As we mentioned earlier this week, the UK will be getting reprints of The Vampire Diaries later in the year. That in itself is very cool. However, the current cover for the first volume with the apple (of which we shall not speak) is something that fans seem to universally loathe. Apples on books about vampires are clearly the domain of Twilight. Given this series was written nearly 15 years before Twilight, it’s somewhat annoying to have something Twilight-esque slapped on the front rather than letting The Vampire Diaries stand on its own themes and merits.
We issued a small challenge on Twitter and LiveJournal to remove the apple (of which we shall not speak) from the cover and replace it with the iconic fruit of the Vampire Diaries series…the orange. You can read about why the orange is so iconic in the fandom under the cut, but before we get to that, here are the covers (from left to right): contributions from Jen, Jennifer Blushi and Elizabeth Diaz (thank you, guys, they’re made of awesome!). Bottom covers by Red (who is completely crazy and drove out in a rainstorm to buy an orange just for this project).
Under the cut: In which Vee answers the question, “What’s up with The Vampire Diaries and oranges?” (Book spoilers! Pychoanalysis! Some minor fangirl embarrassment! Enter at your own risk.)
Attempting to explain a fandom meme/in-joke is a decidedly “guess you had to be there” type of conversation, but we thought some context for the mock covers and the comments/icons/avatars you’ll see floating about online might be of use. As is often the case with these jokes, it’s utterly ridiculous – but this particular one has a certain amount of depth to it.
The passage in question (from Dark Reunion):
…[Stefan] went back inside and made straight for Damon’s bedroom.
Damon was lounging near the window, peeling an orange, not even dressed yet. He looked up, annoyed, as Stefan entered.
“It’s customary to knock,” he said.
“Where’d you meet her?” said Stefan. And then, when Damon turned a blank stare on him, he added, “That girl. Rachael.”
“Was that her name? I don’t think I bothered to ask.”
Yeah, Damon’s working on an orange (and continues to throughout the rest of the scene) – so what? In short, Damon Salvatore is as close to sacred as it gets in TVD fandom, and he’s almost entirely defined by what we don’t know about him. It’s why fandom gloms on to the tiniest details in the books that might provide more insight into his character (even as we love the fact that he’s an enigma).
As LM, maintainer of lj-smith.com, puts it:
[The scene] is important to me because it’s so hedonistic of him to be eating at all. Stefan doesn’t eat, after all. But it’s just another little sign of Damon’s need to indulge in all earthly pleasures.
There’s a lot of back and forth about whether Damon is actually nude in this scene (yes, seriously – this is important stuff, people); “not even dressed” could mean anything, and this is early ’90s YA fiction we’re talking about. Some claim context that leans in favor of “yes”: Dawn in Florence? Check. Disoriented, disheveled young lady leaving Damon’s bedroom? Check. On the other hand, Damon could just go all-out with the blood swapping and be hanging out in his underpants. (But, as Red jokes, “It’s like the right type of underwear for Damon hasn’t even been invented.”) Others think it’s amusingly in-character for a naked Damon to be lounging by a window on a narrow Florentine street.
This one itty bitty scene comes up a lot in discussions of Damon’s characterization in Nightfall. The indulgent, don’t-have-to-eat-food-but-I’m-gonna-anyway vampire (and not just any food, but fruit) suddenly has a problem with kissing for pleasure? (Damon, from the very same Dark Reunion scene mentioned above: “What else is there? Pleasure is the only reality, little brother – pleasure and power.”) Some fans don’t buy it – if Damon appreciates good food, there must be other good things he appreciates as well, right?
So, just as the doughnut represents Matt’s unflagging loyalty and good nature, the orange has come to symbolize Damon’s decadence, sensuality, and refusal to limit himself the way his brother has. Overlay this with the thought of Stefan and Damon (and their opposing worldviews) shacking up together in Florence for six months and you have a perfect storm of fascinating character dynamics and possibilities. (Yeah, have we mentioned lately that The Vampire Diaries has vampire brothers? Suck it, haters.)
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