Alrighty then, let's get to it…
BECAUSE (i.e., 25 Favorite Characters)
How could I not adore Damon Salvatore? We literally saw every emotional side of that character, every shade, every angle and Ian Somerhalder beautifully portrayed them all throughout the entire series. Damon was at turns witty and sincere, and he was always emotional, whether it be of the bitter or sweet variety. He could be hilarious (often) serious (when it really counted); Damon was quite often snarky, and always sexy. We saw him in love, in lust, in like, filled with brotherly love and sibling rivalry. You name it, Damon Salvatore was it and with him there was simply never a dull moment. He was the ultimate bad boy, yes, but he was also so much more… as his journey of redemption throughout the eight seasons of the series showed. With as many steps back as Damon seemed to take for every forward, he did evolve. His humanity was awakened upon his return to Mystic Falls, upon connecting with his brother, upon meeting Elena Gilbert—the love of his life—upon finding friends and a group of people who became a family to him.
And that humanity would not let go of its grip on him. Yes, he did have those lapses and backslides, however, in the end Damon did find that better man that was always inside of him, encouraged by all those who loved him. As someone who adored all iterations of Damon—the wicked vampire who didn't give a damn, the undead bad boy who felt the guilt, and not only that of loving "his brother's girl," and the guy who was finally chosen—there was never a time during the series when Damon wasn't my favorite. I always understood where he was coming from, where he was going, where he had been and that was due to the writing, the care and the crafting of this character, the obvious love that went into the scripting of Damon Salvatore… and, of course, Ian Somerhalder. Every once in a while an actor and a character are paired that are just a splendiferously perfect match. Such was the case here. Ian Somerhalder was Damon Salvatore. Damon Salvatore was Ian Somerhalder. Amen.
Elena Gilbert Salvatore
Elena Gilbert was the heroine, the good girl, but she was no cookie-cutter bland one-dimensional character. She was real, and in my opinion, one of the most interesting so-called "good girls" that the small screen ever produced. A part of that was because of how fantastically the slow-burning and beautiful relationship between her and Damon Salvatore was written. That is because through that relationship we were shown so many sides to Elena; we saw Elena begin to blossom and step out of her grief and her teenage self and into a stronger, independent woman. Elena was filled with warmth and empathy—to a ridiculous (like, come ON, girl!) degree—but she could also be bratty at times, and due to her lot in life she expressed a bit of bitterness now and then. Understandable, and it made her all the more relatable. Oh, and she was smart. I loved how she used her brains to try and get out of situations; she didn't just wait for the guy to come and save her. She fought back.
She fought not only for her boyfriend, but also for her family, her friends—who were just as much her family. She fought so very, very hard for them. And Nina Dobrev was sensational in selling that good girl who was so very real, who fought so hard for her loved ones. We believed in her, in her love—and not just of the romantic kind, but familial and friendships—because Dobrev completely sold *every* relationship that mattered to Elena Gilbert. As real as Elena was, so was every one of her relationships and because of that Elena was the heart and the connection of the show. Even after Dobrev left The Vampire Diaries for the final two seasons (she returned for the series finale), Elena's love for the majority of the core characters (sorry, Enzo!) and their love for her was in many ways the glue that held all of them together when they might have not done so otherwise. They all loved her so and I completely understand why. Elena was awesome-sauce.
On a scale of one to unbelievably awesome how awesome is Rebekah Mikaelson? Off the charts! Claire Holt is amazing, amazing, amazing. Every line, every quip, every sigh, every tear, every smile, every heartbreak, all of it was always perfection. Just as her Rebekah was perfection. She was perfect as the loving,
Caroline Forbes Salvatore
I loved Caroline Forbes hard from the first episode. She is literally the only character that I felt this away about from the start. No lie. I loved that she could be thoughtless and tactless, air-headed and ditzy, but also wise and calm and so put together. When we first met her, she could be unkind and cowardly, but as we saw her die and come back as a vampire and grow as a person, that aspect of her personality (for the most part) went away—she still had a few unkind moments sure, but, who doesn't? However, Caroline always had this immense heart and she was the girl who just wanted to be loved and to love in return. And she did get that in a couple of different ways—two wonderful children (miraculously) and a beautiful wedding with Stefan. Alas the happy ending ended there, but she still has those adorable girls. Her relationship with her mother blossomed and was a source of comfort and joy for the both before Liz's passing, and she has her two best friends, the petty jealousies and insecurities of her teenage self behind them. Oh, Caroline was such a beautiful ray of sunshine, and it was such a joy watching this teenager with self-esteem issues grow into a confident young woman, mother, wife, career woman who never truly lost sight of who she was. And what she was was amazing.
