|“||I'm so sorry, Elena, that I was such a disappointment to you.||”|
Isobel Flemming was the wife of Alaric Saltzman and the biological mother of Elena Gilbert. She is good friends with her ancestor Katherine Pierce, a vampire she often conspires with. When Isobel was still in high school, she met John Gilbert and soon became pregnant with Elena. Isobel absconded a few days after Elena's birth, where John's brother Grayson and his wife Miranda adopted Elena. Many years later, Isobel meets Alaric Saltzman who she initially has restraining order against, but later marries. While Isobel was still married to Alaric, she becomes obsessed with paranormal research, where she meets vampire Damon Salvatore, who turns her into a vampire at her request. After being compelled by Klaus, she committed suicide by walking into the sun while her daughter Elena watched.
Isobel Flemming was born on October 17, 1975. She was raised in a small town near Mystic Falls and spent much time there when she was young. As a teenager, she met John Gilbert and the two began dating. Although John ended up falling in love with Isobel, she did not reciprocate his feelings. Shortly thereafter, Isobel becomes pregnant by John. After John tells Isobel about vampires, it sparks her curiosity and she dedicates her life's work to supernatural research.
Isobel was sixteen at the time and had run away from home. John brought her to his brother's office for the delivery and he delivered a baby girl. Isobel was heartbroken to give up her daughter but did so anyway, knowing that she would have a better life with Grayson and his wife, Miranda. They named her Elena. Isobel would always dream that she would one day be able to meet her daughter and tell her who she was.
Isobel later attended Duke University, where she studied folklore and parapsychology. She also met Alaric Saltzman during this time and they eventually married, whilst he accepted she wanted no children. Isobel later earned her degree and started teaching at Duke. Isobel's devotion to her work led Vanessa to go into folklore full-time.
Isobel was later killed and turned by Damon Salvatore after seeking him out and sleeping with him. The police couldn't find her body and she was assumed dead. Alaric witnessed Damon killing her. After that she met Katherine Pierce. The two then became close and genuine friends.
Season OneDamon confirmed that he indeed killed her, but also turned her into a vampire, when confronted by Alaric. Damon had said that she begged for him to turn her, and because he liked her he did so. Later, Elena dialed her number after finding it on the phone of a man she had compelled. Isobel picked up but she hung up after she heard Elena's voice. When John came back to town, he told Damon that he sent her to him, but he didn't know that she wanted to become a vampire. She later showed up at the Grill and found Alaric there.
After returning to town, she threatened Alaric to organize a meeting with her and Elena. Isobel wanted the device and instructed Elena to get it from Damon. She commented on Elena's choice of Stefan, not Damon. She used two minions, Cherie and Frank, to help her while she was in town. John came to visit her in her loaned house and they discuss their alliance. Damon turned up later and after kissing passionately, he threatens her to stay away from Elena.
Isobel made Frank injure Matt and Cherie kidnap Jeremy, threatening to kill him, to make Elena work with her. Isobel, Cherie, and Frank later met with Elena, Stefan, and Damon and after being assured that Jeremy was safe, Elena gave Isobel the device. Elena asked her why she knew Damon would have it over, and Isobel tells Elena about Damon's love for her. She leaves town.As she was leaving town with Cherie and Frank, she called John and reminded him how Elena was their daughter and they owed her something. She told him to kill Stefan and Damon so that Elena wouldn't be in their world anymore. Isobel showed up at school to say goodbye to Alaric. He gives her his ring and vervain, telling her to either kill him or compel him. She reminds him she wanted this before compelling him to let her go.
Alaric, Elena, and Damon went to Isobel's office in Duke, looking for information about werewolves. Katherine told Stefan to find Isobel as she could track anyone down. Stefan calls Isobel but reaches John instead, resulting in him returning to town. John informs Elena that Isobel is working on ensuring Klaus stays away from Mystic Falls. John tells Katherine that Isobel is working on freeing her from the tomb.
Isobel returns to town and introduces herself to Jenna. Elena refuses to invite her into the house and slams the door in her face. John, however, trusted Isobel and invited her in the next day. Isobel proposed a solution to protect Elena by taking her to a safe house where no vampire she didn't want could enter, but Elena responded by telling her to get out of the house.
Isobel meets with Katherine. She tells Katherine she found one of Klaus's witches and made a deal for Katherine's freedom which involved giving him the moonstone and the doppelgänger. She told Katherine she returned because she was jealous of Alaric dating Jenna.
She later found Alaric and tells him about how she compelled him to let her go. She apologizes and then Maddox takes him away. After Katherine and Elena switched clothes, Isobel takes Elena away. She calls Katherine and apologises, saying Klaus wanted her, and Katherine is taken by Maddox. Isobel takes Elena to the grave her parents put there once it became clear the police weren't going to find her body.
She tells Elena how she used to long to meet her, but that's not the part of her that Elena got to meet. Maddox phones Isobel who tells him that Elena is safe. He sets her free, so Isobel removes her lapis lazuli and burns to death in the sun. She was compelled to do this to herself by Klaus. Elena takes her lapis lazuli and realises that despite everything, she's upset that Isobel's dead. It is likely that Isobel found peace, as her ghost did not return at any time after her death, nor was she mentioned by any character later on.
