Spotlight: Delena Meta

Hi all! Since we’ve talked on the subject of DE in recent days, I wanted to share this meta that I read yesterday. I’ve asked the author for permission to share it here. Now you all know how I feel about Damon, Elena, and what this ship would do to Elena’s character, writing-wise, so if I’m sharing this you know it was good. The great thing about it is that the author looks at Elena in a way I feel the show isn’t willing to. She doesn’t sugar-coat the ship or the characters that make it up. It’s not positioned as a relationship that is going to “save” either one of them.

Read here

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17 thoughts on “Spotlight: Delena Meta

  1. That was good! The way she describes Delena would actually be interesting to see play out on screen. I’ll be back later with some comments, but I dug it.

  2. This is the first DE meta I’ve read of it’s kind (and therefore the only one I’ve been able to finish to date). I like that she allows Elena to essentially be ugly. I love that she didn’t make it all about Damon and what Elena does for Damon, and how all Damon does is “liberate” her and “challenge” her.

    I think there are only two things I disagreed with in the essay, and that’s first when she says we can’t say who’s guiltier. I think we can because while Elena can hurt Damon, when she hurts Damon, she hurts Damon. That’s it. She hurts his feelings and we move on. When Damon hurts Elena, it’s by hurting the people she loves. So Jeremy gets killed and Caroline’s abused. The second part is when she says Elena stabbing Rebekah represents her embracing her darkness. Now if I ignore the show, then I can completely be onboard this. Unfortunately the writers made sure to include a scene and have it be canon that Elena felt bad about stabbing Rebekah and she cared to much. She even bristled when Damon compared her to Katherine, The Ultimate Evil as we all know. I realized that Elena was like Stefan in that way. You know how Stefan’s great empathy is so awesome that he feeeelllssss while his ripping people part and gluing them back together? Yeah, apparently Elena’s heart was breaking to pieces when she stabbed Rebekah.

    Now while the essay helps me see how DE would work, I still have a problem and it has nothing to do with the essay. It’s with Elena and just how we attempts read her character. Can Elena be analyzed in regards to her relationship with Damon or Stefan and her relationship with the people she loves? Can it be done? I feel like it can’t. I feel like they both exist in a vacuum, like if you’re talking about Elena with either Damon or Stefan (without rose-colored glasses, of course), then you can’t talk about Elena/Bonnie, Elena/Caroline, or Elena/Jeremy.

    Where do Bonnie, Jeremy, and Caroline fit in the relationship the author described? I think one reason it seems impossible to imagine Elena being able to hold on to all the people she cares about if she gets with Damon is because the show itself treats the relationships so separately. Elena spends most of her time with Damon. If something’s going down, she’ll talk about it with the Salvatores, confide in them, worry with them, before she talks about it with anyone else, if she even bothers to. She worries about the Salvatores more than she worries about the people she grew up with. If either of them so much as frown, she’s grilling them on what’s wrong.

    Now we know Stefan is crazy and is a bigger murderer than Damon and so logically Elena should stand to lose her friends if she gets back with him too, but 1) this Ripper Stefan storyline has taken place between the Trio and that’s it. No other character has been allowed to have an opinion. But I think the biggest thing is this: while the characters can say Stefan is terrible because he did this and this and this, they can say Damon is terrible because he did this and this and this to me. It would be one thing if Elena was just dating this horrible guy (she already is in Stefan, but okay), but it’s another for her to be dating a horrible guy that the other characters have a personal history with. Especially since Damon doesn’t change. He recently had a go at Caroline’s father. Of course the show will have all the characters act ooc and crazy and ignore their history with Damon in order to prop up DE (we already saw it with Caroline, and I dread the day they’ll bring Bonnie in on it). But in this wonderful world the author talked about where the characters get to own their narratives, how can Bonnie, Jeremy, or Caroline chill with Elena while she’s with Damon? Will Bonnie and Elena really be looking at pictures of caves when she’s carrying on a relationship with Damon? What will Jeremy say?

