Why Bella Swan is a villain

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We were discussing Harry Potter the other evening, as you do. Other Half (who has not read all the books) asked whether Voldemort went on the rampage before or after Harry was born. After pointing out to OH that obviously it started before (he killed Harry’s parents, remember?!), we got onto how that contributes to Harry being a hero at the end of the story. Harry, like Frodo in Lord of the Rings, gets thrown into a nightmarish situation not of his own making, but he doesn’t run or hide or try to leave it up to someone else to sort out – he’s willing to pay the ultimate price to end the evil. And by the end of the seventh book stuff has changed: Voldemort is no more. At the end of LOTR, the Ring is destroyed, and Sauron is no more. At the end of Mockingjay, Presidents Snow and Coin are dead. That’s the mark of a hero, surely: that she takes a terrible situation and at least tries to fix it. That something changes as a result of her actions.

So where does that leave Bella Swan?

I like Twilight a lot. I’ve read all the books and I’ve seen all the films; it’s a great, page-turning story. But I don’t think Bella is a hero, apart from in the very limited sense of ‘makes Edward’s life more enjoyable.’ At the start of the series there are good vampires and bad vampires, and most humans aren’t aware of the existence of either. At the end of the series, the situation is exactly the same. Apart from…

….Apart from all the people whose lives are over / screwed up because of Bella getting together with Edward. Think about the third book, Eclipse. Victoria (bad vampire, for any reader not up on his Twilight) creates an entire vampire army just to get revenge on Bella and Edward for the death of her mate (a death directly attributable to their romance). And in the fourth book a whole bunch of teenage Quileute are basically forced to become werewolves because of all the vampires hanging round the area (again, a direct result of Bella and Edward).

Bella doesn’t get rid of the Volturi or convince all vampires everywhere to become ‘vegetarian’. Instead, she just makes her own life better, while accidentally causing the death / animal-hybridisation of a bunch of random people.

Sure sounds like a villain to me. But what do you think?

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