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Series: The Vampire Diaries

A television series based on L.J Smith's The Vampire Diaries, which premiered on CW in 2009. The premise is pretty much the same: high school student Elena Gilbert gets entangled with her new classmate, Stefan Salvatore and his brother, Damon, eventually discovering that both of them are vampires.

While the premise is the same, the TV series has significant differences. Writer Kevin Williamson has stated he was more interested to narrate the story of the town, Mystic Falls, rather than focus on a high school setting. Great attention is paid to the history of Mystic Falls, while character background, personalities and events were changed or switched around.

The show is currently in its fifth season. The Originals, a Spin-Off, has also aired its pilot.

This series provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: "Brave New World" centers Caroline and her becoming a vampire. The appropriately named "Katerina" is about Katherine's backstory.
  • Abusive Parents: Richard Lockwood is this to Tyler. Mikael is this to Klaus. To a lesser extent, Giuseppe Salvatore to Damon. Caroline's father tortures her quite brutally, although he claims it's for her own good.
  • Acting for Two: Nina Dobrev is currently playing the show's main character Elena and one of the antagonists, Katherine.
  • Action Girl: Bonnie, Caroline, and now Elena qualify. As well as Katherine.
  • Action Survivor: Elena is pretty competent while trying to defend herself. For example, when a strange vampire is trying to kill her, she stabs him with pencils - repeatedly - and then breaks a mop over her knee to try to stake him, and when a werewolf attacks her, she instantly sticks a knife into his gut. She's also adept at using her surroundings while trying to run away if pursued by a supernatural. This is magnified in Season 4 after she transitions. She goes so far as to kill Connor to protect her brother.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Actor-Shared Background: Katherine is originally Bulgarian. So is Nina Dobrev.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Elena was blonde and blue-eyed in the books, but in the show is played by a brunette, brown-eyed actress.
    • This extends to Caroline, who was a brunette in the books.
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • The one teacher we see at the school has zero understanding for Elena or Jeremy despite their loss; Elena's aunt is clueless; even after Vicki is attacked, her parents are nowhere to be seen, and her brother's the only one at her bedside in the hospital.
    • The founder's council is also not all that useful. When the most competent member of the town's anti-vampire defense force is Damon there is a problem.
    • This is not the case with Alaric.
    • Subverted with Sheriff Forbes and Mayor Lockwood, as of season three.
    • Also subverted with Professor Shane as of Season 4.
  • Affectionate Parody: These ones. Even Julie Plec reads them.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Damon is the epitome of this trope. He loves Elena, she doesn't love him back. He loves Katherine, who also doesn't love him back, but instead loves Stefan. Who is in love with Elena. Hoo, boy...
    • Subverted. In 2x22 and 3x09 Katherine reveals she loved Damon too. And both times, she says it after saving Damon's life.
    • Subverted in Season Four when Elena transitions and admits to Stefan that her feelings for Damon have been magnified. This causes a mutual break up.
  • All of Them: When Jeremy asks Bonnie how much of the dead witches' energy she'll need to kill Klaus, this is her answer.
  • Alpha Bitch: Caroline initially appears to be one of these, but her image is gradually softened as the show goes on.
    • Rebekah fits this trope to a T.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Caroline feels this way about Elena early in the show.
    • It is implied that Damon also feels this way about Stefan.
  • Anchored Ship: Elena and Stefan. Almost constantly.
  • And I Must Scream: What happens to a vampire when starved of blood. Their skin desiccates and their muscles atrophy, leaving them paralyzed, essentially mummified, and completely conscious.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: The gang has a party after Klaus is defeated
  • Anyone Can Die: Numerous examples, from recurring characters to main cast. There USED to be a list here, and over the first two seasons, it grew too long to be manageable.
  • Anti-Villain: Elijah and Stefan in season 3.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • In the first season Stefan initially disbelieves in Alaric's resurrection ring, despite the fact that he is currently wearing a magical ring of his own.
    • There's also Damon's kneejerk reaction that werewolves aren't real in season 2.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Vicki, Elena's Aunt Jenna, and arguably Caroline. She had a fairly large role in the books, but in the show she's an entirely different character.
    • Elijah as an extreme example. Julie Plec admits that Daniel Gillie's performance and the pull of Elijah's character inspired the writers to make the Originals un-killable to keep him around. And he was originally just a "foot soldier" before being made into Klaus's brother.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Damon.
  • Asshole Victim: Mr. Tanner.
    • Stefan deliberately creates one in Season 4. He turns a confessed murderer so Jeremy can kill him to grow his hunter's mark
  • Bachelor Auction: In Season One's A Few Good Men, although it's actually a raffle.
  • Badass: Almost every vampire in the show, but especially...
    • Damon, Rebekah, Pearl, and Katherine.
    • Elijah.
    • Bonnie.
    • Elena gets her moments, especially when she snaps Connor's neck.. Caroline had one in the second episode.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Anna.
    • After what she did in Killed or be Killed beating up Mason Lockwood and rescuing Damon, Stefan and Elena and preventing Tyler Lockwood from killing innocent people when he first changed into a werewolf in By the Light of the Moon, Caroline is definitely a Badass.
  • Badass Family: The Originals. Also doubles as a Big Screwed-Up Family.
  • Badass Gay: Caroline's father.
  • Badass Normal: Alaric, Bill, and Jeremy. Elena is not technically Normal but because she is Blessed with Suck she probably falls under this as well.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Katherine begs Damon to NOT kill Elijah stating that since Elijah had compelled her to stay in the tomb, his death would keep her trapped permanently. Elijah gets killed. Then Damon finds out that Elijah's death actually cancels the compulsion he gave Katherine. So Elijah's death = Katherine's freedom. Brilliantly played!
    • Stefan pulls one off in "Family Ties". He gives Caroline a drink with vervain in figuring that Damon would try to drink her blood. When Damon tries to kill her, he ends up drinking poison.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: The best way to kill a Vampire/werewolf hybrid.
  • Berserk Button: If you like having a little brother, don't tell Damon that you prefer Stefan.
  • Beta Couple:
    • Caroline and Matt were one to Stefan and Elena. Possibly subverted as it was always made pretty clear he still had a thing for Elena. A more traditional Beta Couple would be Alaric and Jenna.
    • Season 2 has two Beta Triangles to the main Stefan-Elena-Damon one: Tyler-Caroline-Matt and Jeremy-Bonnie-Luka.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Both Salvatore brothers are torn between Elena and Katherine.
