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Posted by | May 30, 2009, 16:07 (MST) | 115 Comments
Category: Books, The Vampire Diaries TV

With people hearing about the Vampire Diaries for the first time, one of the things that they’re curious about is what the vampires in the series are like. For those interested, we’re going to list the main characteristics and traits of the vampires in the world of L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries book series. Quite how many of these things will make it into the TV series and how many of them will be changed we have no clue, but we know a few already have.

If you want to find out all about the vampires in the TV series, head on over to Vampire Lore 101: The TV series edition.


So, what do these vampires look like? Do they have fangs?

Fangs from the Vampire Diaries TV seriesDespite some differences from humans, these vampires blend in and pass as humans without any problems. Like in most vampire stories, they’re paler than humans, with a cooler body temperature. While they do have heartbeats, they are much slower than a normal human heartbeat.

These vampires also have fangs. They’re on the canine/eye teeth (which we can see from the trailers is something that has carried over into the TV series), and they lengthen and sharpen with the need to feed and the scent of blood. They appear to be quite sensitive and can be stimulated with a bit of tongue action.

Stefan's EyesThe books don’t detail specific physical changes in Stefan and Damon beyond taking on feral facial expressions. While this works well for the page, it’d get a little boring on the screen, and so the TV series has some rather spiffing eye effects – making the flesh around them appear more bruised, the eyes themselves becoming darker (perhaps with blood?), and tiny veins in the skin becoming more obvious. Click on the image to the left for a better look.

How about feeding?

Vampires must drink blood to survive. They can get by on animal blood, but it is human blood that is the most potent, and what helps them develop their powers.

Drinking blood in the books has been described as both messy and clean in different situations. It depends on how hungry a vampire is, how much they care about the victim, and whether they care if that victim lives or dies.

Fang wounds in Vicki's neckDesperation to feed will lead to less care being taken and trauma to flesh being greater, even if the vampire is usually compassionate and cares about humans. If a vampire wants to be vicious and inflict pain while feeding, then it can be a messy and painful affair (especially if the victim in question is also a vampire). Conversely, if a vampire takes care while feeding, and cares about the victim, then it can be a very clean affair, leaving behind only small puncture wounds.

From a human perspective, if the victim struggles or is too tense, then the experience can be agonisingly painful and traumatic. If the donor is willing and relaxes, the experience can be extremely pleasurable for both the vampire and the human.

Vampires can eat human food without any problems, but it has no nutritional value for them.

Can these vampires go out in sunlight?

Stefan's lapis lazuli ringThey can walk in sunlight unharmed if they wear the semi-precious gemstone lapis lazuli on their person. Lapis is known as the ‘night stone’ (due to it being dark blue with gold, star-like flecks), and is a protective talisman for vampires. The most common way to wear it is in the form of a ring. Katherine also wears it in pendant form around her neck.

The lapis lazuli ring has made it into the TV series (as you can see from the picture above of Stefan’s ring), and from a reference to the fact that Stefan must wear his ring to go out in sunlight unharmed we assume that the lapis performs the same function as it does in the books. There is also a shot of Damon fiddling with what looks to be a large chunk of lapis in unrefined form.

What about strength, speed, agility and other senses?

Stefan jumping from a buildingThese vampires have great strength and speed, able to move faster than the human – and, in some cases, vampire – eye can track. They’re able to jump and fall from high places, landing with cat-like grace, even if they’re rescuing a falling human in the process, and they’re pretty handy at scaling up the sides of buildings with ease. They certainly have no problems snapping logs bare-handed and uprooting innocent trees, and heavy objects are no obstacle. The more human blood a vampire drinks, the stronger and faster they become.

Vampires also have very enhanced senses, with sharper vision, the ability to see in the dark (though they do rely on some source of light to be able to see, so are as blind as humans in pitch dark environments), outstanding hearing, and a far superior sense of smell.

Do they have any mental powers?

