Why I Hate Twilight Part II: Relationships are Toxic and Abusive
Section E: The Fatally Contagious Infectious Disease of Imprinting
Oh how deep, Jacob. Really. That's quite profound. Heaven forbid those feelings develop when you actually fall in love with someone through a deep connection formed by spending time with that person and learning about them. Their fears, their desires, their quirks, their attributes. No, that's just silly. Why fall in love the "normal" way when you can have fate take complete control? Who needs free will? Being forced to love someone is so much more romantic.
You thought I forgot about this series, didn't you? Not to worry. I've been planning to write this for a while now. For about 9 months actually. I told you I was a good procrastinator. Yes. So if you haven't already guessed, I'm going to talk about the lovely phenomenon known as imprinting in the Twilight series. Imprinting is defined as "the involuntary mechanism by which Quileute shape-shifters find their soul-mates".
Basically, for those of you who haven't read Twilight, Jacob is part of a Native American tribe whose members turn into werewolves when a threat (vampires) persists nearby. Jacob tells Bella that sometimes, in very rare circumstances, a member of the "pack" will imprint on a member of the opposite sex. This is a process of deep affection and there are many stages to it. When this happens, the shape-shifter will be bound unconditionally to this person for the rest of his/her life. Everything else in life becomes secondary and overshadowed. It's as if the world has shifted and gravity is pulling the shape-shifter towards this person.
Right. So let's break this down.
Stephenie Meyer isn't toying with your emotions. She's not a good enough writer for that. And these are the reasons why.
1) Free will is a concept of the past. A shape-shifter doesn't get to choose anymore. Once they imprint, every decision they make is a reflection upon the force tethering them to their one and only. The argument here in support of imprinting is that the imprinter would WANT to make those decisions anyway. And even if they had a real choice, the end result would be the same.
But how would they even know?
In my mind, imprinting is comparable to illicit drug use. How do you think clearly when your μ receptors are being delightfully stimulated by opiοids? You don't.
2) "It's one of those bizarre things we have to deal with. It doesn't happen to everyone. In fact it's the rare exception, not the rule..." Rare huh? Let's look at the statistics. By the end of the saga, there are 17 members of the pack accounted for. So out of those 17 werewolves, we know that at least 5 of them have imprinted. That's almost 30 percent. ONE WHOLE THIRD of the tribe had this incredibly rare and special phenomenon happen to them. Shall we return to math class, Stephenie? Or maybe pull out that thesaurus you love, and look up what rare means. I'll get you started: unlikely, infrequent, deficient, seldom, inconceivable, uncommon, isolated, unheard of…..
3) Why on earth can a werewolf imprint on a baby? Why is this a thing that happens? Stephenie really tried to explain her way out that one. Because, see at first, the imprinter is like an older sibling. Later on, a best friend. Love blossoms over time…blah blah blah.
No. The imprinter still knows that someday he will want to be in a physical relationship with that baby, which is incredibly creepy. There is so much wrong with that.
Bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia…sounds like the makings of a bestseller to me. For sure.
I want you to think of your favorite romance.
It can be a comedy. It can be a drama. It can be a Disney movie.
Do you have it? Good.
Do you want to know why you love it? It's because you love the way the characters fall in love. The story. The journey.
… actually, now that I think about it, Disney isn't the best example if you're thinking of the classic Princess movie.
But nonetheless, even movies that invoke "fate" as a device to tell the story, leave some of it up to witty repartee and cute montages.
But Steph says, To hell with all that. Let's just have the characters fall so deeply in love with each other that the only possible explanation for such affection could be absolute fate. I'll admit, she writes manipulatively enough to convince you that this is something the characters would want, because this "love" is so real that you wouldn't want it any other way.
I call bullshit.
I want to love someone because I want to love them. I want the fall. Love is a process that can't be calculated or forced upon you by some all-consuming higher power.
Imprinting isn't a fall. It's a wind-knocking shove in the fatal direction.