What was your vampire diaries otp?
*16-year-old me comes bursting into the clearing*
HOLD UP DUDES, BUCKLE UP BECAUSE I NEED TO INTRODUCE YOU TO THE OTP THAT STILL HOLDS A PORTION OF MY HEART, SIX YEARS ON FROM ME THROWING MY HANDS INTO THE AIR AND SAYING ‘FUCK THIS SHIT I AM O-U-T’.
Oh, I was happy and dandy, completely fine watching The Vampire Diaries as a sort of guilty pleasure. It wasn’t the best show around, I didn’t really follow the storylines, found Stefan a bit boring, Elena dull, Damon your average ‘vampire bad boy’, but I really stayed watching it for the minor characters, like Bonnie, Jeremy, Matt, Tyler and Caroline because I felt like they were really kind of the flesh of the show. Their dynamics were the meat of it, and that’s what kept me tuning in.
Then Caroline Forbes got turned into a vampire. This bright, peppy character suddenly had a power she never expected to have. A strength I never expected the stereotypical cheerleader in this sort of show to have. It changed everything.
The Vampire Diaries basically became the Caroline Forbes Show, for me. I wanted more of this sunshine with this unlimited life and power.
And then Klaus Mikaelson rolled up. Your standard vampire villain, with a tragic backstory of shitty dad being shitty, and a bloodthirsty need to take over the world via the conversion of numerous mortals into vampire/werewolf hybrids.
So, those are the two pieces on the chessboard. The white queen, Caroline Forbes, socialite vampire grappling with the organisation of prom and her own immortality. The black king, Klaus Mikaelson, British-accented vampire villain with a penchant for witty one-liners and slowly making his way up the list of favourite characters. Destined, pretty much, never to meet until the end of the game.
Then the show kicked things up a notch, some hybrid stuff happened in badly lit scenes, and Caroline ended up, on her birthday, slowly dying in her bed from a bite given to her by her boyfriend. Klaus shows up. Laying out the red carpet of faux concern: “oh my gosh Caroline got bit by Tyler, a hybrid??? Sired to me??? What an amazing coincidence!!! Now invite me in, there’s a good girl, toodle pip”. Obviously part of some bigger plan that’ll come into play. Sherriff lets him in.
So here’s the black king standing in the doorway of the white queen’s bedroom. There lies the white queen pale and sickly, dying, with ironic ‘Happy Birthday!’ cards arranged artfully on a bedside table. The king is in a position of power; this is acknowledged as soon as he walks in the door, as it always tends to be when Klaus Mikaelson walks into a room but hey, let’s focus here.
Some standard 'you’re the Big Bad, I’m the friend of the Holy Good why the fuck are you here’ dialogue is exchanged. Klaus Mikaelson, the sage old king, mentions that he likes birthdays; that Caroline, the newly appointed queen, as a vampire, is duty-bound to celebrate the now non-existent commitment she has to human conventions.
“You’re free,” the old king breathes.
“No…” replies the new queen. She flicks her eyes up and meets the old king with a stare as deep as his. “I’m dying.”
A-ha! The playing field is equal. The moves have shrunk. They shrink further still as the king admits he still holds the ace – her life. He could indeed, let her die. At this moment, I expected some corny claptrap about how her death wouldn’t affect the grand scheme of things, how she was never to be a part of his plan—
“I thought about it myself.” Hello? What’s going on here? “Once or twice.”
The old king leans closer to the new queen, young and green in her reign, and tells her that there is a whole world out there, and suddenly, immortality pales in comparison to the promises of music, and art, “genuine beauty”. Immortality ain’t beautiful. The world is.
She can have it all, “a thousand more birthdays”. If the new queen just asks. She can reign everywhere, anywhere she wishes for as long as she wants. Human conventions be damned.
Textually, it’s obviously a power play. Klaus is gaining an alliance from Sherriff Forbes, and a debt from Caroline Forbes, which he will no doubt call on. Caroline surrenders, admits that she doesn’t want to die after all.
But what’s she saying yes to? She’s saying yes to all those birthdays, the art, the music, the promise of genuine beauty.
So drink up, whispers the king. The queen drinks, she sleeps, and she wakes to find a bracelet of astonishing, genuine, beauty contained in a black velvet box with a neat white bow and a scrawled note. “From Klaus”.
Then, nine episodes later, at a 1920s themed dance, the old king makes his intentions very clear to the new queen. It’s clear she knows the debt that hangs over her head, the connection that haunts Tyler, so she acquiesces to his request for one dance. “I don’t bite,” he says silkily. There’s the old 'Big Bad/loyal to Holy Good friend’ dialogue exchange, as before. Then, a reiteration of his promise of the whole world, worded differently, but still there. The old king speaks of waiting for 100 years for her to accept his offer, his promises, as if to do so is easier than breathing. Oh, the new queen side-eyes him, but the pieces shift, the game changes and she’s looking at him in a whole new way. He looks at her with a depth not found in the eyes of a small town boy. She breaks it with a scoff, and there’s your standard 'Big Bad is pissed off’ dialogue from Klaus before he storms off. And, quite crucially, she looks back.
Anyone who has watched any period drama ever knows the importance of looking back.
And just one single episode later, Caroline Forbes is running down a corridor, your standard horror film shot. She is alone, scared, frightened. She is caught by Klaus Mikaelson, her saviour not ten episodes ago, who has twice offered her the world and all its beauty. Not its glories, not its triumphs. Its beauty.
He promises to save her friend and brushes his fingers over her hair as if it’s already second nature to him to treat her this kindly, this intimately. (Do not get me started on how he cradles her when she drinks his blood, do not.) He tells her, fiercely, to get home and stay safe.
“Do you understand me?” barks he.
“Thank you,” she says. She looks at him like she still cannot work him out, and is afraid because of it. But the thanks is as easy as breathing.
For reasons that are known as ‘I cannot put up with this shit writing for a moment longer’, I give up on the show come season 3 finale. I watch clips of their scenes on YouTube, scrabble for any desperate hope that the potential I saw and shipped and loved is still there. It falls down, down the drain and I personally like to pretend anything past season 3 doesn’t exist.
So now, here I am. 22 years old with 16 years old me screeching the dying screech of a frustrated fangirl whenever she sees a gifset of Klaus Mikaelson and Caroline Forbes together on her Tumblr dashboard because you had a queen with power yet to be unlocked and a king willing to give her that power in exchange for being allowed to worship her as he always wanted to, and because of some shit to do with hybrids, it all went tits up.
But those fuckers called Klaus Mikaelson and Caroline Forbes? They have a portion of my heart (the right ventricle, to be specific) that continues to beat for the queen and king that almost ruled together. #foreverbitter