Brothers . . . they know you better than anybody else in the world . . . sometimes even better than you know yourself. And that specialized knowledge gives them an incredible amount of power over you. It can make them your strongest allies . . .
. . . or your most frightening enemies.
Sometimes brothers can play both roles in your life, at once: protector and destroyer . . . advocate and executioner . . . confidant and betrayer. Perhaps, there are no two people that understand this concept better than The Vampire Diaries’ iconic brothers – both in life, and in blood — Damon and Stefan Salvatore.
Correction: There MAY actually be two people who understand this concept just a bit better than the Salvatore Brothers, but only because they’ve had about 1,000 years more experience than their decidedly younger counterparts . . .
Of course, I am referring to the original vampire brothers, Klaus and Elijah, two siblings for whom the phrase “blood brothers” carries with it an incredibly powerful, not to mention, extremely deadly, meaning all it’s own . . .
Upon completing our four-part Ripper Redux series, last week, Amy, over at Imaginary Men and I, turned to you, our beautiful and brilliant readers, and asked for your suggestions as to what TVD-related topic we should cover in our next pre-Season 3 installment . . .
All of your suggestions were so amazing, that we had an incredibly difficult time picking just one topic to cover in this week’s post.
So, we decided to start with two . . .
Beau’s suggested we tackle the Salvatore Brothers, and their complex relationship with one another. “The bond between them, is it now rivalry, an unpleasant, unwelcome, brothership, or hidden care for each other?”
Coincidentally, Serendipity, author of the spectacular Delena fanfiction Shadowdancing, was also interested in the Salvatore Brothers. However, her interests lied less in the way that they loved one another, and more in the way that they loved others . . .
They love others GOOD!
Specifically, Serendipity hoped to explore the parallels between Stefan’s and Damon’s love for Elena and Katherine, and Klaus’ and Elijah’s “love” for Katherine and the Original Petrova Doppelganger Charlotte, who’s mysterious existence has been hinted at throughout The Vampire Diaries’ second season.
Since Amy and I tend to be rather . . . um . . . visual people . . .
We’ve decided to frame our analysis of the aforementioned issue using three iconic scenes from The Vampire Diaries’ series. The first scene, from Season 1′s “Children of the Damned,” features a standoff between Damon and Stefan that inadvertently endangers the lives of BOTH Elena and Katherine.
The second two scenes, both from Season 2′s Klaus, involve a similar standoff between Klaus and Elijah, in which the brothers discuss the nature of vampire love, and the fate of one, very special, Petrova Doppelganger . . .
Here’s how it’s going to work. First, Amy, Serendipity and I will lay out and analyze each of the three individual scenes for you. Once we are done with that, we’ll take a step back, and discuss what these scenes say about the Salvatores versus the Originals, in terms of their various likenesses and differences. Sound good?
Excellent! So, without further adieu, let the Brotherly Betrayals, and Doppelganger Love Triangles begin!
Scene 1: Another Vampire Girlfriend for Stefan and Damon?
Episode: “Children of the Damned” – 1 X 13
Setting the Scene:
So, remember, back last season, when the Salvatore Brothers still thought Katherine was locked away in suspended animation in that vampire tomb? Ahhh, memories!
The key to unlocking the tomb lied in reciting a spell developed by Bonnie’s ancestor, Emily.
The spell was contained in a Grimoire or “spell book.” As it turned out, the REAL reason Damon had initially returned to Mystic Falls – after having abandoned the town and his brother for nearly a century — was to find that book, recite the spell, and open the tomb, so that he and Katherine could be reunited, for all eternity . . .
Though both Stefan and Elena had jointly and separately promised Damon that they would help him do whatever it takes to rescue Katherine from the tomb (He promised to leave town, once he found her), the couple had secretly decided that awakening a rather large group of incredibly bloodthirsty vampires was not a particularly good way to boost Mystic Falls’ morale. So, based on a hot tip from Good Old John Gilbert’s journal, the pair snuck off, in the middle of the night, to Stefan’s and Damon’s father’s grave, where Old Man Gilbert said the Grimoire would most likely be buried.
