Elena Gilbert

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Name: Elena Gilbert
Occupation: student
Relationships: Jeremy Gilbert (brother), Jenna Sommers (aunt), Isobel Fleming (biological mother), John Gilbert (biological father)
Other: Played by Nina Dobrev
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Elena Gilbert is the protagonist of The Vampire Diaries series of novels, as well as the the TV show based on the books.

Book Elena Canon

Elena was born in the small town of Fells Church. Both of her parents died in a car accident, and now she and her sister Margaret, live with their Aunt Judith Gilbert. She is a high school senior and friends with Bonnie McCullough, Meredith Sulez and Caroline Forbes.

She begins a relationship with a new student, Stefan Salvatore, unaware that he is a centuries old vampire. Elena discovered his secret after her high school teacher Mr. Tanner is killed. While many believe Stefan to be the killer, Elena suspects his older brother, Damon Salvatore. For much of the series Elena continues her relationship with Stefan and continues to rebuff Damon's advances, as she's drawn into their dangerous world.

TV Show Canon

In season one, Elena was still coping with her parents’ death when she meets a mysterious new student at Mystic Falls High School, Stefan Salvatore. Elena and Stefan fall in love with each other. However, not long after that, Elena discovers that both Stefan and his brother, Damon, are vampires. She also becomes aware of the existence of Katherine Pierce, the woman who turned the Salvatore brothers into vampires in 1864, and to whom Elena bears a striking physical resemblance. In the process, Elena discovers a shocking truth—she was adopted, and her real parents are John Gilbert, her "uncle", and Isobel Flemming, Alaric's wife.

In season two, Elena learns that she is Katherine’s Doppelganger, which explains their identical appearance. Because of this, an Original Vampire, Klaus, uses her in a sacrifice to break an ancient curse. Her biological father, John, sacrificed his own life to keep Elena alive and human. However, Klaus killed Elena’s aunt Jenna, after turning her into a vampire, leaving Jeremy her only blood relative left alive.

In the Season Three Finale, she became a vampire despite never wanting to be one.

After Jeremy's death in Season Four, at Damon's command to ease her pain, she turned off her humanity, so she wouldn't have to feel all the guilt. After a brief time, she was finally able to regain her humanity.

During the events of Season Five, Elena's body was also possessed by Katherine, who was attempting to escape her fate caused by the effects of the cure. When Katherine was defeated, she infected Elena's body with a deadly toxin, but this was later cured. She and Damon got back together near for a short period. After Stefan's, in order to bring him and others back from The Other Side, Damon, Elena and Caroline devised a plan. However, the spell was interrupted before Damon could pass through the Anchor, Bonnie, and as the Other Side began to disintegrate, Elena and her friends were left heartbroken by their impending deaths.

During Season Six, Elena decided to cope with Damon's death by using drugs to hallucinate him. However, these drugs enhanced her blood thirst, and she decided to resort to a different mechanism which involves erasing her memories of loving Damon.

After the memories of their relationship were erased, she began to see him as the selfish and arrogant person who killed her brother. Soon after, Damon came back to life, and she decided to give him a chance. She began to fall for him again after seeing his acts of attempting to rescue Bonnie from the prison world, and they start their relationship anew. She later learns of the cure that Bonnie brought back from the prison world and takes it, in the hopes of having a family again and a future with Damon to look forward too.

In season 6 Elena was placed in a sleep curse, sacrificing herself to allow Bonnie to live out her life. However, Bonnie later found a way to wake her, and she reunited with her friends. Elena said her goodbye to a dying Stefan, before living a long and happy life with Damon, whom she married. Elena achieved her dream of being a doctor, before she died of old age and found peace, reuniting with her parents, Jenna and John.


When in season 4 Elena decided to help Jeremy kill Kol to complete his Hunters mark, a lot of fans (not all of them Kol fans) had a problem with her actions.[1]

Common Pairings

The most popular ships for Elena were Damon/Elena (Delena) and Stefan/Elena (Stelena), with much fan discourse about which brother was best for Elena. Indeed the love triangle between these three characters was used to help market the show, and was central to the plot for much of the first four seasons.

However as that discourse developed into a ship war, both of these pairings were called unhealthy and abusive by fans who shipped the other. While not all Stelena shippers were anti-Delena, and vice versa, there was a noticeable proportion of the fandom who could be referred to as antis. Some fans did not approve of the Delena ship, as a result of Damon's treatment of Elena's friend Caroline. While others disapproved of Stefan's treatment of Elena and his Ripper tendencies.

As much of the shipwar centered around which pairing would be endgame, the TVD PTB were very aware of the "shipper fervour" on social media, and questioning if that atmosphere was ruining fans fandom experience.[2]

The whole delena vs stelena fan war thing is so bitter on both sides that to say one side is any better than the other is kind of misleading... I'm sure there are plenty of peaceful and respectful fans on both sides, just as I am sure that there are immature haters on both sides.[3]

STOP MAKING #TVD ALL ABOUT WHO #ELENA SHOULD BE SHIPPED WITH!! its fun 2 hv a little #shipwar with other fans but theres a limit![4]

Some fans avoided the ship war entirely by pairing Elena with both Salvatore brothers. However the poly pairing of Elena/Damon/Stefan is rare.

In season 1, a smaller pairing for Elena was Elena/Alaric. In season 2, new het ships included Elena/Elijah, and Klaus/Elena. Some fans also enjoy the OT3 of Elena/Elijah/Klaus

Femmeslash pairings include Caroline/Elena, Elena/Bonnie and Elena/Katherine Pierce.

Fanon and Common Tropes in Fanworks

  • Vampire Elena: Several works examine Elena's inner turmoil as she transitions to a vampire. These works can also include Elena seeking out a mentor from one of her vampire friends or frenemies, as she learns to live as a vampire.
  • Humanity Off Elena: Works portraying Elena with her humanity turned off, sometimes revel in her vampiric nature. More often these fics focus on her friends efforts to get Elena to turn her humanity back on.
  • Doppelgänger (Vampire Diaries): The blood of a human doppelganger is much sough after for magical spells and by vampires. This often places Elena in dangerous situations as she was the only living doppelganger in canon. This is a common trope in works pairing Elena with Original vampires.
  • Human AUs often place Elena in a world where vampires don't exist. These fics can also overlap with High School AUs, College AUs and other Alternate Universe scenarios. In many of these works, Elena's doppelgangers may appear as a twin or other close family member.
  • Canon Divergence AUs can pick up Elena's story immediately after the end of an episode or season. Other works change small details to bring Elena's parents, aunt and/or brother back to life.


Example Fanworks




Archives and Communities

Links and Resources


  1. ^ Where the hell's my show gone? by blackcanine, accessed April 4, 2015
  2. ^ TVD Ask the fans, part 2, with Julie Plec. Posted on Yahoo Entertainment, February 2015
  3. ^ Reddit post, 2013, accessed 31/12/2018.
  4. ^ Twitter post, 14 Feb 2012, accessed 31/12/2018