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|Trope · Genre|
|Synonyms:||soul bond, soulbonding, soul bonding, soulbonded, soul bonded, bond, psychic bond, imprint|
|See Also:||Broccoli Test, OTP|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
A soulbond, more usually just called the bond, or bonded, can refer to one of two distinct ideas. The first is a very popular trope in fan and professional fiction; the second describes a connection between writer and character.
In fiction (pro and fan) and belief systems
In fanfiction and sometimes canon, a soulbond is a mystic or psychic bond between (usually) two people, who feel drawn to become devoted friends, or (more often) lovers. The bond may be something that brings them together, or something that results from their being together. It is usually portrayed as unbreakable and irresistible, a force that unites two people in a unique way. A soulbond can persist after the death of one or both partners, and through numerous reincarnations. It can be very similar to soulmates, which are two (or more) people who are always meant to be together.
An example from a fantasy series would be the bond between Vanyel and Tylendel in Mercedes Lackey's Last Herald-Mage trilogy. This type of bonding dates back at least to early twentieth century gothic fantasy and was depicted in novels by Rebecca West, Lucy Maud Montgomery and Netta Syrett.
In the Twilight series, werewolves "imprint" on their mates in a type of soulbond that instantly engenders protectiveness, possessiveness, and (future) sexual attraction, even when there are great disparities in age, such as between Jacob and Renesmee, Bella's newborn daughter. The trope of imprinting has spread into various fandoms.
Star Trek: TOS fanfiction often takes off from Spock's canonical touch-telepathy to postulate a full telepathic (or at least empathic) bond between himself and James Kirk (see also T'hy'la), whether or not slash is involved. Mental/empathic bonding is also depicted as part of Vulcan mating custom.
In The Sentinel, fanfiction uses of the bond were already quite common before the Season 4 episode "Sentinel Too: Part 2" showed Jim and Blair's totem animals literally leaping into each other and combining. Magic in Harry Potter offered many possibilities for fan writers to come up with bonding scenarios, particularly in veelafic. In Stargate, both SG-1 and SGA, aliens often do something to bond two characters together, although this is usually supposed to be a temporary state. (See also, Story Tropes and Story Tropes by Fandom)
The concept of bonding is taken literally and seriously in Theosophical and New Age belief systems. It is distinguished from twin flames or twin rays, which come about when a single soul has diverged into male and female aspects which incarnate separately and live many lives before rejoining and returning to the Ultimate.
Examples in fanfiction
- American Idol RPF: Crash Into Me by lc2l has Adam Lambert and Kris Allen impulsively falling into a lifebond that becomes a source of distress.
- Batverse: The Sweetness Sounds Within by Te is an AU where the four first Robins are demons. ... a great big fraction of us is made out of love and need for *you* -- and we'll do anything to keep that, and protect that. It's half of our *core*. The other half is the need to fight your war... and the little *spark* that makes us Lilim. B... tell yourself we can do anything short of becoming gods. Tell it again and again and *again*. And then we can *guarantee* that nothing will ever separate us."
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Echoes in a Lonely World by Etothepii, Hammer/Horrible fic in which they accidentally get a temporary empathy bond with long-lasting effects.
- Generation Kill: Après moi le deluge by Lake features the slow, reluctant recognition that they have a soulbond by Brad Colbert and Nate Fick.
- Harry Potter: Sanguis-Vinculum by Meri, (Snarry). "You do realize that even if this manages to be a slow process, in all likelihood the brat will be in love with me before he leaves school." Of all the indignities he'd been subjected to and would be subjected to, that would be the worst. The very thought of how out of control the situation could become sent a shard of pure fear into his heart.
- Mirage of Blaze: The Resurrection of Naoe Nobutsuna by Bastmoon & Roo, Naoe and Kagetora are accidentally telepathically bonded and yet still manage to hopelessly misunderstand each other.
- Naruto: The Bijozakura Seal by megyal features Kakashi/Iruka having their chakra bound together against their will.
- Star Trek novella Let Me Count the Ways by Judith Brownlee in Eridani Triad #2 showed a good deal of anti-alien sentiment among earth's people. Amanda and Sarek marry as a political move. The marriage does not go well at first, partly because the matrimonial bond established by the officiating priestess didn't take properly in Amanda's mind. Once this is repaired, Amanda is able to understand that Sarek actually feels love for her.
- Star Trek stories of Captain T'Pelle by Judith Brownlee included detailed scenes of how a matrimonial bond was established between partners, and how T'Pelle used it to send a telepathic message to Spock when she needed his help.
- Stargate Atlantis/NCIS: The BDSM AU shared universe started by Xanthe in her SGA fics Coming Home and General and Dr. Sheppard includes optional lifebonds or soulbonds where one partner can lend physical strength to the other and bond-partners rarely survive each other because of the bond.
- Stargate Atlantis: Present, Imperfect by Sorrel is a John/Rodney story in which during John's unexpected absence, the other members of his team (Rodney, Teyla, and Ronon) form a permanent mind-meld without him.
- Suits: Imprimatur by Closer has Harvey Specter and Mike Ross imprinting on each other in a soulbond without at first recognizing it (despite the prevalence of such imprints or soulbonds in that universe).
- Supernatural: Break the Lock If It Don't Fit by Fleshflutter, Dean soulbonds with a gravely injured Sam to save him but believes their bond may be too much of a burden for Sam.
- Supernatural: Binding by astolat features Sam and Dean involuntarily soulbonded by mystical amulets and deciding it's not so bad, while her (also Sam/Dean) story Worth the Wait offers a slightly angstier take.
- Supernatural: Thank You by The TrickyOwl, (Dean/Castiel) -- "So, um…" Dean attempted to create words out of the bowl of mashed potatoes that was currently his brain. "This, uh, this mark thing connects us?"
- Supernatural RPF: Ours Is A Reciprocal Gravitation by Viridescence has Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki each believing the other is their imaginary friend throughout adolescence until they meet in person and realize they've been sharing dreams and life-experiences for years.
- The Sentinel: Choosing Guides by Josephine Darcy "You're leaving because we don't have a telepathic bond. I don't want you to leave. So let's force this telepathic bond. I mean, how many times are we talking about here? We have sex, we read each other's minds, end of problem. I mean we're not talking marriage here or something ridiculous like that."
- Works tagged with psychic bond at the AO3.
- Works tagged with forced bonding on the AO3
- Thematic list of bonding stories in Harry Potter, compiled by painless_j.
In some fan subcultures
In some fan subcultures, soulbond describes the common experience of a writer who finds that characters can take on a life of their own, sharing a connection and communicating with the author. Non-writers also have this experience. The soulbond may be either a canon figure, or one they have created themselves -- who becomes in some sense "real".
Soulbonders have many, many varying views on their SBs, where they come from, why they're here. It would be impossible to try to reflect all the ideas and experiences there are. Some experience soulbonds as muses, some as mere presences and parts of consciousness, others as distinct, separate entities. "Imaginary friends" would be only scratching the surface of this phenomena.
Most soulbonders of this type are acutely aware that this is not a culturally accepted practice even within most of fandom, and are generally discreet about mentioning it except in appropriate situations.
Some people who experience a relationship with a fictional character dislike the term soulbonding. They feel it has devolved from its original meaning into something casual and flippant. Feeling that the genuine experience is very personal, they use the word fictive, or fictive presence, rather than soulbond.