So in honor of the fact that the DVDs came out Tuesday (!!!) and the season premiere is less than a week from tonight (!!!!!!!!!), I’m giving you my 9 favorite TVD things from S1. (Later in the week, it’s my 15 favorite scenes.) (You guys should do this too, it’s pretty great.)

Damon Salvatore Feels Things (And Is Exactly As Thrilled About It As You Think)

Damon Salvatore is a vampire. Damon Salvatore hates humans unless he’s horny or peckish. Damon Salvatore commits murder the same way most people check Facebook. Damon Salvatore does not have time for you or your wig drama, and he sure as shit does not care about anything or anyone that is not Damon Salvatore.


Except, at some point – and I’d be damned if even he could tell you when, exactly – he started to. Not a lot of people – Elena, Stefan, Alaric; arguably Bonnie, Jeremy and/or Sheriff Forbes – but he does. They are complex, confusing emotions; even worse, they’re emotions, because he’s been a big supporter of the Vampires Don’t Have to Feel Shit train since he was changed, and he’s not thrilled to find out it’s left him here in Virginia without a ride.

The finale is like a symphony: he’s apologizing to Bonnie, he’s sympathizing with Jeremy, he worries about Stefan, he’s in love with Elena, and all of it plays across his face with the underpinning of oh, God, I hate this. It’s amazing. It’s why I can’t entirely write him off.

Though, you know, maybe he could kill fewer awesome ladies this year. That’s getting kind of old.

Witches = scary

You would think that, on a show called The Vampire Diaries, vampires would be the scariest things around. Not true: there are witches. We haven’t seen a lot of direct evidence so far about how threatening witches are, but it’s fairly telling that both Damon and Isobel – no slouches in the Crazy and Deadly sweepstakes – both look at witches and go, “Fuck that, I’m not pissing them off.” When threatening Elena’s friends, Isobel flat-out excludes Bonnie: “I’m gonna leave that one alone.” For the most part, Damon leaves Bonnie alone. Damon.

There’s also Emily Bennett. But we’ll get to her.

Founders’ Day, 1864

According to the official town history, on Founders’ Day in Mystic Falls in 1864, at the Battle of Willow Creek, Union sympathizers trapped innocent townfolk – including women and children - in a church and lit it on fire, killing them. It was a great tragedy.

The real story is somewhat different.

Upon finding out the girl he’d been harboring for months was a vampire, Giuseppe Salvatore rounded up the town fathers and hunted down every last vampire to light them on fire; when his sons tried to interfere, he shot them both dead. The fire-lighting part didn’t go so great, mostly because Emily Bennett helped the vampires “escape”; it was either that or the witchcraft, probably both, that got her murdered for her troubles. The “official” story was propagated after Giuseppe’s and continues to this day.

To be fair, they apparently didn’t know about the werewolves.

Bonnie Bennett

Bonnie is Elena’s best friend, the (as far as we know) only daughter of a mother who died when she was 10 and a father who’s always away on business, leaving her to spend a lot of time with her grandma, the occult professor at the local college. (Yes, occult. Shut up, I don’t write this show.) She’s a cheerleader and fairly good-natured, and makes gentle fun when Grams says she’s a witch: “—and I did predict Heath Ledger!” Cute girl, not the best hair.

This is before she gets possessed by her ancestor, Emily, and has her own power woken up as a result, ending in the finale when she holds off a burning building long enough for Damon and Stefan to escape. This season she’s keeping her eye on Damon, claiming that if he spills innocent blood again she’ll take him out – and Stefan, if he gets in her way. She is like Cameron the Terminator was a really hot teenage witch descended from witches. I LOVE HER SO MUCH, YOU GUYS.

Alaric Saltzman

Alaric Saltzman came to town following the mysterious death of his wife, seeking a fresh start and a job teaching history at the high school. That's not the whole truth, but really, would you have bought that he was tracking down the vampire who'd eaten his wife in order to seek bloody revenge?

--okay, yes. But that's, like, a Wednesday around here, so.

In his first year in town, Alaric's gotten closure for his dead wife, found out that said wife is not dead but A) a vampire and B) Elena's birth mom, started kind-of dating Elena's aunt Jenna, called Mayor Lockwood an alpha-male douchebag, been killed once, found out that being killed doesn't stick as long as he has his magical Gilbert ring on--don't ask--and killed a shitload of vampires, not to mention becoming beffies with the vampire that turned his wife, and occasionally actually teaching history.

