A part of me always knew I would write this article one day. Deep down I knew that this show would jump the shark and big time. I also knew that it would start to develop the themes that make modern day paranormal romance so despicable and shallow.
Still, it was an unpleasant blow.
Honestly, the reason I’m so disappointed is because this show had all the ideas and creativity needed to surpass the despicable themes of its cousins. Mainly Twilight and Vampire Academy. But starting at Season 2, the creators had started to become fangirls of their own show. By Season 4, the four themes of The Vampire Diaries were perfectly clear:
- Evil is excusable so long as you’re good-looking and have super powers.
- Character and plot development aren’t nearly as imporant as cheap hook-ups that make absolutely no sense.
- Potential heroes will be unjustly vilified in order to make the writers’ darlings look better by comparison.
- Redemption is nothing, and blood is everything.
Note that these themes are very popular in Mary-Sue stories in general. Which is why I’m going to refer to The Vampire Diaries’ writers as Sue Writers throughout this article.
So, let us begin.
THEME #1: EVIL IS EXCUSABLE SO LONG AS YOU’RE GOOD-LOOKING AND HAVE SUPER POWERS
You can tell from the beginning that this show has an unhealthy obsession with physical beauty. It makes me wonder what the casting call must have looked like.
Men must be muscular like an ox, handsome as a greek god, and as lean as the steaks I buy from Whole Foods. Girls must resemble Japanese anime dolls with borderline anorexic bodies.
Average-looking people and uggos need not apply.
Please note that not every character benefits from Theme #1. In fact, only two really benefit from it because apart from physical beauty, they exude all the psychopathic charm idiot fangirls love to swoon over.
The first is Damon Salvatore. You know the Sue Writers are in love with him when you realize just how many characters either enable him or magically forget all the shit he’s pulled. Here’s a list of the things he’s done and the characters’ reactions:
- Murders Lexi, Stefan’s closest friend.
Reaction: Stefan almost kills Damon, but lets him go in return for saving him from Logan. Lexi’s murder is only mentioned in passing once more, and Damon never expresses remorse for it. Elena, of course, forgives and forgets.
(Before you fangirls start bleating about all the horrible things Stefan’s done, patience. Stefan’s time will come when I address the last theme of this show)
- Kills Elena’s brother Jeremy in order to punish Elena for rejecting him.
Reaction: Elena tells Damon he’s lost her forever, gives him the silent treatment for a few episodes, welcomes him back with open arms, and sleeps with him in Season 4.
- Turns Vicki into a vampire out of self-amusement and pity for Vicki’s miserable mortal life. Vampirism makes the already unstable Vicki vicious enough so that she has to be staked.
Reaction: Matt, Vicki’s brother, magically forgets this and never even mentions it to Damon. In fact, he saves Damon’s life in Season 2.
- Tortures Tyler’s Uncle Mason and then rips his heart out.
Reaction: Tyler knows this and then magically forgets. He never mentions his uncle’s murder again.
- Mind-rapes, feeds on, and molests Caroline in the beginning of Season 1.
Reaction: Caroline regains her memories is Season 2, but apart from throwing Damon around a bit and a passing comment to Elena in Season 4, she too magically forgets.
- Snaps Alaric’s neck because Alaric had the nerve to tell him to back off on Elena.
Reaction: Pretty much the same as Elena’s when Damon killed Jeremy. The only difference is that Alaric never slept with Damon.
In a well-written show, strong characters like Caroline, Matt, Tyler, and Alaric would never let Damon get away with all his bullshit.
But weak characters like Elena would.
It’s a shame because I thought Elena was going to be the anti-Bella of paranormal fiction. A critic even praised Elena for being a strong-minded young woman who didn’t let her feelings for her boyfriend—Stefan—to control her. But she allows her feelings for Damon to purge her of all morality and self-respect. In Season 5 she learns that her father experimented on vampires—tortured and dissected them—in order to harness their healing powers for humans. Which I would have no problem with if he made certain to only use evil vampires. But something tells me he didn’t care. And neither does Elena. Damon points out that she’s a vampire, but Elena merely says she doesn’t know how her father would view her now.
Elena: But he’s my father. I can’t not defend him.
You’re not defending him. You’re excusing him. Enabling him. But—as I’ll mention more than once in this article—loving someone is enabling them in The Vampire Diaries.
Damon points out all the terrible things he himself has done, and that if Elena had any intelligence or self-respect she would be running away from him as fast as she could. And Elena’s reply is that she stays with Damon because she loves him and stands by her choice.
