If you’re a Klaroliner, chances are you’re a bit in love with Caroline Forbes. There is something about her that makes her relatable.
For all her qualities, Caroline is not perfect or special. She was not born a special being. Nor is she a long lost princess. People don’tfawn over her for some unknown reason. She is an afterthought most of the time.
Caroline could be one of us. She is one of us. And that is why I have never been comfortable with the way her history with Damon was handled.
Damon compelled her, took away her consent. He used and abused her. And he never expressed any form of regret or remorse. But it is not what bothers me. Damon is in character and Damon is not a good guy.
What bothers me is how it was erased in the narrative, how it was made okay so that Elena and Damon could be together. What bothers me is how an OOC Elena blamed Caroline for her problems with Damon. All of a sudden, Damon became a hero. And a victim. And, that is my problem (I can only speak for myself): Damon is not hero.
If he was a victim at some point, he no longer is. He stopped being a victim when he became the perpetrator. You can empathize with him but you should not excuse him. Which brings me to the other half of Klaroline: Klaus.
Klaus is bad news to anyone and everyone. Klaus is a villain. A villain you love to hate. So why do I ship him with Caroline? Why am I still rooting for Klaroline when Klaus is directly and indirectly responsible for every bad thing that has happened to Caroline and her friends? Why am so desperate for them to reunite when he has hurt her? Is it because I support abuse, along with genocide, baby killing and puppy sacrifice?
It is because, in this relationship, Caroline and Klaus are on an equal footing. Caroline does not excuse Klaus’ actions, she calls him out on his behavior. She confronts him and stands up to him.
It’s a power struggle and each tries to have the upper hand using their own weapons. Klaus has never taken Caroline’s consent away from her like Damon did. Like Klaus did with Camille. And I find it interesting that the first people to say that Klaroline is an abusive relationship are the ones who push for Klamille.
If you look up the word ‘compulsion’ in the dictionary, you will find this:
- the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something; constraint.
- an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against one’s conscious wishes.
One of its antonyms is: ‘free will’. Compulsion is not romantic. So, I will say it again: Damon is not a good guy. And Klaus is not either. And I ship Klaroline fully conscious of that fact. As long as their relationship does not actually turn abusive. As long as their relationship does not change their character for it to work.
Klaus does not deserve Caroline but he can compromise. And Caroline is certainly not a virginal, helpless victim. She can deal with him. And that is what I like about them and what I look for in fanfiction. I want conflict and I want passion. And I want equality.
The good thing about fanon is that there is a little bit of everything. There is something for everyone. A common trend in klarofiction is Klaus coercing Caroline into doing something for him. They begin by hating each other – or at least she hates him – and they slowly discover each other and fall in love. Usually, Klaus is portrayed as a bad boy with a heart (only for Caroline) and an agenda.
But sometimes the coercion turns physical and/ or emotional and you are left feeling uneasy. Because this relationship is abusive. And I simply cannot root for Klaroline in this case. I cannot imagine Caroline falling in love with her abuser, the man who has robbed her of herself and I do not believe that everything can be forgiven with a kiss.
There cannot be any compromising. There cannot be love with abuse. These two terms are complete opposite in meaning. You do not control or own someone you are supposed to respect or love (sorry E. L. James).
And this is why I have a lot of respect for authors who do not compromise the integrity of their characters. They write Klaus at his darkest and let the story unfold accordingly.
A good example of this type of klarofiction would be The Debt by SinisterlyInnocent. It is disturbing and intense; it is sometimes hard to read, but you keep on reading because it is not about an erroneous view of what a complicated/ passionate love story should be (it is not romantic at all), it is about the darkness of the human soul. And more.
Bottom line, you can make a villain interesting, you can put him at the center of your story, but you have to remember that he will not be the hero in it. Certainly not without some proper development. And even then…
You can bring layers to a character without erasing his sins or turning him into something else, you can make people empathize with them without using the same overused, clichée route: ”he had a very hard, very sad childhood so it is not his fault if he is a monster… or a jerk”.
Everyone is responsible for their actions. Let’s not forget that. You would not stand for it in life. Remember that the characters would not either.
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