There are so many themes that get me all !!! but I'm going to try to sum up what makes me ship them so damn hard:
(All uncredited GIFs under the cuts are mine- if you want me to post them on tumblr so you can reblog please let me know!)
Kol: "I'm a lot like you. Don't really believe in rules and authority." (2x02)
Kol: "A witch needs a coven, even if it is just two." (2x07)
Kol: "It's like you're in my mind, Davina Claire." (2x09)
They're both outsiders, constantly being used, doubted, and even victimized by the people that should love and support them. They're also magic nerds who appreciate each other's knowledge and skill, and they both love applying that to circumvent those more powerful.
Davina was persecuted by the witches for much of S1 until they finally succeeded in killing her to complete the Harvest ritual. The ancestors tormented her while she was dead, and then the other French Quarter witches Mean Girled her once she was brought back. It's no surprise that she spent most of S2 in the company of Kol, Marcel and Josh instead of her fellow witches, and that she found such delight in learning and doing magic with Kol.
Despite being made Regent by the end of S2, she remained isolated by her position instead of included, an arc that culminated in her being Shunned. Becoming one of the powerful Strix Sisters left her no better off- her only friend among them was killed, another bullied her, then the entire coven was slaughtered. She's also been at odds with Marcel, on and off throughout the seasons because he uses her even while he protects her, and his doubts in her abilities contrast neatly with Kol's unwavering faith.
Similarly, Kol was at completely at the mercy of his family in S2. Esther put him in a weaker witch body on purpose so that he would be easier to control (read: bully), and both sides of the Mikaelson family constantly hurt him to force his cooperation in their plans. They also seemed to understand very little about him as a person:
Kol: "And when am I happiest then, mother?"
Esther: "...when you're doing as you're told." (2x09) (LOL as freaking if. ETA: I think she's right- he thrives on being trusted with crucial parts of the plan, but consistently rebels when he's being threatened.)
He also resented his exclusion from the "Always and Forever" trio, "all hanged portraits and shared secrets, and I'm the odd one out".
As Davina and Kol worked together, they both realized how much more effective they were as a unit. And with growing rapport and trust came a sense of belonging. Their goals were always aligned, Kol's workshop became their "secret lair" and they had each other's backs (both physically and emotionally) more than their actual family. And I love how Davina can see right through con artist Kol. LOL The way she deduces the answers while he's doing his best to dissuade her in 3x13 is A++:
Kol: "...As such, it's impossible to break."
Davina: "You know I can tell when you're lying to me no matter what face you wear? Don't you get it? If I can break the Sire Link I can use the power of the Sisters to bring you back."
Davina: "Kol, we can finally be together! Why won't you just tell me?"
Kol: "Because, darling, I can guarantee you won't like the answer."
Davina: "Fine. At least I know it's not impossible."
Kol: "Please don't do this."
Davina: "So...if there's a loophole, it's blood related."
Kol: "Not just blood related. For it to work, someone has to die. So please. Stop!"
Davina: "The spell centers around blood. But just taking someone's blood wouldn't kill them...you need their heart."
Kol: "I understand that you want to bring me back, but this is a devil's bargain."
Davina: "Do you need a heart outside the link? An unsired heart!"
Kol: "Damn it, Davina!"
Their dynamic reminds me a lot of Family of Choice/True Companion tropes with an additional romantic element, and Kol's death was understandably devastating for her (doubly so because he was fatally hexed while they were trying to rescue Josh and Marcel). I see people complaining in the tags about how her character arc is so tied up in bringing back her dead boyfriend because feminism! But she was happiest when they were a Coven of Two (and carrying guilt about getting him hexed), so this is a totally understandable motivation, IMO? And it's hard not to feel for her in 3x15: without magic he's no longer the other half of their team, and as an Original, he fits back into his family more naturally than he fits with her. :(
(Connection overcoming obstacles)
Davina: "Then we can take them on together. We can do anything, can't we?" (3x13)
This theme comes up time and again, illustrated by the various barriers placed between them, including Death itself. And yet the bond they forged allows them to work together to despite the obstacles. It's also represented in their use of Kemiya, which is dependant on the strength of chemistry/connection between the witches performing it. (I'm still a bit sadfaced that Kol never got to see their Golden Dagger in action.) Plus that time they did a matching hourglass spell together, they always seemed to be two parts of a set in S2.
Kol: "I know you don't trust me and that's fair enough, but... the only way we can do this is to work together. You need to trust me. Take my hands; take my power. Channel me." (2x05)
Kol: "Close your eyes." (2x07, 2x09, 3x13)
Sleep being when we are at our most vulnerable, this is one of the ways the show signposts how much Davina trusts Kol.
In 2x04, he betrays her by making a deal with Mikael while she's sleeping/knocked out, and sabatoges her again in 2x05 by destroying her spell binding agent while she's still unconscious. And yet he's careful, even tender with her while she's sleeping.
After the revelation of his betrayals and true identity, she's understandably reluctant to sleep in his presence.
But she softens by the end of 2x07 after they work together again, and he proves himself trustworthy by NOT stealing the White Oak Stake while she's sleeping. (Although you can tell he's debating it before Marcel makes the choice for him.)
