Monday, July 15, 2024

I like my women… changeable

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You know the saying “people change”? That’s the motto the heroines of this installment live by. They changed because of circumstance, choice, feelings, and maturing, among other reasons.

The women of my guilty pleasure series The Vampire Diaries (yes it’s the vampire show that ended over 2 years ago) are the embodiment of the saying. And though the show had many great female characters, I’m only going to focus on the three main women.

Elena Gilbert

Elena was the main protagonist of the show for 6 seasons. She started as the girl next door who had everything: the quarterback boyfriend, loving parents, best friends, and good grades. Than she tragically lost her parents in an accident which she survived. Since than her live would never be the same. It was also the first time she went trough a big character change. She became more withdrawn as she grieved.

It quickly becomes known that she’s special, what with being a doppelgaenger. Everything started with the new guy at school, Stefan Salvatore. He helped Elena come to terms with the loss of her parents, he also changed her world by bringing the supernatural into it.

The younger Salvatore was also one of Elena’s great loves. The love triangle between Damon, Elena and Stefan was one of the main driving forces of the show, especially in the beginning. It seemed as if the young woman couldn’t choose between the brothers. She finally settled with Damon and after a lot of tribulations, they got their happy ending.

Elena went trough a lot. She lost her parents and loved ones, fell in and out of love, died and became a vampire than became human again and finally got a happy ever after with the man he loved. Every change was very drastic and reflected on her actions and character.

She was portrayed as the girl next door who loved her friends and family and would do everything to protect them. She was always selfless and compassionate, often ending up in more trouble because of it. In the beginning she was the character that I related the most with. As time went on, I got irritated with her choices, arcs and motivations. I started seeing them as selfish and not selfless truly because Elena in all her choices wanted to avoid change and preserve the status quo she lived in.

She didn’t like change and couldn’t really adapt to it well. As proven with the season 4 story line where she searches for the cure to become human again after being turned. That’s also how she gets her happiness by turning back to being human and living a human life.

Still, she was very compassionate: wanting to become a doctor and also wanting to help her friends and make them feel better. Elena always wanted to be in the center of attention, everything had to revolve around her. It wasn’t always deliberate. It could be attributed to her natural charisma or the way other characters bonded with her. She sometimes used the feelings of others to become a priority. With that she proved she could be quite manipulative.

She also proved that she’s vindictive, be it with Katherine or as she was planning to kill the Originals. Although everything was covered by her concern for her friends and her safety.

While my sympathy and liking for Elena decreased with every season, I can’t not appreciate her core values and her determination. At her core she truly believed that she’s doing the best for everyone. Furthermore she proved that even if there are changes you can always change your circumstances and the outcome of almost any situation.

Bonnie Bennett

A descendant of one of the most powerful witch lines. Often seen as nothing more than her ability to practice magic. Bonnie didn’t have a easy life. She was raised by her grandmother with an absentee father and a mother who abandoned her. Her grandma and friends Caroline and Elena were all she really had.

It was her grandmother who taught her about magic and the ways of witches, sadly she lost her to early. Ironically in an attempt to save Elena.

As a with she could be quite judgemental and set in her ways. She tried to obey the laws of nature, at least in the beginning. Later on she realised that it’s alright to decide your own course. Elders are not always right and everything is circumstantial. You have to judge based on more than someone’s beliefs.

Bonnie’s magic  strongly defined her. She was always most comfortable and confident while she had her powers. As the show went on she learned that there’s more to her than just magic. Thanks to that she became an even better witch. The story line with Bonnie being the anchor to the other side showed also how she dealt with extreme changes. She took the as stoically as possible at least when she was the one concerned. She didn’t react the same way when it was a loved one. Than she couldn’t handle it to well.

Something that changed a lot throughout her life were Bonnie’s relationships. Almost all of her relationships have undergone extreme changes. This included her friendship with Caroline when she was turned into a vampire, as well as her mother who met the same fate. Bonnie had to learn how to deal with it. She did so although slowly. This situation also showed how she plays favorites with her friends. Seeing as she accepted Elena’s transition almost instantly. Maybe because by then she knew the supernatural better…

Something that also changed drastically was Bonnie’s friendship with Damon. They started out as enemies turned to reluctant allies, then frenemies and friends. A big part in it definitely played their stay in a prison world and the sleeping curse placed on Elena and Bonnie. Their changing relationship showed that it’s possible to accept your enemy given the right circumstances.

