The central romantic triangle between Edward Cullen, Bella Swan and Jacob Black is the dynamic that defines the Twilight universe. While the Team Edward versus Team Jacob debate still lives on between fans, there is much more to explore in the series– especially when it comes to Jacob himself, considering that he does not win Bella’s affections in the end. Jacob’s family history involving the Quileute tribe is incredibly interesting, and an underreported story in the books and films. There is an incredible story involving legends and tribal tales that is interwoven in to the love triangle that deserves more attention.
While Jacob Black is normally marketed as the second choice in the Twilight series, there is much more to him– and his family. The concept of a tribe of shape-shifting teenage wolves is fascinating, and only becomes more interesting when all the characters are analyzed. Standing next to Jacob are other tribe members like Sam Uley, and Seth and Leah Clearwater. Each of these characters are involved in something much deeper than a love triangle. In fact, there are many Quileute legends dispersed in their characterizations that deserve a closer look.
If fans were to separate themselves from the Cullens, they would see Twilight is filled with many other interesting characters. Stephenie Meyer has built a rich history about the Quileute into her universe, and there are a lot of interesting facts about this family. Thankfully, this series gives fans a direct look in to how such a tribe would actually operate, and we only want to learn more.
Here are 20 Wild Revelations About Jacob And His Family.
20 They’re Not Actually Werewolves
Despite most people in the Twilight series referring to Jacob and his family as werewolves, that is not the right term. Lumping them alongside werewolves removes all of the tribal history that goes along with their change.
A werewolf is someone who transforms from a human into a monstrous wolf, usually on the full moon. The Quileute tribe, on the other hand, are classified as “shape-shifters” who have more control over the phasing ability. While a werewolf does not have a choice in their transformation, shape-shifters do. They are also not overcome with their transformation and are still able to control themselves. It may have been easier for the humans involved to call them werewolves, but there is a significant difference.
19 They Have An “Odor”
Ask a vampire that has been near a shape-shifter, and they will describe them as one thing – smelly. While humans, like Bella, who have been around Jacob associate him with warmth, vampires are able to sense things that others cannot.
Often described as a “wet dog” aroma, it appears that a shifter’s transitioning also gives them other qualities associated with canines. Most of the Cullen family are disgusted after Bella has been around Jacob because they cannot stand the smell . After Bella transitions in to a vampire, she automatically realizes what the Cullens have been talking about. As no other Black family member is mentioned to have this aroma, it is possible that it is just Jacob. The only question that remains is, do the wolves ever bathe themselves to get rid of the smell?
18 Taylor Lautner Was Almost Recast
When Taylor Lautner was cast as Jacob Black in the initial Twilight film, long-time fans were concerned. Jacob famously bulked up in New Moon, so fans were concerned. It also appears that producers felt the same way, as Lautner was almost recast before filming began.
While Lautner certainly had the personality to play Jacob, there was a concern that he would not be able to bulk up in time. However, he took this as a challenge and significantly changed his physique to match his character. It’s now difficult to see anyone but Lautner in the role. Thankfully, he was able to rise to the occasion and become what fans expected.
17 They’re Not Very Good At Keeping Their Secret
Living life as a shape-shifting tribe must be very difficult, as that is a very large secret to hold on to. Thankfully the Quileute tribe has their own reservation where they are able to live freely without fear of their secret being unraveled. However, not all of the Quileute members are concerned with keeping the secret tightly under wraps.
When Jacob fears that he is losing Bella to the Cullens, he does something drastic. Jacob reveals his transformation to her father Charlie in order to expose him to the supernatural. While this is a very noble personal act, didn’t the other tribesmen take issue with Jacob revealing their secret? Furthermore, most of the tribe members are shape-shifting freely in the forests of Forks. Aren’t they concerned with hikers or drivers seeing them as they phase? It does not seem that anyone is very concerned with protecting this secret.
16 They Cannot Control Their Imprint
The Quileute tribe may be able to control how often and where they phase into wolves, but they cannot control their hearts. Twilight introduced the world to the process of “imprinting:” an animal behavior of attachment forming. While this normally occurs between infants and parents, the wolves also use it to form life-long mate relationships.
When a male wolf imprints on someone, they are marking them as someone they want to spend their life with. A wolf has no control who they imprint upon. The act is entirely involuntary, and sometimes unwelcome. The imprinting that took place between Jacob and Renesmee still has people scratching their heads. However, the heart wants what it wants.
15 Anger Issues
Perhaps it is due to the warmth from their blood, but the Quileutes have awful tempers. In the heated environment of the Twilight universe, there is a lot of conflict to navigate through each day. Whether it is an impending vampire attack or a love triangle, these teenagers have a lot to deal with. Ultimately, some deal with it better than others.
