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The Vampire Diaries
The Awakening
The Struggle
The Fury

Dark Reunion

The Return: Nightfall
The Return: Shadow Souls
The Return: Midnight
Author L. J. Smith
Language English
Genre Horror,
Young-adult fiction
Publisher Harper Paperbacks
Published September 1991 – 1992
February 2009 – present
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)

The Vampire Diaries is a young adult vampire horror series of novels written by L. J. Smith. The story centers around Elena Gilbert, a high school girl torn between two vampire brothers. The series was originally a trilogy published in 1991; however, pressure from readers led the author to write a fourth volume, Dark Reunion, which was released the following year. After taking a hiatus from writing for several years, L. J. Smith announced in 1998 a new spin-off trilogy entitled The Vampire Diaries: The Return, continuing the series, with Damon as the main protagonist. The first installment, The Return: Nightfall, was released on February 10, 2009. The Return: Shadow Souls was released in March 2010. The Return: Midnight is tentatively slated for release in April 2011.

The Vampire Diaries has been adapted into a television series which premiered on September 10, 2009 on The CW.[1]


The novels

The original trilogy:

1. The Awakening (1991)
2. The Struggle (1991)
3. The Fury (1991)

The fourth volume in the original series:

4. Dark Reunion (1992)

The new trilogy, The Vampire Diaries: The Return:

5. Nightfall (02/10/2009)
6. Shadow Souls (3/15/2010)
7. Midnight (due July 1st, 2010)

Plot summary

The Awakening

The first volume of the series introduces the reader to Elena Gilbert, a popular high school student in Fell's Church, Virginia, and her best friends Bonnie, Meredith, and Matt. A former friend, Caroline, is also introduced and revealed to be Elena's antagonist. As her senior year at Robert E. Lee High School begins, Elena meets and becomes involved with a mysterious new student, Stefan Salvatore. At the Homecoming dance, Elena is upset to see that Caroline showed up with Stefan, and later leaves with Dick, Tyler, and Vickie to go to the cemetery. After getting Elena alone with him in the graveyard, Tyler tries to rape her, but she is rescued and brought home by Stefan. As Elena and Stefan fall in love, strange attacks begin to happen in the town, and Elena encounters another mysterious man - Damon, who turns out to be Stefan's older brother. During a Halloween fundraiser at the high school, Bonnie finds their history teacher, Mr. Tanner, dead. When Elena leaves to go to the boarding house where Stefan is staying, she finds him on the roof, feeding on a dove. She starts to back away in fear and falls from the roof, but he catches her and then they both go back up to his room. Stefan reveals his past, and explains that he wasn't avoiding her but protecting her. After Stefan takes Elena home, Damon shows up to taunt Stefan with his own desire for Elena. This leads to a vicious fight. In the morning, Elena becomes upset that Stefan is missing.

The Struggle

The second book picks up where The Awakening left off and delves further into Damon's attempts to win Elena's affections and Stefan's struggle to survive. Elena summons Damon and confronts him in the graveyard to discover Stefan's whereabouts. Damon claims he killed Stefan the previous night, but Bonnie, a witch, has a psychic vision. When they find him at the bottom of the empty well, Stefan is close to death, but Elena saves him by forcing him to drink her blood. Elena also strikes a secret deal by exchanging blood with Damon, and by doing so ties herself to both brothers as Katherine did centuries ago. While waiting for Stefan one night, Elena feels as if something is coming for her, and she frantically tries to escape by crossing the bridge over a river. The car she is in veers off the road and into the river, and she drowns. She fights to get up from the water but stays in the water long enough to die. Meanwhile, Stefan, Meredith and Bonnie are all looking for Elena. They find her shortly after the car veers off the road and Stefan dives in to save her. He drags her body out of the water but it is too late, Elena is dead. He then tells Meredith and Bonnie to go to the police while he, angry and grieving, tries to find and kill his brother. The Struggle ends with the revelation that, because she took enough of the brothers’ blood, Elena becomes a vampire upon her death.

