Jacob Black

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Jacob Black
Twilight character
Jacob Black2.jpg
Jacob Black as portrayed by Taylor Lautner in New Moon.
First appearance Twilight
Last appearance Breaking Dawn
Created by Stephenie Meyer
Portrayed by Taylor Lautner
Information
Nickname(s) Jake
Species Werewolf/shapeshifter
Gender Male
Occupation High school student, protector of La Push
Title Beta/Alpha's Second (New Moon and Eclipse), Alpha/Leader (Breaking Dawn)
Family Billy Black (father),
Sarah Black (mother, deceased),
Rachel and Rebecca (older twin sisters),
Ephraim Black (great-grandfather, deceased),
Quil Ateara V (second cousin)

Jacob "Jake" Black is a character in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. He is described as an attractive Native American of the Quileute tribe in La Push, near Forks, Washington. In the second book of the series, he discovers that he can shapeshift into a wolf. For the majority of the series, Jacob competes with Edward Cullen for Bella Swan's love. In the films Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Breaking Dawn Part 2, Jacob is played by Taylor Lautner.

Concept and creation[edit]

According to Stephenie Meyer, Jacob was originally meant to be a device through which Bella could learn Edward's secret in Twilight. Meyer, her agent, and her editor all liked the character so much that they decided to give him a larger role in the following book, New Moon, with Meyer calling the character, "my favorite gift that New Moon gave to me."[1]

"Jacob was my first experience with a character taking over—a minor character developing such roundness and life that I couldn't keep him locked inside a tiny role....From the very beginning, even when Jacob only appeared in chapter six of Twilight, he was so alive. I liked him. More than I should for such a small part."

Meyer has said that after Jacob started emerging as a prominent character in New Moon, she went back to Twilight, which she was editing at the time, to "weave Jacob and [his father Billy] throughout Twilight more centrally."[1]

Role in the books[edit]

Twilight[edit]

Jacob is given a small role in the first book of the series. He is introduced as the son of Billy Black, an old Swan family friend. When Bella uses him to get information on Edward Cullen and his family, Jacob tells her Quileute legends and introduces her to the idea that Edward is a vampire. Bella comes to like Jacob, and he develops a crush on her.[2]

New Moon[edit]

In New Moon, Jacob's character is used as a device to help Bella emerge from her months-long depression, brought on by her distress over Edward's departure. The friendship between the two characters grows strong, but Jacob also develops romantic feelings for Bella that she does not reciprocate. It is revealed that, as a member of the Quileute tribe, Jacob is descended from an ancient line of "shapeshifters" that assume wolf form. In their backstory, the Quileutes are vampires' mortal enemies. When Jacob undergoes his first transformation into a wolf, it is in response to a new vampire threat. Soon, the character becomes busy patrolling the forest with his pack, searching for vampires in the area. When Bella is caught by the vampire Laurent alone in a clearing, she is saved by Jacob and the wolf pack, who chase and kill Laurent.

Jacob serves as a rescue for Bella and a foil to Edward on multiple occasions in the narrative. When Bella, whose character has taken increasingly dangerous risks to feel closer to Edward, impulsively jumps off a cliff and almost drowns, Jacob saves her life. After Edward mistakenly believes she has died and plans to kill himself, Bella and Edward's sister, Alice Cullen, rush to Italy to stop his suicide, leaving Jacob hurt and angry. Jacob is disgusted by Edward's return and by Bella's willingness to take him back after he left her. Jacob reminds Edward of his tribe's treaty with the Cullen family, which states that the Cullens are not allowed to bite unwilling humans.[3]

Eclipse[edit]

In Eclipse, Jacob, enraged by the fact that Bella plans to become a vampire, attempts to distance himself by not returning her phone calls and refusing to see her. Later, during the scene when Jacob visits Bella and Edward to discuss the vampire Victoria's return, he tells Bella that he misses her and wishes that they could remain friends. With Edward's approval, Bella begins to visit Jacob on a regular basis. On one of these visits, Jacob tells Bella that he is in love with her and that he wants her to choose him over Edward. Bella is caught off guard by his confession and tells him she only thinks of him as a friend. He forcibly kisses her, much to her displeasure, and she reacts by punching him in the face, breaking her hand and not leaving a scratch on him. This act later enrages Edward who tells him that if Bella gives him the word, he will harm Jacob.