Elena Gilbert=Bella Swan.
Sue Writers: But Damon knows how horrible he is! He shouts at Elena to stop defending him, and even breaks up with her to save her from himself! How can you say he’s bad!? How can you say we enable him!?????
Note: This is what Das Mervin the Twilight sporker would call “Sin Thine Ass Off.” Which translates as ‘Knowing something is wrong gives you the right to not only do it but get away with it.’
Oh, and he breaks up with her for five minutes. Like Elena gave him the silent treatment for five minutes after he killed her brother.
But he’s good-looking and has superpowers so he and Klaus can get away with whatever they want.
Yes. Klaus. The Biggest of Big Bads. The Sadist to End All Sadists. The Sue Writers fell in love with him too.
This becomes clear when he cures Caroline of Tyler’s werewolf bite. The gentle speech he gives Caroline regarding the wonders that are at her disposal now that she’s a vampire is completely contrived and not just because he hadn’t even spoken to Caroline before.
Stephen King lives by the saying “kill your darlings,” something the Sue Writers refuse to take to heart, and I’m not talking about how they constantly kill and resurrect characters over and over and fucking over again. Klaus is a classic case of writers becoming infatuated with their own creation. And when you’re infatuated with something, you’ll do things you wouldn’t normally do to keep it.
Like ruin your show.
The redemption arc with Caroline is pure bullshit, because Klaus, the honest, core character of Klaus, just isn’t capable of love. And I’m talking about real love. Unconditional love. Love that gives and asks for nothing in return. It just doesn’t exist in Klaus’ world. The Sue Writers would have you believe that it does, but in reality they use a tactic all Mary-Sue authors use: passing off possession, attachment, and dependency as love.
Me: Klaus daggers his siblings when they do something he doesn’t approve of: like having a life beyond what he dictates. He spits on the unconditional love they give him in favor of controlling them.
Sue Writers: Well, he just can’t bear to be alone! He really does love his siblings! Look how grief-stricken he was when Kol was killed!
Me: No, that was not grief over a beloved younger brother. That was rage over the loss of a superior Original vampire who enabled him. When Finn was killed, Klaus wrote him off as an embarrassment. Calling Klaus’ rage grief is the same as calling Voldemort’s rage grief when Bellatrix Lestrange was killed, as he did not value her as a person at all.
Sue Writers: But Finn tried to kill him!
Me: So did Stefan many times. But Ripper Stefan was the ultimate sycophant, calling Klaus a ‘king’ and that his brothers were merely jealous of him. That’s why Klaus wanted him back so badly. That’s why he thanked Ripper Stefan for ‘reminding him what it’s like to have a brother.’ Because to Klaus, family is those who enable him no matter what.
Sue Writers: How dare you! Our darling Klaus just wants to be loved!
Me: Klaus sires his hybrids so it’s impossible for them to disobey a direct order. He rapes them of their free will.
Sue Writers: He just thinks he’s unworthy of love!
Me: Klaus actually told the hybrid Chris that he lives only to please Klaus.
Sue Writers: But he’s been so abused by his father and abandoned by his mother! He just doesn’t know how to reach out to people!
Me: So, a shitty childhood is an excuse for being Vampire Hitler?
Sue Writers: Yes! That’s why we made sure to vilify Esther and Mikael even further in The Originals! All our darling Klaus wants is to be loved! That is the core of his character, so we’re just going to pull another redemption arc out of our asses by making him get a werewolf pregnant!
You know that the Sue Writers really believe this shit when, yes, I am not joking—Klaus actually gets a werewolf pregnant and names the baby ‘Hope.’
And I thought they were going to name her Renesmee.
And, yes, in case you’re wondering, Hope is a Sue Baby that could give Renesmee a run for her money. If people aren’t falling in love with her, they’re trying to kill her. She is a werewolf, a vampire, and a witch, and she can bring people back to life and turn werewolves into hybrids.
How surprising that it slipped the Sue Writers’ minds that you can’t be a vampire and a witch at the same time because one is a servant of nature and the other is an abomination.
I appreciated Klaus as a villain at first, but ‘redeeming’ him by sugarcoating his evil and disempowering characters that actually had potential for redemption is an insult to the audience, and one of the biggest betrayals of storytelling period. It would be like JK Rowling making Voldemort fall in love with Bellatrix Lestrange and naming their baby Sparkles. Or George R.R. Martin trying to make us believe that deep down, Joffrey really cared about Sansa. Or Vince Gilligan downplaying Tuco’s insane evil simply because he loved his uncle.
