While The Twilight Saga focuses mainly on the plight of Bella Swan and her future in-laws the Cullens, as well as the conflict between them, the Quileute shapeshifters, and the Volturi, there is plenty of drama to go around between the peripheral characters– so much that one even had an entire novella written about her. Bree Tanner, star of the Twilight spinoff novel The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner, is one of the series’ most tragic characters. She reminds us how brutal the Volturi really are as well as the consequences for those vampires who are ignorant of the culture’s rules. She’s also an example of what can happen to a young vampire without a support system, giving us insight why so many vampires aren’t like the Cullen family, and also how naive Bella really can be.
Those who’ve read Bree’s harrowing story know that not only is there much more to the teenage girl, who is barely old enough to drive, let alone serve in a vampire army. There are some differences between book-Bree and film-Bree. Those who haven’t read the book may not be aware of some of the craziest things that have happened in the young girl’s life, or that the novella did influence some of the film as well.
Bree’s difficult upbringing, which was just as scary as her rebirth as a vampire, may shock those who aren’t aware of where she came from, and the moments before her ultimate demise are quite disturbing as well.
Here are 20 Wild Things Only True Fans Know About Bree Tanner.
20 Her Father Offed Her Mother
It’s bad enough to believe that your own mother has left you. Many people know what this feels like and wouldn’t wish it on anyone, fictional or not, but Bree’s mother didn’t actually leave her. She was sadly taken away by Bree’s own abusive father.
Bree’s father taught her that her mother left the family when the girl was only four years old, but in reality he exterminated his wife himself and buried her body in the desert. That’s why he took Bree from the life she knew in Nevada and moved to Idaho; to distance himself from the wicked act.
19 Jasper Nearly Destroyed Her
Jasper Hale seems to struggle against his urges on a daily basis. That’s why everyone always wonders why on earth he’s sent to a high school filled with humans with paper cuts, P.E. wounds, and periods. Knowing what newborns are like, Jasper crouched and moved to take Bree down during the Eclipse battle, completely unaware that Carlisle had already accepted her surrender.
It’s tragically ironic, since Jasper’s quick work might have been less difficult for Bree to endure than what she suffered at the hands of the unforgiving Volturi later. It really is amazing that people who eat other people are such sticklers for rules.
18 Bree Joins The Battle To Feel Safe
In Bree’s novella, we learn that she is changed into a vampire against her will in order to become a part of Victoria’s army against the Cullen family, but in the film it appears that she joins the big battle just to feel safe. In her story, she’s actively searching for a friend during the battle after declining an offer from another vampire to abandon the entire army. It’s during this time that she learns her friend had already been eliminated.
During the Eclipse movie, none of this backstory is available, so it instead seems like Bree is simply attempting to stay out of the way, hiding behind a tree and looking on in terror as the vampires she’d been “raised” with were taken out one by one.
17 Her Boyfriend Was Destroyed By Victoria And Riley
Diego was surprisingly well-disciplined for a vampire newborn, exhibiting much more kindness and compassion than his fellow “soldiers,” which is what attracted Bree to him. The two went hunting together and formed a short-lived romance, demonstrating to readers the savagery of what young love means in a vampiric world without the protection and support offered by a family like the Cullens.
Once they discovered that they had been misled about the limitations and weaknesses of a vampire, Diego went to inform the others, only to be offed by Victoria and Riley. He threatened the control they had over the newborns. Riley lied and told Bree that Diego had simply joined Victoria on a reconnaissance mission.
16 She Almost Tried To Eat Bella
The irresistible nature of Bella Swan’s delicious blood is another hallmark of the Twilight series, as absurd as it may seem. Just as her newfound family found her blood a temptation, so did Bree Tanner, and after surrendering to the Cullens, she still had a hard time resisting Bella’s scent.
Following the battle between the newborns and Cullen family, Bree stands with the Cullens to await her fate and finds her senses assaulted by Bella’s pleasing aroma. She manages to resist the temptation much better than other vampires are able to do, but the allure of Bella Swan’s blood remains strong.
15 Jane Tormented Her
Among the Volturi, Jane is often the most feared since she is able to inflict intense physical pain with her mind alone. The petite vampire would surely lose the upper hand without her power, and the fact that she seems to enjoy hurting her victims is even worse. That’s why Jane’s use of her power on young Bree is so awful: not only does Jane obviously enjoy the abuse, but she does it prior to ordering Bree’s execution, making it completely unnecessary.