    Maybe this DE relationship (that the author describes) wouldn’t make the characters shun Elena, but I do think it would create a wide distance between them. I don’t see Bonnie calling to ask if she can come over. I don’t see Caroline going to her house with chilli for a Founders party unless she has to on behalf of Carol Lockwood. I see Jeremy asking her how she’s doing and all that because she’s his sister and he loves her, but I don’t think DE is something they’d ever be talk about, and I think there would be a distance between them from Jeremy’s side. And I see Elena finding that her thing with Damon is worth all of these distances.

  3. I agree with a lot of that meta but like Alta, I think it is pretty clear that Damon is worse for Elena than the other way around. To me, there is no contest. I get what she is saying about Damon being submissive (I mean, after he found the tomb empty, he literally said that his reason for living was *gone*.) but I think that he also bristles against his own tendency to do that? Even more so after Katherine rejected him. That is why, even though he isn’t over Katherine and he now knows she loves him, he “rejects” her. There is this push and pull. For example, in the ep when he went on that road trip with Katherine. His natural tendency is to follow her without question (she and Elena are what give his life meaning after all. What is he without them?) but then he felt the need to give a show of independence. I don’t think that it is so much that he is uncomfortable with how much faith Elena has in him (and I don’t think she has faith in him anyway. It is more like delusional faith in her power to control him or the situation in general), it is more like he is chafing under her control. (Wow. That sounds like I gave Elena lots of power. Lulz. What is an Elena anyway?).

    I also liked the part where she talks about looking at the Salvatores as extensions of Elena and the spin she put to it. There was a point in season 2 when I couldn’t see the ToD as separate characters and, sometimes, it looked like Elena was outsourcing (that is the word my friend and I used) of herself to the Salvatores. Like, they would be where you would expect Elena to be. There were a couple of eps where Stefan would look after Elena’s family/friends (her emotional life I guess) and Damon would go off on some mission (her physical well being I guess). I am talking about these things happening in the same ep. For example, in the ep (I am never going to be one of those people who remembers every ep # and title) when Damon went with Beremy to the witch house while Stefan tried to calm down Caroline while she was upset about Matt. Another example is the last dance. Stefan ran after Jeremy and found out about Bonnie’s plan (he also sat with Elena while she was all hysterical about Bonnie). Damon executed a plan with Bonnie in that ep. I mean, you would think that Elena would go talk to her brother or Elena would come up with a plan with Bonnie or Elena would go to the witch house with Bonnie or Elena would talk to Caroline about Matt. No? It was like Elena was asserting herself through them. Now that one of the mechanisms through which she deals with the world has fallen apart because Stefan has checked out, Elena is asserting herself more. Why else would she be doing combat training *now*?

    I realized that Elena was like Stefan in that way. You know how Stefan’s great empathy is so awesome that he feeeelllssss while his ripping people part and gluing them back together? Yeah, apparently Elena’s heart was breaking to pieces when she stabbed Rebekah.

    She is like both Salvatores in that way. I mean, we couldn’t even tell if she was talking about herself or Damon when she was telling him about Rebekah.

    I agree with the emotional manipulation/sexual manipulation stuff they do. The best example of that this season was the faux “training” session they had by themselves. Elena was giving him her usual line of “do it for me Damon” or something to that effect and he got sexual with her.

    The second part is when she says Elena stabbing Rebekah represents her embracing her darkness. Now if I ignore the show, then I can completely be onboard this.

    As you know from that ep’s comment section, I agree with this bit. I think Elena’s remorse was appropriate. It would have been weird if she didn’t show any remorse the first time she “murdered” someone. The important part was that she did it. I think she will show less and less remorse as time goes on – that would make sense to me anyway.

    The writer wasn’t sure if Elena was spiraling already. I think she is and I think Damon (and Alaric but I see Alaric as an extension of Damon at this point) has already noticed and enabled her in the way that the writer described. Isn’t that what the “Save Stefan” missions with Elena were about? She went into a forest full of werewolves on a full moon for God’s sake and Damon followed her. I also didn’t understand the part about Elena never forgiving Damon for force feeding her blood. I thought Elena already forgave Damon. As for Delena never happening because Elena is too sane for that, I have serious doubts about that. I don’t read Elena as being all that stable. I think it is very possible that Delena will happen

    Can Elena be analyzed in regards to her relationship with Damon or Stefan and her relationship with the people she loves? Can it be done? I feel like it can’t.

