Isabella Marie “Bella” Swan (later Bella Cullen) is the fictional protagonist of the Twilight series, written by Stephenie Meyer. The Twilight series, consisting of the novels Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn, is primarily narrated from Bella’s point-of-view.
In Twilight, Bella moves to her father’s home in Forks, Washington, meets the mysterious Cullen family, and falls in love with Edward Cullen. However, she soon discovers that the family is a coven of vampires. Bella expresses a desire to become a vampire herself, against Edward’s wishes. In the second novel, New Moon, Edward and the other Cullens leave Forks in an effort to keep Bella safe from the vampire world. Jacob Black, a member of the Quileute tribe who is also a shape shifter taking a wolf form, comforts the distraught and severely depressed Bella. She comes to care deeply for Jacob, though less than she loves Edward. In Eclipse, Bella becomes engaged to Edward, and they marry in Breaking Dawn. Edward then transforms Bella into a vampire after she nearly dies giving birth to their daughter, Renesmee. Bella has the ability to shield her mind (from mind reading, attacks, etc.), an ability she’s had from the beginning. But once she is transformed into a vampire, her ability is enhanced to where she can also expand her shield to protect others from mind control.
Kristen Stewart plays Bella in the Twilight film series.
Edward Cullen (born Edward Anthony Masen) is a major character, implicated in all of the Twilight Saga films and books. As stated in the first and second novels, he was born on June 20, 1901, in Chicago, Illinois, and was frozen in his 17-year-old body while dying of the Spanish influenza, when he was changed into a vampire by Dr. Carlisle Cullen. As shown in Twilight, he only did so because Edward’s dying mother, Elizabeth, begged him to save Edward. A member of the Olympic Coven, Edward only drinks animal blood and has the special ability to read minds. He falls in love with Bella soon after she arrives in Forks. Edward knows that he could kill Bella easily, a fact that torments him so much that, in the book New Moon, he decided to leave Forks with his family so they wouldn’t be able to hurt her. He returned because he realized he cannot live without her. Edward marries Bella in Breaking Dawn and they have a daughter, Renesmee.
Robert Pattinson plays Edward in the Twilight film series.
Jacob Black is Bella’s best friend. He is a Quileute Native American and a werewolf. In Twilight, Jacob plays the minor role of a forgotten childhood friend of Bella’s, and he develops a crush on her. In an attempt to learn more about Cullens, Bella flirts with Jacob, and he tells her tribe legends about “the cold ones”, or vampires. After Edward leaves Bella in New Moon, she spends much of her time with Jacob. Though she only considers him a friend, Jacob falls in love with Bella. Although he spends most of his time in Eclipse trying to win Bella, in Breaking Dawn he imprints— an involuntary process in which a werewolf finds their soul mate— on Bella and Edward’s daughter, Renesmee.
Taylor Lautner plays Jacob in the Twilight film series.
Carlisle Cullen (also known as Stregone Benefico) is Esme Cullen’s husband and the adoptive father of Edward, Emmett and Alice Cullen, as well as Rosalie and Jasper Hale. His first appearance was in Twilight and his physical age is 23. Carlisle is described to look like a model; he has blond hair, and is slender but muscular. Carlisle theorizes that when a human is turned into a vampire, they will have an enhanced ability from their previous life. He believes he brought compassion from his human life. Carlisle has had centuries to perfect his medicinal talents, therefore making him an excellent doctor. Unlike most vampires, he is not at all tempted by the scent of human blood, due to the over 300 years he has spent holding back his temptations. Carlisle Cullen was the son of an Anglican pastor, born in 1640s London, England, during a time of religious upheaval. His father and other pastors hunted creatures such as witches, werewolves, and vampires, often mistaking humans for them. As his father grew older, Carlisle assumed his role. One night, he was attacked by a vampire and left to die on the streets. Knowing he would be rejected by society, he hid himself and silently endured the painful transformation, emerging as a vampire. Horrified by what he had become, he tried killing himself many different ways, but all failed due to his power. One night, unable to endure hunger any longer, he fed on some passing deer. Subsequently realizing he could avoid feeding on humans, he committed himself to resisting his blood lust and to becoming a doctor.
