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Things Happen: The Awakening Part 7

February 10, 2009

And the things that happen aren’t very interesting.

Chapter nine begins with Stefan realizing that ~*Elena*~ “was not the reincarnation of Katherine.”  First line and I’ve already got some questions.  Why is reincarnation a point of debate in this?  I’m going to have to go with “Stefan was deluding himself” because we get no indication so far that in the world of the Vampire Diaries, reincarnation is a possibility.  Also, dude is like REALLY OLD–isn’t he used to seeing people who look like other people?  I’m in my early thirties and already everyone looks like everyone else to me.  It must drive him crazy.  You know, hanging out, going to the Wendy’s to pretend to get some human food, and the guy behind the counter looks JUST LIKE his old tutor, Guiseppe!  And that fat, plain lady?  Totally Gudren.  I hate it when that happens.

But Stefan does a rundown on their physical and personality differences, including that ~*Elena*~ “moved with greater freedom, too; the girls of this age were more comfortable with their bodies.”  This both pleases and displeases me, because at the time this was written, I believed it.  Not so much now.  Maybe it’s because I AM in my thirties, but teenage girls look like nothing to me but high-strung bundles of insecurity.  But part of me believes it’s just this generation.  I hope not, because I don’t want my daughter to be like that.  Hold on, I appear to have stepped on a soapbox.  Ah, there we go.  Where did that come from?

ANYWAY, he compares Katherine to a kitten and ~*Elena*~ to a tigress, which is great until you really think about it.  It makes Katherine sound underage, or at the very least sexless.  Not that I’m saying this is a terrible thing; Katherine was his first love, and many first loves are immature sexually as well as emotionally.  We’ll see from the way that Damon and Stefan interact that they’re both acting like children over Katherine.  Just give the flashback a second to–

Ah, there it goes!  I mean, we’re barely a full page in and FLASHBACK!  Here we learn why Stefan and Matt are such bffs: they can only get so far in their aggressiveness before they switch back to doormat mode.  In this case, Stefan is pouting over the time that Katherine is spending with his brother, Damon, who is only still around because Katherine has interceded with Daddy Salvatore.  Stefan does have a point, I suppose; he and Katherine were likethis before Damon came back, and now she’s splitting her time between the Brothers Salvatore.  That’s damaging for a wuss’s ego.  And fairly slutty for Renaissance behavior, maybe?

Katherine pulls a “I’m so sweet and innocent!” while Damon enters with his bitch foot forward.  I feel like this is the first real look we have at Damon, although that’s probably not true; it’s all from Stefan’s perspective anyway, so it’s suspect.  But I feel like doing a brief analysis of the Damon we see in this chapter.  Mostly, it makes no sense to me that someone like Damon loves Katherine.  Don’t get me wrong, Bad Boy with Possibly Mentally Retarded Girl has been around for ages, but Katherine is beyond ridiculous.  “Ohhh, Stefan, you really love Damon, I know you do!”  “Oh Damon, I’m sure you’re a sweet person underneath it all!”  I can buy Stefan falling for ~*Elena*~ because he’s obviously been living in a cave for the past couple hundred years.  Assertive girls who look like your dead girlfriend are really tempting–it’s like all of the yum and none of the guilt.  Plus, it’s like Angel says to Buffy: girls like Cordelia were a dime a dozen when he was still alive.  While we’re supposed to get the sense that Caroline is our book Cordelia, there’s a LOT of Cordy in ~*Elena*~.  So it’s what he knows, plus sexual aggression.  Nice!  But no, we were talking about Damon and the wishy-washy Katherine.  I don’t think he loves her.  I think he was like “Hey, look, my brother has a girlfriend; MUAHAHAHAHAHA” and then she’s all wide-eyed and “Oh Damon, I have a TERRIBLE SECRET” and he was like “What ho, secret that can make my narcissistic ass immortal forever!”  Don’t get me wrong; I think he thinks he loves her.  But what is there in Katherine to love?  She acts like a puppy that was dropped on its head a couple times.  What does she have that could tempt Mr Wine, Women, & Hawks?  No, it’s all about cockblocking your brother and gaining immortality, whether he knows it or not.  If we take the kitten/tigress thing and expand it to Damon, his infatuation with Katherine is just as immature and unformed as his brother’s.

Obviously, little guy was a toddler when his brother was born, and he never got over losing that parental attention.  OBVIOUSLY.

So Damon reveals that he, too, knows Katherine’s secret, and the brothers verbally battle over the girl.  Damon’s a self-absorbed dick; Stefan is a bookish intellectual who doesn’t have the life experience to protect a weak vampire/kitten/moron hybrid.  Points all around.

