Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Twi-Theories Tuesday: Imprinting on Twilight

This post contains book and movie spoilers for the entire series. Go read and watch.

Welcome back to Twi-Theories Tuesdays! I know it seems like it has be 47 years since the last one of these.

Yesterday marked an important day for me. A year ago, yesterday, my husband took me and a friend out to a movie based on some books he'd been reading for the past few weeks. A lot of you know already that my husband is what we call a 'unicorn' around here. One of those rare, mythical creatures; male fans of Twilight. He had been insisting for several weeks that I would love the books, but I kept putting off reading them.

Two hours and two minutes later, I was hooked on Twilight. Bioward had smirked his way into my heart. I knew the movie only told a fraction of the story, but I was consummed by the relationship between Bella and Edward. The next day, I started reading. It took me less than a week to finish it entirely, and then I started over. Soon, I was browsing blogs and forums, discovered fanfiction, and the rest is history.

I was thinking about that yesterday, and realized it tied in well to the Theory I wanted to bring to you today. We've been enjoying our Eclipse Discussion, and Eclipse brings us a concept that a few people have expressed some issues with: Imprinting.

In case you've been living under a Twilight rock, imprinting is essentially how the werewolves find their mates. It's love at first sight on steroids. Jacob describes it as "gravity moves". Suddenly, the earth is not what's anchoring you to this world, it is this person. The running theory among the fictional Quileutes is that it's intended to match the werewolf with the most genetically matched person, to ensure the continuation of the gene, and create more and stronger werewolves. It's a likely theory, nature is pretty big on procreation and survival.

Because of some of the nuances of imprinting, the concept has a few people a little squicked out. I want to point out three things about imprinting that are important, and I hope it alleviates some of the squickiness.

1. Imprinting is not an "easy out", but it does make somethings easier. Just because the lucky werewolf has found the girl of his dreams, it doesn't mean he's absolved from all the niceties of relationships. Communication is still key, refraining from phasing all over their face is still important. There are still consequences of your actions. The biggest example is Sam and Emily. Sam is reminded constantly, of his slip with Emily, the scars on her face haunting him daily. Also, he doesn't just forget about Leah. Do his feelings change? Yes, Emily is now the center of his universe, but that doesn't mean he doesn't still care for Leah, at least in a more platonic way. It doesn't mean that he's immune to the guilt of knowing the he hurt her, damaged her even. And with Leah's transformation into a werewolf herself, he knows exactly how much. Due penance?

2. Imprinting does not take away choice. At least, not for the target of the imprint. The werewolf is more or less compelled to be absolutely devoted to their imprintee, but nothing has changed for the girl. (The matter of Leah and imprinting is a subject for another Twi-Theory). Her center of gravity is still in the same place. In Eclipse, Jacob says that Emily was quite upset with Sam over the imprinting at first. After all, Leah is her cousin, as close as a sister. But, as Jacob adds, it is difficult to resist that level of commitment. I can say, for my own marriage, our love for each other fuels even more love. One of the things I love about my husband is how much he loves me, it makes me love him even more, and the cycle builds. And that's without the benefit of magical imprinting. I can only imagine how much more intense it would be with that. However, the young woman does still have a choice, she can walk away at anytime (though, the dog might still follow her home).

3. Imprinting is more about devotion and commitment than sex. Yes, I know the theory is that the purpose is for continuing the gene, and that implies sex. It's just that the sex is "eventually" not "right now". Which is good, considering the mechanics of imprinting. This is the part that seems to really bring on the squick. Imprinting happens the first time the werewolf sees nature's intended target, after they have made their first transformation. Jared didn't imprint on Kim until after he had made his transformation, even though he'd known her all his life.

The magic of imprinting does not have a minimum age limit for the target though. Quil imprints on his Claire while she is only two years old. Jacob goes one better and imprints on a minutes-old newborn. Before we call Chris Hansen though, lets go back to something else Jacob says.

"You become whatever she needs you to be, whether that's a protector, or a lover, or a friend, or a brother. Quil will be the best, kindest big brother any kid ever had. . . . then, when she's older. . . .he'll be more understanding, trustworthy, and reliable than anyone else she knows. . . . when she's grown up, they'll be as happy as Emily and Sam."

The key is "whatever she needs you to be", and also ties in to the point about choice. A two year old or a newborn doesn't need a lover. They just need someone to love and protect them. Edward could vouch for the purity of Jacob's thoughts regarding Renesmee, after all, even if he wasn't entirely happy with the situation at first. In fact, instead of Quil and Jacob creeping us out, it's amazing what Claire and Renesmee will have. Those two little girls will always have those young men in their lives, and when they grow up, and are ready to change the relationship into something romantic, they have the benefit of having their men being entirely devoted to them, as long as they can remember. Always having been there for them, whenever they needed them, in whatever capacity.

Okay, now I'm just jealous.

I told you the story of my start in Twilight because, in some ways a lot of us have "imprinted" on Twilight. We read the books over and over. We watch the movies repeatedly. We dive into fan-fiction because we just can't get enough. How many times have you mused about how much Twilight impacts your life now. My gravity has certainly shifted. And it does become whatever I want it to be. Romance, laughter, tears. The community of bloggers and writers provide even more. I have to remind myself that there are other books out there worthy of reading.

Some people call this obsessed, but now I have another word for it. I'm just imprinted. Now, excuse me, Edward and I have some celebrating to do.


1 comment:

Desiree said...

I loved this one!! Awesome depiction of Imprinting! Here's something to make your Gourd work..

It kinda reminds me....I knew this guy since Kindergarten we became best friends & as we aged a crush formed and dating became obvious. Off and on literally for years. (I do honestly believe both of our families thought we would marry)

Well, of course he was there for me, we always talked, our families even attended the same church every Sunday. Always giving me flowers, gifts...yes he spoiled me....When I was about to start Middle school we had our official first kiss. The kiss was awful...to me anyway. And soon after Moved on. We still talked off and on. You say what does this have to do w/Imprinting?? Ok here's me getting to the point.

Well, it seems all he saw was me. And eventually I got bored and saw everyone else. I eventually married my Edward and he married started a family of his own, BUT he got divorced handful of years after(to be nice won't go into details) BUT....if indeed the Imprintee did not choose the Imprinter...Would the Imprinter ever be able to have a true solid be in love relationship w/another female/woman? Would he or Could he marry and would/could he be truly ever happy? Deep I know...