For a short time, Carlisle lived with the Volturi, though he eventually left and traveled to the New World. In 1921, while treating patients with the Spanish Influenza, he met an ill woman who begged him to save her dying son, Edward. Out of loneliness, Carlisle transformed Edward into a vampire, and Edward became his companion. Soon after, Carlisle moved to Ashland, Wisconsin where he treated Esme after her failed suicide attempt brought on by her infant son’s death. Carlisle felt compelled to save her and transformed her into a vampire, subsequently falling in love with her, and later marrying her. Carlisle then transformed Rosalie Hale, a young woman nearly killed by her drunken fiancé and his friends in Rochester, New York, and left in the street to die. Later, while hunting, Rosalie found a young man named Emmett who had been mauled by a bear, and carried him over 100 miles to Carlisle. Carlisle then transformed Emmett, since Rosalie was unwilling to do it herself, fearing her blood lust would overwhelm her. After Carlisle changed Emmett, Carlisle and his family moved to Hoquiam, Washington where the Quileute Native American tribe offered the Cullens a treaty: the Quileutes would leave them alone if the Cullen family never attacked any humans or trespassed on Quileute land. The Cullens agreed and lived in relative peace until they had to move on. Between the Cullens’ first and second stay in Washington, Alice and Jasper joined his coven as well, having found Carlisle on their own. Throughout the Twilight saga, Carlisle works as a doctor, acting as the coven leader and offering medical advice and help when Bella is pregnant in Breaking Dawn.
Forbes magazine claimed in its 2009 Fictional 15 list of the wealthiest fictional characters that Carlisle is the richest of them all, using 370 years of compound interest and timely investments to amass an estimated fortune of $34.5 billion.
Peter Facinelli plays Carlisle in the Twilight film series.
Esme Cullen (born Esme Platt and later Esme Evenson) is Carlisle Cullen’s wife and the adoptive mother of Edward, Emmett and Alice Cullen, as well as Rosalie and Jasper Hale. She enjoys restoring old houses and her physical age is 26. She has no special power, but has a strong ability to love passionately. Esme is described as having caramel-colored hair; she also has a heart-shaped face with dimples, and her figure is slender, but rounded and soft. Esme was born in 1895 in Columbus, Ohio, where she was treated at the age of 16 by Carlisle after breaking her leg when climbing a tree. She married Charles Evenson, but he abused her. After finding out she was pregnant, she ran away and gave birth to a son, who subsequently died a few days later. Grief-stricken by his death, Esme attempted to kill herself by jumping off a cliff. Presumed dead, she was brought to a morgue. Carlisle, who remembered treating her years before, was able to hear her faint heartbeat and transformed her into a vampire. Esme fell in love with and married Carlisle soon after. She loves her adoptive children, including Bella, as if they were her own and has the most affection for Edward, but she still grieves that she is unable to bear children.
Esme is present throughout the entire Twilight series, revealing her past to Bella during the Cullens’ baseball game in Twilight. Esme treats Bella as her own daughter, comforting her after several traumatic events. In the film adaptation of Eclipse, Esme participated in a battle against the new-born vampires but in the book series, it is stated by Sam in the Breaking Dawn that she is not a fighter. In Breaking Dawn, it is revealed that Esme owns a South American island named “Isle Esme” that Carlisle purchased for her, and where Edward and Bella spend their honeymoon.
Elizabeth Reaser plays Esme in the Twilight film series.
