The Twilight franchise took the 2010s by storm. The whole story built up to one moment: Bella becoming a vampire. When Edward, an immortal vampire, meets Bella, a regular human girl, he is immediately drawn to her. The two of them have an intense and rocky love story throughout the saga, but Bella knows what she wants and intends to get it. Although they are on and off, they both want to be together forever, even though they have different ideas of forever. Edward doesn’t want to transform Bella and doom her soul, and Bella doesn’t want to grow old while the love of her life stays seventeen forever.
They eventually find a middle ground. Edward will transform Bella, but they have to get married first. After they graduate high school, Edward and Bella get married and go on their honeymoon. Bella is desperate to consummate their marriage before her senses are dulled by the constant desire for blood. When they do, the unthinkable happens. In all his years as an immortal, Edward never thought he could father a child, but a few weeks into their marriage, Bella is pregnant with a half-immortal baby.
Although they are all afraid that the child will kill Bella, she is willing to lose her life for the baby she is carrying. The baby grows rapidly and develops a taste for blood, making Bella weak. This makes them all realize Bella will not survive childbirth as a human and will need to be transformed as soon as the baby is delivered.
How did the transformation happen, and why was it so anticlimactic in the movie adaptation?
The Movie Transformation
In the movie adaptation of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Bella’s transformation is almost peaceful. After giving birth to Renesmee, her half-vampire-half-human daughter, Edwards fears he is too late. He tries to transform her into a vampire, but she lies completely still, unreactive to his venom. Her mind flashes with memories of her human life, and we see that her veins are being coated by venom to freeze her to be forever eighteen, but on the outside that is unclear.
The Cullens can hear her heart beating but are unsure if she will make it. Her transformation doesn’t seem to take very long in the movie, but the waiting is unbearable because nobody can be sure if the venom worked. Afterward, she wakes up and sees everything with superhuman sight and is unnaturally stronger than Edward. Even with her strength, Edward quickly holds her close and grins through her crushing hug.
The Book Transformation
In the book, Edward bites Bella all over in hopes that the venom will reach her heart faster because the birth of her daughter nearly killed her. As soon as the venom takes, she is writhing in a burning pain that convinces her she has died. Similar to the movie, she is still, but that is because Carlisle gave her morphine for the pain. While the morphine did not numb the pain, it rendered her motionless.
This transformation lasts days of her slipping in and out of consciousness. When she finally awakens, she possesses superhuman qualities and is regarded warily by her family because newborn vampires are notoriously violent and unpredictable. She is not trusted to see her daughter until after she hunts for the first time and even after that is watched closely by her new family.
Comparing the Two Transformations
The original transformation in the book would not be suitable for Twilight’s target audience due to its intensity. In the book, she is bloodied, bruised, and on death’s door. Considering most of Twilight’s audience consisted of teenage girls, that gruesome transformation may have had them feeling grossed out and their parents unwilling to let them watch the movie.
Additionally, the movie lacked details that seemed essential in the book. That can likely be attributed to needing to condense the story down for the silver screen. They spared as many details as they could, even splitting the final book into two movies, but it’s impossible to include every detail. One detail that was glazed over in the movie that was a disservice was the idea that Bella was dangerous as a newborn vampire. That conflict in the books added a lot of context and depth to the final chapter of this story, starting well before Bella’s transformation. Without it, the downsides to becoming a vampire weren’t so hard to look past.
This story originally appeared on Movieweb