Stephenie Meyer, who has now spent the majority of her adult life defending the idea that two attractive people with symmetrical features would ever want to touch each other, seemed well practiced when asked about the perennial controversy surrounding her series’ flagship couple. Asked about Bella’s less admirable qualities — and specifically her perceived lack of personal growth throughout the series — Meyer referred to her heroine as “unshakable.”
“There are people who think that Bella’s not, like, a great example for a young girl, and I think there are elements, yes. You should not get that caught up in a boy,” said Meyers. “If it’s a fantasy creature that doesn’t really exist, go right ahead… This is a fantasy novel set in a world that isn’t real.”
Of course, Meyer came prepared to bring some nuance to the discussion. “At the same time, I do think it’s good for girls to be like ‘I can be sure of what I want and not be afraid of what I want,'” the author said in reference to Bella, who falls in love with a man who eats blood for nourishment. “Edward does have a lot more growth because Edward has so much more self-hatred… It’s a pretty big thing for him to find, through loving her, a way to love himself.” A thoughtful response to criticism, and certainly a new lens through which to observe characters who frequently inspire half-considered jabs from the general public.
Also of note: Meyer outright states in the interview, “I don’t think that anybody ends up like Bella if they have a really good mom.” Maybe that’s something that people can get upset about instead.