    I so totally agree. It is like the ToD are on a separate show that occasionally does crossovers with a show that has the rest of the characters

    • but I think that he also bristles against his own tendency to do that?

      I agree with this. I would just add that I think he bristles when his submissive tendencies are ignored/ not appreciated. Katherine ultimately didn’t give a crap about him. He doesn’t know she loves him. Unless that happened offscreen.

      Yeah, I remember that theory.

      I think she is and I think Damon (and Alaric but I see Alaric as an extension of Damon at this point) has already noticed and enabled her in the way that the writer described.

      I don’t remember who I was talking to, probably Magali. Anyways, we were talking about this part of the essay, I think, and I realized Damon is really an enabler through and through. Unlike Stefan, I don’t see the words “this isn’t you,” coming out of his mouth easily. Elena wants to drink? Smoke pot? Have promiscuous sex? Go to woods full of werewolves on a full moon? He’s right behind her. He might argue as in the case of the werewolves, but he’ll ultimately let her do it even if it might be dangerous/self-destructive for her.

      Yep, Elena forgave Damon as soon as she found out he was dying. Ugh.

      • Yeah, I remember that theory.

        Really? Ha! I can’t tell what I discussed already anymore. Lol

        Well, wtvr the show is terrible and very schizo. I think that as much as the show loves Damon, he’s a good barometer for the level of schizophrenia on the show at any given moment — do they treat him like he’s a rapist monster, or do they treat him like he’s a viable romantic lead, or do they treat him like he’s a likeable hero, or do they treat him like two-all of those things? As he’s gone from one stage to the next the show in general has gotten more schizo imo.

        Yep, Elena forgave Damon as soon as she found out he was dying. Ugh.

        Idk why people insist on holding on this idea that Elena might not forgive Damon for something. The showrunners explicitly stated that she would always forgive Damon. After it was very apparently, to me, that she forgive Damon for the Jeremy neck snap, people tried to convince me that really hadn’t was holding a hidden grudge. Ok then

        • *After it was very apparent, to me, that she had forgiven Damon for the Jeremy neck snap, people tried to convince me that she really hadn’t and was holding on to a hidden grudge. Ok then

          Had to make that sentence a little more comprehensible. I wish there was a edit button. My concentration blows.

        • Oh definitely. Damon is a golden boy (as are all of the penises), but he is not immune to the show’s fuckery.

          It’s kind of annoying when people act like Elena hasn’t forgiven Damon 3 episodes after whatever grievance he committed against her. The Elena in their head is not the one on the show, sorry to say.

      • I would just add that I think he bristles when his submissive tendencies are ignored/ not appreciated.

        Yep. He is a black hole of neediness. If he is not constantly reassured that he is good enough or wtvr, he reacts violently/inappropriately and Elena can’t help but try filling that hole.

        3×02 was the perfect encapsulation of everything that is wrong with Elena/Dalaric (lbr, Alaric is not a separate character). Alaric was all, teenage quadruple orphan with the undead serial killer boyfriend please reassure me. I NEED VALIDATION TEENAGER WITH A HORRIBLE LIFE. GIVE IT TO ME PLZ. So fucking annoying. Dalaric followed Elena in what was possibly the dumbest plan ever conceived in fiction or real life like good little soldiers. But they were annoyed by the fact that they were following her so Alaric goes behind her back and Damon pushes her *off a cliff*. And then later, Damon was all, TELL ME YOU CARE ABOUT ME. TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME! SEE, YOU SAID IT! YOU CAN’T TAKE IT BACK! YOU CAN’T! YOU CAN’T! It was like someone was taking a drill to my head. And then, Alaric asked the teenager if *she* knew what she was doing. I would have murdered them for that alone.

  4. Yay, you linked it!

    I think what’s refreshing about the analysis is just how honest it is about the show and the characters, too. It’s rare in this fandom to read meta on the characters that doesn’t go above and beyond to romanticize them in ways that make little sense. I made a post about it on Tumblr but the fundamental thing about this show is that it is not a show about heroes. At least in the “traditional” or “classical” sense of the term. And if you enter the narrative looking for that you are almost entirely bound to be disappointed.

