Vampires are a species of mythological supernatural creatures that feed the blood of either humans or animals. In the Twilight Saga, they have certain distinctive characteristics, among which appearance and hunting behavior, that set them apart from other fictional vampires.
Vampires are a supernatural species in the Twilight universe (other known species are werewolves and shapeshifters). It is known that humans can be turned into vampires, and vampire venom is nothing more than a deadly poison to animals. Shapeshifters cannot be turned, however much like animals, the venom acts as a deadly poison giving them a slow and very painful death if fatal injuries are added. Vampires themselves are feral, predatory creatures, far more savage and beast-like than their human appearance suggests. They growl, snarl, hiss, and curl their lips back baring their teeth as signs of aggression when provoked. Even older "civilized" vampires (ex. the Cullens) can break their human facade and show their animal instincts. When they sense danger, they go almost immediately into a defensive crouch, after which they bare their teeth as a sign of warning. If the warning is not heeded, they will let out a feral snarl and attack. Fighting, vampires use both their hands (grappling) and their teeth. Their bites can sever the limbs of their opponent (vampire teeth are known to be able to cut through their skin) as well as kill (ripping out the throat). Their grappling can tear off limbs and is known as a better way to fight than just going for the kill (mostly inexperienced vampires and newborns do so). Despite their nature, vampires are also capable of feelings, such as love, beauty, protection, compassion, care, respect, self-control, empathy and remorse.
Blood is the only component of a vampire's diet in the Twilight series. If a vampire fails to drink blood, it results in them weakening mentally, inhibiting their ability to think with rational thought, and ultimately resulting in them losing all sense of humanity and rationality until they drink blood. To a vampire, the taste of blood varies on a massive basis. Due to their acute senses, they can detect whether or not a human has recently consumed alcohol or drugs, because their blood tastes unclean and can leave a vampire with a nasty aftertaste. Although it is very slight, a vampire who consumes human blood is slightly stronger. This is the reason newborn vampires are much stronger, because their human blood still lingers in their body. This however, doesn't last very long as the venom naturally consumed this blood throughout the course of the newborn year. This doesn't go to say that a vampire who isn't a newborn or doesn't feed on human blood are not strong. A vampire who chooses to abstain from drinking human blood and instead drinks the blood of animals is referred to as a vegetarian vampire.
- "As predators, we have a glut of weapons in our physical arsenal — much, much more than really necessary. The strength, the speed, the acute senses, not to mention those like Edward, Jasper, and I, who have extra senses as well. And then, like a carnivorous flower, we are physically attractive to our prey."
Vampires are extraordinarily beautiful, some more attractive than others, such as Rosalie and Heidi. This is one of the several features meant to attract their prey - more specifically, to attract, fascinate, and (if necessary) seduce, unsuspecting humans. How physically appealing their prey finds them is determined by how desirable they were as humans themselves. If an already attractive human were to be transformed, their physical beauty would be "breathtaking". If they were of average interest, their attractiveness would be lower. If however they were not particularly pleasing to the eye, they would become average (as shown with James), but this is a rare occurrence, because vampires normally select exceptional humans to turn. Vampires skin is described as "chalky", alabaster, or marble (because of its texture and feel, as well as its appearance). Regardless of original ethnicity, a vampire's skin will be exceptionally pale. The hue varies slightly, with darker-skinned humans having a barely discernible olive tone to their vampire skin, but the light shade remains the same. They owe their unnatural pale complexion to their lack of blood flow; once they reach the first anniversary of their transformation, they no longer possess blood of their own (though they still become slightly flushed after feeding). Their strong resemblance to marble statues rests also on their skin's granite-like appearance and impenetrability, as well as the no longer need to blink - the venom-based fluid that resides in the eyes fulfills now the function of tears and eyelids. They may not move at all, if needs be, and if they stay immobile for several thousand years, they will start showing the appearance of fragility or petrification. Aside from Aro's clouded, "milky" eyes, Bella notes that his skin - as well as that of his brothers, Marcus and Caius - looks like paper. However, though they feel closer to shale than granite, they are no more fragile than those remaining active. A wise vampire will avoid exposure to direct sunlight, so not to be seen by humans during the day, unless the sky is overcast, since their skin sparkles like diamonds; their cells have become hard and refractive as they were so many small prisms.