Or insisting Walt’s reasons for cooking meth were always out of love for his family.
Animorphs, however, is an example of “red-herring redemption” being done right. While Visser One at first appeared to experience love with the twin children she had with her subordinate Essam, it is later revealed that she never loved them. She, like Klaus, only saw them as manifestations of her ego. And the author makes it perfectly clear.
The children? Visser Three had made Darwin a host. Darwin, my son, was lost to me. But what about Madra? Was she still free? Could I…?
No. I couldn’t. Not yet. Someday, not yet.
But someday she would know me. I would tell her all about me, all about who I was, how she had come to exist. And she would love me, as a daughter loves a mother.
And if not, then I could always infest Madra, place some well-trained Yeerk in her head. Then she would love me. She’d have no choice.
Note: Visser One is a Yeerk; a sentient slug-like alien race that can crawl into the ear, wrap themselves around the brain, and take over one’s body. The ultimate horror though, is that the host is still alive and aware. So, Visser One is essentially saying that she is willing to put her daughter through the ultimate mind-rape for the rest of her life in order to maintain the illusion of love.
Thank you, K.A. Applegate.
THEME #2: CHARACTER MATURITY AND PLOT DEVELOPMENT WILL ALWAYS BE SACRIFICED IN FAVOR OF CHEAP ROMANTIC PAIRINGS THAT MAKE ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE
Actually, hook-ups would be far more accurate than pairings, but I digress.
Caroline Forbes went from being a shallow, insecure, ditz to being a real badass over the course of two seasons. The way she pulverized Mason Lockwood when he used Elena as a human shield still has a special place in my heart, and to me her romance with Tyler remains the best relationship in the series. No small part of this is due to the fact that it’s one of the show’s few healthy relationships.
But this is all blown to shit when the Sue Writers cause Klaus to develop feelings for Caroline. In spite of all the horrible things he’s done, in spite of already being with someone who truly loves and values her, she begins to develop feelings for him too. If you read my character analysis of Klaus, I mentioned that having Klaus as a boyfriend would be no different than having Ted Bundy as a boyfriend. I also said that Caroline was too smart and strong to ever let Klaus get under her skin.
And she is. The real Caroline is. But the Sue Writers raped her character so they could get their hook-up.
Caroline’s transformation is truly appalling. In order to spare Elena the agony of the hunter’s curse, Caroline cold-bloodedly writes off a hybrid’s life. When Klaus poisons her with werewolf venom to get back at Tyler, a dying Caroline tells Klaus that he isn’t pure evil because he’s in love with her, and that anyone capable of love deserves to be saved.
Due to his “love” for Caroline, Klaus grants Tyler his freedom and leaves. And when he comes back in Season 5, he and Caroline have sex.
Caroline, the strong, dynamic heroine was sacrificed to the Mary-Sue gods just so she and Klaus could have sex.
Because from Season 4 onward intimacy=sex and only sex.
Yes. Yes, it does. Any depth Bella’s…sorry—Elena’s romance could have had with Damon is blown to shit when Elena sleeps with him right after she breaks up with Stefan. Stefan who stood by her since day one, who always respected her free will and let her make her own decisions, who she chose to be with instead of Damon when they all thought he and Stefan were going to die at the end of Season 3…
She was still sired to Damon because he hadn’t let her go like he was supposed to, but everyone magically forgets that, too. And if vampire emotions are heightened, why didn’t her love for Stefan grow?
Elijah is also sacrificed to the Mary-Sue gods so that he and Katherine can have an affair that only lasts a couple of episodes. The writers turn him from someone who had learned not to trust Klaus’ ‘vulgar promises’ to a gullible idiot who hooks up with the most infamous skank in The Vampire Diaries.
THEME #3: CHARACTERS WHO HAVE THE GREATEST POTENTIAL TO BECOME HEROES OF THE STORY WILL BE UNJUSTLY VILIFIED OR MADE OUT TO BE WEAK AND STUPID IN ORDER TO MAKE THE SUE WRITERS’ DARLINGS LOOK BETTER BY COMPARISON
My favorite of all.
