Twilight: Why Billy Isn’t a Werewolf (But Jacob Is)

The Twilight universe has vampires and werewolves, but why is Jacob Black a werewolf and his father isn’t? It’s all in the history of the tribe.

Twilight had its own version of werewolves, introduced through the character of Jacob Black, but why is he a werewolf and his father, Billy, isn’t? Back in 2005, Stephenie Meyer shared her own vision of vampires and werewolves in the novel Twilight, the first in what would become a series of four books. The core of the series was the romance between vampire Edward Cullen and mortal Bella Swan, with werewolf Jacob Black in between, forming an awkward and at times problematic love triangle.

Jacob became a very important part of Bella’s life once she arrived at Forks to live with her father, Charlie Swan, and as he was the only person she already knew, they became very close. Bella, along with readers and viewers, learned that Edward was a vampire in Twilight, but New Moon had its own big revelation, as it was in this story where Jacob began his transformation into a werewolf, something that was (understandably) a big shock for Bella. This only increased the rivalry between Edward and Jacob, as their clans had been enemies for centuries, but one big question arose: why is Jacob a werewolf but his father, Billy, isn’t?

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In the Twilight universe, the Quileute tribe resides in and around Forks, and many of them are werewolves. The tribe has its own legends and mythology, with some of the youngest members believing the whole “werewolf” part to be nothing more than a legend, as they hadn’t gone through the transformation nor did their parents, which was Jacob and Billy’s case. Billy lived in La Push his whole life, and one of his earliest memories was watching his grandfather transform into a giant, russet-colored wolf along with his two best friends. As a result, Billy grew up hoping a vampire would cross Quileute land so he would phase and become a wolf like his grandfather, but that wasn’t the case.

Billy and Jacob’s ancestors would transform when they reached manhood, but as years passed, this changed completely. Newest generations would only transform if a cold one a.k.a. a vampire was near, and when Billy was a teenager, there were no vampires in the area, so the gene was dormant for years. Around the time Billy turned twenty, he realized that he wouldn’t have the chance to be a hero for the tribe, and while it was initially hard to accept, he eventually learned to enjoy the peace of not having vampires around and thus not transforming. When Jacob was born, Billy hoped he would have the same calm life and wouldn’t have to transform, but then the Cullens arrived – and with vampires around once again, a new generation of werewolves surfaced.

In Breaking Dawn, with the arrival of the Denali, the Egyptian coven, the Volturi, and other covens, more werewolves unintentionally emerged, increasing the packs’ numbers and becoming the biggest in Quileute history. Stephenie Meyer made big changes to both fantasy creatures and real-life cultures, all to fit with her vision for the Twilight universe, but that left various questions that have been answered over the years.

Next: Twilight’s Quileute Controversy Explained

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Updated: November 29, 2020 — 3:25 am

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