Reflections on LJ Smith
(Analysis by Laura Wang
Name: Damon Salvatore
Age or year in high school: made vampire since 1500s Italy
Status: older brother of Stefan and rival. The "supposedly evil" character
Damon. The one bittersweet note to the ending of the Vampire Diaries is Damon, who couldn't bring himself to accept the invitation of friendship, communion. "I'm not like you" he said uncertainly, undeniably, before he left in a flurry of wings. Repeat: he left, by himself, having fought for the group. After he left, everyone rejoiced.
He loved Elena but she and Stefan were so replete in each other, Damon must have felt superfluous. And he must have felt rage. Katherine, an insane vampiress by then, had confided that she had loved Stefan best too. What was it about Stefan that made everyone love him? Why was Damon always the slightly less desirable one?
So he cloaked himself in cynicism and cold threats. (I'm assuming we're all familiar with Damon's traditional image: the seductive bastard) He embraced the darkness as far as he could bring himself to, seeking release from the pain. Stefan had no idea what he was going through, for Stefan was the golden child, beloved wherever he went. Of course, after he became a vampire, he felt the pain of fear and rejection, everywhere he went, but that was after, when he had an excuse. Damon never had an excuse.
But Damon loved his brother too, somewhat desperately. We always love what we aren't, what we wish we could be. When Stefan killed him in the sixteenth century, on the day of Katherine's supposed death, Damon was hurt terribly. He felt, perhaps, that his brother had betrayed him, that Stefan too had turned against him. All the hidden resentment came bubbling to the surface and from then on, he hated his brother with a fiery passion.
No wonder he tried to steal Elena. He was in love with her too, but it was more significantly his chance to prove, once and for all, that Stefan didn't have everything. When Stefan shockingly confided, unconscious of Damon's stare, that he regretted killing his brother with all his heart, and admitted he had begun the battle, Damon forgave him a little. There was some psychic release following Stefan's unconscious and long awaited apology.
If that sounds far-fetched, here's the evidence: Stefan speaking..." 'Katherine, listen to me. It was my fault; I was the one who attacked first. And I've been sorry--you don't know how sorry I've been ever since. You don't know how many times I've thought about it and wished there was something I could do to change it. I'd have given anything to take it back --anything. I killed my brother..." His voice cracked, and tears spilled from his eyes. Elena, her heart breaking with grief, turned helplessly to Damon and saw that he wasn't even aware of her. The look of amusement was gone, and his eyes were fixed on Stefan in utter concentration, riveted." (VDIII the final conflict scene with Katherine in Honoria Fell's tomb)
Damon's the type to not let you know when you've offended him and hold it against you until his brusque manner leads you to stare at him and inquire what's wrong. Even then, he'd probably not tell you, expecting irrationally that you should figure your error out yourself and fall on your knees begging forgiveness. Witness his behavior when Stefan accuses him of allowing Vicky to die --this is on the Bennett's lawn after Klaus has murdered her. Damon doesn't defend himself, but takes serious offense and flies away, with words suggesting he was as evil as Stefan accused. It's not until Elena's resurrection scene when Matt's calm questioning jerks it out of him that he hadn't been invited in, so was powerless to stop Klaus.
Matt is patronizingly (but in a good way) telling Damon that he's not as evil as he pretends to be: " 'The only thing I don't know is why you didn't go into Vickie's house to help her.' ""Damon snapped, almost automatically, 'Because I wasn't invited!' “(VDIV Elena's resurrection)
Oh poor Damon, poor poor Damon. He desperately needs the group's friendship at that moment, but he turns and leaves. He knew exactly what he was leaving behind, seemingly rejecting (out of coldness): Matt's normalness and fairness; Stefan's wonderful company (see above); Elena's spirit; Bonnie and Meredith and Caroline as supporting cast. Damon wanted all of that: a company's camaraderie, friendship and acceptance, but he wanted it on his own terms. Pride and mistrust prevented him from accepting the embrace of a group who had been, until recently, so suspicious of him. (And they were...they were all incredibly suspicious and sanctimonious) Now if they groveled, he might be forced to reconsider... but they, none of them, had ever felt the pain of rejection before, and had no idea how much he suffered to walk away from them. And upon his leaving, promptly forgot about him and "for a long time in the clearing there was only rejoicing." (VD IV last page)
And, again, there was the matter of Elena and Stefan and Damon feeling like a third wheel. All in all, Damon felt short-changed, belying his tough exterior, as LJ's bad boys have a tendency to do.
Quotes From: The Vampire Diaries Trilogy by L.J. Smith