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21 August 2011 @ 01:22 am
Devil's Advocate: Damon/Elena vs. Stefan/Elena  


[This originally started as a response to this post over at tvdbloodstream  and then grew monstrous and had to be given its own place. I always just have a lot of ~feelings.]

Okay, I’m beginning to realize I’ve been rather harsh on the TVD writers; these past few months of the hiatus have made me realize, they’re actually aware of what they’re doing, who woulda thunk it?

First things first, it's no secret I ship Delena really hard, and I’ve always had a bit of an issue with Stefan/Elena because of what I’ve been calling the ‘Epic Love Theory’ which just doesn’t work for me, AT ALL. However, turns out that what the writers were portraying wasn’t so much ‘epic love’ as much as ‘The Domino Effect’. Basically, the whole point of the Stefan/Elena build-up was to come to stage where the fall-out is that much greater because of how strong the projection of True Love had been. The Stefan/Elena relationship was deliberately constructed in such a way so as to make the contrast and things to follow even more stark. Therefore, my own theories of Stefan/Elena have been completely invalidated in my opinion and for that I could not be more grateful, because I’m seriously beginning to like them.

If I were to judge the brothers as ‘boyfriends’ on a real-life basis (which is a moot point because well, NOT REAL LIFE), I can understand why Stefan. Even more importantly, why Stefan for Elena. And most importantly why Stefan for Elena at this particular stage in her life. And why the show manages to always get around Damon/Elena somehow.

In my opinion, Damon is much more terrifying at times because his actions are so hard to judge. Stefan has a very definite Achilles’ Heel, human blood. Damon, on the other hand, has several trigger points that you won’t discover till you’ve pushed them and suffered the consequences. It’s true that Stefan has lied about a lot of things, and seems to have a chronic inability to tell the truth till he’s metaphorically caught, but it's not hard to see why— he's ashamed of his past to a severe degree, to the extent that he gave up blood-drinking entirely because he's so horrified by it. And since he’s spend a majority of his undead life trying to be ‘human’ instead of the monster he knows that he is or can be, it’d be extremely hard to tell the girl that he ‘loves’ (in inverted commas because srsly show, they fell in love in like two seconds, please) what he is. And the line of argument that Damon told Elena the truth unlike Stefan is definitely valid, but again, it’s not hard to see why. Damon told the Elena the whole truth because (at least at that time, during the Bloodlines stage) he simply didn't care enough to bother lying.

But because of that, the basic premise remains that the Damon/Elena dynamic is established on trust ("Can I trust you?" "I'm trusting you"), while the Stefan/Elena dynamic is established on respect. In the you’re-seventeen-and-I’m-a-hundred-and-something-but-I’m-going-to-trust-your-decisions-because-I-love-you. Which is why both the relationships are so amazing in their own way.



Elena, after her parents' death, needs the kind of stability that Stefan provides and Damon does not. She's in a world where everything she's known, everything she's ever believed in has shifted, and she needs some sort of grounding, some constant in her life. And Damon is definitely anything but constant. Consider the 'snapping Jeremy's neck' from Elena's POV— she has no idea that Katherine earlier rejected Damon in practically the same way that she later does (“it’s always been Stefan” “it’s always going to be Stefan”). All she knows is that she told Damon that she didn't (and couldn't) love him, and he went batshit crazy and snapped her brother's neck, for no visible provocation. (Of course whether those rejections were 'provocation enough' either is an entirely different, much more tiring debate).

Another distinct factor is that the Damon/Elena scenes that would stand out in our memory are mostly never made available to Damon and Elena themselves. Starting with Damon’s confrontation with Isobel and simultaneous rejection of Katherine; it’s in complete isolation and makes Isobel realize that Damon’s in love with Elena, but she herself remains completely unaware. Similarly, Damon basically laying his heart at Elena’s feet in Founder’s Day and his utter sincerity and tenderness (GUH, THAT SCENE) is completely undermined by the fact that it wasn’t Elena at all. Again, think of it from Elena’s POV— all she knows is that Damon ‘kissed’ Katherine thinking it was her, she can hardly be faulted for thinking that it was probably some sort of crude attempt to get in her pants or get back at Stefan or something, instead of the beautiful, heartbreaking scene that it actually was (I’M BIASED, OKAY. SUE ME. I LOVE THE HELL OUT OF THAT SCENE). Again, in Rose, Damon is utterly sincere, and borderline unselfish (borderline because I personally believe that had Elena remembered that scene and still not reacted, it might really have pushed Damon over the edge, so he pre-empted that along with making things easier on her and leaving himself the hope of maybe), but he compels her to forget it. The point of the long rant is that Elena doesn’t know half the things about Damon that the audience does. So, while it can get more than a little frustrating to watch, her choices and decisions are completely in tandem with the internal logic of the show; considering the show as a separate entity governed by its own sequences of cause-and-effect. Elena chooses Stefan because she doesn’t have much ground on which to choose Damon, she’s seen most of his bad side and practically nothing of his other, softer, human side.

