In Twilight, vampires deviate from traditional myth in many ways, a fact often alluded to in the series, usually for humor. Meyer has said she did not research vampire mythology before writing the series. For example, they are unharmed by garlic, holy items, or wooden stakes; they have reflections and shadows, and are able to be out during daylight. Vampires are also capable of eating human food, though their bodies are unable to digest it and they must cough it up later. They do not have to breathe, but typically find it uncomfortable to be without a sense of smell.
All vampires possess refined and perfected physical features (including their voice and scent), allowing them to lure in prey. Their skin is flawless, has the texture and feel of marble due to being stronger than granite, and sparkles in direct sunlight because of the crystalline properties of their cells. Newborn vampires have bright red eyes; for vampires who choose to drink human blood, the most revitalizing kind of blood for a vampire, eye color fades to a deep crimson over the course of a year. If they feed on animal blood, like the Cullens, their eyes fade to a deep gold color. Regardless of meal preference, all vampires' eyes grow darker with thirst, eventually fading to black; vampires tire only from lack of blood. All vampires possess superhuman physical and mental attributes. Their superhuman strength gives them the ability to subdue their prey, uproot trees, throw cars, and crush metal. Newborn vampires are known to be exceptionally strong during their first year because of the excessive amount of human blood still in their systems. Vampires have very keen senses and are able to see and hear clearly for miles in total darkness and move with such speed that they become a blur to human eyes. They are immortal and difficult to destroy, only permanently killed when dismembered and then burned, as their body parts continue to move even after being detached. Vampires are unable to sleep, and thus spend all days and nights awake. After transformation, a vampire's certain ability becomes enhanced, sometimes resulting in a specialized, supernatural skill. While not definite, the theory behind these special abilities is that the power is reminiscent of the individual's original personality. Some vampires have no special abilities, and instead have a prominent personality or physical trait from their human life magnified.
The Volturi, from left to right: Alec, Marcus, Aro, Caius, and Jane, from The Twilight Saga: New Moon.The vampire coven known as the Volturi live in Volterra, Tuscany (Italy). They are regarded as "royalty" by other vampires because they have lived for well over 3000 years and act as police, enforcing the rule that vampires' existence remain a secret from humans. They often send emissaries or enforcers from Volterra to prevent overzealous covens and renegade vampires from exposing their kind. They are guarded by several powerful vampires who have been recruited for their powers and skills. Carlisle once stayed with the coven as a guest, but left due to his desire to avoid harming humans and established his own coven in the United States. At the end of New Moon, the Volturi discover that Bella, a human, has learned that vampires exist and demand that she become a vampire or else be killed. In Eclipse, they arrive in Forks under the pretense of eliminating Victoria and her newborn army for violating Volturi law; their true intentions, however, were to allow Victoria's army to destroy the Cullen clan, whom Aro envies for its large size and for its members' supernatural talents. In Breaking Dawn, the vampire Irina goes to the Volturi and informs them that the Cullens have created an immortal child after seeing Edward and Bella's daughter, Renesmee, hunting close to the Cullens' house. The Volturi coven travel to Forks to destroy Renesmee and the Cullens, but leave when they are outfaced by the group gathered there. It is noted at the end of the novel that the Volturi may again one day attempt to destroy the Cullen family.
The Volturi leaders include Aro, who can read every thought a person has ever had once he has made physical contact, Marcus, who senses the strength and nature of relationships, and Caius, who has no known power. Aro's wife Sulpicia, Caius' wife Athenodora, and formerly Marcus' wife Didyme, who had the power to make others happy, also act as leaders. The Volturi guard consists of 32 members, including Jane, who creates illusions of pain; her twin brother Alec, who is able to block others' senses; Demetri, who can track anyone once he has the tenor of their mind; Felix, who possesses exceptional physical strength and speed; Chelsea, who can change emotional bondings and causes members of the Volturi to be loyal to the coven; and Renata, who can make anyone feel distracted and wandering when they are near her (classified as a "shield"). The majority of the Volturi guard remain nameless throughout the series. There is also a human secretary named Gianna, who appears in New Moon and is killed by the Volturi by the events of Breaking Dawn, despite her hope that they would turn her into a vampire. Aro, coveting their talents, invites Carlisle, Edward, Alice, Kate, Benjamin, Zafrina, and Bella to join the Volturi, but all of them refuse.
In The Twilight Saga: New Moon, the cast of the Volturi includes Michael Sheen as Aro; Jamie Campbell Bower as Caius; Christopher Heyerdahl as Marcus; Dakota Fanning as Jane; Cameron Bright as Alec; Charlie Bewley as Demetri; Daniel Cudmore as Felix; and Noot Seear as Heidi. Fanning, Bright, Bewley, and Cudmore all reprised their roles in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. They are all set to return for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.
