How Klaus and Elijah Shaped Katherine's Treatment of Damon and Stefan
|Title:||How Klaus and Elijah Shaped Katherine's Treatment of Damon and Stefan|
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How Klaus and Elijah Shaped Katherine's Treatment of Damon and Stefan is a meta written by lisal825 exploring the parallels between Katherine Pierce's relationship with Klaus and Elijah; and Stefan and Damon.
From the start, we see an eery similarity in the way these three groupings came to know one another. Everything from the odd sense of impending importance and life-change, to the small gestures of a hand kiss. I'm led to believe that it was almost immediately that Katherine recognized a contrast and opportunity in meeting the two Salvatore brothers, thinking back on two other brothers she had met long ago. The impact that the two Mikaelson brothers had on her life (ultimately, the reason she became a vampire, as her means of escaping Klaus' attempts to use her as a sacrifice) would be mirrored in the impact that Katherine Pierce would have on Stefan and Damon Salvatore. She, too, would be the window through which they came to enter the world of vampirism.
When Katerina first met Klaus and Elijah in 1492, she was clearly (despite having already faced the harsh reality of losing a child in a very cruel way) still a firm believer in love and its beauty and purity. She found Elijah's sentiment of not believing in love to be "too sad" and worried over the fact that she did not feel any love for Klaus, when he (so she thought) was intending to build a union with her. She is almost a perfect mirror for the naivety found in the two Salvatore brothers when she meets them first in 1864. Stefan finds himself almost immediately taken with her and confesses his love, startling Katherine with his sincerity and intensity. I wonder if in that moment of pause in which she turns Damon away from her room and seems severely unhinged by Stefan's words, was she thinking back on the young Katerina and how she, too, once felt as if love was as simple as Stefan was finding it to be?
Katerina had a fondness for games of chase. She begins and ends her acquaintance with Elijah during that time in her life with a chase. Sadly, the final chase was much more traumatic in nature than the lighthearted nature of the first. It was no longer a game when Katerina discovered Klaus' intent to use her as a sacrifice and fled their estate. Elijah told her he could smell her and that he knew she wasn't far. Almost 400 years later, Katherine Pierce still seemed fond of chase, knowing this time, with the two Salvatores engaged, she was the hunter and not the hunted, despite her deceit in making them think they were the ones catching her. It seems so painfully obvious that Katherine had made a vow to herself to never be the one in the place of vulnerability again. She held the upper hand with Stefan and Damon, and relished in her position. Gone was the young girl who encouraged Elijah to chase her and fled from Klaus' terrors. Here now in 1864, Katherine Pierce was the confident, jaded vampire who held the strings to the Salvatore's hearts, and played them to her amusement and, perhaps, vengeance of memories past.
Katerina Petrova died in 1492 of her own choice. She realized that both Klaus and Elijah had deceived her. I think that perhaps her last piece of naivety and innocence was hung with her in that cabin. Discovering that Klaus had killed her entire family surely set her feet on the path that would eventually lead her to a different set of brothers, this time in 1864. Katherine Pierce emerged from the ashes of Katerina Petrova's shame, stronger, vengeful, and ready to show others the same consideration (or lack thereof) that the Mikaelson brothers had shown her. She would, as Klaus and Elijah had done to her, prey upon their most vulnerable areas - their hearts - and act as non-remorseful as they had been in her time of pain.
I can see one possibility there, which is that Katherine treated the Salvatore brothers the way she did as a way of replaying the situation with Elijah and Klaus, but with Katherine in control. It's like recreating the story in the way she wanted: she is the all powerful vampire now, and she is going to make these boys in her own image. She is not defined by these brothers; they are defined by her.
She lacks the power to mess with Elijah and Klaus, but she can mess with Damon and Stefan, even after they've spent one hundred and fifty years as vampires. The power difference between Katherine and the Salvatores is as vast as it was between Katherine and the Originals five hundred years ago. When it comes to Damon and Stefan, Katherine is always going to win. She always gets what she wants. That's the attraction for her.
I don't quite buy that story, however. I'm reluctant to read too much into it, for several reasons. I do think she enjoys the power she has over them. That's a really nice contrast compared to the Originals. It's a role reversal. But Katherine is playful; maybe it doesn't strike too deep with her except in the sense that she enjoys the irony. To me, Katherine is too much her own person to feel the need to recreate the situation in the way she wants it. I don't see that as her motivation. More likely the Salvatores caught her eye and she enjoyed playing games with them in the same way that her entire life is an act of defiance against the role she was meant to play.
Katherine was meant to die. She rejects that role and becomes the opposite: a survivor. An active predator, not a passive victim. I think that's the big parallel that informs everything about her character.
I also can't help being aware that Katherine's interaction with Stefan and Damon was never actually informed by her back story with Klaus and Elijah. The writers hadn't planned the Original family back story when they defined the Katherine-Damon-Stefan dynamic, so looking at it from a Doylist perspective, it wasn't part of their original relationship dynamic. It's not there. You have to look for it after the fact.
Of course the writers deliberately chose to mirror the triangle with Katerina-Elijah-Klaus and earlier Tatia-Elijah-Klaus, so in retrospect there are more layers, but nowhere does it explicitly come out in the narrative. Katherine never compares them. There's nothing from her perspective to suggest that her interactions with Stefan and Damon are informed by her previous experience with Klaus and Elijah. Is this a recurring pattern? We don't know. If not, why would she suddenly decide to play this game with two brothers nearly four hundred years after she ran away from the Originals? It really reads as more impulsive to me, that she might think of the previous Klaus-Elijah relationship after the fact and smile wickedly at how things have changed, but it's not a case of "these brothers remind me of those other brothers".I suppose what I'm saying is that I don't think Katherine's specific interactions with Damon and Stefan are particularly coloured by her previous interactions with Elijah and Klaus. I think the real impact is in the way that Elijah and Klaus's treatment of her informed Katherine's entire character. Katherine wouldn't be who she is today without her history with the Originals, so in that sense everything she does is informed by the way she was treated back then, including her relationships with the Salvatores. It's about who she is as a person rather than a direct connection between the two sets of brothers.
I think part of her interest in Damon and Stefan was about recasting her experiences being Klaus and Elijah's victim with her being the victimizer with Stefan and Damon. Now she has the power to do what she wishes. I truly think one of the main themes of this show is the cycle of abuse. She was abused by Klaus and Elijah so she abused Damon and Stefan.However I don't think Katherine did that consciously.Later on you can see Stefan and Damon go from victims to victimizers as well. I do think there were parts of her that were touched by both Stefan and Damon. I find it interesting that Stefan who moved her with his words and made her feel like she used to was the one that she abused the most.