It has just been announced that The Vampire Diaries will end after 8 seasons in 2017. Cue the flood of tears! For someone like myself who has been watching this series since the beginning, I cannot help but reflect on the many plot twists throughout the show. From main characters dying – then magically returning to life – to the occasional blast from the past deciding to take revenge, –The Vampire Diaries has thrilled, spooked, and enthralled its viewers.
But what about the novels that this series is “supposedly” based off of. [For those who don’t know The Vampire Diaries (t.v show) was based off of the series The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith]. As a Vampire Diaries fan who has read most of the books and has seen every single episode of the t.v series, without hesitation I can say that they are completely different.
The Similarities… and Differences
Elena Gilbert in both the novels and the series is a seventeen-year-old cheerleader who has recently lost both of her parents in a horrific car crash. In the books, Elena isn’t the typical girl-next-door as she was portrayed in the series. Instead, she is an “ice princess” with blond hair, lapis lazuli colored eyes, and a cold personality. She is neither relatable nor is she very likeable in the books. In the series, she is definitely a likeable and friendly character who actually cares about her friends. The Elena featured in the novels is more like Katherine in the series. In fact, all of the characters in the series are very different from their personas in the novels.
As for Elena’s brother, Jeremy, the tortured soul who just can’t seem to keep a girlfriend, does not exist in the book. Nope, no Jeremy. In his place, Elena has a four-year-old sister named Margaret who is rarely featured in the book. Elena’s aunt Jenna from the series is called Judith in the books.
Stefan and Damon are probably the characters who are the closest to their novel incarnations. Damon in the first season is nearly the same as Damon in the novels, but… Damon changes. Damon in the series has more depth and humanity (whether Damon is willing to admit this or not is neither here nor there). Stefan in the series isn’t always the sensitive caring good-guy as he is portrayed in the books. In season 3, Stefan unleashes his dark side and becomes… a ripper… This is much more exciting than docile Stefan from the novels who just can’t seem to win against Damon.
Then there’s the original vampires. It is hard to imagine The Vampire Diaries without them even though they are not part of the main cast. Niklaus “Klaus,” Elijah and Rebekah are fully round characters with complete backstories. There is a “Klaus” in the books, and he is one of the main villains in the books, but Klaus and Niklaus are very different creatures… literally… Klaus is a master vampire and Niklaus is a werewolf-vampire hybrid original vampire. Even though Niklaus was the villain for most of the series, he does have a soft spot for Caroline which allowed the audience to see the tortured soul behind the cool and calculating façade.
A few other notable differences to mention…
- Bonnie and Caroline in the books is different from Bonnie and Caroline in the series. Caroline in the series is definitely much more likeable.
- There is no Meredith, unless you count that one doctor who appeared for a short time named Meredith.
Which one is better?
I stopped reading the books after The Dark Reunion, book 4. I attempted to read The Return trilogy but I lost interest quickly. Fun fact: L. J. Smith was “fired” from writing her own books after writing The Return trilogy. A ghost writer wrote all the other subsequent books.
When I was in my early teens, I really enjoyed reading the first four books of The Vampire Diaries… but when I got older and reread the first book ,The Awakening, I couldn’t get past all of the flat characters (except for Damon) when the t.v series that I know so well and love is full of round characters. It just isn’t fair!
So… for me… I would choose the t.v series any day!
Until next time,