However, as the show develops further, it's also not hard to see why the Damon/Elena relationship can become possible— because the whole moral groundwork changes. It basically is a battle between 'us' and 'them', and all the collateral damages in the way, life of people you don’t particularly care about can't be given the same importance as it once was. Simply put, after being witness to all the bloodshed, the war, the deaths, it's not hard to see the characters becoming more thick-skinned; after all if Elena accepts Ripper!Stefan, it would have to be on that logic, because she's not the girl she used to be. And if she can accept Stefan after what it seems he’s going to do, she can definitely accept Damon for all he’d done.

On the topic of boyfriend-Stefan, Stefan in the last moments of S2 was a little too passive for my taste. I found that extended hand-leaving and allowing Elena to go with Klaus thing more than a little ridiculous. In the sense, that I can get it as being the smart option, and that rarely happens in a teen show where Drama Rules All (that's the thumb rule trufax) but I didn't emotionally connect too much with it (or maybe that's just me?) However, I can't help but respect the fact that Stefan allows Elena has the agency to function according to her own will, and mostly doesn't infringe on that. Because it'd be so easy to impose his will on her (and this is where most teen shows fail). After all, he could've been the one to force-feed her blood/or just said that he couldn't live without her and tell her that he wanted her to drink his blood, but he doesn't. And he doesn’t for a very specific reason, not because (as Damon argues) that he doesn’t “have the balls for it”, but that he knows that it’s not what she wants, and he actually cares about what she wants. And while that's ambiguous, because it can be debated whether or not, being seventeen and headstrong, she’s making the right decision (she’s not, btw imho) but the fact that she HAS the decision to make is awesome. That is a good boyfriend trait. I think it'd be much harder for Stefan to see that he can prevent her probable death through his blood, and NOT to do something that'd be so easy because Elena doesn’t want it. In a way, that’s beautiful. 

And his "that's not heroic, that's tragic" remark— god, sometimes it kills me how absolutely ~self aware this show is.

Also, regardless of my Damon/Elena shipping-tendencies, I don't once doubt that Elena loves Stefan completely. (Just as I don't doubt she's very attracted to Damon as much as she'd like not to be)

Lastly, it's important to remember that 'Stefan as a perfect boyfriend' is a fandom construct. The show ran away with it only in so far as that needed shock-value for ripper!Stefan. And also, whether wrong or right, it's canon that Elena 'chose' Stefan even after finding out all that he had lied-by-omission about; her parents' death, her ancestors' murders, Katherine, etc. If Stefan can be blamed for the lying, so should Elena be for not even making it seem like it mattered that he lied. And on the other angle, instead of her love 'saving' him, Damon loses control each time Elena tries to reach out to him. The overarching trope of this show remains redemption; the idea that nobody is past forgiveness as long as they're willing to acknowledge, willing to change. Stefan is the good guy because what he did doesn't matter as long as it's not what he's doing now, Damon's character-arc is dependent on his willingness to change, even as he messes up, the realization that "it matters" that "people die around [him]". It isn't possible to appreciate Damon's attempt at being the better man without realizing how hard it must've been for Stefan to do the same. And it isn't possible to forgive Stefan's past without accepting that Damon is as worthy of the same forgiveness. The idea that everyone, no matter who they are, deserves multiple chances. And sometimes that comes at heavy costs. The show rarely categorizes actions as 'right' or 'wrong', some things simply are, and the audience has complete jurisdiction to react, to agree, to disagree, to love, to hate, to forgive. Basically, Damon, Elena, Stefan are all flawed (sometimes tragically so) as people, but imho that helps make them awesome characters.

/end

Also randomly:



[Can we please talk about how surprisingly hot Richard Lockwood is in his two second sequence? And Alaric turning up the heat in four words. And then DamonandElena giving me reason to ship them ~forever]
 
 
 
brightstarmara: Lovelylookin' Damonbrightstarmara on August 20th, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC)
OMG! I want to read this and make smart comments. But I have to sleep at some point! :) Will be back though. I LOVE these metas. Have some semi nekkid Damon as an appology.
youcallitwinter: be your teenage dream tonightyoucallitwinter on August 20th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, semi-nekkid Damon>>>anything except more-than-semi nekkid Damon. I end up writing these things at 3:00 am and then cursing myself the entire day after that. It's not even a meta, more like 'MY FEELINGS, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM'.
(no subject) - brightstarmara on August 20th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 20th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
youcallitwinter: tonight i think i'll walk aloneyoucallitwinter on August 20th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
Haha, I'm glad, I was a little afraid I was going to get stuff thrown at me for some reason :D
Pied: [tvd] get in the carwheatear on August 20th, 2011 09:12 pm (UTC)
Haha, this is controversial? But everything you say is so sensible!

Elena doesn’t know half the things about Damon that the audience does.

This is a really good point. Almost all the good things that Damon does, he does while Elena isn't there, and in such a way that Elena is never going to hear about it. In fact, he seems to actively avoid showing Elena his good side at times - like the way he treated Rose while she was dying, for instance. He acted like he didn't care to Elena, but as soon as he and Rose were alone, Damon made sure to look after her.
youcallitwinter: someday this'll be a story.youcallitwinter on August 20th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
Haha, I'm never sure, really. Being in TVD fandom has made me realize that people have very strong opinions and it's rather impossible to change them (and that includes me, I'm so very fixed in some things) and lately I've been having strong trio feelings which totally make me conflicted about individual ships, lol.

