The sire bond. Is it real or not? That is the question facing viewers. Originally, I didn't question its existence, and it didn't bother me because I figured that it was a nifty way to give us some form of Damon and Elena with two and 3/4s of a season left to go before they start to get some full measure of togetherness. Plus, I thought that the creation of the sire bond was entirely dependent upon true love between the two parties so, yay! for Damon and Elena.
However, after episode 08 ("We'll Always Have Bourbon Street") and seeing how literally and happily Charlotte obeyed Damon, I started to question its validity. Thinking about Stefan and Caroline's "proof," earlier events, incidents and such, not only did a lot of what Elena did or did not do contradict Damon's wishes, even things that she did concede to him on involved exactly that… a concession. Which was entirely unlike Charlotte's attitude. I and others kept recalling and researching moments that were so at odds with what a sire bond is supposed to be that I gave up the idea that Elena is even bonded to him. Then after episode 09 ("O Come, All Ye Faithful"), I believe I hit upon the key that explains it all: A partnership between Klaus and Shane.
If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong, but I do think this may explain the basics of the whole non-sire bond business. This post will attempt to lay out in detail why I believe this is the case. However, before I do, I want to note that I'm not trying to disprove the sire bond because I hate it. I don't. I'm perfectly fine with it because (a) I have no doubt that Elena loves Damon, (b) I have no doubt that Damon would not take advantage of Elena, and (c) I'm pretty sure that if it *were* real, Damon or Elena would wind up "cured" by the end of the season, thus breaking the sire bond.
All this is to say that I'm not arguing its existence because emotionally it hurts my Damon/Elena-loving heart. I've been fine with the idea of it from its first inclusion... even when I figured it was real. The reason that I began to believe it wasn't the case is because it simply didn't make sense otherwise. The writers have been planning this for a year (per Julie Plec's admission that the idea of the sire bond came about from season 03's episode 06, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"). I find it highly improbable that something planned a year in advance would be so very sloppy with so many plot holes, question marks and flat-out contradictions and inconsistencies.
Then along came episode 09 where Elena seemingly did respond to Damon's sire command, but so much just did not add up. So I kept thinking about it and trying to make it make sense in my mind. Finally, after much discussion and back and forth with sarcasticcheese and butterfly, I figured it out… or at least I think I have. As I stated above, it's all about a Klaus/Shane connection. Looking at the sequence of events, it all shows a pattern that ties everything together.
To begin with, we know that Klaus wants Elena's humanity restored so that he can continue to create hybrids. He also knows that Stefan wants Elena human again definitively thanks to their discussion in episode 04 ("The Five"). It's also a fairly safe bet that he's aware of the fact that Damon doesn't care if Elena is human or vampire as long as she's not six feet under. So there's Klaus' motivation.
But why would Shane care whether Elena is human or not? I don't think he does. However, I do think he cares about finding the cure – or whatever it actually is – and the more people looking for it that he's "helping," the better chance he has of getting his hands on it. Why does he want the cure? I have no clue. That's a secret the writers can keep to their heart's content until they're ready for the big ‘ooh! aah!' reveal. All I care about at this point is the sire bond and those pesky inconsistencies with regards to Damon and Elena, and Shane wanting the cure ties into that.
So we have both Klaus and Shane wanting the cure found, and pushing the necessity for Elena's return to humanity appears to be the best way to get the gang (including their savviest member – Damon) on board with that search for the cure. But if Damon doesn't care whether Elena is human or not, that's a problem. And if Stefan is ready to let go of Elena because she wants to be with Damon, well, that's a problem. And if Elena is OK with being a vampire because the guy she wants is not making her feel guilty for being a vampire, and pushing to find her humanity very well could lead to her brother losing his humanity, well, she's not gunning to find that cure either and, then, yeah, we've really got a problem, Houston.
Add to that, whatever your deep, dark plan is – because we certainly know that there's some deep, dark plan in play for Shane and Klaus almost certainly – you can't have the above-mentioned savviest member figure it out before you can get all your pieces put in play. So what do two (possibly) immortals do? Well, they manufacture a reason for them to want to find that cure and, at the same time, distract them (especially Damon) from figuring out the bigger picture.
