As for the man she marries, she falls for him not because she is magically attractive, but because of how well they work together on a quest to track down her missing large and scaly employer. And while he may be the love of her life, he’s far from the only purpose in it.
Then there’s Monica Furlong’s children’s novels, Juniper and Wise Child, about witches in medieval England. Juniper learns she has extraordinary abilities when she discovers that she is magically able to divine the water that her father’s Cornish fiefdom needs. Meanwhile Wise Child learns of her capabilities as a potential witch by playing with a deck of cards and arranging them into a meaningful pattern, an act that suggests she has magical abilities. Another book, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s retelling of the Arthurian legend, The Mists of Avalon, presents a heroine, Morgaine, who experiences prophetic visions and confesses them to a priest who tells her that they are sinful. All three women become seers, healers, and significant forces in the kingdoms where they live. Magic does not simply change the ways Juniper, Wise Child, and Morgaine see the world: it enhances their power to act in it. And while all three women find love at various points along the way, it never becomes everything to them, or eclipses their dedication to their unique vocations.
In Twilight, magic is an inhibiting factor, rather than a catalyst. Meyer’s vampires, in one of the series’ most pointless innovations (and incentives to flagrant over-use of the world dazzle and its variations), sparkle when exposed to direct sunlight, making it difficult for them to spend much time outside the cloud-ridden environs of Forks, Wash. Questing is difficult when you’re stuck in the Pacific Northwest, but Bella does manage to get out of town a few times. First, she flees to Arizona when a nasty vampire decides she’d make a tasty snack. But she spends most of the time in her hotel room or the hospital. Next, she dashes to Italy to save Edward from a suicide attempt. And finally, she gets a honeymoon. But the vast majority of the action takes place in Forks, a limited canvass for Meyer’s limited plot.
In so much as the novel can lay claim to anything approximating a quest, Bella’s goals are narrow, and focused internally. She wants to preserve Edward’s life and her relationship with him. When she becomes pregnant in the final novel, she wants to protect her fetus, even as it begins to kill her. And most of all, she wants to become a vampire, to become as magical as her boyfriend. When that transformation does take place, Bella is essentially uninterested in the prospect of having a useful superpower, like Edward’s ability to read minds, or the healing and prognosticating abilities other vampires she knows possesses.
“I would probably never be able to do anything interesting or special like Edward, Alice, and Jasper could do,” she muses. “Maybe I would just love Edward more than anyone in the history of the world had ever loved anyone else.”