Despite the early going that appeared to paint Stefan as the hero of our story, it became clear quickly—if one paid attention—that he was no hero after all, but rather a severely screwed-up supernatural creature who just wanted to do the right thing but had never dealt with his own messed up self. Stefan certainly had flaws, but he also had plenty worth rooting for as well. There was his sweet sensitivity (most often on display with his beloved Caroline and when he let his guard down with Damon), and he did have a sense of humor that was truly funny, even if we didn't see it often. And Stefan had layers… so many layers. Stefan Salvatore was probably the most layered character on this show. He wanted so much to be good, but he was so, so bad at times, and could be so self-righteous and selfish and really such an asshole. However, he genuinely did want to be good; he genuinely did want to help people… but you know, strangers and people he didn't know, because damn, did he know how to cut his brother and ex-girlfriend to the quick and deep when they hurt him. Oh, Stefan. Such a great character and one that the show took a lot of time to let find himself, to find his happiness, to find his peace… even if it took dying to do that. *sigh* I'm not happyhappyjoyjoy that he had to die to find his redemption, but I adore that he went out with such a beautiful purity that bespoke of the good in him. In the end, Stefan did right by himself, by his town, by his brother and by his own soul. Ah, such a fantastic character; I loved him so much.
Oh, Matty-Blue-blue. I didn't always love him, but I once I realized that I did, I fell hard and that love stayed true. Oh, Matty! I loved that he never wavered in wanting to stay human. He didn't feel left out in the supernatural shenanigans despite the fact that all of his friends had those powers; he was happy, nay, determined to remain a human boy. And it was that humanity that strengthened his resolve that vampires and other paranormal creatures had too high a capacity for evil. It wasn't until the final season when the non-mystical world of Mystic Falls intruded that Matt's beliefs were vindicated. But vindicated they were and in retrospect that added such power to the last few seasons of Matt Donovan's characterization. He has been right. And not only right, but also strong and kind. Matt too was sweet; he was empathetic, and he was hard-working. Viewers saw Matt Donovan grow from a lovelorn teen with a chip on his shoulder who could sometimes be an ass to the Sheriff of Mystic Falls who always strove to do the right thing and remained human, beautifully so, until the very end.
Bonnie Bennett was just awesome; I loved her so very much. And she was such a well-rounded character. Yup, you read that right. I don't consider—nor did I ever—Bonnie just the "witch," and a character who was used as a plot point or the easy fix. We learned about so many members of her family (past and present), saw a beautiful relationship develop, fall apart, rebuild and then ultimately break down again with Jeremy. (Yeah, and the Enzo thing too.) We experienced her varied but equally strong best friendships with Elena, Caroline and Damon. Yes, there was the exploration of her magic and witchy ways but it was always explored through who Bonnie was as a person, not the other way around. Her fears about it, why she thought she was given that power, when to use it and when not to, and choosing to do or not do depending on her humanity (both the good and bad sides of it). We saw Bonnie fight for the greater good, fight for the life of her family, friends and loves, and generally be bad-ass in the ownership and use of her magic. So awesome.
Katherine Pierce a.k.a Katerina Petrova
Katherine Pierce was sassy, spoiled, manipulative, cruel, playful, passionate and so, so much fun to watch. Nina Dobrev (who also played our even more awesome—in my opinion—show's heroine, Elena) played her so deliciously. It was no wonder that just about everyone who came in to contact with her found themselves charmed. And that was in no small part due the depth of Katherine; it was because of that depth that I never thought of Katherine as a villain. There was so much more to her, but still in the end, when push came to shove, Katherine would always do for Katherine no matter who she had to hurt in the process. Not to mention, our girl took petty pleasure in causing pain and discomfort to and for others just because. At the end of the day, Katerina really was the ultimate villain of The Vampire Diaries. She was selfish and essentially an evil person. However, because there was that sliver of humanity that would peek through every once in a while there was a delicious unpredictability to the character. There was always the chance that she might do the right thing. Maybe. On the very rare occasion. And watching her do so or very much more often not was so, so, *so* much fun to watch.
