|“||I am not an angel and I am not a spirit. I'm Elena Gilbert and I've been to the Other Side. And right now I'm ready to do whatever needs to be done, which seems to include kicking some ass!||”|
— Elena in The Return: Nightfall
Elena Gilbert is the central character, the heroine and the protagonist of The Vampire Diaries novel series. Elena is the soul mate and true love of Stefan Salvatore, the best friend of Bonnie McCullough and Meredith Sulez, the former best friend-recently-turned-rival of Caroline Forbes, Matt Honeycutt's childhood friend, first love and ex-girlfriend, and Damon Salvatore's prize of possession. She is also the niece of Robert and Judith Maxwell and the elder sister of Margaret Gilbert.
Elena was born in the small town of Fells Church, Virginia. Both of her parents, Mr. Thomas Gilbert and Mrs. Elizabeth Gilbert (née Morrow) had died in a tragic and fatal car accident when she was younger. Because of this, she and her four year old younger sister Margaret, were taken in and were raised by her Aunt Judith Gilbert, who is her father's sister. Throughout the series, Elena is called the 'Golden Girl'. In the first book of the original series, The Awakening, Elena Gilbert is a high school Senior, who is very popular, extremely beautiful, admired by all the girls and the object of affection of many boys in the town of Fells Church.
Elena is cool, blond and slender; the girl every boy wants and the girl every other girl wants to be. Always in control, no boy that she has ever seen or dated has ever stirred her innermost feelings, passions and desires. Until she meets a handsome, foreign, mysterious Italian boy, Stefan Salvatore. Something completely unusual about the new mysterious guy (Stefan) makes her strongly desire him with deep, profound, intense and indescribable passion, an overwhelming passion and desire that Elena has never experienced before in her entire lifetime. Immediately, indescribably and deeply drawn to Stefan with a frightening and scary intensity, Elena knows that she must be with Stefan under any circumstances, even if it kills them both.
Stefan enrolls at her high school, Robert E. Lee High. In the beginning, he completely ignores her attempts to attract his attention due to the extremely intense, profound, and electrifying connection the both of them share with one another. But aside from the immediate, intense, and an indescribable connection that she feels to Stefan, the combination of Stefan's outer qualities such as his quick intelligence, hard-to-get and challenging ways, loner aura, classic romance novel appearance, and distant mysterious demeanor only makes Elena desire Stefan even more and makes Elena all the more determined to be with him. However, Elena is completely unaware that Stefan is a centuries old (aged 500+) vampire who had renounced his living in the darkness and in the shadows. Stefan has spent centuries in the shadows consumed with overwhelming guilt, loneliness, sadness and self-hatred.
Stefan tries to start a new life for himself living in the light and amongst the humans by renouncing his living in the dark shadows due to his dark, painful past. He attempts to ignore Elena at first for one reason out of many. Aside from the extremely overwhelming, powerful and intense connection he has with Elena, she also ironically and coincidentally happens to be the near perfect double or doppelgänger of his long lost first love which he has been tortured and tormented over for centuries, Katherine von Swartzschild, who was the beautiful young vampire whom both he and his brother Damon fought over many centuries ago, rivaled and were in competition for her affections.
Katherine turned both Stefan and Damon into vampires over five hundred years ago. She then "committed suicide" and the Salvatore brothers ended killing one another after fighting to the death with their swords, because each brother blamed the other for her death (later on revealed to be her fake death). When Stefan finally admits that he is deeply, passionately and strongly in love with Elena, he initially keeps his vampire nature a secret from her to protect her from himself, his dangerous brother, Damon and keep her safe. Due to this secrecy on Stefan's behalf regarding his dark, tortured and mysterious past, this causes some conflict, struggle, tension and distance in their strong mutual bond, along with many other outside forces and obstacles. At the end of The Awakening, Elena eventually discovers the deep, dark and shocking truth about Stefan and his tortured past and the fact that he is in fact, a centuries old vampire who was born during the fifteenth century.
Elena finds out about Stefan's identity as well as his dark past after the school's history school teacher, Mr. Tanner, is murdered brutally at the Halloween Dance. The school as well as the rest of the town of Fells Church begins to start speculating that Stefan is the killer of the town and they start to blame and accuse Stefan for the unusual murders. However, Elena strongly believes this isn't true at all and she fiercely defends Stefan, believing that he is completely and totally innocent. Elena begins to believe that the real killer of Mr. Tanner is not Stefan, but Stefan's elder, malevolent and dangerous brother Damon, who has been trying to seduce her on the sly and trying to possess her whole entire being in order to hurt Stefan in anger, jealousy and revenge. Elena deeply and strongly loves Stefan, though, and consistently rejects Damon's repeated advances.
