'86 Rabbit

A FANGirl's Forkstress of Solitude

The Names of Twilight

I’m moving some stuff from my old blog to this new one. Here’s an old post and the comments to go with it.

**Spoilers ahoy**

Bella’s the narrator, usually, so let’s start with her. First I want to say, how could anyone have ever thought that she would not become a vampire? That she would not end up with Edward? Ok, so when Edward and Bella say their I Dos on page 49 of Breaking Dawn, I was momentarily concerned that Edward might not make it to the end of the book. I thought maybe they were getting their happiness in the beginning, and that later the dog might actually have his day. But I braced myself and read on hoping otherwise. I put my faith in the fact that there was more foreshadowing in favor of Edward and Bella’s happiness. I moved on to Bella getting her wish. So on page 354, when Edward shares yet more bodily fluid with Bella, I thought, “My god, it’s only halfway into the book. They’re married. She’s a vampire. Oh man, this could get ugly.” And it did, and maybe I’ll talk about that later. For now let’s talk about Isabella Swan.

Isabella is a form of Isabel, which is a form of Elizabeth. It means God Is My Oath, or Devoted To God. How many times does she describe Edward as a god? The short form, Bella, which she prefers to go by, is the Italian word for Beautiful. It’s interesting to note that while she didn’t consider herself beautiful, many others did, and that it was the Italian vampires, the Volturi, who set Bella on the path to realizing beauty in her own eyes when they mandated she be made a vampire or die. Also interesting to note is that historical figure Isabella of France married Edward II. Isabella is the White Queen featured on the cover of Breaking Dawn, and Edward is indeed Edward II, having been named after is father. Maybe I’ll write more on that later. Back to Bella.

Swan, if you’ve read The Ugly Duckling, tells you all you need to know about the Bella’s future. She considers herself plain and feels bad at times, as if she weren’t good enough to stand next to Edward. But she is a Swan. She will blossom. She will become. And much like the Ugly Duckling of Hans Christian Anderson, she will not be proud, for a good heart is never proud. She can truly appreciate her beauty.

Edward means “Rich guard”, from Old English Ead meaning Rich or Blessed, and Weard meaning Guard. He is rich, that is for sure, and he does guard Bella. It’s a fitting name for Bella’s mate. She is the queen, and Edward is a kingly name. There were eight or so Kings of England named Edward. The name is also long-lived, as Edward is, being one of the few Old English names to be used throughout Europe.

Jacob…poor Jacob. He never had a chance with that name. The Supplanter, The Holder of the Heel. Just as Jacob of the Old Testament did, our Jacob tries to take his brother’s rightful place. In this case, he is trying to take Edward’s place in Bella’s heart. Of course at that time he is trying not to feel so brotherly toward Edward, but brothers they are. One thing I did not know before checking my facts on the name Jacob, is that James and Jacob come from the same source. I find it interesting that the tracker vampire, James, also tried to take Bella from Edward.

I love Alice, so I think I’ll do her next. The first thing I think of is Alice in Wonderland. Bella definitely views the Cullen household as a sort of wonderland, and Alice herself is definitely through the looking glass, so this name really fits. What does Alice mean? Well, the Old French Alis is short for Adelais, which is from the German Adalheidis, or Adelaide. Adel means Noble, and Heid means Kind/Sort/Type. Alice is definitely a noble sort: admirable in dignity of conception, manner of expression, execution, or composition (dictionary.com). Everything she does, she does with style, and with impecable taste. Moreover, she never merely walks. She dances. She skips. She shoots off “through the trees like the most graceful bullet.”

Rosalie, go figure, is a form of Rose, which is her nickname. Roses are widely recognized as the most beautiful of flowers. Rosalie is widely recognized as the most beautiful female in the world, or so she would like to think. Rose, in addition to being a flower, is from the Germanic Hrod, meaning Fame, and Heid, which again means Kind/Sort/Type. And our Rosalie would have loved nothing more than to be a famous beauty.

Jasper is a tougher nut to crack. Apparently it means Treasurer or Master of the Treasure in Persian, and is also the name of one of the Magi. He certainly brought a gift in Alice to the Cullen family, and brings a great deal of wisdom to the family himself. Jasper seems to be the one to deal with the lawyer(s). His mate, Alice, it is mentioned, sees financial trends, so possibly he plays a large part in the financial security of the Cullen family. Jasper is also a gemstone. Our Jasper is certainly a gem. He’s handsome, brave, and the cure for PMS.

I really had to laugh when I looked up Emmett’s name. It’s only meaning is Derived from the Female Emma. Such a manly vampire to have a girl’s name! Well, he is the girly man who lost an arm wrestling match to a girl. He also lost a wrestling match to the much smaller Jasper if memory serves. Maybe it’s not so funny that Emmett is named after Emma, however. Bella loves Jane Austen, author of the classic Emma. Who is Emma’s sister in this tale? Isabella, of course. Emma is a match-maker. Emmett is one of the more supportive Cullens when it comes to Edward pursuing Bella.

Esme, quite simply means Esteemed and Loved. She is at that.

Carlisle is another tough one. I suspect that it was meant to sound like a more sophisticated version of Charlie, but it does have a meaning. It’s a surname meaning City Belonging to Lugovalos. Lugovalos was a Celtic name meaning Strong as Lugus, which leads us to the name Lugh, which leads us to Lug, meaning Shining One. Carlisle is the shining one who lead the Cullens to their vegetarian lifestyle. He is their beacon.

Cullen has two meanings, and I don’t think either are all that significant. First, it’s derived from the city of Cologne, Germany. The other is Celtic for Cub. Bella, when she marries Edward, is a sort of cub, but that’s a stretch. This is too much of an anti-climax, so I’ll do one more.

I think I’ll end with Charlie. I’m out of Cullens, and it’s WAY past my bedtime. Maybe I’ll pick up with more minor characters later. Charlie is the diminutive of Charles. I don’t believe he’s ever referred to as Charles, so he is somehow small, or less than. Charles means Man. It can also mean Army or Warrior. Again, Stephenie Meyer has chosen a kingly name. I think taken all together this makes sense. Charlie likes to think he is the king of his castle. He wants to think he’s large and in charge, and that nothing is amiss. A wonderful man, but small in that he’s a head in the sand sort of character. He wants to believe Bella’s lies rather than face the hard stuff. Also, as the local sheriff he is a warrior of sorts, though in comparison to Emmett, Jasper, and the Quileutes, again he seems quite small.

Well, I hope you liked this essay. Thanks for reading this far.

  • Even though it took me awhile to like reading Twilight, (I’m not a huge fan of first tense writing, lol) towards the middle I got hooked and from then on, I couldn’t put that book down. It got so intense that I just had to keep reading.

    The sneak peek into Edward’s book looks unreal, too.

    The sneak peek movie looks really good, too! I just hope it doesn’t take away from the books, like the Harry Potter ones did (


  • I love all of this- I’m a big follower in researching the meaning of names!


  • edit this on August 29, 2008 at 7:45 pm                               86Rabbit

    Thanks. I had fun with that. I always wonder how much of that is coincidence and how much is planned.

  • February 8, 2009 - Posted by | Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-Media, Twilight, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

    1 Comment »

    1. […] The Names of Twilight […]

      Pingback by Baby name meaning and origin for Lugh | May 12, 2009 | Reply

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