    • In Season 3, Caroline is again in a love triangle, with Tyler as the Betty and Klaus as the Veronica.
    • Jeremy with Vicki and Anna.
    • Bonnie with Jeremy and Luka.
    • Jeremy is a nice guy with bouts of irresponsibility while Luka also comes across as a "nice guy" while secretly being a "bad boy."
    • Jeremy with Anna (who has taken on more Betty attributes) and Bonnie (who is more Veronica like) in Season 3. It doesn't turn out well for either of them because Anna is sent away and Bonnie breaks up with Jeremy
  • Big Bad:
    • In season one, it is a Big Bad Duumvirate with Jonathan Gilbert and Richard Lockwood.
    • Season two has Klaus Mikaelson.
    • Season three Klaus again but it turns into a Big Bad Ensemble with his mother Esther.
    • Season four has Silas shaping up to be this.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Originals. Let's face it, any family where Klaus carries his family around the world in coffins after sticking daggers in their hearts and their mother wants to kill off her children qualifies.
  • Birds of a Feather: Damon and Rose.
  • Black Best Friend: Bonnie.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Bonnie, especially in Season 1. She's a witch, but apart from mind-whammying Damon, using any of her other powers mainly seem to cause her to loose consciousness. Either that or they don't work.
    • And Elena whose only power is to look like one of her ancestor, thus making her wanted dead by the oldest vampire ever and immune to any protection spell that's supposed to work on humans.
  • Blue and Orange Morality:
    • Depending on the Writer, Damon might have this; he's a vampire, the natural predator of humanity, and thus can be severely out of step with what Elena and co. consider acceptable behavior. Perhaps most notably, when Elena asked him to remove Jeremy's memory of Vicki's death and he... went overboard, so to speak, he genuinely did not see why she was upset.
    • It's also been stated outright several times that vampires can "turn off" their humanity, like a switch: freeing them from negative or connective emotions like fear, love, or guilt. This explains a lot. Stefan leaves his humanity "on" all the time, Isobel leaves hers completely off most of the time. Damon's humanity is "off" at the start of the series, but he's turned it "on" somewhere around the end of Season 1. It is stated by 500-year-old Rose, however, that the ability to shut off their emotions fades with age.
  • Body Horror: The werewolf transformation in 2x11 takes a big cue from An American Werewolf in London, and is preceded by a ton of audible joint dislocations.
  • Body Snatcher: Klaus possesses Alaric for a little while. Previously Emily Bennett does this to Bonnie.
  • Break the Cutie: And how. The series does a real work on Elena, which makes us wonder how she got so far without snapping. So far, they've killed Grayson and Miranda, her adoptive parents, John Gilbert and Isobel Flemming, her real parents, Jenna Sommers, her adoptive aunt, and Alaric, her history teacher. The straw that broke the cutie's back? Jeremy, her adoptive brother and the only family she had left was killed, and when she realized he was gone for real, she shattered, to the point that they had to turn off her humanity to keep her going.
  • Briarpatching: Successfully used and lampshaded.
    Katherine: I knew if I begged you not to kill him, that's exactly what you'd do.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Some people get this feeling from Klaus and Rebekah.
  • Buffy Speak: April.
  • Bullets Do Not Work That Way: A gun that fires little tiny stakes may sound really neat, but the writers seems to be unaware of the fact that guns work by slamming a firing pin into a metal case filled with a combustible material, creating a small explosion enclosed and focused by the chamber and barrel. This explosion is strong enough to deform a hunk of lead and force it into the rifling. Even if the bullets are just wood-tipped or are fired from an airgun, one section of the Geneva Convention agreement specifically bans the use of wooden bullets, because of the fact that they shatter on impact and cause horrific injuries, meaning it wouldn't be a neat stake through the heart.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • People just don't learn that annoying Damon Salvatore isn't a good idea.
    • Klaus. Anyone trying to use/play/betray Klaus or any of the other Originals has to have a death wish.
  • The Bus Came Back: Vicki and Anna return as ghosts that can only be seen by Jeremy. Later, Matt can see Vicki.
  • Byronic Hero: Let's see, Damon hates most of the characters in the show, has great panache, is very cynical, certainly has a Dark and Troubled Past, is sometimes redeemable by Elena and is a vampire.
  • Cainand Abel: Damon and Stefan. Paralleled in flashbacks by Klaus and Elijah.
  • Captain's Log: The first few episodes of the show started and ended with bits from Elena's diaries.
  • Cartwright Curse:
    • To put it in his own words.
      Jeremy: You know I don't have the best of luck in the girlfriend department.
    • Alaric.
  • The Casanova: Damon.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Witch's spells appear to take a severe toll on the body. To the point where it sometimes seems that Bonnie can't do anything useful (except mind whammy Damon) without knocking herself out.
  • The Cast Show Off: Candice Accola singing in "The House Guest".
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Experienced hunters can resist compulsion, especially if they've had training.
  • The Cheerleader: Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline all start the show as cheerleaders and all quit for various reasons.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Damon tries to dispose of a body with a flamethrower. It doesn't work, but the weapon comes in quite handy later in the episode.
    • Meredith's stash of blood in the Season 3 Finale
    • Elena's necklace becomes very important in Season 3 after two seasons of just being a way to prevent compulsion.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Used often enough in the show to suspect at least some Author Appeal.
    • Damon tortures Mason to get information out of him and then kills.
    • Brady does this with Caroline in "Daddy Issues".
    • Jules with Damon in "Crying Wolf". Damon acknowledges the irony.
    • In the Season 3 premiere we see Stefan torturing a werewolf by chaining him to a wall over a dart board and throwing darts at him that have been dipped in wolfsbane.
  • Conversation Casualty: A sympathetic version. Rose is already dying, having been bitten by a werewolf; Damon gives her a Dying Dream of her human life centuries ago, during which he challenges her to a race. He stakes her during the countdown.
  • Cool Big Sis: Elena is one to Jeremy in the show.
    • Jenna to her niece and nephew.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Everyone.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Damon tries this to pretty much everyone in the show, but particularly Stefan, Elena, and Caroline. Katherine also does this to Damon and Stefan.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Bonnie increasingly is absent from episodes, or has scenes where her only "appearance" is a phone-call.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Katherine after Damon wrecks the plan she's been working on for several episodes: "Do you honestly think I don't have a Plan B? And a Plan C if that fails, and then...well, you know how the alphabet goes."
  • Cultural Translation: Stefan, Damon, and Katherine were all from Renaissance Europe in the books. The brothers are from from the Civil War era in the show.
