Vampire History Lesson: Twilight, Chapter 16

If you love something, set it free, especially if there’s the risk of you killing that thing you love if it stays with you much longer.


Edward takes Bella to Carlisle’s office to give her a “history lesson,” if you know what I mean.

It’s been a while, so let me back up. Edward Cullen is a vampire man who is over a hundred years old. Bella Swan is a human girl who is still in high school. Dr. Carlisle Cullen is Edward’s adopted father, and he too is an old vampire man.

Bella’s first impression of the office is that it has books. Lots of books. Like, shelves that take up most of the wall space, shelves that tower over Bella’s head, shelves that are full of books. I don’t know much about Carlisle, but judging by how many books he has, I’d say he’s a pretty cool guy. I hope one day to have a room that’s just books.

And he has a mahogany desk! And a wall full of pictures and paintings of London from when Carlisle was a kid, in the 1650s. Edward asks Carlisle to give Bella the history lesson, but Carlisle says he’s “running a bit late” and the “hospital called this morning,” giving him a convenient excuse to leave Edward alone with Bella.

So on to what happened after Carlisle got bited by the vampire. He knew what was happening, so he tried to kill himself. He tried falling from great heights, he tried drowning in the ocean, he tried starvation. None of them worked, obviously. So for months, he wandered around, staying away from civilization because he knew he wouldn’t be able to resist human blood for much longer.

One day, he discovered he liked to eat deer. Problem solved, right? Then Bella rudely interrupts and goes off on a tangent because Edward tells her that he and his kind don’t need to breathe. She starts asking him stupid questions like, “You don’t have to breathe?” after he told her twice that he didn’t have to, and “how long can you go without breathing?” If you don’t have to do something, then you can go without doing that thing for infinity plus one minutes, give or take a few time units. Use your head, Bella!

I can hold my breath for about 10 seconds. I know you’re impressed.

Then Edward reveals to Bella that he keeps waiting for her to run away, and that he wants her to do it, because it’s the safest thing for her to do. That’s true love right there. If you love something, set it free, especially if there’s the risk of you killing that thing you love if it stays with you much longer.

Back to the story, Carlisle swims from England to France and becomes a doctor. After 200 years, he becomes nearly immune to the smell of human blood. Then he meets other vampire people, sophisticated art-lovers.

They hang out for a while, but then they try to convince him that it’s okay to drink human blood, and he tries to convince them that it’s not okay to drink human blood. Eventually, he decides to move to that place across the ocean. He does doctor things in America, and when there was a big flu thing going on, he was in Chicago, and that’s where he meets dying Edward. He turns Edward into a vampire, and they all live happily ever after.

Except not. Edward rebels against Carlisle, and he runs away for a few years. He comes back after realizing he is truly a monster or something like that.

Snap back to reality, and we’re back in the Cullens’ house. Edward shows Bella his room, which has a huge window with a view of some mountains, and shelves full of CDs because this book was written in 2005 when people still bought CDs. “His room was better stocked than a music store,” Bella notices, which I highly doubt is true back in 2005. If this was written in 2016, I’d believe it, given the state of the music industry and the downward trajectory of physical music stores that you can actually walk into. Jazz music is playing.

I hate jazz. That’s all I’ll say about the matter. The only genres of music worse than jazz are R&B (which is lit’rally the worst) and EDM (because it doesn’t require any skill; but it is fun to listen to sometimes, I’ll admit). 

Edward tells Bella he’s still waiting for her to run away scared by all the stories. But she says she doesn’t find him scary at all. Which is a lie. How do I know this? Because Stephenie Meyer straight up tells us that Bella lied: “‘I don’t find you scary, actually,’ I lied.” That’s just lazy writing. Kind of like this blog. But I’m not getting paid thousands of dollars to do this.

Stephenie Meyer probably does this every day, because she’s flush with cash

Edward then tries to prove that he is scary by pouncing on Bella. The two wrestle/rough-hug each other, and Bella notices that Edward is “well in control” while doing so, so there’s really no danger. As they’re all over each other on the sofa, there’s a voice at the door. It’s Alice and Jasper. Alice doesn’t seem flustered at the sight, but Jasper is a bit shocked.

After regaining his composure (by the way, does anything happen to one’s composure other than losing it and regaining it? If you ever find the answer, let me know), Jasper tells Edward that there’s going to be a thunderstorm tonight, and that the vampires are going to play ball. Because those two things go together really well.

What kind of ball are they going to play? Volleyball, of course!

Just kidding. Baseball, because, as Edward says, “It’s the American pastime.”

Vampires are comedians, too!

“It sounded like you were having Bella for lunch, and we came to see if you would share” – Alice

About backstory

I hope Meyer has a good reason for all this history. Nobody likes to read backstory if it doesn’t end up having some importance to the plot later on. It’s interesting, but it bogs down the rest of the story. And there are more interesting ways to reveal important character details other than just going on a long monologue.

What’s next?
Vampires playing baseball. That alone is worth the price of admission. Stephenie Meyer better not screw up this golden opportunity.


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