Early on in episode 07 ("My Brother's Keeper"), Damon casually confronted Shane about his connection to Pastor Young and wondered what he had to do with killing twelve people. I get why Damon did this, a surprising confrontation intended to elicit information is certainly a viable plan. However, Damon underestimated just who Shane is and how deep this goes, and that he (I'm thinking) is aligned with Klaus. So what happens later in the episode? Klaus drops a hint to Caroline about Elena being sire-bonded to Damon.
We may not have seen scenes of Klaus finding out about what's going on with the triangle, but considering that it's Klaus, again, it is a very safe bet that he's quite aware of what's going on. After all, we've been told time and time again how Klaus knows all, how he had his spies and his informants, and we know how he observes. So, he would be aware of the situation enough to know that with Damon digging around Shane, a diversion is necessary. And if that diversion dovetails nicely with keeping the search for the cure a high priority, then that's even better.
So Klaus drops the hint about the sire bonding to Caroline. And, again, Klaus knows what's going on, so he would know that with Stefan and Elena on the outs, Stefan would be on the outs with Damon too. Would anyone doubt at all that Klaus has been keeping tabs on Caroline? If he has, he'd be well aware that she and Stefan have been spending lots of time together… so dropping that hint to Caroline likely will insure that Stefan will find out about the sire bond. This, of course, will renew his desire to find the cure for vampirism because it means that Elena didn't really want to end things with him, and she didn't really want Damon over him, instead it happened because of that pesky sire bond. Caroline is Team!Stefan so she'll be along for the ride. Damon, who previously didn't care either way, now would want her humanity restored to break the sire bond so that if Elena is with him, he and everyone else will know that she chose him of her own accord. And Elena will be willing to risk almost anything (minus the hurt to anyone she loves, physical, emotional or otherwise) to prove that she did choose Damon.
So my theory is that Damon accusing Shane of having something to do with Pastor Young's blow-up led Shane to telling Klaus to get him off their trail (whatever it may be) which led to Klaus dropping the sire bond tidbit to Caroline, fairly certain that it would get back to Stefan, and thus Damon and Elena. This, in turn, would get many of the key players sniffing around something *other* than Shane (and presumably Klaus') plan.
Beyond Klaus "intuiting" the sire bond between Damon and Elena, how else has he and/or Shane kept this theory going? That's when we come to the lake house and Shane's presence there. But first, something interesting about Klaus and his intuition. flyingfish1 made a very valid point: When exactly would Klaus have intuited this? Knowing that Stefan and Elena broke up, and that Damon is still in love with Elena, Elena has feelings for Damon can easily be put down to his spies everywhere, but knowing the ins and outs of a potential sire bond? Considering he hasn't seen Elena beyond the few moments when she was in *Stefan's* bed to heal her (from the werewolf venom) and during her hallucination, when exactly would he have seen anything or even have heard anything about this supposed bond being in place? He wouldn't have. (Psst! Because it doesn't exist.)
Back to the lake house. So, Shane is at the lake House with Damon and Elena, and while there, he makes a point to let Elena (and the *audience*) know that he is aware that she and Damon have a sire bond. florencia7 had a very interesting point about this (below in the comments):
- It's also interesting that Elena, albeit humorously, asked Shane if he could hypnotize her out of the sire bond. [...] What's even more interesting is his answer, that he never came across a spell that could break someone from loving too much. I mean... Elena wasn't asking about love, was she? She was asking about the sire bond. That makes Shane's answer seem slightly random. He kind of equals one with the other, as if breaking the sire bond equaled breaking someone from loving – and loving TOO MUCH at that. But that's not it, of course. What he's really revealing here, is that there is no sire bond to begin with [...] because it shows that while Elena is talking about the sire bond here, Shane (who knows there is no sire bond) answers her question referring to the actual truth behind her words, which is that she loves Damon very, very much.
