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10 Differences Between The Vampire Diaries Books & Show

The Vampire Diaries is a huge hit TV show based on books that are just as popular. L.J. Smith’s novels were first published in 1991 and they continued to grow from there. The television show premiered in 2009 and stars Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder.  The books and the show have the same basic premise – two vampires are in love with a teenage girl. Yet, while the basics are similar, fans of L. J. Smith’s books can’t help but point out the differences between the Vampire Diaries’ books and the TV show. So this one is for you guys, here’s a list of some of the big differences between the two:

1. One big thing that every fan of the book can’t stand is the hair issue. In the books, Elena is fair and blonde, but in the show she is a brunette. Fans were crying foul before the show even aired.

2. The name of the town. In both the show and books, it’s a small town in Virginia founded before the Civil War. But, the show calls the town Mystic Falls, while in the book it’s called Fell’s Church. The show does feature a Fell’s Church, but it’s just a structure in the cemetery.

3. In both, Elena lives with her aunt after the death of her parents. However, in the book the aunt’s name is Judith. In the show it is Jenna.

4. Another big BIG difference is Elena’s family. In the book, Elena has a four-year-old sister named Margaret. In the show she has a teenage brother named Jeremy. HUGE difference there.

5. In the book, Elena’s parents have been dead for three years when the story starts. But in the show, they had just died.

6. In the show, Elena learns that she is adopted and a descendant of Katherine’s. The book never explained why she looks so much like Katherine.

7. There are a whole lot of friend changes in the show as well. Elena’s best friend in the books, Meredith Sulez, plays a big role in the story. But, she isn’t in the show at all. Then there’s Bonnie McCullough, who in the books, is a tiny little redhead. In the show, her name is changed to Bonnie Bennett and she is an African American. In both, Bonnie has magical powers, but in the books she is descended from druids, in the show she is descended from the Salem witches.

8. Matt, Elena’s ex, went through a change too. His last name changes from Honeycutt in the book to Donovan in the show. In the book, Vickie isn’t his sister. But Matt’s last name isn’t the only one changed. Tyler’s last name is originally Smallwood, not Lockwood.

9. The Damon, Stefan and Katherine love triangle is also significantly different in the show and books, but it’s far too complicated to explain here. The whole vampire history is different.

10. In the show, Stefan doesn’t drink human blood (except when he lost control that one time), but in the books he drinks Elena’s blood in an intimate kind of way.

What other differences have you guys noticed between the books and the TV show? Let us know in a comment below.

– Moonlight

Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).
Damon SalvatoreElena GilbertIan SomerhalderL. J. SmithNina DobrevPaul WesleyStefan SalvatoreThe Vampire DiariesVampire Diariesvampire diaries booksvampire diaries show

Moonlight • September 23, 2010


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  • In the recent collection of Vampire Diaries books written by a ghost author, it is revealed that Elena is a angel/Guardian and has the ability to see other people’s auras (and a variety of other powers). Her blood is also sacred and irresistible to vampires, however, it’s lethal if drunk by ancient vampires and thus can prevent them from ever resurrecting. Her little sister, Margaret, is also a half angel/Guardian, Whether one wishes to consider the ghost written books canon with what L.J. Smith wrote before she was fired by her publishers is debatable.

    As far as I know, there are no angels/Guardians in the TV series.

  • I hate to say this, Bree, but I read the first two Vampire Diary books and absolutely hated them. But from episode 1 of the Vampire Diaries show I LOVED it and just about had a coronary finishing season 1 today. Can’t wait to see the rest of it :)))

  • OH MY GOSH – I’m so glad I’m not the only one…that’s exactly why I hated the books (I read the first two and they never got better), in the books Elena is definitely a self centered prissy BLAAAH that I couldn’t stand. I loved the show from episode one, primarily because she was portrayed as a responsible damsel in distress (but didn’t drown in a pity party victim mentality) and because Stephan never drank her blood until she offered it to save his life, he didn’t drink it in a creepy “romantic” way like in the books. Ugh. The TV show is definitely a winner.

    • laomeni

      I read the books too and I hated her character. Elena in the books is a spoiled girl who is very pretty and attention seeker.

  • Amna

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels this way! I remember when they first announced the show and I read all the differences, I got so pissed! I can’t ever even try to make myself watch it because I know I’ll just get angry at the destruction of an amazing story!!

  • kelti

    dark shogun i dont suppose you can help me, there are two versions of the book, with two diffrent covers, i was wondering if they are diffrent i tried reading the book that doesnt have alena and the brothers on the front and i couldnt get use to it, is the book with the other cover the same as the tv show?

  • Brianna

    Katherine is described in the books as a kitten, and Elena as a tiger. In the show, it is opposite

    • KARA

      Right ugg they totally screwed up the show

  • Dajiné Colón

    Also, I believe in the book series of the Vampire Diaries, Damon has black eyes, where on the show, Ian Somerharlder (playing Damone Salvatore) has gorgeous blue eyes.

