Of course , sometimes it’s just Edward—because let’s face it, he’s a handsome fucker—but almost always it’s a squeeing girl confessing that she just had to “know” more. After the nightmare otherwise known as BD, it’s usually someone who wanted to fill in those damn fade-to-black scenes that SMeyer gifted us with.
Either way, it’s always about Edward and Bella. They’re like a mobius strip—it always comes back to them.
Or does it?
Unlike my first example, I’m going to get downright scientific here—or at least as scientific as a literature nerd gets. I did a random poll of the first three “Recently Updated” pages on Twilighted.net and placed every story into one of five categories. I shouldn’t have been surprised by the results. After all, it’s a genuinely acknowledged fact that everyone writes E/B. Still. . .the numbers just don’t lie:
- Bella and/or Edward with an OC: 2
- Bella/Edward in an alternative pairing (Jacob/Jasper/etc): 5
- Real Life (RPattz/Kellan/Jackson/KStew): 2
- Secondary Canon Pairing: 6
- Bella/Edward: 48
That’s over 76% stories that are exclusively Edward/Bella or promise to be E/B, eventually.
This article isn’t necessarily going to address both why we think it has to be all Edward and Bella, all the time. Instead I want to talk about a growing trend in the fandom that I hope will gain even more ground: secondary canon pairings that instead of being relegated to the background are the main focus of a story.
When I started talking to some friends about what I wanted to write about, quite a few of them were confused. I got a lot of recommendations for Carlisle/Bella or Jasper/Bella stories and even some Jasper/Edward stories. I had to stop and explain that I wasn’t referring to alternative non-canon pairings, but instead to the other Cullens.
The most common reaction I had to this was “I don’t read those stories—why would I? There’s no Edward and Bella.”
Yes, Edward and Bella are so interesting—I’ll admit that I read a lot of ExB myself and 90% of my stories are ExB—but just because ExB are the ultimate in awesome doesn’t mean that a Jasper/Alice story or a Rose/Emmett story can’t be just as great.
Yep, I’m here to tell you that it shouldn’t be about what the character’s name is—it should be all about strong writing and how good the story is. Because let’s face it, how many ExB stories have you read where the only resemblance that the stories’ characters had to the original Edward and Bella were the names and some physical characteristics? You’re not really reading about beloved characters at that point. You’re just hung up on a name (and maybe on the glory of RPattz’s jawline).
So why don’t we read secondary couples? My theory is this. Because SMeyer’s books are really about Edward and Bella, and the other characters got relegated to the background, it’s hard for us to break past the necessary stereotypical personalities she gave them. And because it’s difficult and requires an author to dig deeper into a character—while with Edward or Bella we still have the old standards to fall back on—I think most authors don’t even consider writing secondary couples as main couples.
Or is it possible that authors know what I found out after I started posting my Carlisle/Esme story—nobody reads anything that isn’t ExB so why bother writing it?
SO which came first? The chicken or the egg? It’s impossible to say, but it is true that there aren’t many good secondary couple stories out there. However, I’ve put together a list of stories where the authors bring the fuckawesome when it comes to the secondary Cullens.
Indivisible by qjmom:No doubt about it, this is the epic Rosalie/Emmett AH story out there. And no, I’m not just talking about the length. From the first chapter, as Rose talks about her first anniversary preparations, we are pulled hard and fast into Rose and Emmett’s world. All the usual suspects are here, including a side pairing of Edward and Bella—who have their own issues to solve before committing to each other—but what really drives this story is the fundamental, no holds barred love that Rosalie and Emmett share. What makes all of this truly an achievement is that Emmett and Rose remained separated through much of the story, with only brief phone calls where they are actually able to talk to one another. And I have to give a big THANK YOU to qjmom for giving us Emmett the Navy SEAL. Phew. I think I may never look at Kellan the same way again.
Blogger Note: This story is no longer available, but I would like to keep the recommendation in because I truly loved it and hopefully it will reposted someday.
I’m under no false impression that this blog is going to change anyone’s opinions in any serious way. Edward and Bella are the foundation of this fandom—they aren’t ever going to stop being the focus and I’m fine with that. I love them just as much as the next girl. But once in a while, it’s nice to change it up and get a little different view of the world. For any author that is considering writing a secondary couple as a main couple, I promise that while it might not be an enormously popular story, it’s definitely a niche that’s growing and will continue to do so as more authors contribute great, thought-provoking stories.
Bethaboo, despite this article, is still a fervent ExB supporter--she is the creator of swimward, lunchward and rockward. Her own foray into the other Cullens is Eve, the Apple of My Eye, a pre-Twilight Esme/Carlisle story.