He's also cultivating a pretty sweet drinking problem, but who isn't, at this stage.

“Yeah, well, you *did* kill me." (Alaric and Damon)

Here's how you get Damon Salvatore as a best friend:

1) Try to fight him, ending with you getting a stake to the chest and dying of a punctured lung. (To be fair, it was really not a fight. On the other hand, Damon was really drunk. Kinda sad, Saltzman.)

2) End up not being killed, because your not-dead-wife, before she became a vampire, gave you a ring from her ex-boyfriend's family that renders you unable to be killed. (It's kind of a Captain Jack Harkness thing: you can kill Alaric, it just doesn't stick.)

3) Help Damon and Elena rescue Stefan from the tomb vampires holed up in the woods. Get cranky when Damon's grand plan involves snapping an old lady's neck. Kill a lot of vampires who are not Salvatores.

4) Punch the shit out of Damon when he tries to make small talk at the bar later.

5) Look really surprised when Damon comes up to you at a dinner party to tell you "there's a situation", as if you are friends now.

6) Repeat step 5. A lot.

Believe me, they are just as surprised by this as you are.


Vicki Donovan exists in the books, sort of in the same form: the bad girl, the one who parties with Tyler and his friends. (She's also not Matt's sister.) She's attacked roughly halfway through The Awakening, and ends up spending the rest of her days - yeah, that's a spoiler - as the town version of Ophelia, prone to being mentally controlled to doing a striptease in the cafeteria and having screaming fits.

That's not TV!Vicki. TV!Vicki is kind of a bad girl, waiting tables at the Grille and dating Tyler (though the Lockwoods, being exactly as awesome as you'd think, don't love the idea of him dating someone "from the wrong side of the tracks"), doing drugs and drinking because - shit, what else are you supposed to do when your dad's gone, your mom's off chasing God knows what, and your brother is making you look bad by being a football hero who dates a popular cheerleader? But she has a heart, and a good of course, that's when she runs into Damon, who promptly eats her and turns her into a vampire, because why not.

The rest of the story - powerless bad girl turns into vampire, runs amok, tries to strangle brother's ex-girlfriend - plays about how you'd think. But it's a testament to Kayla Ewell, who never makes you hate Vicki even as she's, you know, biting people and trying to kill Elena, that Vicki's still missed.

Emily Bennett = smarter than you

You would think, in 1864 Virginia, that the African-American servant – a woman, no less –of an unmarried girl in her early twenties would not be playing from what we could consider a position of power.

This is because you've never met Emily Bennett.

Emily Bennett, who successfully gamed Katherine into thinking she was her friend - and might have been, at some point, but no way did she trust that bitch by the end - and tried to keep the Salvatores safe during the awkward vampire transition period at least partly out of a sense that they might, someday, be good dudes -- then turned riiiiiiiight around and balls-out told Damon she'd managed to save Katherine, but the only way she'd tell him how to rescue her, 145 years from now, was to save her kids and ensure that her line survived 'til that time. Then she marched off and (presumably) was burned to death by the shitty townsfolk of Mystic Falls, but not before she decided to stick around as what may or may not be a ghost watching over the town. She was probably pretty pissed they buried her grimoire with Giuseppe Salvatore, but hey, you can't win 'em all.


Stefan Salvatore is not Edward Cullen

Book!Stefan is sort of a pussy, as far as vampires go: he’s not as tall, and he’s an Old World gentleman, coming from a 17th century Italian merchant family. He’s scrupulously polite to ladies (and gets mad at himself on the rare occasion he’s not), goes out of his way to defend the weak, and was emo before Hot Topic and Edward Cullen made it sexy. (To be fair, book!Damon is also sort of a pussy: he only kills one person, and that’s in self-defense, and he flat-out admits to Stefan he lied about the rest of it to annoy him.) (It also gets funnier when you realize that because people were shorter back then, both of them are maybe 5’8”.)

TV!Stefan acts like a coke fiend when he drinks human blood, accidentally on purpose ate his dad in 1864, and once locked his brother up to make him weak enough to put him in the family tomb for 50 years as an intervention. That was his idea of tough love. TV!Stefan is approximately four times more awesome than book!Stefan, not to mention much scarier when he finally caves and drinks human blood.
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