s not actually too caught up in Bella’s physical traits.
For instance, for a long time he's adamant that Bella stay human. At least for a while, he seems to genuinely want her to grow old and live out the rest of her life with him. Of course by the end of the series she becomes a newborn vampire, but it's the thought that counts.
2 He’s not very old for a vampire
The fact that he’s over a century old but looks 17 feeds into Edward Cullen’s overall fantastical appeal. He may never had to lose his looks to gain wisdom, but he hardly has the life experience as many other vampires. Edward’s birth year of 1901 is recent compared to Marcus, Caius, and Aro of the Volturi, who were all born in ancient Greece before 1300 B.C.
Vampires are essentially immortal, as they can only be destroyed by being cut up and burned. There are likely countless vampires at least a millennia older than Edward. In vampire years, Edward and the rest of the Cullens are essentially in early childhood.
1 He turned out to be a good father
When Bella finds out she’s pregnant with some sort of half-supernatural being, Edward is very against her keeping the baby. His fear for Bella’s life overtakes him for most of Breaking Dawn, but once Renesmee is born and Bella survives the birth, he actually embraces fatherhood in a mature way.
Edward’s rivalry with Jacob combined with his possessiveness could have led to disaster when Jacob imprints on Renesmee. Even though she is just a child, Jacob immediately knows she is his soulmate. It's not guaranteed, but they will probably be together when she grows up. Edward finds this out on the day of his daughter’s birth, which is not something any father wants to hear. However, he comes around and lets Jacob stay in Renesmee’s life as a friend and protector.
What other things do people miss understand about Edward in Twilight? Let us know in the comments!