    I’ve been having a lot feelings for characters I never used to have feelings for lately, and mostly it’s due to the fact that I’m finally accepting what I mentioned above and allowing myself to view the show through that lens. And it really is infinitely BETTER.

    Anyways, in response to your comment above:

    Where do Bonnie, Jeremy, and Caroline fit in the relationship the author described? I think one reason it seems impossible to imagine Elena being able to hold on to all the people she cares about if she gets with Damon is because the show itself treats the relationships so separately. …..
    Now we know Stefan is crazy and is a bigger murderer than Damon and so logically Elena should stand to lose her friends if she gets back with him too, but 1) this Ripper Stefan storyline has taken place between the Trio and that’s it. No other character has been allowed to have an opinion. But I think the biggest thing is this: while the characters can say Stefan is terrible because he did this and this and this, they can say Damon is terrible because he did this and this and this to me. It would be one thing if Elena was just dating this horrible guy (she already is in Stefan, but okay), but it’s another for her to be dating a horrible guy that the other characters have a personal history with. Especially since Damon doesn’t change. He recently had a go at Caroline’s father. Of course the show will have all the characters act ooc and crazy and ignore their history with Damon in order to prop up DE (we already saw it with Caroline, and I dread the day they’ll bring Bonnie in on it). But in this wonderful world the author talked about where the characters get to own their narratives, how can Bonnie, Jeremy, or Caroline chill with Elena while she’s with Damon? Will Bonnie and Elena really be looking at pictures of caves when she’s carrying on a relationship with Damon? What will Jeremy say?

    I can’t really say how I feel on this until the episodes air but I do think that:

    *In a lot of ways the lines of morality, of what’s right and wrong, of what’s proper or decent behavior, relationships – all of these lines are collapsing in different ways on the show. So while I think Caroline and Bonnie have very real reasons to still hate Damon, Jeremy too, or at least feel some form of antipathy towards him – it’s gotten a little more complicated than that. Damon’s physically hurt and/or killed all three of them (I’m going with these three because they’re relevant to the discussion, Alaric doesn’t count because I think he’s gotten to this stage far sooner than they have) BUT he’s also saved every single one of them at least once.

    *Bonnie, in particular, has been working side-by-side with Damon in some capacity for almost an entire season. However reluctant, however disdainful, they’ve been forced to put aside their differences or negotiate them in a way that allows them to work towards a common goal. Bonnie herself has done some pretty fucked up things to achieve her goals and been complicit in really questionable things (Luka, Mason etc.). While she’s in no way on the same level of Damon (lol, or Stefan for that matter, could she ever be? doubtful), there’s something in the fact that she herself doesn’t have an infallible moral high ground, that she can no longer draw the lines between them so easily, that she herself feels culpable for the deaths of all these people whether it’s her fault or not – that might make it slightly easier to tolerate Damon, if not like him/approve of him and his relationship with Elena? I’m starting to think that it might be more significant than I initially thought that Bonnie didn’t speak up with Caroline in 3.05 or whatever that episode was – at least that’s how I might read it. I’m not saying that this means they’re all best friends, but I just think that everything is muddied now. Damon might have attacked Caroline’s father but perhaps there’s a side of her that takes petty satisfaction in the fact that the man who tortured her so wantonly got his ass kicked for a few seconds before she saved his life and rushed him away?

    And I think that if they really threw massive shade at Elena for having a ‘thing’ with Damon at this stage, knowing what Stefan is and has always been even if it might not have affected them as personally as Damon’s sins – I might side-eye them a little.

    I’m at the stage where I kind of think they’re all messed up. Jeremy was dreaming up a grand love affair with a ghost less than a few weeks ago, I doubt he’s going to look at his sister dating a sociopath who is slightly less crazed than his sociopath brother and be super-judgmental.

    This entire season just looks like the characters are going to sink even deeper and delve even further into this murky gray area in their relationships and I’m not sure where it will all end.