Jacob's shapeshifter pack and the Cullen family join forces to defeat Victoria and the army of newborn vampires she has created. The night before the battle Edward and Jacob hold a private conversation and the two become closer. Right before the battle the next morning, Jacob overhears Edward and Bella discussing their engagement, which angers him greatly. Jacob threatens suicide and Bella, in an attempt to stop him, kisses him passionately. Afterward, she comes to the realization that she loves Jacob, but her love for Edward is greater. The epilogue is written from Jacob's point-of-view; angry, heartbroken, and hurt at Bella's decision to become a vampire. He runs away in his wolf form to escape his pain.[4]

Breaking Dawn[edit]

Jacob returns after an absence of several weeks to attend Bella and Edward's wedding in Breaking Dawn. Though described as being still visibly pained by her decision, he tells Bella that he wants her to be happy. However, when Bella inadvertently informs him that she and Edward plan to have sex before she becomes a vampire, Jacob becomes enraged because he is said to know that Edward's strength could kill her. When Bella and Edward return from their honeymoon, Jacob becomes the narrator of the story for several chapters, during which he learns that she is pregnant with Edward's half-vampire, half-human child and has become desperately weak. When Jacob informs the pack of Bella's pregnancy, their leader Sam Uley plans an attack on the Cullens in order to kill Bella and, thereby, her unborn child because of the threat he believes the child presents. Jacob, who feels that the Cullens are innocent, disobeys Sam's command and separates himself from the pack. Fulfilling his birthright as an Alpha wolf, he is joined in a new pack by Seth and Leah Clearwater, who aid Jacob and the Cullens in protecting Bella. After the birth of Renesmee Carlie Cullen, Bella and Edward's daughter, Jacob immediately "imprints"— an involuntary response in which a shape-shifter finds his soul mate—on Renesmee. As a result, his affections are shifted and the romantic conflict between Jacob and Bella's characters is resolved. They remain close friends. The enmity between Jacob and the Cullens is also dispelled, and he and Edward come to view each other as brothers.[5]

Characterization[edit]

Physical appearance[edit]

Jacob is characterized as having primarily dark features by his "dark russet skin", "brown eyes", and "black hair". In Twilight, he is described as a lanky 5' 10" fifteen-year-old with hair down to his shoulders. By Breaking Dawn, Jacob's growing character stands at 6'7" feet and has a muscular build. In New Moon, after discovering that he can turn into a wolf, he cuts off his long hair. He later grows it out in Eclipse, thinking that Bella prefers it long. This makes his fur as a wolf shaggier and longer than that of the other wolves. He is said to be quite handsome, as Bella once mentions her jealousy of his features and describes him as "sort of beautiful". He tends to wear only cut-off style jeans or shorts with no shirt, since clothes are often ruined during his transformations into a wolf. As a wolf, Jacob has fur that is described as rusty brown. In the films, the members of the pack all have the same tattoo on their right shoulder.

Personality and abilities[edit]

Bella describes Jacob as a "happy person" who extends this happiness to the people around him. As Jacob's character emerges in New Moon, he is shown to be cheery, passionate, and adventurous, but hot-headed. Jacob is also able to shape-shift at will into a giant wolf, and sometimes when angered he will involuntarily phase. His body temperature is warmer than a human's body should be, reaching about 108.9 °F (42.7 °C), which allows him to withstand very cold weather. In human form, his body heals within seconds, he possesses superhuman strength and speed, has a high durability rate, sharp senses and free running abilities. In wolf-form he can communicate with his wolf pack telepathically, has enhanced superhuman strength and speed and a substantial size increase. While in wolf-form, his teeth can cut through the granite-hard bodies of a vampire with ease. Members of Quileute wolf-pack do not age if they regularly turn into their wolf form, with Jacob's body physically grown to the equivalent of a 25-year-old in Breaking Dawn. Jacob is the strongest of the pack. Once they begin phasing, a Quileute shapeshifter may "imprint" —a method of finding one's soulmate —on someone, and will act as whatever the imprintee needs, whether it be a protector, a lover, or an older sibling. Jacob imprints on Edward and Bella's daughter Renesmee in Breaking Dawn.

