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Katherine von Swartzschild

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This article is about Katherine von Swartzschild from the novels. You may be looking for Katerina Petrova, a character from the television series.


Love changes you. And it never fades, no matter how much you might want it to. Don't make the mistakes I've made, Damon. Don't fight love, whatever form it takes.
Katherine to Damon

Katherine von Swartzschild (Full Name: Katerina von Swartzschild) was a young German girl, who was the daughter of Baron von Swartzschild and Elizabeth Morrow. She was very sickly, weak, and fragile as a young human girl and during her childhood, and was told by a surgeon that she was going to die. After this news, her maid, Gudren, fetched the village vampire Klaus and asked him to turn her into a vampire. He did so, though Katherine had no say in the matter, and she became a vampire. Believing she was still sick, her father took her to the Salvatore Boarding House to cheer her up. There she met Stefan Salvatore, the younger human son of Conte di Salvatore, and she fell deeply in love with him. However, she also displayed interest in Stefan's elder human brother, Damon Salvatore. In The Awakening, she said to both of the brothers that the only way to stay in Salvatore Estate was if she chose which Salvatore to marry. She said that she would tell them which one she had chosen for marriage on Sunday in twilight. Katherine first came to Stefan during the night, presumably during lovemaking and she gave him her blood.

However, Katherine also gave Damon her blood as well. Both brothers were furious when they found out that Katherine had given both of them blood and not just one of them, displaying Katherine's coy, selfish and childish tendencies. Katherine told both of the brothers that she refused to choose between the two of them, leading the rivalry and competition between the brothers to heat up even more intensely. Katherine believed that if she turned both Stefan and Damon, then she, Stefan and Damon could all live happily ever after together. The brothers refused Katherine's wish and it turned the brothers against each other even more. Katherine became extremely distraught and upset by both Stefan and Damon fighting over her, so Katherine decided to commit "suicide". The next day, Stefan and Damon had found her ashes outside alongside her small lapis lazuli ring, which protected her from the sunlight and her dress, along with a note saying that she was selfish. Damon and Stefan both blamed each other for her death, and ended up fighting each other to death with swords. Stefan and Damon both ended up stabbing each other, and both died. They woke up in their tombs, with their lapis lazuli rings on, having both been transformed into vampires, bounding the Salvatore brothers to each other for all of eternity.


Saved by The Old One

Born in Germany during the 1400s to the Baron von Swartzschild, Katherine was extremely weak and frail during her childhood and her last illness was unfortunately terminal. She recalls later that she was unable to breathe and too weak to move; her father was devastated. Gudren, her maid, sought out a vampire named Klaus who was in the local village at the time, and he made her into a vampire, saving her from death and making her much stronger than she had been in life. It is Gudren who advises her on the practicalities of being a vampire, telling her to have a lapis lazuli ring made as a talisman against the sun, and bringing her small animals for feeding. Sometime after this her father brings her to Italy during the summer, as he believes the warmer climate will help her recover. He is likely an old and good friend of the Conte Di Giuseppe Salvatore, as he stays with him and leaves Katherine at the estate when he has business in Florence.