But then Katherine shocks me by saying something intelligent for once.  “You are thinking that I can marry and settle here like any other lady of Florence.”  She reminds the brothers that while they act like they are fighting over her hand, they really aren’t, because what they want is actually out of the scope of anything they can yet comprehend.  Well, she uses much smaller words than that.

The next point, then, is to argue over who’s more capable of adjusting to the ever-changing life of a vampire.  But this, too, is incomprehensible.  They throw around expressions like “renouncing the sunlight,” but we as modern readers know that the difference between Renaissance Italy and present day is MINDBLOWING.  Like their views of the structurization of their possible relationships with Katherine, they can’t even begin to understand what they’re debating.  And also, if I might add, how ridiculous this argument seems over the course of centuries.  Of course, I can say that as someone who lives in a time when divorce is common, but it does seem silly as heck to be all “I MUST CHOOSE ONE MAN OVER ANOTHER AND BIND MYSELF TO HIM FOR CENTURIES.”  I may just be hella cynical though.

Back to the story, at least Damon recognizes that Katherine is the one who has to make the choice, and he presses her to do so.  She says she will on Sunday, at twilight.

TWILIGHT.

*cough*

Then we come out of the flashback and Stefan broods some more about how he thinks he hurt Vickie and how awesome ~*Elena*~ is but he can’t touch her, blah blah blah.  At least we now know that when it comes to cheesy metaphors and similes, Stefan and ~*Elena*~ are compatible, because, after all, ~*Elena*~ “was like fire burning in ice, like the keen edge of a silver dagger” blah blah blah.  Then he makes a vow to not touch her.  I think we know where these vows end.  (In vampire C-sections, obvs.)

Then he tries to mentally search out what’s going on, but gets nothing.  “The graveyard mocked him with silence.”  *snerk*

*

~*Elena*~, on the other hand, wakes up not to brooding and flashbacks and brooding, but feeling like she just hit her second trimester.  (For those who haven’t been pregnant, let the book explain: “as if she’d just recovered from a long bout of the flu, and as if it were Christmas morning.”)  She’s still aching from her assault the night before–way to go, Ms. Smith!  You never fail to let me down on this one.

Achy ~*Elena*~ settles into her priorities (STEFAN LOVES MEEEEEE) and goes downstairs in her nightgown, where she’s in such a good mood she actually bestows a tiny amount of attention on her little sister.  Then she realizes her aunt’s fiance is there, and she hightails it for the kitchen.  At least she doesn’t visualize how attractive she must look to him.

Her aunt follows her into the kitchen, and reminds her that they need to head on down to sheriff’s office at some point to deal with Tyler stuff.  (More yay!)  ~*Elena*~ surprisingly acts like a human being and mentions wanting to check in on Vickie.  Considering that no one has yet to speak Homeless Guy’s name, I’m thinking that this is less ~*Elena*~ and more Keep Plot Moving.

~*Elena*~ also starts to talk to Aunt Judith about what happened in the graveyard, but then her friends show up, so she basically is like “Whatever, later, Aunt J” and tells Robert to “send them in.”  Why Bonnie and Meredith don’t bitchslap the girl is beyond me.  If I were Robert, I wouldn’t be too happy either.  I’d go buy her one of those cheapy tiaras at a party store, throw it in her face, and ship her off to boarding school and focus on little sister Margaret, who is going to grow up with ISSUES.  Also, by the way–WHERE THE HELL DOES MARGARET GO ALL DAY?  Is Judith home with her?  But she works, right?  But Margaret is only four, and pre-school wasn’t as big a thing as it is now.  Maybe Judith got some money from ~*Elena*~’s parents’ death?  But still.  I want to know these things.  Poor unloved Margaret.  *I* love you.

Also, I NEVER REALIZED THIS BEFORE UNTIL THIS VERY SECOND, but Judith and Margaret?  My grandmothers’ names.  Seriously, I kid you not.  EERIE.

Bonnie & Meredith are being all awkward but ~*Elena*~’s like “No, today is a party day cuz I snagged my man!”  Then she sort of apologizes, as much as someone like ~*Elena*~ can, for being a jackass at the dance.  I mean, she even ends it with “Can we just pretend it never happened?”  Uh…

But they let her get away with it and turn the conversation to the important thing: Stefan.  “You scored the big one!” Bonnie cheers.  Well, you haven’t met Damon yet, so we’ll let that one slide.  Then Meredith makes another sly sexual comment like the one at the beginning of the book.  I love Meredith, even if she only has half a personality in this book:

Bonnie: What could be more thrilling (than Stefan defending ~*Elena*~’s honor)?

Meredith: I can think of one or two things.

