The Vampire Diaries and The Originals have brought a ton of great and beloved characters to life during their soapy supernatural runs on The CW. No matter their moral alignments or their dark pasts, audiences tend to see the good in their favorite characters. One of the most fascinating characters in both series is Klaus Mikaelson, who was so amazing on The Vampire Diaries that the audience’s love for him (and his family) gave the network its first successful spinoff.

Introduced in The Vampire Diaries season 2, the antagonistic Original Vampire Klaus and the rest of his siblings immediately became fan favorites. Over the seasons that the Originals were on The Vampire Diaries, they were both allies and antagonists to the main characters. This made an interesting viewing experience because audiences never knew if the Originals, especially Klaus, would be working with or against everyone. Despite this, however, the age does show, especially that early 2010s writing in regards to Klaus, who does some things that would not fly in the present day.


The Manipulations

Klaus Mikaelson is a master manipulator of the highest order. He’s had a thousand years to learn how to twist people to do what he wants. While his plans have plans, allowing for his true machinations to never be known to the main characters until the last moment, some of his manipulations come off as very creepy in hindsight.

This is particularly true when Klaus manipulates any sort of woman within the series from Caroline to Elena. To many viewers, who may have experienced something similar in their real life, the way Klaus manipulates comes off as too real at times to make a comfortable viewing experience in a semi-campy supernatural drama.

His Selfishness

Alaric is an interesting sort of selfish character. He does very deeply care about others, but not as much as Klaus cares about himself during The Vampire Diaries. In the end, Klaus’ own endgame and goals will supersede anyone around him, no matter how much he may profess to love them.

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For example, when he was magically barricaded in Elena’s living room by Bonnie, Klaus bit Caroline, which condemned her to a painful death. This is someone that he professed to truly love, but it didn’t matter in his pain. Again, using people to his own ends, especially lashing out at a woman he loved, gives some very toxic signals to a 2021 audience of the series.

Toxic Masculinity

Due to his reliance on violence when he doesn’t get his way, his gaslighting manipulative behavior, and the controlling behavior that Klaus exerts over others, he pretty much fits the mold of toxic masculinity. While this is something that does change in The Originals, especially when he becomes a father to Hope, this mindset he brings to The Vampire Diaries is pretty harmful overall.

While this does make Klaus a great villain, his story also highlights the harm that such a mindset can have on an individual and those around them. Still, the grand over-the-top depiction of this toxicity ends up negating the real harm this can come, especially when characters end up forgiving him for his actions.


Klaus is one of the most thin-skinned characters in The Vampire Diaries universe, especially when he doesn’t get his way or is “slighted” in some way. Katherine decides that she doesn’t want to be sacrificed in order for Klaus to let his werewolf side run wild, which is understandable character motivation. Klaus, however, is angry that he didn’t get his way.

Instead, he spends hundreds of years hunting down Katherine and taking pleasure in her torment and suffering in the process. That’s a lot of time and effort for a perceived slight because a woman didn’t want to be a human sacrifice so Klaus could get what he wanted from her.

Killing Tyler’s Mother

Tyler and Klaus definitely had no good feelings toward each other. Klaus forced Tyler into becoming a hybrid like himself. Tyler worked hard to break his (and others) sire bonds to Klaus so that they could hurt him. It was animosity that was building over time and then Klaus went after Tyler’s mother.

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While no one is safe in a series like The Vampire Diaries, it’s very rare that a character actually permanently dies in one of these types of shows. The murder of Carol Lockwood is one of the most brutal deaths in the series by far, which makes it read like Klaus may not be able to ever really get redemption.

His Torment Of Elena

Before Joe Goldberg was disturbing viewers on You, Klaus took it up to eleven on The Vampire Diaries with his torment of Elena. He harassed her, targeted her loved ones, drove her to the brink, and gave her false hope by giving her “rules” to follow. Even though Elena was willing to sacrifice herself and go alone with Klaus’s plan, keeping her word, he still tormented her.

Nothing is quite as heartbreaking as when Klaus brutally and unnecessarily kills Jenna, Elena’s aunt, by using her as a sacrifice in his ritual. Elena was going to go through with it, but he killed Jenna because he wanted Elena to suffer.


While Klaus had a tragic backstory, which involved the abuse at the hands of his father, it doesn’t excuse the fact that when he was given power, he used the power to abuse others around him. Instead, Klaus, throughout his time on The Vampire Diaries, is the example of someone continually perpetuating the cycle of abuse with his family and those around him.

It’s only on The Originals, when he had his daughter, that Klaus made an effort to break the cycle so he could be a good parent. It also doesn’t excuse the fact that he harmed people around him, who he claimed to love in some truly sick and sadistic ways: daggering his siblings, forcing Stefan to become a Ripper, and more. He did those things and it makes his change of heart with Hope ring a bit hollow, even if it was genuine on his part.

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