Our heroine for most of The Vampire Diaries is no doubt a captivating one, but she has her share of faults. Elena Gilbert embodies many contradictions, and parts of her character don’t always add up. As we see her go through a whirlwind of mystical journeys and emotional traumas, she does develop as a person. However, one thing that hardly changes is her sugary sweet personality that’s meant to come across as the height of empathy. If this were really the case, she wouldn’t have taken a lot of the actions that led to more selfish ends. Even though it comes from the desire to protect her loved ones, there’s a lot about Elena’s nature that doesn’t totally fit the show's image of her.
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While other characters have flaws, too, a lot of them recognize their own limitations, which paradoxically ends up making them more endearing. The thing about Elena is that she never really gets to this point, making her more hidden villainous qualities even more frustrating to notice. Of course, this has nothing to do with Nina Dobrev’s acting skills, which are incredible and were greatly missed once she left the show. It was really some of the production team’s decisions that affected Elena’s appeal the most.
Some of these entries will show you the secrets behind Elena Gilbert’s true character, and some are more light-hearted but noticeable nonetheless. Nonetheless, the show just wasn't the same once she was gone.
Here are 20 Things That Make No Sense About Elena In The Vampire Diaries.
20. She’s completely different from the books
Some fans struggled with the fact that Nina Dobrev’s shiny brown locks didn’t match Elena’s blonde hair in the novels. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the character’s changes. Elena became a far more compassionate and angelic person on television. For most of the series, she’s portrayed as the girl next door with a heart of gold. In fact, most of the plotlines revolve around others trying to save Elena because of her kind and sympathetic nature.
Anyone who read the books will know that Elena went through a lot of character development to become a better person. In high school, she was actually vain and considered a mean girl. Maybe she's more likeable right off the bat on the show, but we have to wonder if this personal journey would have made more sense to portray.
19. She fell for the man who offed her brother
Elena’s vampirism supposedly only intensified feelings that were previously there. Even her sire bond to Damon didn’t influence the way she felt about him, only how she acted. Looking back, a lot of things leading up to the beginning of their relationship make it questionable that Elena falls for him in the end. It’s probably easier for her to overlook the way he’s treated other people, but he’s done his fair share of damage to her as well.
Mainly, Damon snapping Jeremy’s neck is an image that no one could conceivably forget, but Elena somehow does. Though Damon claims he knew Jeremy was wearing the Gilbert ring and come back to life, he did it in response to Elena rejecting him-- because she was dating his brother!
18. Thinking she could be a vampire without hurting anyone
Sure, a bunch of vampires on the show drink from blood bags or animals instead of harming humans. There’s not a vampire alive who hasn’t hurt or destroyed people, no matter how much they value human life. It goes against everything in Elena’s nature to do this, but she didn’t really have a choice. Even Stefan went through a ripper phase.
When Elena turns off her humanity, it gets even worse and she begins to take human lives without second thought. As much as everyone was trying to preserve Elena’s innocence, Damon realized she couldn’t get away with being the same type of person as a vampire.
17. She skipped most of her high school classes but became a doctor
Good on Elena for making her dream career a reality, but how exactly did she get there? It’s a wonder she got into college at all, since she and most of the characters seem to forget they attend Mystic Falls High School. No one can blame Elena for being otherwise occupied with multiple supernatural threats. At the same time, we have to wonder how she kept straight As and graduated on time. There were also many instances when we see her wake up in Stefan or Damon’s bed and wonder what time it is. Someone get this girl an alarm clock!
Even in college, there were distractions right from the start. It’s never a good sign when your professor is wrapped up in another big supernatural can of worms. At least she pulled through somehow.
16. Her moral compass only applies to her friends
The Salvatores rarely forget to remind us of Elena’s pure and kind-hearted soul. She does whatever she can to save her friends and family, even if it means being self-sacrificing. No one can forget when Elena made Stefan rescue Matt from a drowning car instead of herself, causing her to become a vampire.
However, she is self-serving in her own way. Remember the time she succeeded at eliminating Kol to save Jeremy? It makes sense for her to value her brother over a wicked original vamp, but she knew full well that offing Kol would also destroy his entire bloodline, which could be thousands of vampires all over the world. It’s amazing that she planned this out well in advance, even with this knowledge. It’s safe to say that she would have found another way if any of her vampire friends had been in Kol’s bloodline.
