Friend, life coach and role model: The many hats of Caroline Forbes
Note: This was originally posted on VampireDiariesFansite.net
I’ve always maintained that turning Caroline into a vampire in season two was the smartest move the writers could have ever made. She went from a neurotic cheerleader to a one woman powerhouse almost overnight. No matter who it is you claim as your favorite character on ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ (mine’s Alaric – *sniff sniff*), you have to admit that at some point over the past three seasons Caroline made you laugh and she made you cry, but more importantly she made you sit up and take notice.
I bet you’re just like me; when someone attacks Caroline you find yourself throwing pillows at your TV screen and yelling, “Leave Caroline alone! What did she ever do to you?!” And it’s for that reason that I’ve been dwelling on this post for weeks. Why are we all so attached to Caroline? Why do we all feel so protective of her?
It might be because of the hardships she’s endured over the course of the show, or her new found self-confidence upon her transition to becoming a vampire. It might be her impressive ability to still look fabulous after being locked in a dungeon for a day or because her hair is still perfect after sex, but more than likely it has to do with how she’s adapted and changed and how her relationships with the rest of the core group of characters changed as she did. You probably also have to credit how she went from the blonde, shallow cheerleader to Mystic Falls Life Coach of the Year in just a few short seasons.
When Caroline was turned, her neuroses were magnified, but slowly those neuroses began to fade and she came into her own. She became, ironically, more human. As a mere mortal, Caroline was an “insecure, neurotic, control freak” (“Bad Moon Rising”) and spent most of her time in Elena’s shadow. But when she died and became a vampire, all of that changed. She experienced everything in a new light and you could tell that those fears that used to cripple her had been erased along with her urges for burgers and fries and the generally necessity of breathing oxygen.
Caroline’s remaining humanity is what drove her. She became comfortable in her own skin and she became confident in her own abilities. On a show that spends so much of its time dwelling on its heroine’s inability to make a decision and to stick with that decision, Caroline has never had a problem sticking to her convictions. She’s been the character who’s consistently moved forward and progressed as a person.
When her father returned in season three and chained her up and tortured her in the dungeon in an attempt to make her associate blood with pain, she tells him, “Daddy, you can’t change who I am.” And while she meant that in the obvious sense – she can’t just stop being a vampire and she can’t just stop feeding on blood – she also meant that she’s happy with who she is now. She was no longer relying on someone else to protect her, nor is she waiting around for someone else to decide how she’s going to live her life. She became the woman that every woman should want to be: the one who knows what she wants and goes after it.
Over the course of the last three seasons we’ve seen Caroline fight for the people she cares about, we’ve seen her talk her friends out of doing incredibly stupid things, and we’ve seen her stand up for what she believes in. She doesn’t sit around and wait for things to happen – she’s a woman of action.
Just this season she’s proved several times why she’s worthy of praise.
In “The Rager,” her soft and often under the radar relationship with Stefan was once again on display when she told him she’d be there to rein him back in should he feel himself losing control and giving in to his Ripper side. That one quiet moment between friends spoke volumes about how she’s changed and about how much they trust each other.
Stefan would never admit to Damon, for obvious reasons, that he was worried about being unable to help Elena transition when he himself can’t even control his thirst for human blood. And he’d never tell Elena because he wouldn’t want to burden her with yet another problem that isn’t her own. Out of the rest of the cast, there’s really no one else for him to turn to, so he turned to Caroline, definitely the most sincere person of the group, knowing that she’d be understanding and that she’d go out of her way to assist him any way she could.
But that’s not all she’s done in the short time we’ve spent with season four. Caroline was the person there when Elena nearly attacked and drained April in the church balcony during “Memorial.” She talked her down from her blood lust and she talked her through her first compulsion.
If it had been Stefan to find her, he’d have no doubt wanted to protect her and he’d have compelled April on his own. But Caroline was right, Elena would never learn if she didn’t do it herself. And Elena looked downright proud when she was successful. I’m not saying compelling is an act that should be condoned, but I think there are times when it’s not only appropriate, but probably the best course of action (see: nearly every time Jeremy has been compelled).
In addition to her sound judgement and her words of encouragement, Caroline’s sincerity and empathy set her apart from most other vampires (save for maybe Stefan). While most vampires tend to act more like Damon when he’s flipped the humanity switch, i.e. showing no emotions, Caroline is sincere and caring to a fault. Sometimes it’s warranted, but sometimes it’s downright crazypants, like when she felt bad for having sex with Tyler because of how many people had just died in the explosion out at Pastor Young’s ranch. It didn’t seem to matter that those same council members tried to kill her days earlier, she still found herself unable to push them from her mind.
Time and again Caroline Forbes has been the voice of reason on a show full of crazy. She’s been a friend, a lover, a daughter, a mentor, and a role model. It’s for all of these reasons that I think it’s safe to say she’s probably one of the best characters this show has ever seen and it’s for this reason that we’re all very protective of our Vampire Barbie
Note: Photo courtesy of the CW.