Alice Cullen (born Mary Alice Brandon) is the adopted daughter of Carlisle and Esme Cullen, adoptive sister of Edward and Emmett Cullen, as well as Rosalie Hale and the wife of Jasper Hale. Alice is petite and pixie-like, with a graceful gait and hair that is short, spiky, and black. Her special ability is to see the future, an enhanced version of her ability to have premonitions as a human. Her ability is limited; she is only able to see the outcome of a decision once it is made. Due to this, decisions made in the spur of the moment can not be foreseen. Alice can see futures involving humans and vampires, but is unable to see those involving half-breeds, such as Renesmee and the werewolves. In Breaking Dawn, Alice theorizes that she can see vampires very clearly because she is one, can see humans somewhat less clearly because she was one, and cannot see werewolves or half-breeds because she never was one. Alice is bubbly and optimistic, and she loves and cares for Bella like a sister. She is also close to her brother Edward, and enjoys shopping, make-overs, and throwing parties. Alice’s early history is vague, as she remembers nothing about her human life and woke up alone as a vampire. It is eventually revealed that she was born around 1901 in Biloxi, Mississippi, and was committed to an asylum because she had premonitions. Alice was transformed by an old vampire who worked at the asylum to protect her from James, a tracker vampire who was hunting her. After some research, Alice found her grave and discovered that the date on her tombstone matches the date of her admission to the asylum. Through her research she additionally discovered that she had a younger sister named Cynthia, and that Cynthia’s daughter, Alice’s niece, is still alive in Biloxi.
Throughout Twilight, Alice uses her ability to see the future and help Bella when she is in danger. The two soon become friends, loving each other like sisters. In New Moon, Alice foresees Bella jumping off a cliff and assumes she is trying to commit suicide, though Bella actually was cliff diving. After discovering the truth, Bella accompanies Alice to Italy to prevent Edward from killing himself. They are successful, but are taken to see the Volturi, who police the vampire world. Through Alice’s premonitions, Aro is able to see that Bella will eventually become a vampire and invites her, Alice, and Edward to stay with them; it is later mentioned that Aro especially covets Alice’s gift. In Eclipse, Alice, who proves to be an adept fighter, joins the fight to destroy a group of rampaging newborn vampires, created by Victoria in an effort to take revenge on Edward. Alice acts as Bella’s maid of honor at her wedding in Breaking Dawn and helps care for Renesmee until leaving to search out a crossbreed after the Volturi plan to destroy Renesmee, believing her to be an immortal child. Alice is successful and the Volturi, convinced there is no threat, leave.
Ashley Greene plays Alice in the Twilight film series.
Emmett Cullen (born Emmett Dale McCarty) is Rosalie Hale’s husband, Carlisle and Esme Cullen’s adopted son, and Edward and Alice Cullen, as well as Jasper Hale’s adoptive brother. Emmett is tall, burly, extremely muscular, and, to most humans, the most intimidating of his adoptive siblings. He has curly dark hair and dimpled cheeks, and despite his physical attributes, he is actually the joker among the Cullens. He is always eager to engage in fights, and is often described as Edward’s favorite brother.
Emmett was 20 and living in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in 1935 when he was mauled by a bear. The injuries from the attack were severe and he was found by Rosalie, who had been hunting in the area at the time. Rosalie, who was reminded of her friend Vera’s baby by his dark curls, dimples, and innocent appearance, carried him over a hundred miles to Appalachia where Carlisle was, asking him to spare Emmett’s life by turning him into a vampire. Emmett joined Carlisle’s coven but initially had trouble adjusting to the family’s diet of animal blood. In Twilight, Emmett is at first wary of Bella but soon warms up to her, treating her as his younger sister. He often teases her for her clumsiness, criticizes her old truck and constant blushing, and votes in favor of her becoming a vampire in New Moon. In Breaking Dawn Emmett jokingly makes innuendos about Bella’s sex life until he is silenced when she defeats him several times in arm wrestling matches; he later helps train Bella to fight in the oncoming battle with the Volturi.
Kellan Lutz plays Emmett in the Twilight film series.