We see her sleeping on the sofa in the workshop while Kol works by 2x12
She knocks herself out to seek him out in Purgatory in 3x11, because he's "the only witch [she] trust[s]".
And she asks Kol to knock her (and the coven) out in 3x13:
And finally sleeps sleeps with him in 3x15:
I wonder if we will ever see this flipped? (ETA: we have- he slept for three days while she watched over him between 3x14 and 3x15. LOL)
Kol's character development
Just compare the surprise on his face here (TO 3x15):
To him on TVD four years ago (TVD 3x15):
He was an overpowered dick, and more of a caricature than a character. And I didn't find Mr. won't-take-no-for-an-answer shippable at all (although he was highly entertaining and still my fave Original, haha). His personality remained fairly static in the couple of years he popped in and out of Mystic Falls: removed from/at odds with his siblings, with a taste for mass murder and mayhem and a self-reported esteem for witches. We never see him care for anybody except himself (even preventing Silas' rise was only due to not wanting to live in Hell on Earth); turning on his own siblings in the blink of an eye. In the flashbacks on TO, he seemed inconvenienced more than sad when his witch friends were imprisoned by Klaus, more peeved about Marcel being included than hurt that he was not.
But I don't think it was simply the lack of bloodlust and the ability to use magic again that curbed his selfish, destructive behaviour after he was brought back in S2, even though this may be the way he explains it to himself (and the audience). I think being the least powerful supe in New Orleans was the biggest factor in the changes in his behaviour and perceptions- he had to change to survive. And I love how much extra depth it's given him, that it's enabled him to become someone trustworthy who respects and cares for others.
Kol: "It wasn't the magic that made me better. It was you." (3x15) (I don't think the latter bit is entirely true, since he wasn't killing indiscriminately before they teamed up either, although Davina liking him as is did huge things for his self-esteem. But the fact that he recognizes that he became a better person; that he likes the change, is important.)
Rebekah: "In case you're wondering, this is the side of you that I like." (2x13)
Rebekah: "What happened to the brother I used to know? The one who laughed death in the face?" (2x14)
Kol: "The ironic thing is that I actually preferred this go around. Being a witch. No heightened emotion, no bloodlust. It was just me." (2x14)
He's still a wily, sharp-tongued troublemaker, but he's willing to dial it back now out of respect:
Rebekah: "You're a genius! You glorious bastard!"
Kol: "I'm a little surprised it worked, myself." (2x13)
Klaus: "Thank you"
Kol: "You're welcome." (2x13)
And even reverent:
Plus the caring, vulnerable side of Kol is so awesome to see:
Kol: "All my life, all I wanted was you lot to care about me." (2x14)
Davina: "You're lying. Why? Don't you get it? You can live again. Isn't that what you want?"
Kol: "More than anything, Davina Claire. But do you have any idea how dangerous that spell is?... Find another way, love. Not with them. Nothing is worth what they will make you do." (3x11)
Kol: "Seriously, darling. You have to let me go. The longer you stay in this coven, the more dangerous it becomes for you." (3x13)
Compare this to how we saw him on TVD after death, trying to force Bonnie to drop the Veil, then desperate for any way for The Other Side to stay intact to avoid oblivion. But he actually loves Davina more than he loves living, which is just :'D
And it seems most of those changes have stuck even after being resurrected. He reaches out to his siblings immediately and openly adores Davina, even when she's not present or fast asleep.
But dark clouds are on the horizon:
We got the "not like most girls" quote in 2x07, but there's been no further reference to OSG or Davina being some sort of "worthy exception" so I was enjoying the Us Against the World/Starcrossed lovers narrative... until 3x15 when Kol is resurrected as an Original Vampire. Aaaand now that he's powerful again he says this:
(hoe don't do it)
OH MY GAWD
Plus the requisite trope deconstruction at the end of the ep:
Plus the requisite trope deconstruction at the end of the ep:
Soooo we've all been to this rodeo before and know exactly how this goes. Ugggghhhh COULD WE NOT FOR ONCE
With Finn back, this particular memory may also come into play, shaking Davina's deep rooted trust in Kol:
Plus he seems to be right back to his old ways of solving problems:
Kol: "But since your enemies have returned seeking vengeance, I suppose they ought to be murdered." (3x15)
[Totally unconfirmed rumors]Apparently there are rumors about Davina daggering Kol (which I actually thought would happen anyway, given that it's the only way to subdue the mass murderer that she brought back, especially if she tells herself that it's only until she comes up with a spell to "fix" him. It's also what Kol will view as the ultimate betrayal, therefore Angst! Drama!) There are also rumors about Kol killing Davina (which I find far more unlikely given their emotional dynamic and just how much she's done for him. But if it's the only way for her to be "released" from the Strix coven I can see this being plausible too?)
[Ending with eye candy]Meh, whatever. I'm rooting for them anyway. XD I MEAN, THIS IS FORESHADOWING, RIGHT:
Seriously we had to wait 4 years for shirtless Kol. SUCH A TRAVESTY. So here, have a gratuitous GIF. Fingers crossed this marvelous state continues as long as possible, pleeease. Starcrossed lovers reunited after a year deserve at least another ep of happiness, right?