    REGARDING BONNIE SPOILERS
    I’m a little troubled by this Bonnie hiding the coffins scenario. In my head, I had two possible rationalizations:
    1) The running theory that she owes Stefan a blood-debt from season one and that’s why she has a tendency to listen to what he says, and in this case, he’s using that to get her to help him somehow. OR
    2) Bonnie, who, as I mentioned above, has become grayer with each season, and who has always had a pretty ruthless streak of pragmatism has decided to hide those coffins for strategic purposes. Whether, by her logic, aiding Stefan is dealing with the devil-you-know in order to get rid of the really bad guy or it somehow gives them an advantage that Stefan doesn’t anticipate (I’m thinking her and her mother’s code-cracking might play into this), she’s chosen to take those coffins because she’s got a plan or an inkling of a plan.

    I’m trying and hoping for the second one right now. I really am. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to see that Bonnie is cognizant of Stefan’s terrible shit actions and that she’s disgusted by them on some levels. But that we’ll also see Bonnie taking control of the situation – because she’s a witch, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the witches on this show, they’re willing to collude with even the worst of vampires even while carrying forth their own agenda. I’m not sure where this cup half-full attitude has come from but those are the thoughts percolating in my brain.

    I’m sorry if they make no sense at all, lol.

    • I like what you said about the other characters not having the right to judge Elena. But that is not really my issue with the show. (I hate Damon – don’t get me wrong there. Like, I want him to be burned alive.) My issue is that there isn’t enough reacting happening anywhere. I don’t so much care about what the reactions are. For example, the back to school ep from this season was supposed to mirror the pilot. Well, in the pilot, both Bonnie and Caroline saw Stefan in the school and voiced their opinions on who they thought he was. The same didn’t happen in season 3. The show could have had Caroline and Bonnie make justifications for Stefan or give them wtvr reaction but they don’t do that. The characters all getting darker as time goes on makes sense to me and I think that has already been happening in season 2. My issue is that it is not done in that way that allows the characters to voice what is going on with them. And it is all so disjointed. Nothing feels organic.

      • Yeah, the show’s inability to balance all the different relationships in this tiny network of people is one of the most frustrating things ever. It was one of the things that attracted me to it in season one, when they were able to do it smoothly, when we saw all these different relationships developing with different characters – good and bad. And it’s been going downhill since season 2.

        I would have loved for these characters to be allowed to have a frank conversation, just as girls, about Stefan especially. I don’t know if that’ll ever happen.

    • This entire season just looks like the characters are going to sink even deeper and delve even further into this murky gray area in their relationships and I’m not sure where it will all end.

      I like the idea of this, of all these characters being varying shades of gray and always having something to use against each other or this knowledge of each other, that colors their interactions in a way that kinda makes them locked into each other’s lives. The show is sorta like that now, but like Susan said, no one says anything really. The knowledge remains locked within certain dynamics even when the misdeeds/the gray motivations are not secrets. So if, in some perfect world, this season was about unlocking all of those dynamics to a certain degree, and having the interactions reach beyond the romantic and dwell in friendships and/or relationships that are in that gray area, that would be great. Somewhat reminiscent of s1 when it seemed like these kids new each other and Stefan and Damon were entering into that and would be incorporated or shut out depending on the situations and developments. (I keep thinking about the books, somewhat, when it comes to that).

      2) Bonnie, who, as I mentioned above, has become grayer with each season, and who has always had a pretty ruthless streak of pragmatism has decided to hide those coffins for strategic purposes. Whether, by her logic, aiding Stefan is dealing with the devil-you-know in order to get rid of the really bad guy or it somehow gives them an advantage that Stefan doesn’t anticipate (I’m thinking her and her mother’s code-cracking might play into this), she’s chosen to take those coffins because she’s got a plan or an inkling of a plan.

      This idea, I like. This idea would actually work very well, imo, for both characters, especially if they wrote Bonnie as working with the devil she knows instead of trusting Stefan in addition to working an angle that Stefan doesn’t anticipate. Bonnie has the upper hand in the scenario, and it’s a potentially messy scenario that, hopefully, she’ll get to navigate her way out of with Abby.

      I hope she doesn’t owe Stefan a blood debt. At least, I hope this is not the storyline where we discover how witches become indebted to vampires since the show hasn’t established how that occurs, whether Stefan and/or Damon know about it, and how it works and what it entails and I’d want a better storyline (unrelated to the Originals or really the Salvatores or Bonnie, I’d like to find out about this through another witch tbh) for it. Mostly because I want to discover that the debt can be defied (depending on circumstances) or can go both ways. Mostly because I have ideas and I don’t want the show to mess with them.

