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When we first meet the legendary Dimitri Belikov, he's taking Rose and Lissa back to the academy—the one place they don't want to go. You'd think we'd hate him just a little bit, but it's actually the opposite. We like his skill and level-headedness in the field, and even Rose is impressed with him.
It's no wonder this guy's a god: he can outrun just about everybody, he can train even the most troubling recruit (ahem, Rose), and he knows how to stand up to Strigoi. He's even got six molinja marks to prove it. There's no doubt in our mind that Dimitri knows what he's doing, but he's got a softer side as well.
He tells Rose how he feels about killing Strigoi, "I'm not guilty exactly… just sad sometimes. All of them used to be human or dhampir or Moroi. It's a waste, that's all, but as I said before, it's something I have to do. Something we all have to do. Sometimes it bothers me, and the chapel is a good place to think about those kinds of things" (21.11).
It's sweet that Dimitri really contemplates killing Strigoi. Sure, it's his job to kill them before they kill Morois, but he still considers what he's doing. It's one of the things that makes us feel warm and fuzzy about the Russian trainer, but it also gets us thinking that Rose isn't the only one making sacrifices for her duty.
Dimitri also encourages Rose in a way no one else does. He tells her: "I know your character. I know you're going to be a great guardian" (13.90). Dimitri has complete faith in Rose, and she's floored. She's gone from being known as a blood whore with a nasty right hook and a penchant for sassy remarks, to a responsible, selfless guardian, willing to risk it all for her Moroi. If that's not a transformation, we don't know what is.
Pretty soon, it's not just Dimitri's guardian skills that Rose notices: "Dimitri was quiet and distant sometimes, but he also had a dedication and an intensity that I'd never seen in any other person. I wondered how that kind of power and strength translated into… well, sex. I wondered what it'd be like for him to touch me" (9.77). Oh boy—Rose starts to wonder about Dimitri in a new light. It's strange for her that Dimitri's eyes and body could do more for her than Jesse's kisses. Hmm… maybe she doesn't feel as strongly about Jesse as she thought.
When the two of them do actually hook up, it's just as exciting as Rose imagined it: "I'd never been completely naked around a guy before. It scared the hell out of me—even though it excited me, too. Lying on the covers, we clung to each other and kept kissing—and kissing and kissing and kissing. His hands and lips took possession of my body, and every touch was like fire on my skin" (19.1).
Cover your little sister's eyes, because this scene is where Rose and Dimritri get it on. Now, we know that they were partly just reacting to the spell in the necklace, but we also think there's more to it than that. Rose is finally ready to go all the way with a guy, but the spell breaks. It looks like she's going to have to wait a little longer.
Dimitri does the honorable thing and tells Rose they just can't be together. It's not that he doesn't feel that way about her—like he initially claims—it's that he worries what will happen if he loves her more than his duty to protect Lissa at all costs. If the two of them were Lissa's guardians, he wouldn't do his job if a Strigoi came running toward them.
It's super sweet that he thinks that, but we're of two minds about whether we agree with him or not. On the one hand, we get it—he's got to think about his duty, and that's protecting Lissa. On the other hand, he can't help who he loves.
So what do you think: does Dimitri do the right thing by breaking it off with Rose?