She is spilling plenty to this practical stranger about the group that he frankly has no business knowing. However, right now, Damon and Elena are so caught up emotionally in this sire bond mess that they aren't picking up on stuff like this. Like the fact that Shane is randomly bringing this up to Elena. Not only should Elena have wondered, I, as an audience member wondered. Why would the writers deem this important enough to showcase? Unless it was to give viewers this little bit of information… which would explain Elena obeying Damon's command later.
That brings us to the fact that Damon also made it a point to reference Shane's hypnotism more than a few times, which was a nice reminder to viewers of that skill set of his. And it wasn't only Damon, Elena specifically asked if Shane could hypnotize a sire bond away. Bringing this together, well, we know that there are chunks of time not seen at the lake house where Shane and Elena could have had plenty o' conversations, where, oh, say Shane could have used some of his hypnotism-whammo to input some suggestion wherein she would obey Damon's direct commands to her. And that explains why Elena, without fighting him, obeyed Damon's command to leave. Having Shane inputting a simple command that would help sell the sire bond such as "obey Damon's direct orders" easily keeps the sire bond theory in play. Recall the exact words that Damon used:
- "You're gonna go home. I'm gonna stay here with Jeremy, I'm gonna help him complete the mark, I'll teach him how to hunt, I'll protect him, and we'll kill vampires without you. I'm setting you free Elena. This is what I want. This is what will make me happy."
That is NOT how we've been shown that a sire bond works. Your mind and your body are in concert. It's your emotions that get affected, that feel what they want to feel. Think of Tyler and Caroline when Klaus told him to bite her. Tyler's words said that he wouldn't do it, but his mind and body were in sync. He was shocked when he bit her. His mind didn't think it was wrong what he was doing, it was his emotional reaction that was off. Elena's mind was not in agreement with her body. This sudden shift TO OBEY is never how it's been seen or described as feeling before. It just is. It's a natural response to your sire telling you to do something. Not an unnatural response that your body fights. Above, I mentioned how the only thing that Damon specifically ordered Elena to do was to go home -- and THAT is what her body was telling her to do. Damon also said: "I'm setting you free" which WOULD fall under the confines of the sire bond order/suggestion, but not a hypnotic suggestion to obey a direct command to her. And, whaddya know? An Elena who was supposedly "set free" by Damon kissed him goodbye. Uh huh.
I realize that this seemingly involves lots of assumptions, but I really think it's only two. (1) That Klaus and Shane are working together, and I do believe we've seen enough signs that it's very likely, and (2) that Klaus has been keeping tabs on what is going on with the rest of the gang. I personally don't think that's a big stretch either because we have been told bunches that Klaus has spies and keeps abreast of situations. Once you accept those two assumptions as likely, everything else neatly fits.
ETA: I just read this quote from Joseph Morgan that absolutely fits this theory: "Our heroes are at odds with each other. If they could unite themselves like they did at the end of Season 3, maybe they would have a chance [at killing Klaus], but as long as he can keep manipulating and planting doubt in their minds, they won't be able to come together and defeat him," Morgan says. "Everyone has forgotten that they put Klaus down, but Klaus hasn't forgotten. It's like lining up chess pieces on a board — everyone is playing against each other and everyone's arguing!"
UH HUH! Now, this still works even if Klaus and Shane aren't working together. jamdourado pointed out that Klaus didn't know about Connor, but I figure that either Shane was keeping that from him or even that Shane and Klaus are both working towards the same goal using whatever opportunities are at play. Klaus created the myth of the sire bond theory between Damon and Elena to keep them (and Stefan, Caroline, et al. distracted), and separately, Shane heard about it from Bonnie and realized he could use that as a distraction tool himself.
But would the writers really do this? Would they have every character accept the sire bond as fact? Would Julie Plec in interview after interview talk about the sire bond as fact? Well, to answer the second question… every character took the sun and moon curse as fact despite the massive plot holes. Well, not every character. Damon did question it because he saw those holes. So why wouldn't he be questioning this one then? Because, yeah, normally, Damon would be quick to see through any logical inconsistencies, but when his emotions are heavily clouded, his quick reasoning skills go bye-bye. Especially when it involves his incredibly low self-esteem and his belief that no one would ever, could ever choose him willingly. So he believes it, and uses Stefan's test (and only one) to prove or disprove it.