After a minimal amount of digging, Stefan and Elena uncovered the book, which they eventually planned to destroy, so that Damon could never find it. The problem, of course, is that, like Stefan and Elena, Damon was also clued in to the Grimoire’s whereabouts. And when he found Stefan and Elena, in the process of betraying his trust, to say he was not amused is the understatement of the century . . .
STEFAN: “I can’t let you bring her back. I’m sorry.”
DAMON: “So am I. For thinking, for even a second, that I could trust YOU!”
STEFAN: “You are not capable of trust. The fact that you are here means that you read the journal, and you were planning on doing this yourself.”
DAMON: “Of course, I was going to do it myself, because the only one I can count on is ME! You made sure of that many years ago, Stefan. But you (looks at Elena) . . . you had me fooled.”
And later . . .
DAMON: “Give me the book, or I will snap her neck. And you and I will have a Vampire Girlfriend.”
Still later . . .
DAMON: “The problem is that I no longer trust that you will give it back.”
STEFAN: “You just did the one thing that ensures that I will.”
Julie: I find it fascinating that most TVD pundits (myself included) spend so much time and space discussing Damon’s second force-feeding of his blood to Elena, in “The Last Day” . . .
. . . whereas this first instance of involuntary blood exchange generally gets short shrift.
Perhaps, this is because, at the time, the act of forcefeeding had comparatively less significance to both parties involved, than it does now. Elena, though clearly frightened, of the prospect of dying and “going vamp,” had really just started becoming intimate with her vampire boyfriend Stefan, at this point in the series. Having not yet been exposed to Stefan’s darkside, Elena probably wasn’t particularly aware of the potentially negative impact becoming a bloodsucker might have on her psyche. She also hadn’t really had the opportunity to consider what she would be giving up, if she was turned . . .
By the time Elena has drank Damon’s blood again in “The Last Day,” we know, based on her later discussion with Stefan, that she has since given this matter a good deal of thought . . .
For Damon’s part, he was still very much hung up on Katherine, at the time this scene was taking place. So, the threat of turning Elena was viewed by Stefan more as a bargaining chip to get back the book from Stefan, than anything else. In fact, there is a good deal of evidence in the scene that Damon is actually bluffing . . . and that he never intends to actually turn Elena.
We see in Damon, a surprising amount of hesitation, caution, and guilt, in his dealings with Elena, following the force feeding . . . the way he nuzzles her hair affectionately, prior to the book being placed on the floor . . . the gentle way he releases her from his grasp, when the book is actually delivered . . . the almost apologetic way he pats Elena on the arm, as she rushes back to Stefan.
For a so-called cold and calculating killer, Damon sure seemed conflicted about the actual act of killing, in this scene! In fact, I’d be willing to argue that a part of Damon was actually AFRAID that Stefan would call his bluff, and not return the book, forcing Damon to stick to his word, and turn Elena, to punish Stefan. Oddly enough, Damon’s forcefeeding of Elena in “The Last Day,” which was done out of an INTENSE love for her, was much rougher and more callous seeming. I think this was because, in that scene, Damon was NOT conflicted at all. He simply couldn’t picture a life without Elena, and saw turning her as the only way to keep her from dying . . .
Amy: While Damon seems used to betrayals from his brother, his new pain over Elena’s betrayal is written all over his face.
And when Damon is hurt – he lashes out and does things that cause irreparable damage – such as here where he threatens Elena and feeds her his blood. An act he’ll repeat in S2 when his fear that Elena will die at the Sacrifice for Klaus’ curse leads him to force feed her his blood as a desperate “insurance policy” that she won’t ever die.
At this point Elena does not know the true story of how the Salvatores became vampires. Is this Damon not so subtly telling her that he has
every reason not to trust his brother? Or maybe an early foreshadowing of Stefan’s secret Ripper past?
Serendipity: This is Stefan’s second betrayal of Damon, the first being (in that same episode) when 1864 Stefan promises Damon not to tell their father about Katherine, and Stefan betrays that trust. Damon says he’s not surprised by Stefan doing that again in the present, but he is very hurt by Elena doing so, especially since he asked her about it earlier that night (“Can I trust you?” And she says “Yes,” which is actually her first act of lying to Damon, I think).