The Fury

The book deals with Elena's adjustment to her vampirism, as well as her confusion over feelings for both brothers. Stefan believes and knows that Damon was the force chasing Elena. They were fighting, in the middle of the time Elena awakens and attacks Stefan as, Elena viewed Stefan as a threat and the brothers stop the fight. Stefan, heartbroken, assumes that her attack meant she loved Damon more, and Damon attempts to clear everything up. After Elena has fed, Damon hides her. Once rested, she begins to realise how she treated Stefan when the brothers were fighting and deeply regrets attacking him and decides to wander in the woods. She ends up at the church where a memorial is taking place. She decides to wait in the attic of the church for Damon to come and find her. Something begins to dawn on her as she waits in the attic. She can see her friends and family in the church and people are talking about her. It is her memorial and the whole town has gathered to remember her. Stefan and Damon are alerted by Elena's distress and rush to her side.Khadija jumps off the train and runs after stephen. Stefan arrives first and when Elena sees him, she realizes further that she loves Stefan more than she loves Damon. Damon arrives as the service ends and Stefan and Damon are soon bickering. They are interrupted by a pack of dogs attacking townspeople outside the church. Elena, Stefan and Damon conclude that the force that made Elena's car drive off the bridge was controlling the dogs. Their suspicions were proven correct, as it turned out that the person responsible for Elena's death and all of the strange events in Fell's Church was Katherine, as Elena, Stefan, Damon, Bonnie, Matt and Meredith find out as they enter the crypt where the founders of Fell's Church are burried, and where Katherine has been hiding. Everyone but the three vampires escape to help the town which comes under siedge by dogs controlled by Katherine. Katherine was furious at the Salvatores for killing each other before when she had faked her death so they would re-connect, when this just made them grow even more appart. She also gets furious at the brothers for falling in love with Elena. She decided that since they did not love her anymore she would capture, torture and kill them. Elena manages to break free of her bindings and pushes Katherine into a shaft of sunlight upon which Katherine dies. Elena also is struck by the sun. Stefan pushes her out of the way but Elena had been in the sun for too long. She makes a few "last requests" (which the brothers agree to) before Elena closes her eyes and passes away. The novel ends with a diary entry from Bonnie, who admits that although Elena was not perfect nor a saint, she died as a good person.

Dark Reunion

As a psychic, Bonnie has dreams of Elena in the Other World. But the dreams quickly turn frightening. There is a terrible new enemy stalking Fell’s Church, killing young girls. Meredith, Matt,and Bonnie use a summoning spell to call for Stefan and get both him and Damon—but whose side is Damon on? This novel greatly expands Bonnie and Meredith as characters. Bonnie takes the leading role as she writes in the diary. She also finds a possible romance with Matt Honeycutt. After some research in the library Stefan realizes Tyler Smallwood is a werewolf. They concoct a plan and lure Tyler into the graveyard. After threatening him, Tyler reveals startling information about the killer. They find out Klaus, the vampire who made Katherine a vampire and is the killer, has captured Caroline. There is a fight at the old Francher place deep in the Old Wood. They are losing the fight and Stefan is on the brink of death. Damon appears out of nowhere and proves his loyalty as he stakes Klaus. Klaus isn't hurt badly, and he attacks Damon. Bonnie screams for Elena. She appears as a glowing mist along with the spirits of civil war soldiers that had fought and died in Fell's Church. They charge Klaus and carry him away. The ending is the most surprising yet for Elena's friends as she comes back to life.

The Return: Nightfall

When Elena sacrificed herself to save the two vampire brothers who love her — the handsome, brooding Stefan and the sleek and dangerous Damon, she was consigned to a fate beyond death. Until a powerful supernatural force pulled her back. Now Elena is not just human. She has powers and gifts that were bestowed on her in the afterlife. What's more, her blood pulses with an overwhelming and unique force that makes her irresistible to any vampire. Stefan wants to find a way to keep Elena safe so that they can make a life together. Damon, however, is possessed by a "malach", and unwittingly makes a deadly bargain to Stefan with two twin demons. In exchange for Elena, the life of his brother is now in the hands of the Japanese demons. To imply that Stefan left, he writes a forged note and leaves it in Elena's diary. It is here Elena embarks on a dangerous journey to find her beloved, with her friends and Damon by her side.