As for number three, well, Julie Plec flat out said that we would NOT see Katherine in season 01. We saw Katherine in season 01. She also talked about the sun and moon curse as if it was real, until we found out it wasn't. And I've noticed that in every single interview (I've read most of them) about the sire bond there is definitely wiggle room. She talks about the sire bond affecting things in one breath, and then in the next, talks about 'if it's real.' The "it" presumably is Elena's feelings, but we ALREADY know those are real, therefore the "it" is the sire bond. She's being sneaky, but you can read between the lines that she's acknowledging the sire bond might not be real.
So, would the writers really do this? Absolutely. They lie to keep the audience from knowing the ins and outs of the mysteries and surprises of this show – which doesn't bother me in the slightest! Got to keep those moments viable somehow.
OK, so that's the how of it… but where is the so-called proof on the no-sire-bond end? Here we go. To start with – Elena drinking from the blood bag in episode 08 when she couldn't in episode 02 ("Memorial.") A couple of things about that… Firstly, Elena had not fully transitioned yet. As far as we know, the sum total of human blood she had drank up to Matt's offering in the middle of the memorial service (*snerk*) was this –
Yup, that's it. So, essentially, she started on her road to transition, but I don't believe she finished it. I could be wrong, but I liken transition and human blood from the source to a baby and mother's milk (or the equivalent, ie. formula). A specific diet (human blood from the vein to fully develop) is needed in order to get the full vampire effect and be able to "eat" different foods once you've adjusted to your development. It makes sense to me if you think about it. Any other vampire made is going to be made without them knowing and will eventually attack a human and drink from them thus getting the full dose they need. Or, they will be made with the aid of another vampire who will teach them how to properly drink from a human in order to fully transition (which is what Damon wanted to do).
Secondly, right before Elena drank from the blood bag that Damon brought her (yeah, more on that later), she had just thrown up massive amounts of Damon's blood (yeah, more *that* later too). And considering how she reacted to the blood bag, it's a safe bet to say that she did not attempt to drink anymore from that bag. Why do I bring all of this up? Oh, because of this:
That first one? Is Caroline drinking from a blood bag for the very first time. Note how her reaction to the blood bag is IDENTICAL IN PRETTY MUCH EVERY WAY, SHAPE AND FORM to Elena's reaction to drinking from a blood bag for the first time. Yeah. Also, note how she then drank from the rest of the bag. (Which Elena didn't (a) attempt, and (b) Caroline hadn't just thrown up massive amounts of vampire blood). Yet, despite that full blood bag she consumed, the next time we saw her when Matt came to visit, she still looked pale, still had circles under her eyes. She still looked essentially like Elena did without drinking any human blood, thus completing her transition.
So still looking like hell warmed over, and despite drinking that full blood bag when the nurse came in and Caroline went all fang-y, she looked at that nurse, smelt her fresh, lovely human blood and proclaimed: "I'm STARVING!" then went for the jugular (literally). Yuppers, it was only until Caroline had drunk from a human directly from the vein that she fully transitioned and was the picture of perfect health. Just like Elena. After drinking from Matt and fully transitioning, Elena hadn't tried blood bags, or animal blood. So for all we know, and based on what we saw with Caroline, Elena would have been able to pick up and drink from a blood bag at any point after she drank from Matt and transitioned.
Now, I went through all of their scenes this season to check out those inconsistencies, and while in some cases, Elena definitely did listen to Damon, there were plenty where she did not. Or if she did, it was with much argument and back and forth between the two – which, again, we didn't see with Charlotte at all, nor do we see to much degree with Klaus and the hybrids.
Let's start with Elena being unable to hold down the animal blood, and well, that is one of the few ones that actually does hold up. While Damon didn't tell her that she wouldn't be able to drink it, he did tell her specifically right before she and Stefan left to hunt that animal blood would make her miserable. So that does track. Per the dialogue:
- Elena: You're still not on board with the animal plan.
Damon: Nope. I say rip off the proverbial band-aid and let it bleed. You're a vampire, Elena, be a vampire.