Rosalie Hale is the adopted daughter of Carlisle and Esme Cullen, adoptive sister of Jasper Hale as well as Edward and Alice Cullen, and the wife of Emmett Cullen. Her physical age is 18, and she was born in 1915 in Rochester, New York. Rosalie is described as exceptionally beautiful, even for a vampire; she is tall, statuesque, and has long, wavy blonde hair. While she was human, she was said to be a woman with elegance, class, and eyes the color of violets. In Eclipse, she describes her human self as vain, self-centered, and shallow, pleased with her physical beauty and forever desiring attention. A wealthy young man named Royce King II took an interest in her and soon the two became engaged, with Rosalie eager to have a fancy wedding, live in a big, expensive house, and have children of her own. While visiting her friend Vera, she one day noticed that she did not share the same loving relationship with Royce as her friend Vera did with her husband. Dismissing it, Rosalie later walked home and met an intoxicated Royce and his friends, leading to her being beaten, gang-raped, and left to die in the streets. Carlisle, coming across her, pitied her and changed her into a vampire with the secret hope that she would become Edward’s mate, though the two of them are never more than brother and sister. After her transformation, she tortured and killed those who had attacked her, including Royce, but did not drink their blood, a fact that she is proud of. Apart from Carlisle and Edward, she has the most self-control and appreciation for human life, and has never tasted human blood. Rosalie is bitter that her life as a vampire prevents her from having children and experiencing the normal changes of life, and her desire to be human is so strong that she would give up her immortality and beauty for it.
When Rosalie first appears in Twilight she is hostile toward Bella and jealous of her humanity; she is also irritated that Edward could be attracted to Bella, a mere human, when he had never shown the slightest interest in Rosalie, who has always been desired by men. In New Moon, she mistakenly reports to Edward that Bella is dead after supposedly committing suicide. She is guilty and apologetic upon Bella and Edward’s return from Italy, and later opposes Bella’s choice to become a vampire, stating that she wishes there had been someone to say “no” for her. In Eclipse, Rosalie reveals her past to Bella with the hope that Bella will choose to stay human, and she later joins in the fight against Victoria’s army of newborn vampires. In Breaking Dawn, Bella contacts Rosalie after finding out she is pregnant, knowing that Rosalie has always wanted children. She stays by Bella’s side throughout the pregnancy, defending Bella’s choice to keep the baby; this ultimately brings the two of them closer together, and by the end of the novel they have become friends. Rosalie later helps care for the child, Renesmee, while Bella is undergoing transformation into a vampire.
Nikki Reed plays Rosalie in the Twilight film series.
Jasper Hale (born Jasper Whitlock) is the adopted son of Carlisle and Esme Cullen, adoptive brother of Rosalie Hale, as well as Edward and Emmett Cullen, and husband of Alice Cullen. He takes the name Hale to pass as Rosalie’s sibling. He was born in Texas and joined the Confederate States Army in 1861 to serve in the American Civil War. Due to his extremely charismatic personality, he ascended through the ranks quickly. Jasper was turned into a vampire in 1863 by a vampire named Maria when he was 20 years old. After transformation, he gained the ability to sense and manipulate emotions of those around him. Recognizing his high rank in the army, Maria decided to change him into a vampire to help her claim territory in Monterrey. Jasper’s responsibility was to train young vampires and then kill them when they were no longer useful. After about a century of this, he grew weary of the lifestyle and joined an old friend, Peter, and his mate Charlotte. Jasper left the two eventually, not wanting to feed on humans because he could feel his prey’s emotions as they died. Alice, foreseeing that they would be together, met him in a half-empty diner in Philadelphia, and together they sought out the Cullen family. Due to his past, where he was able to feed on humans whenever he chose, Jasper lacks strong self-control. In Eclipse it is suggested that the “vegetarian” lifestyle is not Jasper’s first choice and that this also affects his self-control. It is also suggested that he remains with the Cullens mainly for Alice’s sake and that while he is fond of them all, he is not as attached to them as she is. He is described as tall with honey blond hair, and is muscular but lean. His face and body are covered with crescent-shaped scars, after his years of fighting and training newborn vampires.