I actually only realized that while writing this! I think Damon; all that he's said about how he feels about Elena and all his emotionally vulnerable moments have completely been devoid of Elena's physical presence. And I'd completely forgotten about Rose! (Poor Rose, ouch). It's true, it's like he goes out of his way to not be emotionally vulnerable in front of Elena. Understandable of course, but then Elena hasn't seen that particular side of him at all D:
(no subject) - wheatear on August 20th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 07:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
sassy, classy, and a bit smart-assy: TVD: Elena kissing Stefanbadboy_fangirl on August 21st, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
Okay, I don't have time to read this right now (though I did make time to watch the video....guh, that eye-sex just never gets old, does it?), and I don't know if I will have time because I have a million things to do before I go out of town tomorrow, so just know I'll be back at some point to discuss and flail with you!
youcallitwinter: youcallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 07:27 am (UTC)
IT JUST NEVER DOES, DOES IT? It's so lovely, really. Damon's half-smile throughout, coupled with Elena's inability to look him fully in the eye (I love that she keeps looking down because she can't handle the way he's looking at her) and the intensity maintained throughout; I just, GUH.

I'll be waiting :D Now must go over and wish you an awesome trip!
(no subject) - mridul777 on August 21st, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mridul777 on August 21st, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 22nd, 2011 11:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Deleted Scene with the Koala - mridul777 on August 22nd, 2011 11:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: The Deleted Scene with the Koala - youcallitwinter on August 22nd, 2011 12:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - badboy_fangirl on August 25th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 27th, 2011 11:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
ever_neutralever_neutral on August 21st, 2011 01:11 am (UTC)
LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL
THIS POST IS AMAZEBALLS. WRITE ALL OF THE META ALWAYS.

Basically, the whole point of the Stefan/Elena build-up was to come to stage where the fall-out is that much greater because of how strong the projection of True Love had been. The Stefan/Elena relationship was deliberately constructed in such a way so as to make the contrast and things to follow even more stark.

YES! YES! YES! THIS HAS BEEN WHAT I HAVE BEEN THINKING SINCE 'THE LAST DAY'. WE SHARE A HIVE BRAAAAANE.

Interesting point about D/E being based in trust and S/E in respect. I'm inclined to agree, though I will have to mull over that some more. I do think that Stefan and Elena's love for each other is largely grounded in their good opinion of each other. It's more rational in that way.

EXCELLENT PARAGRAPH re: Elena and Damon not having ~all the information~ about each other. They really are set at a disadvantage there, lol.

Word on "that's not heroic; it's tragic" moment. Honestly one of my favourite S/E moments ever, purely because it's like, the only instance in the show where Stefan actually stands up to Elena in a way that could jeopardise their relationship. I mean, not that Elena would just break up with him 'cause he disagreed with her, but it shows more genuine respect/trust in the strength of their relationship than any of his behaviour after that, IMO.

And re: Elena needing Stefan for his stability… I think it's interesting how Elena sometimes actually completely takes Stefan for granted in that respect. One example is going behind his back to pull the dagger out of Elijah. Is that an instance of a mutually respectful relationship? No. That's emphatically *not* the two of them ~talking together to work things out; it's Elena taking it for granted that Stefan will do what she wants because he loves her. Which is obviously a fascinating contrast to her relationship with Damon, where she knows full well that he won't bend to her wishes just because he loves her. IDK how dark this reading is, but I honestly feel like one of the major reasons Elena won't go there with Damon is because she can't control him--and she has so little control over everything else in her life that she *needs* to have that level of control over her partner.

lol, agreed about "Stefan the perfect boyfriend" being rubbish, obviously. OH FANDOM, PLEASE CONTINUE TO PISS ME OFF WITH YOUR LOVE FOR THE FALSE GOOD!BROTHER/BAD!BROTHER DICHOTOMY. PLEASE.

And on the other angle, instead of her love 'saving' him, Damon loses control each time Elena tries to reach out to him.

YES! YES! THANK YOU! UGH, this is what I have been saying this whole time, and nobody believes me, lol. Elena cannot save Damon. She can't give him a pep talk and ~make it better. That's not how Damon works. He's too… self-determined, for lack of a better word. If anybody's gonna pull him out of his BLACK PIT OF DOOM, it's gonna be himself.

"it matters" that "people die around [him]"

SOB. favourite quote. one of my favourite D/E scenes. FAVOURITES FOREVER.

In conclusion: WRITE ALL OF THE META ALWAYS.
Diana: Vampire Diaries - Nina/Ianbutterfly on August 21st, 2011 01:32 am (UTC)
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL
YES! YES! THANK YOU! UGH, this is what I have been saying this whole time, and nobody believes me, lol. Elena cannot save Damon. She can't give him a pep talk and ~make it better. That's not how Damon works. He's too… self-determined, for lack of a better word. If anybody's gonna pull him out of his BLACK PIT OF DOOM, it's gonna be himself.