  • Dance of Romance: Damon and Elena in "Miss Mystic Falls".
  • Dark Mistress: Damon and Stefan were the male versions of this for Katherine when they were human.
  • Dawson Casting: The mostly teenage cast is played by actors in their 20s, making some casting choices downright bizarre. The actors who play the Gilberts are only one year apart, starting with Nina Dobrev (20), Steven R. Mc Queen (21), and Sarah Canning (22). And to top it off, Whitley Gilbert (48) a grandma?!
    • This is made extra weird by the casting of John Anders (born 1981) as Elena's father, John Gilbert. Isobel, who is supposed to be younger than him even without being a vampire, is played 35-year-old Mia Kirshner.
    • Justified in the case of Jasmine Guy as "Grams" Sheila Bennett; she's meant to have preternatural longevity as a witch. Stefan mentions first meeting her at a protest rally in the 60s, though he's not sure she would remember. She did.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Damon and Caroline, mostly. Elena is quickly catching up.
    • Her fatalism is showing, and she is related to Katherine.
    • Stefan also sometimes has a dry sense of humor.
  • Dead to Begin With: Emily the witch.
  • Death Is Cheap: Most of the main characters have died at least once over the show's course (or were dead to begin with, as it's, you know, a show about vampires) and it's only in its third season. Very few did permanently.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: As long as you have a magical ring that resurrects you if your death had a supernatural element (e.g., neck snapped by a vampire) and are not supernatural yourself. There are only two in the series, however; Alaric has one, and Jeremy inherited Uncle John's.
    • Averted a couple of times, but particularly hard twice: Alaric bites the dust when his life is tied to Elena's and she drowns. She gets better. He doesn't. Also, Jeremy's neck is snapped by Silas. Although he still had the ring, he had since became part of a group of vampire hunters called The Five, making him sufficiently supernatural that it no longer worked for him. This leads to a Break the Cutie moment for Elena, who keeps insisting that the ring will kick in eventually even as Jeremy's body begins to decompose.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Isobel is heavily implied to be one. She keeps a sex slave of each sex. Moreover, both are mind-controlled. The male is actually gay, and would presumably be repulsed if he were not mind-controlled, making this all the more squicky.
  • Disappeared Dad: In the show, Caroline has the "Gay Dad" variety.
    • There's also Elena's biological father.
      • As of "Isobel", we now know that it's John Gilbert.
  • Distressed Damsel: Yes, Elena may try to be an Action Girl within the limits of human ability until recently, but she is also nearly constantly being threatened and/or kidnapped to enrage Stefan and Damon. Justified as she is pretty much the only main character who doesn't have any sort of magic ability.
    • Caroline also filled this role, especially in early Season 1, but since she Took a Level in Badass, not so much...
  • Doppelgänger: Elena is specifically called Katherine's doppelganger. They are both "Petrova" doppelgangers.
  • Domino Revelation: First we learn about vampires, then witches, and eventually werewolves and hybrids.
    • Well Bonnie's witchhood was brought up in the first episode where werewolves didn't come up until season 2.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: some of the relationships in the show involve one person being compelled by the other, ā la Caroline and Damon.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: While Alaric is training Elena on how to kill a vampire after she is attacked and almost killed by a compelled Stefan, he mentions that her reason for this is because "Stefan hurt you, and you don't ever want that to happen again". This as well as a few other mentions of vampires "taking what they want without regard to anyone else" and "finding a reason to get out of bed in the morning" seems to compare his actions more to rape than a bite.
  • Dream Sequence: Stefan has one in which Elena is bitten by Damon. Damon finds this hilarious.
    • Katherine does this several times to Stefan. He has dreams involving him and Katherine doing the dance in 'Miss Mystic Falls' (which was done by his brother and Elena), and a dream with Elena and Damon kissing and acting like cute little love birds. Due to the popularity of Elena/Damon this was presumably partly to provide Ship Tease.
    • A heartbreaking example, also courtesy of Damon: when Rose is dying, he gives her a calming dream of her favorite place and stays in the dream with her until she dies.
  • Driven to Suicide: Happens a bit too often with the Salvatore brothers but always averted. First both of them wanted to die instead of drinking human blood and becoming vampires. Stefan changed his mind and conned Damon into following suit. Then when Stefan "fell off the wagon" and started drinking human blood again... well, that didn't work either.
    • And in the first season finale Jeremy. Sort of.
      • According to the Season 4 premiere, Elena's actions in the S3 finale were a result of this.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Poor Pearl. She was such a cool character it's a shame she died like this.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Damon often resorts to this.
  • Dumb Blonde: Somewhat subverted with Caroline. She's never been stupid, just fashion and social status-oriented, but she's stereotyped as shallow and dumb. (She herself worries about this.) Listen to her reel off a list of her extracurriculars in "Miss Mystic Falls".
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Grayson telling Stefan to save Elena
    • Repeated by Elena for Matt in the season 3 finale.
    • Jenna charging at Greta in an attempt to kill her to prevent Klaus from finishing the sacrifice.
  • Dysfunction Junction: There are a lot of interpersonal problems between the main characters.
  • Easily Forgiven: Damon. Over and over again.
  • Enemy Mine: Damon will take a break from harassing Stefan if there's a bigger threat, or if it's in his interest.
    • If the promo for "Before Sunset" is any indication the brothers will work with Klaus to stop Alaric
  • Enter Stage Window: The constant stream of vampires coming into Elena's room via the window.
  • Economy Cast
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Nina Dobrev has chemistry with every actor on the show... including herself.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Caroline after first becoming a vampire. Dropped after a few weeks when writers decided it was ridiculous.
  • Expy: April Young has a few things in common with Season 1 Caroline, right down to winning Miss Mystic Falls like her
  • Eye Scream: Pearl's method of showing Damon who was in charge was to gouge out the character's eyes.
  • Fake American: Elena is played by Bulgarian-born Canadian Nina Dobrev
    • Several of the originals (at least Klaus, Rebekah, and Kol plus the dead son Henrick) were born in the New World, making them and are not played by American actors
  • Fake Brit: In universe the originals have British accents despite being Scandinavian. Klaus is played by real Brit Joseph Morgan and Rebekah is played by Australian Claire Holt
    • Also keep in mind that the originals all have different accents. Most notably Klaus has a Welsh accent, Kol has a London accent, and Elijah has an American accent and Rebekah has an Australian accent.
  • Fake Ethnicity: Hispanic Michael Trevino plays the white Tyler Lockwood who is descended from Native Americans.