The Brothers' Wrath

It is here that she meets the Conte's handsome, youngest son, Stefan Salvatore, and the two begin a romantic relationship and courtship; she shares her secret of her being a vampire with him. Katherine and Stefan are deeply drawn to each other and strongly enjoy being in each other's presence, as they spend much time with each other every day. They fall deeply for each other enough that their fathers begin speaking of marriage. During her stay at the Salvatore Estate, it is noted that she only leaves her chamber at twilight, but Conte Giuseppe overlooks this odd behavior due to Katherine's overwhelmingly sweet, docile personality. She tells Stefan that she does not drink human blood because she does not desire power; for the same reason despite Klaus' offers, she has not exchanged blood with him since her initial transformation. She believes that drinking human blood should not be done lightly, and she wants to wait until she has found an eternal companion. Katherine sees a possible eternal love companion in Stefan and aspires to marry him. However, Damon's return from university halts any talk of marriage between Stefan and Katherine, as Katherine is also drawn to Damon's darkly, seductive charm. When she intervenes in a heated, intense argument between Damon and his father, Giuseppe, which would probably otherwise result in Damon being cut off from his inheritance, Stefan becomes slightly jealous and the pre-existing tension between the two brothers mounts. As summer begins to draw to a close, Damon notes that the Baron will soon leave Florence with Katherine, unless she chooses to marry and remain there. Damon also reveals that Katherine has shared her secret with him, intensifying Stefan's resentment against Damon. The brothers begin to fight for her affections in earnest, but Katherine reminds them that she is a vampire and cannot live like a normal Florentine lady, and declares that her companion/husband must renounce ordinary human life for the shadows, meaning to become an immortal like her. Since this does not deter either of the Salvatore brothers, she tells them that she needs some more time to choose between them. Katherine makes her choice by coming to them separately during the night and exchanging blood with both, first with Stefan during lovemaking and then with Damon afterwards, turning them into vampires, declaring that she wants the three of them to be 'joyous companions, forever'.

Tragic Fate

Both brothers vehemently reject her decision, furious with jealousy, competitiveness and wounded pride. Katherine runs away from them in tears, distraught and deeply upset. She conceives a plan with her maid, Gudren's help that she believes will make Damon and Stefan put aside their intense hatred for one another and realize their error. As a result, she fakes her own death. The next morning, the brothers find what they believe to be Katherine's ashes and clothes, including her lapis lazuli ring which was used to protect her from the sunlight, beneath her favorite lemon tree. Stefan and Damon blame each other for her death, fetch their swords and kill each other by stabbing each other in the heart, waking up later in their family crypt as vampires.

Innocence Destroyed

Meanwhile, many years later, Katherine goes back to the German village to find Klaus, with whom she lives for centuries. The books suggest that he abuses her while teaching her to become a significantly tougher, stronger vampire, and over time with Klaus influence, she becomes power-hungry and insane, losing utterly her childlike innocence and naiveté. She eventually attempts to kill Klaus, evidently believing that she has succeeded.

Love Turned Into Insane Obsession

At some point during the late 20th century, Katherine arrives in the small American town of Fell's Church, Virginia, where she first sees Elena Gilbert, who bears a strong, striking, physical resemblance to her. Elena strongly resembles Katherine so much that Katherine even considers that she may even be a very distant relative of hers. Katherine subliminally influences both Stefan and Damon to follow her to the town, hoping that they will both see Elena, honor her memory and feel extreme guilt and remorse for the tragic events of the many centuries ago. However, Stefan falls deeply, passionately and strongly love with Elena, who coincidentally turns out to be Stefan's soul mate, and Damon is also deeply drawn to Elena and tries to seduce her in order to win her from Stefan out of jealousy, revenge and hatred against him. Katherine masquerades as a white kitten which Elena's little sister Margaret takes as a pet. At times, Katherine acts antagonistically towards the brothers, as when she traps Stefan in a well and has serious thoughts about wringing Damons' neck while he is in crow form, a dream which Bonnie telepathically picks up on. When Stefan proposes to Elena and gives her the small gold lapis lazuli ring as an engagement ring that belonged to Katherine, the latter becomes very furious, enraged, extremely jealous and vengeful that Stefan has fallen deeply for Elena. As a result, Katherine drives Elena's car into the river, almost instantly killing her due to drowning, not knowing that Elena had Stefan's vampire blood in her system.