Bree’s final moments were filled with fear and anguish; a horrible reminder of what happens when the Volturi are disobeyed. Bella and the Cullens, who barely played by the rules and often found themselves scraping by with their lives, were much luckier than poor Bree.
14 Her Father Abused Her
It should really come as no surprise that Bree Tanner’s father was an abusive monster, making her well acquainted with human cruelty long before she experienced the same pain and fear at the hands of the vampire community. After offing her mother, he took out his rage and frustration on his daughter.
Like many children abused by their caregivers, Bree had no one to turn to. Despite the fact that she bore physical evidence of his handiwork, no one offered her aid or stood up for her against her father, either. Bree experienced loneliness and isolation as a result of her home life and never felt love or belonging until she met her vampire boyfriend, Diego.
13 She’s Younger Than Bella
Bella Swan is often considered too young to the decision to become a vampire. While it’s understandable to wait for her to become 18 to make such a life-changing choice, Bella’s own agency is often disregarded. It could be argued that much of the pain that they endured, and especially the painful pregnancy that Bella experienced, would have all been prevented had Edward simply changed her in the first book.
Bree Tanner had no such choice, being changed against her will, and she is much younger than Bella when it happens, at just 16. Once again, she serves as the direct counterpart of what Bella’s life could have been like had she experienced vampirism in a much darker context.
12 She Hung Out With Fred To Repel Other Vampires
Many of Victoria’s newborn vampires are combative and sadistic, their newfound hunger and powers worsening their viciousness. In order to become less noticeable, Bree latches onto another vampire named Fred because he has one of the many “gifts” that so many vampires exhibit. Fred’s ability provides Bree with some safety and comfort.
His gift is repulsion magnetism; the ability to repel others with his own existence. It’s pretty handy when you want to be left alone, so Bree just hangs out around him in order to bask in this avoidance. Because of their relationship, Fred later asked her to run away from with him, which likely could have worked given his abilities.
11 She Surrendered To Carlisle And Esme
When Bree Tanner surrendered to Carlisle and Esme Cullen, hoping for some kind of protection or immunity, it only further proved what a scared young woman she was. She wanted no part of the savagery occurring all around her and deserved to have a normal teen life. Perhaps she sensed what kind of vampires the Cullens were and the life she could have lived. Just think of what supportive parents like Esme and Carlisle could have given her!
While this is an meaningful turn of events for Bree, the story neglects the rest of Victoria’s newborns. Surely many of them are in the same boat, turned against their will and committing acts of violence when they’d rather be going to prom or even taking the SATs.
10 She Was A Runaway Who Stole Food To Eat
After reaching her limit with her father’s abuse, Bree ran away from home in hopes of a better life at age 15, just a few weeks before her birthday. With only enough money for the bus ride to Seattle, she stole food to eat and slept in parks or alleys that felt safe to her. Bree attempted to find work but no one would hire her due to her young age.
It’s another marker on a long timeline of terribly tragic irony: had Bree chosen anywhere other than Seattle to travel she might still be alive. Had her luck changed, or had she simply found a job once she was of age, perhaps she could even have a home and a place to belong.
9 Riley Lured Her With Food To Become A Vampire
Stephenie Meyer used a example of real-life coercion during the scene of Bree Tanner’s transformation into a vampire. Many desperate children and teens are lured into lives of crime with the promise of shelter, protection or food, and that’s exactly what Riley told her: he had a hamburger for her.
Bree trusted the young vampire due to her need to survive, connecting it with how many of the 1.7 million homeless youth truly in America resort to trusting the wrong people out of necessity in the real world. In this way, many fans found that Bree’s story resonated much more with them than Bella’s did and that it was even more meaningful than the original saga.
8 She Believed In Traditional Vampire Legends
In their naivete regarding real vampires, Bree and the rest of the newborns took Victoria at her word, believing all of the traditional legends about vampires, from stakes to the heart working to sunlight destroying them, to be true. Perpetuating these myths enabled Victoria and Riley to better control the newborns, who are difficult to manipulate by nature as it is.
Victoria obviously wasn’t thinking about how difficult it might be to keep her entire army under her power, let alone what consequences were in store with the Volturi, when she created her army to exact her revenge for James. Riley, too, was merely a pawn in her plan.
7 She Lost Her Will To Live Along With Diego
Part of Bree’s story is very much like Bella’s. When Bella believes she cannot live without Edward, she either becomes too depressed to move or tempts fate and participates in self-destructive behaviors to risk her life on purpose.