- "I saved his eyes for last, knowing that when I looked into them I was likely to lose my train of thought. They were wide, warm with liquid gold, framed by a thick fringe of black lashes. Staring into his eyes always made me feel extraordinary-sort of like my bones were turning spongy. I was also lightheaded, but that could have been because I'd forgotten to keep breathing. Again."
- ―Bella Swan
A vampire's eye color changes with both his/her age and diet. Newborn vampires show bright red eyes; a diet of human blood would darken them to a rose red color. However, a diet of animal blood would instead dilute the eyes to a golden color. Thirsty vampires show dark, onyx black eyes.
Only the Cullens (the Olympic Coven) and the Denali Coven are known to be vegetarian vampires, feeding only on animal blood. Their eyes are liquid topaz, or honey-golden, reflecting on their diet. These eyes, however, are viewed as strange and somewhat unnatural by other vampires whose diet consist of human blood, such as James and Victoria, and whose eyes are of a vivid red, becoming even more vivid as they continue to feed on human blood, and a darker burgundy as they abstain. Newborn vampires are known for having incredible strength as well as crimson eyes. Both traits are caused by their own blood that still lingers within their tissues, producing the shockingly bright red eyes that "fade slowly over the course of a year" and incredible strength.
Meyer writes that, if a Cullen were to drink human blood, his/her eyes would instantly turn burgundy, and if two weeks were to pass without blood, his/her eyes would grow dark. If he/she were to return to a diet of animal blood, his/her eyes would become dark gold, and a lighter golden color, if they were to continue on animal blood. As a vampire's thirst grows, his/her eyes grow darker with it, until they at last become a coal black. In contrast, as vampires feed, their eyes become lighter. In addition to the thirst, the purplish-black bruises under their eyes become more pronounced as their thirst grows. Though if they have recently fed the bruises becomes less noticeable, and all but disappear (depending on how well-fed they are). The bruises indicate that vampires never sleep.
Abilities and LimitationsEdit
A vampire's physical and mental abilities far exceed those of a human being. They are shown to possess superhuman strength, endurance, healing, health, senses, speed, agility, dexterity, reflexes, willpower, and intelligence. These traits vary between different vampires depending on what they were more capable of as humans. Certains vampires also develop one extra supernatural power that is developed from his strongest trait as a human.
One of the most amazing among their abilities is their speed, able to run in excess of a hundred miles per hour, substantially faster than the human eye can see. When vampires run, they become "all but invisible". The Quileute wolves are noted to be one of the few things that can match them. This suggests that vampires are meant to move to a new location every so often. We see the speed of all the Cullens again during the baseball game. Emmett is described as "a blur around the bases", and Edward can move so quickly that he is able to intercept a ball that has been hit "like a meteor. They can lay down and sit up within the same second, almost without having to even think about going through the motions. After being turned into a vampire, Bella describes her movements as being instantaneous.
Another enhanced trait is their physical strength. A vampire is said to be thousands of times stronger than any human, able to lift objects hundreds of times their own weight. Edward feared his strength when first meeting Bella, and explained that there was barely a difference to him in strength between caressing her head and knocking it off. A good example of their strength is seen when Bella decides to arm wrestle Emmett after becoming a vampire. She describes the power in his one arm to be about the same as a cement truck moving downhill at over 60 miles per hour. She beats him, however, because she is a newborn at the time. Newborn vampires are always stronger than older ones, since their strength derives from the lingering human blood left in their body. Diet does not have a massive impact on strength, since it always depends on the individual vampire. A vampire's strength also enables them to leap incredible distances. Edward was able to leap over a 50 yard wide river with ease during Bella's first hunt as a vampire, while Bella was able to leap over twice his distance, while only using slightly over half of her full force.
A diet of human blood would make a vampire stronger than animal blood (though only fractionally). Vampires who feed on animal blood (vegetarian vampires) find that "big game" - predators like bears or wildcats - not only smell more appealing to them, but also make them stronger than the "weaker" blood of herd animals such as deer or cattle. Strength, of course, is not always physical. If a vampire possessed great mental strength and willpower as a human, he will find it easier to control his wild, animalistic instincts. Even so, if a vampire has not fed for a long time, he will be less likely to think clearly and more likely to give in to their thirst, attacking the first living thing he detects and draining it of blood within seconds, all without a single thought (human or animal). If, however, an unlucky human were to be near their vicinity, they will preferably attack him/her rather than the animal.