Yes. Damon absolutely has to save himself. There's been a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility for choices in the show. Elena was one of the catalysts for him to start changing, but Katherine was a catalyst for change in him, too. It's up to him what he does with it.
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL - youcallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 07:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL - ever_neutral on August 21st, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL - youcallitwinter on August 22nd, 2011 11:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL - ever_neutral on August 22nd, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL - youcallitwinter on August 22nd, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL - ever_neutral on August 23rd, 2011 01:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL - youcallitwinter on August 23rd, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL - ever_neutral on August 24th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: LONG RESPONSE AS PER USUAL - youcallitwinter on August 24th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Diana: Vampire Diaries - Brothersbutterfly on August 21st, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
I would like to think that the show is trying to be that complex about Stefan and Elena. (somewhat related side-note: I kinda haven't been able to get over the first scene in "The Last Day" where Elena says, "then I guess I'll just be dead," Damon sputters in disbelief and looks at Stefan, who shrugs. It poisoned all the S/E stuff in the entire rest of that episode for me).

So, yeah, while I hope that you're right about the show being self-aware in all regards, thus far it has appeared to have a blind spot when it comes to S/E, so I'm trying not to hope too much so that I won't be disappointed.

ETA: I am aware that part of my issues come from the fact that Stefan and S/E keep reminding me of specifically unhealthy people/relationships in my life, while I have never known anyone like Damon in real life, so he doesn't trigger any reactions in me like that.

Edited at 2011-08-21 01:46 am (UTC)
waltzmatildah: tvd: katherine vampswaltzmatildah on August 21st, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
Damon sputters in disbelief and looks at Stefan, who shrugs. Admittedly, I don't have ANY love for the S/E relationship, but even I was appalled by this!
(no subject) - butterfly on August 21st, 2011 02:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 08:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - butterfly on August 21st, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 22nd, 2011 11:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
waltzmatildah: tvd: katherine and damonwaltzmatildah on August 21st, 2011 02:08 am (UTC)
I don't think that the writers (allegedly!!) having an 'end game' plan for the fall out of Stefan/Elena is a good enough excuse for giving us the 'epic love of epicness' that we never saw develop. I think it's just lazy.
youcallitwinter: tonight i think i'll walk aloneyoucallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 08:07 am (UTC)
WELL HAI THERE. You have been away for too long DD:
I agree to that because I know that I never particularly had a think for S/E while watching the show, it was only on reflection that they gained a little of my sympathy (and I still want Stefan/Caroline SO BADLY). It was just ~epic love at first sight and 'it'll always be Stefan'.
Gabby: tvd castgabby227 on August 21st, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
Wow. You wrote a lot. But I agree with every bit of it (and that scene, at the end of S1, the Founder's Day stuff, I feel the same way as you do). I ship Damon/Elena so hard (when I'm not shipping him with Caroline, lol) and for the whole time I was watching S1, I hated Stefan. Hated him. I hated the character, he is too epic-romance-y for my taste (I'm not even sure that is a good description for it, honestly) and I especially hated Stefan/Elena together. But now, as time has gone by, I can understand why Elena loves Stefan (but love loves him? Idk, they fell in 'love' pretty fast) and why she needs him. I've come to actually appreciate the character that Stefan is.
youcallitwinter: someday this'll be a story.youcallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 08:15 am (UTC)
I DID write a lot, and I totally didn't mean to; I have a million and one projects to submit and I'm sitting and discussing TVD; god, I need some priorities in my life D:

Haha, actually I disliked Stefan and Stefan/Elena too initially and all through season one (apart from his interactions with Damon which were just truly epic). It seemed to me, like you said, they fell into *forever* really fast in a completely unrealistic way. Actually, it's only when I saw him with Caroline that he suddenly became really interesting to me (CAROLINE IS FLAWLESS, BASICALLY) and even though I've never been much interested in S/E, I feel like I understand them a lot more than I earlier did. I will continue preferring D/E, but I just hope Season 3 is awesome character development for all three and they progress more than they regress (which admittedly they have a tendency to do!)

<33
(no subject) - gabby227 on August 23rd, 2011 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 23rd, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
youcallitwinter: tonight i think i'll walk aloneyoucallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 08:34 am (UTC)
OH HELLO THERE :D

Especially love the point about Damon loving/good moments with Elena forgotten or she's not there to witness.

Actually I realized that just through the writing of this thing and I'm all ~oh brother. Because seriously, this just explains Elena's reactions but it is ALSO very unfair because the audience constantly has to watch these scenes and realize that they're not actually leading anywhere because it isn't mutual. Which is why the season finale changed the dynamics so much because all that had been unsaid or forgotten is out in the open, and now it's not like either of them can take it back. Sure he was dying, and it's possible to subscribe to the theory that Elena was trying to make his last moments better, but I think it'd be rather difficult to take it all back or pretend it never happened. ESPECIALLY with Stefan gone. And I like that the show is willing to take its characters to the darker side, even if it means that they lost audience-sympathy!

The sense of security needs to shift this season to make D/E more plausible.

