This 3rd season has ended on the tragic death of our heroine and the painful knowledge that next time we will see her again she will be transitioning. Will she then remain a vampire until the very end or are the writers planning to make her human again at some point of the series, only time will tell.
But for now, we felt like it would be a great opportunity to highlight and honor Elena’s human personality as we got to know her in the course of the past 3 years. To that purpose, some members of our little SE forum will creatively express over the next few days on this blog their thoughts and feelings on Elena’s path, reminding us what made this teenage girl so special yet so human.
A Tribute to Human Elena (part 1)
Starting first is Steph with her beautiful homage to Elena:
Elena Gilbert. It’s such a normal sounding name. Seeing it on paper, you wouldn’t think Elena would be much different from any other teenage girl, but using the word “normal” to describe Elena Gilbert would be a mistake. She is anything but.She was a cheerleader, football player’s girlfriend, an academic, aspiring writer, big sister and a dutiful daughter… until it all turned tragic. Elena Gilbert was just getting back on track after losing both her parents in a horrible accident, an accident she couldn’t help but to blame herself for when she practically stumbled onto a boy whose inner sadness equaled her own. For Elena, Stefan was one part of a new life where she would be “fine,” even if she had to say it a million times. Elena made a choice to move on with her life and not to drown in despair. She had to be there for her little brother and to do her part in supporting Aunt Jenna’s new role as guardian. She would be a better friend to Bonnie and try to get over the awkwardness she felt with Matt. She would roll her eyes at Caroline but still defend her like any true friend would when someone would have the nerve to call her useless and stupid. She would learn to love again with Stefan and would continue to figure out her new identity, hanging up her pompoms for something new, undiscovered.
It may have gone on like this for a while had Elena not been so curious or so smart. Stefan couldn’t hide who he really was, and Elena couldn’t hide her initial fear. Love, understanding and empathy soon took over though. This was Elena’s brand of humanity, and it allowed her to love Stefan for who he was, not what he was. As this supernatural veil fell, Elena would continue to face adversity, almost on a daily basis. She would find her real mother, a woman who had given Elena up and become a vampire. She would then witness her death as well as that of her biological father. She would continue to lose people, her Aunt Jenna and Alaric, the closest thing she had to a father. Stefan would take her into his arms through all of this, but was it enough? Could any one person take away so much pain?
Unimaginable guilt would take over at times. Elena, upon finding out she was the Doppelganger, believed she was responsible for all the bad that befell her loved ones. Perhaps this is why Elena practically begged Stefan and his brother to let her die in the place of those she cared about. It was worth her life to not allow the suffering of her loved ones to continue. Ultimately, that’s what led her to the choice that would take away the human life she cherished so much. She could not allow a friend like Matt to die while she lived. Matt had a life to live. He was a good man who had been hurt and who had lost. “Why was her life more important than his?” she probably asked herself. For her, it wasn’t, and saving him was her last wish.
Stefan’s love for Elena gave him the strength to let her go. He honored her in a way that others never could. Sadly, this would also turn Elena into a vampire, something neither of them had ever wanted. Only time will reveal the kind of vampire Elena will be, but we can hope, based on the great humanity that has always been within her, that she will retain much of who she was. In this way, we hope we will never have to truly say goodbye to the real Elena.
A Tribute to Human Elena (part 2)
Elena was the all American average girl we met in season 1, the girl with flared pants, Converse, some colored shirt and a black leather jacket, the girl who had lost her parents, who didn’t know how to live anymore. She found love along with the person who brought her back to life and she struggled to accept the supernatural world in her life namely Stefan.
She became the worried girl in season 2, again underlined with her every day another blue shirt or even a darker color, protective of her loved ones, fighting for them and finally making the ultimate sacrifice by giving up her life to keep the people she loves safe.
Her ultimate death in the finale of season 3 paralleled beautifully the sacrifice in 2×21 “Before the Sun rises” and who she is, because she dies for a loved one, all life time friend Matt. It is difficult to imagine a more in character death than this one.
