Monday, September 08, 2008

Edward Cullen, the True Stalker Hero?

Over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, there is quite a discussion going on about Edward Cullen, the vampire boyfriend of Bella Swan from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. Sarah finally decided to read Twilight, and eventually reviewed the book and gave it a D+ grade, which I disagree with, but hey, not every book can be agreed upon equally. :D From there, Sarah wondered what is the deal with Edward? What makes all the teenage girls and some adult women become a bit swoony about him?

The great post, What Is It About Edward, raised some interesting things about this character, from him being an alpha hero stalker because he can’t stop watching over Bella. He sleeps in her bed with her every night, awake, trying to hold back his urges for her blood, along with having some major issues mainly because he is a one-hundred plus year old virgin. (This comment about Edward being a virgin is from the actor, Robert Pattinson who will play Edward in the movie Twilight). Apparently Robert didn’t have warm fuzzy feelings for Edward. And the comment he made about Edward being a virgin makes me roll my eyes.

From my point of view, I really don’t see Edward as a stalker in any way. There have been many other heroes from romances past that could be considered more of an alpha stalker than Edward. Take Christine Feehan’s heroes for instance. I can’t help but compare one trait of Feehan’s heroes with Edward for the soul purpose that Edward and Feehan’s heroes have no feelings until they meet their one true love. Other than that, the comparison ends there because, whereas Edward is willing to tell let go of Bella or tell her to stay away from him for her own safety, Feehan’s heroes are alpha jerks, who once they meet their woman, who brings the light and color back into their lives, won’t take no for an answer. They even resort to some type of forced seduction on their part to make the heroine succumb to their way of thinking. They dazzle her with their powers and in the midst of being dazzled, the hero attacks, binding them both for all eternity, just because it is meant to be, or so says the alpha hero.

I have also come to the conclusion that Rainier vel'En Daris Feyreisen from C.L. Wilson’s Fading Lands series is another perfect example of an alpha stalker obsessed male. I am in the midst of reading King of Sword and Sky and I have to admit that Rain fits this profile perfectly. When he is first introduced in Lord of the Fading Lands, he is some sort of raging, killing cat beast who, when he sees his mate, practically scares her into submission where she must accept him. If she doesn’t, he will go insane and kill many and perhaps even die a horrible death himself. Can we a manipulative and crazed SOB? And of course when the heroine, Ellie refuses him, he is much like those Feehan heroes who won’t take no for an answer. Again, is this really what people think Edward Cullen is like?

To me, an alpha stalker hero will do their very best to make the heroine obey them with no consequences to her feelings. In the case of Edward, he may be a little creepy in the sense he can’t help but watch Bella and follow her wherever she goes, but I have to give the poor guy a break. In Meyer’s world, vampires don’t sleep during the day, or even sleep at all. Unless they meet their mate, they are bound to walk the Earth for eternity with no feelings, just the basic one, where the must feed on blood. The deal with Edward and his feelings for Bella, and visa-versa, is the moment they meet. They both have that soul mate moment. Edward begins to feel everything he felt when he was human. Now his urges are raging ten fold and unfortunately Bella is the victim of these feelings.

Many readers think Bella is one-dimensional and has no personality. When we are first introduced to Bella, she is much like Edward. Her life is boring, very ho-hum. She doesn’t care to make friends or where she lives. She is going through the every day motions expected of her. But when she meets Edward, it is like an electric shock, she in turn becomes alive because of Edward.

I can’t help but compare Edward and Bella’s romance to a fairy tale. Theirs is like The Beauty and The Beast tale. I think there is a great deal of comparison with that story and what Edward and Bella have. At first Bella is a bit wary of Edward, but soon she accepted him, warts and all, and even though she knows he may want to kill her, she is brave enough to say to him, I trust you not to hurt me. And because Edward loves Bella, he tries his best not to give in to those beastly urges and kill her.