15. Smothering Jeremy
After losing her parents, Elena probably had to grow up pretty fast. However, she’s only a year or so older than Jeremy and still acts like his mom. Of course she should be able to look out for him, but becoming his guardian at age eighteen was pretty weird. After all, she went to high school at the same time as him, but talks to the teachers about his progress and absences.
It is unfortunate that the Gilberts lost a few of their previous legal guardians, like Jenna and Alaric. Still, it’s a stretch to show Elena in this super motherly role in relation to Jer.
14. The doppelgänger bloodline
It seems the producers couldn’t make up their minds about the doppelgänger lineage story. It doesn’t help that in the books, Katherine and Elena aren’t even doppelgängers; they merely look extremely similar. The writers of the show had to come up with something on their own to justify Elena and Katherine’s identical appearance. We’re told at first that Elena is a descendant of Katherine, which is what makes her a Petrova doppelgänger.
Later in the series, though, they might as well not even be called the Petrova doppelgängers, since this phenomenon didn’t begin with Katherine. Silas and Amara’s story convoluted the doppelgänger situation to the point where it took on a whole new meaning. Elena’s purpose in the whole thing kind of fizzled out after the whole sun and moon curse in season one, anyway.
13. She wouldn't talk to Caroline about trying to destroy her
While Elena’s humanity switch is off, she takes a lot of actions that she would later regret. Trying to eliminate her best friend probably takes the cake. The emotionless version of Elena couldn’t stand Caroline. It got to the point where she was actually a threat to Caroline’s life.
Every friendship has its share of fights, but it’d be a doozy to patch this one up. The problem is that Elena doesn’t even really try. Caroline had every right to be upset about it, but Elena says she can’t talk about it. It must be painful for her to remember, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t owe it to Caroline to talk things out.
12. Damon meeting Elena first is a big deal
It was a happy day for Damon and Elena fans when the news dropped that Elena actually met Damon before Stefan. We all thought Stefan came into her life first when he saved her from the car accident at Wickery Bridge. However, Damon met Elena hours before, at the party she was about to leave. The only problem is that Damon compelled her to forget him.
Elena has a huge revelation when she remembers the encounter as a vampire. It’s just kind of strange that a lot of people took this to mean that Elena is destined to be with Damon. Even though this ended up being the case, there were way more significant aspects of their love story than who met who first.
11. Her compassion doesn’t always hold up
As much as Elena looks out for people, she doesn’t treat everyone equally. Damon and Stefan love her in part because she apparently sees the good in everyone. However, she actually has a lot of hate that bubbles up for certain characters. If she was really as compassionate as she’s made out to be, wouldn’t she be sensitive toward Rebekah's painful history? Rebekah shares Elena’s desire to be human, and a lot of her cruel actions come from a place of hurt and abuse.
Elena hates Rebekah with a burning passion, though. She has not only admitted it, but also even wanted to stab her with a white oak stake at one point. The way the Salvatores talk about Elena would be more convincing if she could see the redeeming qualities of her enemies.
10. Her vampire skills are too powerful
Younger vamps in The Vampire Diaries are significantly weaker. They’re also obviously less trained in fighting and using their vampire speed and strength. Therefore, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that, as a baby vampire, Elena managed to have a hand in eliminating two Originals. She also daggers Rebekah, and let’s not forget the time when she ended a skilled vampire hunter.
You’d think she’d have way poorer reflexes than her opponents, not to mention a lack of training and time to adapt to her new body. It’s hard to say where these moments of brilliance came from.
9. She unnecessarily puts herself in danger
Sometimes we just wanted to shout at Elena through the television for some of her unnecessary decisions. She often sticks around for far too long in dangerous situations, believing things will work themselves out. When Klaus compels Stefan to end Elena, she still believes he can fight it and overcome the irresistible urge of the compulsion.
We’re probably supposed to view this as Elena seeing the best in people, but it can get ridiculous. Even if it’s somehow possible for Stefan to resist compulsion, it must be super painful to try. Elena waits until the last minute to leave, putting herself at risk for no good reason.
8. Her hypocrisy with Stefan and Rebekah
Can anyone blame Stefan for getting back with Rebekah? Elena hooked up with his brother days after their break-up, which has to be a tough blow for anyone. Not only that, but he finds out they’re already in love. Elena’s surprised and hurt at the news that Stefan and Rebekah got together, but at this point Stefan deserved to do whatever he wanted.
