Vampire Diaries may take place in the present day, but it has a history that spans thousands of years! From the moment we found out that Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) had a seriously evil vampire doppelgänger (who’s, like, hundreds of years old), we knew that this stuff was going to get confusing. Then, they introduced new characters who aren’t just vampires, they’re, like, mega vampires. Here’s what’s going on.

Who are the Originals?

“The Originals” refers to a family of vampires who just happen to be the first ever vampires to exist. In Vampire Diaries, the supernatural creatures of the night weren’t just always hanging around, they were created! This is where it gets a little crazy, so stay with me.

A long, long time ago there was a witch named Esther (Alice Evans). She desperately wanted children, so she asked her sister Dahlia (Claudia Black) to cast a spell to make her fertile. It worked and Esther had two children with her husband, Mikael (Sebastian Roche). Their names were Finn (Caspar Zafar) and Freya (Riley Voelkel). Later, they had another son named Elijah (Danielle Gillies). After a while, Dahlia returned to her sister and demanded her pay for helping her have children: her firstborn daughter. Esther was forced to give Freya to Esther. To escape her sister, Esther moves the family to the Americas and works on her magic there.


Mikael becomes a harsh person as a result of losing Freya (he thinks she died of the plague) and they both have affairs. Esther becomes pregnant and gives birth to a boy names Niklaus (Joseph Morgan). His father, Ansel (Lloyd Owen), is actually a werewolf, so Klaus is meant to have powers, too. In order to keep her secret, Esther gives Klaus a magical pendant that prevents him from changing. Then, Esther and Mikael had three more children: Kol (Nathaniel Bulzolic), Henrik (Devin Allowitz), and Rebekah (Claire Holt, who you may remember from her stint on Pretty Little Liars). If you’re keeping track, that’s Finn, Elijah, Klaus, Kol, Henrik, and Rebekah still alive…for now.

One night, Henrik and Klaus are fascinated by the full moon and go out into the woods. Henrik is killed by a werewolf that night, which deeply enraged Mikael. He forces Esther to cast a spell on the family that makes them all more powerful than the wolves with sharp fangs and immortality. Because she used blood, wood, and sunlight to create the spell, those three things afflict the 6 original vampires. After Mikael finds out about Esther’s infidelity, he, Kol, and Finn leave the village and Elijah, Klaus, and Rebekah.

Who are the Originals in Vampire Diaries?

Fans were introduced the originals when Klaus Mikaelson shows up in Mystic Falls, where Elena Gilbert, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), and the rest of the main characters live. He is simultaneously on the hunt and on the run. He’s looking for the doppelgänger of the woman whose blood was used to turn him into a vampire. It suppresses him from using his werewolf powers to their full potential. So, if he used the blood to turn himself back, he could create werewolf/vampire hybrids like himself and basically rule the world.

So, he spends most of Season 2 trying to kill Elena and steal her blood. Stefan wouldn’t let that happen, though. In Season 3, he hunts werewolves to turn them into vampires, but it’s not working for some reason. In order to get the answers, Klaus is forced to resurrect his sister, Rebekah (Oh, yeah, he’s been stabbing his siblings with wood to put them to sleep and then casually waking them up when he needs something). Through a dramatic turn of events, he realizes that he needs the doppelgänger’s blood to turn anyone into a hybrid, so he feeds a hybrid Elena’s blood and the transformation is complete. Then, he goes around turning a bunch of men into hybrids.

The only one who can really stop him is his abusive dad, Mikael, the man he’s been running from. Mikael shows up in Mystic Falls and is able to use his original powers to compel Klaus’ hybrids to do whatever he wants. Well, Klaus wasn’t having that. He kills Mikael. His plan is to go resurrect his siblings now that his dad is gone, but Stefan stole all the bodies, even Rebekah, who Elena daggered and put to sleep.

After this point, there’s just a lot of fighting, drama, and supernatural wonders going on in the originals’ lives. Eventually, all his siblings are resurrected and they only add to action. Then, they run off to New Orleans, a place with a huge supernatural underbelly and a history with the Mikaelsons. That’s what begins the spin-off, The Originals.

What is The Originals about?

Back in the 18th Century, the Mikaelsons ruled New Orleans. Finally, Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah return to the city for better or for worse. In the first season, we meet Hayley, a werewolf who gets involved with Klaus. She become pregnant, much to Klaus’ chagrin, but Elijah convinces him that this is good thing. Meanwhile, The Originals is full of fighting with a new group of vampires who rule the town. There’s always a new battle to be won and the originals will do anything to come out on top. That’s what makes the show so addicting.

When we pick up in The Originals Season 5, Klaus’ little baby will be 15-years-old and has a few tricks of her own up her sleeve. If you’re not caught up already, now’s definitely the time. The Originals will return for its final season in early 2018.

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