Julie: What’s interesting about the exchange between Stefan and Damon in this scene, is that you can really see where both brothers are coming from. From Stefan’s perspective, this has much less to do with Damon’s “right” to be reunited with Katherine, and more to do with the extreme danger that the release of these OTHER vampires will undoubtedly cause for the town. And yet, you can also see how Damon sees this as the ultimate slight, on his brother’s part.
Damon’s overwhelming devotion to Katherine blinds him from seeing the collateral damage of what he is doing. He can’t understand why his own brother would possibly choose to ensure the happiness of a town full of virtual strangers over his own kin. Plus, I’m sure there’s a small part of Damon that wonders whether Stefan is keeping Katherine from him, so that he can have her (or at least, her modern-day equivalent, looks wise) all to himself . . . while Damon, once again, is left alone and empty-handed.
Amy: Here the brothers are forced to trust one another – when neither of them do. Stefan has to trust that Damon cares about Elena enough not
to hurt her despite his threats and his anger with them both; Damon has to trust that Stefan loves Elena enough to give him what he really wants – the journal – and also trust that his “good brother” will make the “good decision.” Whereas Katherine was the one using the brothers as pawns in 1864, in this moment Elena is the pawn the brothers have to bargain for to each get what they want.
Serendipity: Question though: I wonder how the Grimoire got buried with Giuseppe Salvatore? Stefan killed him to complete his
transition (awkward having to dig him up then) but we see Emily running away from the round-up, and she isn’t a vampire, so how did they get it? Did she just leave the thing behind? Emily didn’t die that day, since Kat had to come back to ‘tie those loose ends’ as she told Damon in ‘The Houseguest’.
Julie: Hmm . . . good point. I never really thought about that before! I’m thinking that, since John Gilbert survived BOTH Giuseppe and Emily, following Emily’s death, it was John who buried the Grimoire with Giuseppe Salvatore.
Maybe he believed that this would be the best way of keeping the book safe from the Vampire Salvatore Brothers. The grotesque circumstances surrounding Giuseppe’s death (which were probably fairly obvious, once his body was found) would seem to dictate that Stefan and Damon would NEVER go anywhere near that body, knowing, that, if they did, the townspeople would round them up, and possibly do to them what they had to the other vampires in Mystic Falls.
This is just a guess, of course . . .
Amy: You might be right about that. Despite the promises of eternal misery and the constant wall slamming/throwing each other out windows/staking one another throughout the centuries – deep down the Salvatore Brothers love each other. They need each other – why else would Stefan have wanted his brother to turn Vamp with him? He didn’t want to be alone, he wanted them to share eternal life together. Stefan
is always swearing there is humanity still in Damon, and he withstands a lot of Damon’s terrible behaviors to try and force that humanity out.
Scene 2: “Love is a Vampire’s Greatest Weakness”
Episode: “Klaus” – 2 X 19
Setting the Scene: Klaus and Elijah are half-brothers. And both are part of THE Original Vampire family, from which all vampires are to some extent descended. Though they were born to the same mother, the two brothers have different fathers. Klaus’ father is a werewolf. This means, technically, that, upon taking a human life, Klaus should morph into the only were-vampire in the entire world!
Fearing that this would make Klaus too powerful, and would mess with the supernatural order of things, a group of witches put a spell on Klaus, rendering his werewolf side dormant, no matter how many humans he killed. The spell was sealed by the blood of a woman named Charlotte, the Original Petrova Doppelganger, with whom both Klaus and Elijah apparently had intimate relations.
Breaking the curse requires a Sacrifice ceremony that can only be performed on a Full Moon. To complete the ceremony requires the incantations of a witch, and the lifeblood of a werewolf, a vampire, and, most importantly, a Petrova Doppelganger. The problem of course, is that since Charlotte’s death, a Petrova Doppelganger hasn’t appeared in centuries! That is, until Katerina Petrova enters Klaus’ and Elijah’s life. For very different reasons, she is precisely what both vampire brothers are seeking . . .
ELIJAH: “The full moon is tomorrow, brother.”
KLAUS: “After all these centuries, it is finally time.”
ELIJAH: “I have been to see the witches. They believe they may have found a way to spare the Doppelganger.”
KLAUS: “What does it matter if she lives or not? She is a means to an end. That is all.”
ELIJAH: “But she should die for your gain?”