Malachai "Kai" Parker
I loved Kai Parker. I mean, he was totally evil and awful and terrible, but I still loved him. I loved him for so, so many reasons based on the awesome of Kai alone but also because he is what I think that Klaus as a villain should have been (deliciously wicked and unrepentedly so). Kai was a blend of scary and evil, and yet boyishly charming at the same time, but under that disarming charm, I never doubted that he would kill in a heartbeat with zero remorse. He was a psychotic scamp and one that I genuinely believed would do any horrible thing that popped into his sociopathic mind at the drop of a hat and not blink. There would be no trembling lip from him, no teary eye because simply put he was just a soulless sociopath with a cheery disposition. Hmm, such a great character with such great execution in writing, direction and acting. The acting, my goodness, the acting… Chris Wood was absolutely brilliant in the role. I've since seen him elsewhere and he's been good in them, don't get me wrong. Wood is good-looking and charming, charismatic and a fine actor. However, it's more than just his charm and talent… and it's more than just the excellent writing of the character of Kai. It's the combination of the two. I believe it's a case where the confluence of actor and character just so perfectly aligned to create perfection. And Kai Parker was perfection.
Oh, my beloved Tessa. My goodness, I loved her so! She was so freaking entertaining as all get-out. Janina Gavankar effortlessly came on-screen and owned every scene she was in from minute one until her much-too-soon final one. Gavankar was not only so good with the acting, she was also brimming with charisma. I watched just about every moment in utter awe at the utter crazy-cakes on display, but still felt sympathy for. Through it all, I just did not want to stop watching her. It just wasn't just the beauty of the performance, I adored the writing, the backstory and how it was threaded into an arc not only with Elena, Damon and their love story, along with Stefan, his past with Elena, and his burgeoning potential with Caroline, but also with Bonnie and a way to bring her back to life. All of that was captured in the awesome-crazy glory of Tessa. Seriously, what wasn't to love?
So smooth, so elegant, so gentlemanly, ah, Elijah Smith, erm, Mikaelson embodied by Daniel Gillies was perfection (at least on The Vampire Diaries—but I'm only basing my ranking from his tenure on this show, not the spin-off.). It was the way that Gillies spoke, the careful precision of his pauses, his phrasing, the hint of emotion piping through every now and then. It was also the precise manner of tone, it was the way that he moved. It was with such grace and ease, as if he had all the time in the world… which of course he did. Elijah spoke and moved and acted, he verily existed as a creature who had lived for a thousand years. There was such a debonair, worldly air about him that I adored. He had such a classic, old-school quality; it was a quality that just wasn't found in any other character on the show. However, he was more than just the gentleman vampire, the first of the Originals we met was also badder than bad-ass. He was simply one BAMF. I loved, loved, loved him.
Professor Alaric Saltzman
Oh, Alaric. Alaric, Alaric. Alaric. *sigh* This was a character who came on as recurring a bit before the midway point of season 01 and quickly stole my heart. His awesome bromance with Damon, his teacher by day/vampire-hunter by night (while being friendly with vampires) status paired with his wry sense of humor was delightful. He was charming and charismatic and wonderful… and then he was manipulated by a thousand-year old witch on the Other Side and he died. And I was sad, really, really sad. I just wanted him to come back. And then he did! Elation! Uhm. *sigh* Had the Alaric who returned been as awesome as the Alaric pre-death, he would be in the top ten. Alas, such was not the case. He was paired with Dr. Josette Laughlin, she of the Gemini Coven, and basically became all that he was about… to the exclusion of his (awesome) BFF and his Mystic Falls family. There were still moments, scenes, even episodes where the everything that I loved about Alaric Saltzman shone through but more often than not, well, not. Still, I loved the character so much in those first three seasons and liked him well enough in the final three seasons to still have him this high on my list. Oh, Alaric, Alaric, Alaric. Alaric. *sigh*
I loved Jeremy, I did, but I think that the reason I think so fondly of him is because of his interaction with others. I adored how much he and Elena loved one another and how their relationship never changed even when they found out they weren't technically brother and sister. His love stories with Anna and Bonnie were both different, at turns, quirky and sweet and, alas, in both cases, tragic, but also filled with romance because Jeremy was romantic and sweet and quirky, and yes, tragic. And then there was his relationship with the boys, Tyler and Matt, Alaric… and Damon. He found friendship among his peers who also experienced tragedy amidst the supernatural and they helped him find his grounding. And with Alaric, he found a father-figure, something that he desperately needed after losing his own parents, and then Jenna and John. Finally, Damon, Damon, Damon. He loved Damon, he did. Damon was like the older brother he had never had and he just wanted Damon to show him that he cared too. It was a beautiful thing. Again, as were all of his relationships. Steven R. McQueen had chemistry with just about every one of his screen partners. He may not have been an especially dynamic actor, but he was a quiet, subtle one who was *always* on… watch him in any scene, in the background, on the sidelines and he was always reacting, always letting you know that Jeremy was a real boy and he was there in the moment (or not, as the story called for). I loved Jeremy because he was real, and because of that all of his bonds felt real and so I felt for him and for every one of those relationships. And because of that… I loved Jeremy so much.
