It was never easy being Elena Gilbert in The Vampire Diaries. From threatening Original vampires to a mercurial boyfriend and a toxic doppelgänger, Elena’s life was riddled with drama and tension. So when the showrunners gave Elena a happy ending instead of killing her off, Elena’s fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.
But there are, of course, some fans who think Elena’s ending is quite strange and half-baked since it gives out very little information about where she went after the series ended, or the kind of challenges she faced in her life with Damon. Elena’s diary entry at The Vampire Diaries series finale is even more mysterious and worth an exploration, so here’s a look at why Elena’s ending made sense, and why aspects of it did not.
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Updated on December 23rd, 2021 by Hilary Elizabeth: Elena Gilbert was really the heart of The Vampire Diaries, and for most of the series, it was her story more than anyone else’s. Although she was absent for the final few seasons, fans were excited to see her return for the finale. Considering how divided the opinions were regarding her conclusion, it’s important to examine every angle of Elena’s ending.
Elena’s Ending Was Fitting Because
It’s The Ending She Wanted
Fans can find comfort in the fact that Elena’s life found the direction she wanted and she is, in fact, happy with it. If she’s living a human life with Damon and goes on to have children, it means she has found a sense of stability and joy and was able to leave her murky, supernatural life behind.
It’s also important to note, a simple, homely, and happy life is what season 1’s Elena also wanted originally, meaning her ending is a real full-circle moment in The Vampire Diaries.
She Wanted Peace And Finds It
After everything Elena has been through for eight long seasons, she deserved a sense of peace, and although it’s incredibly vague, her storyline basically ends on a note of positivity. Her diary entry is very telling because, though she doesn’t reveal where she is or what she plans to do, it clearly implies that she is satisfied with her own life.
For fans of Elena, this is a big deal. Elena was under constant threats of danger and death throughout her character arc on the show, so a safe and secure human existence is a radical improvement for her.
It Makes Sense That She Steps Out Of Mystic Falls
Elena has never really traveled outside of Mystic Falls much, except her whirlwind trip to Chicago with Damon. In fact, her college was also located in Virginia, the same state as her hometown. So it makes sense for her to step out of Mystic Falls to raise a family with Damon or to travel.
The show suggests that Damon and Elena do pursue a domestic family life since they have a daughter, but their transition back to humanity also gave them the opportunity to explore the world.
The Potential For Future Spin-offs
The biggest perk of an open-ended storyline that’s up for interpretation is the fact it can always be brought back for a spinoff. Though Elena and Damon haven’t been a part of the most recent TVD spinoff thus far, clearly Elena and Damon’s history is a very big part of Legacies and has a potential for future spinoffs as well.
Damon and Elena’s daughter Stefanie has already been mentioned once in Legacies, and in the future their storyline can be revisited for the sake of the show, or maybe in a different show in the same franchise.
It’s The End Of This Chapter In Her Life
The conclusion to Elena’s character arc on The Vampire Diaries may be frustratingly vague in the eyes of some fans, but thematically it does make some sense.
The start of the series came when Elena was first drawn into the supernatural world, so ending the series with Elena finally escaping all of the magical drama and death works well. Her ending on TVD wasn’t meant to necessarily provide a conclusion to her entire life, but merely to her experience in the dangerous world of vampires.
The Human Connection
It’s true Elena never really got to enjoy her human adult life, as she has constantly been threatened with vampires and a toxic doppelgänger since she was a teenager. The fact that the show gives her a chance for a do-over and reassigns her humanity actually makes for a rewarding storyline.
It’s a grounded ending that shows the best of both worlds since she didn’t always want to be a vampire, but she wanted to be with Damon. It seems that this gives her exactly what she dreamed of.
Elena’s Ending Does Not Make Sense Because
It’s Too Generic
Elena’s ending is arguably the biggest copout in the series; though the conclusion of her storyline disguises itself under a traditional ‘happily ever after’ trope, it’s actually too loose-ended.
In the series finale, Elena writes in her diary that she and Damon go on to live a long, happy life together which implies that their human lives find some sort of fulfillment. However, what happens to either of them beyond that is a complete mystery, making the conclusion of two of TVD’s most important characters vaguer than the ending of a Disney princess film.