All three of the nomads shown together in Twilight. From left to right: Laurent, James, and Victoria.The major antagonist of Twilight, James is a merciless, sadistic "tracker" vampire who hunts human beings or, in some cases, animals, for sport. Fellow coven member Laurent says that James is unusually gifted at what he does and always gets what he wants, though it is later revealed that then-human Alice Cullen escaped him years ago by being turned into a vampire before James could attack her. Unlike the Cullen family, he drinks human blood. Towards the end of Twilight, James is destroyed by Cullen brothers Emmett and Jasper after he lures Bella to an empty ballet studio and nearly kills her. The shimmery scar left by his venomous bite still remains on Bella's hand as a symbol of his unsuccessful attempt on her life. James is described as having light brown hair and being quite average-looking.
Victoria as portrayed in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.A red-haired, cat-like vampire, Victoria is originally a member of James' coven. She plays a small role in the first book assisting James, her lover and coven leader, in hunting Bella Swan. After James is killed, she decides to exact revenge on Edward Cullen by plotting to kill his partner, Bella. Bella is sufficiently protected from her wrath by the Quileute shape-shifting wolves. Months later in Eclipse, Victoria creates an army of bloodthirsty newborn vampires in Seattle to rise up against the combined forces of the werewolves and Cullen family. During this battle, both she and her new fighting partner, Riley, are destroyed by Edward and the young wolf Seth Clearwater. Her supernatural talent is self-preservation, and her voice is said to sound high and girlish.
Victoria is portrayed by Rachelle Lefevre in the films Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Bryce Dallas Howard replaces Lefevre in the role for the third film, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
A dark-haired, olive-toned vampire, Laurent is a member of James' coven in Twilight. When James and Victoria choose to track and murder Bella, Laurent leaves them and travels to Denali, Alaska, hoping to find solace among a coven of "vegetarian" vampires. He never adopts their strict diet of drinking animal blood, and "cheats" by occasionally feeding on humans. During this stay he takes a special liking to a vampire named Irina, though the infatuation is not strong enough to keep him there, as he later returns to Forks in New Moon as a favor to Victoria. During this visit, he stumbles across Bella and tries to kill her, before being ambushed by the Quileute wolves and subsequently destroyed.
Riley Biers as portrayed in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.As a vampire, Riley Biers is tall and muscular with bright red eyes and blond hair. Victoria bites and changes Riley when he is approximately Bella's age in Eclipse. Once Riley ages and gains some control, he helps to lead Victoria's army of newborn vampires. He performs his work faithfully because of his love for Victoria, which she pretends to return. In a battle between the army of newborns and the Cullens at the end of Eclipse, Edward voices Riley's concern that Victoria has been lying to him. Edward tries to convince Riley to stop fighting by explaining Victoria's true motives, but in the end Victoria bolsters Riley's faith in her and he is destroyed by Edward and Seth Clearwater.
Bree Tanner was a young vampire created by Victoria as a part of the newborn army that attacks the Cullens in Eclipse. While she was human, Riley found her and brought her to Victoria, who bit and changed her. Her age is said to be 15 or 16, and she is described as petite with chin-length black hair. Because of her youth and her willingness to surrender, the Cullens spare her life during the newborn attack, and Carlisle even offers to make her part of the family. When the Volturi arrive, however, Jane orders her destroyed by Felix despite her innocence.
Stephenie Meyer's novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, which is written from Bree's perspective, tells of Bree's life as a newborn vampire and her interactions with Riley, the Cullens, and other members of the newborn army.
Zafrina, Senna, and Kachiri are female vampires who comprise the Amazonian coven in Breaking Dawn. They are described as tall and intimidating, with dark skin, long hair, and clothes made of animal fur. Zafrina's special ability is to create illusions; her illusions do not affect Bella or anyone who is under her protective shield, and she assists Bella in improving her shield. Zafrina develops a friendship with Renesmee, who is said to like Zafrina and her "pretty pictures", and at the end of the novel she has Bella promise to bring Renesmee to visit her in the future.
In the film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Judi Shekoni will portray Zafrina and Tracey Heggins will portray Senna.
Peter, his mate Charlotte, Mary, and Randall are American nomads. Peter is Jasper's good friend, and helped Jasper escape his previous life as a general of newborn vampires. Though he feeds on human blood, he does not agree with the execution of newborns after they have outlived their usefulness. In the past, Jasper lived with Peter and Charlotte, but chose to leave because of his ability to sense his human prey's emotions. All four of these nomads join the Cullens as witnesses in Breaking Dawn.
In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part II, Peter is set to be portrayed by Erik Odom, Charlotte by Valorie Curry, Mary by Toni Trucks and Randall by Bill Tangradi.
