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The Awakening Part 12: Holy crap, I like this chapter!

March 23, 2009

“Stefan, I know you.  You couldn’t have [killed your dimwitted, possibly-polyamorous seducer].”

Really, ~*Elena*~?  You know Stefan?  You know him so well?  And when did this mind-reading miracle take place?  When he was pretending to “hate” you?  When he was “holding back”?  Maybe it was when he told you all about his childhood, and his family, and introduced you to his mother…

Oh wait.

Chapter 14 begins exactly where we left off, with ~*Elena*~ and Stefan rehashing all the events that lead up to the Lemon Tree. I try to ignore the line He ignored her protestations, just went on staring with eyes that burned like the green ice at the bottom of the glacier to find what’s basically the beginning of a grocery list of Stefan’s powers.  It’s really nothing we don’t know or haven’t guessed by this point: seeing better, hearing better, being overdramatic–no wait, he had that one before–but seriously, Stefan?  “Full of some elementary energy”?  Ugh.  He was so hungry, of course, and food and drink did nothing, but necks sure looked yummy.  But he was already brimming with Catholic guilt, so he starved himself and berated himself for praying.

I know I keep pulling out the Twilight, and I know there’s that pro-abstinence/pro-Mormon thing going on there, but at least there’s a bit more about WHY Edward feels damned.  I think.  So it’s like a scale of understanding: VD < Twilight < Anne Rice, where one just isn’t enough and one is way too much.  We’re supposed to assume the reasoning behind Stefan’s bitter fear and maybe I’ve read too many vampire stories, but…who’s to say what God did or didn’t make, Stefan?  You?  I don’t think so.  But he IS a pretty traditional guy.  Still, I don’t remember there being any issues with crosses here, so…I’m not really on board with this.  Stefan is just far too chock full of guilt for me to take him seriously.  It’s not even Peter Parker guilt, where you can respect it even if you think he lets it rule him far too much.  It’s self-pity, and it’s pathetic.

So the next day, Katherine-less and starved for blood, Stefan goes to her room, where Gudren the Unattractive German Maid is already about her business, keeping undesirable young men away from her mistress.

Damon’s there, all fit and fed, and smug.  The Salvatore Brothers sure like to be smug.

Gudren takes pity on Stefan, even though he describes her as having “a face like a flat white plate, and eyes like black glass.”  I’m surprised he also doesn’t mention a full figure (zaftig?) and a heaving bosom or something.  She gets so little page time, she’s barely more than a walking stereotype.

gudrenA little-seen photograph of Gudren

“My lady Katerina is not within,” she says, which makes me wonder why the ITALIAN guys are referring to her as “Katherine.”  Just a little name semantics, but wouldn’t Katherine be the more English version of her name?  And she’s German?  And they’re Italian?  And so on?

I digress, my apologies.  Gudren tells the boys that Katherine went for a walk early in the morning, and Stefan gets the kind of premonition that’s common to Fell’s Church.  He looks at his brother.  Hos before Bros: he and Damon start the slow-motion running.

Stefan gets trapped in his memories.  You know, where he can’t hear ~*Elena*~ trying to comfort him; he must tell this story, no matter how much it horrifies him.

We all know what happens next.  There is the lemon tree, the smell of fat, Katherine’s dress but no Katherine to be found.  It’s creepy, and it’s effective, and it’s horrifying.  I love it, and my younger self is screaming inside me about Katherine’s selfishness, Katherine’s stupidity.  Oh, younger self.  I’ma cry, really.  You have no idea what’s in store for you as it pertains to suicide.  And you’re not wrong, it IS selfish and stupid, but that’s not going to stop someone you love from taking his own life.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, readers.  Where’s the snark?  What’s up with this personal shit?  But when I started these recaps, it wasn’t just to be a bitchqueen, although I think I can be pretty good at it.  I wanted to look at this book from an adult perspective.  However, all these things rushed back to me–thoughts, emotions–and my adult self has to deal with them, feels like responding to them.  Suicide is probably going to be a trigger for me for a long while, and I finally, finally feel some real sympathy here.  I feel terrible for Stefan, who’s a big pansy so this is going to affect him terribly, but also for Damon, who I’ve decided so far is little more than a emotional cripple who fooled himself into believing that for the first time maybe he could have something good.  I think that, based off this and what comes in the next chapter, Damon might have as much guilt, in his own way, as Stefan–only instead of being a sap about it, he externalizes it and blames Stefan, and then at the same time he doesn’t think he’s worthy.  Remember, we were told early on that his father constantly put him down.  I think he bought into that abuse, and that Katherine made him feel good about himself.  Am I getting too far ahead?  Because Stefan and Damon are going to have a present-day throwdown after this past-day throwdown.  I should move on and save the analysis for then.

