next_to_normal: (Elena strong)
[personal profile] next_to_normal
LOL this is probably where I start to offend some people?



The full list of days, if you want to play along.

Day 6: The ship where the rest of its fandom is DOING IT WRONG.
Elena Gilbert/Stefan Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries)



Haha, I have a complicated relationship with Stelena. I basically DID NOT CARE about them until Stefan's ripper arc, and then I stanned them like mad, and then the S4 premiere made me kind of hate them again? No lie, I actually had them as the "not a fairytale" pairing, but then 4.01 pissed me off so much (or, more accurately, all the swooning over how ~romantic S/E was) that I decided to swap categories because YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG, PEOPLE. But now I'm getting over it, because the narrative seems to agree with me, lol.

The thing fandom does wrong, mainly, is not acknowledging that Stelena is a tragedy. That fairytale romance being swooned over? They are the deconstruction of it, exposing all the flaws and fallacies of the epic "forever love." It was hard to see at first, I think, because they appear relatively functional for the better part of two seasons. Not without effort, mind you - Stefan and Elena are bound and determined to make this relationship work, because of what it means to each of them. But that's what makes it a tragedy - it was never going to work, it was destined to fall apart, because at their core, these are two fucked up individuals clinging to their relationship like a life preserver to keep themselves from drowning.


I mean, D/E gets a lot of shit (and rightfully so, lol) for its dysfunction, but THIS, Stefan and Elena, is one of the most fucked up relationships I've ever seen - and it always has been, honestly. The show may have been selling it as a fairytale (which is largely the reason I wasn't buying), but this is a dude who stalked her for months before introducing himself. This is a dude who was IN LOVE WITH HER DOPPELGANGER, and I'm sure there's no transference issues here, nope, not at all. This is a dude who cannot be himself around Elena because he doesn't want her to see "that side" of him. Stefan assumes that if Elena saw all the dark parts of him, she wouldn't love him anymore. Isn't that what he did, after all? He loved Katherine, until he realized what she truly was. Stefan is not so big on unconditional love. Love ought to have conditions. Love is something that has to be earned, and it's in striving to be deserving of love that we become better people.

Elena, on the other hand, is all about unconditional love. One of her defining character traits is that she's capable of loving people at their worst - Exhibit A: Damon Salvatore - because she identifies with them. Because she is the worst. But when it comes to Stefan, she wants to believe that he's better than that. He's better than her. He reflects the best parts of her, and he is literally her savior, so to acknowledge that Stefan is not "good" is to undermine her own identity and self-worth. The two of them together have some powerful talents for denial when it comes to seeing only what they want to see in each other and their relationship.


AND THEN SEASON 3 HAPPENED AND THEY COULDN'T IGNORE IT ANYMORE. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. Stelena's dark underbelly exposed. All the grossness spewing out. Their relationship in tatters and the truth laid bare.

Alas, it was brief, but I even hung on once Stefan was "good" again, and Elena was somehow able to ignore everything Stefan did to her - even threatening to reenact the circumstances that killed her parents and almost killed her, which, if it were me, would be fucking unforgivable, yo - and it all gets swept under the rug without them ever talking about it or even acknowledging that it had an impact on Elena. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK? Most people (lol especially Alex) were raging over how gross it was, but I kept thinking to myself that the writers could not possibly be that clueless, that they didn't realize what they were doing, that a textbook abuse narrative was basically being romanticized. I mean, they couldn't be THAT oblivious, could they?

And then the season finale, where it all once again gets turned upside down. Elena chose Stefan because he represented life, because he made her want to be alive, and then she died and all those reasons disappeared. Stefan, who was Elena's savior and her reason for living, let her die. Stefan, who had been so praised for ~respecting Elena's choices, respected her choice to sacrifice herself (after spending nearly all of season 2 trying to stop her from doing just that). And Elena, who didn't want to be a vampire, who never wanted to be one, wakes up a vampire. IF THIS ISN'T EPIC TRAGEDY, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS.


And then 4.01 happened and I just COULD NOT with all the romanticizing of Stelena. Romanticizing an abuse victim taking back her abuser is GROSS. I am sorry, but. GROSS.

But haha, we're now five episodes in and even though we're apparently playing the "lol season 3 didn't happen" game, the cracks are pretty obviously starting to show, so anyone who's still romanticizing them? Pretty sure YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.

(Icons are here, btw.)

Date: Nov. 11th, 2012 01:20 am (UTC)
ever_neutral: (tvd ~ all shall love her and despair)
From: [personal profile] ever_neutral
Well, you already know I completely agree with everything.

Stefan is not so big on unconditional love. Love ought to have conditions. Love is something that has to be earned, and it's in striving to be deserving of love that we become better people.
Yep. Except for Damon, the one person in the universe he loves unconditionally, the exception to the rule.

lol you even link to my meta, you fool.

So yeah I'm in this place with Stelena where I find them literally unshippable and no longer appealing in the slightest. But I've regained my faith in the show's ability to properly deconstruct the relationship, so I'm immensely enjoying seeing it fall apart.

This is a stunning post.

Date: Nov. 11th, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
semele: (Default)
From: [personal profile] semele
This post is flawless, and the pictures are flawless, and you're pretty damn flawless yourself.

