|“||I'm so sorry, Elena, that I was such a disappointment for you.||”|
Isobel Flemming was the wife of Alaric Saltzman and the biological mother of Elena Gilbert. She was good friends with her ancestor Katherine Pierce, a vampire she often conspired with. When Isobel was still in high school, she met John Gilbert and became pregnant with Elena. Isobel absconded a few days after Elena's birth, and John's brother Grayson and his wife Miranda adopted Elena. Many years later, Isobel met Alaric Saltzman. At first, she did not like him and even had restraining order against him, but later she changed her mind and they married. While Isobel was still married to Alaric, she became obsessed with paranormal research. She met a vampire, Damon Salvatore, who turned 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, however, Alaric witnessed Damon killing her. After that she met Katherine Pierce. The two then became close and genuine friends.
Throughout The Series
Season OneWhen confronted by Alaric, Damon confirmed that he indeed turned her into a vampire on her own request, but that he only did it because he liked her. 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 had sent her to him, but he didn't know that she wanted to become a vampire. She later showed up at the Grill and confronted Alaric.
She threatened Alaric to force him to organize a meeting with Elena. Isobel wanted the device and instructed Elena to get it from Damon. She commented on Elena's choice of Stefan, not Damon. Two minions, Cherie and Frank, to helped her while she was in town. John came to visit her in her loaned house and they discussed 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 hand it over, and Isobel told Elena that Damon loved her. She then leaves town.As she was leaving town, 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 gave her his ring and vervain, telling her to either kill him or compel him. She reminds him she wanted this life, then compelled 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.
- John and Isobel (Ex-Boyfriend)
- Alaric and Isobel (Ex-Husband)
- Damon and Isobel (Ex-Fling)
- Katherine and Isobel (Former Allies/Ancestor)
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. Eventually Neve Campbell was replaced by fellow Canadian actress Mia Kirshner.
- Mia Kirshner participated on another vampire show - the 1990 Canadian TV Series Dracula .
- 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. Elena was 17 years old in 2009, so she was born in 1992. Maybe Isobel's tombstone information is incorrect. There is conflicting information, a different birth date (1975), from a picture of her driving license.
- Isobel, Katherine, Rose, and Klaus are the only characters thus far to have an episode named after them. Isobel was the second of these characters to die (after Rose).
- The three women (Isobel, Katherine, Rose) 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 was 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.
- It is likely that Isobel lied, and that she was 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, and then she 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 we know of that was turned into a vampire by her own request.
- She is the second of her family who have slept with Damon Salvatore (that we know of). The first one is her ancestor Katherine Pierce (Katerina Petrova) and the third one is her own daughter Elena Gilbert.
- According to her license, Isobel is 5'4.
- 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, and they left flowers for her.