Eleazar and his mate Carmen, Tanya, Irina (deceased), Kate, and later Kate's mate Garrett are members of the Denali coven. Like the Cullens, the Denali coven practices a diet of drinking animal instead of human blood. They are considered to be cousins of the Cullen family, though the relationship is put under strain in Eclipse when they refuse to fight Victoria and her army because of Irina's vendetta against the werewolves. Tanya, their leader, has strawberry blonde hair and once expressed an interest in Edward Cullen, though he turned her down. Carmen speaks fluent Spanish and was the first to listen to and not fear Renesmee for being a half-breed. Eleazar, a former member of the Volturi guard, speaks fluent Spanish as well and has the ability to vaguely identify the gifts of other vampires. Garrett, a tall, rangy vampire with ruby eyes and long sandy hair, is an adventurer, and alludes to being an American Patriot. He joins the Denali coven in Breaking Dawn and becomes Kate's mate. Kate's special ability is the production of an electric current over her skin that can shock and incapacitate attackers. She assists Bella in learning to use her new ability to mentally shield those around her.
Sasha, Vasilii, and Irina were former members of the Denali coven. Sasha, who created Tanya, Kate, Irina, and Vasilii, was executed by the Volturi for creating an immortal child, Vasilii. Volturi law prohibits creating an immortal child, as they are unpredictable and have no self-control. For this reason, both Sasha and Vasilii were destroyed, and since then the Denalis have maintained respect for Volturi law. Laurent was Irina's mate, and she holds a grudge against the Quileute wolves for destroying him. She arrives to make peace with the Cullens in Breaking Dawn, but before speaking with them, she sees Renesmee, mistakenly assumes she is an immortal child, and notifies the Volturi. After determining that Renesmee is not an immortal child, the Volturi destroy Irina in order to provoke her sisters into attacking them, thus giving them an excuse to destroy them along with the Cullens and their allies.
In both parts of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, the Denalis will be portrayed by MyAnna Buring as Tanya, Christian Camargo as Eleazar, Maggie Grace as Irina, Mía Maestro as Carmen, Casey LaBow as Kate, and Lee Pace as Garrett. Sasha will also be portrayed by Andrea Powell.
Tia, Amun, Benjamin, and Kebi are members of the Egyptian coven. Amun, the mate of Kebi, is shown to be very unhappy to stand witness for the Cullens in Breaking Dawn, and he and Kebi later flee in fear of the Volturi. Benjamin, the mate of Tia, has a high awareness of what is right and wrong, and his special ability is to control the elements of nature, air, earth, fire, and water. Benjamin's ability is unique in that it involves physical manipulation, as opposed to illusions of the mind.
In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part II, the members of the Egyptian coven will be portrayed by Rami Malek as Benjamin, Omar Metwally as Amun, Angela Sarafyan as Tia, and Andrea Gabriel as Kebi.
Alistair, Charles, and Makenna are European nomads. Alistair considers Carlisle to be his oldest friend, though he does not visit him often and is highly standoffish. His special ability is tracking. When he is called to be a witness for the Cullens in Breaking Dawn, he leaves out of fear of the Volturi. Charles is the mate of Makenna, and his special ability is to sense if a statement is true.
Alistair is set to be portrayed by British actor, Joe Anderson.
Siobhan, Liam, and Maggie are members of the Irish coven. Liam is Siobhan's mate. Siobhan's suspected special ability is to alter the course of a situation through willpower. Maggie, a redhead, has the ability to sense if someone is lying. They were called upon to witness for the Cullen clan in face of the Volturi in Breaking Dawn.
In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part II, the members of the Irish coven will be portrayed by Marlane Barnes (as Maggie), Lisa Howard (as Siobhan), and Patrick Brennan (as Liam).
Vladimir and Stefan used to rule along with other Romanian vampires about 1500 years ago. The Volturi overthrew them, and destroyed their castle. After the rebellion, it became apparent that Vladimir and Stefan were the only survivors of their coven. They hold a grudge against the Volturi and are willing to do anything for revenge, and so they eagerly serve as witnesses in Breaking Dawn, hoping to watch the Volturi fall.
In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part II, the Romanian coven will be portrayed by Noel Fisher (as Vladimir) and Guri Weinberg (as Stefan).
Nahuel is a vampire/human hybrid conceived by human Pire and vampire Joham. Her mother died giving birth to him, and when he was born, he bit his aunt, Huilen, who hated him for causing her sister's death. He refused to join his father's family, and stayed with Huilen. Knowing that he was the one who killed his mother, Nahuel blamed himself for this. He was found by Kachiri, Alice Cullen and Jasper Hale in Chile to seek his aid in protecting their family. By finding the other hybrid, Renesmee Cullen, and meeting her family, he begins to realize that he himself may not be as evil as he had always thought and learned to forgive himself for his mother's death.
Nahuel is set to be portrayed by J.D. Pardo in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part II. Marisa Quintanilla will portray as his aunt Huilen.