Her way in season 3 was a stony one, but she was less the victim than she has been before. Elena concentrates to fight against her enemies and for her boyfriend. She endures all of Stefan’s darkness, all of his killings, his cruelness because she believes in the human part of him like she believes in herself, like she knows herself, even when he kills Andie and he pushes her away in 3×03. Deep down she knows it is an act of protection; he is in a desperate place. There is neither time nor room for reproaches. He needs help, the sight of her, the thought of her, she is the last bridge he has not broken to his humanity, the last thing which is pure, which he tries to protect. And she feels the connection through the phone and in his closet. But she is blind to the reality of the situation to have a real chance to bring him back. She doesn’t see the danger, because her love is desperate and all consuming, eliminating the reality. This is a bad thing, but love can be bad and consuming. And to be honest this is a too desperate place to be a realist. With realism she can’t win and maybe this is the reason she ignores it.
Nevertheless the love comes from the right place for the right person, but it is there in the most self-destructive form we have it ever seen. Nevertheless Stefan had heard her; he had needed her.
The moment when Elena turns away from Stefan is the strangest, saddest and the most human because he had lost himself, because it wasn’t his fault, but she expects from him to break through. Her fine senses are detecting Stefan’s mood, the place where he is standing. She gets more and more the feelings, he has decided to give up his old self and her. He seems to embrace the darkness. The connection is less and less palpable for her. Is she tired? Hurt? Getting desperate that she can’t find a way to him and that he doesn’t want a way back to her? Probably. It feels a bit like it when she speaks to him in Ghost World:
Stefan: That’s good for you. You know, I was wondering when you were going to give up. Lexi gave you… enough of a glimpse into your tragic future.
Elena: I haven’t given up, Stefan. I still have hope. But there’s nothing that I can do until you get yours back.
Elena: Hey. You can break through this. Fight for it. Feel something. Anything, Stefan. Because if you don’t, you’re going to lose me forever. I won’t love a ghost for the rest of my life.
It seems like she was only threatening him to break though and to warn him, but after he saved Klaus, he is gone, leaving her behind as Klaus blood bag. This must have hurt badly, maybe even more than ever before, because it was him and it is then when she wants to give up on him. It is the most understandable thing to do. She can’t recognize the man she loved anymore. She is tired, desperate, hurt from his actions. Even after she learned why he saved Klaus, she doesn’t recognize her man anymore. He is too hostile, his behavior too hurtful. She doesn’t know how to deal with him anymore. He has giving up everything for Damon – again. This seems to be the only existing constant in Stefan’s behavior. Elena turns away from Stefan. She kisses his brother back at the point when she feels the most detached from the man she was so madly in love with, giving into the feelings she has developed over the time.
Nothing she ever wanted to feel, nothing which makes her happy for long. Damon is distracting himself to make life more bearable for him and so are Elena’s feelings for him in some way. It doesn’t work for her on the long term. It is distraction for a short amount of time. Something is drawing her in, but something even more powerful is pulling her away.
The moment when Elena tells Stefan about the kiss just to be honest with him because this is who she is, she detects surprised the effect this has on him, that he is not gone the way she thought he was, that he is hurt deep down. Something she hadn’t expected anymore. He is there, he is palpable and this stirs up the feelings she has tried to burry, they are rushing to the surface like her hope. She becomes conflicted over what she wants, what she feels and how to deal with it.
The forbidden fruit of lust which Damon symbolizes, the friend she trusts and who tries to respect her is the same man who twists and turns for the person he loves, the freak with the habit to force others into his plans, into his will, the acting out without using his brain, the friend who shared her love for Stefan is distracting her. But it is not the unconditional, boundless, reckless all consuming love she feels for him. She is repulsed by his behavior, thinking about her actions, somehow drawn in, but not enough to get lost for long. Damon pushes her to go over her limits to achieve her goal, she is able to go further, but is not comfortable in the places where Damon is able to go, because this is not who she is, where she feels comfortable or who she wants to be.