Stefan: Ready to go?
Damon: Vampires eat people! It's part of the natural food pyramid. Trust me, you're going to be miserable.
- Elena: What are you doing?
Damon: (Biting his hand) Giving you what you need. Drink.
Damon: You're a new vampire, Elena. You need warm blood from the vein. Maybe this will do the trick. Or not. But just don't tell Stefan.
Now we come back to that blood bag once more. Damon brought the blood bag to her. At no point prior to her drinking it, did he suggest it might not work. He just brought it for her to drink, handed it over to her and expected her to drink from it and that it would work. When she couldn't keep it down, he was surprised and fumbled around for an explanation.
- Damon: (Handing her the blood bag.) Here.
Elena: (Taking the bag, drinks, then spits it out.) No, I can't. It tastes like... What's wrong with me?
Damon: I don't know, maybe it's your doppelganger blood, you're rejecting the transition.
Elena: I'm dying, aren't I?
Damon: No, you're not dying. You just need to drink from the vein.
Elena: No. No, I don't– I can't risk killing anyone, Damon. Maybe I'm better off dead.
Damon: Don't you think like that. Elena, you'll be fine.
Also in episode 02, there was the final scene with the gang wanting to light lanterns. Damon may not have been specifically talking to Elena, but he was including her among the group when he said: "What we need to do is find out who this hunter is and what he knows about the death of the Council. We have more important things to be doing right now than this." Still, Elena didn't stop the lantern lighting and do what Damon, her "sire," said that they (including her) *had* to be doing right now.
Moving on to episode 03 ("The Rager"), when Elena was searching in Damon's room, she asked him about Jeremy, he told her not to worry about it, her very next comment to him was: "Damon, don't bring him into this." Yeah, really sounded like she stopped worrying as soon as her "sire" told her to not do so. Not.
Then we come to "The Five" (episode 04) and the infamous blond-she-did-not-eat scene. Lookee at the dialogue.
- Damon: She's young and healthy; she'll heal up like a charm. Just keep your eye on the ball. Okay?
Elena: It's not a game, Damon.
Damon: Fine, it's not a game. It's a high stakes dangerous maneuver. Now, just go, just like we practiced. That's all you have to do.
~~ Moments later after Elena's tender heart was swayed by the sight of the blonde's niece on her phone ~~
Elena: Get out of here. Go back to class.
This is so incredibly comparable to season 02 that it's not even funny (OK, actually it kinda is, LOL). Viewers went crazy calling out inconsistencies and the lameness of the sun/moon curse and then it all turned out to be fake. I even wrote about that in my write-up for "Klaus" – the episode that revealed the sun and moon curse's fakery.
- And can I just say how much I absolutely adore that the sun and moon curse was all made up. LOLOLOLOLOL! I've read much bitching on the internet about how stupid, and needlessly convoluted the curse is, how many plot-holes are contained within, and that it's just lame. Only to find out that it was made-up by Klaus. Again, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! And clearly this was all planned (and not a reaction to the complaints) because of the werewolf groundwork that's been set up all season long. I don't think I can properly express how much I adore the writing, plotting, intricacy of this show.
Moving on to episode 05 ("The Killer"), a lot of dialogue – some heavy, some not so much – that shows a non-compliant Elena.
- Elena: I'm not in a shame spiral.
Damon:Oh, you so are. Newbie vampire remorse? Oof, it's worse than a hangover.
Elena: I'm not in a shame spiral, Damon.
- Elena: I'm going in these tunnels.
Damon: No, you're not. This guy doesn't know that you're a vampire, let's keep it that way.
Elena: Well, maybe that's it. I can offer to trade myself in exchange for the hostages.
Damon: No. Best case scenario is now you're a hostage. Worst case scenario: he figures you out, kills you on the spot.
Elena: Stop treating me like I can't handle myself. Alaric trained me and I've been practicing with Stefan.
- Damon: Elena, it's complicated.
Elena: No, it's not complicated, Damon! You want to know why? Because - because he's dead now. You told me to kill him, so I did.
