Dear TVD, and its awesome cast and crew,
Let me start this letter, that will most certainly become ultra verbose, by reflecting back on the very beginning; this will be a nostalgic walk down memory lane to when I decided to let my Thursday nights be taken over by Mystic Falls and its inhabitants--some fanged, some human, and some equipped with magic. TVD was my first favorite “adult” show, the one I was drawn to after saying farewell to my Disney and Nickelodeon phase. I remember eagerly awaiting the premiere, as I had just finished reading the latest TVD novel. After I got past the initial confusion of Elena not having blonde hair and Stefan not being pronounced like an accented foreign name (as I had improperly pronounced it in in my head while reading), I was hooked. The show sunk its teeth deep, and I knew that there was no escaping it.
This show means so much to me because I’ve grown up with it. I started watching when I was just a young sprout of 12, navigating middle school. Now I’m almost 20 and a Sophomore in college. It may be a work of fiction, but it will remain a real part of my life forever because it is entwined with my memories. I’ll remember re-watching old episodes when I was 14, and subjecting my mom to every minute detail of the characters whom I loved, but whom she knew nothing about. I’ll remember chatting with other fans in my high school, as well as trying to recruit more members for the ever-growing fan base. I’ll remember watching it at 11pm on a laptop in my friend’s dorm room, laughing and crying and gasping in shock (which was not a rarity, since TVD is chock-full of suspense and surprises). It will end in the sense that it will stop airing, but the show itself is as eternal as the original vampires. It won’t suddenly blink out of existence, it’s left too great a mark on too many people. (And thankfully there is no White Oak stake ready to destroy it, so we can watch our favorite moments as many times as we please.)
The show has evolved a great deal since the pilot aired in 2009, but the heart of it has been immutable, and for me, the heart is unquestionably the brothers. Many would probably argue that Elena’s the heart, but these past couple of seasons without her have proved otherwise. Yes, her presence has never dissipated, but the storyline has thrived with Damon and Stefan at the center. With that being said, I’m extremely happy to see Elena return for the finale. It wouldn’t be a proper ending if she never awoke.
Back on the subject of the brothers, Damon and Stefan have had a tumultuous relationship, to say the least, but in the end, they love and need each other, something that was made explicitly clear in “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride.” I had just said to my friend, “I could really use a brotherly moment right about now,” and boom! Damon and Stefan hugged that desperate sort of hug one has when they thought they’d never see someone again and they are scared of letting them go. Following the hug that had my heart doing backflips, Damon and Stefan had a nice talk outside, illuminating the extent to which Damon has changed into a good, decent guy. He said to his little brother, "You just went toe to toe with the devil, man, that makes you pretty brave in my book," and then, "I just need the people I love. The list is short, but profound. You're right at the top, alongside a great girl I hope to marry one day." Thank you, thank you, thank you to the writers for graciously giving the fans that sweet scene.
Throughout it all—flipped humanity switches, ripper spells, burning buildings, prison worlds, etc.—Damon and Stefan have had each other’s backs. I will never forget 6x05, when Stefan was drinking and talking out loud in the crypt, missing Damon, and admitting he wasn’t “doing so great without [him].” In anguish and all-consuming grief, Stefan had whipped the bottle of bourbon at the wall, only to have it caught midair by the brother he was mourning. Next came the most powerful and “epic bro moment” in the show (in my opinion): a hug much akin to the one I mentioned earlier, but even more emotionally charged. A teary-eyed Stefan had to slowly reach out and grab Damon’s arm to make sure he was really there before pulling him in, relief flooding him. I know I cried when I watched that scene, a testament to the Salvatore brothers, and to Ian and Paul’s superb acting.
It’s unfathomable to me that eight years ago, Elena Gilbert met Stefan Salvatore and his “hot back” in Mystic Falls’ high school. If bumping into the new stud on your way out of the men’s bathroom isn’t a meet cute, I don’t know what is.