KLAUS: ”She is human. Her life means nothing.”
ELIJAH: “I beg you to consider this.”
KLAUS: “Are you so foolish as to care for her?”
ELIJAH: (hesitates) “Of course not.”
KLAUS: “Love is a vampire’s greatest weakness. And we are not weak, Elijah. We do not feel. And we do not care.”
ELIJAH: ”We did once.”
KLAUS: (softens) “Too many lifetimes ago to matter. Tell the witches not to bother. The Sacrifice will happen as planned.
Amy: The big reveal that Klaus and Elijah were brothers was a doozy. Up until that point the audience sees Elijah as an ally in the war against Klaus (a scary, unpredictable ally, but still) But as his brother – does he have an ulterior motive? Does he want reunion or revenge?
In this flashback, Katherine (or Katerina) is, for once – the pawn between this set of brothers. Klaus needs her in her human form to break
the curse that will allow him to be a WereVamp, and Elijah who has been assisting with these Curse Breaking duties has clearly fallen for the lovely Petrova Doppleganger and would rather she not die in the service of his brother’s master plan.
Julie: The acting in this scene was just spectacular. Kudos to both Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan for a truly complex and riveting peformance. Watching the calm, calculating, dignified, and thoughtful Elijah navigate the rough waters that are the easily excitable, and often rash, yet, at the same time, surprisingly cool and calculating, Klaus, was truly mesmerizing.
In particular, I love the choices Daniel Gillies makes in this scene. As understated and soft-spoken as the character of Elijah can be, he’s also brutally smart. Elijah knows exactly how Klaus feels (or at least pretends to feel) about humanity. And I suspect that the Original Petrova Doppelganger broke his heart BIG TIME. So, while it’s clearly obvious that Elijah has fallen hard for the maiden Katerina, and desperately wants to save her from death, he’s wise enough not to come right out and say so . . .
At first, Elijah is very casual and nonchalant about his “suggestion” that the witches can spare Katerina’s life, while still giving Klaus exactly what he wants. He clearly has experience placating, and playing sidekick to his brother. And he does it well.
The problem is that Klaus has grown up with Elijah for CENTURIES, by this point. So, he sees right through his brother’s machinations to the love lurking in Elijah’s heart. Backed into a corner, Elijah is forced to finally be honest with his brother about his feelings, BEGGING him to reconsider. Now, that he has him right where he wants him, Klaus puts the final nail in Elijah’s proverbial coffin, by implying that he is weak for having feelings for a human. And yet, when Elijah not-so-subtly suggests that even the GREAT Klaus is not immune to such affections, we can see the slightest chink in the Big Bad Vampire’s armor. A chink that will grow into a gaping hole, in the next scene . . .
Scene 3: “DO NOT LIE TO ME!”
Episode: “Klaus 2 x 19
Setting the Scene: Shortly after the above scene has taken place, Katerina Petrova mysteriously vanishes. And Klaus has a pretty good idea who was behind her sudden disappearance . . .
KLAUS: “What have you done?”
ELIJAH: “I don’t understand.”
KLAUS: “Katerina has gone. She has fled . . . What did you tell her?”
ELIJAH: “I told her nothing.”
KLAUS: *insert Original Wall Slam here* “DO NOT LIE TO MEEEE!”
ELIJAH: “I will find her. You have my word.”
KLAUS: “If you do not, I give you my word. You will be dead.”
Serendipity: What we see in ”Klaus” may very well be the First Betrayal Klaus has experienced from his typically-loyal brother. At least, I think it’s a First Betrayal (though we do not know that for sure). Not that we see the actual betrayal, just the aftermath of Katherine having gone missing and it being Elijah’s fault for having warned her about Klaus’ plans.
Amy: Here, the Originals’ Brothers do their version of the patented Salvatore Brother Wall Slam. Klaus’ Curse Breaking Party is about to get ruined because Katerina has written her own escape clause and started her life of Vampire Bitch on the Run. He blames his younger, dutiful, brother for having feelings that allowed him to betray Klaus to help the woman he loves.