Damon doesn’t achieve to reach Elena deep down; she doesn’t open up to him. Elena is doubtless more open than Stefan, but she needs space to open up, she is not confessing or having the feeling there is the room to confess what she is truly feeling. She needs encouragement to open up, space, liberating space of climbing a hill, a blunt Caroline, a Stefan who gives her the confidence and the feeling it is okay, even when this might hurt the people she loves. With Stefan she has the feeling she can say she doesn’t want to be a vampire, she cannot lie to him about her feelings for Damon, she can admit that she feels lost, desperate and alone. It is that part of her which is similar to Stefan. Stefan is much more closed and withdrawn, surely has become it over the years. They have it both in common and are luckily able to bring the other to open up and to be there for the other in their most desperate and loneliest places.
And so Elena has to deal with her feelings, sharing the fate from the Petrova woman to be torn between two men, but deep down she knows what she wants. The conversation with her mother echoes in her mind:
Elena: I don’t know how I feel.
Miranda: Yes you do. You’re just afraid to say it.
Elena: Yeah, but I don’t want to lose him.
Miranda: You’re not gonna lose him, honey. You’re setting him free.
The problem is not who to love, to be with, the problem is who to give up, to lose. Might she also fear the future with the man who has this cruel rippah side, much crueler than his brother had ever been? Maybe. Might she fear her attraction to his brother? Maybe. She has shown some growth, she has driven stakes through Stefan’s body when he behaved like a first rate jackass, she has given him limits in 3×07. At the end of season 3 she knows where they are standing with reality and honesty; she acknowledges it before they have their first date since his return and we see the love, the light, the excitement back in her eyes.
Elena is tougher and risking more, getting crueler to get what she wants. She is making choices this season beginning from wanting to save Stefan, over stabbing Rebekah in the back and wanting her murderous boyfriend back to protecting her loved ones at other’s coasts. She has realized it herself, she has become the bad guy for the people she loves, but she hasn’t given up her morals and values. She has not lost herself in the process. She is still the caring and selfless person. And she struggles hard with her choices, with who she has become, with her forgiveness, because she has also compassion for others, for the victims. She is ashamed, well aware who she forgave, not only Stefan, but also Damon, also Caroline and other vampires who crossed her path.
She confesses about her feelings at the Wickery Bridge with Matt and it is wrecking her. The part to forgive others who murdered and killed has become a part of who she is. She has forgiven before, but it was less tangible for her, but now when her values and morals collide with her forgiveness and fight for the people she loves, she allows them to and doesn’t push the reality away. It is wrecking her and maybe also liberating and she stays true to what she believed in Blood Brothers:
Elena: Our actions are what set things in motion. But we have to live with that.
Stefan: I made a choice, Elena. And because of that choice, a lot of people were hurt.
Elena: You also made a choice to stop, to reject the person that the blood made you. You made a choice to be good, Stefan.
She had taken Stefan back after he almost killed a girl and she is taking him back now after he killed a lot of people because she believes his human part is worthy of her and because she still loves him. She is making the same choice she made before, but it feels different, so much more unbelievable to have witnessed the journey than to have not.
If we would be honest no vampire who killed and murdered is worthy of a human. Stefan is not worthy of her, no of course not. He has chosen his brother’s life over many other innocent ones. Probably he had made this decision as well, because he never achieved control, his urge was hunting him deep down, which she knew.
And I’m sure Elena is well aware that the demons are still hunting Stefan, that he is not at all the ideal stable boyfriend, but he is the man she loves and she is willing to risk. She knows how damaged he is, how fractured, how caring and loving and also what a reckless monster he can be, which is part of who he is, part of his nature, but her love for the good part of Stefan is unconditional… people might have said she lost her dignity as bit. Yeah, she did. But to be honest, is it worse to give up your dignity for a short amount of time or is it worse to risk you own life to save somebody? Both are equal elements you can use to fight for somebody and she does. Why shouldn’t she?