  • Fake Memories: Used often; the plot practically runs on this one. At points in Season 1 it seemed that Caroline's brain was going to melt out of her ears with the frequency that she was being mind wiped by Damon. It's still not that clear what exactly she knew when.
  • Fake Weakness: Werewolves and silver. Turns out it's more than "fake;" silver actually jumpstarts their Healing Factor.
  • Fatal Flaw: Damon's impulsiveness, and Stefan's inability to control his addiction to human blood whenever he has even a little.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Vampires mummify when deprived of blood for an extended period of time, but until that happens they are in an extreme state of hunger and agony. This was presumed to be the fate of Katherine and 26 other vamps.
  • Five-Man Band: (Season 1 & 2)
  • Flash Step: Given the actually pretty cool nickname "Stealth-Salvatore" in the Television Without Pity reviews.
  • Flat "What.": Jenna's reaction upon learning that spoiler:John Gilbert is Elena's father.
  • Food Chain of Evil: Mikael, the hunter whose mere name sends Klaus running, appears to be a vampire, but feeds off of vampires.
  • Fool for Love: Damon, first for Katherine, and now for Elena.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Weirdly zig-zagged. Despite only appearing in one episode, Lexi has been mentioned by Stefan several times since her death. However, Stefan was never shown to go through any grief or mourning and forgave Damon rather easily for her death.
    • She has since appeared in flashbacks, and Stefan admits the reason he doesn't talk about her much is that it brings up memories of her death. Sounds like he's repressing.
  • For the Evulz: The motivation for a most of Damon Salvatore's actions though it is just a facade.
    • Stefan was told by Klaus to stop Damon from tracking them but Stefan killed Damon's girlfriend Andie just for the hell of it.YMMV as it could be just to prove a point to stay the hell away from him and Klaus.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Lexi, Stefan, and Caroline.
    • Several other vampires feed on blood from a blood bank, or feed on humans but only rarely and lightly from any individual in a deliberate attempt to avoid endangering them. Most vampires who do so do it out of prudence (leaving bodies lying around all over the place would endanger The Masquerade) rather than humanitarianism.
  • Friends with Benefits: Damon and Rose, apparently.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: Vampires can actually shut off their feelings of guilt. This, along with living it up and making his brother's life a living hell, is what Damon Salvatore does. At least until the end of Season 1.
    • It's implied that this ability fades with age, but older vampires have either become true sociopaths, or delude themselves into believing that it is permanent so that they can live with the guilt.
  • Fur Against Fang: although not everyone involved likes it.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Suggested with Damon mocking of Stefan's eating habits
    Aren't you worried that one day all the forest animals are going to band together and fight back? I mean, surely they talk.
  • Gambit Pileup: In Homecoming, almost every single character has their own plan and agenda.
  • Gender Flip: In the books, Elena had a younger sister, in the show it's a younger brother. The boarding house Stefan stayed in was also owned by an elderly woman instead of Stefan's and Damon's "uncle."
    • A MUCH younger sister. She's 4.
  • Genre Savvy: Matt develops this in "We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes" when he realizes that anybody who shows up in Mystic Falls knowing anything about the supernatural is usually some sort of threat.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Whenever there's a flashback to the Civil War Era, you're guaranteed to find at least one of these especially on Katherine or Pearl.
  • Grand Theft Me: Happens once in all the seasons so far:
    • Emily possessed Bonnie in Season 1.
    • Klaus possessed Alaric in Season 2.
    • And now Esther possess Rebekah in Season 3.
    • As of the season 3 finale, Klaus now possesses Tyler, thanks to Bonnie
  • Guile Hero: Elena.
  • Handsome Devil: DAMON SALVATORE. Need I say more?
  • Halloween Episode: "Haunted."
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Elena's brother.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Damon suffers from this in 02x01, first getting rejected by Katherine then by Elena. The rest of the cast are obviously terrified of what he'll do in revenge...
    • He harasses Elena by seeking an unwanted kiss and murders her brother to punish her for turning him down, but Jeremy resurrects due to the ring he was wearing, a ring Damon didn't know he was wearing at the time.
  • Heel-Face Turn:
    • Damon.
    • Possibly Elijah.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: Damon. Every time they start him on a redemptive arc, he turns around and does something evil when he doesn't get his way.
    • To be fair, this happens with less and less frequency as the show goes on.
    • Also Isobel. Really, you never know whose side that girl is on.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Damon Salvatore, who is the king of this Trope. Stefan tries, but somehow it doesn't have quite the same effect.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Triple subverted. Played straight because Elena wants to sacrifice herself to save her friends. Subverted because Stefan thinks that's tragic, not brave, and decides to stop her. Double subverted because she does it anyway. And triple subverted when she uses the "sacrifice" to stab the bad guy and remove the need for her death.
    • To a greater extent, John sacrifices himself for Elena by transferring his life force to her and in the season finale Stefan sells himself to Klaus in exchange for a cure for Damon's wolf bite.
      • And in the third season finale, Elena insists that Stefan rescue Matt while the two of them are drowning, mirroring how Elena's father insisted Stefan save Elena before the show began.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Boone is a vampire, Zoe is a bartender, Julie Cooper is Matt's mom, Sark is Jeremy and Elena's uncle except he's actually Elena's father, and Mia now lives in Virginia.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Vicki & Matt,Jeremy & Elena, and Damon & Stefan.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: In Season One, killing Damon would pretty much have solved everyone's problems. It wouldn't have been too difficult, if the cast just put in a little effort. But of course, no antagonist means no drama, which means no show.
    • Of course, Damon turns from an antagonist into an anti-hero, and is one of the best-developed characters on the show. It's been established that, despite how much Damon and Stefan say it, they can't kill each other because they're brothers and still care about each other on some level. And since by this point, trying to kill Damon without Stefan's help would be suicidal, there's not much anyone can do about it.
  • Hold the Line: Caroline has to protect Mrs Lockwood from the tomb vampire ghosts until Bonnie can send all the ghosts back.
  • Hufflepuff House: Of the founding families, the Fells are the only one not to have a main character or a major teenage character. The only prominent members are Logan who was around for a few episodes before being killed twice and Meredith. Aside from that, all we know about them is that they're very wealthy.
  • Idiot Ball: (May be in the books too, I haven't read them)
    • When Stefan finally gets fed up with Damon, he drugs Caroline's drink with vervain, an herb that weakens vampires. Damon drinks from her and ends up poisoned and helpless. All Stefan has to do at this point is remove Stefan's ring and leave him out in the sun (or stake him quickly, just to ensure no slip-ups). Instead, he leaves him in a cell in the basement, conscious, unrestrained, not chained to the wall, and the door isn't even padlocked (just bolted). Geez, Stefan, how the heck did you survive to the age of ~160 if you are THIS stupid?!