After all, he’s known Rebekah a lot longer, and they even dated back in the 1920s. There were no strings attached and Elena wasn’t meant to find out, so it’s not like he was actually dating her for revenge. Times like these remind us how controlling Elena can be over other people’s emotions.
7. No one in Mystic Falls sees her flaws
We’re usually meant to see Elena as a beacon of compassion and goodness. Nonetheless, we’ve seen she has many flaws that she doesn’t seem to be aware of. No one in town ever questions her character, and nothing stops them from protecting her life and happiness at all costs.
It sometimes takes outsiders to tell it like it is when it comes to Elena. No matter how you feel about Katherine or Rebekah, they’ve both made the astute observation that other characters seem to value her life above everyone else. The sacrifices they’ve made have affected or even ended the lives of strangers in many episodes, but as long as Elena’s safe, it’s a victory.
6. She doesn’t own up to her more selfish actions
With her doe-eyed expressions, Elena instantly differs from Katherine. At the very least, though, we always expect Katherine to look out for herself and be unapologetic about it. Elena also acts selfishly sometimes, which is fair enough. However, it’s problematic when she doesn’t own it and everyone still pretends she’s the most caring person in the world.
When she keeps taking hallucinating pills to forget that Damon is gone, it has the effect of making her attack people. It’s not her fault, but are we really going to overlook the fact that she tries to excuse it? When Caroline confronts her, she just indicates that she feels so bad about Damon and needs the drugs to deal with it. Elena, your victims are important to someone too!
5. She always thinks she knows best
A lot of the time, it’s Elena’s way or the highway. She often thinks she knows best when it comes to protecting people in her life, especially Jeremy. Despite the fact that she’s surrounded by vampires who are centuries older than her, she has a tight grip on the decision-making and doesn’t always choose the right path.
A glaring example of this has to be when she sends Jeremy out of town, and takes away his choice in the matter completely with the use of compulsion. Later in the series, she tries rescuing him from an agitated vampire hunter on her own, despite potential consequences. No one’s saying she doesn’t want the best for those close to her, but she doesn’t always know when to back off from a situation.
4. Erasing her memories of Damon
Is it really fair for Elena to have criticized Stefan for wanting Rebekah to erase his memories of her? She literally does the exact same thing in a later season when she asks Alaric to compel away her fond memories of Damon. The pain of his demise was too much for her to cope with on her own, but she didn’t exactly empathize with Stefan when he felt this way after their breakup.
You would also think Elena would have healthier ways to manage her grief after losing so many people. She thought Damon was the love of her life, but it’s hardly romantic to show that her life and sanity rest upon his existence.
3. Her indecision about taking The Cure
To be fair, the Salvatores (especially Stefan) were the most concerned with getting Elena the cure for vampirism. There’s no doubt all Elena wanted was to be human again immediately after becoming a vampire, and a lot of characters thought that suited her best. However, as their quest for The Cure goes on, Elena realizes the danger involved for her loved ones. It’s just weird that she doesn’t call off the search or be more vocal about what she wants.
She broke up with Stefan because he thought she needed to be cured, but still willingly goes along with the risky journey to Silas’ tomb. When she finally gets it after everything her friends sacrificed for her, she feeds it to Katherine as revenge. Though it made for an interesting storyline later, this moment made no sense.
2. She overlooked what Damon did Caroline
Another time Elena didn’t treat Caroline right has to be at the beginning of Elena and Damon’s romantic relationship. Caroline has made it no secret that she can’t stand Damon, who compelled and abused her in season one. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to Elena that Caroline wouldn’t support the two getting together.
This doesn’t stop Elena from getting angry. Even if she wanted the support of her best friend, she wasn’t sensitive to the fact that Damon abused Caroline earlier in high school. Caroline was compelled for a long period of time, and it’s unlike Elena not to be understanding of this kind of trauma.
1. The show went on without her
As many inconsistencies as there with Elena, she was still the star and heart of The Vampire Diaries. Everything seemed to revolve around her or tie back to her in some way. It’s actually astounding that Damon and Stefan had anything to talk about after Elena was written out!
We’re glad to have followed our favourite characters for two more seasons. Still, it almost didn’t make sense to see them without Elena driving the story and conflicts. Her presence did tie everyone together in a way, and viewers undoubtedly felt the loss of Nina Dobrev-- hence the show ending in season eight.
What else makes no sense about Elena Gilbert in The Vampire Diaries? Let us know in the comments.