Physical Appearance"I ....don't think it's vain to say that I am beautiful. If I did not know I was, I would have to have never looked in a mirror or heard a compliment. It's not something I should be proud of—it's just something that was passed down from Mom and Dad."
Elena was described to be angelically beautiful, so beautiful that all of the boys in Fells Church desire her and all the girls in town want to be like her.
She has thick, silky-smooth golden-blond hair that reaches her waist, along with brows and long lashes that are a darker blond compared to her hair. Her eyes are noted to be an intriguing colour: as blue as a Lapis Lazuli stone, but also flecked with gold and even had shades of violet. Her complexion was described to be smooth, perfect, and translucent - Stefan had stated that Elena's skin reminds him of swans, alabaster, or porcelain. Because of her flawless fair skin, however, Elena does not tan easily, but she can easily get sunburned. Her fair skin is also probably part of the reason why she has the nicknames of "Snow Queen", "Ice Queen", and "Ice Princess". Elena's physique was said to be sleek and slim, tall when compared to the petite Bonnie, but short in contrast to Meredith.
- Elena is a feminine first name of Greek origin  (Elene) or' (Elene) which means "torch". The meaning of Elena is "the bright one" or "light". It is a variation of the name Helen.'
- Gilbert is a surname of Germanic origin. The English-language surname is derived from Giselbert, a medieval personal name composed of the following Germanic elements gisil ("pledge","hostage","noble youth") and berht ("bright", "famous").
Elena has many and various nicknames throughout the course of the series, and most of them are nicknames coined by Stefan. Elena's nicknames include:
- 'Golden Girl' (frequently used for Elena throughout the course of the whole series)
- 'Angel' (often referring to her physical appearance)
- 'Golden Angel' (used by Stefan)
- His Elena (referenced by Stefan)
- His Angel (used and referenced by Stefan)
- 'Love' (used by Stefan),
- 'Lovely Love' (used by Stefan only)
- 'Little Lovely Love' (used by Stefan only)
- 'Ice Princess'
- 'Ice Queen'
- 'Snow Queen'
- 'Queen of Shadows' (used by Damon)
- 'Princess' (used by Damon)
- 'Princess of Darkness' (used by Damon)
Powers and Abilities
When Elena was turned into a vampire after receiving blood mostly from Stefan and also, a little from Damon, Elena possessed the standard vampire powers and abilities.
- Superhuman Senses: Elena's vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell advanced greater than the average human.
- Super Speed: Elena had the supernatural ability to jump, move and run at superhuman velocity. Elena had used this ability when she found out Stefan's life was in serious danger. She and Damon raced to his rescue.
- Telepathy: The supernatural ability can communicate mentally with other vampires without physical contact and long distances. It also allows one to probe the minds of others. Elena was able to communicate with the Salvatore brothers' non-verbally as well as Bonnie, who is also telepathic due to being a psychic. This power was substantially much stronger when she was communicating telepathically with Stefan due to her soul mate connection with him.
- Compulsion (Mind Control/Influence): Elena had the supernatural ability to control and manipulate the body, mind, and soul of any animal or person.
- Weather Control: Elena possessed the supernatural ability allows influence meteorological energy patterns, creating rain, wind, hail, lightning, snow, sleet, fog and temperature changes.
- Elemental Manipulation: Elena had the supernatural ability to control and manipulate the elements of air, earth, fire, water, lightning, etc.
- Animal Control: Elena has the supernatural ability that could handle all kinds of wild animals or domestic. Normally, they can only control a species at a time.
- Healing: Elena possessed the supernatural ability to heal all infections, wounds, and injuries at an accelerated speed.
- Immortality: Elena possessed the supernatural ability of eternal life and youth, meaning that she will never grow old or age and she is incapable of death due to human circumstances.
- Shapeshifting: Elena had the supernatural ability to alter and change the physical form of ones self.
- Super-Strength: Elena had the supernatural ability of abnormal strength beyond that of a normal human being.
- Illusion: Elena was capable of disrupting the reality of one or more things at once. The power of Illusion is limited, since it uses a short time but because the neutralization of the enemy and does not usually give orders to the victims.
As a human returned from the afterlife, Elena was given special abilities that power her aura. All supernatural beings can see it, so has Damon taught her how to control it and circulate it around her system. Her powers have made her blood irresistible to vampires and other supernatural creatures. Later on in the series, it was revealed that Elena possesses these special powers is because she is half angel/Guardian, thanks to these angelic powers Elena and by far the most powerful character of the series.
- Superhuman Senses: Elena has learned to control her senses of hearing, vision, and smell at her own will.
- Telepathy: Elena can communicate with Stefan, Damon and Bonnie non verbally, using her mental senses.
- Wings of Power: Elena has several different wings, all powers given to her from the afterlife. These are her different kinds of wings:
- Wings Of Protection are strong and, like the name, very useful for Elena to protect herself and whoever is there with her.
