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The Vampire Diaries is a supernatural drama television series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, based on the book series of the same name written by L. J. Smith
The series takes place in Mystic Falls, Virginia, a fictional small town haunted by supernatural beings. The series narrative follows the protagonist Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) as she falls in love with vampire Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and is drawn into the supernatural world as a result. As the series progresses, Elena finds herself drawn to Stefan's brother Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) resulting in a love triangle.
As the narrative develops in the course of the series, the focal point shifts on the mysterious past of the town involving Elena's malevolent doppelgänger Katerina Petrova. Ironically, Katerina was the love of both Damon and Stefan Salvatore many years ago. Upon her return along with the family of Original Vampires, have all led to many plots against Elena and Mystic Falls.
- Nina Dobrev portrays Elena Gilbert, the main protagonist, whom the series follows as she falls in love with Stefan, and later she falls for his brother Damon Salvatore, creating a love triangle. This results in her being drawn into the supernatural world, with the show following her struggles in surviving supernatural events in the town. Dobrev also portrays Elena's doppelgänger Katherine Pierce, also known as Katerina Petrova, who was originally introduced as the main antagonist of the second season, but later became the secondary antagonist of the second season. Similar to her significant portion in Season Two, Katherine will appear as a main character in the fifth season, and will play a major severely arc, as opposed to her sporadic appearances in prior seasons. Dobrev is now playing a third doppelgänger, Silas' true love known as Amara which he was seeking to find in the afterlife for thousands of years.
- Paul Wesley portrays Stefan Salvatore, a good-hearted and affectionate vampire, and the complete opposite of his older brother, Damon Salvatore. Later in the series, Stefan reverts to his old ways as a Ripper to save Damon from a werewolf bite and his role becomes more antagonistic. He also portrays his revealed doppelgänger Silas, the world's first immortal being who's over 2,000 years old and the main antagonist of the fourth season and the secondary antagonist of the fifth season.
- Ian Somerhalder portrays Damon Salvatore, the malevolent vampire brother who initially served as the show's anti-hero. After his brother Stefan returns to his old ways, he becomes the more admired brother. Throughout this period he and Elena begin to develop a friendly relationship that eventually evolves into something more. They begin dating after the season 4 finale but break up in a recent episode.
- Steven R. McQueen portrays Jeremy Gilbert, Elena's younger brother, later revealed to be her biological cousin and a member of The Five, a vampire hunter. Jeremy is killed in Season 4 after being thrown onto Silas by Katherine and getting attacked by Silas while trying to get the cure and is resurrected by Bonnie Bennett in the season 4 finale.
- Kat Graham portrays Bonnie Bennett, Elena's best friend, a very powerful witch, who died resurrecting Jeremy Gilbert in the season 4 finale. Graham continues in the same capacity as a series regular on the show; her character is now a ghost. As of late, her character has been brought back to life by becoming the new anchor to the afterlife.
- Candice Accola portrays Caroline Forbes, Elena's other best friend who was insecure and her occasional rival at first but becomes a vampire in the second season, making her more mature as a person.
- Zach Roerig portrays Matt Donovan, Elena's childhood friend and ex-boyfriend, who later becomes romantically involved with Caroline, although they break up during third season they still remain good friends.
- Michael Trevino portrays Tyler Lockwood, a werewolf later turned into a hybrid, Jeremy's rival, Matt's best friend and son of the mayor of Mystic Falls; male members of his family have been shown to carry a lycanthropic trait. His uncle Mason was also a werewolf, but who later got killed by Damon.
- Joseph Morgan joins the main cast in season three after being a guest star in season two, as Original Vampire Klaus, the main antagonist of the second and third season. He begins to build an army of new "hybrids" which are half vampire and half were wolf. Joseph Morgan leaves the show after the fourth season, when Klaus got his own spin-off The Originals.
- Matthew Davis joins the cast halfway through season one as Alaric Saltzman, a history teacher, vampire hunter, and love interest for Jenna. Davis leaves the show at the end of season three after Alaric gets killed.
- Sara Canning portrays Jeremy and Elena's aunt and legal guardian, Jenna Sommers. Canning leaves the show after season two, when Jenna is killed after being turned into a vampire and used for Klaus' ritual.
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