After Elena awakens as a vampire, Katherine disturbs Elena's memorial service, influencing the town's dogs to attack their owners outside the church. This event causes Elena, Stefan and Damon to realize that something is amiss; they begin searching for the 'Other Power' in Fell's Church, which leads them to a deadly confrontation with Katherine in the tomb of Honoria Fell where she has taken up residence, and attacks them in the form of a snow-white tiger. Katherine ties them up, tortures them a little and reveals herself to the trio, taunting them with the details of her antics in Fell's Church, of which they had been unaware. Meanwhile, she directs the dogs to attack students leaving the Snow Dance at Elena's high school. As she plots to kill them all, Elena outwits her by lunging at her and removing her lapis lazuli necklace, causing her to burn up in the sunlight, turning the centuries-old lie into the truth and saving the townspeople as well as both Stefan and Damon. However, Elena as a vampire, also dies alongside Katherine after being exposed to the sunlight. In Dark Reunion, Klaus arrives in Fell's Church seeking revenge for Katherine's death, especially against Stefan.


"You'd be surprised how much you learn, being dead. I saw everything."

In death, Katherine did not simply disappear as the Celestial Court believed that vampires did. Instead, her continued existence after death gave her the time to reflect on her actions in life and led her to forgive Elena. Through unknown means, she also learned the truth behind Elizabeth Morrow (who is her birth mother), her relationship with Klaus, and the fact that she and Elena were part-Guardian and half-sisters. She regained the sanity that Klaus had beaten out of her during their century of companionship.

Lady Katherine von Swartzschild's True Resurrection

Stefan: "If you hurt her [Elena], or any of the innocent people here, I'll find a way to kill you. And this time, you'll stay dead."
Katherine: "Poor Stefan. So loyal, so loving. I've missed your passion, you know. It's good to see you again."
— Katherine speaking with Stefan

In September of 2014, Klaus used the blood of a number of vampires that he had changed to cast a resurrection spell, bringing back Katherine von Swartzschild to life. Shortly after her resurrection, Katherine fought against Stefan in a battle between Klaus' vampires (Cristian Sulez and ancient servants) and the supernaturally-aware students (Ethan Crane) of Dalcrest College - Stefan Salvatore, Elena Gilbert, Meredith Sulez, Bonnie McCullough, Alaric K. Saltzman and the Original Pack. While she believed that she owed Klaus, she did not have any intention of devoting herself to his cause any more than was necessary to repay her debt.

Katherine visited Stefan at his dorm, and coyly flirted with him. She told him that she was no longer angry at Elena, but Stefan did not believe her and threatened to kill her if she harmed any person at Dalcrest. She later talked to Damon at a football game, where she explained how she owed Klaus, before influencing the cheerleaders to dance a bassadanza as she and Damon had the day they met. They then went out hunting for humans to feed on. At the end of the series, Elena and Katherine appear to become more tolerant and understanding towards each other.

Physical Appearance

"The figure in the trailing white dress turned from the candle she was lighting, and Elena saw what might have been her own face on its shoulders. But it was a subtly distorted face, pale and beautiful as an ice sculpture, but wrong. It was like the endless reflections of herself Elena had seen in her dream of the hall of mirrors. Twisted and hungry, and mocking. Her voice was light and sweet - silvery, Elena thought. Like her eyelashes. There were silvery lights in her dress when she moved, too. But her hair was gold, almost as pale a gold as Elena's own. Her eyes were like kitten's eyes: round and jewel blue. At her throat, she wore a necklace with a stone of the same vivid color. She did a little pirouette, and Elena saw that what she had vaguely taken for the train to Katherine's dress was Katherine's hair. It flowed like molten gold down her back to spill over the floor, trailing behind her." [1]

Described as having an uncanny physical resemblance to Elena Gilbert, Katherine is so beautiful that both Salvatore brothers were infatuated with her beauty and elegance when they first came to know her.

However, despite the many similarities between Katherine and Elena, there are still a few differences between the sisters: Katherine's golden-blond hair is a few shades darker than Elena's, which is a soft pale gold that is almost white-blond, and so long that it trails behind her like a wedding-dress train, while Elena's is only waist-length, and silky-straight instead of curly like Katherine's. Katherine is more petite in stature while Elena is slightly taller than Katherine by a "good head span", and her eyes are also noted to be much-bluer and more widely-set than Elena's eyes, and her eyebrows and eyelashes had a "silvery" appearance while Elena's brows and lashes were a darker blond.

