Shades of Blonde – A Short Look at the Symbolism of Blonde Hair in The Originals


Symbolism in fiction takes many forms. Sometimes it’s an old man singing in the background of a suicide, sometimes it’s a sprawling desert or a title which references a poem or even just a colour. I think in case of The Originals there’s symbolism to hair colour in two isolated cases. Basically, something I noticed was how both Klaus and Marcel share a prediliction for blonde haired girls with blue eyes. In fact, neither have shown any true feelings for anyone that doesn’t fit that mold. I think this may in fact be a very intentional move by the writers for both of these characters. So if this is symbolism, then what does it mean? Well, in my opinion… 

I hope he's wearing pants.

Klaus pulls his sister close to him and away from Stefan.

Why Blondes?

I think Rebekah reminds Klaus of his mother Esther. Not only do they also have a very close familial relationship, as Esther and Klaus had before Henrik’s death, but she looks very much like Esther. She looks like the mother who abandoned him. Because of this, and his general abandoment issues, he clings to Rebekah especially strongly. Not only that, but it seems like he wants to own her fully, in an almost incestuous way. Wants to own her body and soul and never let her escape. After all, subverting people’s free wills by taking ownership of them so they can’t betray or hurt him is something which is undeniably part of Klaus’ MO. The hybrid sire bond is a good example of this.

Not only does he kill her lovers, much like a jilted lover would, but look at how he talks to her and about her: “They come and go for her, but I am the constant.” That’s a direct quote from “House of the Rising Son.” Something which sounds very much like an attempt to keep all other men away from her. Like he’s placing himself in that boyfriend role instead.

Alternatively, look at how he handles her in the scene where we first see them together (with Stefan in End of the Affair). He immediately grabs her close and pulls her away from Stefan, another love interest. Interestingly enough Rebekah even says “I’m not your girlfriend” at that point. Possibly a subtle wink at the true nature of this behaviour from the writers.

I’ve even heard, though I cannot cite the source, that Julie Plec would have done something more clearly incestuous between the two if they were on a channel like HBO. Even if that’s not the case though, a lot of the way Klaus acts towards Rebekah (the possessiveness, jealousy and the way he touches her sometimes) points to incestuous undertones.

And she’s not the only one this happens with. After Rebekah is put down with the dagger, Klaus seems to suddenly an inexplicably take an interest in another blonde: Caroline (thanks to Samcarter34 from The Vampire Diaries Wikia for pointing this out to me). He seems to constantly seek her approval, as if she was his parent. Wants to know everything about her, as if he wants to own her mind and soul. And will not rest until she’s his.

And what happens when he gets to New Orleans? He meets yet another blonde woman who’s approval he increasingly seeks and who he becomes romantically involved with: Camille.

And so there is a clear pattern. Esther and Rebekah were both close to him and both blonde. And the only other women in which he has ever shown genuine romantic interest, Camille and Caroline (sorry Genevieve), were blondes as well. So overall I think this is a case of projection. Klaus projects his desperate desires for his mother’s love and approval, which he feels he lost after she put the hybrid curse on him, unto these three women.

Klaus 2.0

Now on to Marcel… Not only does he share the trait of a man who acted as his adopted father and with whom he has a competitive and dysfunctional love-hate relationship, not only is there a thematic question on The Originals about children behaving like their parents but of course there’s, once again, Rebekah. Marcel had a very close relationship with Rebekah when he was younger. First she acted as a guardian of sorts, an adoptive aunt. As he got older she also became, presumably, his first lover. Much like his adoptive father’s behaviour, there’s an almost incestuous idea here, even though in this case Rebekah isn’t actually his kin.

Sexy times' a comin'.

Marcel, in love with Rebekah.

We don’t know very much about exactly what happened in the relationship between Marcel and Rebekah. But if I had to guess she was a safe haven for him. With Elijah snubbing him to protect Klaus, Klaus’ overbearing and often mercurial nature and no one else in sight, I bet the beautiful, kind Rebekah was the only person in his life who offered him some real sense of stability and safety. Something which is bound to bring a person closer together with someone. In addition, much as often happens between siblings, it’s quite possible that Rebekah became the standard by which he would end up judging all women he would encounter. So I think his instant attraction to Camille (another strong-willed, beautiful, blonde woman) is part of this same unfulfilled desire that he has towards Rebekah. He always wanted her love, yet was never able to get it. To Marcel, she was the one that got away and that left its mark on him. It’s also worth noting that Camille, just like Rebekah, is a way of continuing his competition with Klaus, his father figure. A competition which is at the core of his character.

Obviously this is all speculation, and you could argue about what the writers did and did not intend, but I think there may be truth to it considering how large the pattern is.

What about you guys? Am I just crazy? Is it all just coincidence? Am I reading into this issue too much? Or do you too, think there’s more to it than that? Leave a comment in the comment section telling me what you think.

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Copyright: The images used in this article are screenshots taken from the episodes of the show. We are allowed to use them under section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. The Originals belongs to the CW and Alloy Entertainment.

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