I’ll admit it, I’ve always had a thing for vampires. One of my favorite creatures of the night is the sensitive, soulful Louis from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. Like Edward, Louis is so horrified by his murderous nature that he refuses to take human life, at least for a while.
There’s just something so alluring about these pale immortal creatures, especially when they have a heart, beating or otherwise. So back to Edward…
On a diet
Edward Cullen is the main vampire character in the Twilight series and the boyfriend of its protagonist, teenager Bella Swan. He lives with a family of vampires in the cloudy town of Forks in Washington. His family are not related in the traditional sense but are united by their oath to abstain from drinking human blood. They are almost the only ones among their kind to choose such a path, and it’s no easy feat.
The smell of human blood is powerfully appealing to all vampires. It takes a tremendous will to resist it, something some of the Cullens manage better than others. The family’s father figure, Dr Cullen, is the most disciplined of them all. He trained himself to become immune to the smell of human blood so he could work as a doctor, and use his heightened vampire senses to save, rather than to take, life. It was while practicing his profession that he first encountered Edward.
Birth and rebirth
Edward was born on 20 June 1901, the only child of Edward and Elizabeth Masen. When the Spanish influenza epidemic broke out in their home city of Chicago in 1918, the family succumbed to infection and ended up in the care of Dr Cullen. The father died first and the mother, on the brink of death, begged the doctor to save her 17-year-old son – at any cost.
That night Dr Cullen injected Edward with his venom, causing him to go through the painful transformation from human to vampire, and so prolonged his life indefinitely. For a while, Edward remained in the care of his immortal father and followed his animal-only diet. But after some time, he entered a rebellious phase and went his own way.
Some vampires have a special sixth sense, an extraordinary power beyond what is considered normal among their kind. When Edward Cullen awoke in his immortal state, he had the ability to hear the thoughts of those around him. After leaving Dr Cullen, he used this gift to select his human prey.
Edward would listen in on the thoughts of people and select only victims who were corrupt and evil. For instance he would follow someone intent on murder and kill them before they had a chance to carry out their intended crime. However, he soon grew tired of his murderous ways, returned to Dr Cullen, and re-adopted his humane ways.
Although Edward and the rest of the Cullen family stand out in society, they do their best to blend in. They appear human but are unusually beautiful and supernaturally strong. Their skin is pale and cold to the touch and their bodies are as hard as steel. They can move with extraordinary speed and pick up the scent of others, human or otherwise. But they manage to hide their differences enough to lead relatively normal lives.
At the beginning of the Twilight series, Edward Cullen is a pupil at Forks high school. He lays his eyes on the love of his life, Bella Swan, for the first time in the school cafeteria. We later find out that he is so overwhelmed by his need for her that he has to struggle to resist leaping across the cafeteria and drinking her blood. Inexplicably Bella is the only person whose thoughts Edward can’t read. He soon manages to control his craving for her blood, and the two fall deeply in love. (Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as Edward Cullen and Bella Swan in the Twilight Saga)
Edward Cullen is fiercely protective of Bella and conflicted by their relationship. Although he finds it almost impossible to resist being with her, he sees himself as a negative influence in her life. He unintentionally puts her in danger from other vampires and is distressed when she tells him she wants to become a vampire. He believes that when she stops being human, she will lose her soul.
Edward might only have eyes for Bella but ever since Meyer brought him into the world, millions of girls have succumbed to his charms. Find out what becomes of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan in this overview of the four Twilight books.
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