== the return: shadow souls ==

Italic text


Main characters

  • Elena Gilbert There are repeated references as to her looking like an angel. She is beautiful,slender and pale,with long blonde hair"a few shades lighter then the sun" and blue eyes"the color of lapis lazuli's". Over the course of the series, Elena transforms from an 'ice queen' to a more open-minded person. Bonnie commented in Elena's diary when she first died that Elena was far from perfect and while she was never an angel, she died a good person. Elena breaks up with Matt Honeycutt right around when school starts, feeling he has become more to her than one of her disposable boyfriends; she loves him like a friend or brother.Elena is good at leading and initiating action and leading but is quite overly aggressive. Elena is madly in love with Stefan Salvatore though she does recognize that she also has feelings for Damon, his brother. Stefan was the first to breeze by Elena, ignoring her beauty because he was trying his best to stay away from her. He makes comparisons between her and former vampire girlfriend Katherine, though he realizes that beneath the looks they are very different people. Her school reputation is important to her, so she makes up a fake boyfriend to hide the fact that Stefan has rejected her advances. She dies several times, changing from human to vampire (after she gets enough blood from both brothers), to spirit (after an unknown power brings her back). In The Return: Nightfall she comes back perfectly normal after her death as a vampire, only with her supernatural powers intact, making her blood irresistible to all beings. Elena is independant and individual but she has an egotism and self-centered approach to life. In the TV Series, Elena has brown hair and brown eyes, and is much kinder than in the novels.
  • Stefan Salvatore Is portrayed to be very handsome and pale, with wavy black hair, fine features, and deep oak green eyes. He is not imposingly tall, but he is taller than his brother Damon. However, Stefan is the weaker brother due to the fact that he chooses not to drink human blood. He lives off animal blood, which lessens his Powers. His powers include being able to read and influence minds and increased speed and strength. He will do anything for Elena. He loves her dearly and doesn't want her to get hurt, so he does everything he can to protect her, even if it means killing his own brother. Stefan goes through a lot of terrible events and even though he might suffer, he never gives up on trying to live a normal life with his beloved Elena. Stefan is kidnapped in The Return : Nightfall while Damon is possessed. When this happens Damon leaves a note for Elena saying that Stefan left by his own free will to protect Elena from himself and that Stefan left Damon as Elena's protector. Stefan can cooperate and adapt easily but is always worried that Elena will start loving his brother more than him. His history varies extremely in the television series from that of the novels.
  • Damon Salvatore Events in The Fury and Dark Reunion show that Damon is also capable of fierce loyalty and affection, though he is often misunderstood which Elena sees. He is very handsome, with black hair, pitch black eyes, pale skin and has a small, compact body. Throughout the series he is also portrayed as a very dark seductive figure. In The Struggle, he calls himself Damon Smith, attending college on a vacation. Back in the day at Renaissance Italy, where the brothers come from, he dropped out of university. He shows feelings towards Elena and Bonnie both, though Elena receives more attention. His 'goodness' is always in question—he is always the one that everyone suspects of doing something, such as feeding on locals. This only gets worse when a demon named Shinichi arrives in Fells Church. In The Fury, Katherine offers to let Damon live and for him to reign the shadows, which both Elena and Stefan thought that he would accept, though in the end he tells her, "Go to hell." Damon is described as extremely relentless. He never takes danger too seriously and possesses a dark sense of humor, as well as very little regard for human life unlike his brother Stefan. He likes to make fun of mortals, shown by his Ferrari having a police scanner inside and how he first calls Matt, 'Mat' (Mortal Annoying Thing) until he realizes that Matt spells his name with two 'T's, so he just called him Mutt (Mortally, Unable, To, Talk). He has deep feelings for Elena as they have established a connection, especially in The Fury that fails to be understood by others. Damon is cocky and arrogant but can be very sweet at times. Like Stefan, his history also varies a great deal in the television series from that of the novels.