Jacob and his family are shown to have very short fuses. Even when Sam is provoked by Bella – who he could easily defeat without phasing – he lashes out immediately. While their quick reactions are certainly useful in combat, their tempers need to be better managed to avoid accidents. Just ask Emily Uley.
14 Not All Of Them Are Buff
While Jacob Black’s buff physique is famous, not every Quileute tribesman is so lucky. Jacob’s growth into a muscle-bound teenager may have been an anomaly, as not everyone who phases experiences the same changes. Seth Clearwater is Jacob’s right-hand wolf when he begins his own pack. While Seth is certainly an agile and intelligent warrior, he does not have the same changes that Jacob does. Seth is certainly the smallest member of his pack, but he does not let that keep him from fighting.
Perhaps Jacob’s change in physique was indicative of him becoming an Alpha in his own pack. When compared to Sam Uley, Jacob is certainly of similar size and stature. However, Seth never reached that milestone and is still a Beta in the pack.
13 Wolf Pack Members Were Of Native Descent
In an effort to remain true to the depictions of the source novel, the Twilight producers should be commended for their efforts. When casting the Black, Uley, and Quileute families, they sought to cast actors with Native lineage. While other movies have struggled to do so and wound up casting “ethnic -looking” actors, the producers stood by their ruling. In fact, each actor had to prove their lineage prior to being cast in the film series.
Other films studios and productions have been accused of “white-washing” roles in the past, this is not the case here. Actors like Chaske Spencer (Sam Uley) and Julia Jones (Leah Clearwater) were detemined to be of Native descent before being cast. Not only did the actors wind up being perfect for the roles, but they added diversity to the films.
12 Lots Of Clothes Shopping
While the Black family cannot technically enter the town of Forks, they hopefully have access to a Walmart. Each time that a shape-shifter phases in the Twilight series their clothes are almost always torn to shreds. If their clothing is destroyed each time they transform, it begs the question: exactly how much clothing do they go through each week?
A good pair of pants and a nice shirt do not come cheap, so to think that the packs are destroying clothing so easily seems irresponsible. Perhaps they should be removing it all before transforming? Or at least purchase three-packs of cheap t-shirts so that they are not ruining good quality clothing.
11 Not Everyone Phases
While it would be great if each member of the Quileute tribe were given the chance to be shape-shifters, that is not the case. Most people would love the ability to transform into a wolf at will, but not everyone is blessed that way. Jacob explains that the shape-shifting ability is triggered when enemies are nearby. With the influx of vampires entering Forks to battle the Cullens, Jacob and other members of his family phased for the first time. However, there were not always vampires present nearby, so other members of the family never changed.
For instance, Jacob’s own father never got the opportunity to transform, and numerous other men on the reserve are not shown transforming. If every single person were chosen to receive a superpower, it wouldn’t be super anymore.
10 Rebecca Black, the lost sister
This Rebecca Black isn’t singing about “Friday”, but rather about how her family left her out of all the secrets about their tribe. Rebecca Black is not mentioned in the Twilight films, but Jacob does discuss her in the books. Rebecca is Jacob’s older sister who moved off the reservation to attend school. While this is not discouraged, it did leave her out of some happenings in the family.
Jacob and Rebecca’s father Billy is clearly aware of the shape-shifter gene in his family as he is able to take care of Jacob as he phases. However, he did not inform his daughter about it, and she is seemingly left in the dark about this fact. With all the battles going in in Forks, Rebecca is never aware of any of them.
9 Jacob Was Almost Just A ThrowAway Character
It would be very difficult to imagine the Twilight series without the Team Edward and Team Jacob love triangle. However, Edward’s affections for Bella were almost unopposed. Stephenie Meyer herself has stated that when writing New Moon that she struggled with what to do with Jacob. Initially, she only intended for him to be a plot device that informed Bella about the legend of vampires.
If Meyer had her way initially, Jacob’s introduction in chapter six of Twilight would have been his entrance and exit in the universe. However, based on feedback from her family and her own feelings as time went on, she decided to include Jacob in the book in a bigger way. His role was changed from a minor character to major one, and he even found his into Bella’s heart by the second book.
8 Billy Black Never Phased
Imagine how difficult it must be to be the only human around supernatural beings? While most readers would associate this statement with Bella Swan, it also applies to Billy Black. The patriarch of the Black family is wheel-chair bound due to his battle with diabetes. Not only is he unable to walk due to his disease, but he also never experiencing phasing during his youth. Meanwhile, his son Jacob wound up becoming an Alpha of his own pack.
While phasing is triggered by the arrival of enemies in the area, it must have been a bitter pill for Billy to swallow that he would never phase like his son. Regardless of his own status, Billy remains a supportive father to Jacob after he phases and continues to guide him.
