There’s no greater feeling than knowing that a beloved book is going to become a movie or a TV show, as it means more time spent with beloved characters. Of course, it doesn’t always work out well, but in the case of The Vampire Diaries, the show is very popular. There are many well-done TV adaptations of novels and TVD is based on a series of books by L. J. Smith.
Adapting a literary work mean making some changes, whether it’s the way that someone looks or changing characters entirely. Some changes are positive and others might not be that great, but these creative decisions are definitely part of the book-to-screen process.
Updated on October 27th, 2022, by Kevin Pantoja: Recently, The Vampire Diaries was moved from Netflix to Peacock and HBO Max, marking a change as the show had been available on Netflix for years. Despite the new home, loyal fans are still making sure they can rewatch the series as often as possible. Of course, like most adaptations from a book, a handful of changes were made from the page to the screen. These could be simple changes like a character’s looks or major alterations to their personalities.
Elena’s BFFs Are Different
Elena’s best pal Bonnie comes from druids and has red hair in the book series and she has another last name. Elena also has a good friend named Meredith in the book series, but this character doesn’t exist on TVD, though they did name Torrey DeVitto’s character after her.
On the show, Elena has two best pals, Bonnie and Caroline and their bond is stronger than any of the ones Elena forged on the page. Another difference is that in the books, Elena and Caroline are actually rivals who don’t get along.
Elena Is Blond In The Books
Elena is blond in the book series, and she also has blue eyes. Of course, in the TV adaptation, Elena Gilbert is played by Nina Dobrev and she’s a brunette with brown eyes.
This is definitely one of the biggest changes that were made and even author L.J. Smith was thrown off by it. The decision worked out as it seems the showrunners were more interested in casting the best actor in the role than the physical looks matching. Now fans can’t imagine anyone by Dobrev in the role.
Katherine Is German In The Books
Elena’s looks weren’t the only thing that changed simply because the show cast Nina Dobrev in the role. The history of Katherine Pierce/Petrova was altered to match Dobrev herself.
In the books, Katherine is German but since Dobrev played both Elena and Katherine, it was important for the character to match the actor. Dobrev is Bulgarian, so Katherine’s roots were changed so she was from the country too.
Stefan Drinks Elena’s Blood
When Stefan and Elena first meet, he refuses to drink her blood. Although it’s something he craves and would love to do, his stance on not consuming human blood is pivotal, especially given how he turns into a ripper when he does go through with it.
He eventually does drink her blood at points, though it’s mostly as a way to help them bond and because Elena trusts him not to overdo it with her. In the books though, Stefan tends to drink her blood on a more regular basis.
Elena Has A Sister In The Books
In the book series, Elena has a sister, Margaret, who is four years old. Meanwhile, on the TV show, Elena has a brother, Jeremy (Steven McQueen), who is in high school.
Jeremy is gone from the show as of the sixth season, but before that, he plays a pretty big role in the show. He has relationships with Elena’s friends Bonnie and Vicki and even becomes a vampire hunter, which aren’t storylines that could’ve happened with a young sister.
Elena Loves Stefan, Not Damon
There’s another big difference between The Vampire Diaries in book form vs the TV show: in the novels, Elena loves Stefan Salvatore (played by Paul Wesley) and not his brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder). While this is true at the start of the TV series, that version eventually changed to have Elena end up with Damon.
It’s one of those things that was changed because of actor chemistry. Somerhalder and Dobrev were electric together to the point where fans wanted them to be together from even the earliest of episodes when they weren’t friends yet.
Mystic Falls Is Fells Church In The Book Series
With vampires, witches, sirens, werewolves, and more, Mystic Falls is a terrifying town. However, in the book series of The Vampire Diaries, Mystic Falls doesn’t exist at all. The town is named Fells Church.
That name just doesn’t have the same ring to it, and it’s definitely not as unnerving. Fell’s Church was actually still used in the show, though it was a literal church where some important events happened. In fact, it was where the tomb that imprisoned vampires from the 1800s was located.
The Book Series Had Angels
Fellow CW network series Supernatural is known for having angels, but the TV version of TVD definitely doesn’t have any, although there are plenty of other supernatural entities.
The book series had angels and Elena was a half-angel/human. According to Digital Spy, there were “phantoms” (demons who ate the feelings of human beings), “Kitsune” (foxes who could change their shape), and “guardians” (angels). These beings weren’t in the show, though they were replaced by other supernatural entities.
Elena’s Journals Are A Huge Deal In The Books
The concept of Elena’s journals is a huge part of the story in the book series. According to Foreveryoungadult.com, Elena writes about Stefan being a vampire, and Caroline finds it and wants everyone in the town to learn the truth about him.
In contrast, while Elena writes in her journal in the pilot, this object is rarely ever seen again. Stefan keeps plenty of journals as well but they’re mostly used to discuss the history of vampires and the town.
Elena Was A Mean Girl In The Books
According to an interview with Digital Spy, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, the executive producers of TVD, said that Elena wasn’t a sweetheart in the book series like she is on the TV show. Anyone who read the books knows how true this is.
Elena came across as a mean girl who was often very selfish. Upon seeing Stefan for the first time, she even claimed that he belonged to her as if he was some kind of prize. Both versions were relatively popular at their high school, though the book version wore that as kind of a badge of honor where the show Elena was just a really good friend.
Stefan And Damon’s Backstory Is Different
Throughout most of season 1, Damon is positioned as the villain who can snap at any time and who revels in the joys of being a vampire. However, it was Stefan who was a loose cannon at first and he convinced Damon to turn, setting him on the path he ended up on.
While on the TV show, Damon and Stefan turn into vampires after their time on an 1800s plantation in Virginia, their backstory is different in the book series according to Foreveryoungadult.com. They drink the blood of vampires and murder each other in a huge argument rather than dying while attempting to free Katherine. They also date back to the Italian Renaissance.