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.)

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