Because of the remarkable physical resemblance between Katherine and Elena, Katherine had actually considered - before learning that Elena was actually her younger sister - that she might be a distant relative of hers, and Stefan had once wondered if Elena was Katherine's reincarnation, though he eventually realised that she was not, and Katherine herself later learned the truth of their kinship and made her peace with Elena.



In the beginning, during the flashbacks in the novels, Katherine, the young and beautiful vampire whom both Salvatore brothers fell in love with, appears to be a sweet, docile, naive, childlike, fragile and an emotionally vulnerable girl but had a selfish, spoiled, childish and immature side. When the Salvatore brothers first meet Katherine during the Renaissance period, she is a fragile young German noblewoman with a dark secret (her secret being that she is a vampire). Katherine is soft-spoken, innocent, and appears to be excessively naïve. When Katherine and Stefan spent time together each and every day, their fathers, Baron von Swartzschild and Giuseppe Salvatore, were greatly pleased with Stefan and Katherine's courtship or relationship and had began discussing the prospects of a possible marriage. Stefan believes that Katherine's father is much too fond of her to force her to marry against her will, thus leaving the choice of a husband to Katherine herself.

In spite of her vampirism, she does not appear to understand shadow emotions and the darker side of life and as such, she fails to grasp the deep roots of the conflict between Stefan and Damon. She displays her immaturity and childishness by refusing to choose between the two Salvatore brothers and believes that martyring herself will resolve their difficulties and their rivalry with each other. Katherine was both of the Salvatore brother's maker and she turned both of the Salvatore brothers into vampires by feeding both of them her blood, in an attempt to be happy with both brothers, instead of having to choose between the two of them. However, when this plan backfired and when it didn't work, she staged her "suicide" by going into the sunlight without her 'special ring', leaving behind a pile of ashes along with a note, in one of her dresses under a lemon tree. The two brothers fought to the 'death' because of her death and their loss. Katherine strongly physically resembles Elena Gilbert, which caused both Stefan's and Damon's initial attraction to her, though Stefan later realized that Elena is much more emotionally stronger than Katherine, who Stefan thought was more docile and gentle, as was the standard in Renaissance Italy. However, in the centuries between the Italian Renaissance and the time of when she makes her first appearance in The Fury, Katherine had grown to be quite devious and insane, which is at least partly attributable to the influence of Klaus, her vampire maker.

Over a period of time, Katherine had become the complete and total opposite of her old self—evil, crazy, barbaric, inhumane, vicious, cold-blooded, cold-hearted, wicked, murderous, vengeful, jealous, manipulative, malicious and hungry for power and revenge. She boasts about killing tons and tons of both humans and vampires over the past few centuries; displaying her psychopathic and murderous ways, and she has become fiercely hungry for power and revenge. However, despite her complete negative alteration in her characterization, Katherine still displays grief and heartbreak over what happened in the past with her and the both of the Salvatore brothers. She is intensely jealous of Elena and hates both Damon and especially Stefan, for daring to pursue another woman. When Stefan proposes to Elena and gives her the lapis lazuli ring that belonged to Katherine, the latter becomes intensely enraged and jealous, and uses her Power to force Elena's car into the river at Wickery Bridge, drowning her and killing her. She is revealed to be the "Other Power" that is damaging the town of Fells Church. In The Fury, Katherine becomes very antagonistic against Stefan, Damon and Elena. Katherine ties them all up, tortures them, displaying her barbaric nature, and finally reveals herself to the trio, taunting them with the details of her antics in Fell's Church, of which they had all been unaware. Meanwhile, she directs the dogs to attack students leaving the Snow Dance at Elena's high school. Katherine revealed in The Fury, that even though she deeply cared for both of the Salvatore brothers in the past, she had always loved Stefan much more than Damon and had grown a deep, intense obsession with Stefan over the many years, hence one of the main reasons why she was so deeply jealous and antagonistic towards Elena, the girl who Stefan was currently deeply in love with.