Anyway, back to the lemon tree, the smell of fat, the ashes on the ground.  If you’re twelve, this is devastating.  If you’re thirty-one, you’re just sad you missed your opportunity to smack a bitch.

~*Elena*~ makes sure we all get it, in case we’re brain-dead: “She exposed herself to the sun.”

Stefan cries, of course, and ~*Elena*~ comforts him, probably gloatingly.  This unmanly display brings him back to the present (I keep imagining JD from Scrubs)  and then he goes on with the story.  Turns out Katherine left a note, about as sensible and mature as any of her actions have been so far, saying that she realizes that if she takes herself out of the equation, Damon and Stefan will come together in beloved broyay like God intended.  (Basically: “My bad!”)  When I read this part while I was doing my notes, I was much angrier at ~*Elena*~ for calling Katherine selfish, but I think I thought ~*Elena*~ referred to wanting both brothers at once.  Now I think this specific comment is about the suicide, and she’s absolutely right when she says “In a way, it had nothing to do with you, or with Damon.”  If I remember correctly, we later find out this is completely true, but we’re nowhere near there yet.  So forget that.  Stay in the present.  Well, the past-present.  You know what I mean.

But anyway, Stefan doesn’t see what ~*Elena*~ sees.  All he sees is his own guilt, the selfish bastard.  Ugh, “he had the look of a small bewildered boy.”  ~*Elena*~ doesn’t even parent her own parentless sister, but I bet she’ll step up to comfort L’il Steffy.

So Katherine’s ring is on the ground, and Stefan picks it up, and Damon’s like “Oh no you d’int!” and they go at it.  Er, with swords, you sickos.  Never mind, I see why you went there: “I felt the pain of the steel, I felt it stab through me, deep, deep inside.  All the way through, a hard thrust.”  …Yeahhhhh.  “And then the strength poured out of me and I fell.”  That’s what happens to me too when I–er, wait, what?

Then with his last ounce of energy, Stefan sees Damon looming over him, and stabbities his brother.  Double murder.

*

There’s a break for the sake of breaking, and Stefan continues with the post-death part of his tale: He and Damon wake up in the family crypt, “buried” with their lapis rings.  Stefan also has Katherine’s.  Lucky for him, someone decided to bury him with it.  Which begs the question: What happened to Katherine?  There’s no body, so how does her father know she’s dead?  Most sickly daughters don’t spontaneously combust–but then again, this is the 17th century.  So maybe he thinks they do.

Damon and Stefan both wake up dazed and confused, and Damon runs away while Stefan runs toward–the family home, where the servants freak and call for the priest.  D’oh.  First rule of vampirism, Stefan: Don’t go home!  He then runs “[i]nto the only place I was safe, into the dark.”

Then there’s some more pity in the party as Stefan goes off as to why he doesn’t deserve anything, ever.  After all, if he hadn’t killed Damon, the vamp blood would’ve eventually gotten out of his system and he would’ve had a lovely life filled with, uh, boozin’ and whorin’.  NO, STEFAN.  He would’ve gone on a dangerous vamp hunt and found another way to get changed.  But you keep believin’ whatever you need to get you through the weepy, weepy night.

Then he whines about the irony of his name (Stefan = Stephen, martyr; Salvatore = salvation, savior), and ~*Elena*~ points out that Damon played his own part in this, but Lord knows that doesn’t matter when you’re determined to see yourself as a bad guy.  ~*Elena*~ asks what happened to Damon next, and Stefan relates that he became a mercenary (of course) while Stefan lived like an animal.  The few times they were in proximity, Damon warned him off, and Stefan took that warning.

He also gets more into the Powers: “feeling minds,” presence, thoughts–more Deanna Troi than Jean Grey, basically.  Confusion, maybe even manipulation, and–oh yeah–shapeshifting.  If you drink enough human blood.

Oh Stefan, COME ON.  You could SHAPESHIFT if you weren’t so self-pitying.  Man, you ARE good at this self-denial thing.  I’d be a cougar puma lynx BOBCAT.

Stefan tells ~*Elena*~ that he wanted to come to Fell’s Church for a fresh start (and I’ve argued why that isn’t true before, so I’m going to skip that, because OMG THERE ARE STILL LIKE A MILLION PAGES LEFT IN THIS CHAPTER), and that brings us to the present day, really.  He possibly-sorta takes credit for Tanner’s death, even though he was blacked out at the time.  And ~*Elena*~ just keeps living in her Happy Place where Stefan would never, ever do anything bad EVEN THOUGH HE’S A VAMPIRE, but then she actually finds a good justification: It’s Damon.

