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The Red Flags on Both Team Edward and Team Jacob


Love it or hate it, you’re probably familiar with The Twilight Saga, consisting of five movies released from 2008 to 2012, based on the book series by Stephenie Meyer. Things begin with Twilight, where Bella (Kristen Stewart) moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father, the police chief. There, she meets and falls in love with the mysterious Edward (Robert Pattinson), who is a vampire. This puts her at odds with werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), and though Bella ultimately ends up with Edward, their love triangle is a major plot point throughout the saga.


The movies had – and still have – a massive fan following. Their releases reignited the popularity of vampires, werewolves, and supernatural romances. The romantic love triangle was a particular favorite, with fans declaring themselves “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob.” However, over time – and as the target teen and young adult fan base has grown up – many have come to see that both boys had massive faults and red-flag-worthy behaviors. Here are some of the major red flags that Edward and Jacob exhibit.

Edward: Being in a Technically Underage Relationship With Bella

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In Twilight, when Bella is trying to figure out what Edward is, she asks how old he is. After he says that he’s 17, she asks how long he’s been that age. He simply says, “A while.” It’s later revealed that Edward was born in 1901. While Edward is physically 17, it can’t be ignored that mentally and emotionally, he’s over 100 years old, which technically makes it an underage relationship. This is a bit of a gray area, as Edward is still 17 in most senses. However, it’s hard not to think of how much more mature he is compared to Bella, especially considering the experiences he’s been through. This gives them an early imbalance, even before Edward engages in manipulative behaviors.

Jacob: Forcing Bella to Choose Between Him and Edward

A scene from Twilight: New Moon
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Jacob also isn’t perfect and has many red flags in his relationship with Bella – not even mentioning his imprinting on her newborn baby, which is downright creepy. Most of his actions center around still loving Bella even after she’s turned him down. He fully believes that he’s better for her and tells Bella this. This unfairly puts her in between him and Edward and in between the Cullens and the wolves. This escalates into him frequently forcing her to choose between them and threatening to remove himself from Bella’s life entirely if she stays with Edward. This is a form of manipulation that gives Jacob the upper hand while disrespecting Bella and trying to get her to choose him.

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Edward: Stalking, Manipulation, and Codependency

Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen in Twilight.
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In the first film, Edward admits that he often goes to Bella’s house to watch her sleep, even before they were a couple. Also, before they’re a couple, Bella is shopping in Port Angeles and gets harassed by a group of men. Edward comes to her rescue, explaining that he followed her there to keep an eye on her. He bosses her around, starting with what she’s doing and what he wants he to do, and treats her like a child, which she is, compared to him, but it definitely screams “control issues.” While this is portrayed as being romantic and protective, it would be a scary thing if it happened to someone in reality and would be considered stalking. It can feel nice to know someone has your back and is always there for you, though, on the other hand, these kids don’t know each other, and thinking Bella will just come running to him is awfully presumptuous and misogynistic of him. Perhaps, it’s up to Bella to make her own calls about her life, choices, and safety.

There are many other situations that arise in which Edward thinks he needs to “save” Bella, as if she’s not smart or capable enough to make her own choices and learn from the consequences just like everyone else. He goes so far as to scold her about how she needs to stay out of trouble and stop needing him to save her. Superhero complex, much? He is awfully sure he is the one and only protector that Bella needs, yet he endlessly puts her in harm’s way. Of course, he then flips to it being all of his fault and why Bella needs to stay away from him. Those are some severely mixed signals for such a young girl to deal with in her first real relationship.

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He is also manipulative of Bella. In the first movie, he varies wildly between being kind and ignoring her as he grapples with his feelings. His mixed signals are staggering and completely selfish. Even when they’re together, he constantly tries to push her away from him by saying he’s too dangerous. In New Moon, he even leaves her because of this reason, saying that they can’t be together while she’s human, and he won’t make her a vampire. Lastly, becoming a vampire is arguably Bella’s choice, but this also plants the idea and makes it more appealing to her. He also disapproves of her friendship with Jacob and the other wolves and frequently tries to keep her away from them. This manipulation and control, though done with good intentions for Bella’s safety, is considered characteristic of violent relationship behavior, per Psychology Today.

Finally, he forges a deeply codependent relationship with Bella, where they have poor boundaries and are wholly reliant on each other. While this is mutual, Edward shares some blame, especially when he leaves; ScreenRant even considers it the worst thing Edward does in the saga. He knew that Bella had few friends and would struggle without him, yet he left anyway, leaving Bella shattered. She becomes deeply depressed and engages in risk-taking behaviors to make an imaginary Edward appear to her. After her cliff-diving is taken by Edward to be a successful suicide attempt, he tries to incur the wrath of the Voltari, so they’ll kill him. It’s all just very over-the-top dramatic, especially for someone whose been around for almost 100 years. He is more childish than kids Bella’s age. Their relationship is intense to an unhealthy level, as they both would prefer death to be apart. They also lack the necessary communication that would have prevented the whole thing from happening.

Jacob: Not Taking No as an Answer From Bella

Jacob and Bella
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Though Jacob was there for Bella after Edward leaves, she makes it clear that she’s back with Edward after his return. Yet in Eclipse, Jacob professes his love to her. When she tells him that she doesn’t feel the same way, he refuses to believe her. To be fair, Bella has returned his affections at times and admits she has feelings for him, but not the way she loves Edward. However, Jacob still oversteps. He insists that she loves him and even threatens to kill himself if she can’t love him. This is a big example of him not accepting her refusals, but in a smaller one, he also forces a kiss on her without her consent. That is a huge no-no and I would think in the day and age of frequent date rape, this part of the story would have received more resentment than it has.

This continues for the entire movie. In one last attempt to change her mind, he tells Bella he’d rather have her dead than be a vampire with Edward, another extreme example of him not accepting her choices. It paints a bleak picture of their supposed friendship since the only thing Jacob ever wanted out of it was to have Bella as his possession. Not until the end of the movie does Jacob accept Bella’s decision, though the tension between him and Edward remains in the final two films. It’s really only when Jacob imprints on Bella and Edward’s child that he shrugs off Bella. To be clear, his interest has moved from Bella to an infant of hers, which is entirely creepy.

Both Edward and Jacob, despite being at the heart of a well-loved romantic triangle, have their clear flaws and unacceptable behaviors. They were both manipulative and disrespectful in their pursuit of Bella. These behaviors are no longer seen as romantic as they once did. Though things worked out for the best, and the movies remain fun for fans, it’s important to note that they don’t present the romantic ideal people once thought they did. This is certainly not the type of romantic situation that would ever make a parent comfortable or trusting of the determined suitor; vampire, werewolf or just plain jerk.



This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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