    • Pro tip for vampire hunters, especially if you have a magic compass that points to the vampire: hunt in the daylight.
    • Damon sometimes does this, such as trying ineffectively to poison a werewolf on the full moon, and then when she threatened vengeance just letting her walk away instead of, say, following her after she left the bar ands ripping her heart out. Naturally she waited until the moon rose and came after him.
    • Staking is NOT too good for my enemies.
    • FOR THE LOVE ALL THAT'S DARK AND BLOODSUCKING, WOULD YOU PEOPLE PLEASE ***PLEASE*** LEARN TO BURN THE BODIES OF YOUR SUPERNATURAL ENEMIES???!!!!! (You know, instead of letting them just "get better." I mean, ok, the first time you kill something and it auto-resurrects you think "wow, that was freaky". The second time you think "wow, what a coincidence. Talk about a black swan!" But the FIFTH FRIGGIN' TIME?? Or whatever number we're on now, I've lost count)
      • Ok, granted, it didn't work on Elijah.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Damon for Elena. Her vervain necklace stops her from being compelled by him. At least, while she is actually wearing it.
    • Subverted when Elena gets turned into a vampire with Damon's blood. For the first couple of episodes, Damon says jump, and she says how high, to the point that he convinces her that she can't feed unless she drinks from the vein, and tells her to shut her humanity off. Bonus points for Damon not even knowing he could control her initially.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Elena after she learns what happened to her mother.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Damon to Elena when he tells her he loves her, then compels her to forget it so it won't ruin her relationship with his little brother.
    • Tyler to Caroline, deciding she'd be better off with Matt.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Damon Salvatore, which adds to his 'piercing gaze'.
    • In 02x10 Katherine lampshaded how pretty his eyes were.
    • And Matt, also lampshaded by Katherine.
  • Joker Immunity: Damon. Sooo Damon. Heck, just rename it Damon Immunity.
    • Katherine fits this better.
  • Kick the Dog: Stefan threatening to forcibly turn Elena's father Johnathan Gilbert Jr. into a vampire unless he left town. This is pretty low, especially as Stefan is supposed to have morals. To be fair, the guy was a complete Jerkass.
    • Damon kills a teacher right in front of Stefan just to prove to Stefan that he has no good side.
    • Katherine to Damon. Repeatedly.
    • Klaus to his siblings (especially to Rebekah), to Stefan, to Elena and to Tyler.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Although we're aware that Katherine is here to manipulate and murder her way to... whatever her goal is, the fact that she started with ''Uncle John'' makes it hard to judge her too harshly.
  • Killed Off for Real: Several characters, most significantlyVicki, Anna, Jenna, John Gilbert, Alaric and now Jeremy.
  • Kill It with Fire: Stefan killed Ben with a freaking flamethrower! Also how they disposed of the incapacitated tomb vampires. Bonnie threatens Damon with this - and nearly goes through with it. Damon tries this with Elijah, but fails.
    • Luka.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Elena's younger brother Jeremy did a lot more than just kiss his crush when they were both high over the summer.
  • Knight Templar: John Gilbert.
  • Lady of War: Pearl.
  • Large Ham - Damon Salvatore is what happens when you combine the Tropes of Vampires Are Sex Gods, Sociopathic Hero, Aloof Big Brother, Cain and Abel and Jerkass Woobie. He is delightfully hammy when he needs to be.
    • Ian Somerhalder said in an interview that he thinks he has the best lines on TV.
  • Last-Second Chance: Damon, seemingly permanently, usually with Bonnie, on occasions with Elena & Stefan. Due to Contractual Immortality it's unlikely he'll ever get his full comeuppance.
  • Literal Genie: Damon has some tendencies towards this. Elena does pick up on it pretty quickly, and when asking him to put the mind whammy on her brother she makes a very specific request to attempt to circumvent it, but Damon loves a loophole.
  • Long-Lost Relative:Katherine is Elena's great-great...grandmother.
    • Alaric, due to his marriage to Isobel is Elena's stepfather.
  • Love Redeems/Makes You Crazy/Makes You Evil/Makes You Dumb: Damon has played with all four of these Tropes at some point during the show.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Turns out Uncle John is this to Elena.
    • Subverted when Elena confronts him with the reveal in order to get him to let her go.
  • Magical Negro: Literally. All the black characters are witches.
  • Magic-Powered Pseudoscience: Jonathan Gilbert's anti-vampire devices are just fancy clockwork. Emily enchanted them without his knowledge.
  • The Masquerade: The supernatural world in general, Mystic Falls in particular. Enforced by both the Founders Council and the Salvatore brothers. The ability of the good townsfolk of Mystic Falls to overlook the abnormally high body count and other weird goings on is truly impressive to the extent it may count as an Extra-Strength Masquerade.
  • Mauve Shirt: Because of how much the creators love the Anyone Can Die trope, this trope abounds.
  • McLeaned: Alaric was killed shortly before it was announced that CW would pick up a new show starring his actor.
  • Meaningful Echo: Damon pleads with the sheriff to spare his life, in the name of their friendship. She refuses saying their friendship was a lie. Later on when she's at his mercy, everyone expects him to kill her, but he reassures them he won't.
    • In the Season 3 premiere Stefan who has become a Ripper greets Damon by saying "Hello, brother" which was how Damon greeted Stefan in the very first episode.
  • Mind Control: The vampires can do this to humans, which sometimes leads to...
  • Mind Rape
  • Monster Progenitor: So far we've seen two of the Originals. They are the first vampires to exist, and are far more powerful than even the oldest non-Originals. They are immune to everything but the wood of a particular tree (or ash from the same tree), and have the power to compel other vampires. They are susceptible to vervain in the sense that it's still toxic to them and can block their compulsion.
  • Mood Whiplash: Vicki, after dancing and partying it up after Damon heals her, has a breakdown and starts crying about how awful her life is. Damon's response is to snap her neck.
    • He almost did it to Caroline but Elena prevented him.
  • Morality Pet: Elena is this for Damon. On occasions Stefan, and lately Jeremy fulfill this function but it's really all about Elena. Depending on the viewer's interpretation of Damon, Elena may in fact be his Morality Chain.
  • Nakama: In the show, Damon + Elena + Stefan + Caroline + Bonnie + Jeremy + Alaric.