      • I hope she doesn’t owe Stefan a blood debt.

        I think it’s too late to go back to the blood debt when it comes to Bonnie. Which means they just might do it since season 3 is the season they do things they should’ve done in season 2.

    • Damon might have attacked Caroline’s father but perhaps there’s a side of her that takes petty satisfaction in the fact that the man who tortured her so wantonly got his ass kicked for a few seconds before she saved his life and rushed him away?

      I can’t imagine. I think of all the characters, Caroline would be least likely to enjoy something like that (Matt who?). While the others have muddied their hands in all the ways you’ve mentioned, including Tyler, Caroline is pretty clean. She’s never done anything like Bonnie did to Luka or Mason, nor has she contemplated being with someone no one else can see. It would be easier for me to imagine Caroline getting some petty satisfaction out of this if it was done to….let’s say, a girl who had been flirting with Tyler *____*.

      that might make it slightly easier to tolerate Damon, if not like him/approve of him and his relationship with Elena?

      I kind of agree with what you’ve said about Bonnie working with Damon, but what I’m wondering is how far does this tolerance/approval go? Going with the thread that Bonnie is actively approving Damon and that’s why she kept quiet when Caroline was up in arms, not because the writers couldn’t be bothered, how far does it extend? Because Damon isn’t going to stop. Could we say that’s why she didn’t say anything about what Damon did to Caroline’s dad? Because she said something when he was about to kill Tyler. So does it only stop at murder now?

      And I think that if they really threw massive shade at Elena for having a ‘thing’ with Damon at this stage, knowing what Stefan is and has always been even if it might not have affected them as personally as Damon’s sins – I might side-eye them a little.

      I can’t stand this show.

      I’m thinking her and her mother’s code-cracking might play into this

      Woah, what code-cracking?Anyways, the second one works if she’s actually working (or helping most likely, ugh) on a way to get rid of Klaus.

  5. Thanks for linking to that meta, Alta. I really enjoyed reading it. I especially liked that the author acknowledges that there are things we, the viewers, know but Elena doesn’t and that they throw a different light on D/E. From what I’ve seen that’s one of the things that is rarely acknowledged in fandom. Probably because the show doesn’t acknowledge it either (-or it romanticizes it, like in “Rose”).

    One thing I can’t really get onboard with is the notion that, from Elena’s persective, her dynamic with Damon is about her regarding herself as ‘one of the monsters’. I feel like I could be theoretically onboard with this but I don’t think that this is what’s happening on the show. As far as I can tell, the Elena we see on the show doesn’t consider herself as one of the monsters. (I guess this goes in the same direction as Alta’s comment on Elena embracing her darkness by stabbing Rebekah.)

    • I feel like I could be theoretically onboard with this but I don’t think that this is what’s happening on the show.

      Yeah, that’s pretty much the case. I don’t agree that the show is trying to say that Elena is embracing that she’s one of the monsters or thinks that she’s one of the monsters. I think as far as the producers are willing to go is saying that she’s attracted to the dark side, i.e. Damon. I mean they had Elena worry about having feelings for Damon because, “What would that say about me?”

      I feel that any meta that looks at Elena realistically is not going to mesh with what’s happening on the show. The show never sticks with any thread they take with Elena, not for long (I’m talking 1 or 2 episodes long). Today I was talking to Magali and we were talking about how having died might have affected Elena. She was saying that Elena tethering herself to Stefan, insisting on getting him back, despite how problematic it is, is part of her reacting to having died. It’s changed her. I told her it’s too easy to also write Elena’s tethering herself to Stefan as “She loves him and she doesn’t want to lose him.” And the latter is the canon of the show. She even said she doesn’t check out (until she did, of course). And then Magali said something that made me think that maybe the show was trying to say that Elena doesn’t care for her life anymore. She doesn’t value it because she’s tired of people coming after her, trying to kill her. As an example, I thought of how she told Klaus to just kill her if that’s what he wanted. But then , Stefan tries to kill her and she runs. Then she starts training to become stronger and fight back. And from the trailer for episode 10, she’s going to be running from someone trying to kill her. So there goes that thread.

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