Frankly, I’d have been pleased if there would have been more time for a build up. Sadly it was not, but it doesn’t change the outcome, neither that Elena is rejecting Stefan’s rippah side and accepting the good part of him. The good part is worthy of her love, punishing him is not helping; she knows he is having enough to deal with. She doesn’t need to do it and she knows his human part wouldn’t treat her without dignity just because she stepped over her own to save him. Her feelings might be captured in that poem:
Love is patient, full of goodness
love doesn’t envy, isn’t boastful or proud
love tolerates all things
believes all things
aspires to all things
endures all things
Love never dies
while prophecies shall fail
languages shall cease
and knowledge shall vanish
Thus then remain these three
faith, hope and love
but the greatest of these is love *
* The “Song for the Unification of Europe” was composed by Zbigniew Preisner for the 1993 movie “Trois Couleurs – Bleu” which was directed by his friend Krzysztof Kieslowski. The lyrics of this song are in ancient Greek and are taken directly from chapter 13 of the bible book I Corinthians in which Paul speaks of love.
At the end of the season, Elena has grown. She is aware who she has become and the bones to say it out loud “So, if it makes me the bad guy for wanting to keep those people alive, then fine, I’ll be the bad guy.” She is not comfortable saying it, but she says it. She has become the bad guy for the people she loves. She is not comfortable telling Damon the truth especially because he might die, but she tells him. She is no longer the girl, she is on her way to be a woman, finding out who she is, finding her voice.
This also expresses in her style. She is more and more wearing boots, tight pants, military coats, more feminine shirts with interesting fabrics or patterns. She is no longer the girl we met in season 1. She is on her way to become a woman.
But something is broken inside her as well, that wasn’t the growth she expected to have. The pain, the constant fear about her loved ones, about her life, the strength to fight her doppelganger fate, being in the middle of supernatural wars she never wanted to be a part of has left damages and surely opened deep down the wish to forget it all, to just be able to live and breath.
I’m curious to meet this damaged form of her, released from her human fate.
A Tribute to Human Elena (part 3)
Relish the beauty of this poetic tribute to Elena made by our talented friends Grace and Jaye:
Born of flesh and destined to become iron.
Born a cornflower and destined to become a steel magnolia.
She cherished family and friends, and cared about conditions that affected the human condition.
Elena is greatly loved by family and friends. One only has to admire her sense of responsibility and capability for kindness, her courage and her ability to forgive. All of these aspects of her character won the glint of admiration here, there from innumerable eyes, but one set of stunning green ones in particular.
Elena is one of those persons whom everybody liked because of her simplicity, because of her naturalness, because of her originality. But more importantly, she is a person who loves with both her mind and heart, and who embraces and forgives everyone, regardless of their past flaws.
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless chimes and Starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
~ George Byron
~ ♥ ~
“Touched by An Angel” by Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love‘s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
~ ♥ ~
Who is She?
Who is Elena? what is she,
That all the swains commend her?
Fair and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.
Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair
To help him of his blindness,
And, being helped, inhabits there.
Then to Elena let us sing
That Elena is excelling
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her us garlands bring.
~ Variation on “Who is Sylvia” by William Shakespeare
A Tribute to Human Elena (part 4)
The author of the following remarkable entry is Irina, whose great insights in Elena’s character are very helpful to put things in perspective when unwelcome developments in the triangle are getting frustrating.
It’s not news Elena is my favorite female character on the show. The creators of TVD once said that they wanted to create a main leading character viewers can relate to, who should be the heart and soul of the show. Elena doesn’t have supernatural powers as in super speed, super strength or any others, but she has the inner strength, the inner powers that matters. She goes on no matter what comes on her way.