EXACTLY. And this is going to be terrible for Elena because what has shifted is her definition itself. While she was defining herself through choosing one particular brother, that base itself no longer exists. I said this to ever_neutral but Elena's reaction to ripper!Stefan will help establish WHAT the S/E relationship is based on once and for all. If she loves him despite it all, then I think I'll be forced to admit that it's true love. But if she doesn't, then it's more like what she'd been thinking she should love.

So the pressure to be perfect with her for him is worse

This is absolutely true!! But there's also the angle that, when he was on human blood for the first time, and Elena saw him like he really could be (not to mention he lied about the blood then too) then he explained what it was like for him to fight it and that he could snap any instant and that he'd done so much that could never be forgiven, and she still went back to him. So seriously, I can just NEVER understand what the show is trying to tell us. D:

If Stefan was in Damon's place, I don't care if there was an instant replay, Stefan would deny everything until he could find an okay way to spin breaking Jeremy's neck

Hahaha, this is a really good point, and it definitely might be true. But the way I see it is simply this- Stefan would never have broken Jeremy's neck in the first place. And especially not because he'd been ~rejected by the woman he loves or something. That isn't how Stefan is as a character. He'd lie, yes, but he wouldn't do that. But that is exactly the sort of thing Damon would do, because that is how he is as a character (and I do like that the show is willing to give him that, make the audience realize the limits of their own morality, because mostly you can't help forgiving Damon). So I think it's basically left to us to decide what side to take; and I do love that about the show!

Though I do secretly love that Stefan lies, just hate no one calls him out on it.

OH MY GOD, DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HOW MUCH THIS SHOW EVADES RESPONSIBILITY. It's like everyone gets away with everything and a lot of times you're forced to accept it because the show doesn't address it at all DDDDD:

Lovely comment basically <333
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 22nd, 2011 10:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
youcallitwinter: to better counter-act his charm attackyoucallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 09:10 am (UTC)
Ah, thank you so much! I've seen so much hate for all the characters (and those aren't rational discussions about why a certain character is disliked, it's more like 'DIE BITCH DIE. ACTUALLY GET RAPED, THEN DIE') that I've become more protective of them. It's actually fandom that has made me see Stefan in a better light (because of all the flack he gets) instead of the actual show. Stefan-in-the-show bothered me A LOT till Stefan/Caroline Friendship of Epicness happened and made me like him as a character. Basically, I think the major point still remains that I am under no obligation to like anything or anyone as long as I don't want to and neither is anyone else. If the show doesn't make a character work for me, even if it's for something like the fact that I don't like his face or something, then I suppose I'm perfectly within my rights to dislike him.

Elena (and it's primarily Elena) is constantly asking him to 'step up' and 'be the better man' without recognizing the good he has done.

I completely agree with this! Also from Damon's POV, to be perfectly utilitarian, WHAT is he getting out of being the 'better man' anyway? It will still "always be Stefan". Basically, he has to go through this long arduous procedure without any end at all. And I think, for a character like Damon, that is a very definite negative. And Elena does have a tendency to negate his softer side. Like the first gif in the post, idk, it seems a very deliberate, hurtful thing to do. To kiss Stefan in front of Damon because she knows Stefan is insecure even though she does sort-of also know that Damon is in love with her. (However, of course, he did kill her brother, so she again has no moral obligation to ~spare his feelings, I suppose)

I definitely had issues with Stefan's passivity this season.

I think you explained that part very well! And I really had issues with his passivity as well. It did seem to me like he was too ready to go along with her suggestions, even as they sometimes made no sense (and Elena was rather blindsided by her own sacrifice; she tended to forget that it would require not only her but other people as well). I suppose that can be read both ways; that he really respects her decision because technically it is her life and it's for the greater good or simply that he's projecting himself in a certain way and he seems unable to break out of that mould of the 'good' guy.

I have a whole other set of issues with the 'that's not heroic, that's tragic' line, so we'll leave that for another day.

Haha, I can understand that, although personally I adore that scene because for the first time Stefan actually gave a view that wasn't in tandem with Elena's. And it's so easy to accept the whole martyring, self-sacrificing thing, but I think he actually put it in real terms, to what it actually means, and that worked a lot for me!
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 09:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
Azmiri Sultana Mridulmridul777 on August 21st, 2011 08:12 am (UTC)
Elena, after her parents' death, needs the kind of stability that Stefan provides and Damon does not. She's in a world where everything she known, everything she's ever believed in has shifted, and she needs some sort of grounding, some constant in her life

^^ THIS. You perfectly wrote every word that was inside my brain. LoL

Another distinct factor is the Damon/Elena scenes that would stand out in our memory are never made available to Damon and Elena themselves.

The show has a quality of tying it's loose ends, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that ONE DAY, this pressing and very important matter will be addressed.

after all if Elena accepts Ripper!Stefan, it would have to be on that logic, because she's not the girl she used to be.....

AMEN to that^. Acceptance or not, I think she should be able to forgive and understand Damon more perfectly if she can accept Ripper Stefan in all his glory. Not that kind of "glory", you know what I mean. ;-)

On the topic of boyfriend-Stefan, Stefan in the last moments of S2 was a little too passive for my taste. I found that extended hand-leaving and allowing Elena to go with Klaus thing more than a little ridiculous.