Tyler Lockwood starts off as an overly aggressive asshole who tries to force himself on Vicki in Season 1, but he does receive true redemption eventually. He sacrifices what appears to be his only chance to rid himself of the werewolf curse in order to save Elena’s life, at the same time betraying the werewolf pack that accepted him. When Klaus’ sire bond causes him to bite Caroline, he goes through the agony of the werewolf transformation literally a hundred times in order to break it.
Klaus: How did you break the sire bond?
Tyler: By breaking every bone in my body for the girl I love.
Klaus: (uneasy) That’s impossible.
Tyler: Is it? Or maybe real love is stronger than fake loyalty. But what would you know about that?
After Klaus murders Tyler’s mother to punish him for freeing the hybrids, Tyler leaves Mystic Falls unable to cope with the fact that Klaus killed his last family member and got away with it. When Tyler returns and finds out Caroline slept with Klaus, he gets drunk in his bitter rage. Caroline tries to apologize, but Tyler screams at her to leave. I almost wished he would bite her being that he offered to be Klaus’ slave after he poisoned her again, but he doesn’t even lay a finger on her. Stefan comes in and demands to know what’s going on. Tyler spits, “She screwed Klaus.” Stefan asks Caroline to leave—and then punches Tyler in the face.
Stefan: You know, drunk or not—she didn’t deserve that.
Um. Yes, she did. She actually developed feelings for the worst monster in The Vampire Diaries, and fucked him on her own free will. But this is The Vampire Diaries where the heroes are vilified and the whores glorified.
Next is Esther, the mother of the Original family. After her youngest son was mauled to death, Esther turned her children into vampires in order to protect them from the werewolves in the village they lived in. As a witch, it is her duty to keep nature in balance, but she betrayed nature out of love for her family. And she paid a horrendous price for it.
Elena: (Rebekah) said you did it to protect them from the werewolves.
Esther: It’s true. But in no time at all, they began to feed on human blood. They ravaged the town without remorse. Eventually Niklaus turned against me.
Yes, fangirls, Esther allowed Mikael to abuse Klaus and disowned him when her infidelity was exposed. Esther made Klaus pay for her own mistakes, which is bullshit at its finest. I fully call Esther on it.
At the same time, you need to acknowledge that Klaus would have killed Esther anyway for suppressing his werewolf side. For denying him his heritage. Never mind that transforming into the wolf would have resulted in the deaths of countless innocents. That doesn’t matter so long as Klaus gets to be who he is.
Elena: So, you’ve been on the Other Side for a thousand years?
Esther: Nature’s way of punishing me for turning my family into vampires…I love my family, Elena, but they are an abomination. I betrayed nature when I created them. It’s my duty to kill them.
Here’s a scene from “All my Children” that makes us understand Esther’s character.
Elijah: Whatever you think of us, killing your own children would be an atrocity.
Esther: My only regret is that I did not let you die a thousand years ago.
Klaus: Enough. All this talk is boring me. End this now, mother, or I’ll send you back to hell.
Esther: For a thousand years, I’ve been forced to watch you. Felt the pain of every victim, suffered while you shed blood. Even you, Elijah, with your claim to nobility, you’re no better. All of you. You’re a curse on this Earth. Stretched out over generations. If you’ve come to plead for your lives…(voice breaks. Eyes fill with tears) I’m sorry. You’ve wasted your time.
The reason I have so much respect for Esther is because she is the only character in the show who is not an enabler. She knows how badly she screwed up when she turned her children into vampires, and even how she treated Klaus. But she also knows that her mistakes don’t justify what her children have become: they’re monsters. They mind-rape, torture, and murder without batting an eye, and they will continue to spread the disease of vampirism if they aren’t stopped.
Her methods are ruthless. When her binding spell fails, she corrupts Alaric into becoming a vampire hunter that will effectively end all vampires. And she’s well aware that if the Originals die all vampires die, the good and the bad. It’s genocide, and it’s evil, but there is no other way since all vampires’ lives are bound to their Original sires. In WWII we dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and killed countless men, women, and children who just wanted to live in peace. But the leaders of Japan refused to surrender, and the alternative was invasion which would have cost even more lives.
Elena accuses Esther of being no better than Klaus, which she would be if she refused a better alternative. But Elena can’t offer Esther a better way. All she can do is what she does best: enable evil.
In Season 5, Elena is revealed to be not only an enabler of evil, but a complete hypocrite. She uses her brother Jeremy to kill Kol since the mass genocide of vampires that accompany Kol’s death will cause Jeremy’s hunter’s mark to grow, which will enable them to find the vampire cure.
