Twilight: How Alice Cullen's Precognitive Ability Works

Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen in Twilight Saga
(Image credit: (Summit))

Everyone’s always going on about Team Edward or Team Jacob. Can we all just pipe down and agree that Alice Cullen is the best character in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga? Aside from pulling off the spunky pixie cut, she has Bella Swan’s back from the beginning straight up into eternity. Alice Cullen may always be an underrated gem within the vampire franchise all about a Lion and a Lamb, but that’s not going to stop us from intensely breaking down her dazzling abilities, a la Bella’s internet rabbit hole after young Jacob’s lore dump.

Alice Cullen’s precognitive abilities are discussed over the course of the four Twilight books and more in depth in Midnight Sun, Meyer’s retelling of the first Twilight story from Edward Cullen’s perspective. While it may be some time before Meyer finally gets to work on her continuation of Twilight, we’ll always have the books and movies and sometimes it’s just nice to have a good breakdown in one place. Let’s talk all about how Alice Cullen’s powers work.

Alice Cullen and Jasper Hale in Twilight : Eclipse

(Image credit: (Summit))

The Origins Of Alice Cullen’s Powers In The Twilight Saga

Before we get into the specifics of Alice’s powers, let’s get through a little background. Alice is amongst the youngest of the Cullen’s Olympic Coven, since her and Jasper Hale did not join Carlisle, Esme, Edward, Rosalie and Emmett until the ‘50s. Alice was born in 1901, and actually had some aspects of her precognitive abilities before she became part of the undead. As a child growing up in Biloxi, Mississippi she had premonitions, but they were not completely accurate all the time. As she grew older, other people within her town caught on to her abilities and whispered of her premonitions.

Things started turning for the worse when one of her predictions came true and she started being characterized as a witch. Alice later saw premonitions of her mother being murdered and warned her. Despite her mom believing in her prediction, she could not stop her murder. It was later revealed to her that her own father had murdered her mother, who then decided to send Alice away to a mental asylum. It's there where Alice befriended a vampire who worked there, and later turned her when none other than James crossed their paths. Her memories were initially wiped, but her first premonition as a vampire led to her happily ever after with Jasper.

Kristen Stewart and Ashley Green in Twilight: New Moon

(Image credit: (Summit))

The Rules Of Alice’s Subjective Precognition Explained

As a vampire, her abilities as a human were amplified two-fold into subjective precognition, which is the ability to perceive what future events may take place based on the decisions in play by people. In other words, what Alice sees is only the future if the person creating the action follows through with their intentions. If Alice explains her hindsight about what could happen if an intended decision is made, she can help alter the future – therefore indicating that the future's not set in stone. This is important to note, because other adaptations of this concept believe that the future is inevitable, but within Stephenie Meyer’s world, changing things based on Alice’s cognition can provide positive results in her favor, as long as she’s paying attention.

Alice taps into her precognitive abilities by focusing on a specific object or person, but it can also come to her as a vision when someone makes a certain decision that will lead to a very specific outcome. She can also sometimes see multiple futures at once that feel tough to distinguish if decisions are unclear or require multiple decisions that have yet to be made all at once. Alice calls this cluster of multiple scenarios “the knot,” which can only be untangled by time and some decision making.

Alice Cullen and Bella Swan in Twilight: New Moon

(Image credit: (Summit))

How Crucial Alice Cullen’s Powers Are To The Series

To break down Alice’s abilities further, let’s get into some examples of the use of her powers in the series itself. First off, Alice's powers become tied to Edward’s powers because he can read her mind. Since he is blind sighted by Bella’s shield (he cannot hear her thoughts), he taps into Alice’s visions to protect her and figure out what’s going on with their future.

In a key scene in Midnight Sun, we find out that one of Alice’s visions for Edward and Bella involved him murdering her at the meadow instead of the pair bonding there. And another had her romantically involved with Edward years into the future as an adult human. Edward used these visions to realize he needed to tell her the truth about himself in hopes of changing the future. As we know, it did change the future but instead of this knot, Bella becomes a vampire like the Cullens.

Another major moment where Alice’s powers saved the day is in New Moon when Edward leaves Bella. After months away, he calls her home only to hear Jacob saying her dad, Charlie is going to a funeral. Thinking she had died, he made the decision in that moment that he’d go to Volturi and kill himself. This is when Alice gets her vision of his death and rushes to Bella to change the future. Alice’s powers have been absolutely crucial to Edward and Bella’s love story, but also incredibly instrumental to protecting the Cullen family.

Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen in Twilight: New Moon

(Image credit: (Summit))

What Are The Limitations Of Alice’s Abilities

Although Alice Cullen is an incredibly powerful character in the Twilight franchise, her precognitive abilities do have some significant limitations. The biggest one is that she cannot see the future of werewolves such as Jacob Black’s Quileute tribe. Additionally, she cannot see what’s coming for vampire/human hybrids either. While the Cullens do not exactly know why this is, they do have their own theories as to why this limitation may exist. Alice believes it is because she has never been one of them before, while Carlisle’s doctor brain relates it to the different number of chromosomes and biological chemistry they have.

All in all, Alice Cullen’s precognitive abilities are one of the most interesting elements of Twilight’s worldbuilding and the amount of times it is saved the Cullen’s skins is insurmountable. Team Alice. Team Alice!!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.