Yeah this passivity bugged me as well, but then again Stefan ACTUALLY doesn't sit tight and let her die, maybe he let her go with Klaus then so that, Klaus won't cause any more damage to her and to their plan which was working on the background.

all she knows is that Damon ‘kissed’ Katherine thinking it was her, she can hardly be faulted for thinking that it was probably some sort of crude attempt to get in her pants

Well, if you ask me, I think the people that doesn't understand the value of that scene and doesn't love it even after understanding how beautiful it was, should be sued.

it's canon that Elena 'chose' Stefan even after finding out all that he had lied-by-omission about; her parents' death, her ancestors' murders, Katherine, etc. If Stefan can be blamed for the lying, so should Elena be for not even making it seem like it mattered that he lied.

I AGREE!! I WISH I COULD QUOTE EVERY PARA AND SHARE ALL MY THOUGHTS.

The thing which bugs me about Stefan/Elena and this "Epic Romance"
is that after about 2 years of their "Mature relationship" a relationship which is unlike any other teenage romance that are there in other shows, and which is sweet, understanding and warmly protective, beyond ALL this Elena still doesn't know Stefan.

Stefan is his best possible self in front of Elena. He hides his dark sides and omits those facts about him completely. He even hides his times with Lexi, those wild phases, his Bon Jovi concerts, his partying, his drinking, everything. The Stefan that Elena knows is a good boy, who fell in love with her in about 42-84 minutes (that's the length of an episode or two right?),and loves her unconditionally, gives her the freedom to choose, to be herself. He dodges his old life with Lexi saying reminiscing memories of Lexi hurts because "Damon killed her". But then, it wasn't memories of Lexi that were actually important, it was his true self which was really important.

In all true sense the Stefan that we knew in season 1 was the PERFECT boyfriend.A girl who suddenly finds herself reeling from devastating tragedies in her life and is suddenly forced to grow up and take care of the people around her, instead of being taken care of. For THAT girl, Stefan is the perfect kinda Boyfriend, a boyfriend who would take care of HER for a change, and provide the warmth of a romantic relationship. This is what I meant when I agreed that Stefan is a "pretty perfect boyfriend" in the comment of that post in tvdbloodstream.

But then again that's NOT who Stefan really is, is he? Okay I get why he lied, he tried to be his best self for the woman he loves and didn't want anything to come out about himself which might scare her, but it still doesn't change the fact that it was WRONG. If she forgave him after EVERYTHING, like you wrote in your post, then I think Elena would have forgiven him anyway, if not anything, at least for the fact that he was completely honest about himself and he wants Elena to accept him for who he is, NOT for who he is posing to be.
WOW!! Huge comment...Sorry about that.
youcallitwinter: be your teenage dream tonightyoucallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 09:57 am (UTC)
The show has a quality of tying it's loose ends, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that ONE DAY, this pressing and very important matter will be addressed.

Haha, I think it already has in a way, through the second season finale and the bedroom confessions. This is the first instance when Damon is emotionally vulnerable and Elena is neither absent nor compelled to forget. And it seems impossible to believe that there won't be repercussions, or that it won't change their relationship. Earlier it was a very open secret but Damon had never actually acknowledged it to Elena, and now he has, and I can't wait to see how their dynamic changes because of it :D

Stefan ACTUALLY doesn't sit tight and let her die

YES, THIS. I don't believe at all that Stefan would've ever done that. And he did come and offer himself up for sacrifice in place of Jenna, and while that can be interpreted as a furthering of his 'good guy complex' (which he does have), it's also impossible to negate the fact that he had no idea that Klaus had 'bigger' plans for him and he was fully aware that he could die and he also realizes that it doesn't matter because Jenna's young, she has her whole life and he's lived more than his share, which is lovely. :)

OH, I LOVE THAT SCENE /favorite foreverandeverandever

And it hasn't even been two years! More like a couple of months, lol. And that bothers me too (you put it really well there), because they got into the relationship too fast, at a stage when I was just testing the show and had no particular feelings about any character. Damon/Elena have grown, regressed, and done pretty much everything through time, while Stefan/Elena got together and stayed together from day one to day 2305936409395. And they don't even have any real internal problems; all their problems come from outside the relationship. (Although a real-life relationship like that would be lovely, but this is television, there has to be some conflict to engage viewers!)

Haha, I agree with you, although my own personal opinion on that (and I've said this to devinecancerian as well, Stefan has never struck me as consciously manipulative. Like I think the only reason he tries to hide his past is (although on Lexi, I think that's actually because it hurts to remember because drinking and partying aren't really sins compared to the fact that he murdered people in cold blood) that he can't stand to remember who he used to be. Drinking animal blood, from his own description, is an absolute punishment, but he goes through with it because he can't stand to think of who he could be if he just let go (which is exactly what the show is going to explore in the third season). He's made a lot of wrong decisions on that front and he hasn't shown Elena the respect and trust that he probably should have, but I suppose ultimately the interpretation is left to the viewers-- after all if Damon can be forgiven for snapping Jeremy's neck, I suppose Stefan should be forgiven for lying as well. :)

Thanks for a lovely discussion! :D
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youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
I really don't think your opinion is all that unpopular?