- Wings Of Purification are white in colouring and can remove all sins of a person and their memories
- Wings Of Remembrance are violet-blue in color and can return someone's memories.
- Wings Of Redemption are rainbow-colored and can redeem people of their sins.
- Wings Of The Wind which are gold in color, were used to create wind and these wings helped her to fly.
- Wings Of Destruction are used to destroy things which are obstacles or are possible dangers.
- Time Manipulation: Elena, like other guardians, can go back in time, causing the resurrection of the dead, memory loss, and physical restoration of the damage.
- Sacred Blood: Elena's blood is the ultimate weapon to destroy all the evil creatures of the universe. It's the only thing that can destroy the Old Ones, and prevent their resurrection.
Elena Gilbert was born and raised in Fell's Church, Virginia, United States. She had been childhood friends with Caroline Forbes, Meredith Sulez and Bonnie McCullough since the first grade. When she around 14 years old, both of her parents died in a tragic car accident and she and her little sister Margaret, were given custody to Judith Gilbert, her paternal aunt who became Elena and Margaret's legal guardian.
The Original Series
The Return Series
Elena was in her Jaguar, pouring out her feelings and emotions on the recorder in her phone, due to her forgetting her diary in the car truck. Suddenly, there was a loud thud on the roof of the car and Elena exited to find Matt there, squirming to get off. He had been thrown there by Damon, who had been offended by him and they got into an argument Elena had to break up.
Elena returns to be human once again thanks to the Celestial Court, but she, along with Stefan, Bonnie, Meredith and others, suffer the death of Damon.
The Hunters Series
The Salvation Series
Damon and Elena go to Paris but Elena begins to choke. Myea the guardian, goes to them stating that because Damon killed a human(she states Jack was a human even if he used science to make himself vampire), the bond between him and Elena is broken and that she will die. Myea leaves and Damon vows to save Elena no matter what it takes.
In the television series, Elena is portrayed by Nina Dobrev. Elena Gilbert is a 18 year old high school girl who lives in Mystic Falls, Virginia with her aunt, Jenna Sommers and her younger adoptive brother Jeremy. She is significantly different than her book counterpart. Several differences are parts of her personality, and her physical appearance. In the novels, Elena has fair skin, blonde hair and eyes the color of Lapis Lazuli. On the TV series, however, Elena has olive skin, long, straight chocolate brown hair and deep brown eyes. In the novels, Elena's personality is slightly shallow and selfish but still a good person but on the TV series, Elena is more kind-hearted, warm and compassionate towards others.
On the TV series, Elena is quiet, withdrawn and melancholy. It is revealed that the reason for this is the death of her parents, a few months beforehand. Her friends reveal that before her parents' death, she was active, popular and cheerful, and that her recent change in behavior is due to her loss. As the show progresses, she begins to regain some of her 'pep'; meeting Stefan was the main reason for this. Elena has been shown to be very protective of her family, very astute, with high moral standards. She displays deep affection for her friends, and often takes it upon herself to worry about people who don't expect or welcome her concern. Elena is also very stubborn and feisty. She's very direct and prefers to confront people head-on as opposed to keeping her anger bottled up. She displays trust in Stefan, Damon and others, despite their past actions and recent transgressions.
Elena is adopted and both of her adoptive parents, Grayson and Miranda Gilbert, died in a tragic car accident (something shared with the novels). Elena finds out that her biological mother is Isobel Saltzman, a 16 year old teenager who gave birth to her, abandoned her and chose to be transformed into a vampire and that her biological father is actually her paternal uncle, John Gilbert, who is Grayson's younger brother. Elena also finds out about her distant lineage and discovers that she is related to and a descendant of Katherine Pierce, the vampire whom both Salvatore brothers fell in love with back in 1864. She is the doppelgänger of Katherine, hence why they both bear such a striking resemblance to one another.
- Elena's first name means "light" or "bright one".
- Elena's grandmother kept a jar of crystallized violets.
- Favourite hobby is writing in her diary.
- Wears violet perfume.
- Doesn't eat very much.
- Loves coffee and prefers drinking coffee over eating.
- Quit the debate team some time before her Senior year in high school.
- Prefers baths over showers.
- Doesn't own her own car.
- Transformed into a vampire by both Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Elena received blood from Stefan during their intimate blood sharing moments and received blood from Damon when he fed from her during her sleep (and used dream manipulation to make Elena dream about him) and fed her his blood afterwards.
- Although Elena has a connection with Damon, Elena's destined soulmate is Stefan.
- Elena is connected and linked to Stefan by a silver cord. This is known as the Soulmate Principle.
- Elena is handspan taller than Katherine, according to Stefan.
- As a Guardian, Elena shares the same physical traits as other Guardians, which is light blonde hair and deep blue eyes.
- Elena's eyes have flecks of gold in them.