What about those so horrible “urges” of Edward? In vampire mythology, the drinking of blood is very much a sexual thing, a euphemism for sex. What Meyer does here is give the readers both, the lust for blood and sex, something we have read many times before. Edward’s impulses first and foremost are for Bella’s blood. Bella’s, is for intimacy and sex. What I liked about Edward and Bella’s relationship is the slow build up of this intimacy and combating the desire they have for one another. We see things begin slowly between these two with simple kisses and holding hands. As thing continue to progress between them, into New Moon and Eclipse, their relationship has begun a very sexual one where at one point we see Bella straddling a shirtless Edward and there is some heavy kissing going on, and I assume heavy petting between the two, but the heavy petting is off screen so to speak. Edward still has not given into his urges for Bella even though his craving for other things like the intimacy Bella wants to share with him is stronger. Finally in Breaking Dawn we see the final outcome, which is marriage, and that is where Edward finally gives Bella what she wants. I was so amazed by how well Meyer handled their wedding night and honeymoon. Edward still must sacrifice his most essential hunger for Bella, but these two consummate their relationship that is very satisfying, at least from Bella’s point of view. Bella’s experience is one ultimate fantasy where I expected to see fireworks and stars before her eyes because it was exactly what she always dreamed it to be. As for Edward, his experience was a bit more uncomfortable because he thought he hurt Bella because of his superior strength. Of course Bella didn’t see it like this at all and soon after, Edward and she continued their honeymoon with very happy results.

With this in mind, is Edward really the alpha stalker hero some have made him out to be? He saves Bella from dangerous situations (even though she must be one of the most accident prone heroines in the history of literature), watches over her and protects her when she is vulnerable, especially in sleep, and introduces her to a world of unparallel delight. He gives her wonderful gifts, makes sure she is comfortable and sacrifices himself, allowing the hunger he has for her to remain inside even though, each day he longs to let it break free. He denies himself of her love and punishes himself because he thinks he is not worthy. He wants Bella to have a life filled with joy and happiness and knows that if he continues to be in her life, she may not have that, but still because she wants him, he gives her what she wants most, himself, damaged in some ways even though he may seem to be the perfect package on the outside.

Is this truly an example of an alpha stalker? So, what’s your example of a stalker hero? Does Edward really fit the profile? Can you think of any other heroes in romance that tend to be on the alpha stalker side?

Katiebabs (KB)


Tracy said...

I personally don't see him as a stalker but that's me. Can't think of any others to compare though. :)

Great post!

kmont said...

Oh thank you! I was beginning to get a tad depressed, reading all the stalker talk about Edward. And I know, I really do - I don't have to read the convos. But I'd see an online convo about the books and wham, in no time it's all about hating Edward. No one to blame but myself though.

I really do love differing opinions on books, honest! But reading so much Edward dislike, I put aside Breaking Dawn to read till later, when my mind isn't so clouded with it all.

I never saw him as a stalker either, but never felt "safe" saying so. Again, I know, very silly. But this is still the only remark I'm likely to make on it online. Evah. Yay lol.

So one day I will pick BD up again and just enjoy it as plain 'ole fiction.

little alys said...

Great analysis and comparsion, but sadly, I do feel Edward has traits of the Alpha stalking heroes.

The ASH are actually hard from me to read having been stalked by two before. Stalkers. Not heroes. It. Was. Not. Fun.
Not saying that ASH cannot be written, but this type of heroes are hard to be written well and likable.
Edward wasn't a bad character, but from the first book, he kinda of creeped me out (as many books before him has done so, so it's nothing again him), but given this was a young adult book, it wasn't as extreme as your examples of Ms. Feehan or Ms. Wilson. If written for adults? He probably would be.

So, conclusion: traits, but not really.

Sorry chica, the series was only so-so in my opinion.

Christine said...