Then we get to episode 07, and part of Caroline's supposed proof about the sire bond because Damon told Elena to not worry about Damon and then she didn't. Funny how she ignored the first part of the conversation.
- Damon: Relax, I'm sure he's fine.
Elena: I don't know. I have a bad feeling.
Damon: If I'm not worried, you shouldn't be worried. Let it go. I'll go look for him.
Of course not. She was still worried, she just trusted Damon when it comes to Jeremy because they've spent – at least – the last six months working together to take care of Jeremy. Something that Elena wouldn't have shared with Caroline because of her massive hate-on for Damon, therefore Caroline wouldn't have known that.
Finally, in episode 08, the morning after, while Elena telling Caroline and Bonnie didn't contradict Damon's wish for a secret, selfish day (since that was directly about Stefan not knowing and Elena did ask Caroline to not tell Stefan), she did argue with him and he had to wring the concession out of her. And, again, we didn't see anything like that with Damon and Charlotte, our only vampire-vampire sire bond comparison.
Phew! So while there are things that she definitely did "obey" him about, in almost every instance, she argued with him, she made him fight for it, or she flat-out didn't do what he wanted. OK, then, why the change in Elena's attitude? Because there *was* a change. Stefan may want to label it when she turned, but that wasn't the case. The first four episodes and 3/4s of another this season had Elena very much playing the ‘always-Stefan' card. It was Stefan she told that choosing him was the best decision she'd made. Stefan she sat on a rooftop with promising forever. (Both in episode 01, "Growing Pains.") Stefan she made out with in episodes 02 and 03. Stefan she wanted to be with, learning how to be a vampire with in episode 04. And it was Damon that she was angry with, and who she again repudiated in episode 01. It was Damon she didn't want to be with learning how to be a vampire with in episode 04. And it was Damon that she was pissy with at the start of episode 05, and Stefan whose arms she ran into in the same episode.
So, no, Elena wanting Damon to the point where she was over Stefan didn't happen when she became a vampire, thus the creation of the sire bond which is all about pleasing your sire. Nope, it happened in episode 06, "We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes." So what changed? Simply put, in this episode, Elena came to a HUGE understanding of who she is, where she is, what she's been thinking and what she wants. She truly had an epiphany, not so much about Stefan and Elena or Damon and Elena, but about ELENA. And that is why things have played out as they have. We saw the change in how Elena treated Damon and Stefan after what happened on the bridge.
For me, I saw an Elena who had *finally* forgiven herself for not dying when her parents did in that first Wickery Bridge accident, and for everything that had followed. I liken it to Elena's reaction to Stefan and his vampirism way back in season 01, episode 07 ("Haunted"). Despite the crazy of that, she realized that she was willing to accept it all because she was finally starting to let go of her guilt about her parent's death and take what she wanted regardless of what was "right" or "wrong." At that point, it was Stefan.
And then she found out that she looked like Katherine, and more people died, and that she was a doppelganger and she blamed herself for all of the deaths, chaos and mayhem that followed. She even told Stefan that once she found out, that being with him, his vampirism, had nothing to do with all the evil that had transpired. It was all on her, all her fault because she was the doppelganger, and that guilt that had pressed down upon her parents' death double-triple-quadruple-folded and all of it came raining down on her again.
On the bridge, facing those hallucinations of Connor. Katherine and her mother making her face all of her fears and guilt finally released her from them and she was ready to let go of it. All that the hallucinations – of Connor, Katherine and her mother – said was Elena's point of view. It wasn't their thoughts, it was hers: her fears, her realizations, her coming to terms with her darkest thoughts about herself. She was ready to stop doing what was right or safe and instead she was ready to take a risk, and go after what she wanted. And at this point in time, it is Damon. The Elena who looked at him after the bridge was not the Elena who looked at Damon at the top of that episode, or the episode before that or that or that going all the way back to episode 01 AFTER she became a vampire.
This was the look of a girl who was ready for this man. Period. And that look was not present because of some non-existent sire bond. If it was sire-bond related, it would have happened when she turned. Instead it happened after a very emotionally significant, character-turning point for Elena took place.
So, no, it is not a sire bond. It is love. Period.