Elena once said: “Our actions are what set things in motion, but we have to live with that” and she does. It’s been said a couple of times that it’s not realistic that after everything she is going though on her daily basis she is never having an emotional break down, but from my point of view that’s exactly it – she doesn’t see a need to swallow in grief, anger, self-loath or self-pity because that won’t change things for her and her friends. She just has to keep going, to live with the consequences of her own actions and what her friends and family do. Her ability to fight things through, to recover and keep living her life despite all the mess that should be putting her down is what makes her really strong. It’s what makes people around her deal with their lives too, because she is not giving up on them and they realize they can’t give up on their lives either. “We need to do this, okay. Breathe, eat, sleep, wake up, and then do it all over again… until one day it’s just not as hard anymore.”
Once Elena had a loving family, loving friends, a boyfriend and was dealing with being just a teenager. She was not sure about her future or what life she wants like any other person at that age. You have dreams, you have hopes and you think you still have a lot of time ahead of you. But her parents died in a car crash, she almost died herself and her world shifted. Elena had to take on her adolescent brother, her aunt, who was new to guardian job and still tried to be the girl she was before the car crash. Bounce back and keep living.
Elena has lost her family, has been losing her friends over and over again, has been dealing with numerous supernaturals who were trying to kill her, and still she tries to understand them, each one of them and see through their façade and believe in good. She has never thought that Caroline was a danger the minute she learnt she was turned, because she sees her as her friend Caroline, as a human being. She has never wanted for Bonnie to execute any plans to eliminate Klaus, because she doesn’t see her solely as Bonnie-the witch, she cares for her as her friend Bonnie. Elena was holding on to Tyler, her fiend, not the werewolf Tyler who sided with the wrong guys. She was terrified to know Stefan was a vampire (which was very human of her) yet she has given him a chance to explain not because she was fascinated to be dating a vampire, but because she has come to know this human side of Stefan, to know and feel that he is a good soul. Elena was not blaming Alaric for the things that were not under his control and she was still trying to help him anyway she could. Elena was trying to understand the human side to Rebekah, seeing behind her bars. If we think of it one way or another she has found her own way to every person that she knows, to every supernatural she has met.
I think that’s what mainly drives the supernatural beings to her – she sees them as humans, that part some of them forgot they had or starting to lose when they are turning. “Elena is warm and kind and caring and selfless, and it’s real. When I’m around her, I completely forget what I am.”
With the way she tries to understand people and really see them for people, for who they are, not the monsters some of them try to be, she is really bringing them together, helping them deal with their lives by accepting them for who they are as a person. That would be easier for Elena to make excuses for her friends and loved one’s behavior if she’d judge them as vampires, werewolves, witches, supernaturals who don’t act like humans, to whom human rules don’t apply. Like everyone else does. But Elena knows neither of them asked to be that way and she can’t turn down on her friends for that. “That’s not us” – She told Bonnie when in anger she almost fried Damon. “You beat him by being better than him” – she reassured Stefan when he gave Klaus the remaining stakes.
“You are not a lost cause, Ric. You are just…lost. But so is Jeremy. And so am I/our family is gone. We don’t have anybody. I’m sorry but you don’t have anybody either, so…we are kind of it for each other.” Her compassion is a gift, it makes her weak and strong at the same time. But it’s who she is, that’s why her friends love her – they can count on her no matter what happens in their lives.
You might think after all the loss, she’d become angry, bitter, put herself into protection shell where she won’t trust anyone – no, she still believes in people, believes she can get through to them. Though she can snap a sharp word. And she can fight – “I fought back tonight. It felt good.” In a physical sense she came to terms that she cannot count on everyone to keep her safe. She needs to be stronger and she began training with Ric. Elena has made a trip from a girl who needed protection to a girl who can fight for herself, physically and mentally.
Stefan: “Elena, do you have any idea how pathetic it makes you?”
Elena: “No, Stefan. It makes me strong.”