- Main article: Special abilities
- "Yes, well, there are some vampires who have gifts beyond the usual super strength and super senses. You've seen one aspect in... our coven. Gifts are rare - one in fifty, maybe - but everyone is different. There's a huge range of gifts out there, and some of them are more powerful than others."
Most vampires find their key personality characteristics intensified by the vampire transformation in the same way their physical abilities are strengthened, but relatively few have abilities that can be classified as supernatural. More common would be a human with a love of learning becoming a vampire with an insatiable scholarly curiosity, or a human with a deep value for human life becoming a vampire with the strength to avoid human blood.
But a few vampires do develop additional abilities that go beyond the natural. These extra abilities are due to psychic gifts in the original human that are intensified in the resulting vampire. For example, a human who was very sensitive to other people's moods might develop the vampire ability to read thoughts or influence emotions. A human who had some limited precognition might develop into a vampire with a strong ability to see the future. A human with a good instinct for hunting might become a powerful vampire tracker. If a human already possessed a certain supernatural gift, this talent will be amplified many times after he is transformed into a vampire.
The proportion of supernaturally talented vampires to "normal" vampires is greater than the proportion of psychically gifted humans to "normal" humans. This is due to the same factor of temperament that results in more beautiful humans being selected to become vampires. Vampires are also drawn to gifted humans when they look to create companions. Some vampires actively seek out the gifted in the hope of utilizing that extra ability in their coven.
No gift ever works in the exact same way in two vampires, because no person (human or vampire) is ever exactly the same.
After the change, vampires' physical appearance and muscle mass is enhanced, eye color changes, and they no longer need to breathe, though they often still do so out of habit, and feel uncomfortable without their sense of smell - the first warning of an impending threat. The ability to cut off airflow from their lungs allows them to remain submerged underwater for as long as they wish, and contributes greatly to their excellent swimming capabilities.
As they grow older and more disciplined, vampires can learn to smell differences between the scents of various humans' blood, as well as scents of other things (like fabrics - the unique scent of denim). The range of their senses can be increased (thought only fractionally) through concentration.
They can hear sounds coming from several miles away, and even with their eyes closed, they can be sure that there are multiple people in a room thanks to their varied breathing patterns. They can hear the sound of a heartbeat, a pulse thudding in a vein, and words spoken too quietly or too fast for humans to detect.
Their enhanced vision allows them to see the smallest details, and extends into the ultraviolet region of the light spectrum. Vampire vision is unhindered by darkness, and is so acute that they view humans as blind, or "mud-eyed", in comparison. Bella describes her sight as being better than an eagle's. Vampires find wearing glasses or contact lenses to be uncomfortable or irritating because they see the miniature imperfections (ex. scratches).
Their scent is based on their venom, and is pleasant, not only to humans, but to other vampires as well.
Their body's natural changes no longer occur. They cannot age or grow (things such as fingernails, toenails, and hair will no longer be able to grow - if they are cut they will never grow back. However, if an arm, leg, nose, or other such appendage should be removed (still painfully), it can be easily reattached (since the venom is adhesive, coating the severed end with it will help it heal faster). They show no physical and mental illnesses and defects, and their voice becomes more alluring, melodic, and seductive. Their heart no longer beats.
The venom replaces all of the natural chemical processes and functions in the body. It wets and pools in the mouth instead of saliva. It coats the eyes, burning through contacts after only a few hours, protecting them from damage and thus eliminating all necessity and reason to cry. It also lubricates them, allowing them to move around more easily within their sockets.
As vampires describe themselves, they are unchanging, "living stone" beings frozen exactly as they were when they were transformed. (Though to another vampire, the granite-skin feels smooth, soft, and warm and not the icy-hard touch a human would feel). Requiring little or no change to produce sperm, males can still breed, while female vampires cannot, their bodies no longer accommodate the changes related to pregnancy. In male vampires, the venom takes on a form so similar to seminal fluid that can bond with a human ovum, making possible the creation of a human-vampire hybrid. The underlying biochemistry and physiology is currently unknown.
Vampires, although essentially immortal and indestructible, can be killed. Even a human could accomplish it under the right circumstances - venom and venom-based fluids are very flammable. However, humans are unable to compete with vampires in strength and speed, therefore they are unlikely to succeed. If a human were to succeed in lighting a vampire on fire (which would probably be impossible due to their reflexes), the vampire could simply take a quick high-speed bound to put it out. This is why it is necessary to rip a vampire's body to pieces before incinerating them into ashes, to prevent them from putting out the fire before it can do serious damage. This is the only known way to kill a vampire.