In Twilight, Jasper accompanies Alice and Bella when they are hiding from James, using his ability to calm Bella when she is stressed or afraid. In New Moon, he loses control and attacks Bella when she gets a paper cut, prompting Edward to leave Forks in order to protect Bella. In Eclipse, Jasper teaches the werewolves and vampires fighting techniques to defend themselves against newborn vampires. In Breaking Dawn, he leaves with Alice to find a vampire-human hybrid, and returns with her to defend Renesmee and the rest of the family against the Volturi.
Jackson Rathbone plays Jasper in the Twilight film series.
Renesmee “Nessie” Carlie Cullen (pronounced ruh-NEZ-may) is the dhampir daughter of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, born on September 10, three days before Bella’s nineteenth birthday in Breaking Dawn. Her name is derived from the amalgamation of the names of Bella’s mother, Renée, and Edward’s adoptive mother, Esme. Her middle name, Carlie, is a portmanteau of the names Carlisle, Edward’s adoptive father, and Charlie, Bella’s father. She has the same facial features and hair color as Edward, but has her grandfather, Charlie Swan’s, curly hair, and brown eyes like Bella. Her heart pumps blood, giving her a blush, and her pale skin slightly glows in sunlight. Her skin is warm and soft to the touch, but it is as strong as a vampire’s. Only minutes after she is born, she is imprinted upon by Jacob Black, who becomes her soul mate and acts as an older brother figure to her. Renesmee can survive on either blood or human food, though she prefers blood, and she does not produce venom. Her special abilities are transmitting thoughts to others by touching their skin and penetrating mental shields, the opposite abilities of each of her parents. She rapidly grows both mentally and physically, is able to speak only seven days after her birth, and by the end of the novel can read, run, hunt, and perform other tasks at advanced levels for her young age. Her intelligence stuns everyone, and she is able to understand what is happening around her when the Volturi arrive. Jacob nicknames her “Nessie” because he considers her full name to be a mouthful, though Bella strongly dislikes her child being nicknamed “after the Loch Ness Monster.” By the book’s end, however, all of the characters have adopted this shortened version. She will reach physical maturity after about seven years, when her appearance will be around 17, and then stop aging.
Weeks after Renesmee is born, Irina, a vampire from the Denali coven, sees Renesmee and believes she is an “immortal child”, a young human child who had been changed into a vampire. She informs the Volturi, as immortal children are not permitted to exist due to their unpredictable nature. Intent on killing Renesmee, and the other Cullens, the Volturi travel to Forks. The Cullens gather witnesses from around the world to testify that they have seen her mature and grow, and so she is therefore not an immortal child. Alice brings another half-breed, 150-year-old Nahuel, who explains that half-breeds pose no danger to the vampires. Convinced that Renesmee is not a threat, the Volturi leave, and Renesmee and her family are left in peace.
Actress Mackenzie Foy is set to play Renesmee in the film adaptation of Breaking Dawn.
In real life, some fans have diverted their attention to Renesmee and formed a Team Renesmee fan base. Fans of Team Renesmee enjoy the shift in emphasis away from debates between Team Jacob and Team Edward. Instead, they focus on how Renesmee’s relationship with Jacob will turn out, and if they marry and have children, what abilities their half-breed children would possess. This change in focus was fuelled by Stephanie Meyer; when asked about whether or not Jacob could father children with Renesmee, she responded: “That is a question I’m reserving the right not to answer, because there is a chance I’ll go back to their story.”
Debates on the abilities of these shape shifting vampires have been common place on Twilight forums over the internet, as fans try to work out how a combination of powers from Renesmee and Jacob would turn out.