‘Twilight’: Stephenie Meyer on What Inspired Imprinting

Though there are plenty of strange themes within the Twilight books, imprinting is certainly among the most bizarre and controversial. When Jacob Black imprinted on his best friend’s baby, Renesmee, it sent shockwaves through the fandom. It was a particularly odd choice on the part of Stephenie Meyer, who authored the books, because Jake had previously been in love with Renesmee’s mom, Bella Swan. But just how did Meyer conjure up the concept of imprinting to begin with?

Twilight author Stephenie Meyer signs a book for fans
‘Twilight’ author Stephenie Meyer | Amanda Edwards/WireImage

Much of the content in the Twilight books come directly from Meyer’s imagination. In fact, the original catalyst for the series came from an especially vivid dream that the writer had. However, there are some themes and concepts in Meyer’s books that are a mixture of both reality and mythology. Imprinting is a great example of this and on her website, Meyer explained how she came up with the concept.

How ‘Twilight’ author, Stephenie Meyer, came up with concept of imprinting

“Imprinting was inspired by two different sources: ducklings and dragons,” the Twilight author shared. “Imprinting actually exists in nature, but usually between parents and their offspring. I saw a nature documentary about ducklings imprinting on their moms and it always stuck with me.” Continuing on, Meyer shared that another author, Anne McCaffrey, also was a key factor in dreaming up the concept.

“In her mythology, humans and dragons bond so tightly that if one of them dies, the other either suicides or goes mad,” Meyer shared about McCaffrey’s books. “They love each other with an absolute and unreasoning love that never falters or changes. I was always captivated by this concept, and I wanted to explore that kind of life-changing and compulsory relationship.”

Not everyone understood the idea of imprinting

But just because the concept of imprinting made sense to Meyer doesn’t mean that others didn’t struggle with the idea. Not only did it take a while for fans to come around to imprinting, but even some members of the Twilight cast struggled also. Taylor Lautner, who played Jake, knew that he had to walk a fine line with conveying imprinting. Particularly since Mackenzie Foy, who played Renesmee, was only nine at the time the movie was filming.

‘Twilight’ cast member, Taylor Lautner, had concerns about Jacob imprinting on Rensemee

“It’s a fine line and I was worried about it,” Lautner admitted to Collider about imprinting. “We were very lucky to have Stephenie Meyer, the author, on set with us for these last two [Twilight] movies, and I definitely had quite a few conversations with her. There was nobody better to ask about it than her, and she basically told me, ‘Stop over-complicating it. Think here and now. That’s all you really have to focus on. It’s simple.’ She said that it’s a lifelong bond between two people, and that’s it. At this point, it’s more of a brother-sister protective thing. That’s really all it is.”


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Clearly, Lautner was able to portray imprinting in a way that was acceptable to Twilight fans. However, we’re sure there are some fans that still wish that Meyer was able to dream up an alternative happy ending for the werewolf.