7 Leah Clearwater: Female Shapeshifter
When fans picture a shape-shifter, they likely picture someone like Jacob Black – tall, dark, and handsome. More importantly, they likely picture shape-shifters as males. However, there is one female shape-shifter in Quileute history. Leah Clearwater is introduced as a fighter in Sam’s pack, and the first female to begin phasing. Leah is a very fierce and formidable fighter, and loyal to her pack like the rest of her brothers.
Unfortunately, very little is explored about her experiences as a woman in a male-dominated life. Perhaps it does explain her fierce demeanor and why she is rather emotionally guarded. Throughout the various battles that the pack faces, Leah is in the thick of things and should not be treated any differently than the other members of the tribe.
6 No Super-healing Abilities
The shape-shifters are certainly some of the most formidable fighters in the Twilight universe. Whether they are battling full-grown vampires or feisty newborns, they not only able to hold their own, but they take command of the battlefield. However, they get be wounded like regular humans.
While vampires have the ability to heal themselves from injuries quickly, shape-shifters don’t have a strong healing factor. When Jacob fights Victoria during Eclipse he is thrown against a rock in wolf-form and winds up with broken ribs. While Edward would have been able to power through this injury and heal himself quickly, Jacob is rendered incapacitated. In fact, he is heard writhing in pain when healing following the battle. Wolves may be superior fighters, but they are able to be put down much easier than their foes.
5 They’re Not Good With Romance
Most of the romances depicted in the Twilight Saga do not end in happiness. Beyond Edward and Bella, most of the other romances are either filled with heartbreak or even violence. Especially when they involve members of the Quileute tribe.
The love triangle between Edward, Bella, and Jacob ends in Jacob experiencing heartbreak. The relationship between Sam and Leah is broken when Sam imprints on Emily, and the romance is further complicated when Sam accidentally phases and harms Emily. The only model relationship involving a Quileute tribe member was Billy and his wife Sarah, who passed away from a car accident.
4 The Blacks and The Cullens were once allies
The Quileute legend involving the treaty between the Natives and the “Cold Ones” is the catalyst for relationship between the Cullens and the Blacks. However, the relationship was initially built on trust and ended up devolving into hatred.
A wolf pack led by Ephraim Black came across a group of vampires, who wound up being the Cullens. To ensure that the two groups did not decimate each other for no reason, they formed a treaty. The Cullens would not attack humans, and The Quileute would stay out of their way if obeyed the treaty. It also stated that they could not reveal the other group’s secrets to humans. Initially, this pact was made to benefit everyone and was based on trust. However, as years went on it would turn in to a heated battle, with future Blacks growing up to despise vampires instead of trusting them like their ancestors.
3 Jacob Breaks The Treaty
Speaking of the treaty, Jacob is a little to quick to blame the Cullens for almost breaking it. The treaty states that the two groups cannot reveal their secrets to others, so the vampire and shape-shifter worlds can remain safely guarded. While Jacob and his family are concerned about Bella becoming involved with Edward, the way that they go about trying to break them apart is nefarious.
Jacob is actually the first person to go against the treaty, not the Cullens. When he approaches Bella at her prom and gives her warning from his father to stay away from Edward, he hints that they are not what she thinks they are. While he does not directly point out that Edward is a vampire, he points her in that direction. This could be seen as him breaking the treaty first.
2 Jacob Imprints On A Half-Human
While not many people fully understand the process of imprinting, it is a symbolically beautiful act. Emotionally and spiritually linking to another person for life is a most selfless act. However, Jacob’s imprinting is not exactly the most wholesome in the series. When Jacob first lays eyes on the newborn Renesmee, he feels directly connected with her on a different level. While the emotions are directly related to a physical relationship, it is confusing for those involved, especially her parents.
While that is understandable, it is also confusing for the rest of Jacob’s family. This is the first time that a shape-shifter has imprinted on a half-human, so this relationship is strange for everyone involved. Even though nothing has been explored about the events following Breaking Dawn, fans hope that this relationship eventually got less strange for everyone involved.
1 Actual Quileute Tribe Stories Were Used
Not only should the Twilight series be commended for casting Native actors for these roles, but they also maintained as much authenticity as possible. A universe containing shape-shifters and vampires may not be considered the most believable, but many pieces were taken from reality. Stephenie Meyer did a lot of research regarding Quileute legends before writing about her characters. Many of the stories told about the Quileute tribe are derived from actual tribal legends.
While the stories about “the Cold Ones” were embellished, the legend about the Quileute being descendants of wolves was a real legend. The background of the tribal legends makes the characters even more interesting, particularly as it gives the supernatural evidence some grounding in our reality.
Are there any other crazy facts about Jacob Black and his shape-shifting family in Twilight? Let us know in the comments!