  • Neck Lift: Katherine holds Caroline against a wall in "Masquerade". Classic cut to Caroline's feet dangling in mid air with cute booties. Klaus and Damon are found of this troupe too.
  • Neck Snap: The Salvatore Brothers , specially Damon, use it all the time, often against each other and/or other vampires (they consider it non-lethal force...)
  • New Transfer Student: Stefan poses as this to get close to Elena.
  • No Ontological Inertia: when an Original Vampire is killed, all vampires created from their bloodline also die.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Apparently the show takes place in the part of Virginia where no one has a Southern accent and Matt Davis makes no effort to give Alaric a Boston accent
  • Not Quite Dead: Happens to new vampires-they have to die first before returning as the undead.
  • Odd Friendship: Matt and Tyler are best friends, despite being polar opposites.
    • But they have had their problems like Matt's mom macking on Tyler. Or getting interested in the same girl later.
    • Damon and Alaric have tried to kill each other (and Damon succeeded - sort of), and Damon even turned Alaric's wife into a vampire. And yet, they're friends. The writers love their relationship and even refer to it as 'Team Badass'. As of The Dinner Party, they have acknowledged their friendship.
    Alaric: I'm your friend, damn it! And you don't have many. So no more lying.
    Damon: (for once, completely serious) *nods*
  • Odd Name Out: Most of the Originals have pretty consistently Hebrew-based traditionally Judeo-Christian names. And then there are Kol (Medieval English/Scandinavian) and Finn (Irish/Old Norse).
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Katherine wears one even when she's in bed. Sorta justified, as she lived in Civil War America.
    • Plus being a vampire, she doesn't have to worry about restricting of breathing or other side effects.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome - Damon giving blood to Caroline to heal her in 02x01. Especially awesome as this time last year he was compulsing her and taking blood from her.
  • Oh, Crap:Klaus' reaction to seeing Kol undaggered.
  • Ominous Fog: A sure sign Damon's near.
    • This hasn't shown up recently; it's unclear whether its been dropped or if Damon just hasn't felt the need for a while.
  • One-Hour Work Week: after the first few episodes of Season 1, students at Mystic Falls High School never seem to attend class (other than History) or have homework or even go into the school building unless it's for one of the school's random super-cool parties.
    • Off screen. Assume it is done off screen.
    • Lampshaded by Elena. "You know, school? That thing we keep forgetting about?"
  • Only Friend: Alaric is Damon's only friend... despite the fact that they've tried to kill each other a few times.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Damon to Stefan in the show. He saved Stefan's life because he didn't want anyone else to have the pleasure of killing him.
  • Painful Transformation: Werewolves really get the bad end of the stick here; it takes over five hours of horrible pain before there's even any visible changes. Though at least that part does get shorter over time.
  • Papa Wolf: Bonnie uses a spell on Luka to put him in a trance and get some information. Afterwards, Luka doesn't remember what happened but suspects Bonnie of doing something to him. Jonas marches into Jeremy's house to find Bonnie, grabs her around the throat and takes away her powers.
  • Pet the Dog: Damon offering to erase Jeremy's memory in "Haunted".
    • And later insisting on erasing the sheriff's memory rather than killing her, despite the fact that the person in question is on vervain, so it will take a few days before Damon can actually do it, during which time he'll have to keep her in his house.
      • Actually Caroline eventually wiped her mother's memory, but not before it seemed that she accepted what her daughter was and was prepared to have a relationship with her despite of it.
    • "You're my friend."
    • Klaus actually manages this when we find out that the reason he's keeping Stefan around is because he considers him his only friend. Of course, Klaus being Klaus, this involved far too much blood and murder.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Stefan in more episodes than not. Though he does smile occasionally.
    • This was lampshaded by Caroline in Season 2.
  • Plot Armor: During Season 4, it was announced that Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah would all go on to star on TVD's spin-off "The Originals. Hmm, I wonder if they'll die.....
  • Popular History: Everyone who's taken an American History class knows that no actual witches were persecuted at the Salem witch trials, but the writers needed to give the no longer Scottish Bonnie an explanation for her psychic abilities.
    • "Haunted" states the same fact, but there's still the question of why Bonnie's family had to be from Salem specifically.
    • Actually, "Haunted" toys with this trope: according to Bonnie's grandmother, no actual witches were persecuted in Salem because the real ones had enough power to escape beforehand.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: In 'Plan B', Jenna is compelled by Katherine to kill herself. Thankfully, she survives.
  • Product Placement: PAINFULLY played straight.
    • "So I Binged it."
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: A Hunter looking to kill Elena? A horrible act of bigotry. Elena getting her brother to effectively commit mass murder on tens of thousands of vampires? Just something that needs to be done.
  • Race Lift: Bonnie in the books was a redhead of Scottish descent, but is African American in the show.
  • Rain of Blood: Type 2 in the second episode, where a girl finds her boyfriend hanging above their tent.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Adult Teenager Lexi is actually 300. Whodathunkit?
    • And Katherine is 518, Pearl was slightly younger. As to be expected.
  • Really Gets Around: Katherine. Seduce/sleep with someone to get what she wants is basically a standard tactic for her. So far, she's done it five times that we know of.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Vicki lays into Elena for her treatment of Matt in "Haunted"
    "Let's get one thing straight you perky little bitch. You had my brother whipped for 15 years. 15 years and then you dumped him. When I look at you that is all I see. And I will see Jeremy whenever I want because I have some fun new little toys to play with and I won't think twice about ripping your little head off"
  • Red Herring: Those who have not read the books would get the impression that Alaric Saltzman is a vampire.
  • Red Shirt: Many characters are introduced only for them to be killed by vampires. Often overlaps with Black Dude Dies First, especially in the case of the black boy introduced to Bonnie as a crush, who is promptly killed off. His murderer seems to think 'it's not like I meant to kill him!' excuses the death.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Stefan and Elena.
  • Remember the New Guy: The Founder is apparently much bigger than thought. We don't know this until season 3 when new members like Meredith Fell and Brian Walters start to show up.
  • Rescue Romance: Stefan saved Elena from the tragic car accident that had killed her adoptive parents.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Jonas after Luka dies.
  • Romance on the Set: Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev.
    • Candice Accola and Steven Mcqueen also dated but their characters were never really involved with each other.
    • Also Paul Wesley's wife Torrey Devitto plays Meredith Fell.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Katherine and over two dozen vampires were sealed in a tomb beneath the town church. In a slight subversion of the usual formula, this was actually an attempt to save Katherine from the town's vampire hunters.
