In the Twilight universe, vampires are even more indestructible than their counterparts in other popular supernatural books and series – but these immortals can be killed. When it comes to vampires, the lore surrounding how they live and die can vary greatly. Book author Stephenie Meyer sticks to some of the widely-recognized mythology about vampires, such as their thirst for blood and incredible strength and speed, but several of the main characters have additional or enhanced gifts that give them an edge in battle.
With so many different takes on vampires in fiction, there are no hard and fast rules about their strengths and weaknesses or even their looks. Vampires on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Vampire Diaries retain their human visage, allowing them to blend in until their hunger triggers them to undergo some form of transformation. The appearance of fangs or other physiological changes turns them from men into monsters, enabling them to hunt and kill swiftly and efficiently. The vampires of the Twilight universe are uniformly beautiful, and everything about them from their scent to their voices is meant to separate them from mere mortals, making them more seductive and desirable. They are like many predators found in nature, whose beauty serves to camouflage the danger they pose to the outside world.
Twilight vampires can only be killed by other vampires and wolves like Jacob: the only creatures with teeth strong enough to penetrate their flesh and who possess the same strength and speed. Vampires die when they are dismembered or decapitated and the remains are burned. Vampires die more easily in the Twilight movies (where a simple beheading will do the trick) than they do in the books (where dismemberment and burning of the pieces are required). Crosses, holy water, stakes, or any man-made weapon (such as a gun) pose no threat. Sunlight won’t incinerate them, leaving a pile of ash, but rather causes their skin to sparkle like diamonds. Sunlight can be a liability, since the spectacle it creates can increase the risk of unwanted attention on either an individual or a coven, but it’s not directly lethal.
Like any combatants, some vampires are more skilled fighters, such as Emmett, whose physical strength as a human is amplified after his transformation. Others possess special gifts that give them an advantage over their opponents. Jane, a feared member of the Volturi, can inflict pain on other vampires, and her brother Alec (also a member of the Volturi) can deprive them of senses such as sight, rendering them more defenseless.
Alice’s ability to see the future enables her to anticipate an opponent’s next move and react accordingly. Bella’s ability to act as a “Shield” means she’s impervious to Jane’s attacks, and Bella can expand this barrier to protect other vulnerable vampires such as her husband, Edward. The shield acts as a womb, while still allowing those safely encased within to fight. By far the biggest threat the Twilight vampires face is from each other and from werewolves, making their supernatural clashes exceptionally brutal.