Julie: In the last scene, we saw how cool and calculating Klaus can be, when it is in his best interest to do so. But, in general, I think Klaus is a pretty excitable guy. Unlike Elijah, Klaus’ MO is to rip something to shreds first, and think about the consequences of that action later. Here, we get to see Klaus in what I believe is his TRUE form. He is raw, animalistic, and full of RAGE. And yet, I think a part of him is also extremely shocked, and maybe just a bit hurt, that his own brother has had the GALL (and the intelligence) to go behind his back and foil his plans, in this very personal way . . . especially, since Elijah knows just how much Klaus wants to become a were-vamp, and how long he has been waiting for it.
Klaus feels as though Elijah has made a fool of him. His brother has done something Klaus thought no one could do . . . trick and betray him. And the fact that Elijah did it for a HUMAN, and lied about it, when confronted, that just digs the knife in deeper, as far as Klaus is concerned. When Klaus threatens to kill Elijah, if he doesn’t find Katerina and bring her back, we KNOW he means it. And centuries later, Klaus proves just how serious this threat actually was . . .
A Blood Brotherhood Redux: Tying it all Together . . .
Amy: So the Originals Brothers have switched hair colors but clearly Klaus = Damon and Elijah = Stefan. Damon plots, kills and feels nothing. Stefan fixes, protects and cares deeply. Elijah wants to remind Klaus that they DID feel at one time, the same way Stefan wants Damon to remember his humanity and that he too can feel love and compassion. Klaus wants ultimate power and he does not care who he has to kill to get it – innocent girl, brother.
Serendipity: That’s interesting that you see them that way. Because, for me, I always want to see Damon as Elijah and Stefan as Klaus… after all, it looks as though Katherine is ‘something’ (lover? Special someone?) more to Klaus than to Elijah, casting Elijah in the role of the pursuing brother, victim of (unrequited?) love, just like Damon.
But on the other hand there are certain parallels being drawn between Klaus/Damon and Elijah/Stefan, because it is Klaus who is betrayed by Elijah, casting Elijah into Stefan’s role of the betrayer of hope. I took a sneak peak at parts of both episodes, and remarked that the clothing seems to reflect that, specifically as far as the first betrayal goes (might be a total coincidence though): 1864 Damon wears a blue suit in CoTD, just as Klaus does when meeting Katherina for the first time (might just be because they both are blue-eyed though, only this is the first time I noticed this; and neither usually wears blue), while 1864 Stefan wears a brown suit in CoTD just like Elijah (then again, both have brown eyes, but that hardly ever seems to play). I didn’t pay attention to present day Damon and Stefan, though I imagine they wore their regular clothes…
Julie: You both raise good points. On one hand, Elijah and Damon both seem to have that broody, unrequited love, thing going for them. (“I’m going to save that Katherine’s life, dammit! So, what if she’ll probably end up choosing my brother over me! At least she will know I care!”) And yet, in the scenes we’ve selected, Klaus and Damon were both definitely playing the role of The Betrayed to their brother’s Betrayer . . .
Also, there’s a definite similarity in temperment and ideology, between Klaus and Damon and Elijah and Stefan, respectively. Regarding Klaus and Damon, these two are clearly, the more emotional and impulsive brothers. When they feel something, they ACT on it. And very little effort is made on either of their parts to disguise their emotions.
Though in many ways, that makes them SCARIER than their more diplomatic brothers, it also, oddly enough, makes them more “honest.” When it comes to Klaus and Damon, you always know exactly what you are going to get. That’s not necessarily the case with Elijah and Stefan, who have been dishonest and betrayed the ones they love on numerous occasions, under the guise of doing what they feel is “honorable.
In terms of ideologies, we saw in both of these scenes, that Klaus and Damon, each for their own reasons, value the lives of the people they love and their own lives, over the lives of “humans.” Klaus tells Elijah that because Katherine is human, her life means nothing. Damon, by wanting to rescue Vampire Katherine from the tomb, at the risk of letting all the rest of the tomb vampires loose as well, impliedly places HER life, and his happiness, over the lives of the townspeople of Mystic Falls. Elijah and Stefan, conversely, seem to value human life, and see humans, like then-Katherine, Elena, and the people of Mystic Falls, as individuals worthy of having their lives protected.
Klaus’ and Damon’s feelings toward humanity extend toward their feelings toward human emotions. Klaus doesn’t care for humans, because he sees them as inferior. (Though, of course, this may be the result of earlier heartbreak, at the hands of the Original Petrova. Who knows?)
