aaaaaAAAAAHHHHHH anon I think I just developed a permanent eye twitch from that take
okay TO BE FAIR to the original sentiment: I mean, sure, okay, I gUESS that could be technically correct depending on what exactly you think delena was trying to be. the mysterious, sexy, pull-of-the-darkness, I’m-terrible-for-you-but-we-just-can’t-STOP-loving-each-other thing that s5 insisted delena was? yeah, absolutely, klaroline does that waaaay better – and I’m not just being glib, klaroline genuinely pulls that off in a way that delena never quite did, because that’s not them. that was a brief detour in delena’s story, which is much more a redemptive enemies-to-friends-to-lovers with a wholesome, domestic ending. klaroline never fully sticks that landing – Caroline never brings about, or even strongly contributes to, Klaus’s redemption; they never live happily ever after in a traditional sense.
I think comparing the two ships as if the writers wanted them to be note for note the same misses the point of where klaroline actually fits in to the larger scheme of the tvdverse. their love story does help us to see delena more clearly, but not because they’re the same. because they’re different! the way I see it, with klaroline, I think they’re introducing a third kind of Vampire Romance Trajectory (I know that’s a stupid name, but I couldn’t think of anything else, bear with me)
so first we have the Stelena Trajectory, with Stefan and Elena as the paradigm, obviously, but also including to some extent Caroline and Matt. Stefan and Caroline draw their human significant others into a world of wonder and power and magic. that love shakes Elena and Matt out of despair and monotony. and then Elena and Matt both make a fundamental decision to stay in the human world: Elena doesn’t want to be a vampire. Matt can’t be with Caroline when her world is so different from his. the relationship ends, and they go their separate ways. as I never tire of reminding everyone, this is basically the kind of ending that Plec and Williamson planned for the show. at root it’s a very high school kind of story: you meet someone special who shows you a new way of living, and they help you get through a difficult time – and then you grow up and leave them behind.
then, we have the Klaroline Trajectory, which also includes Hayley and Elijah, and to some extent Stefan and Katherine. this is a much more stereotypical modern vampire love story, because (at least by the end of the story) they’re both vampires. Klaus comes to Caroline on her deathbed, and tells her, “celebrate the fact that you’re no longer bound by trivial human conventions, you’re free,” and she agrees and lets him save her. in their story, when there’s an emphasis on “admit what I want”, it’s about that: about not having to follow the rules anymore, about being able to travel and see great sights and give opulent gifts, because nobody can stop you. the actual endgame for klaroline notwithstanding, the ending that I think their fans imagined and wanted for them was both Klaus and Caroline, still very much vampires, to be ruling some corner of the world as rebel king and queen. they were never going to have a white picket fence. it’s a story about love making you greater and more powerful than your peers, making you transcend. *cough*Twilight*cough*
and finally, the Delena Trajectory. if I had to narrow it down – and that’s hard, because their story is about so much – I’d say that their trajectory is about two things: redemption and coming of age. Elena draws Damon toward humanity and goodness, and Damon draws Elena toward adulthood. so there is a very strong emphasis on desire – but not just in the sense that these are two characters who are constantly attracted to each other! over the course of the series, both of them come to terms with what exactly it is they want in the other person. Damon discovers that he doesn’t want to possess Elena or use Elena, he wants to protect and love her, to sacrifice and change for her. Elena doesn’t want another high school fling – she wants a partner, somebody who won’t just distract her from the tragedy of her life but will help her bear it, someone who will form a new family with her, a husband. vampire stories are all about desire – and the Delena Trajectory ultimately says that if we go to the heart of our desires for other people, we’ll find that what we most truly, deeply want is to freely give ourselves in love. so we started with a vampire and a human – and even took a detour into a vampire and a vampire – but we end with the heightened intensity of vampirism giving way to the greater connectedness of humanity. it’s only possible because Damon really changes, and because Elena rejects the temptation of eternal youth.
now I’ll be glib: klaroline could never.