Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Qualities of Evil and Why We Love an Anti-Hero

First off, sorry for the lapse in posts.  I'd meant to write some posts before the new job began so that I could auto-post them, but that didn't happen.  The new job is tough and it's keeping me busy, and I'm living in an empty house, sleeping on an air mattress until the end of the month when we can move our furniture.  Hell, I don't even have internet!  Oh, the humanity!  Anyway, I promise to try to write more.

So, while I was back at my house packing some boxes this weekend, I caught the season premiere of The Vampire Diaries.  I'm not even going to pretend it's a guilty pleasure.  I don't feel guilty about watching it.  The writing is smart, the pacing is outstanding.  It's a soapy show, sure, but throughly entertaining.


So, in last season's finale, Elena died with vampire blood in her system.  In the premiere, she had a choice to make:  drink blood and complete her transformation into a full-fledged vamp or die.  Seems like not much of a choice, right, but it was one she spent the entire episode wrestling with.

While she was wrestling, I was wondering why this would even be a choice.  Vampires are killers.  Sure, the super strength and never growing old thing might be cool for a hundred years, but still...you kill people.  Sometimes I'd love not to have a conscience, but I'd never wish to be a sociopath.

But that's the choice Elena has.  Become a killer or not.  Even the good-hearted Stefan has fallen off the psycho wagon a few times.  Enough to prove that even the best intentions aren't enough to keep you from killing.

So what I don't understand is why Elena would even consider going down the vampy route.  It's the same question I have as to why she has feelings for super creepy Damon.  He's a killer, a bad guy.  If he weren't a vampire, he'd just be a serial killer.  So why do we romanticize him and others like him?  Why would we want to spend an entire season (and more) watching Elena grapple with her need to kill people?

Ignoring, for now, the argument about the sexualization of the vampire throughout history, I think it has to do with the nature of evil.

We all have evil in us.  Thoughts that are bad that we wish we didn't have. Impulses that pop up inside our minds that scare us.  Like being stuck in traffic and wanting to drive that jerk who cut you off right into a ditch.

Vampires aren't just the embodiment of these desires, but of our desire to fight those impulses.  We don't want Elena to die because that means she's accepting that she is destined to be bad.  If she gives up, then there's no hope for us.  We want her to fight the vampiric need to kill because if she can resist her basest urges, then we can resist ours.

In the same vein, we love watching Damon do all the things we can't. That society tells us we can't.  Who hasn't wanted to snap the neck of someone really annoying?  We don't do those things because they're wrong. Because we're not evil.  But we allow Damon to do them (and even forgive him to a degree) because we've all wanted to at one time or another.

So, yeah...I could go on forever, but I have to get ready for work.

Tell me, why do you think we're so fascinated with vampires?


  1. I still haven't had time to watch The Walking Dead premier, so I've no time for bloodsuckers.

    1. I haven't gotten to watch it either! But for me it's because I refuse to watch it in an empty house. I'll have to wait until Matt moves in. The last time I watched The Walking Dead alone, I didn't sleep well.


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