She views humans at the most a means to an end to her, as a source of food, entertainment (including sexual), puppets to be robbed of their free will using them as "muscle" against other humans if she wish not to condescend to do it herself. She has no compassion, even colder than Damon and has no compunction in programming a human as a messenger boy and having him kill himself after the message is delivered. She feels absolutely no guilt in killing and feeding, voluntarily "turning off" any such evidence of conscience however the switch is a myth and will fade out sooner or later. It is only with her daughter and former husband does she display any affection in any form and it is often fleeting. However, she worries about Elena's relationship with Stefan and can see how Damon is attracted to her daughter.
She shows she never stopped loving her daughter despite becoming a vampire and apparently not caring for human life. She lamented how things turned out and demonstrated this by committing suicide by exposing herself to the sun.
Isobel is also an expert researcher who usually finds what she wants. Amongst her significant finds, she found Damon Salvatore and Katherine Pierce. She also managed to find Klaus although he had become so reclusive that many believed him to be a mere legend. Despite this, even Isobel's considerable skills didn't allow her to get to Klaus himself. She managed to track a member of his inner circle which later led to Klaus setting a trap for Katherine.
Powers and Abilities
Some of these powers are more potent when the vampire gets older and feeds on human blood.
- Super Strength - Vampires are much stronger than humans and grow stronger with time. Even new vampires who are still in transition can toss a fully grown human across a room with great speed and force. Their strength is also more powerful then werewolves that are not in wolf form.
- Super Speed - Vampires can accelerate their movements to cover short distances in an instant, faster than the human eye can see. When running across long distances, they appear as vibrating blurs of motion.
- Emotional Control - The supernatural ability to control and manipulate the emotions of one's self.
- Dream Manipulation - Vampires can control dreams and subconscious. The vampires can produce and modify dreams, bestow nightmares or lucid dreaming. Other effects of this ability is the distortion of reality and trapped in the dreams.
- Heightened Senses - They can hear whispered conversations, even ones in far off buildings, smell blood, and see in total darkness.
- Mind Compulsion - Vampires have the ability to control minds, plague people's dreams, and alter/erase human memories.
- Immortality - A vampire stops aging once turned. Upon their transformation, vampires then on become immune to all conventional illness, disease, virus and infection. The only known disease or infection that can kill a vampire is a werewolf bite.
- Healing Factor - Vampires can snap their finger bones back into place after being broken and have been seen to fully recover from gunshots, stab wounds, and torso impalement.
- Lapis Lazuli - She possessed a Lapis Lazuli necklace that enabled her to walk in daylight without being harmed.
- Vervain - When ingested, vervain causes a vampire to become severely weak and feverish. Also, If a vampire's skin is exposed to vervain, it can result in burning them.
- Wood - If a vampire is wounded by wood it will cause the vampire to become severely weak and if a vampire takes a wooden stake through its heart it will result in death.
- Heart Extraction - The act of removing a vampire's heart will result in death.
- Werewolf Bite - The bite of a werewolf is extremely lethal to normal vampires.
- Magic - Witches are able to give supernatural aneurysms that cause the blood vessels of vampires to explode.
- Decapitation - The act of dismembering or removing the head of a vampire will result in death.
- Uninvited Invitation - Vampires cannot enter a house without being invited in. If they are in the house without being invited in they will become disoriented.
- Vampire Bloodline - Vampires who were turned by an original who turned others will die if the original is staked by the white oak stake.
The meaning of the name Isobel is "God's promise". It is a variation on the name Isabella or Elizabeth.
- Isobel was called Izzie by Trudie Peterson.
- Kevin Williamson originally wanted Neve Campbell for the role. He had previously worked with her on Scream in 1996. He wanted Neve Campbell is replaced by fellow Canadian alum Mia Kirshner for the role as Isobel.
- Jenna states that Isobel was sixteen when she had Elena. However, given Isobel's birth year on her tombstone (1978), Elena would have been born in 1994. This is false, since Elena was 17 years old in 2009, implying that she was born in 1992.
- Isobel, Katherine, Rose, and Klaus are the only characters thus far to have an episode named after them. Isobel was the first and second of these characters (after Rose) to die.
- The three women (Isobel, Katherine, Rose-Marie) all had a sexual relationship with Damon at some point whilst Klaus tried to kill Damon.
- Like her ancestor Katherine, she had a daughter as a teenager that was given away.
- Isobel finds Elena, but it is unknown if Katherine went looking for her daughter.
- Isobel is considered to be an expert researcher by Katherine and Alaric.
- In the episode Isobel, Isobel says that Katherine found her, but in the episode By the Light of the Moon, Katherine says Isobel found her.
- Which is quite a confusion, but it is more likely that Isobel lied, she being the one who found Katherine.
- Isobel made two surprise appearances at the end of an episode, which is was followed by an episode in which she plays a major role but does not appear for the remainder of that season.
- Isobel does not show affection or love as a mother to Elena, but it is shown that she does love her and feels remorse for being such a disappointment.
- She was the first vampire seen to actually die from sun exposure, though Damon, Katherine, Rose, and Slater have come very close. Luka was burnt to death, though he was a warlock. The second vampire seen to die from sun exposure was the male vampire that Alexander had captured.
- Isobel and Jenna were both lovers of Alaric and both were destroyed by Klaus.
- Isobel's ancestor Katherine is a vampire as well as her daughter, Elena.
- Isobel is the first human to die by draining her blood and return as a vampire.
- She is the second on three in her family who have slept with Damon Salvatore. The first one is her ancestor Katherine Pierce (Katerina Petrova) and the third one is her own daughter Elena Gilbert.
- After Isobel was declared missing, Mr. Flemming and Mrs. Flemming had a gravestone erected for her daughter. They visited the grave every week for four years at the very least, and they left flowers for her.