The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

You Are What You Want, According to Count Deepak

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THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

Dear N,

OK, maybe I should have seen it coming, but I was not expecting Vicki to permanently die! I was totally prepared for at least a several episode arc of her learning to control her new urges and living into her enhanced super sensory existence. And while she was a pawn in the battle of the Salvatore brothers, she allowed the show to tap into the heart of the vampire mythology: desire.

There’s a lot a vampire can do on the fantasy scene and today most vampires are so far from the soulless demons of Bram Stoker’s imagining one suspects Dracula wouldn’t recognize these existentially vexed vegetarian vampires if he met them in a vacant graveyard. But the one thing that seems to last from one incarnation to the next is the centrality of desire: vampires are no more, and no less, than a bundle of wants. For the vampire, these wants are pretty simple: they want to drink your blood. As Stefan tries to explain to Vicki, she is experiencing an enormous range of desires – anger, lust, confusion – that all boil down to hunger. A hunger he cannot promise her will ever go away, and that to control will require her to deny what she feels most strongly. All for the promise that in doing so she will discover another range of desires – for human connection, for fidelity, for love – that may or may not just be the product of guilt-driven delusion (if you listen to Damon, for instance).

This is one of the things I love about vampires – they focus the issue of desire without pretending that it is an easily understood reality. The human characters in the story have the chance – as do we – to recognize the primacy of desire in governing all that they do, even when they imagine it is rationally controlled or motivated. Vicki was an awesome addition to the cast of characters in this regard. As a human already caught up in, confused by, and at the mercy of her desires – for better or worse, and often both at once – she made the perfect transitioning vampire and I was ready to see her break away from the brothers and struggle through her own choices. I get it – she was a loose canon and competition to the central vampire characters – but I was sad to see her go.

Speaking of desires – being governed by them no matter what the future consequences might be – what about Elena asking Damon to erase Jeremy’s memory?! Putting aside the paternalism of Elena’s protection of her not-so-much younger brother, what a fantastically Gnostic moment: the good forces (Stefan and Elena) have to make a bargain with Damon whose superior power is gained through the very immoral choices they repudiate, but which power they desperately need. I hope we get to see more of this in future weeks. Like, perhaps, with the arrival of the old/new vampire next week?

If you are what you want, I want more.

Kathryn

Read the entire Vampire Diaries conversation from start to finish!

Written by themothchase

October 31, 2009 at 6:15 pm

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