    • Actually it was Katherine's plot to kill the tomb vampires because they knew she was alive and eventually word will get back to Klaus and he would find and kill her for his sacrifice. So she plotted with George Lockwood in 1864 to have them take the blame for the killings George was doing. George was a werewolf and he was killing all those people. So their interest met: The tomb vampires would take the blame for George's killings and at the same time be eliminated to keep Katherine's secret from Klaus. Katherine's "payment" for this was the moonstone George had
    • The dagger dipped in white oak ash only kills the Original vampires if it stays in place. Klaus keeps all his siblings in coffins with daggers in them. He wakes up Rebekah when he needs her necklace.
    • Mikael. Katherine wakes him up, but no-one except Damon and Stefan is aware of this yet.
    • Esther, the Originals' mother who initially turned them all into vampires. Klaus tore her heart out and has been keeping her in a coffin, thanks to a spell that preserved her body perfectly.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Matt/Jeremy and Tyler.
  • Ship Sinking: Stefan and Elena in "Our Town". Possibly Caroline and Tyler too
  • Ship Tease: loads between Damon and Elena, but a particular mean one happens in the first season finale when Damon, thinking he's talking to Elena, wonders when she started thinking he's worth saving. He then kisses her cheek and when he starts to pull away, the two kiss passionately, but are interrupted by Jenna. It's only when she stabs John that we realize it wasn't Elena, but Katherine.
    • And the show teases Bonnie/Jeremy, until they get together for real, of all things: she is surprised that he's all grown up and he's fascinated by her magic.
    • Caroline and Tyler were teased a lot.
  • Shipper on Deck: Seen multiple times with various pairings.
  • Shirtless Scene: The Vampire Diaries must have a "one shirtless scene per episode" clause in, um, all of its male actor's contracts. Because the two male leads are played by the gorgeous, hunky, and ripped Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder, this is very much appreciated by the large female fanbase. Damon and Stefan aren't the only ones running around sans shirt on the show either; Elena's younger brother Jeremy (who is suspiciously ripped for a ostensible sixteen-year-old) is frequently shown shirtless, as is her good friend Matt. And most male characters run around in tank tops when not completely shirtless.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: All Damon's efforts to rescue the Femme Fatale were nothing but just a waste of time as she even wasn't there.
    • Similarly Anna's efforts to free her mother were rendered pointless when she was killed shortly after she escaped. Then Anna died too.
      • It can be taken that way since ultimately all of the tomb vampires were killed. It did serve as a catalyst to have Caroline turned into a vampire by subsequent events.
    • So the the main cast plans for half the season on how to avoid loosing anyone in the ritual. People die, hard things are done to come up with plan, they acquire all the mcguffins they can to make sure the Big Bad dies and collect a huge ammount of allies for the end fight. The conclusion? the ritual still happens, Elena still(sort of) dies, the Big Bad still triumphs, a lot of cast members die, their best asset Elijah betrays them and the whole ritual ends with a double-funeral on the good guys side and everyone heart-broken and devastated.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Tyler gives one to Caroline in "The Descent". Finally.
    • Jeremy's "Enough already" to Bonnie in "Crying Wolf".
    • Caroline does one back to Tyler in the Season 3 premiere when he's telling her that if she doesn't want him to date she should tell him.
  • Sibling Team: Damon and Stefan occasionally join forces, generally when Elena's life is at stake.
  • Sibling Triangle: Stefan and Damon being the most obvious example, over Katherine and then Elena. And in the past, Klaus and Elijah over Katherine.
    • Klaus reveals that he and Elijah fell in love with the same girl - Elena and Katherine's ultimate ancestor - when they were still human. It was her blood that they unknowingly consumed when their mother turned them into vampires, which explains the need for the doppleganger
    • While they aren't siblings Elena/Stefan/Katherine kinda counts considering that Katherine is Elena's great-something grandmother. Try not to think about that one too hard.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Damon and Stefan . One is a Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire and the other is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold or Sociopathic Hero.
    • Vicki and Matt and Elena and Jeremy are also less prominant examples.
  • Sinister Minister: Pastor Young, who takes over the Council as of Series 4 and returns it to it's original kill all vampires mission.
  • Smug Snake: Johnathan Gilbert Jr. Oh so much.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Damon, when the mood strikes him.
  • So Proud of You: Bonnie is told this by her grandmother's ghost after she closes the gates to send all the ghosts back.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: A truly perfect example of Stage 1: Denial exemplified by Caroline in Season 2, Episode 2, "Brave New World".
    • Damon shows all the signs of being at Stage 4: Betrayal.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Jeremy for Vicki. Damon.
  • Stalking Is Love: Stefan admits he did this to Elena from the time of the car crash to the first episode.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Stefan and Elena. Who else?
  • Start of Darkness: "Katerina" delves into the history of the eponymous Magnificent Bitch.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Vampires in general are experts at doing this using their superspeed.
  • Straight Gay: Bill Forbes
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Creator of the series, Julie Plec, outright states that Ensemble Darkhorse character, Anna was created killed for the sole purpose of causing Damon and Jeremy angst. As if they didn't have enough. Damon didn't even seem affected past the season finale.
  • Suicide By Sunlight
  • Supernatural Elite: The Originals, who seem to be the original vampire family. They're the strongest vampires around and can compel lesser vampires to do their bidding. They cannot be killed with standard anti-vampire methods. They're mostly unknown among younger vampires since the Original Klaus hunted down the rest of his family and put them into a suspended state.
  • Survivor Guilt: Elena, Bonnie, Matt and Tyler suffer from this.
  • Take That: The show has a few to Twilight—some subtle ("I'm not going to be one of those girls who just breaks down without a boy in her life") and others not so much ("Why don't you sparkle?" "Because I live in the real world, where vampires burn in the sun.")
    • Werewolves are mostly extinct except in "books and really bad movies." another Twilight dig.
    • Stefan realises Elena is watching him sleep.
    Stefan: You're staring.
    Elena: I'm gazing.
    Stefan: It's creepy.
    Elena: It's romantic.
  • Taking the Bullet: Damon does this for Elena in 02x03 then tries to deny this is because he cares about her.
  • Talking to the Dead: A somewhat non-supernatural example has Damon sadly talking to Alaric's grave marker. Sure, the ghost of Alaric is there listening, but Damon doesn't actually know that, so it fits the trope.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Yeah, we know "human blood makes him hard to kill" and stuff, but the only excuse for not staking Damon to a wall is his occasional contribution to cleaning up messy situations...which he usually created...which only he can fix... hmm...
