Soulmates

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This page is for the trope. For other uses, see Soulmate (disambiguation).

Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Soulmates, Soulmate AU
Related: Soulbond, Mates, Alternate Universe
See Also: Mates (trope)
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Soulmates are two (or more[1]) characters who are fated to be together, sometimes through multiple lives[2] and/or into the afterlife.

Soulmates has been a common AU or trope in fanfic for decades, and is actually canon for some fandoms; for example, the TV series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman included serial reincarnation of the main characters as soulmates through multiple lives, with the time traveling H.G. Wells using a device to trace them and send the characters' souls back to their earlier bodies. Some versions of the canon for Hawkman/Hawkgirl , such as the TV series Legends of Tomorrow, also use the reincarnation version of this trope.

Soulmates can be very similar to soulbonding (a mystic or psychic bond between two or more people), but soulbonding can happen through mystical means later in life, as opposed to soulmates who are always meant to be together.

Common Features

Here are some of the prevalent ways Soulmates AUs tend to be devised in fanworks.

Soulmate-identifying Marks

Since the movie TiMER (2009), soulmates sometimes have a characteristic or tell to help them find each other, such as identical or complementary birthmarks or tattoos, sometimes called a soulmark.[3] The mark may be present from birth or appear at a set time in the characters' lives.

One popular version of the trope has the name of the character's soulmate written on their hand or wrist and has been around since at least October 2011, probably before. The fic prompt Kurt doesn't have a name on his hand.[4] was posted to a Glee kink meme on October 13; in November, colteyes filled the prompt with This is a Gift[5]. Because this is actually an inverted trope example, the trope had probably been around for a while already. On 30 December 2011 a similar prompt, "Everyone is born with the name of their soulmate on their hand", was posted to sherlockbbc-fic, a Sherlock kink meme. Soulmates' names on hands or wrists also appear in a lot of Hobbit fic in 2013, such as Your Name Like Ink on My Skin by thehyperactivesammich, posted on January 12.

First Words

Another recent trend (since 2014?), possibly started by amusewithaview[6], is having the soulmate's first words spoken to them written somewhere on their body (usually written in their handwriting). Soulmate Shorts by ozhawk, is a series of MCU related drabbles/ficlets showcasing this version of the Soulmate AU.

Senses Alteration

Soulmates can also be revealed through touch[7][8] or a literal change in the way they view the world, such as black-and-white vision going full colour upon meeting one's soulmate(s).[9][10][11]

See also the Soulbond page for more examples of canon and fanon in which people recognize their soulmate through touch, scent, or by other means when in proximity.

Trope Subversion

As with all tropes, there also exist a number of fanworks which explore its unintended consequences or try and go against the usual course of the soulmates narrative, for example focusing on characters who are platonic soulmates, who *don't* have soulmates in a world where everyone is expected to have one, who have several simultaneous or consecutive soulmates, whose soulmates are already deceased, whose marks don't match up in a conventional way, or who chose to be with someone other than their marked soulmate.

This allows creators to explore themes such as marginalisation, asexuality, polyamory, diversity and choice/free will vs fate/predestination.[12]

Fanwork Examples

The 100:

  • Bellarke AU Soulmates gifspam by bellamyblakc, "The world is black and white until you meet your soulmate. Maybe the world turns to color the first time you see them. Maybe it’s the first or hundredth time you touch them. Or maybe it’s after years of knowing them and the world turns to color slowly and everything falls into place."

Arrow

A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones

  • hold onto your heart (you’ll keep it safe) by aceofdiamonds, a Sansa/Jon fic, When Sansa turns eleven her wrist burns. She excitedly unwraps the cloth guarding her skin, waiting eagerly for the name to finish forming. The dark letters stop after only three and when Sansa leans in closer she realizes that she knows that name and she knows that handwriting already. Where almost everything is the same but people have soulmates on their wrists and Sansa can't believe hers is her half-brother.

Harry Potter

  • Orange-Violet Blooms by Graziana, a Harry/Hermione fic, She can't look for long - her own fear starts to win. So, instead - adrenaline pounding - she screws her eyes shut, presses her smile into Harry's jumper and watches the glorious night sky through his eyes instead.

Lois and Clark

  • The "Home" Series by Nan Smith; An immortal Clark Kent courts and eventually marries the next incarnation of Lois Lane.
  • The Falcon (Multiple authors); "The Falcon" takes us to Italy during the Renaissance, where a bookish young nobleman and his beautiful wife struggle to triumph over evil in 1507. (First of a series chronicling the souls of Lois and Clark in different eras)

The Lord of the Rings

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Sherlock (BBC)

Star Trek: Voyager

Xena: Warrior Princess

Communities and Websites

See Also

  • Soulmate article on Wikipedia
  • Soul Mates XKCD what-if discussion of some practical issues related to soulmates

References

  1. An example of a soulmate trio is this untitled commentfic in the Sherlock BBC Prompting Meme on livejournal, posted 5 January 2012.
  2. An example of soulmates through multiple lives is the Star Trek: Voyager Janeway/Seven fic Le Coeur de Lion.
  3. See the works in the Soulmate-Identifying Marks tag on AO3. The "Soulmate AU" tag was created on 2012-09-18, the "Soulmarks" tag was created on 2013-01-11, and the "soul mark" tag was created on 2013-06-21. Soulmark or Soul mark also appears in stories on Fanfiction.net and Wattpad in 2013, and there's a reference to the trope as early as July 22, 2012 on LiveJournal. FF.net example, Wattpad example, LiveJournal. Prior to that, there may not have been a term to describe this subtrope, though fans were already writing it.
  4. archive link
  5. archive link
  6. according to ffa
  7. Such as the Sherlock (BBC) prompt (and fic fill) that's "Set in a world where people can identify their soulmate through touch."
  8. The Suits fic Imprimatur by Closer is set in a world where people recognize their soulmate(s) through touch; "find your soulmate" handshaking events are mentioned.
  9. apharthurkirklands starts a new Soulmate AU
  10. Colour Soulmate AU tag on Tumblr
  11. [query=colour+soulmates Results of the "colour" + "soulmates" search on AO3 bringing more than 180 results as of Jan 16, 2016.
  12. it's you i find like a ghost in my mind by [[magneticwave], locked to AO3 users, a One Direction story where characters defy their marks to chose someone else.