Elena is selfless, ready to give her life if it means keeping her friends safe – “I don’t question why everyone tries so hard to save me. You shouldn’t question why I try to save everyone else.” One can argue that it would only hurt the people that love her, but she knows she is no better than others deserving to live. If she had other options, would she take it? – of cause she would. But if these are the choices, between yourself and people that you love you must have guts to lay you life on the line.
She is not a type of a girl you cannot imagine without boyfriend. She is a person on her own. She loves and she wants to be loved and taken care of like any girl, but you cannot say she is nothing without a man beside her. “I’m not going to be one of those pathetic girls, whose world stops spinning because of some guy.”
She loves with passion and she is giving her love and tenderness to her relationship and she receives it in return, but she will not be pinning for a guy or go crazy stalker for anyone. Even at the beginning of the 3rd season when she was so stubborn to find Stefan her intention was to help him, she knew, felt there was something wrong with him and her thoughts were to make him come back not for the sake of continuation of their relationship, but to help him. Love is a big part of her life, but I believe it’s more important for her to know that the man she loves is safe and doing fine, than to actually be in relationship with him. Stefan has been pushing her away for a long time in season 3, but she wanted to help him anyway. “I just want to know that he is alive. That’s my wish.”
Elena is not flawless, I’m not saying she is. Sometimes she is making terrible decisions, she can be too stubborn, too soft when it’s not her call or too naïve. Elena has been making pretty controversial decision mostly regarding her relationships with Jeremy. But I think it’s only believable for a girl of her age and lack of life experience to make mistakes, for a girl who is having her first serious relationships to fail at times, for a girl who doesn’t have anyone (as in family, as nothing can replace family) and no one who has better knowledge in life to talk to always do everything right. That’s the process of learning, growing up.
Elena is still changing. She has become tougher since her parents died, since she met Stefan and Damon, since she learned a lot about the world of supernaturals she has to live in. She is darker in a way and she can be mean and manipulative and do what needs to be done for the greater good. She had to dagger Rebekah, because she was the weak link, but she never felt proud of it and had guilty conscious. Elena has never lost her humanity and will always be wanting her human life back.
“I know that I love you Stefan, I know that. But my future, our lives together, those were things I would deal with as they came along. I was supposed to grow up. Decide if I want to have kids and start a family. Grow old. I was supposed to have a lifetime of those choices, and now it’s all gone. I don’t want to be a vampire, Stefan. I never wanted to be one.”
We know, she doesn’t have that choice now – but like every time Elena will bounce back and deal with it, keep going on.
“Somehow, I always survive.”
A Tribute to Human Elena (part 5)
For her contribution to this homage, Stella wanted to focus on a significant part of season 1 emphasizing Elena’s best qualities, namely the Stefan’s blood arc:
Against all odds, during these episodes specifically, Elena proved herself to be not only very caring, compassionate and supportive, but also extremely devoted, fiery and strong-minded. I was impressed by her willingness to fight and to risk her life for the man she loves, the man she kept believing in despite the harmful side of his vampiric nature. A true heroine to my eyes.
1×17 – Let The Right One In
“I’m going! You can’t stop me, it’s Stefan we’re talking about, here.”
“Can you make it?”
“Elena, run”! — “No. I trust you.”
1×18 – Under Control
“I’ve been really worried about you. And I’ve missed you.”
“Stefan, you’re gonna get through this. I’m gonna help you pull through. It’s gonna be ok.”
“I’m afraid of what I could do to you.” — “I’m not. Stefan, I’m not.”
“I love you so much.” — “I love you too.”
1×19 – Miss Mystic Falls
“I’m not gonna let this happen to you. I’m not gonna give up on you. I believe in you!”
“Shhhh… It’s OK. You’re gonna be OK.”
“I’m gonna stay here.”
1×20 – Blood Brothers
“Stefan… I love you, Stefan.”
“He has to eat. What’s his favorite kind of… uh… type of animal blood he prefers?”
“I said GET OUT!” — “NO!”
“But what I do know, is that you can take this, throw it in the quarry and let the sun rise.
