This beautiful prose in support of Steroline (Stefan Salvatore and Caroline Forbes) was brought to you by the fabulous Vampire Diaries loving duo, Kaisa Tyrisevä and Mariah! Be sure to follow them on twitter @moosewithagoose and @twinflamez and say hello!
It was Vampire Diaries actor David Anders who coined the iconic fandom phrase; “Friendship is the best ship”, as tweeted by our beloved Smolderhalder. It’s a phrase often used by our showrunners to soothe the ship wars that often erupt in the Twitterverse over various canon pairings, and a valid statement as any. Friendship is the truest bond you can have with another person. It does not rely on blood or circumstance, but on mere harmony of the souls of two people.
There are many types of friendships, naturally, but don’t we all have certain expectations, wishes, and desires for our friendships with others? It is the unconditional, serendipitous nature of friendship that makes keeping them so hard. You must be kind to your friends. You must be honest. You must be loyal, just, and understanding. So why do we do go to the trouble? And why has Stefan Salvatore gone to the trouble with one Caroline Forbes?
Judging from everything we witnessed in season 2 in particular, what Stefan and Caroline have can indeed only be described as friendship. As such, we would like to argue that it is in fact the best ship; a ship based on kindred spirits coming together and finding a safe haven in a world filled with uncertainty and doubt. A ship that is incredibly layered in all its previous subtlety and potential for future. A ship based on two characters seeing each other for who they are, and while not always liking what they see, learning to look past the flaws and see the beauty inside the other person.
Looking back at the start to their first encounters, there wasn’t much significance to them. Caroline Forbes tried her best to call dibs on Stefan Salvatore, which you have to admit was hilarious (”We’re planning a June Wedding” and such)! Stefan obviously refused her advances, making it clear that he wasn’t interested (”Caroline, You and me — it’s not going to happen”), choosing to be honest rather than stringing her along for her sake. That’s all there was. Nothing profound. Just the obnoxious human girl chasing the handsome and mysterious new boy for a hot second.
What was meaningful in these scenes, was that this girl had fun lines, shallowness and perfect hair, but she was also insecure, frustrated and weak under all that. It wasn’t hard to make out that she attributes her value to the relationships she has/had with men. Seeing more of the show, it’s become apparent that much of her arc is related to the men she had/has in her life, from Damon, Matt, her father, Tyler to Klaus. She went from struggling with attention and affection in S1 to now having not one, but two suitors! Both trying to win her heart and put her up on that pedestal that she must have, long back, dreamed of being on.
She’s stuck between the Romeo & Juliet story with Tyler and the Cinderella story with Klaus, but we wonder; despite wanting it so very much, is a fairytale truly what she needs? Is it possible that she has a pattern of looking for love in all the wrong places? Maybe, just maybe, what she needs is to try something new. To try a healthy relationship, free from dysfunction, with someone who isn’t trying to win her over for himself. A relationship with a selfless and unconditional dynamic based on companionship, with someone who understands her and is getting to know the real her as time goes by.
Looking back at the development of both characters, it makes perfect sense for their destinies to have come colliding together. And why is that, exactly? One of the first things that should be mentioned, is that Stefan and Caroline are in fact similar in nature. To quote Stefan, he has lived most of his life in the shadows, hiding his true self. Obviously, this refers to his vampiric nature, but beyond that, it also refers to who he is as a person. While Stefan is often shown in a heroic light, a deeper look into the show’s narrative makes it clear that Stefan is not perfect. Stefan is a flawed character, a wounded soul.
Burdened by his past, Stefan wears a mask to cover up his pain and mistakes, to show an artificial self to others. Caroline has been shown to do the exact same thing. Afraid of showing her vulnerabilities, she works hard at being the perfect person, not for herself, but for everyone else. Other than that, it is important to note the similarities between their early involvement with vampires. They were both turned against their wills, they both hate what the bloodlust does to them (killing innocents and losing their sense of self), their dads saw vampires as only monsters and were disgusted with what they had become.
His dad not only killed him, but also tried to do it again when he came back as a vampire, while her dad tried to kill her for her own good! They both were used as bloodbags as humans without them even knowing it (Damon with Caroline, Katherine with Stefan). Add to this their need for perfection, their strive to be perfect for everyone else, and their combined insecurities, it is no wonder that they found each other. They collided in S2, with Stefan fighting for Caroline’s survival after she was turned, because he had been through the exact same things.
It’s not hard to believe that Stefan saw her as a younger version of himself – lost, distraught and confused. He saw her desire to want to retain who she is, her pain, and desire to fight the vampire side that was threatening to overpower her and believed in her. We saw it back in S2, when he told Tyler – “Look, about Caroline: no matter what her flaws are, when push comes to shove, you’re gonna want that girl on your side.” And how could anyone forget the scene where Stefan saved Caroline from those werewolves and brought her back home!
He knew she needed someone, “You don’t have to pretend with me” but she was refusing it, trying to put a curtain on the pain she had been through,” I’m not girly little Caroline anymore, I can handle myself” and Stefan replied with, “Sure you can”. It was simple, but so beautiful, because he knows she’s strong and amazing, but at the same time he’s not putting her on a pedestal. He gave her the space that she needed, but also knew she needed support, so he brought over her best friends! She might not have known she needed it herself at first, but we could all tell how much she appreciated the gesture.
As much as Stefan gives her in this incredible dynamic, Caroline gives him just as much. Stefan came to Mystic Falls again for a fresh start, but hasn’t gotten it. He’s plagued by the demons of his past. As fragile as his self-control is, as dark as he is able to get, he has been unable to deal with his issues in a proper manner, but when it comes to Caroline, the slate is clean. There isn’t a connection to his past, lies, or bitter hurt to keep them from connecting. He helped Caroline, because he wanted to help her. He saw something in her worth saving for, it wasn’t chance or for gain, he chose to save her and she grew to become a precious friend.
Truly, Caroline has pledged allegiance to him several times. She was willing to jump into a well filled with vervain for him. She ”outed” herself to her mother for him, to save him. She was an integral part in his plan to take Katherine down. She wanted him to talk to Tyler in “Daddy Issues,” because she trusts him, and because he ”always says the right things”. She has faith in him, just as he has faith in her, and it’s the reciprocity in their interactions that make them all the more sweeter.
In conclusion, Stefan and Caroline have that natural connection that is rooted on friendship, rooted on mutual knowing and understanding. Those are the strongest of bonds due to their sincerity. Granted, they still have a lot more to learn and experience, a lot more dynamics that might come and go, but their friendship seems capable of weathering many a storm! Truly, the potential for more is simply staggering with these two! Sometimes relationships don’t start with a certain aim, a certain motive for achievement, but they keep growing and growing on their own. Somewhere along the way, a relationship can even grow into something that no one could’ve ever foreseen beforehand, but something incredible nonetheless.
What makes us root for Stefan and Caroline’s everlasting bond is not only the beautifully layered relationship we saw play out on our screens, but the unlimited potential. Just as Caroline has a thirst for experiencing the world (as witnessed in her interactions with Klaus), Stefan too has much to see! Just the thought of their potential shenanigans make us smile. And what’s standing in their way? When the smoke clears out and the last of them are standing in the midst of the ruins of Mystic Falls, eternity will feel a lot less lonely with someone on your side. If love is friendship set on fire, then we’re just looking for a match to light these two up!
So tell us, gentle viewers: Are you a devout Steroline shipper? Why would you want to see Caroline and Stefan become a couple on The Vampire Diaries?