Haha, I think being a huge Damon-fan and being late to the Stefan-love train, I've taken to trying to justify Stefan in posts, because I justify Damon so much in my mind. Besides which, both characters get so much flack from the larger fandom, I'm just ~protective of my boys.

I kinda have a few theories about how certain things might play out - at least in the beginning of the season. If you're open to spoilers?

Definitely open to spoilers! I'd love to hear what you think; I'm done all my season three analyzing through fic, with a very heavy, unacknowledged Damon/Elena angle, lol. Basically, season three can pan out whichever way it chooses, but one thing I really want this season is for Elena to be a glorious mess. Basically a bitchy teenager who refuses to be 'mature' and 'strong' anymore, because she's freakin' seventeen and she's done with this shit. Okay, not gonna happen, but I'd like to see it!

Stefan's "lies" never bothered me as much as it did other TVD fans.

Same here! I've never thought of him as actively lying, just this unwillingness to confront his past which is understandable after all that he's done. He didnt change for Elena, he was who he is now when he met her, so I don't see his 'good brother image' as a front, really. Although it very well could be, what do I know, lol

But yes! The Stefan/Damon vs Stefan/Elena is one of the best part of this show, It made me insanely happy that Stefan loves Damon more than he does Elena; that's so real, unlike what happens in a majority of teen TV shows where Epic Love transcends all basically.

Your comment basically summed up all I was feeling in a quarter of the words I took to say it. MAJOR LOVE.
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(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 22nd, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 23rd, 2011 06:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sillyforwordssillyforwords on August 21st, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
I can't help but respect the fact that Stefan allows Elena has the agency to function according to her own will, and mostly doesn't infringe on that...And he doesn’t for a very specific reason, not because (as Damon) argues that he doesn’t “have the balls for it”, but that he knows that it’s not what she wants, and he actually cares about what she wants. And while that's ambiguous, because it can be debated whether or not, being seventeen and headstrong, she’s making the right decision (she’s not, btw imho) but the fact that she HAS the decision to make is awesome. That is a good boyfriend trait. I think it'd be much harder for Stefan to see that he can prevent her probable death through his blood and NOT to do something that'd be so easy because Elena doesn’t want it. In a way, that’s beautiful.

Actually, I think it’s quite the opposite. He hardly ever allows her to have her own agency. By hiding the bad parts of his past from her, he’s taking away her choice to make an informed decision of whether she wants to be with him. I really think that being the "good brother" is very much a part of his identity and he fights, consciously or not, to stay within those bounds. And now he has painted himself as the "supportive boyfriend" and is afraid to stray out of that box. It's all awesome and beautiful to respect Elena's wishes, but I can't understand that he stood by and let her walk to her death while doing nothing. It's not like the choice in question is anything mundane. This is a question of life or death. When the possibility of Elena dying was brought up, he just shrugged!

Even if I buy the argument that Stefan was letting Elena make her own decisions, why then the very minute after Klaus took her did he go in the house and call Damon? If it was about respecting Elena's wishes, why did Stefan do absolutely nothing to try to stop her from becoming a vampire? Damon ran around desperately trying to stop the sacrifice. Stefan made no effort to try and postpone the sacrifice and keep Elena from becoming a vampire, even when he knew that was something she absolutely did not want.

His passivity when it came to Elena was actually highlighted when his reaction to Damon's death was so diametrically opposite. There he didn't hesitate to take away Damon's agency, there was no question of respecting Damon's wish to die. There, he tried to move heaven and earth to find a cure, going so far as to make a deal with the "devil" so to speak. How ironic is it...that Damon was willing, supposedly, to let other people die or even to kill them if it meant Elena would live, I choose you and all that, and it turns out Stefan goes off and actually does kill people to save Damon. He never showed as much love for Elena, imo. Anyway, I suppose it all comes down to our own perspective of what love is.

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts, though :)


youcallitwinter: tonight i think i'll walk aloneyoucallitwinter on August 21st, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
Haha, yeah, I think TVD basically functions on what your definition of love is. Which is why people have such strong reactions to its portrayal, and to characters in general. Because in the idea of which brother should be with Elena, or the relationship of all the children of the town with their parents, or sibling relationships, or the various friendships portrayed, there is a mirror held to various personal beliefs. Which is why I suppose so many people watching the show have such strong reactions to it!

By hiding the bad parts of his past from her, he’s taking away her choice to make an informed decision of whether she wants to be with him.

This is definitely true! But honestly, I've never felt like that is what the show is showing me. I'm more than a little Damon/Elena biased, but I feel like if I'm judging the Elena/Stefan relationship, I should be judging it according to Elena and Stefan. And Elena has never made me feel like she feels she wasn't allowed to make an informed choice. Because every time one of his lies came out, she accepted them without question, or accepted them with some inner struggle (Bloodlines), but accepted them all the same. I can rationalize various things outside the show but I can only feel what the show makes me feel. Which is why it's so easy to forgive Damon for so many things that, when I actually think about them, it should be impossible to forgive him for. Stefan lied about his past, Damon snapped Jeremy's neck in front of Elena.