That’s right people: Elena committed mass-vampire-genocide. The good and the bad. What’s more, she didn’t seem to care at all. So, that makes her no better than Klaus, I take it? Oh, wait. Stefan, Damon, Caroline, and Tyler weren’t connected to Kol so they get to live. Her loved ones are safe. The rest of humanity can get fucked.
Esther wanted to end the vampires for redemption, but also to save humanity. All of humanity. Elena just wanted the cure so her loved ones could be safe and she and Damon could live happily ever after.
In The Originals, Esther plots with a resurrected Finn to destroy her children, and reveals a sadistic streak that was not present in The Vampire Diaries. But we know it’s not the same Esther when Klaus calls her the monster who created the vampires and the author of everything he is. In The Vampire Diaries, Klaus actually expressed the closest thing to guilt and shame when Esther reappeared. He even asked her how she could possibly forgive him for killing her. Stark contrast, isn’t it? One might start thinking certain Sue Writers wanted their audience to believe someone else is responsible for Klaus’ actions rather than Klaus himself.
Later in the series, Esther is forced to become a vampire, and she loses control of the urges and feeds on human blood. She is found by Finn who expresses disgust and contempt for his mother, calling her a hypocrite, and raving about how he always followed her and would have done anything she asked because he believed in her cause.
First of all, Esther is not a hypocrite merely for losing control of vampiric urges. If she deliberately went after innocent humans and abandoned the mission to destroy the vampires just to save her own ass, she would be a hypocrite.
And if Esther is a hypocrite, Finn is a hypocrite a billion times over.
When Rebekah tells Elena the story of the Originals, she says that at first they couldn’t control their urge to drink blood because it was so strong. Esther also said to Elena that she witnessed her children slaughtering the townspeople without remorse. Meaning that despite always hating what they had become, Finn was involved. He, like his siblings, lost control of his vampiric urges, spilled innocent blood, and guess what? His mother forgave him and included him in her plans because he showed remorse. You would think this would cause Finn to extend forgiveness in turn, but no, he immediately writes his mother off.
Also, don’t forget that Finn sired Sage. He created a vampire all on his own free will because he fell in love with her. His “passion overtook his morals,” like Esther’s did when she turned her children into vampires. When Finn expresses his disapproval over Sage siring other vampires, Sage replies, “My passion overtakes my morals on a daily basis. It’s called living life to the fullest.”
Translation: I can do whatever the fuck I want just because I can.
Sage is evil. She defines the worth of others based on how easily she can kill them. Finn knows this, but if he hadn’t been killed by Matt, he would have abandoned his mother’s plans so he could live life to the fullest. Apparently a life of shame is worth it if he can be with someone who has absolutely no morals beyond her love for him.
But we’re not supposed to see it that way. We’re supposed to forget all about that. The Sue Writers make it clear that we are supposed to dismiss Esther as an evil, self-righteous, bigoted hypocrite who is entirely to blame for all the evil her children have committed.
Flawed as they are, Esther and Tyler could have been real heroes of The Vampire Diaries universe. But they were destroyed or dismissed because they committed an unforgivable crime that no Mary-Sue author leaves unpunished: they saw the so-called heroes for what they truly are. As a result, they are deliberately weakened and vilified so that the Sue Writers’ darlings can continue to torture, murder, and fuck monsters in justified peace.
Just for kicks, I’ll give a couple more examples from Sue stories.
The first is from Christine Feehan’s Dark series. In the first book Dark Prince, the female lead is a woman named Raven. She’s a human psychic and very sensitive to physical contact. While she’s out to dinner, a man named Jacob who is attracted to her asks her to come for a walk with him and puts a hand on her knee. The contact causes her agony, and the vampire lead Mikhail Dubrinsky, senses her pain and proceeds to telekinetically strangle Jacob, but is stopped by Raven. Here are some interesting quotes that reveal Mikhail’s feelings on the matter.
“You were wrong to hurt Jacob, you know. You could have killed him.”
“Do not defend him, little one. I allowed him to live to please you, but it would be no trouble to finish the task.” Pleasurable. No man had the right to lay his hand on Mikhail’s woman and hurt her as that human had done. The inability of the male to see that he was causing Raven pain did not absolve his sin.
“You don’t mean that. Jacob is harmless. He was attracted to me,” she tried to explain gently.
“You will not speak his name to me. He touched you, put his hand on you.”
“Do not disobey me in this, Raven. The man touched you, hurt you, and I see no reason for his existence.”