Even the weaker vampires have the ability to influence humans and bend them to their will, from making them do things, to seeing things that aren’t there, and even forgetting about events entirely. Stronger vampires are also able to do these things to weaker vampires. If the vampire is powerful enough, then they can maintain a connection with their victim over a distance, essentially turning them into a puppet for their own whims.

Another mental power is the ability to communicate with each other telepathically. They are also able to ‘speak’ with humans in this way, though it’s something that happens far less frequently than vampire to vampire telepathic communication.

Vampires are also able to pick up on human thoughts and emotions. There seems to be an element of the human broadcasting their thoughts rather than the vampire actively digging around in people’s heads, though it’s not made clear if the more powerful vampires are able to do just that. Stefan certainly can’t, and even Damon doesn’t seem to have the power to do that.

Any other interesting powers?

CrowThe first one that springs to mind is the ability to shift into animal form. They’re limited to only a few such forms, and it’s an ability that depends on how strong a vampire’s powers are, and how much human blood they’ve been drinking. Stefan can manage only one form, while Damon – who is far stronger than his brother – has two. Bird forms (Damon’s crow form is a well-known and loved symbol within the fandom) seem to be a standard first choice, given it provides an excellent form of travel and is relatively inconspicuous, allowing them to go unnoticed while spying on humans from trees and such.

Not only can they assume animal form, they also have the ability to control animals, turning otherwise peaceful creatures into mindless, dangerous beasts who will turn on their human owners and attack with the intent to kill.

Stronger vampires also have the ability to control the weather, from whipping up wind to making it snow, to even manipulating lightning.

Do they have any weaknesses?

Without lapis lazuli, sunlight is lethal to them. Even a few seconds in sunlight can cause exposed flesh to burn and blister.

In order to enter a house a vampire has to be invited in. It doesn’t have to be by the owner of the house, but it does have to be an invitation from a living human.

A mostly ineffective vampire hunting kitThe more powerful a vampire is, the more they’re restricted by certain limitations. One of these is the ability to cross running water. Younger and weaker vampires have no problems crossing water, whereas more powerful vampires are bound by darkness and physically incapable of it.

There are a few weakness, however, that are pure myth. These vampires do have reflections in mirrored surfaces, aren’t affected by the sign of the cross (though having true faith can help protect you from mental attacks), and have no problems with holy water or garlic.

Can they be killed?

Yes. Sunlight, obviously. A stake through the heart or cutting off the head will also do it, though a very old vampire can survive a stake through the heart with no ill-effects. You’d also have to be able to get close enough to the vampire to overpower them enough to do kill them with these methods.

SunlightIt also appears that vampires can actually die from extreme trauma and blood loss. There are a few instances where this is suggested in the books, and we can conclude that if a vampire is able to drink blood after severe damage is inflicted, then they will heal and regain their strength. However, if the trauma is great enough and they are unable to get any blood, then they’ll die. This kind of damage is only likely to be sustained in a fight with one of their own kind.

How do humans become vampires?

A human has to drink a certain amount of vampire blood in order to become one. There is an implication in the books that a human has to die with enough vampire blood in them to cause the change and bring them back as vampires. It is suggested that the changes vampire blood brings on in humans while they’re still alive (which include increased strength and speed, enhanced senses, and a desire to feed on human blood) will eventually wear off as the vampire blood flushes out of their system.

Do vampires sleep? Do they need sleep?

Vampires in this world certainly can sleep. Aside from time spent by vampire characters knocked out and unconscious, there are several instances of them needing sleep, and Stefan has even experienced bad dreams while doing so. L.J. Smith never makes it clear how much sleep these vampires may need, but it’s clearly a lot less than what a normal human needs.

Do they sparkle?

Body GlitterNo.

Not as a species, anyway. What these vampires choose to get up to in their own time with a tube of body glitter is their own private business.

So, there you have it, the basic facts of the vampires in L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries. If we haven’t covered something you’re dying to know, then please feel free to ask in the comments and we’ll answer your questions there.