  • Dajiné Colón

    Another difference between The Vampire Diaries’ characters I’m both the book series and show are the personalities between Katherine and Elena. Elena in the book is more like Katherine on the show. Katherine on the show is more like Elena in the book.

  • Kirby

    There are no kitsune. I believe Katherine had the ability to turn into a white tiger? I am on the The Hunters: Destiny Rising. They left out so much detail and just took this story at a whole new level. After all the hell that has happened in fells church. Bonnie Elena and Meredith (who is not in this rotten tv show) go to college where klaus is resurrected by a cult. Beforehand klaus was killed by Elena and the ghosts of fells church. ALSO, Elena’s parents were suppose to die because she is to become a guardian. In the tv show there is no mention of the “Underworld” or any “Guardians”

    The Vampire Diaries Tv show is just ridiculous in the end. It would’ve been better if they just stuck to the storyline of the book. Way, way better.

  • Pingback: Vampire E to H | Baby Gates Down()

  • Sydney_b550

    Klaus was killed within one book, Elena was killed and came back as an Angel, they never battled a Kitsune, Caroline never turned evil and had Tyler’s evil werewolf babies or accused Matt of rape, Damon never turned human, there are no mentions of an “underworld” or human slavery, and there’s a billion other things that were wrong in general. Honestly, it’s two entirely different things that just share the same name.

  • Bianca Salvatore

    In the book Caroline and Elena are rivals but in the show, they are best friends

  • anon tv show fan

    i didnt read the books AT ALL and i just watched the TV show. and i started reading it, but then i am like: WHERE THE HELL IS JEREMY. thanks, otherwise i would have never known he doesnt exist! :”D i would have just been confused. i think one of the things that i really loved about the show was how elena loved her brother SO MUCH as her only family left. it is a really beautiful relationship. so i love the tv show more (personal opinion, no offence :”D) i especially loved the scene where elena cried after jeremy’s death in 4th season. SO REALISTIC. amazing. it really isnt vampire diaries without jeremy :/ for me anyways. i think the actress really suits elena’s character as well. and hating her because she is a brunette is really stupid. -.-” do you see her acting? SHE IS ELENA!

    • Andrew Lacey

      I Think From Damon’s Journal His Name Is Silas From The Novals & In The Tv Series His Name Is Damon

  • Vanna

    Another big difference is in the show, Stefan and Damon were from Civil War era America, and in the books they were from Renaissance Italy (I think it was Italy, their last name is Salvatore).

    • Noelle Ramos

      yeah, you’re right in the show they say they are of Italian descent but in the books they are like legit from Italy.

  • Noelle Ramos

    Love the books, love the show. But I can’t think of them as the same thing or else I will hate them both for being so different. So, in my head, they are just a book series and a TV series that happen to have the same name and similar plots (kind of lol).

  • Keerthi

    Attention TVD fans… about tht sixth difference in the article, its kind of incorrect! the book really does explain why elena is so similar to katherine, u can refer to the 10th volume of TVD. U would know if u have read all the volumes of TVD.

  • Liz Ford

    Did anyone fo bk n read Stephens dairies. Mystic falls is where they begin with last names of main characters of show so I am lost as why the difference begins with the hunter series is this a part of the writers change tho only those that read these specific books will know my question as I’m what over a century away from Elena as I finished six, where to now? I began reading bc of the books of The Originals early years, finished and needed more similar writing
    Please advise me …I am new to books seen many episodes do not mind different plots or parts its a common event…I am 38 been reading a while…
    LF

  • laomeni

    The article above doesn’t say about Elena’s character. In the book she is a very spoiled girl who lives for boys attention. It mentions all the time how pretty she is and how everyone died to date her. She’s a cheerleader and pays many attention to her appearance. She is very social too. She belonged to a squad of famous girls who hated the poor kids and bullied them. In few words she was a girl who wouldn’t like as a friend. In the series though she looks like next door’s girl. She isn’t the most popular girl in the school and of course she’s not an attention seeker. Also Caroline is totally different than on tv. She’s red head if I remember well and she’s the enemy of Elena and bullies her all the time. Both are very popular. On tv she’s blonde, unpopular she isn’t her enemy neither her friend. She doesn’t seem spoiled just a bit troubled. After awhile they became friends though. I was very surprised when I saw a few episodes. I loved Elenas character. It made me to want to be her friend.

  • One of the Originals….

    I read the series as it came out… I was 12. I actually had to wait to read them as they came out. I’ve tried watching the TV series, but I guess, as an adult who read the series, I couldn’t stand the changes until I separated them in my head. (Books are ALWAYS better than their adaptations.)

  • Anything

    Actually we know why are elena and katherine really look like eachother in book too. They are sisters… And in the book they aren’t exactly same they just look like eachother.