From these quotes it’s obvious that Mikhail is a sadistic, chauvinistic psychopath who would murder an innocent man for having the audacity to hit on the woman who is “his by right.”
However, later in the book Jacob is revealed to be a petulant, murderous cocaine addict who nearly stabs Raven to death out of jealous rage.
Intelligent, reasonable people would see that this doesn’t make Mikhail any less a sadistic, chauvinistic psychopath. He didn’t strangle Jacob because of Jacob’s drug addiction, or his murderous rage. He strangled him because he had the nerve to hit on Raven. Meaning if Jacob was a kind, gentle person, Mikhail still would have killed him and it still would have been pleasurable.
But, no. Mary-Sue authors and fans would say—look! Jacob was an asshole after all! Mikhail was perfectly justified in trying to kill him!
And of course, the mother of all Mary-Sue books: the Twilight series.
Stephanie Meyer makes is clear that anyone, and I mean anyone who hates Bella or tries to hurt her is an evil, terrible person with no redeeming qualities, but I’ll just mention two for now. Bella’s father Charlie and her high school classmate Lauren Mallory.
After Edward leaves her in New Moon, Bella becomes a suicidal, manic-depressive, and Charlie makes it clear that he can’t stand Edward for breaking up with his daughter in an unnecessarily cruel manner. What is Charlie’s reward for being indignant on his daughter’s behalf? Bella says twice in Eclipse that Edward is more polite than Charlie deserves, and that Charlie is taking parental supervision to the extreme.
Shmeilarockie: Remember, guys; Edward is more polite than Charlie deserves. She says so twice. Whatever has that man done to deserve his own daughter thinking of him in that manner? As far as I can tell his only crime is telling her ‘no’ once in a while. This is Meyer’s way of saying, ‘Hey, minions! You’re smarter than your parents. They have no right to tell you what to do! You are the most wonderful, beautiful person ever, and you can do whatever the hell you want. Tell those meanies to go suck it!’
Lauren is the bitch queen of Twilight, but why is she the bitch queen?
“I don’t know why Bella“—she sneered my name—”doesn’t just sit with the Cullens from now on,” I heard her muttering to Mike. I never noticed what an unpleasant, nasal voice she had, and I was surprised by the malice in it. I really didn’t know her that well at all. Certainly not enough for her to dislike me—or so I thought.
Meyer and her minions would say Lauren is just jealous. But we know Lauren is a villain merely because she hates Bella and sees her for what she truly is. That’s right: Lauren has no character beyond her hatred of Bella.
What she said is perfectly true. Bella would much rather sit with the Cullens. Read Twilight and you’ll see that Bella’s thoughts on non-Cullens can be compared to someone who is racially prejudiced. But when Lauren has the audacity to point this out, Stephanie Meyer secures her Bitch Queen status. Notice that Lauren doesn’t get a nasal, unpleasant voice until she says something mean about Bella.
THEME #4: REDEMPTION IS NOTHING, AND BLOOD IS EVERYTHING
Like in Theme #1, Damon Salvatore is a perfect example of this, and not just because all the characters enable him. The core character of Damon is a pathetically weak man who blames everyone and everything except himself for the monster he is. He blames vampirism for his inability to stop killing innocents, he blames Katherine for corrupting him, and he blames his friends—especially Elena—for his mental torment.
Damon: I can’t be what other people want me to be. What she wants me to be.
Damon: I have to (kill you), Jessica. I have to because I’m not human. And I miss it. I miss it more than anything in the world! That is my secret.
In the hands of competent writers, Damon could have achieved redemption, but that’s only wishful thinking on my part since the story is in the hands of Sue Writers. They simply can’t let Damon go. You might think it’s because the Sue Writers are too enthralled with the Bad Boy image—and they are—but Stefan was a Bad Boy too. In fact, he was an even bigger monster than Damon and went through decades of torturous rehabilitation. So why wouldn’t the Sue Writers just keep Stefan and Elena together? It is because once a Bad Boy achieves redemption, once he’s lived up to his potential, the fantasy is over, but that’s only half of it.
Damon is more compelling than Stefan because, unlike Stefan, he doesn’t believe in himself at all. He doesn’t believe he can achieve redemption. He believes he’s doomed to be a monster forever no matter how much he wishes otherwise, and he so wishes otherwise. So, he needs you to believe in him for him. He needs you to validate him. Any sense of self-worth he has is completely dependent on whoever he’s in love with. And if you’re ever taken out of the picture, this dark, tormented, super-hot paranormal creature will be lost forever.