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  • christina

    what exactly happened to katerine for the brothers to have a grude towards each other.

  • Red

    Long story short? [spoiler]In the book version they didn’t like each other particularly in the first place, they both fell in love with her and she refused to choose between them. She killed herself in an effort to unite them in their grief, and it just made them hate each other more.[/spoiler]

    You can read detailed synopses for each of the books on the wiki.

  • sophie P

    I love twilight, i think Edward Cullen is hot stuff (oddly enough not that much of a fan of Robert Pattinson) anywho, after reading all this im really looking forward to The Vampire Diaries, i just dont like the idea of them wearing a ring so the sun doesnt kill them…strange…. who da thunk id like vampires???? hmmmm and yes i meant who da thunk! just have to wait and see!

  • sophie P

    oh and also, the two plots (TVD & Twilight) seem very different so i dont get all this talk about plagerism plus TVD were written first, but twilight became crazily famous first so…. maybe people should just accept that because of the fame of twilight, vampires became ‘ popular’ so they made a show out of great vampire books written years ago…. OVER IT PEOPLE!

  • Hannah

    Okay, so like, when a human is turned into a vampire, then what? Where do they get the gemstone thingy? And are they like, connected to their maker or something?

  • Red

    Katherine had rings made for the boys, so that implies that a responsible maker will prepare for a planned change by getting some lapis jewellery made beforehand. Though in this day and age it’d be pretty easy to pop into any place that sells gemstones and buy some lapis or buy it online and lurk in the dark until it gets delivered. ;)

    There’s no book evidence to suggest a special connection to a vampire’s maker.

  • Michelle

    no i like them both personaly and this was published in 1991 and there is a different story so no one copied anyone. you should like them both.

  • Ash0507

    I read the twilight books first and I loved them. Im still in the process of reading the vampire diaries and im enjoying them so far. Twilight the movie was a big disapointment, but TVD show has been amazing so far, so much better than Twilight the movie. The cast is so much better also. Im so glad it was made into a show instead of a movie. With a movie you only get maybe 2 hours, but with a show you get any hour every week!

  • Pauline

    my friend wants to know if it is painful when they change?

  • Red

    Into vampires? No. The change happens while they’re technically dead.

  • Pauline

    will matt and elana ever date again

  • Red

    Personally, I don’t think so – it’s always really been between Stefan and Damon. But you never know where LJS will go with Shadow Souls and Midnight, so we can’t rule it out completely.

  • Ileana Byron

    Where can I get a lapis lazuli ring or pendent?

  • Red

    Ebay, etsy, jewellers, new age shops, craft fairs… all kinds of places. It’s a genuine semi-precious gemstone like amethyst and quartz. Plenty of places sell it.

  • Loser

    Oh…..My.. Freakin gosh this is the best show ever… once i watched the first show i went straight to the book store to buy all of the books… And holy crap i love them… THe characters in the show could of not been any hotter… Man stefan is FINE. Damon is FINE too.. Man i love these book please keep them comin because i love them.. THIS IS MY FAVORITE SHOW ON EARTH!!!!!!!

    Love, Me ;)

  • Annette

    Question: Do TVD vampires cry? Well I know Twilight Vamps don’t and TrueBlood Vamps do, with blood tears. How about our very own TVD vamps? I’ve observed Stefan about this and he doesn’t seem to cry even though he looks like he wants to cry. Especially on those parts where he feels remorse. LOL

  • Red

    TVD vampires in the books DO cry, regular tears. Whether or not they will in the TV series remains to be seen.

  • Annette

    Follow-up question. Can you please tell me who [vampire] cried in the book? As you can see, I’ve never read the book and I’m not planning to. I don’t wanna be one of those over-critical fans who are so obsessed on comparing the books from the tv show. It’ll just give me a headache. I’ll stick to the TV show. LOL So who cried in the book? Thanks for replying. =)

  • Red

    The non-spoilery version that doesn’t give you all of them? Stefan, Damon and Katherine.