We get a first glimpse at Damon's wicked ways in the pilot, too, when he feigns death after being hit by a car, and then murders the couple who ran into him. Regardless of his bloody past, I love him. I’ve always been team Damon when it comes to who I prefer to be with Elena romantically, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still rooting for Stefan in other aspects of his life. I play both sides because both brothers are worthy of happiness. They’ve both got blood on their hands, blood staining so deep it will never be fully washed out, but Damon has changed and Stefan has always had pure intentions. Yeah, yeah, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I know, Stefan knows, but I still forgive him. (Although if he were a real person, I most likely would not, but that’s not important.) I’m thrilled at the thought of him marrying Caroline, and for him to live out the rest of his human life in marital bliss.
I could go on and on about TVD, listing all of my favorite episodes, and discussing each character's development in depth, but then this would be interminable, and I did call this a thank you letter for a reason, so I should probably start thanking all of you.
Eight years is quite a long time to be invested in a show, so how did TVD captivate me for such an extended period of time? That’s where you all come in. I’m no film expert, but I know it’s no easy task to produce such a successful show. I commend all of you involved: the actors, the writers, the set designers, the directors, etc.
Thank you, Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson, for originally developing the show. Without you, a book series I adored would’ve never been brought to life in such a different, wonderful way (and I wouldn’t be writing this incredibly long letter).
Thank you to the talented members of the cast that have been there from season one, and are miraculously still alive for the finale (though your characters probably died and came back to life along the way):
Thank you, Ian Somerhalder, for Damon’s irresistible charm and snark, but most importantly for his depth and the growth he underwent throughout eight seasons. From a vampire of a predominantly selfish, malicious nature to a vampire with compassion and remorse.
Thank you, Paul Wesley, for Stefan’s humanity (when it's switched on) and full heart, and for believing in Damon's goodness no matter what. Every emotion Stefan felt was palpable to the viewers because of you. (Silas was also a fun character to watch!)
Thank you, Nina Dobrev, for Elena’s tenacity when helping the ones she loves, for being protective over Jeremy when he needed it most, and for her powerful emotional scenes. (And for Katherine, she was the worst, in the best way possible.)
Thank you, Candice King, for Caroline’s cheery disposition and fierce loyalty towards her friends and family. (And for her keen fashion sense.)
Thank you, Zach Roerig, for Matt’s endless fight/hope for justice and for tirelessly saving the innocent people around him. His being a police officer as the show ends is perfect.
Thank you, Kat Graham, for Bonnie’s badassness (not a word, but it should be) and selflessness. She's one of the strongest, most inspiring women of the show.
Thank you Matt Davis for Alaric’s intelligence and bravery. Seeing him as a doting almost-husband and then father solidified his all-around loveliness as one of the few human main characters left.
Thank you to rest of the cast, past or present:
Thank you Steven R. McQueen, Michael Trevino, Chris Wood, Michael Malarkey, Sara Canning, Joseph Morgan, Nathaniel Buzolic, Claire Holt, Kayla Ewell, Rick Cosnett, Phoebe Tonkin, Malese Jow, Marguerite MacIntyre, Daniel Gillies, Scarlett Byrne, Susan Walters, Jodi Lyn O' Keefe, and so many more.
More generally speaking, I thank TVD for:
The flashbacks to pre-vampire Stefan and Damon
Oh yes, the glorious beauty of young Stefan and Damon never ceases to amaze the fans.
From those that began in season one, like Bonnie and Elena...
...To newer, more surprising friendships that warm my heart, like Bonnie and Damon...
...And to plenty of others in between:
This rooftop chat
When Damon told Stefan he couldn't live without Elena, and Stefan showed support for Damon and Elena's relationship.
Delena is by far my favorite romance of TVD.
But that doesn't mean I don't love Steroline.
And Bonnie and Enzo's romance is euphoric and adorable.
The familial bonds
Caroline's mom's death will remain one of the most solemn moments of TVD. RIP Sheriff Forbes.
Elena and Jeremy weren't always on the same page, but that's typical of family. It was evident their love for each other was unwavering.
Jenna and Elena's mother-daughter relationship was a staple in earlier seasons.
TVD taught its viewers vital life lessons. Parents around the world would probably be guffawing if they read that bold claim, but it's true. TVD was both entertaining and didactic. Fans learned through watching the story unfold that family comes above all else, we should love with everything we have, we should be loyal to our friends, and we need to face our fears.
It's surreal to think that this show is coming to an end, and I am going to miss it dearly, but as they say, TVD forever!
Thank you for these past eight years of TV greatness!
An avid fan