Soulbond (trope)

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: soul bond, soulbonding, soul bonding, soulbonded, soul bonded, bond, psychic bond, imprint, mindlink mates
Related: Soulmates, Bondmate
See Also: Broccoli Test, OTP
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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A soulbond, more usually just called the bond, or bonded, is a very popular trope in fan and professional fiction. It is related to, but distinct from, the Soulmate trope.

See Soulbond (Fictive Presence) for the concept related to the 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 concept is probably as old as humanity and is found in world mythology and even in the Bible.[1] The bond may be what brings them together, or may result 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; or to twin flames, two persons born from a single original soul. The two go their separate ways, reincarnating many times, then spending their last lifetime or two together on earth so that they can reunite in Ascension (no longer needing to reincarnate).

Literature featuring 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.

An canon example from a fantasy series would be the bond between Vanyel and Tylendel in Mercedes Lackey's Last Herald-Mage trilogy. The telepathic/empathic bond between rider and dragon in the Dragonriders of Pern stories is another example.

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.

In Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman there is a canon soulbond between Lois Lane and Clark Kent, and a time travel episode shows earlier incarnations as a masked gunfighter and saloon girl, a medieval maiden and a Robin Hood-like outlaw, etc.

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.[2] Mental/empathic bonding was also depicted canonically as part of Vulcan mating custom and has been used in many fan-written stories. More romantic tales might envision them as having lived other lifetimes together and having a spiritual bond.

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 stories featuring the veela. 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)

In Magic: The Gathering, soulbonding specifically describes something that creatures, not people, do under certain conditions.[3]

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 who incarnate separately and live many lives before rejoining and returning to the Ultimate. They will spend lives together and apart, each will experience lives as male and female, gay and straight, and they will have every kind of relationship with each other -- familial, friends, enemies and lovers. Some fans think that Fei and Elly from Xenogears are twin souls.

Examples in Fanfiction

American Idol RPF:

Batman:

  • 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."

Crossovers:

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog:

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.

Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman:

  • The "Home" Series by Nan Smith; Years in the future, a talented journalism student meets the new superhero in Metropolis. What she doesn't know is that he's been waiting for her, because true love never dies. Kryptonians live for centuries, humans do not. After Lois Lane dies Clark senses that she has been reborn; the series chronicles their eventual meeting, romance, and marriage.

Marvel Comics:

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.

Marvel Cinematic Universe:

Naruto:

Star Trek:

  • The 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.
  • Brownlee also wrote the stories of Captain T'Pelle in Eridani Triad, which 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.
  • How High the Moon by kyliselle (Kirk/Spock (AOS)) After the destruction of Vulcan, Spock shielded his mind to protect it from his broken bond with T'Pring. Little did he know another bond had already formed in its place.

Stargate Atlantis:

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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

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."

Resources

References

  1. Thomas Ulrich, Made For One Another: Soulmates in Fiction and in Real Life. Bluestar, 1998.
  2. Kirk is portrayed as slightly telepathic in canon, in the episode "Obsession". In Claire Gabriel's Ni Var Kirk makes brief telepathic contact with Spock twice, the first time unknowingly. Spock tells him that "some things can be learned." The Kraith story chain is partly about non-slash telepathic bonding between Kirk and Spock.
  3. "A creature becomes "paired" with another as the result of a soulbond ability. Abilities may refer to a paired creature, the creature another creature is paired with, or whether a creature is paired. An "unpaired" creature is one that is not paired." Soulbond definition at the Magic: The Gathering website.