Hmm, the "s3 never happened" game actually works for me? Elena made a conscious decision to put it behind her, she's making an effort to ignore it. Only she can't ignore it, because her trust for Stefan is in shreds. So I'm cool with S/E ignoring s3, as long as it will blow up in their faces later on.

Date: Nov. 11th, 2012 02:34 am (UTC)
angearia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] angearia
BLESS THIS POST

I'm kinda beyond anything coherent or thoughtful in response, but I'm just sitting her struck by how wonderfully you've presented it all. A+ basically.

Date: Nov. 11th, 2012 03:44 am (UTC)
goldenusagi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] goldenusagi
IDEK what to do with those two anymore. I don't think the show knows they're broken. It's like the show is telling me they're the fairytale, yet they're dysfunctional. But they keep presenting it as epic.

Date: Nov. 14th, 2012 05:19 am (UTC)
goldenusagi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] goldenusagi
I think that's the problem. The show will never truly destroy Stefan/Elena, because they don't want to alienate the shippers. Nor will they stop presenting it as fairytale. Which is a shame, because they could be telling a really interesting story. FWIW, I think the last few episodes are just another "bump" in Stefan and Elena's story. You have little things, like her throwing up blood after making out with him, that are ~symbolic, but on the whole, I don't see much difference in the big things. All her, "you're the only one who's getting me through this" talk and the way she's clearly lovey dovey with him again. The show will never stop presenting them this way, IMO. And Stefan's behavior now certainly isn't worse than when he tried to run her off a bridge, and everyone has forgotten all about that, so. IDK, sometimes I wonder if we aren't all seeing something because we want to see it. For instance, if I were just a casual viewer, and weren't on the internet at all, it honestly never would have occurred to me that Stefan and Elena are dysfunctional. I would just see it as the manufactured drama of a typical TV relationship. And I certainly wouldn't expect the show to do anything but keep them together. Because I think the show thinks they work (as well as Elena and anyone work). YMMV. I would see them as the flagship ship of the show. They're together because, well, they're together. And, IDK, everyone online seems to have been waiting for Elena to implode since S3, and I don't ever think she will. What she's been doing now, I wouldn't call imploding. I'd call it the ups and downs of transitioning. And I really don't think Stefan and Elena will implode. Unless Stefan just decides he can't love her as a vampire, but again, the show is based around the triangle, and it's S4 and she hasn't even slept with Damon yet. I honestly don't think we'll ever get a period where Elena is strictly with Damon the way she was strictly with Stefan in the first season.
Edited Date: Nov. 14th, 2012 05:28 am (UTC)

Date: Nov. 18th, 2012 08:08 am (UTC)
goldenusagi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] goldenusagi
Well, I clearly wouldn't have written all that after this week's episode. lol

Date: Nov. 11th, 2012 06:03 am (UTC)
rosaxx50: (Elena :: table)
From: [personal profile] rosaxx50
Yay Elena/Stefan made it onto the wrong!shipping meme again. This pleases me.

This is basically how I've always seem Elena/Stefan. They appear functional and they work hard to maintain it, but there are giant cracks -- because of what they are (vampire + human doppleganger) and who they are (the abuse narrative).

And it's because their struggle was so futile that their bright moments are happy, because it's so futile that their relationship becomes heartwrenching.

Tumblr fandom u r doing it wrong.

Date: Nov. 11th, 2012 06:14 am (UTC)
pocochina: tvd: tessa campfire story (damon close-up smirk)
From: [personal profile] pocochina
Completely agreed, as you well know. Except I'm not even paying close enough attention to TVD fandom outside of my f-list that people romanticizing Stelena are really on my radar.

even though we're apparently playing the "lol season 3 didn't happen" game

Are we, though? Especially after this week's episode, I have a tough time thinking the narrative is taking that perspective. I think it's "the characters are pretending the last few months never happened, leading directly to people getting exploded."

Date: Nov. 11th, 2012 08:53 am (UTC)
petzipellepingo: (vampire stefan by brulianbaby)
From: [personal profile] petzipellepingo
that Stelena is a tragedy. That fairytale romance being swooned over? They are the deconstruction of it, exposing all the flaws and fallacies of the epic "forever love."

Huge cracks this Season - and rightly so.

Date: Nov. 11th, 2012 10:07 am (UTC)
ladygawain: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ladygawain
This post is stunning.

I have nothing useful to add. Except frustration that the fandom doesn't SEE this, when even when the show is being rubbish about this ship - it's been evident from day one that this is a deconstruction of vampire romance tropes.

I had a laugh in my impromptu BTVS rewatch at Angel's first appearances on the show as this "cool, suave, dark figure" who seemed to show up when Buffy needed him. And it struck me how bloody creepy he was in actuality, from the way he and Whistler watch her on those steps outside her high school and he pins his redemption on her (or being something for her) - and how Stefan/Elena is an intriguing iteration of that same formula except more consciously a deconstruction of this teen vampire romance. I am making no sense.

But I love this post.

Date: Nov. 17th, 2012 03:33 pm (UTC)
aerintine: (Brothers Space Between)
From: [personal profile] aerintine
YOU ARE PERFECT AND I HEART YOU.

(and i was going to point out that damon is the one exception to stefan's conditional love, but i see our little marshmallow has already been here done that. ah, Brothers shippers. we are a persistent lot :) )
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