  • Bonnie McCullough One of Elena's best friends, a small girl with deep brown eyes, a round face, curly red hair and pinkish, peachy skin. She can never remember after she has come out her trance. Bonnie, overwhelmed by her powers, attempts to repress the true extent of them without much success. She begins to develop feelings for Damon, however she feels an attraction to Matt Honeycutt, although Matt is still in love with Elena. Bonnie is often said to resemble a kitten—cute, small, and relatively harmless, though she has strong psychic powers. Damon thinks of her as 'his little bird' often during The Return: Nightfall. Bonnie can be expansive and visionary but can be damsel-in-distress like. Her name is changed to Bonnie Bennett in the television Series.
  • Meredith Sulez Elena's other friend; she is tall with olive skin, greenish-brown eyes and long black hair. Meredith is beautiful and somewhat cautious, sticks to her decisions, and is often the voice of reason throughout the series. She is perceived to be mentally stronger than Bonnie, saving her life on numerous occasions. She falls in love with Alaric Saltzman and has a long distance relationship with him. Meredith is the one who never cries, she is built to be tough and is always understanding and is rarely shocked. Meredith is good at pioneering and attaining and will sacrifice herself to keep her friends safe. She does not appear in the television series.
  • Matt Honeycutt Elena's ex-boyfriend. He's a typical All-American high school quarterback with white-blond hair, light blue eyes and sun-burned, tan skin. While Matt is heartbroken at losing Elena to Stefan, he accepts it. He continues to be very protective of Elena. Matt is extremely jealous of Stefan and still pines for Elena, though he helps Stefan escape the Haunted House on the night of the attack, but after begins to think that Stefan might have killed Mr. Tanner.Later in the series the relationship between Stefan and Matt is closer to that of best friends. He is forgiving, loyal and is described as the friendly boy-next-door type. He is blamed, by Caroline at the end of The Return: Nightfall, for getting her pregnant, when it was really Tyler Smallwood, who has run away from Fells Church. Matt is a humanitarian and has obligations and cares about his friends very much. In the television series, his name is Changed to Matt Donovan. He is also portrayed as being the older brother of Vickie Bennett, who's last name is also changed to Donovan.
  • Caroline Forbes A former friend and current rival of Elena's. She is very beautiful,tall and thin with dark green eyes, bronze skin and glossy auburn hair. Caroline is manipulative, vengeful and desperate for attention from any boy she can find during much of the series. She first stole Elena's diary and planned to read it to the town on Founder's Day, revealing that Stefan was a vampire, though this was unsuccessful. She had a brief relationship with Tyler Smallwood, working together to plan revenge on Elena and Stefan. she was later kidnapped by Klaus and Tyler, and held hostage, but saved by Stefan and his friends. At the end of 'The Return : Nightfall, Caroline reveals that she is pregnant and blames it on Matt, forcing him to flee with Elena and Damon. Caroline can be very manipulative but she wanted to hurt Elena was because she was jealous of her, only wanting to be loved but ending up getting pregnant. In the television series, Caroline is much kinder to Elena and their peers.
  • Katherine The young vampire whom Damon and Stefan both fell in love with when they were humans during the Italian Renaissance. Katherine turned the two brothers into vampires in an attempt to be happy with both brothers, instead of having to choose between them. When this didn't work she staged her 'suicide'. Katherine supposedly killed herself by going into the sunlight without her ring, leaving behind a pile of ashes in one of her dresses. The two brothers fought to the 'death' because of her loss. She physically resembles Elena which caused Stefan's initial attraction to Elena, though he later realized that Elena was emotionally stronger then Katherine, who was docile and gentle as was the standard in Renaissance Italy. She turns out to be the Other Power that was damaging the town and was killed by Elena.Again, her history varies a great deal in the television series.
  • Alaric Saltzman The new young History teacher that was in suspicion of being a vampire hunter when he was in fact studying vampires ever since he discovered that they were real. He has dirty blond hair, soulful hazel eyes and pale skin. He falls in love with Meredith later on, and has a long distance relationship with her while he goes abroad to further his studies. Alaric is good at power-seeking and has high material goals. In the TV series, Alaric is driven by a personal tragedy and falls for Jenna Sommers, Elena and Jeremy's aunt.
  • Klaus Is an Old One (one of the original vampires) who fights the Salvatore brothers, in the end losing to the spirits of Elena and the old cemetery. He was a mentor to Katherine, whom she thought she had killed. He has white-blond hair, light blue eyes and pale skin. Klaus has keen abilities and has the capacity to be a fine leader but has a natural instinct to dominate and be the boss.