That really stimulates the ego of not only fangirls but Sue Authors, which is why the Sue Writers were so determined to put him and Elena together while throwing Stefan under the bus in Season 4. And you can tell that the Sue Writers try to justify themselves in scenes like Killing Jessica. Well, at least he misses being human. At least he hates what he is. So, I guess it’s okay that he tore Jessica’s throat out.
The Sue Writers’ attempts to justify their inability to let Damon go get more and more pathetic as the show goes on. When Elena asks why he doesn’t let anyone see the good in him, Damon replies that when people see good they expect good. He just doesn’t want to live by the expectations of others.
Yes, having your loved ones believe in you is so horrible, isn’t it?
This strains my bullshit meter to the breaking point because Damon has no problem living by the expectations of others when they expect evil from him. Meaning he chooses evil because it’s easier and he doesn’t have to work at bettering himself.
The scene that broke my bullshit meter was when Klaus asked Damon how Elena can forgive him for everything he’s done. Damon replies he doesn’t mind being the bad guy because somebody has to fill that role and get things done. He’s bad with a purpose. That’s why he’s worth forgiving.
So…tearing Jessica’s throat out had some underlying noble purpose? Snapping Jeremy’s neck had some underlying noble purpose? Mind-raping and molesting Caroline had some underlying noble purpose?
Excuse me while I pray to a porcelain god for the next two hours.
In continuation from the scene from Theme #1 in which Elena informs Damon she “stands by her choice,” Damon literally screams at Elena to stop defending him.
OMG, my poor Damon! He’s so noble and selfless! He has to break up with Elena in order to protect her! He’d sacrifice anything, even his happiness, all for her!
When Damon Salvatore proclaims how evil he is, it isn’t to spark a catalyst for change. It’s so that the fangirls can screech, ‘NO, my poor Damon! You’re not evil! You’re not! Howwww cannnn youuuuuu sayyyyyy suchhhhh aaaaa thinggggg WHENNNN YOU’REEE NOOOTTTTTT!!!!!!!!’
Now it’s time for Stefan.
Stefan’s dynamism as a character was what I thought propelled the show so well. He wasn’t portrayed as just another tormented victim like most vampire male leads. Seasons 1 through 3 established that Stefan is the Author of His Life. He forced Damon to turn when he didn’t want to, he chose to become a ripper rather than face the consequences of his actions, He became such a sadistic tormentor that even Klaus was impressed, and he chose to value life again after meeting Lexi. But he succeeded only after decades of going back to his addiction and shedding innocent blood.
Dynamism aside, Stefan can be incredibly self-righteous, and Klaus was right: if Stefan wants to know who’s to blame for the rift between him and his brother he should look at his brother and a mirror. His personal redemption is also heavily tainted by his relationship with his brother. He knows the horrific damage he caused during his ripper decades, but when his brother becomes the same ripper Stefan refuses to take any direct action against him after Season 1. And every season afterward—I’m sorry. You don’t keep someone around after they murder your best friend and snap your girlfriend’s brother’s neck. You just don’t. Going from being evil to an enabler of evil is not redemption. Even Damon practically disowned Stefan when he saw just how much of a wreck his brother had become after they were turned. The relationship only improved after Stefan made a permanent change in his ways—which is something Damon will never do.
In Season 4 when it looks like Klaus is going to be gone for good, Stefan tells Caroline that he can’t help but feel guilty. He knows of all the horrible things Klaus has done, but they’ve all done horrible things. So Stefan comes to the conclusion that the only difference between them and Klaus is that they have family they can trust.
I would agree with this in the case of Damon and Ripper Stefan, but Caroline? Before she was raped to death by the Sue Writers? Caroline killed people, yes, but she never once killed for fun, and she never looked down on humans. And how can Stefan say he’s no better than Klaus when Stefan—even in his darkest ripper days—never stopped trying to change? Stefan wanted to be better, he tried to be better, and he succeeded. Klaus on the other hand would rather throw himself on a white oak stake than change his ways. He’s superior; everyone should bow and scrape before him. Someone as powerful as him doesn’t need to change! Might is right. I Kill Therefore I Am.