Vampires have stronger emotions than humans. Sadness, happiness, love, anger, all emotions are stronger than when they were human. Newborn vampires are very temperamental and have mood swings because they are in need of adjustment to their new emotions. That is why newborn vampires are quick to startle and anger. In large groups, they are likely to pick fights (often in what they perceive as self-defense) and kill one another. They will continue to have mood swings as they adjust to their new emotions.
Emotions such as love and passion are also heightened - for example, when a pair of vampires are mated, they are mated for life. Their feelings never fade. Similarly, if a vampire's mate is killed, he/she will not rest until the person responsible for their mate's death is killed. The immense pain of losing a mate never fades.
In Twilight, transformation from human to vampire is described as being "the sharpest memory they have of their human life." A human is bitten, and venom from glands inside the vampire's mouth is injected into the bloodstream.
Depending upon "how much venom is in the bloodstream, and how close the venom is until it enters the heart", the transformation could last anywhere from 2-3 days. During this time, the human will endure indescribable pain. "The warmth inside my heart got more and more real, warmer and warmer. Hotter. The heat was so real it was hard to believe I was imagining it. Hotter. Uncomfortable now. Too hot. Much, much too hot." as described by Bella Cullen as the venom slowly circulated through her blood and eventually reached her heart.
Once the venom is injected, it is described as being "the beginning of the greatest pain you will ever understand". The venom then has to make its way all through the body. Next through the heart, and it will pump again and again in the heart until it starts meeting itself in the veins. Then it will burn all the veins until the heart stops beating. It moves slower than blood because it’s thicker. Each beat of the heart can only push it so far. The changing/burning process is slow. The venom has to saturate every cell in the body before the process can be completed.
There is no medicine that is strong enough to numb the pain; the best one could do is to immobilize the body.
Killing a vampireEdit
- "We have to kill him. Rip him apart and burn the pieces."
In the Twilight universe, vampires are not known to be killed by human effort, are unharmed by sunlight, garlic, holy water, silver, any kind of stake, and can enter homes without permission. Also, any kind of human weapon, including bullets, bounces off of them without any pain or harm done. The only known way to kill a vampire is to to dismember his or her body and burn the remains before it can reconstruct itself. Thus their weakness is the strength of their kind or something as strong, which cannot be copied by humans, and fire.
In the films, vampires are more vulnerable as they can be killed by severing their heads or biting it off their necks. However, fire is still the only known method to destroy them completely.
- "They're incredibly powerful physically, for the first year or so, and if they're allowed to bring strength to bear they can crush an older vampire with ease. But they are slaves to their thirst, and thus predictable."
- ―Jasper Hale[src]
A newborn or newborn vampire is a recently-transformed vampire. On average a newborn's physical strength, senses and speed greatly surpass that of an older vampire. As time passes, the newborn's physical capabilities and thirst will diminish until it reaches that of a normal vampire, by the end of its first year. Their thirst for blood is overwhelming.
Newborn vampires were formerly used in the Southern half of America to claim territories and blood. The first person to invent the idea of utilizing newborns was a vampire named Benito, who claimed many territories in Mexico City and prompted other covens to create their own newborns. However, their endless war caused too much notice to humans that the Volturi eventually arrived to stop them, effectively ending the war and the covens involved. Though the wars continued after they returned to Italy, it was fought on a smaller, less noticeable scale.
They are often bloodthirsty, violent and uncontrollable. A newborn's enhanced emotions are hard to control and they anger easily. They are also likely to kill each other to compete for blood. When they catch the scent of blood, their hunting instincts will take over and cloud their ability to focus, even the thought of being near blood is enough to make them thirsty. However, as they live longer as vampires, their thirst will slowly diminish and become easier to manage. Bella Cullen was an exception to this rule, as she had time to think about her decision and therefore did not have the first brutal year that most vampires encounter. Carlisle Cullen showed an amazing control of his thirst for human blood as a newborn, which kept him from feeding on humans and redirect his thirst to animal blood instead.
It is impossible to predict how long a newborn or an average vampire will remain vicious and bloodthirsty before their secondary desires and personality resurface, since every person is different.
Some indications which show a newborn are their bright crimson eyes (due to the blood left in their body at the time of changing), uncontrollable thirst (except in Bella Cullen's case) and incredible strength. In the Olympic Coven, Emmett Cullen was the hardest to contain when he was new, though he did become a vegetarian successfully.
