In Defense of Jacob

(Spoiler alert: Herein lie major spoilers for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse).

Everyone knows that half the fun of being a Twi-hard is picking a side in the battle for Bella's heart. But many wonder how the fans can still be divided at the end of Eclipse, when Bella makes her final choice. She accepts Edward's marriage proposal. She lets him put a ring on her finger, sets a wedding date, and even makes plans to tell her father. And now that she's met Edward's conditions and been threatened yet again by the Volturi, it is certain that she will become a vampire.

The fight is quite clearly over, yet in the film's most heartbreaking scene, a literally broken and defeated Jacob renews his vow to keep fighting for Bella until her heart stops beating, and ads, "and maybe even after." Is Jacob just a sore loser? An immature brat that can't move on? Maybe. But some of us keep on rooting for him, and with good reason. Jacob's feelings for Bella are the closest thing to real love that we ever see in The Twilight Saga.

Twilight is meant to be a great love story between Bella and Edward, but screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and the three directors that have so far brought the story to life on the big screen (not to mention Stephenie Meyer) have failed in showing us what makes these two love each other. We're told over and over again to accept that they have an inexplicable, almost supernatural connection to each other. Some fans may find the idea of love as a logic-defying force more powerful than any human to be romantic. And this idea could work if it was the only definition of love we see in the story. But then we're introduced to Jacob, a character who cares for Bella after Edward abandons her. He accepts her and defends her to his family and friends even though she's the "vampire girl". Instead of spending all their time sitting around fretting over how they can't possibly be together, like she and Edward used to do, Bella and Jacob bond over activities they both enjoy. They joke around with each other, open up to each other, confide in each other and call each other out when they behave badly. Over time, they form a bond and their feelings grow stronger, just like real people do in real life. Yet the second Bella gets a lead on where Edward is, none of that real, earned love she has with Jacob seems to matter anymore. And she doesn't realize that she's hurting Jacob as badly as Edward hurt her.

Some of Jacob's actions in Eclipse are annoying and out of line. But he shows true contrition for his bad behavior and is forgiven because these actions are mostly in line with how a teenage boy who's just had his heart broken really would behave (he did deserve that right hook from Bella, though). He also earns sympathy from the audience by asking Bella all the questions we want to ask: why is being with Edward worth giving up her human friends, family, and her humanity? (Also, is it really enjoyable to cuddle with a stone cold vampire?) He sees someone he loves making a decision that will have permanent, life-altering consequences, and he tries desperately to stop it. In other words, he behaves like a human being, which is more than can be said for the other characters in the movie.

Jacob also continues to show his true love for Bella by risking his life to join the Cullens in their battle against Victoria's army. It's interesting that in this battle, Jacob is the only character to sustain any serious injuries. He's the only one left screaming in pain at the end. This is more proof that Jacob is the most human character in Eclipse. He's the only character who feels pain like we do, whether it be physical or emotional. And it's only natural that some people would root for the character they are most able to empathize with. Art (which Twilight arguably, is part of) is supposed to show us a reflection of life, and without Jacob, the Twilight Saga would fail to do that. So even though we know a happy ending isn't in the cards for him, some of us will remain loyal to Team Jacob, until our hearts stop beating.