Sheriff Elizabeth Forbes
I wonder sometimes if I'm the first Sheriff Elizabeth Forbes fan. Seriously. While other Vampire Diaries viewers were fan-girling all over Lexi, I was not. Instead, I was annoyed because she tried to kill Sheriff Forbes and I really liked the Sheriff. As the seasons passed, my like grew to love, and I was thrilled that her friendship with Damon was explored and deepened and her relationship with Caroline became such an important part of that character's growth. Liz was indeed exceptionally ordinary… with the emphasis on exceptional. How many people can change a lifetime of ingrained prejudice for the sake of a loved one? Well, someone who is intelligent, who has a good heart, who truly loves those who are dear, that's who. Someone who is exceptional. Someone like Elizabeth Forbes.
Sheila "Grams" Bennett
Grams was just awesome. Yeah, she betrayed Damon and treated Stefan like he was a special snowflake without just cause, but other than that… Grams was so freaking awesome. She was strong and brave and was the best mother (and father)-figure that Bonnie could ever have. Supportive and sassy, she made damn sure that her granddaughter knew how to be true to herself and find her inner strength, but also to accept help when necessary. Jasmine Guy brought so much grace and love to the role; she also meshed beautifully with Kat Graham's Bonnie helping to make their familial relationship feel so very real. I loved Grams, but I will confess a measure of my love is because I love Bonnie so and Grams love for her was so radiant that it always warmed my heart.
Isobel Fleming Saltzman
Isobel was a bad, bad girl. Yes, when she let her humanity slip in, her love for Elena and Alaric revealed itself, but she wanted vampirism and she chose to keep that humanity switch in that off position more often than not. *shrug* I still loved her. I loved her when she was good; seeing her and Alaric in the past together told the story of a love that was real and good, but just not strong enough. I also loved her when she was bad. Isobel was naughty and sassy, and she was cold as ice. She was also our first vivid image of what a vampire looked like when they truly embraced their lack of humanity. Ah, Isobel. I would love to believe that she found her peace in the end, but—just as she ended her undead life—she's no doubt burning in some kind of hell. *double shrug* Still love her.
I know that Sybil was horrible and awful, but I loved her so very much. I thought that Nathalie Kelley did an awesome job in the role. When I first saw the casting, I was expecting this sultry, over-the-top sex-bomb, but that is not how she was portrayed (even if it initially appeared so). Kelley clearly had a blast, and also there was this touch of innocence that I truly enjoyed. I also liked that the sense I got that Sybil wasn't so much being cruel as it was that she was just doing her job—a job that she was exceedingly good at. After Kai, Sybil was my favorite Vampire Diaries villain. I just loved her so much! She was awesome (in the worst way, but still). What I loved about her so much is that, like Kai, she was undeniably a bad person and yet there was no remorse or wishy-washy-ness about it. She inflicted pain (it was her job!), caused mayhem (it was in the description, people!) and she loved it (it's important to love your work!). Yes, it's right that she died and she probably should have died much more horrifically… but eh, I still loved her so.
Ah, Pearl, the magnificent HBIC that was Pearl. Oh, Kelly Hu, you are a goddess, simply put and Pearl was just transcendent. She was wise and beautiful, glowing and serene, and then she would gouge your eyes or stab a wooden kitchen utensil in your gut because you didn't follow the rules. The awesome was always on display. Even in her vampire state, she was so human in her love for a man centuries dead who betrayed her. However, most important to her was taking care of her daughter… even if she was a hundred years or so behind on the job. Oh, Pearl. She deserved a better ending, but at least she was reunited with her beloved Annabelle on the Other Side and I sure hope she found peace in the end.
I rather love Klaus in spite of myself. I know that sounds odd but here's the thing… Klaus was so over-hyped for more than half a season that I was disappointed when he finally showed up. Frankly, he just couldn't possibly live up to that build-up. (Of course, a few seasons later, Chris Wood's Kai came along and was totally that prime villain that was promised and more, but I digress…) So I have to put that all out of my mind and just look at what we got with Klaus and what we got was indeed a great character. He was an all-powerful, pathetic man-child who loved a few people, but more than that really, really just wanted those people to like really, really love and obey (emphasis on the "obey" part) him. He was also prone to temper tantrums, teary eyes, trembling lips capable of quite the sassy comeback and clever quip. Sure, he could and would kill on a whim, and on occasion when he would go on a rampage, it was impressive and every now and then he would show his fantastic skills in social and individual manipulation. However, overall? Powerful, pathetic man-child. *shrugs* But you know what, Joseph Morgan is a great actor, and he's charismatic and damn did he give great teary eye and trembling lip so, for who he turned out to actually be, yeah, I did love Klaus.