Newborns appear much like normal vampires with the exception of their eyes. A newborn's eyes are crimson, indicating that their own blood is still in their system, though their heart is no longer beating. In a year that a vampire feeds on animal blood, their eyes will change from red to amber and then to gold. If he reverts to feeding on human blood, the eyes will darken to be almost a burgundy color. Newborns are also incredibly strong, much stronger and faster than a regular vampire, which allows them to easily crush an older vampire. As they become older their strength begins to wane, and after the first year, their strength will be reduced to that of an average vampire. In Breaking Dawn, Bella arm-wrestles with Emmett and wins because of her newborn strength.
The following is a list of vampires notably described during their newborn phase:
A vampire named Benito originally invented the idea of creating a newborn army, which were hard to stop, triggering the vampire wars of the south, and devastating their population as a result. This meant that the Volturi arrived and stopped them. A newborn army also appeared in Eclipse, created by a vengeful vampire named Victoria to destroy the Cullens and Bella. The newborns caused carnage in Seattle, with many people dying at their hands. When the Cullens find out that the army is moving in on them, they form an unusual allegiance with the Uley pack and ensue a battle against them, and win with much ease due to Jasper's knowledge of newborn movements and weaknesses.
In Eclipse, Jasper mentions a Mexican vampire named Maria who had previously created an army with Jasper's help. When the newborns grew and became of little use, he was to dispose of them. Except for one case, Peter, who was kept as a babysitter for the newborns. Later he ran off with Charlotte, after her newborn mark, to save her from being disposed of. Years later, they came back to him, inviting him to the North and its better life. He accepted the invitation.
Introduced in the novel Breaking Dawn, immortal children are human infants and toddlers turned into vampires. They are said to be so beautiful it takes just one look to be under their control. In addition, it is said that an immortal child's tantrum can kill people, since they cannot easily control themselves.
It is presumed that while their mental age is stuck at the age they were transformed, they still have the vampiric gifts of enhanced strength and speed as well the the supernatural gifts of certain vampires.
Because they are too young to be controlled, the Volturi killed all those who could be found. Creating one has become the worst crime in the vampire world, under penalty of death for both creator and created. Under this law, anyone who knows about or stands by the child is also punishable under this law.
Even after the law was established, the Volturi captured two children to experiment on. However, no matter how many centuries they'd spent to teach them, they still could not be controlled or taught. Carlisle Cullen stumbled across these children during his stay in Volterra and learned of this law. After they determined that immortal children could not be tamed, they had the children destroyed.
In Book 3 of Breaking Dawn, Irina spotted Bella, Jacob and Renesmee hunting and mistook Renesmee for one, prompting her to report the child to the Volturi. Her mother Sasha had created an immortal child (Vasilii), and she had to witness her mother's and brother's executions.
Deviations from traditional vampire legendEdit
- Vampires in the Twilight universe are hard to destroy, as they are not harmed or deterred in any way by sunlight, holy water, running water, garlic, stakes, or crosses.
- Their bodies and skin are made of a material that is as hard as diamond (if not harder), to humans it is impenetrable.
- They are much stronger and more animalistic than other vampires in fiction. Some are strong enough to stop a cement truck on a freeway... with one hand.
- They sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight.
- They are reflected by mirrors and show up in photographs.
- They have no need for coffins; they do not sleep.
- They only need to bite to turn a human.
- They are not theriomorphic - meaning, they cannot become bats.
- They do not have two fangs as all of their teeth are incredibly sharp and strong - strong enough to easily chew through steel, or their diamond hard skin.
- A vampire society has developed, with a conduct code that provides them with a greater chance of survival than if they were alone.
Vampires are said to have two natural enemies: werewolves and shape-shifters, to each of the creatures the other smells disgusting. These smells are too enchanced for a human sense of smell. Vampires are said to be stronger than shape-shifters, and can usually overpower them easily. In Quileute history, one lone vampire was able to kill two wolves at one time, and the same vampire managed to kill three of the four wolves that hunted him another time, while the fourth managed to rip him apart.
Vampires often fight among each other. There have been many cases throughout history where vampires created armies of newborns to challenge one another and gain territory.
If a vampire's mate is attacked or killed, then he or she will likely exact revenge, hunting down and killing the attacker.
In Eclipse and Breaking Dawn the Cullens and La Push shape-shifters become allies, partially because Jacob imprints on Renesmee.