You’re a Waldorf, remember? People don’t tell you who you are, you tell them.
because blair waldorf, the tv character, is based on blair waldorf, the cecily von ziegesar creation, the writers face a dilemma. as the story progresses, they desperately want to write blair as regina george. it’s so much easier that way, and to a large degree she fulfills that role in seasons 1-2: the tyrannical mean girl, the bully, the queen bee, causing conflict for conflict’s sake, and by extension driving most of the plot. the thing about regina george is that she is an archetype—all we know about her is she’s spoiled and angry. the thing about blair waldorf is there are 8+ books exploring her inner life, her insecurities, her family problems, her struggle with bulimia, and an existing fanbase who expect to see that portrayed onscreen. in the books, blair isn’t a psychopath—mostly she’s just a ‘relatable’, awkward, sad teenage girl who wishes her life was a film, happens to be ambitious, and has an unfortunate tendency to lash out.
but the writers need someone to drive the action, and they want to write the mean girl so much. so what happens is this: they establish her vulnerabilities from the start, before allowing her character to develop and stray from the text, the issues blair faces throughout the books recurring in the series while also serving as an explanation for her behaviour—a kind of villain origin story; then, they turn book!blair’s character flaws up to 11. the dreamy tendency to see herself as audrey hepburn becomes a furious, dangerous desire for the aesthetically perfect at all costs. her ambition (to get into yale) becomes a means for her to become embroiled in plots of bribery, blackmail and public humiliation. her teenage ‘lashing out’ becomes systematic bullying, power games and elaborate, sadistically executed revenge schemes. of course, american television loves an narcissist. but it’s (maybe?) interesting that here we have a (teenage!) female ‘narcissist’ who is portrayed in a complex, nuanced way.
leighton meester expertly navigates the divide between blair’s hard, nasty qualities, and her gentler, more vulnerable ones, delivering threats in a soft voice with wide, injured bambi eyes (‘you know i hate secrets more than anything’ [s1e7]), forcing back sobs and fashioning her expression into a blank, cold one as she stares at herself in the bathroom mirror (s2e14), and imparting advice on how to bully your way to the top of the social ladder to jenny humphrey with a quiet, earnest air of sisterly solidarity (‘you can’t make people love you, but you can make them fear you’ [s2e25]). this gifset captures another one of these moments—and i think it’s leighton, rather than the writing, that makes this scene so memorable and satisfying. leighton could have been angry and vengeful here—‘have fun in reform school!’ could have been so hard and sarcastic. instead, throughout this scene, she glows angelically. she tells georgina that she’s ‘not alone’ with a tone of bright reassurance that thinly veils not bitterness or sadism, but an almost transcendent bliss. she has driven their enemies out of town and is free to re-assume her position at the top of the school’s hierarchy—things are finally restored to their natural order! we (or at least, i) find ourselves (myself) celebrating with blair—not just because she got rid of the series ‘big bad’, but because the rightful queen of constance is in her fucking element and it’s beautiful. she smiles; she leans a little closer, intimate, conspiratorial. when she says ‘have fun in reform school’, it comes out on a breath, low and indifferent. blair isn’t fighting with georgina—she’s just dismissing her subject. she’s showing mercy. in fact, she’s being kind.
No one is better for me than you.
Aw, look at how they’ve grown.
This is Queen B.
They’re judging you.
Blair’s line after “Butterflies?” is probably one of the best lines she’s ever had!
inspired by x
Gossip Girl charatcers summed up.
The moment Chuck fell in love with Blair…well in my book.
Blair and Chuck: The Early Years