HEY MEREDITH, HAVE YOU EVER HAD SEX?  Because it sounds like you have.  Which isn’t a bad thing; I think it’s great!  But uh, come on, let’s dish here!  Is it Ed?  If you’re so much more mature than your friends, why do you put up with their bullshit?

Bonnie makes a reference to the Spanish Inquisition, and Meredith’s like “Bonnie knows it’s not a rock group!” and I cringe at the awkwardness of “rock group” but whatever.  Everyone’s happy and they’re going to get the story of what happened in that lost paragraph break after ~*Elena*~ and Stefan’s kiss and before they were happily still in each other’s arms and it turns out WE AREN’T.

Yeah well, we all know it wasn’t sex anyway.

Off to Vickie’s.

*

She’s totally zoned out, and Meredith suggests she’s been tranq’d.  (Tranqued?)  The next line is “But Mrs Bennett hadn’t said they’d given her drugs,” as if that was the first thing a stressed-out parent is going to tell to a group of high school girls.  Wellll, maybe, but it’s still an assumption that I’m not crazy about.  I mean, ~*Elena*~ isn’t Dr Gilbert or anything.  That would be pretty funny though: Dr Gilbert.  Actually, she wouldn’t be a doctor of medicine.  She’d be a doctor of psychology or something, and she’d have her own TV show: Visualizing Your Outer Beauty!

Anyway, when ~*Elena*~ goes to talk to Vickie about what happened in the graveyard, she totally freaks out and accuses ~*Elena*~ of being “evil” and such.  Mrs Bennett rushes in to kick them out for disturbing her little girl, and the girls get out, pretty shell-shocked from the experience.  It’s such a downer when an assault victim is still upset the next day, am I right?  Meredith then points out how cold Vickie’s hands were.  Well, some of us have low body temps and poor circulation, thankyouverymuch.

~*Elena*~, unsurprisingly, wants to go see Stefan.  Bonnie’s like “Woot!” and ~*Elena*~’s like “NO! MINE!”  I gave her some crap over this in my notes, but I’m feeling particularly charitable right now about the whole thing.  Yes yes, shiny new boyfriend, you can keep him to yourself.  But asking your friends to walk 20 minutes to his house and stand out front with his creepy landlady is above and beyond, okay?

And the creepy landlady is there indeed, “with surprisingly bright black eyes.”  Gypsy?  Mrs Flowers gets in her usual amount of odd comments that may or may not show that she knows more than she lets on, and ~*Elena*~ gets really uncomfortable with the landlady calling her pretty.  Oh, I see.  It’s okay when GUYS do it.

So ~*Elena*~ goes upstairs and she and Stefan fall into each other’s arms.  Then he starts to pull away, but she’s like “Oh no you don’t!” and smooches him.  Boy can’t put up walls when other things are being erected, if you know what I mean.

This liplock comes off pretty sexual–they’re “both shaking”–and Stefan warns her that they need to be careful.  They’re both talking about different things, but the important thing here is that I read ~*Elena*~ being “dazed” as ~*Elena*~ being “dazzled.”  Must be because it’s RPattz Day.

“But you can just hold me,” she tells him.  Eyeroll.

So they settle into asexual hugging and she drops the L bomb on him.  (By the way, finally got around to watching The L Word.  OMG so awesome.  I ❤ Snoop Dogg.)  Stefan’s all “OH SHI-” and Mrs F calls for him like a baby in a Lori Foster book, crying on cue.  This gives ~*Elena*~ the chance to make a Bluebeard reference and head straight for the Secret Coffer of Unknown Contents, where she finds…her hair ribbon.  Instead of being kind of freaked, she uses that supernatural teenage power of finding anything off-putting “romantic,” and swears she will drop the L bomb for both of them, until he “learns.”

Oh. Ok.

And that, readers, ends chapter nine.  Coming up: I don’t know.  I stopped looking.  But we’ve gotta be close to the “Stefan loses his girlginity” scene that I’ve so been looking forward to.  Maybe next time?

Also, I want to take a second and say hello and thanks to my readers.  I surpassed a milestone I had been looking forward to on hits today, and I’m feeling as giddy as ~*Elena*~ at a dance where she’s been rejected by Stefan.  You know, like GIDDY but not TOO GIDDY because we still have a ways to go.  But thanks for sticking with me, and letting other people know about these recaps, and for all the nice comments here and in the Livejournal comms (http://community.livejournal.com/ljsmithfans and http://community.livejournal.com/tvd_fans/) and on Devil’s Playground as well.  I really really really want to use this opportunity to pimp the heck out of Jennifer Crusie’s new book, but gosh, that would be wrong.  Except I just did it.  See you all next time!

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