True Personality

After being destroyed, Katherine saw everything that she had done in her life as a human and as a vampire, causing her dementia. Anger was replaced by a much more mature personality, conscious, wise, stable and loyal. Katherine tried to remain loyal to Klaus, but the Old One was blinded by his anger and his pride after being defeated for the first time in his existence. In the end, Katherine is friendly and learns to be more tolerant and accepting of Elena as her sister.

Powers and Abilities

Katherine became quite a powerful vampire, especially later on by the time of The Fury. Katherine, like all vampires, displayed the standard and basic vampire powers and abilities such as enhanced senses, super-speed and super-strength etc., although she could also have the ability to shape-shift into various different animal forms. Katherine is actually one of the most powerful vampires seen in the series.

  • Compulsion: The supernatural ability to control and manipulate the body, mind, and soul of an animal or person.
  • Weather Control: The supernatural ability allows influence meteorological energy patterns, creating rain, wind, hail, lightning, snow, sleet, fog and temperature changes. Katherine had a very strong ability to control the weather, being able to cause dangerous storms with ease.
  • Elemental Manipulation: The supernatural ability to control and manipulate the elements of air, earth, fire, water, lightning, etc.
  • Animal Control: The supernatural ability can handle all kinds of wild animals or domestic. Normally you can only control a species at a time.
  • Healing: The supernatural ability to heal all infections and injuries at an accelerated speed.
  • Immortality: The supernatural ability of eternal life and youth.
  • Senses: The supernatural ability to hear, see, smell, and taste beyond the human limit.
  • Shapeshifting: The supernatural ability to alter and change the physical form of ones self.
  • Speed: The supernatural ability to jump, move and run at superhuman velocity.
  • Strength: The supernatural ability of abnormal strength.
  • Illusion: It is capable of disrupting the reality of one or more things at once. The 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.
  • Telepathy: The supernatural ability can communicate mentally with other vampires without physical contact and long distances.
  • Immunity: Katherine is, like all vampires, immune to human diseases and toxins. She does not grow old.
  • Resurrection: The supernatural ability to return from the dead. In order to return to an Old One need the blood of the descendants. In case the body was destroyed, it is possible that the essence of the Old One occupies one of his/her descendant's body.


Katherine is a very powerful vampire, and therefore is more affected by weaknesses than the majority of vampires.

  • Uninvited: A vampire cannot enter a home that have not been invited inside of.
  • Running water: A vampire can not cross above running water but can tunnel beneath it.
  • Veil Matter (ghosts and spirits): A vampire can not hurt and defeat a ghost. But ghosts can manifest and send a vampire to a place where you can not do more damage.
  • Wood: Like all vampires, wood is harmful to a vampire and a wooden object through the heart is fatal.
  • Beheading: Beheading is lethal to a vampire.
  • Fire: Fire is able to kill Katherine, just like it is lethal to most vampires.
  • Sunlight: The sun burns most vampires on contact and can even kill a vampire, Katherine being no exception.


Originally, Katherine's real name is Katerina von Swartzschild. However, for unknown reason, Katerina was changed to Katherine. This was during her stay with the Salvatore Family. L. J. Smith created the character with the name Katherine von Swartzschild, but because the versions of the novels in different countries, as the surname Swartzschild doesn't exist in real life, therefore, it causes confusion about its meaning and origin.

