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Posted by | July 17, 2009, 22:54 (EST) | 32 Comments
Category: Books, Fandom

The Vampire DiariesAs 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).

Orange Cover by Jen Orange Cover by Jennifer Blushi Orange Cover by Elizabeth Diaz
Orange Cover by Red Orange Cover II by Red

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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  • http://ihain.livejournal.com Collie

    Oh god. I love you guys. Hahahaha. ♥

  • Jezebel

    I”m trying to instill my mind with the image of Damon eating a heart-shaped orange…lol…I would’ve chosen the third one;if only those hands were males ;-).

  • http://www.vampire-diaries.net/ Vee

    You realize the entire last half of this post could have been summed up in three succinct sentences? Being good is HARD.

  • Tara

    Love it! And I totally agree about Damon’s underlovelies. Fruit of the Loom has not invented the right garment yet. Omg, how I wish some publisher would print these covers. They could put a tiny doughnut icon on the spine. I think people would pay extra for that. :D

  • http://www.salishna.net/damon Adia

    FAR BETTER! <3

  • Marissa

    I will NEVER look at another orange the same again…*sigh*..let alone, eat one.

  • Sia

    I love the Twilight covers better. PLEASE DON’T HATE ON TWILIGHT UNTIL I SEE THAT Vampire Diaries can sell as many copies and gain a huge fanbase I WOULDN’T BE TALKING SMACK ABOUT TWILIGHT. YEs it was made before but it’s obvious which book everyone loves more.

  • Tara

    *dies*

  • http://www.vampire-diaries.net/ Vee

    Sia, what the hell are you on about? WHO’S HATING ON TWILIGHT? (Does typing in all capitals help make my point clearer?) Read the post again. Your defensive, knee-jerk Twilight commentary is utter nonsense. (Thanks for spamming four different posts with it in one night – impressive.) And, quite frankly, NO ONE CARES. There are plenty of Twilight fans posting on this blog who don’t feel the need to shove it down our throats like they have something to prove. The only thing *obvious* here is your lack of critical reading skills.

  • http://princessnevereviews.blogspot.com PrincessNeve

    Twilight has the Apple but we got Demon and the orange. wasome covers.

  • Tara

    I <3 you, Vee.

  • Miranda

    To tell you the truth i hate all the covers with the oranges on it! um… its just to close to Twilight and no im not jealous or hating on the Vampire Diaries because i love Twilight and the Vampire Diaries. Plus i agree the Twilight covers are better! Come up with better covers than the whole orange thing. its a dumb concept for that one little scene with Stefan and Damon. the whole apple thing is perfect for Twilight because it represents forbidden fruit with is essential to Twilight! end of story! sorry girls

  • http://www.vampire-diaries.net/ Red

    The point of the oranges is that it was a joke. A bit of fun that we went with. We’re not saying the publishers should use these covers instead. We’re not bashing the Twilight cover (I like it, personally). We’re just saying ‘wouldn’t it be amusing if…’ and just going with it. For fun.

  • Jezebel

    Or a doughnut with a football throught it :p

  • Lily-Beth

    I’m really glad that The Vampire Diaries are being made into a tv seris. After growing up with Buffy The Vampire Slayer I always loved vampires stories, when i saw Twilight i got into the books. Then, when looking around my school libary for more vampire books, I found The Vampire Diaries (sort of batterd at the back). I hoped something would come out of the books, but thought because they are like 18 years old (older than me) if a film or something was going to be made it would already have happend. Basically can’t wait. Does anyone know if it will be shown here in England?

  • samosa

    omg! :o this is just SO WRONG to use oranges
    for vampire-book-covers! – where the heck did
    that idea come from anyway (beside this ONE
    scene where naked-Damon peels an orange).

    sorry guys, but that’s just – to put it bluntly – IDIOTIC
    (what the heck, vampire diaries are LJ’s
    worst books anyway… nothing to do about it *sigh*)

  • http://www.vampire-diaries.net/ Red

    We haven’t said that they should use oranges. It was simply a case of us thinking ‘wouldn’t it be funny if it was an orange instead of an apple’ and went with it as a joke. To have fun and get a laugh out of deliberately being silly. Try it some time. ;)

  • http://lj-smith.com/ LM

    I personally think it’s WAY more idiotic to use an apple on a TVD book cover. Apples aren’t even mentioned in the books, and the books aren’t about forbidden fruit, either. At least oranges are relevant.

    You know what’d be nice to have on the covers? Some actual freakin’ illustrations! Something remotely imaginative! Something that doesn’t look like every other YA book cover out there!

    (At least the oranges are imaginative! I think Jen’s is my favorite.)

  • damon’s girl

    r u crazy!! sia was just trying to express her opinion on twilight vs. vampire diaries and how people should stop talking smack about twilight(which everyone DOES!!!) i love twilight and vampire diaries is the best series eeeeeeevvvvvvvvvver!!!!!!!!!! so u may go around thinking that *QUOTE* “NO ONE CARES” *UNQUOTE* but people do care!!! so shove off!!!!!1

  • confused

    sorry but i am still confused is the orange only there because of the small bit with Damien? showing that he tries to get everthing even if he doesn’t need it?
    and if so y is it Damien i mean isn’t the story based around Stephan and Elana? i mean it’s quite big
    i’m sorry but i am still confused can somebody please help? :] xx

  • http://www.vampire-diaries.net/ Red

    The story isn’t just about Stefan and Elena, Damon features very heavily as part of the main story, too. The orange is a fandom in-joke because the books have been around for nearly 20 years and older fans pick up on small things like that for fun. You don’t need to take it seriously or worry about it.

  • Nilly

    hahaha. Red, I agree about no underwear being created for Damon yet.
    When I was reading that scene, I couldn’t think of anything that suited him.

    ..that sounds really wrong.

  • Kayjee

    I like the orange with the vampire bite the best, if I were to pick any – but I like the paintings on LJ’s website the best. Check it out @ http://www.ljanesmith.net/gallery.php because they’re really good and are what the characters should look like instead of the way the show was cast. I appreciate the fact that Kevin Williamson was trying to find people who could really act instead of just look-alikes, so I can cut him some slack. However, it would be cool to get these paintings on the bookcovers.

  • TVD Lover

    Is it wrong for the ‘TVD’ to use oranges for its covers? No, right? (I am a HUGE fan of L. J. Smith)

  • Queelah

    I agree that Twilight’s book cover is better… but… the story is far more better.

    I think so…. :0 is it? who agree with me?

  • Queelah

    OOPSSS…. SORRY

    I mean the ‘TVD’ story are FAR more BETTER than Twilight.

    But I don’t say that Twilight is horrible anway, Twilight is OKAY.

  • colourfulchatterbox

    can you please direct me to this fanfic?? i want to read more!!!! you guys are hilarious!!=D i didn’t even know there was fanfiction for vampire diaries!! why didn’t i know this?

  • http://www.vampire-diaries.net/ Red
  • colourfulchatterbox

    THANK YOU!! now i’m gunna do no work for the rest of the weekend!!! i’ll be reading fanfic =D

  • Kristina

    i personally like the fouth one (bottom left). for me that’s my favorite. i also liked the first one (top left). when are these new covers coming out? or have they already and i missed it?

  • http://www.vampire-diaries.net/ Red

    They’re just covers made by fans for a bit of fun, and won’t actually be published.





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