Or you can take this ring and put it on, and keep fighting. It’s your choice.”
A Tribute to Human Elena (part 6)
We couldn’t miss this opportunity to have Peter, a fervent supporter of Elena and a great writer of SE stories, share with us his insightful perspective on her character.
I remember back in the first season, when Elena Gilbert discovered the truth about her boyfriend Stefan, and about everything that had been going on in Mystic Falls without her knowledge. As you recall, that episode ended when her breaking up with Stefan for no other reason than that he was a vampire.
I also remember how many people in the audience condemned her for that decision. I didn’t. It was frustrating, yes, because in terms of the story we wanted her and Stefan to be together. However, if we put ourselves in Elena’s shoes, how would we have reacted? Immediately, it was clear that Elena was a far cry from the standard heroine involved in a paranormal love story, who immediately accepts all the crazyness from the getgo. Elena’s initial reaction to Stefan being a vampire was fear and uncertainty. Acceptance wasn’t something that was going to come immediately, but rather something she needed to learn along the way. She needed to see for herself that what Stefan was didn’t determine who he was, and that the fact he wasn’t human didn’t change how she felt about him. Through their experiences together, Elena learned to move past the frightening aspects Stefan presented–and, in turn, gained a different perspective on the world he belonged to.
In many ways, Elena has served as our point-of-view character throughout the series. Through her, we’ve been introduced to this fantastic world that surrounds her, but always with the reminder of the very real–very human–people who are trapped in it.
Elena’s strongest trait has always been her empathy for others, but it’s also the cause for much of the criticism she recieves. There are those who feel Elena can be almost too forgiving, to the point where she moves past things that she shouldn’t. It isn’t that Elena is drawn to darkness, or anything like that–as Meredith Fell insinuated not long ago. Quite the opposite, in fact. Elena is able to see beyond the darkness, where others can’t because of their own fears and prejudgements. She was able to see the humanity inside these so-called monsters–that they do have the capacity for good if only given the chance.
This couldn’t have been made any more clearer than when Katherine turned Caroline into a vampire at the start of the second season. Elena had seen with her own eyes how being turned could change a person, thanks to her previous experiences with Vicki and Isobel. Yet, even after Caroline had actually killed someone, she refused to give up on her. Elena even risked her own life to stop Caroline from being staked by Damon, with her only defense being the words ‘she’s my friend’. While Bonnie had let her prejugement of vampires push her away from Caroline temporarily, Elena rached out to her–even after Caroline supposedly ‘betrayed’ them to Katherine. This behavior wasn’t just limited to her friends, either, as we soon saw her reaching out to other vampires who had previously been enemies. Rose, Elijah, Rebekah, and arguably even Katherine herself during their talk in the tomb–in each circumstance, Elena was able to see past the surface in order to see some trace of humanity even they may have forgotten. Though they did horrible things, they were done for very human reasons… driven by emotions that Elena could emphasize with, if not completely agree with. And let’s not forget her ongoing attempts to convince Damon to accept his humanity, though they’re often misunderstood as something else entirely.
Despite all these revelations, Elena still refused to give in and accept a life filled with death and destruction. Even when Stefan, the one she’d come to depend on for love and support, was taken from her, she never gave up hope. Not even when everyone else told her the cause was hopeless. She knew that, deep down, the good man she had fallen in love with could still be saved. Elena refused to give up on him, even when he had given up on himself. When condemned for her faith by others, she called them on their hypocracy. For all of Esther’s words about destroying evil, Elena could see what the Original witch could not–that through her actions she had become as evil as those she wished to eradicate. Even the corrupted Alaric’s words to her fell upon deaf ears, as Elena would never accept that anyone was beyond saving. Elena was someone who always stood up for the people she loved, and would willingly give up everything to keep them safe.
And, in the end, that’s exactly what she did.
And as a final closure to this homage, let’s have a moment with Stefan remembering his beloved Elena in this poignant video made by Peter.