And here’s where I’m pleased, because she steps up and tells him everything that’s been going on.  She’s been mojoed until now, I’ve discovered this, accepted this, whatever.  But now that the walls are down between them, there aren’t going to be any secrets, only the removal of details that would hurt Stefan’s feelings, like ~*Elena*~’s wet panties every time she was in a room with Tall, Dark, and Crowish.  Actually, no, it says that even though “her cheeks burned” (too easy), she tells him “everything.”  She realizes that the guy dressed as Death at the Haunted House was probably Damon–that’s why his movements seemed so familiar.  (If you can pick someone out by their walk, you’re a better person than I–oh well, maybe my BFF, but he has something up with his feet that makes him walk like a duck.  I doubt Damon duck-walks.)

There’s a lot of connections being made here, which is why I like this chapter but also why it’s kind of boring to recap.  It feels like things are moving forward.  I feel that way every time Stefan and ~*Elena*~ actually talk to each other, I guess.

~*Elena*~ decides it was all Damon’s fault, which leaves them free to be happy together without Stefan watching his every move, but Stefan disagrees.  Even if Damon was the attacker, it’s unsafe for them to get any close than they are.  He’s still a vamp, with vamp needs and vamp Powers.  But no, ~*Elena*~’s determined.  She wants to lose her vampginity too.  She wants with Stefan what he had with Katherine.

AT NO POINT DOES THE WORD “SEX” EVER COME UP.  I would just like to point this out.

He does the dramatic “Your blahdity blah” speech, which I’ve always loved, and I hope they keep it word-for-word, action-for-action on the show.  (Don’t tell me; I don’t wanna be disappointed.  Any more than I already am.)  *snap* “Your fragile bones.”  *slash* “Your soft skin.”  *snarl* “Your white neck.”

And then ~*Elena*~ defeats him…by putting her arms around him.  You can’t hear her, but my inner tween is cheering.  I LOVE this scene.  She kisses vampface and he totally melts.

For a moment, a brief moment in time, I like ~*Elena*~.

Then they make out.

Guys, guys, I’m totally shipping ~*Elena*~/Stefan right now!  For real!  I am happy for them!  This can’t last, can it??

Then they have vampsex in a quick scene that mirrors Stefan’s experience with Katherine–good writing–and then, post-coital…wait, that’s not the right word.  Post…bite-al?…they exchange words of love and promises of tomorrow.

*

Hold on.  I am feeling warm and fuzzy.  This can’t be right.  Gotta check my notes: Okay, here are a few things to bring me down from my tween-hormone-nostalgic-high.

1) Neener, Stefan you bitch.  I TOLD you she’d be okay with it!

2) Therefore, vegannnnnnnnnnnnn

3) ~*Elena*~ uses her superpower on page 237: “She knew that her own face was fearless, soft yet intense, her lips slightly parted.”

4) ~*Elena*~ totes drinks blood, but Ms Smith glosses the heck over it.  Gosh, why?  Because she doesn’t want to sully her Mary Sue with something gross like blood-drinking while the character is still human?

and, finally,

5) What about sex?  Can Stefan have sex?  Does he have a sex drive?  Can he make half-vampire babies that soulbond to Tyler Smallwood?  (EWWWW.)  More importantly, what is the author saying here about sex when ~*Elena*~’s basically getting nothing out of it, and by nothing I mean just a sense of satisfaction upon pleasing her man?  Where’s ~*Elena*~’s orgasm, dammit?  Where’s her part of the deal?

There, good.  God forbid I end a recap without a sullen, sulky look on my face.  It makes me feel closer to Stefan.

Next up: The final recap for The Awakening!  It’s Brother Vs. Brother in the fight of the century!  Well, not really, but it’s still Brother Vs. Brother, which means more Damon page time for you corvophiliacs out there.  And yes, I totally just mixed Greek and Latin there.  I learned it from Katherine.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. M. Olson permalink
    March 23, 2009 11:42 pm

    Have to say, I think I could pick out my FWB by his walk; he has this odd way of leaning on one leg, even though both are perfectly fine, so his walk is uneven. Then again, I can hear him across two aisle lengths at Best Buy simply by voice, sooo.

    And yes. The “Your blahdity blah” speech is still awesome. Snap, break, whine. I wish I could say I was even remotely interested in seeing the TV show to see if they keep it; I’ve been burned too often now to watch shows based off my fav books. (“Dresden Files,” I’m looking at you.)

  2. March 24, 2009 2:23 pm

    I look forward to hearing more. Damn my book posts are so boring so maybe I’ll see about trying this chapter by chapter thing or maybe I’ll just leave it to the expert. I think Damon stole Elena’s orgasm.

Trackbacks

  1. Bookslide’s Snarky Awakening Recaps: Part 12 : Vampire-Diaries.net | A Fansite for L.J. Smith's Vampire Diaries

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