Elena Gilbert is the main character of The Vampire Diaries, in both the show and the book series it was based on. She is portrayed by Bulgarian actress Nina Dobrev, who also plays Elena’s many doppelgangers throughout the series. Her character is kind, noble, headstrong, and occasionally hypocritical. She is flawed but tries her hardest to protect the ones she loves.
Elena winds up following in the footsteps of her ancestor, Katherine Pierce, by falling in love with both Salvatore brothers. The fated love triangle is on the series’ main plot anchors. However, Elena also has an intriguing character journey of her own. Here are some interesting facts that even the most devout Elena fans might not know about her.
10 Elena was supposed to be blonde
This is not uncommon knowledge if you’ve read The Vampire Diaries books. But since there are many people who only consider themselves fans of the television series who haven’t gotten into the book series for whatever reason, this bit of trivia needs some explanation.
If you’ve never read the books, you might not realize how different the show’s version of Elena Gilbert is from the original literary version. The book Katherine and Elena were explicitly described as blue-eyed blondes – a far cry from how their now iconic looks in the TV show!
9 Ashlee Simpson was almost cast as Elena
It might be hard to believe but according to E! Online, Jessica Simpson’s younger sister, Ashlee, was almost cast in the main role as Elena Gilbert. Clearly, the series would have been extremely different had Ashlee been cast. However, it’s not that strange when you think about it. Both actresses were not super well-known and both had former lead roles on a popular family television series.
Ashlee was actually better-known at the time because of her work on 7th Heaven and her singing career. Nina Dobrev was still mostly only known in Canada as Mia on Degrassi: The Next Generation. That said, Dobrev was certainly the better choice here.
8 Elena is described as a tiger in the books
Not only does the book version of Elena looks very different from her television counterpart, but she acts pretty differently too. So does Katherine Pierce, for that matter. In the book series, Stefan Salvatore describes Elena Gilbert as a “tiger” at one point and by comparison, describes Katherine as a kitten.
Their personalities are swapped in the television show, for the most part. Katherine was still pretty twisted in the books too but in a more subtle way. Elena was far more selfish and ferocious in the novels than she was depicted in the series.
7 Elena loves eggplants
Did you know that Elena loves eating eggplant? She is a big fan of eggplant parmesan. The tiny fact about the Gilbert is mentioned during Season 6, Episode 20. During this episode, Damon walks Elena through some of her old memories and tries to help her decide if she’s ready to take the cure and become human, he also offers to become human with her.
In one of their exchanges, Elena talks about the possibility of the two of them eating eggplant parmesan together and asks if Damon likes eggplant or not. It’s a cute moment and one that Delena fans are very fond of.
6 Elena received her first diary when she was 9
Despite the series being titled The Vampire Diaries, diaries are not a huge part of the series for long. They are mentioned in passing throughout and frequently in the beginning, but for the most part, the idea is somewhat dropped by the end of the series.
However, in the first season, Elena frequently writes in her diary and it’s shown to be very important to her. She got her first diary when she was only nine. It was a gift from her mother, Miranda.
5 Stelena could have been endgame had Nina not left
Nina Dobrev decided to exit The Vampire Diaries after Season 6, despite her being the main character. Even with this major loss, the series persisted for two more seasons before coming to an end. Thankfully and much to the delight of long-time fans, Dobrev returned for the series finale to wrap up Elena’s and Katherine’s story.
We all know that Damon and Elena wind up together in the end but Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson — the show’s creators — have stated before that she would have liked Stefan and Elena (aka Stelena) to find their way back to one another if she could have had the chance to write it. Plec even said she might have had both brothers die to save Elena and watch over her from beyond the grave. There’s a good chance that if Nina Dobrev had stuck around, Stelena would have been endgame instead.
4 Elena killed thousands of vampires
One of the most talked-about moments from the show, even years later, is the decision Elena made to murder Kol Mikaelson. She and Jeremy concoct a plan to kill Kol once and for all with a white oak stake. Now, it’s not totally unreasonable that Elena would want to kill Kol since he was a viable threat. However, she doesn’t really even consider what will happen to all those vampires that are part of his bloodline.
Plus, we know there are other ways to nullify an Original vampire, such as desiccation or staking them and shoving them in a coffin somewhere. Some people forget that by killing Kol in that instant, Elena might have given herself the highest kill count on the series due to the fallout. Jeremy certainly had his hand in it too though so it’s not all on her.
3 Elena was not always Stefan’s first girlfriend in Mystic Falls
Did you know that Caroline Forbes technically had Stefan first in the book series? Stefan did not date Elena first when he arrived in Mystic Falls because he found her resemblance to Katherine too strange.
He actively avoided Elena for a while and instead dated her best friend Caroline due to his aversion to anything related to Katherine. This obviously changes in the series but Caroline had a crush on Stefan in the early days of the series (and obviously at the end of the show too). It may have stemmed from their book relationship.
2 Elena & Damon have at least one daughter
This is a little tidbit that you might not have picked up on unless you watched the latest Vampire Diaries spin-off, Legacies. On that series, it is confirmed that Damon and Elena have at least one child, a daughter named Stephanie.
Even better, Stephanie is likely named after her uncle and Damon’s brother, Stefan. It’s very sweet. While we haven’t seen Stephanie make an appearance on the series yet, it’s always possible she could one day become part of the Legacies cast.
1 Elena’s name means ‘torch’
The name Elena comes from Greek origin and technically means “torch.” It is also a version of the name Helen. This is fitting because it could mean that Katherine and Elena were named after two notable Greek twins, Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra.
Helen of Troy was considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the world and the indirect cause of the notable Trojan War. It makes sense that Elena would share some similarities with her due to how many people are attracted to her in the series.