One of the most shocking twists in the entire show was Bonnie’s relationship with the vampire Enzo. Especially seeing as in the beginning she hated every vampire. Somehow over the course of season 8 they fell in love, and although they were an unexpected couple and I still don’t really understand how it happened. There was something in this relationship. Maybe it wasn’t the most epic one. Although it ended bittersweet with him dying it surely helped Bonnie grow into a strong woman.

Bonnie was a strong girl who had t face many obstacles but in the end she overcame them. She wasn’t always perfect by often judging people and situations to quickly. She tried to redeem these decision as soon as she realised she made a mistake.

Bonnie proved that sometimes it just takes a little more time to accept change and it’s alright to take that time. What you have to do is realise that although changes will happen you still have the power to make your own choices and create you fate.

Even though her life didn’t go as planned she still found happiness in it. That’s the goal to which we should strive.

Caroline Forbes

Th first word that describes Caroline is “sunshine”. Seeing as she was always optimistic and searched for the silver lining. Her other main characteristic was her perfectionism, which is pretty self-explanatory.

Caroline spent most of her time in Elena’s shadow. That made her quite insecure. It also motivated her to excel in everything she did.

She brought that motivation into all her endeavors. Caroline enjoyed planning events and coordinating them. With that being said, even though she planned everything she was the one who took changes in stride and adapted the best to them. It’s evident by how fast she adjusted to being a vampire and how she mastered it.

Sadly Caroline was often treated as collateral damage and rarely became somebody’s priority (with one exception). It also seemed that she just accepted that fact. Seeing as she just went one with her life the best way she knew how. Caroline knew that sometimes change is inevitable and all one can do is adapt.

It’s proven by her relationship with Damon, who abused her when she was human. She got some revenge by kicking his butt, and later just moved on. Although it took them up until the series finale to become really close.

It seems that the neurotic control freak and planner of the group can plan around anything and accept anything. With that being said, it sometimes drives her to mistakes. Like turning off her humanity after her mom died.

Something that always bothered me was her relationship with Stefan. Where she also wasn’t a priority seeing as he went and sacrificed himself on their wedding day just hours after they married. He chose his brothers happiness over his and Caroline’s. I also didn’t really buy into the whole friends to lovers trope. For me, their relationship should have stayed platonic.

Although Caroline had a lot of love interests there was one which had it all, in my opinion. That was her romance with Klaus. It was an epic love story that should have ended better alas it’s a rant for another time.

There are a few reasons why this relationship was special. One, she was his priority. He always tried to do right by her and took her opinion into consideration. Even though she often played the distraction she never lied to him and cared for his well being. She also tried not to cause him to much pain. She brought out the light and humanity in him and he helped her grow, challenged her and showed her that she deserves better.

Plus it didn’t hurt that the chemistry between the actors was crazy.

As the show went on my appreciation for Caroline grew. In opposite to my opinion of Elena. I started seeing more and more of myself in the young vampire.

Caroline proved that there’s nothing wrong in just accepting change and adapting to what happened. It doesn’t mean that you should try and achieve your goals or make your own decisions but there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk. It’s better to make the best you can out of what you were given. Ironically the character who shouldn’t be able to adjust well did it best. She was still able to achieve her goals and forge her own way. You just have to take the chance and see where the change will lead you. Changes are just life’s challenges.

Although change drives the circle of life. It’s what we do with it that really counts. The women of Vampire Diaries proved to us that no matter how you view change you’ll have to take a stand to it. All of them dealt with change in different ways and all of them achieved their goals. Showing us that there is no one right way to do it.

Even though the women have encountered lots of changes and changed themselves at the core they stayed true to who they were and to the values they cherished. Simply because there are things that can’t be changed.

Images courtesy of the CW

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