After enduring over a decade of ruthless mockery, the Twilight Saga craze has come back from the dead with a bloodlust, and teenage girls with a nostalgic sweet tooth are eating it up just as voraciously as they did during the franchise’s golden age.
The main love interest in the book series written by Stephenie Meyer, Edward Cullen, has a lot more to offer as a teen heartthrob than just Robert Pattinson’s dashing looks in the movie adaptations.
In August 2020, Meyer published a reimagined version of the first book in her saga written from Edward’s perspective. What pop-culture connoisseurs have dubbed the “Twilight Renaissance” is now in full force. Here are the real reasons why Edward’s character is central to the resurgence of Meyer’s bloodthirsty fanbase of diehard romantics.
He’s a True Romantic
Edward Cullen knows how to sweep a girl off her feet — literally. The catalyst for his chemistry with Bella was the fact that her mind was the only one Edward couldn’t read. He initially became enamored with Bella because of her element of mystery. Similarly, Bella was intrigued by Edward’s ability to instantaneously save her from a car crash. While mind-reading vampires and near-death experiences aren’t necessarily the keys to romance — mystery is.
In a world where everyone knows everything about you via social media, the idea of cultivating mystery is completely lost. But it's exactly what we don't know about someone that creates the most tension and intrigue. We all love the idea of a man who's interested enough to get to know the real us, without tiring of the chase the instant he learns we won't sleep with him. Edward's fascination with Bella is intoxicating, and something we all wish we could find in real life.
He's a Gentleman
Because of the physical limitations of their relationship, Edward is extra careful when he's around Bella. He's not only incredibly gentle and polite around her, but his (literal) Edwardian values are always on display. He asks her father's permission before taking her out on their first "official date" and always makes sure to disappear when she needs a "human moment."
Chivalry is a lost art these days, and it's not all men's fault. Women have let men get away with the most terrible behavior imaginable, so it's no wonder that many of us are secretly hankering for a simpler, more chivalrous world. We miss the rules of courtship and the lingering glances of Jane Austen novels. Edward is just a modern Jane Austen love interest, and we love him for it.
He Wants a Traditional Marriage
Having lived to 104, no one would blame Edward for wanting to finally be with the woman he loves. But instead, he sticks to old-fashioned values in his relationship with Bella. To avoid hurting her or taking advantage of her eagerness, he insists on saving sexual intimacy for their marriage: “It’s just one rule I want to leave unbroken…I know that’s not a modern notion…I’m from a different era. Things were a lot less complicated.”
True, they have a bit more of an intimate relationship that one might have had in the early 20th century (boys sleeping in your bed every night?), but the idea that he values her worth enough to not take advantage of her, and in fact insists on waiting for marriage, is incredibly sexy.
He’s Protective, Not Jealous
Despite what the feminists may claim, Edward's relationship with Bella is about being protective, not being controlling. Edward has a very old-fashioned desire to protect Bella. Although he sometimes goes overboard with being protective (sabotaging Bella's car, anyone?), it's from a place of genuine concern. He also is willing to change when Bella stands up for herself.
For example, Edward competes with Jacob for Bella’s affections without getting his own ego involved. In Eclipse, Jacob kissed Bella against her will, leading to her breaking her hand while punching him in the face. When Edward finds out, Jacob argues Bella was “not sure” what she wanted.
Edward is more upset about Bella’s safety than the possibility that she would choose Jacob over him. Later, he even admits to Jacob that he would give Bella up if she chose to be with Jacob in the end. He displays a healthy desire to protect Bella rather than trying to control or possess her. That demonstration of security is super attractive.
Whether you side with Team Edward or Team Jacob, there’s no denying that the love story of Edward and Bella has stood the test of time — and maybe even eternity. In an age where women often lament the demise of chivalry and romance, it’s clear why the Twilight love story is so appealing. It reminds young women of their desire for men who charm, cherish, and truly respect them till death do them part. Cheers to many more years of Twilight fangirling!