  • sam torrez

    happy early b-day Ian.hope all of your wishes come true.

  • Silly Bob

    I love vampires stephan is the hottest!!!!!!!

  • http://Facebook Bonnie

    I love Vampire Diaries.I think its a whole lot better than Twilight. Stefan is a whole lot hotter than Edward.

  • Pandie

    Kim: this is like fucking twilight she should sue u for taaking her ideas u fucking ridiculus moron. stop plargarizing stephenie meyer!!!  

    Um, actually L.J. Smith wrote The Vampire Diaries books back in 1991, making TVD pre-date Twilight not the other way around

  • EDAw

    İ used to be a huge twilight fan but its is all inspired by vampire diaries and anne rice series… Besides witches are cooler than werewolfs and stefan and damon are way more hansomer. İ didn’t read the books because i cant stand the idea of damon and elena even for a minute but i can say that tv series are much better than those films they did for twilight series and its more mature makes the vamp thing real…

  • JAH

    I saw one of the vampires cut with a knife. how does their body react to harm? knife, gun, etc…

  • matth

    This show is the best i ever seen in my life !!!!!!!! I wish this show never stop and become a great sucess.

    Happy me to be a part of The Vampire Diaries fans.

    I wish great pleasure for the upcoming episodes of TVD to all the fans.

    May the show prosper !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:P

  • Eli

    I am about ready to jump out of my tree from boredom waiting for the last book in this series. Why DECEMBER? WHY, WHY, WHY?

  • Eli

    I was rereading some of the comments, I agree Oksanna, Kristan is way to whiny and she’s sorta agressive when she’s upset and saying “no”. It’s just plain weird to be so pushy when your not really that person.

  • Bloom

    since stefan and damon fans want to know, will there ever be replica’s of the salvatore ring??? Im a Damon/Stefan fan and i really would like this info :D

  • Shayla

    As far as harm goes to vampires: Vampires are truly harmed by wood. Thus wood stakes, wood bullets, wood spears, and so forth.

    Also, am I the only one unsure about that ‘vampires do have reflections’ thing? Because I could have sworn that in the first book, when Elena was trying to watch him with the mirror in her compact that she was spooked because he suddenly walked by and she didn’t see him in the mirror. Can anyone confirm this, or am I confusing it with some other vampire book? I’ve read a lot of vampire books. xP

    That’s something I hate about Twilight. If it’s anything vampire or werewolf, it’s automatically stolen from Twilight. For one, Stephanie Meyer doesn’t OWN the rights to mythological creatures. That’d be like someone saying a movie stole their ideas from another movie just because they both have female characters. It’s not that far off from that sort of situation, either.

    Secondly, it’s a fictional series! Mythological creatures include vampires and werewolves. It’s not uncommon for two types of mythological creatures to appear in a mythology-based story.

    Third, if anyone plagarized, it was Miss Meyer who stole from Miss Smith. HOWEVER, no one has brought up the fact that both stories came AFTER the story of Dracula. So I suppose they both stole that plot line. How dare they steal Dracula’s spotlight. (Note: Pure sarcasm.)

    Finally, The Vampire Diaries has many mythological creatures. From witches to ghosts, vampires to werewolves, and demons to kitsune. The Vampire Diaries has a plot more closely related to Lord of the Rings than to Twilight. And no, I’m not saying Lord of the Rings plagarized from Vampire Diaries, or vice versa.

  • kelcy101

    LOVELY READ! But i have a few questions:
    1. What is the other form Damon is able to take?
    2. What one form can Stephen take?
    3. What component of weather can Katherine control?

  • VampFrenzy

    i was wondering i have only read two of the books so far and i had watched the first eries before i started reading them and i was wondering where the writers of the show got the idea from jeremy gilbert from because he is not mentioned at all in the first two books but he plays such a big part in the Tv series.