  • Katherine is a feminine first name of uncertain origin. It appears to come from the Greek Αικατερινη meaning "each of the two", or possibly from καθαρος (Katharos) meaning "pure".
  • The beginning of Katherine's last name "von" is a German a preposition which approximately means "of" or "from".
  • Swartzschild is derived from the German words: Swartz and schild, and the meaning is "Black Sign" or "Black Shield".
    • Swartz is derived from the low German word "schwarz," which means "black," or "swarthy."
    • schild comes from the Middle High German/Middle Dutch word "Schild," meaning "shield."


  • In TV series she is portrayed by Nina Dobrev and renamed Katerina Petrova.
  • Katherine and Klaus, were the only vampires to drained other vampires for their blood.
  • Both Katherine in the books and the show have a strong preference for Stefan Salvatore.
  • Katherine tells Elena , Stefan and Damon that she murdered Klaus centuries ago, but in the Dark Reunion it is revealed Klaus and the Old Ones, can manipulate the minds of "vampires younger".
  • Katherine was kind, selfish, reserved, but changed when she was found by Klaus and lived with him for years. She has since become insane, manipulative, cruel, sadistic personality as stated by Elena and Stefan at their first meeting in The Fury.
  • Initially, Katherine von Swartzschild and Katherine Pierce have gentle personalities and love for their families. But their personality is changed by Klaus getting inside Katherine von Swartzschild's head, and slaughter Katherine Pierce's family.
  • Katherine von Swartzschild is unstable (kill, destroy and shed blood just for fun) in comparison to Katherine Pierce (she has planned her movements, tools and always has a backup plane).
  • Katherine von Swartzschild is killed by exposure to sunlight and turns into ash, while Elena dies for the same reason but does not become ash because she is a newly turned vampire and Katherine is a century old vampire.
  • In the novels Katherine mistakes Elena for being her descendant because of their strong resemblance. However Katherine's is blonde with jewel blue eye, and Elena is considered taller than Katherine by "a good handspan." and deep-set brown eyes and dark brown hair. However, it turned out, Katherine and Elena shared the same mother, making them half-sisters.
  • In the series, Elena Gilbert is a distant descendant and doppelgänger of Katherine Pierce.
  • Katherine is Elena's first kill in the books and the first vampire destroyed in the novels.
  • In the third book, The Fury, Katherine confesses to always having loved Stefan much more then Damon. Similarly, in the episode The Return, when confronted by Damon about who she loves more, Katherine admits to Damon that "The truth is I never loved you. It was always Stefan."
  • Katherine is turned and mentored by Klaus in the books, in the TV series, Katherine is sought out by Klaus and he wants to kill her as revenge for getting away from him.
  • Katherine is one of the oldest and most powerful normal vampires along with Sage.
  • In The Awakening, when Stefan and Damon attempt to enter Katherine's chamber, Gudren referred to her as "my mistress Katerina" implying that, like in the TV series, her name is Katerina.
  • In both versions, the character of Katherine was born with the name Katerina, but as the story takes place, the name changes to Katherine.
  • In Novels, Katherine and Damon are companions during the search and destruction of the Old Ones. They eventually feel affection for each other.
  • Katherine von Swartzschild is polar opposite of Katerina Petrova.
    • In the novels, Katherine was corrupted and manipulated by Klaus, while the TV series, Katerina was hunted and terrorized by Niklaus.
    • Katherine was very powerful and calculator, even Damon and Stefan weren't strong enough to fight against her. Katerina was oldest, but for some reason couldn't fight against Salvatore Brothers for a long time, and she won thanks to the intervention of Lucy.
    • When she was revived, Katherine had a clear sense of right and wrong, as well as respect and love for Damon, Stefan and tolerance to Elena. In TV series, Katerina was manipulative and selfish, on occasion showed love and compassion, but her own safety was superior. Even when she returned to being a human, she did not change much. 
    • Katherine helped during the fight against the Old Ones, as well as fight against the armies and soldiers of the old vampires. In TV series, Katerine helped find Mikael and found a way to prevent that Mikaelson Family couldn't stay in Mystic Falls for long time.


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