I suppose my own personal view of Stefan's past is that his desire to be the 'good' brother works at a subconscious, psychological level. He's so terrified of who he knows he could be that sometimes he deliberately tries to paint Damon in a certain light so it eases his own burden of self-knowledge. I don't think it's okay to do it, but I can understand why he does. Which is also the case with Damon; I might not agree with his actions, but I can understand WHY he performs them, which is a good thing about this show really!

Also, I think it's also important to remember that Stefan's transformation from his earlier 'ripper' days is not connected to Elena, unlike Damon's. He was this person when he met Elena, he didn't change for her or to make her love him. Which is what makes me think that he's not putting on a facade, since he'd changed for himself.

But the whole last part of your argument is very, very valid and I can't refute it because it's pretty much what I feel as well. Stefan's passivity vis a vis Elena just puzzled me, like wtf? (Although personally I adore the fact that he loves Damon more than Elena and would do anything to save his brother; that just so rarely happens in Epic Romantic Fiction).

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! :DD
comeundone_82: Hurt scenecomeundone_82 on August 21st, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
"Damon basically laying his heart at Elena’s feet in Founder’s Day and his utter sincerity and tenderness (GUH, THAT SCENE) is completely undermined by the fact that it wasn’t Elena at all. Again, think of it from Elena’s POV— all she knows is that Damon ‘kissed’ Katherine thinking it was her, she can hardly be faulted for thinking that it was probably some sort of crude attempt to get in her pants or get back at Stefan or something, instead of the beautiful, heartbreaking scene that it actually was (I’M BIASED, OKAY. SUE ME. I LOVE THE HELL OUT OF THAT SCENE)."

^THIS SO MUCH!!!! I had no idea this scene can´t be loved. I love it to bits. It´s still one of the most defining scenes for my DE love. For the reasons you just pointed out and also because for the shortest moment I thought it was Elena and because that kiss was...perfect. What it made me feel as a viewer... It may not have been DE but it also wasn´t Damon/ Katherine for me. It was just....all that the 1st real DE kiss would have been. So yeah, I don´t think that the 1st real DE kiss will be as good as this. I lost all hope for that with the s2 finale. I mean great scene, great that she kissed him and all that but as good as it was it didn´t make me shiver/ squee/ and stop breathing like the one in Founders Day. I´ll never get my brain to register this was not DE *LOL* plus Bloodstream - perfect song for perfect scene...how could they ever top this?! I don´t see it....

For the rest, what can I say. I appreciate everyone who can make sense of Stefan/ SE. I don´t like SE and I really try not to hate any main character on the show but it´s hard with SE sometimes and it all got worse for me because I cannot understand his whole attitude in the sacrifice thing. So you have no idea how much I hope that you´re right!
youcallitwinter: tonight i think i'll walk aloneyoucallitwinter on August 22nd, 2011 12:06 pm (UTC)
Because for the shortest moment I thought it was Elena and because that kiss was...perfect. What it made me feel as a viewer... It may not have been DE but it also wasn´t Damon/ Katherine for me. It was just....all that the 1st real DE kiss would have been.

YES, THIS. You know, the oddest (or most awesome) thing about that scene is that when you rewatch it, it's so obvious that it's Katherine. Like, you're left thinking how you could possibly have thought it was Elena. Her mannerisms and way of talking and everything is completely different. But the whole scene is still one of my favorite Damon/Elena scenes because DAMON wholeheartedly believes it's Elena. Everything he says, everything he does, it's all for Elena; the tenderness, the vulnerability, the quietness, it's all for Elena, and which is why the scene kills me each time. The kiss on the cheek and the look of confusion on his face, where he obviously hadn't expected to feel this was, it kills me each time. And Katherine's own expression, it's obvious that she and Damon never had this. They had a lot, yes, but never this. (Okay, shutting up now, that scene just makes me want to talk)

And TA that they aren't going to be able to top that for any D/E kiss. Just, impossible imo.

I appreciate everyone who can make sense of Stefan/ SE.

Haha, such a polite way of putting it :P But srsly, this is why I love my flist, I make all the really pro-Stefan/Elena remarks to a flist that is admittedly mostly pro D/E (as am I, lol), and it doesn't disintegrate into any fights like it does in ontd!
(no subject) - comeundone_82 on August 27th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on August 27th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
cross_rubicon: claire shy-coolcross_rubicon on August 21st, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
This is kind of perfect. Well not kind of. It's just so perfectly put and makes me have renewed faith in the writers and the direction of the show (and these relationships!)

And word to the morality of the show. I think that is one of the issues I run into most when finding discussions about this. It really is just how you react to their actions and it's a show that makes you question yourself. Which is lovely. :)
youcallitwinter: someday this'll be a story.youcallitwinter on August 22nd, 2011 12:09 pm (UTC)
Haha, thank you so much! Although so many people have mentioned it that I'm beginning to be a little afraid that I'm just projecting my opinions on the show and they actually haven't thought it out like this; that would suck, lol

I think making the viewers question themselves is absolutely amazing and in a teen show about hot vampires, hand them an Emmy, someone!