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Elena and Bonnie (Tomboys) and Caroline and Katherine (Girly Girls). Though in a refreshing subversion, Caroline and Katherine are the feisty Action Girls whilst retaining their femininity.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Elena, slowly but surely. It starts in "Haunted" when she goes after Vicki with a 2x4, continues in "Unpleasantville" when she manages to hold off a vampire with just a few pencils long enough for Damon and Stefan to kill him, and becomes even more noticeable in "Let The Right One In" when she saves Stefan by staking Frederick with a vervain dart and momentarily incapacitating him and by offering Stefan some of her blood.
    • Also Caroline after Katherine turns her into a vampire. With no help from anyone, she manages to feed herself, glamour a nurse into forgetting that she attacked her, and call Damon out for behaving so badly towards her, even flinging him down a hallway.
    • Bonnie, as of late Season 1 can bring on a really nasty migraine in 160 year-old vampires with just a squinty, mean look. Throw in telekinesis and the ability to set fire to water with just her mind and she has the edge on most of the supernatural beings on the show except Katherine thus far. May become an example of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards as the show progresses.
  • Troubled, but Cute: this show loves this Trope. Stefan, Jeremy, Vicki, Tyler and particularly Damon all count.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jeremy, especially in 02x10. Arguably also Love Makes You Dumb.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: John Gilbert, for a while in Season 1.
    • While admittedly already a Knight Templar, John crosses the Moral Event Horizon when he knocks out Sheriff Forbes so she couldn't interfere with his mad plan to use the entire town as bait for the tomb vampires. Killing Anna was within his already established moral framework.
  • Uncanny Village: Mystic Falls. May also count as a Town Witha Dark Secret. The vampires, witches and werewolves are one thing but the level of civic pride shown the good folk of Mystic Falls just screams weird.
    • Just how many damn Founder's Day events does this town hold anyhow? They seem to go on for months! With additional events inbetween for good measure; this troper suspects a concerted effort to distract or brainwash citizens.
  • Understatement: Hm-m-m, do you want to know how Damon became such a bad man? Just ask him:
    Damon: In all this important soul-searching. And cleansing of the demons of Stefan's past, did you ever manage to get the rest of the story?
    Elena: He said there was more.
    Damon: Yeah. That's an understatement.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Inverted - Damon loves Katherine but she's more interested in his little brother.
  • Unequal Pairing: Stefan and Damon are both much older than Elena.
  • Vague Age: All of the Originals ages are unknown. Rebekah and Kol are teenagers where in their teens they fall is anyone's guess and Klaus, Elijah, and Finn are total mystery. It's also unknown at what age Katherine was turned
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: obviously.
  • Vampire Invitation
  • Van Helsing Hate Crime: On occasions but definitely used towards the end of Season 1 with the Founders Council and in particular with 'Uncle John's' arrival in town - mainly as he was such an unsympathetic jerkass. May be a Broken Aesop as some, if not most, of the vampires really are amoral killers that need to be put down, and even the 'good' ones can go off the rails on occasions. Compare with other vampire shows where this trope is taken even further.
    • Mind you, part of the problem with Uncle John is that he seems prepared to team up with some of the nastiest vampires out there to kill off friendlier ones... and is prepared to risk humans for a chance to kill vampires.
  • Villainous Rescue: Damon saving Stefan because if anyone's gonna kill his little brother, it's gonna be him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Damon and Alaric, Damon and Stefan. Both type 2.
  • Wakeup Makeup: Elena looks impeccable every time she's shown getting out of bed, and Vicky looked pretty damn good for a hospital patient.
    • So did Caroline in 1X22 and then she was a good looking waking up as a vampire in 2X1.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Mr. Tanner, Logan, "Uncle" Zach, Vicki, Harper, Pearl...
  • Wham Line: Elijah saying that he wants to keep Elena safe.
    • Rebekah: Because my mother was also a witch. The witch of the original family. The original witch.
    • Meredith from "The Departed": "I helped her"
  • Wham Episode: While nearly every episode ends with a shocking cliffhanger, a notable one is the first season finale, Founders Day, in which fan favorite Anna, the mayor, and all remaining tomb vampires die, Caroline ends up in the hospital after a car accident, and Katherine returns, stabbing John.
    • Another one with The Sun Also Rises, the penultimate episode of the second season. Here we have the deaths of Jules, Jenna, and John, Elijah's betrayal, the official breakup of Matt and Caroline, and Damon revealing to Stefan that he's dying.
    • "Murder of One" reveals that killing an Original kills every vampire that they have ever turned (and that any vampire descendants), ergo killing them all would kill all vampires.
    • The latest episode turns Alaric into an original.
    • "The Departed" reveals that Elena actually met Damon first and kills off Klaus AND Alaric. It ends with Elena dead before she wakes into the transitional stage
      • Klaus isn't really dead though, he took tyler's body
  • What Could Have Been: A deleted scene reveals Kelly Donovan, Matt's mother, as a succubus.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Caroline sees no problem in trading a hybrid's life for Elena's, even though he had broken Klaus' sire-bond and only wanted to get away from Klaus.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tyler calls out Caroline and the others for murdering the hybrid Chris in cold blood to lift the hunter's curse on Elena.
    • Stefan deciding which witch to kill between Bonnie and her mother to save Elena by flipping a coin.
  • White and Grey Morality - the show veers between this and Grey and Grey Morality. Countless times, characters are introduced and seem just so mean but often turn out to have genuine motives behind their actions.
    • Anna seemed to be a sinister vampire using Jeremy for her own ends - until we found out about her mother and her Becoming the Mask.
    • Damon seemed to just be trying to make his brother's life a living hell, and then his history with Katherine was revealed, and his gestures of humanity to Elena.
  • Witch Species: The witches run in families.
  • Yandere: Katherine for Stefan. Did you see her smug expression when Stefan got trapped in the tomb with her?
    • Damon for the people he loves.
    • Klaus.
  • Your Vampires Suck: A Take That to Twilight was uttered in Episode 4, where Damon was reading Caroline's Twilight book.
    Caroline: How come you don't sparkle?
    Damon: Because I live in the real world where vampires burn in the sun.
    • He did profess an admiration for Anne Rice in the same conversation.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": Elena causes the slaughter of tens of thousands of vampires without blinking, justifying it because it brings her closer to a cure.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Damon and Stefan tell Matt he should have died instead of Elena in 4x01.

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