Image credit: ILoveYouDelena
Let me cut right to the chase here: I'm growing weary of constantly having to defend my reasons for loving Delena from attacks by people who ship Stelena and Bamon. I'm also growing increasingly weary of hearing pessismism from within the Delena fanbase and always persuading them not to give up hope. The truth is, people will see what they want to see, and they will believe what they want to believe. What I find discouraging as a DE fan is how easily people feel like giving up, and I wonder why this is. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that people don't really believe this triangle will ever see the light of day because they see the producers as Delena-haters who are, right as we speak, already plotting Stelena's big white wedding. Maybe they don't think that, even after 2 seasons, and with the great scenes we got in 3x02, that Delena will ever be more than a dream. Maybe they're secretly afraid that Delena will always play second fiddle to Stelena, and so naturally, Stelena will be endgame, so they might as well stop watching now. I hear far too many people threaten to give up because they fear DE might not be endgame, as if it means that DE immediately lose credibility as a ship if they're not. Or that it declares them an epic fail as a love story. They seem to think that in order for a love story to be a success, then the couple have to live happily ever after. But even if Delena don't end up together, I will still see them as the real love story of the show, as I have from the beginning.

My addiction to Delena took me completely by surprise. I'd never read the books. It was more than half-way through the episode, and I didn't know who any of the characters were, or their backstory. I soon realised that Damon was the 'bad' guy, and the girl (who I learned was Elena), was with the 'good' guy, but for some strange reason, Elena and the 'good' guy didn't hold much interest for me. I was more intrigued by her scenes with the 'bad' guy. I knew that technically speaking, this was all wrong, but that's how I felt. Once I started watching the show in earnest, I got the strong impression that Stelena, for all their cuteness and light, were not the real true love story of the show. For me, the real love story of the show was and is Delena. They may not be together yet, but it doesn't matter. Stelena are just a detail. I hear a lot of theories chucked around all the time, about why Stelena will be endgame because (according to theory), the person who is there at the beginning will also be there at the end. So, they argue, because Stefan was Elena's first love, that means they will be endgame. But how valid is this argument? After all, there are lots of love stories where this doesn't happen. Sometimes, the person who is there at the beginning is NOT the one the girl/guy ends up with. (Think of 'Definitely, Maybe', '500 Days of Summer', 'Enchanted', 'Bridget Jones's Diary', 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', and 'Dawson's Creek'.) There are some girls who do go on to marry their first ever love, but this is rare. So this theory doesn't hold much weight to it. If you're seriously considering walking away because you're afraid of something that might never happen...well, it seems overly dramatic to me at this moment in time.

Another popular belief held amongst Stelenappers, and whispered in the DE fanbase is this: that Damon is just the 'obstacle'/challenge/test in SE's epic romance. This argument portrays SE as the unbreakable, together-forever couple, who must be the epic romance/soulmates of the show because they got together from the word go. However, there are 2 problems with this argument. I think SE are the first couple in a television drama and fiction I've encountered who never had to endure much of a struggle or challenge to be together. In practically every love story I know, the book/film began the opposite way to Stelena's; the couple had to really go through a lot of difficult things to find their way to each other. After they overcome these challenges, they're finally able to be together. In SE's case, the only test they had to face before they became a couple was Elena learning that Stefan was a vampire. SE arrived at Destination Couple first. They never went on a journey to get there. In a love story, this is unheard of. That's the first sign that SE aren't the show's REAL love story. The second sign is that if Stelena really WERE 'soulmates' and were truly meant to be together forever, then Damon would never have found his way into Elena's heart in the first place. There would have been no room for him.

