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The Vampire Diaries -- What Stefan Is Doing Isn't Respecting Elena's Choices
I have a real problem with the way Stefan does what he does being sold as respecting Elena's choices. How is it respecting someone's choice when you're willing to let them die so long as they won't get mad at you if you try to save their life? In short, what is being sold as some great unselfish thing is actually pretty selfish when it comes down to it.
If someone stepped in front of an oncoming car, would you just stand there and let them be mowed down by the car? Or would you pull them back out of harm's way to save their life even if it would make them mad at you? That's basically what Stefan does. He lets Elena stand in front of an oncoming car and just stands there as it mows her down not wanting her to be mad at him if he tried to save her life. And this is being sold as respecting her choices. Like what he's doing is some great noble thing when it isn't.
The thing is this behavior goes straight back to 1864. When Giuseppe Salvatore drugged Stefan with vervain to catch Katherine he told Stefan to go and get the men who would take Katherine away to her death. This was a woman just moments ago he was supposedly in love with. Did he try to argue with his father? Did he tell Giuseppe he loved her and if he let men take her away he'd never forgive him? Did he beg his father for Katherine's life? No, he did none of those things. He did what his father told him to do and got the men that took Katherine away and planned to kill her. If you try to sell Stefan letting Elena die without trying to save her as respecting Elena's choices, then you have to sell this as the very same thing. Stefan is respecting Giuseppe's choice to send the woman he loves to her death. But more truthfully is Stefan didn't want to make his father mad by refusing to do what he was told so he went along with getting the men that would kill Katherine even though he supposedly loved her.
What makes this whole Stefan is just respecting Elena's choice nonsense even bigger nonsense is that right after he let Elena go off to her death with Klaus, he called up Damon hoping he'd do something to stop it from happening. So how exactly is that respecting her choice when he tries to get someone to do what he doesn't have the guts to do himself so Elena will be mad at Damon and not him?
What made this whole lauding of Stefan for respecting Elena's choice and letting her go off to die, was him doing the exact opposite when Damon made the choice to die. He'd been bitten by a werewolf and there was no cure for it. Damon had seen what Rose went through when it happened to her and he didn't want to go through it himself. So he decided to kill himself, but when Stefan found out he stopped Damon to the point he locked him up. He didn't care if Damon was mad, all he cared about was stopping Damon from killing himself. Which is what a normal person does when someone they love is about to die and you can do something to stop it.
However, as you were watching Stefan herculean efforts to save his brother's life to the point he sold his soul to the devil, you had to wonder why he hadn't done the same with Elena. Especially since he's supposed to be so much in love with her. The excuse made for Stefan is that he was respecting Elena's choices.
You can respect someone's choices, but also try to make someone see that their choices are bad choices and they need to rethink them. Stefan doesn't even do that much. It's like he's afraid if he says boo back to Elena it'll make her mad and staying in her good graces is more important than saving her life or telling her she's wrong. And what kind of love is that where you put them not being mad at your over their own personal safety. It seems a very selfish and shallow kind of love.
When Stefan found Elena and Matt submerged beneath the water and she signaled for him to leave her behind and save Matt, Stefan had a choice. Save the woman he supposedly loves so much or doing what she told him to do. He chose to do what she told him to do and because of that she ended up dying. The defenses I've heard for Stefan's choice is if he hadn't done what Elena wanted she would have been mad. But when you truly love someone you don't care if they hate you forever as long as you can save their life. That's what normal people who love someone do.
Matt and Jeremy tricked Elena into leaving town to protect her and didn't care if she would be mad at them. When Elena was going to give herself up to Klaus and Damon stopped her, he protected her not caring that she would be mad at him. When it comes to saving the life of someone you love you don't care if they're mad if you do it, all you care about is that they don't die. Stefan did the exact same thing when he saved Damon's life.
So this whole Stefan's willing to let Elena die in the name of respecting her choices just doesn't wash. The truth is Stefan is willing to let Elena die so she won't be mad at him if he doesn't do what she tells him to do. And there's nothing noble about it; it's a very cowardly thing to do.
Another excuse is that Stefan didn't know by obeying Elena it would end up costing her her life. To that I say he did. He was in this exact same position before. He saved Elena and when he went back to get her father he had drowned. So how couldn't he know by making the same choice the same exact thing wouldn't happen again? He'd been there before. He had every reason to believe that by obeying Elena and saving Matt, he was signing her death certificate.
And still he did it because that's what she ordered him to do. Just like he got the men to take Katherine away knowing they would kill her. Stefan isn't respecting anyone's choice here, he's just doing what he's being told to do and not having the guts to stand up to these people and telling them no.