Ah, Jenna, the clueless human of Mystic Falls. I liked Jenna a lot. There were moments when I loved her, but it took re-watching the first few seasons where I got to that point. She gave up her life for her sister's kids. She was trying to be a responsible adult while still having the mindset of an immature twenty-something and Canning did a great job walking that line. Her romance with Alaric never did much for me, but I felt for her betrayal when Isobel showed up "alive," because Canning made Jenna real and the writers allowed us those moments showing Jenna's reaction and pain. So, yeah, I did like Jenna… her character—so in the dark amidst all of the supernatural crazy—just got lost in the shuffle to a degree. Even though I didn't love her like WHOAH! still I felt for her so much. She touched my heart and I always felt SQUEE whenever she showed up in any dreamed-up scenario later in the series.
Professor Atticus Shane
Gosh, I loved Professor Shane. Even if he was totally kinda creepy. Bonnie was still a high school student and he came across as totes inappropriate with her, but I still enjoyed his enthusiastic mentoring likely because David Alpay sold that enthusiasm so well that I almost overlooked the creepy-factor. Almost. When it was revealed that Shane was taken over by a two-thousand-year old immortal pre-cursor to a vampire, it wasn't even remotely a surprise (see *Almost*), but damn, Alpay was so dang talented, he made Shane work (see *Alpay selling that enthusiasm so well*). With his big, expressive puppy dog eyes, and guileless expression while he told lie after lie couched in between half-truths and historical, witchery enthusiasm, Alpay was delightfully awesome. How could anyone not love him?
Technically, we had Tim Chang in two episodes, but the second episode only featured the corpse of Oscar and (we found out later) just some random vampire soul that had re-animated in his body. *sigh* So, alas, Chang as Oscar was just a one-off character and at that he wasn't even featured in the A-story… and yet, my goodness, did I freaking love Oscar. In less than a handful of scenes, Chang managed to create a joyful, memorable, awesome character with just the hint of an edge. Despite almost every other Heretic* appearing in seven to sixteen episodes more than Oscar, I liked him way more than any of them. Because he was awesome-sauce. Oscar will never be forgotten! Given more appearances, this dude likely would have been in the top ten!
* Malcolm was also in only one episode, but he was fairly unmemorable. Meh.
Georgina "Georgie" Dowling
Georgie was smart and sassy and I really, really liked her. I loved the depth of her character with her tragic backstory including that brief visit to Hell so she knew that she would be going back there when she did die again for real. (And, sigh, she did. She did.) Her flirting with Ric was adorable. It didn't cross the line; it wasn't harassment, it was… cute. Georgie was confident and to the point. She didn't beat about the bush; she asked upfront questions and expected that truthfulness back and believed in the unbelievable because, hello!, she'd been to Hell (and back… and then back again *sigh*). For a short-lived character, she owned my heart pretty quickly.
Rayna is one of those characters that I wish hadn't been killed off partially because I think there really was so much more story there to explore with her (and not just because I liked her). I also thought that she played off beautifully opposite every member of our gang with whom she interacted. I too would have liked to see something possibly happen with her and Matt; they were of similar mindsets and the actors had chemistry. Ah well. I liked her snark, her determination, her backstory and, again, I felt that there was so much potential, especially considering her final scenes with Bonnie where she revealed that she had never fully lived. (And poor girl really had not. Oh, Rayna.) Like I said… ah well. Still, I enjoyed what we had with her and I liked what Leslie Ann Huff did with the character.
Dr. Meredith Fell
Meredith was introduced as a cipher because she was the red herring in the murders of the council members and this kept her at an emotional distance from the viewers. However, once the mystery was revealed we finally got to see just who Dr. Meredith Fell was. And I really, really liked who she was. I liked her because with Meredith we saw our Scooby Gang through an outsider's point of view. I also liked her because we saw someone outside of the Scooby Gang who was also using the positives of the supernatural. And I liked her because she was smart and she was good. Finally, I liked her because Torrey Devitto brought a sweetness and warmth to the role that gelled beautifully with the other actors. Dangit, I just really liked Meredith.
Finally, I have no idea when the next section will be up. Hopefully by the end of the month, but, I don't know.
'THE VAMPIRE DIARIES' WRAP-UP THOUGHTS
- Major Unresolved Issues
- Minor Unresolved Issues
- Missed Opportunities
- THE Love Story
- Seasons 01-04 Favorite Scenes and Moments
- Seasons 05-08 Favorite Scenes and Moments