Stefan saying that he and Caroline are no better than Klaus is the same as Stefan dropping his pants, squatting down, and taking a big, giant shit all over redemption, remorse, and over-all self-betterment. And I can’t help but think that was the Sue Writers’ intention all along. Think about it: if the protagonists are no better than the antagonists, then the Sue Writers’ don’t have to create redemption arcs that actually make sense. They can have the characters do pretty much anything and get away with it. The characters can betray who they are at a pin’s drop.
The characters don’t have to grow.
In short, the Sue Writers can stop being creative and start being lazy.
Scenes like this make me see what potential this show had. This comes from “All my Children” from Season 3, right after Esther fails to kill her children.
Rebekah: Where the bloody hell is everyone?
Elijah: (dully) It’s over, Rebekah.
Rebekah: (barely suppressed rage) Where’s mother?
Elijah: We have no mother. Only Esther. And Esther was right.
Rebekah: What do you mean?
Elijah: All my talk of virtue. When it suits my needs I kill, maim, and torment. Even today, I terrorized an innocent.
Rebekah: (seething) Elena is hardly innocent.
Elijah: (not hearing her) And I used your hatred of her to get what I wanted. Wielded you like I would a sword. My sister.
Rebekah: You did it to protect us, and rightfully so! We deserve to live, Elijah. We’re better than they are!
Elijah: Are we? (Rebekah just stares at him in sullen silence) Mother made us vampires. She didn’t make us monsters. We did that to ourselves.
This scene gave me hope that Elijah would create a better definition for family rather than “entitlement by blood.” Because seriously, ask Elijah if he would let Klaus get away with all he does if he wasn’t Elijah’s blood. But even after Elijah realizes that his mother was right and that he and his siblings are all monsters, he still accepts Klaus as brother at the end of Season 3 and in The Originals.
And Rebekah…oh, forget about Rebekah. Here are just a few of the things Klaus has done to Rebekah.
- Locked two of her brothers in coffins and exiled Elijah.
(When Stefan asked her why she’s okay with that, she says that everyone has to choose a side and she eventually chose “the right one.”)
- Locked her in a coffin for ninety years when she wanted a life of her own.
(The excuse she gives to Elena is that Klaus is her brother and without him she would spend an eternity alone)
- Killed her mother and lied to her about it.
(Granted her mother tried to kill her, but even if she hadn’t Rebekah would have gone back to Klaus anyway. Her mother coming back would have been enough to forgive him)
- Abandoned her in favor of saving Caroline
- Broke her neck and disowned her after she gave him a little payback for not valuing everything she’s done for him.
And she’s come back to him every—single—time.
It’s for this reason that I affectionately dub Rebekah the incest whore since she values blood over family to the point where she has cheerfully allowed her brother to fuck her in just about every way except in between her legs. Then again, maybe she has. I certainly wouldn’t put anything past Klaus. Not to mention incest between half-siblings was the least of the perverted shit the nobility got up to in the Dark Ages.
Regardless, it’s still disappointing because I could see Rebekah as a character fully capable of redemption, but because dependency and possession equals love in The Vampire Diaries, Rebekah will never be allowed to grow beyond “battered wife” status.
Even Mikael, Klaus’ abusive stepfather achieved more redemption than any of his children. He felt enough guilt over creating the vampires that he trained himself to feed on vampires instead of humans.
Mikael: I had a hand in creating vampires, but the bloodlust was never my intention. Over the centuries I learned to feed from the predator. Not the innocent.
So…unlike Klaus…Mikael doesn’t believe that a person’s worth is defined by how easily they can be killed and controlled.
Klaus’ abusive, racist, genocidal, psychopathic stepfather is better than him.
How fucking sad is that?
If you read my Sexist Romance Novel Analysis of Dark Prince, you’ll know that I too once fell for the whole “love is possessiveness” bullshit. In fact, I actually romanticized possessiveness in my earlier works. I’m very embarrassed to admit this, but I’m even more glad that I got over it. In my experience, Mary-Sue themes are a kind of Author Puberty that almost all writers go through. It’s awkward and sometimes downright mortifying to look back on those times, but don’t fret if you allowed yourself to grow as a writer. Because, as I’ve demonstrated, many authors don’t grow out of it. Or even worse, they let success get to their heads and butcher a perfectly good story in favor of money or ratings.
*cough* Supernatural *cough*
If you want to watch The Vampire Diaries, I recommend Seasons 1 through 3. In spite of the appalling underlying themes, there’s still some phenomenal storytelling to be experienced, and yes, a great journey into the human condition. And if you can stand Season 4 onward, along with The Originals, well—
My hat off to you.