  • Shayla

    To Kelcy101:
    1. Damon takes form as a wolf and as a raven.
    2. Stefan can take form as a hawk.
    3. In the books I only remember her manipulating the weather to create a snow storm, but you have to also remember that it’s unlikely that she’s limited to that specific type of power. In the books, Damon was not only able to control fog, but proved to be able to manipulate the weather any way he pleased throughout these past six books. Thus, it’s very likely that Katherine had the power to control the weather in other ways, but she hasn’t been in six books to prove such. :P

    To VampFrenzy:
    Jeremy Gilbert replaces Elena’s little sister Margaret, who was only three and hardly a character in the books. Margaret appeared only a few times throughout the books, thus it’s likely that you haven’t “met” her yet, and if so, you probably never noticed because she never has anything that could be considered valuable page space. So instead of a shy, sweet, clueless little sister named Margaret, we got a rebelious, troubled fifteen year-old brother named Jeremy.

  • Ashley

    For whoever said that vampire diaries is like twilight,you are so wrong.Vampire diaries came out before twilight,like, 14 years before.Also before you judge,read the books!!!!The show only has minor simularities to the books.So before you judge get your facts strait.I am absolutly in love with these amazing books.I can never put the book down.I have every book except midnight but I recently found out it comes next year.I am truly excited I nearly fell and choked.Cant wait.

  • Ashley

    For the person who said LJ smith copied Meyer,you are wrong.First of all The vampire diaries came out years before twilight,like,14 years before it.And second of all people who say that only have seen the show sometimes.I got some advise though.Read the books!!! The show only have minor simularities to the books that dont cover the books even halfway.I personally am in love with the books.I can not put it down even though iv read all of them 30 times.I have all the books except for midnight because I recently heard that it is coming out next year.I am truly excited I almost fell and chocked.I cant wait.Vampire diaries all day!!

  • Ashley

    For the person who said that smith copied Meyer,your wrong.First The vampire diaries were published years before twilight,like,14 year before.Also second,most people who say this are only seeing the show.I got advice.Go read the books!!! The show only have minor simularities to the books that dont even cover half the purpose of the book.It goes very fast,main people are eliminated,more people come for no apparent reason and personalities and reactions are getting changed.I personelly am in love with the books.I could never put it down even though Iv read all of them like 30 times.I own all of the books except for midnight which I recently found out that it would come out early next year.I was so excited to see when it would come out and the cover.I cant wait.Vampire Diaries all day!!!

  • anonymous

    i totally agree with u ashley, thank goodness somebody knows the actually facts instead of making false accusations.Its true the vampire diaries series was written before twilight, and honestly i must say that i think maybe stephanie meyers may have gotten some ideas from smith.

  • Rainy

    Meridith is her best friend and w/ out Margaret Elena’s little sis u don’t have the white kitty tht almost attacks her and then u have other storylines please have them come into the tv series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nat

    I read TVD book series back when they were originally published. .It’s what started me on the whole supernatural/vampire books.. I was so excited when the tv show was announced.. There are a lot of similarities but also a lot of differences, but both are excellent!!

  • Jennifer

    I’ve just seen the trailer for the next episode of TVD and Elena says a Werewolf bite can kill a vampire. It’s been a while since I’ve read the books and I was wondering if this is true in the books?

  • elena g

    they’re not conectted to their creaters (they don’t really remember them til later in the tranceformation)unless they were togather in the first place like stefan and elena.
    thanks for your time – elena g

  • Katie

    The thing is I love the TV show so much, when I saw the trailer on the UK TV channel ITV2 I immeditaley begged my mum to let me watch it, she said yes. I was hooked, I found this website and found out that the show was based of a book seires, again I begged my Mum to buy them, and after some careful persuasion she gave in. For the first to fourth books I loved them. The ones after. Well, to be honest I hated Shinishki(sp?) and Maio(sp?) and the whole coming back from the dead and then I really hated the giant owl, I mean really?
    I know some of you will disagree, but I havent let it destroy my love for the first books and the second season (my mother is getting sick of the constant squealing when the TVD advet comes on)and I will read Midnight just to see how it ends. Thanks for making such an awesome site!
    Katie, UK