I've heard people say over and over again that Damon doesn't deserve Elena's love. And while I'm not going to engage in another Damon versus Stefan debate, what I will say is this: I strongly believe that Damon needs love more than any character on any show I've ever seen. To claim that he doesn't 'deserve' love is ridiculous when you consider the numerous times he's gone out of his way to save people he loves, as well as the people THEY love.
Let me tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. This is a story about 2 brothers. The younger brother had his share of dark secrets, and dark deeds, but most people didn't see that. The younger brother only messed up when he OD'ed on human blood, or was compelled by Klaus to do something really terrible. The rest of the time, he was good. Noble. Heroic. Perfect. His older brother however, was volatile and continually did things to mess up. He could be destructive, and a little wild and angry, and often made monumentally bad errors of judgement, and mistakes that pushed people away. Which of these 2 brothers do you think needed love the most?? The 'perfect' brother, or the volatile one...?
Think of all the times Damon has saved Elena, and all the times he's put his life on the line to protect her's. If Damon had never done a good thing for anybody in his life, then I would have to concede that SE shippers are right, and that he doesn't deserve her. But he has, time and again. If Damon was judged not for the mistakes he's made, but for his love, and his all consuming desire to protect this girl, then people would have to accept that Damon DOES deserve Elena. Unfortunately, some people are only intent on seeing the bad things in Damon. Some SE fans - dare I say it, lots of them - won't give Damon the time of day, but give Stefan a free pass for his crimes against humanity. To them, it doesn't matter that he's killed one hundred+ innocent people; he's still completely worthy of Elena. Damon on the other hand, for all his life-saving incidents and good intentions, is not redeemable in their eyes. They categorically list every bad thing he's done since the show began, and conclude 'That's why DE don't belong together.' They don't see that it's BECAUSE of Elena and BECAUSE Damon fell in love with her that changed him so much in the first place. Isn't that what love does? Doesn't it have the power to change someone from the inside out, to redeem them and make them whole? That's what I see in Delena. They are a modern day version of 'Beauty And The Beast'.

I think that if you trace the origins of the love triangle in the books and even on the show, you'll see that Delena turned into something quite extraordinary that wasn't planned by the author or the producers. I don't think that L.J. Smith had banked on Damon being anything other than the smoldering bad boy who set out to claim Elena for his own. But as the series progressed, the Stefan/Elena orientation of the books began to veer more and more towards Delena, almost as though L.J. herself had no control over it. If L.J. had been completely sold on a Stelena ending, then she would have given DE less scenes and Stelena more. Instead, she gave DE more, and Stelena less. It was as though the story that was happening between DE took on a life of its own, and it wrote of its own accord. I think it's the same way with the show. I don't know what the producers were planning with the triangle, or even if Nina and Ian had a screen test together, but at the beginning of Season One, Stelena were definitely the favourites. As the series developed however, popularity and love for Delena sky-rocketed. There are roughly 300 fans separating us from the institution that is Chuck and Blair on fanpop, and that's pretty amazing when Chuck and Blair have been going for 2 years longer than Delena. The show may have began with SE firmly in mind as endgame, (although we can't say for sure); but in time, SE have been eclipsed by Delena. The producers may not like this, (which I think at least partially accounts for their gung-ho 'Stelena are just soooo epic!' gushing they default to in interviews), but there's a reason why Delena are the most beloved ship, and not Stelena. Look at their scenes. Notice that we've had 3 scenes of Damon carrying Elena since the show began, and that he's returned her necklace (which began as an SE thing) three times. I think it's symbolic that it's always Damon who's saving Elena's life, and retrieving her necklace and not Stefan. Look at the list of parallels I've compiled from the last 2 seasons: link
Some of these parallels have likely been written in deliberately. But I highly doubt, judging from the breakneck speed at which the show is written and produced, that the team of writers and producers are aware of every single one of them. It's as if Delena have become this phenomenonal force that cannot be controlled by the hands of men and women, but is governed by something much bigger.

I want DE to be endgame as much as everyone here. If any couple deserves to live happily ever after, it's them. But I don't think we should watch the show just because of that. Delena's journey is going to be long and challenging and hard, but the JOURNEY is what makes a couple epic, NOT the ENDING. The harder and more epic the journey, the more epic and unforgettable the couple. Whether rain or shine, heartbreaking or uplifting, in good episodes or bad, and regardless of whatever Stelena is going through and what other people might say, Delena are the real, epic love story of the show. And when it's real, you can't walk away.

Dedicated to every DE fan on fanpop.
Fan art by katpee