Like Bella, Bree doesn’t want to live anymore once she finds out that Diego, whom she just recently fell for, had been destroyed. On the surface, it seems like another toxic, over-dramatic response to the loss of teen love, but this instance is more meaningful. Diego was actually gone for good and Bree had never experienced kindness or care from another living person before she met him.
6 Her Father Was Finally Arrested
It’s too bad that when Bree Tanner lost her life, she did so without knowing that justice had finally caught up with her abusive criminal father. Police discovered her mother’s remains and when they questioned her father only to find that Bree, too, was missing, they assumed that he had offed his own daughter as well and arrested him for both crimes.
We won’t shed a tear for Bree’s father serving time for an extra crime if he’s convicted for the first, but given that Bree’s worst fear was being discovered by the police as a runaway and being sent back to live with her father, it’s another turn of wretched irony. With him behind bars, the authorities might have found Bree a more benevolent guardian.
5 She Lost Her Arm
Poor Bree just couldn’t catch a break. Even among her fellow vampire newborns, she was a particularly open target, and she was severely wounded. In The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, the cruel vampire Jen rips Bree’s arm from her body and nearly destroys it before Bree can retrieve it.
Bree recalls the events with such nonchalance: “Got this ripped off once. Got it back before Jen could toast it.” Her bleak and taciturn delivery of the line is more likely due to her desensitization to violence, PTSD, or numbness regarding her own trauma than casual feelings toward the horror she has endured in such a short span of time.
4 She Final Wish Was For Edward To Find Fred
Bree’s kind heart was revealed even as she passed away at Felix’s hand. Speaking telepathically with Edward, Bree’s last words were a desperate plea for him and his family to be nice to her friend, Fred, the vampire who had abandoned the battle before it began. Bree welcomed her demise, ready to leave a world that had been nothing but cruel to her, but still had hope that these vampires, who seemed better to her than the clan she’d been born into, could offer her friend, who’d also been turned against his will, somewhere to belong.
Whether or not the Cullens ever found the nomadic vampire, who was supposed to head for Vancouver, we’ll never know. While “Freaky Fred” enjoyed Bree’s company and played cards with the girl, he preferred his solitude and my be living happily alone.
3 Twilight Stars Read The Bree Novella To Understand Their Characters
Many fans bristle when they hear that an actor refuses to read source material in order to give a character a more unique personality, or to better fulfill the director’s intent rather than incorporate the author’s writing. Those are the characters we fell in love with and we hope to see them portrayed accurately on screen.
Bryce Dallas Howard, Xavier Samuel, Jodelle Ferland, and even director David Slade all made sure to read Stephenie Meyer’s source material prior to filming in order. It helped them to capture the characters’ full intentions and personalities. Some changes still made it to screen, but it’s heartening to see a writer taken seriously by a filmmaking team, as well as to see actors so dedicated to their characters.
2 The Actress Who Played Bree Was The Youngest Nominee For A Daytime Emmy Award
As much grief as the teens who acted in the Twilight films have been given over the years, many are very talented performers. Jodelle Ferland, the young woman who portrayed Bree Tanner in the film Eclipse, earned a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her debut in the made-for-TV movie Mermaid when she was just four years old. She’s also been the nominee for Best Actress category of the Genie Awards for her work in Terry Gilliam’s Tideland.
Fans have also seen Ferland in many other supernatural, horror. and sci-fi favorites, from Silent Hill, Supernatural. and Stargate SG-1 to Smallville , Kingdom Hospital, and Dark Angel. Since her Eclipse days we’ve also seen her in Dark Matter and Darken: Before the Dark. It’s clear that she has a range well-suited for these genres.
1 She Didn’t Know The Rules But Was Offed Anyway
The problem of the Volturi is that these incredibly cruel and vicious beings are allowed to continue existing. Many fans were disappointed that they simply weren’t taken out completely during the final installment of the franchise, as the Cullens and their army might have done. Young vampires like Bree who didn’t know the rules were still at risk because of them.
Jodelle Ferland, who immediately wanted the part of Bree as soon as it was offered to her, explained it best regarding her character. “Bree’s not really given a chance. She wants to be good, but nobody gives her a chance. She doesn’t know the rules, and so how can you follow rules that you don’t know. So it’s not her fault, but she gets punished anyway.”
What else do you know about Bree Tanner in The Twilight Saga? Let us know in the comments!