While treating Jacob in Eclipse, Carlisle takes a blood sample and runs some tests on it. He discovers that he has 24 pairs of chromosomes, one more than a human. A distinction is made in Breaking Dawn between the old world Children of the Moon ("true werewolves") and this shape-shifting Quileute tribe. The former are held to be a more ferocious and territorial type, with a transformative venomous bite and who involuntary phase as do traditional werewolves on the full moon. The latter are implied as being blessed with the supernatural ability to shapeshift into other giant animals or "spirits of nature".

Film portrayal[edit]

Taylor Lautner played the part of Jacob Black in the film adaptation of Twilight.[6] Due to major physical changes in the character of Jacob between Twilight and New Moon, director Chris Weitz considered replacing Lautner in the sequel with an actor who could more accurately portray "the new, larger Jacob Black."[7] In an attempt to keep the role, Lautner stated, "I have been working out. I've been working out since the day we finished filming Twilight. I just weighed myself today; I've put on 19 pounds... [and] I'm guaranteeing Weitz 10 more [pounds] by filming."[8] Lautner would continue to play the role of Jacob in New Moon,[9] and all the subsequent films.

Team Jacob[edit]

Many fans of the Twilight franchise, particularly teenagers, like to debate whether Edward or Jacob is the better match for Bella. Both sides of the debate have coalesced around informal "teams" of followers, whether "Team Jacob" or "Team Edward." In a poll done by Novel Novice Twilight and appearing on NNT News in 2008, Team Jacob got 2,641 votes and Team Edward got 5,130 votes. A poll done by Top7 with over 43,000 votes had Jacob trailing Edward by around 3,000 votes.[10]

Lautner portrayed a diehard Edward supporter in a December 12, 2009 sketch lampooning Twilight fans on Saturday Night Live.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b StephenieMeyer.com "New Moon Story". Stepheniemeyer.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  2. ^ Meyer, Stephenie (2005). Twilight. Twilight series. Park Avenue, New York: Little, Brown. p. 498. ISBN 978-0-316-01584-4. 
  3. ^ Meyer, Stephenie (2006). New Moon. Twilight series. Park Avenue, New York: Little, Brown. p. 563. ISBN 978-0-316-16019-3. 
  4. ^ Meyer, Stephenie (2007). Eclipse. Twilight series. Park Avenue, New York: Little, Brown. p. 629. ISBN 978-0-316-16020-9. 
  5. ^ Meyer, Stephenie (2008). Breaking Dawn. Twilight series. Park Avenue, New York: Little, Brown. p. 756. ISBN 978-0-316-06792-8. 
  6. ^ "'Twilight' to film one or two days in LaPush". Peninsula Daily News. 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  7. ^ Larry Carroll (2008-12-15). "'New Moon' Casting News: Michael Copon, Ben Barnes Push For Roles In 'Twilight' Sequel". MTV. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  8. ^ Larry Carroll (2008-12-18). "'Twilight' Exclusive: Taylor Lautner Talks About His Campaign To Stay On 'New Moon'". MTV. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  9. ^ "Taylor Lautner to Reprise His Role as Jacob in New Moon" (Press release). Summit Entertainment. 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  10. ^ "Top Twilight Characters". Top7. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  11. ^ Wilkinson, Amy (December 14, 2009). "Taylor Lautner On 'SNL' Recap: Defending Taylor Swift, Joining Team Edward And More". Hollywood Crush, MTV.

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