Damon, on the other hand, resents his loss of humanity, and the experience of human emotion serves as a painful reminder to him of what he know longer has. A comparison of Klaus’ “Love is a vampire’s greatest weakness . . . We do not feel. We do not care” line in Klaus to Damon’s “[Being upset over Rose's death] would be human of me Elena, and I am NOT human,” in “The Descent” is pretty telling in terms of the similarities and differences between Klaus’ and Damon’s respective opinions on the experience of human emotions.
Amy: We haven’t seen enough of the Originals’ Brothers to really understand how their relationship worked, but I don’t get a whole lot of
brotherly love vibes. Elijah actually seems more like pre-Vampire Damon – sweet, quiet, prone to easily falling deeply in love. And Klaus – well I don’t doubt that he’d kill his brother in a heartbeat (heh. Get it? Because they don’t have one?) if he believed he had been betrayed.
Serendipity: Also Damon and Klaus are alike in that they didn’t get on with their fathers. For Klaus that seems logical, since his father turns out not to be his father at all, which makes me wonder whether maybe the same might not be true for Damon… (pure conjecture of course LOL). Then there is something about respect, as well, I think… in CoTD, if I heard it right, Giuseppe says he lost respect for Damon, who just
seems to shrug that off. When Stefan tells Damon he has something from Elena Damon will never have (in Klaus), i.e. her respect, they start brawling. Apparently, Damon does care about Elena’s respect, more than he did about his father’s.
Julie: It makes sense that Klaus and Damon feel rejected by their fathers, their brothers, and their former lovers (again, I’m making assumptions about this Charlotte girl). In all of the above scenes we see that Klaus and Damon both have a bit of a ”Me Against the World” attitude toward life. In “Children of the Damned,” Damon notes that the only one he can trust is himself. It’s a sad statement, and yet, it seems largely consistent with much of his life experiences. Unlike Damon, Klaus might have initially felt that he COULD trust Elijah. So, it wasn’t until his brother betrayed him, that he felt truly alone in the world.
This Lone Ranger attitude Klaus and Damon have extends to their feelings about the women they love. Just as there may have been a part of Damon that saw Stefan’s keeping Katherine from him as a jealous and possessive move, as opposed to a humanitarian one, there also may have been a part of Klaus, that assumed Elijah’s actions were at least partially dictated by his feelings for the Original Petrova Doppelganger. If that was the case, Klaus, being the cocky self-absorbed vampire, he clearly is, might have assumed that the reason Elijah helped Katherine to escape his clutches had LESS to do with him simply loving her, and more to do with (1) not wanting Klaus to become a supremely powerful were-vampire; and (2) punishing Klaus for getting the girl, once again.
If human brothers are naturally competitive, in all aspects of their lives, it would stand to reason that VAMPIRE brothers are TWICE as competitive, since they have that much more TIME to compete, and that many more opportunities to potentially feel inferior . . .
Amy: Mirroring the 1X13 clip, we see that Damon does NOT = Klaus in this form of the equation, because he doesn’t want to kill either his brother
or Elena to get what he wants, no matter how desperately he wants it.
The Salvatores, on the other hand – talk about killing each other a lot – but when it comes down to it – they never would. If they did, who
would they threaten, slam into walls, and fight over the same girl with for all eternity??
PHEW! That sure was a lot of analysis! But hopefully, it’s given you a bit of insight into both pairs of our favorite vampire brothers. Now, it’s YOUR turn readers. Do you think Damon is more like Klaus or Elijah? What about Stefan? And how do you think these dynamics will change now that Ripper Stefan has, at least temporarily, aligned himself with Klaus?
Also, I’m curious as to what you all think happened with the Original Petrova? Perhaps, Stefan Salvatore wasn’t the first vampire in TVD world to have a human Petrova Doppelganger girlfriend . . .
By the way, if you’ve missed any part of the Ripper Redux series, you can find the links to all four parts, by clicking HERE . . .
Well, that’s all for now, Fangbangers. We’ve still got one more week before the Season 3 premiere. So, please keep submitting your article ideas. Who knows? You might just end up being featured in next week’s blog series installment . . .
See you then!