  • taria

    I’m going to be honest here. The first time I saw the show was when I bought the dvd’s and I started watching it and the first thing I thought was “OMG this is like twilight” but then I kept watching and drooling over Damon (like every other girl out there, it’s his eyes for me. those blue eye’s *drools like Homer* sorry)and began to think okay this is way better then twilight. Which I will admit I have never read her books btw. (But I saw the first movie and didn’t care for it, sorry again) But then I got the first TVD book and was MAD at the book. ’cause the elena in the book was a total blonde haired, blue eyed stuck up b****, I mean I really hated her, She reminded to much of the snooby whenches at my high school who thought they were better then everyone else, I reallllllly hated her in the book. But I adore her in the show, at least she’s not a snob. But after the first book I couldn’t bring myself to read the rest due to the fact that it was making me mad. (I know I’m weird, sue me okay Sorry once again LJ Smith, your a wonderful writer cause if you wanted people to hate Elena in the book, then it worked…lol) The only one in the book that stayed the same was Damon, (except for his brown eyes) But I like the show. It feels more real than the book, more down to earth, more human shall we say? Does that make me an awful person? I hope not.

  • taria

    i totally agree with u ashley, thank goodness somebody knows the actually facts instead of making false accusations.Its true the vampire diaries series was written before twilight, and honestly i must say that i think maybe stephanie meyers may have gotten some ideas from smith.  (Quote)

    I agree, even I got ideas of meyers..think I could get a book published about two vampires fightng over one human??? JUST KIDDING!!! I am just teasing. but I do have a vampire book I wrote before these two ever came out Back in the 80’s, never got it published, don’t think I ever can now. not if people are going to be like this about vampire stories taking from other writers…I’d be sued left and right, “you stoled his ideas, you stole her ideas.” forget it, not worth it. It’ll be for my eyes only and then they can use the pages to set my a** on fire when I’m gone. :)

  • Devi

    this is like fucking twilight she should sue u for taaking her ideas u fucking ridiculus moron. stop plargarizing stephenie meyer!!!  

    FYI, The Vampire Diaries were publishe way before Twilight was, moron. So it would your dear Stephenie Meyer who should get sued for copying L.J.Smith. Suck on that.

  • Janelly

    i was wondering if the originals need the night stone as well??

  • katiegrl

    alot of ppl arguing about what made vamps popular…. for one i love both vamp diaries and twilight…. but also …LOVE buffy (7yrs) and angle (5yrs) also POPULAR vampire tv show…who cares who made vamps popular… just enjoy the stories and let ur self be absorbed

  • Andrew

    Kim, please go home and read your Twilight copyright page. It came out in 2005. Now realize that the Vampire Diaries came out about.. Hmm.. 15 years prior to that? If anything, L.J. Smith would have the right (should he choose) to sue. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed both series’ of books, and will continue to enjoy the movies/TV shows. However, Please ALWAYS do your research before saying something is plagiarism. While there are similarities (as there most definitely will be with all things related to vampires) there are enough differences in storyline, that the books can’t be compared as if they were the same. Show respect where it is due, and please learn tolerance.

  • Debbie

    I am a big fan of the vampire diaries just got all the books and one thing i no about
    Elena that she will not hied behind Stefan like Bella is with Edward in twilgh. I like
    twilght but the vampire diaries are the best books and Elena will save Stefan

  • Kenzie

    I do need to know something more about the lapis lazuli stone. I need to know if there has been a history with this stone involving vampires. I am writing a book myself about vampire love story. L.J. Smith’s series of the Vampire Diaries inspired me. Obviously I didn’t want have the exact things of the vampires in L.J. Smith’s books. I do love this series a lot and I don’t want to copy. That is just not cool, but I love the Vampire Diaries vampires and how they are. So, I need to know if the lapis lazuli stone has a history involving vampires by protecting them from the sun?

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