I don't think Edward's a stalker. He may show signs of being overly protective, but as a vampire, he does know more about her physical vulnerabilities than other humans. Not to mention how short and fleeting her life must look like to someone who lives forever (or at least a really, really long time).

Thea said...

Very insightful post Katie!

Personally, I've never been a big Edward fan--I've always been of the Jacob persuasion, although I don't think I'd go so far as to call Edward a "stalker" in Twilight. In fact, I liked the dynamic in Twilight just fine (it's Edward's actions in subsequent books--especially his dickwad controlling behavior of Bella in Eclipse--that really pissed me off).

I can see the point that Edward is creepy and stalker-y by waiting outside Bella's window--but I think you have a good point Katie by saying that he IS a vampire after all.

What I find kind of double-standard-y about the whole "we hate edward" party-line that seems to be going on right now is the fact that identical heroes, such as Rain from the Tairen Soul books, or the Christine Feehan heroes Katie aptly mentions are NOT lumped into this same category.

So what gives? Why is Edward criticized but Rain et al are pardoned or seen as romantic heroes?

I think there's a lot of Twilight backlash out there--and it's kind of funny since before BD (or before that particular blog post) I seem to recall a whole bunch of readers loving Edward. *shrugs*

Ok so this is a long rambling comment. :p It's your fault Katie for such a provocative post :) Great job.

azteclady said...

I haven't read the Twilight books, so perhaps I shouldn't even answer :grin: but you know I will anyway.

I think that the whole "he's a stalker, he's an asshat, he's a jerk" for some, while the same character is "dreamy, alpha, wonderful" depend basically on two very subjective factors: the reader's own expectations/life experiences, and the reader's take on the actual writing.

For example, I know that Dear Author thought that Ford Sawyer, from Nora Roberts' Tribute was stalkerish, while the thought never crossed my mind while reading the book.

I've not doubt that some will say that the hero of Linda Howard's Death Angel had stalkerish behaviour (if we can ignore the truckload of other sins he carries around *cough*), yet again, I found it fitting both the character and the narrative.

Helped none?

Tumperkin said...

Great post KB. I can't think of any alpha stalkerish types I like. I think it's cos I like the ones that run AWAY from the heroines but can't escape, like Dain from Lord of Scoundrels! Lol

Katiebabs said...

Tracy: You and I are of the same brain ;)

Kmont: I think too many readers are looking too much into something that may not even be there. You know when Twilight came out, all those people who are bashing Edward were at once like, ohhhh I wish Edward would sleep in bed with me!

Alys: I have to admit that I would find it a bit freaky to have a guy watch me when I sleep. I couldn't stand my sister's cats in bed with me, how could I stand a undead vamp watching me. What if I drooled or snored?

Christine: Ditto! :D

Thea: Aren't most vampire heroes in the romance we read a tad bit creepy? Edward does fit this mold.

AL: I am still waiting to get my hands on Death Angel. you must read Twilight. I expect a review from you in a month!

T:Poor Dain never had a chance!

Thea said...

Kmont: I think too many readers are looking too much into something that may not even be there. You know when Twilight came out, all those people who are bashing Edward were at once like, ohhhh I wish Edward would sleep in bed with me!

Katie--word. I am 100% with you on this. I find it very odd that all of a sudden everyone ZOMGHATES! Edward.

It's quite a change from all the Edward-loving blog reviews for Twilight that are out there...

azteclady said...

*looking at list of promised reviews*

erm... a month? that means "any" month, right?

Katiebabs said...

AL: I will allow you an extension. :P

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHA. How is someone who sneaks into your bedroom to watch you sleep every night NOT a stalker? The thing about Edward is that he's completely protective and not violent AT ALL, so his stalker tendencies can be forgiven.

What I want to know is - where is your tweenage hate mail? OMG EDWARD 4EVA!

Katiebabs said...

Ciaralira: Because I am beloved by all!! :P

Roberta Leal said...

I'm so glad you think that way. Great Post. =)