Supporting characters

  • Judith Gilbert Elena's aunt. She moved in with Elena and her baby sister Margaret right after the death of the girl's parents. She is the sort of woman who always looked vaguely flustered; she had a thin, mild face and flyaway red hair pushed back untidily. She is engaged to, later married to, Robert, though she briefly broke the engagement after Elena's death, thinking it was the best for Margaret. She is caring and one of the last people Elena talks to before dying the first time. Her name is changed to Jenna Sommers in the TV adaptation.
  • Tyler Smallwood A direct descendant of the Smallwoods that were present at the founding of Fells Church. In the first book, Tyler took Elena away to the graveyard where she saw his grandfather's grave. Tyler makes an aggressive move for Elena and to Meredith later on in the books. Stefan comes to save her and Tyler has hated the two ever since. He is later revealed to be a werewolf, it was dormant until he knew how to activate the werewolf gene. He is also the unknowing father of Caroline's unborn baby at the end of The Return: Nightfall. He is tall and muscular with black hair, pale skin and dark eyes. His name is changed to Tyler Lockwood in the television Series. He is shown to have a bitter rivalry with Jeremy Gilbert instead of Stefan and Elena, similar to the novel.
  • Vickie Bennett was at the cemetery with Elena when they left the dance. She had stayed there in the church with Dick. She was attacked and that caused her to go insane and she accused Elena of being part of it. Then she is accused of killing Sue because she relapsed after her death and she was the only one present, however after the turnaround of events and her transition away from the "fast crowd", it is considered unlikely by her new friends. When Bonnie and Meredith go to her house, she catatonic ally says that the murderer said she is next. She is left under the protection of Damon by his brother Stefan, but is later violently murdered by Klaus. She is small with light brown hair and dark brown eyes. Her name is Changed to Vickie Donovan and is portrayed as being Matt's younger sister in the television Series. She is also turned into a vampire early in the series by Damon and is staked by Stefan in the following episode when her new desire for blood overwhelms her and she bites Elena.
  • Margaret Gilbert Elena's much younger sister, who is 4 years old. Elena considers her to be very innocent, and even secretly talks to her as a vampire after her death, saying that it is not yet her time to rejoin her deceased parents. She has platinum blond hair, pink, peachy skin and light brown eyes. In the television series, Margaret's character is changed from that of being a four year old girl to being a fifteen year old adolecent named Jeremy Gilbert.
  • Mr. Tanner Elena and Stefan's history teacher. Damon killed Tanner in the haunted house at the Halloween dance in The Awakening' (his body found by Bonnie). He acts antagonistic towards his students, and attempted to stab Damon, which only accelerated his death.
  • Mrs. Flowers Owner of the boarding house where Stefan lives, they once thought her to just be a crazy old woman, but, during The Return: Nightfall, she is revealed to be a witch like Bonnie and helps the friends search for Elena in the woods. She does not appear in the televison series.


In 1996, American Laser Games, Inc published a video game adaptation of the novels, also called The Vampire Diaries. The game was developed by Her Interactive, and was presented as a point-and-click adventure game with complex puzzles punctuated by full-motion video scenes.[2]

On February 6, 2009, Variety announced that The CW Television Network greenlighted the pilot for a television series entitled The Vampire Diaries with Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec set as the writers and executive producers.[3] On May 19, 2009, the pilot was officially ordered to series for the 2009-2010 season.[4] Filming for the series began in July 2009 in Covington, Georgia. The high school and football scenes were shot at Walton Career Academy in Monroe, Georgia.


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