(CW) – THE VAMPIRE DIARIES is the story of two vampire brothers, obsessed with the same girl, in a small town with more than its share of supernatural beings. In season one, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), returned to their hometown of Mystic Falls, Virginia, for very different reasons. Stefan was determined to get to know Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), who bears a striking resemblance to Katherine Pierce (also played by Dobrev), the beautiful but ruthless vampire the brothers knew and loved — in 1864. Damon, on the other hand, was intent on releasing Katherine from the tomb where he believed she was trapped by a witch’s spell all those years ago. The explosive season finale set a plan in motion that resulted in Katherine’s return.
In season two, Katherine’s appearance threw a wrench into the Stefan/Elena/Damon love triangle. The brothers later faced their greatest challenge yet — the arrivals of Elijah (guest star Daniel Gillies) and Klaus (Joseph Morgan), two of the powerful “Original” vampires. Klaus was seemingly focused on breaking the “Sun and Moon” curse by sacrificing Elena. Ultimately, Klaus’ sacrifice ritual proved deadly not for Elena but for her Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning), whose violent death devastated both her family and her boyfriend, Alaric Saltzman (Matt Davis), who had also become a trusted friend and guardian to Elena a nd her brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen).
Season three revealed the history of Klaus and The Original Family, as well as the surprising friendship Klaus and his sister Rebekah (guest star Claire Holt) shared with Stefan decades earlier. Klaus’ return led to Stefan’s descent back to his violent “Ripper” ways. Elena and Damon worked to bring Stefan back from the edge, even as they struggled with the guilt of their growing bond. Meanwhile, Klaus found himself irresistibly drawn to Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola), forcing her boyfriend, the werewolf Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino), to break his sire-bond to Klaus. A new threat to the Original siblings came from their own mother, Esther (guest star Alice Evans), who was determined to rid the world of the plague of vampires. Using witchcraft and the unwilling help of Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham), Esther turned Alaric into a powerful vampire whose only mission was to hunt down and destroy other vampires – the ultimate vampire hunter. Esther also linked Elena’s life to Alaric’s, making it impossible to kill Alaric while Elena lived. In the chilling season finale, Elena’s longtime friend Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig) tried to get Elena out of town to keep her safe, but Rebekah took matters into her own hands and caused Matt’s truck to plunge off a bridge, trapping Matt and Elena underwater. Despite Stefan’s attempts to save them both, Elena drowned, causing Alaric’s death as well. Devastated by this unthinkable loss, Stefan, Damon and all their friends soon discover another horrible truth – Elena died with vampire blood in her system.
In the tumultuous fourth season, the world of Mystic Falls was turned upside down when Elena came face-to-face with her worst nightmare – life as a vampire. While Elena struggled to control her new powers and the overwhelming thirst for blood, the astonishing news that a cure for vampirism may actually exist reached Damon and Stefan. The search for the cure led to a horrifying confrontation with the ancient and all-powerful immortal, Silas, who has been entombed with the cure for more than 2,000 years. But Elena wasn’t the only vampire longing to return to life as a human, and the question of who would take the cure was resolved in the heart-stopping season finale when Elena ended a violent confrontation by forcing the cure down Katherine’s throat. Meanwhile, Bonnie sacrificed her own life to bring Jeremy back from the dead and Stefan decided to leave Mystic Falls after learning that Elena had confessed her true love for Damon. On his way out of town, Stefan was stopped by Silas, who revealed the astonishing fact that Stefan is his doppelganger. Silas then overpowered Stefan and trapped him in a watery prison.
Season five of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES began with a sense of hope for Elena (Nina Dobrev). After a passionate summer with Damon (Ian Somerhalder), Elena headed to Whitmore College with Caroline (Candice Accola), not knowing that Bonnie (Kat Graham) sacrificed her life to save Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen). As Bonnie’s friends fought to bring her back to life as the Anchor to the Other Side, Stefan (Paul Wesley) had to face-off with his doppelganger Silas, and a newly human Katherine (Nina Dobrev) struggled with mortality and motherhood. Damon’s relationship with Elena was put to the test when Enzo (guest star Michael Malarkey), an old vampire friend from Damon’s past, revealed he was still alive and looking for revenge. Stefan and Caroline’s friendship deepened as they stood up to the Travelers, a nomadic witch tribe driven to strip Mystic Falls of magic and cast out its supernatural residents. Finally, with time running low until the inevitable collapse of The Other Side, Damon and Bonnie made the ultimate sacrifice in order to bring back their friends.
Season six began with our heroes mourning the devastating loss of Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Bonnie (Kat Graham), who turned out to be trapped in a 1994 prison world by a sociopathic magic-siphon named Kai Parker (guest star Chris Wood). Unable to cope with the loss of her love, Elena (Nina Dobrev) compelled away all of her memories of loving Damon, which meant that when he finally returned to Mystic Falls, he had to win her over again. Meanwhile, Caroline (Candice Accola) had to come to terms with her feelings for Stefan (Paul Wesley) in light of her mother’s heartbreaking battle with cancer. That battle ultimately proved fatal, sending both Caroline and Stefan down a dangerous path as humanity-free vampires. Bonnie returned from the prison world with a surprise for Damon, the cure for vampirism, which he ultimately chose to give to Elena. Damon and Stefan came face-to-face with their mother Lily (guest star Annie Wersching), who they long since believed to be dead. As the season built to a wedding between Alaric (Matt Davis) and Jo (guest star Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), Damon used the ceremony to profess his dedication to Elena, but not without a catastrophic event that left lives hanging in the balance. In the wake of Elena Gilbert’s goodbye, in season seven, some characters will recover while others falter. As Lily tries to drive a wedge between the Salvatore brothers, we’ll still hold onto hope that Stefan and Caroline’s love story is strong enough to survive.