Compassion – deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.
I have to admit something. When I first met the character of Caroline Forbes, I dismissed her as a vapid, ditzy, neurotic, blonde airhead.
I could not have been more wrong.
People may be confronted with a terrible crisis in their lives – an illness or accident that leaves them forever weakened or maimed, the death of a loved one (particularly a spouse or child), or the loss of a career or business that leads to bankruptcy and the total collapse of everything they know and love. These things tend to have one of two effects on people.
Some are overcome and fall into a depression, or worse – they sink into a drug or alcohol addiction. They are defeated by the challenge.
Others, however, rise to the challenge and come through the crisis – certainly changed forever but somehow stronger.
Caroline has proven to be one of the stronger ones.
As just a normal human teen, Caroline represented a typical, somewhat self-absorbed high school girl, organizing social projects, dating boys, hanging with her girlfriends, and managing a difficult relationship with her mother.
With her crisis – her transformation into a vampire – Caroline has changed, and she has changed for the better.
We see the first glimpse of a newfound compassion when she must erase her mother’s memory. Never was Caroline as tender-hearted as when she explained to her mother why she had to do this.
With Tyler, Caroline is both strong and tender. As a vampire, she has matured as a human – with the help of her mentor, Stefan. But Tyler is suspicious of her motives. He asks her why she wants to help him – because they have never really been friends – even though they have grown up together in Mystic Falls and known each other all their lives.
Caroline is clear. She sees Tyler’s situation as similar to what she has already gone through herself. She already knows the physical and emotional pain involved in such a transformation. She tells him that she had no control over her body and her impulses – and it caused her to kill someone. She doesn’t want Tyler to have to face his challenge alone.
Having seen the recording of Mason’s transformation and the journal he left, Caroline knows what Tyler is facing and she is willing and ready to face it with him, despite the danger. Her offer to help him through it is courageous and selfless – all the more since vampires and werewolves are enemies, and she has no way of knowing if Tyler will be able to control the impulse to attack and kill her once his transformation is complete.
If they survive, rather than having yet another “love triangle” develop with Matt, Tyler and Caroline, I’d like to see the relationship between Caroline and Tyler develop. As Tyler said, “It’s not really fair to be with someone and not really let them know who you are.” These two know each other’s secrets – and I think they would make an interesting and formidable couple.