The Broken Curse Wasn’t Explained
Understandably, The Vampire Diaries wanted to bring its leading female character back for the series finale to give her some kind of satisfying closure. However, the means by which they wrote Elena off in the first place created a pretty obvious plot hole that the show didn’t even bother to fix.
Elena was sidelined from TVD because of Kai’s curse keeping Elena in a coma as long as Bonnie was alive. In order to bring Elena back for the finale, the show just had Bonnie somehow figure out how to break that curse, but no actual explanation for how that worked was offered.
Damon and Elena Needed A Better Closure
To be fair, the ‘Delena’ storyline does find some kind of resolution, as Elena confirms she and Damon go on to live happy, long human lives. But this is the equivalent of the ‘and they lived happily ever after’ ending in kids’ fairy tales and lacks any real context or information.
Many fans had rooted for Elena to choose Damon over Stefan because Damon was a more competent ally for Elena and their relationship was actually grounded and based on a foundation of friendship. But the diary entry ending is quite juvenile considering it doesn’t do anything to give justice to their romance.
It Makes Things Difficult For Legacies
Elena’s loosely-wrapped up personal arc makes things messier for Legacies and future spin-offs. The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young & Gifted is a school for untrained witches, vampires, werewolves, or kids who have been affected by the supernatural. It is situated at the Salvatore Boarding House and is founded by Alaric, Elena’s former teacher, and Caroline, who was supposedly Elena’s best friend.
Elena and Damon are a crucial part of the school’s heritage and ideally, students would have to be taught about them and must know where they went. The fact that they are both only referenced a few times seems odd considering they are not dead and have a daughter Stefanie who could attend the school. Not giving Elena’s arc a solid ending takes away from the credibility of her own legacy.
It Doesn’t Contribute Anything To The Doppelgänger Storyline
What made Elena so refreshing as a heroine of a teen vampire show is that she had her own historic legacy as a doppelgänger that affected the supernatural beings around her in a big way. So the fact that her ending has so little to do with her doppelgänger self is really unrewarding to the fans. It’s somewhat tricky trying to find satisfaction with Elena’s doppelgänger storyline, since nothing like this has been explored in pop culture.
However, post-Katherine’s death Elena is the only living Petrova doppelgänger, and her ending on the show is not designed to highlight or even acknowledge her significance on a broader supernatural scale.
The Supernatural World Is Still A Threat
Elena did always dream of a normal human life, and luckily for her, she seems to have gotten that at the end of The Vampire Diaries. However, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
As the last living doppelgänger, she is still an extremely important and valuable part of the supernatural world, and the danger that her doppelgänger status represents doesn’t just suddenly go away because she reverted back to being human. If anything, it should mean that she’s an even bigger target.
She And Damon Still Have Supernatural Loose Ends
Similarly, even putting aside Elena’s magical twin status, the notion that she and Damon just had a happy human life while facing zero consequences or dangers is very hard to believe.
Damon has over a century of bad behavior under his belt, and Elena orchestrated the deaths of an entire vampire bloodline. The idea that vampires didn’t come after them with a vengeance is strange, especially since they would both be so vulnerable and easy to kill.
The Diary Entry Was Weird
After everything that Elena has been through, it hardly seems fair that the trajectory of a protagonist this fierce would end on this tame and confusing note. Though the diary was a nice touch because it recalled the untroubled, season 1 Elena, it was weird because the diary had been missing in action for quite some time now.
Also, whatever Elena wrote in the finale provided very little information about what fans really wanted to know, so even as a nostalgic reference, it wasn’t very effective or informative.
Her Story Has No Resolution
It would have been incredibly difficult for The Vampire Diaries to resolve Elena’s character arc since she had been gone for a few seasons and they only had her back for one episode. But it really feels like they didn’t even try.
She came out of her coma, said a few important hellos and goodbyes, and then had an incredibly vague diary entry explaining that she had a good life and died happily to close out her tale. It was very unsatisfying.
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