Progenitor of the Bloodline of a Doppelgänger:
|“||She's a dead ringer for Katherine.||”|
Doppelgänger is a term used to describe a paranormal double of a living person. The first doppelgänger line introduced in the series is the Petrova doppelgänger line. Katherine Pierce and Elena Gilbert are doppelgängers of Tatia, the progenitor of the Petrova line. A Petrova doppelgänger is estimated to be born once every 500 years. Another doppelgänger bloodline descends from Silas, whose only known doppelgänger is Stefan Salvatore.
The phenomenon of the doppelgänger species occurs to counterbalance a disruption to the natural order of things, such as Silas' absolute immortality or the curse suppressing Klaus' werewolf nature. There are two known lines of doppelgängers, one descending from Silas and the other descending from Tatia.
Silas: The Very First Immortal
Over two thousand years ago, a very powerful warlock named Silas managed to make himself truly immortal with the help of an immortality spell created by himself with the help of his best friend, Qetsiyah. However, all magic is bound by nature, which demands a balance. As a consequence of the immortality spell, nature needed to offset such an aberration as an immortal creature with a loophole, and thus a "shadow self" or doppelgänger bloodline was created as a version of Silas that could die. Silas' only known doppelgänger is Stefan Salvatore, and therefore, Silas is the progenitor of the Salvatore doppelgänger bloodline and a very ancient ancestor of the Salvatore family.
Tatia: The Original Petrova
Tatia is considered or assumed to be the originator of the Petrova doppelgänger line and is the earliest known ancestor of Katherine Pierce and Elena Gilbert. She lived in America during the 11th century and was a contemporary of the Mikaelson family. Tatia is first mentioned by Rebekah, though not by name, when she comments humorously that the original Petrova was much prettier than Elena. In Bringing Out The Dead, Klaus and Elijah reveal Tatia's name while dining with Damon and Stefan. Elijah explains that he and Klaus had fallen in love with Tatia, and their mother Esther sought to end their feud by taking her. They later learned that it was Tatia's blood that laced the wine they consumed the night their mother turned them into vampires. In Katerina, Katherine explains to Elena the purpose of the doppelgänger: "The curse was bound by the sacrifice of Petrova blood. Witches are crafty with their spells. The doppelgänger was created as a way to be able to undo the spell. Once a doppelgänger reappeared, the curse could be broken." Although Tatia is not mentioned by name, it is inferred that it was Tatia that Esther sacrificed to bind the curse, and thus her doppelgänger line was created as the spell's loophole.
The Hybrid Curse
- Main article: Hybrid Curse
The notion of the doppelgänger as a class of supernatural beings was introduced in the episode Rose by the character of the same name. Until that point, the term was used simply to describe Elena's uncanny resemblance to the vampire Katherine. Rose explains that Elena is a Petrova doppelgänger, and that she is one of the necessary components in a ritual to break the Sun and the Moon curse, which allegedly caused vampires to be ruled by the sun and werewolves to be ruled by the moon. Rose had originally tried to hand Elena over to Elijah, in an effort to earn back his and Klaus' favor, but after Elijah kills her friend Trevor, Rose decides to tell Elena and the Salvatores what she knows about Klaus. Rose's story is corroborated by Katherine, who tells Elena about how Klaus had wanted to use her in the sacrifice, and "drain every single drop of blood" from her body.
In the episode Klaus, Elijah reveals to Elena that the Sun and the Moon curse was fake, and the real curse was one that had been placed on Klaus to suppress his werewolf nature in order to prevent him from becoming a hybrid. He explains that 500 years ago, Klaus had intended to sacrifice Katerina in the ritual, but she thwarted him by turning herself into a vampire, thus rendering herself useless - the doppelgänger had to be human for the ritual to break the curse.
In The Last Day, Elena surrenders herself to Klaus, and in The Sun Also Rises, after Jules the werewolf and Jenna the vampire have been sacrificed and their blood spilled over the moonstone by the witch Greta, Klaus drains Elena of her blood until she dies, and thus successfully breaks the Hybrid Curse.
Fortunately for Klaus, Elena actually survives the sacrifice, and in The Reckoning Klaus discovers from Esther (via Bonnie and Matt, who had contacted Vicki on the Other Side) that the blood of the Petrova doppelgänger is required to create more hybrids like himself. After a werewolf drinks Klaus' blood and he kills them, once they reawaken they must drink Elena's blood in order to complete the transition and become a hybrid.
Katherine Pierce (Katerina Petrova) was born in Bulgaria in 1473. She was the first Petrova doppelgänger. In the year 1492, when she was still a human, she was captured by Klaus. She knew that she was going to die, so she tricked Trevor, one of Klaus' servants, into helping her escape. Katherine was clever, cunning and smart; she knew that if she became a vampire, she'd be rendered useless to Klaus. Katherine stabbed herself with a knife but was given vampire blood by Rose in an attempt to heal her stabbing wound and afterwards, Katherine hung herself and came back as a vampire. In return for her escape, Klaus made her suffer by killing her entire family in Bulgaria, thinking that the doppelgänger would never appear again. What Klaus didn't know was that Katherine had a child out of wedlock that was kept secret and this child continued the bloodline of the Petrova family, leading to the birth of Elena Gilbert, the second Petrova doppelgänger. Tired from running, Katherine intended to make a deal with Klaus by giving him the ingredients he needed to break the curse in exchange for her freedom. She planned to hand over the moonstone, Elena Gilbert (the 2nd Petrova Doppelgänger), Caroline Forbes (a vampire), Tyler Lockwood (a werewolf) and Bonnie Bennett (a witch).
Elena was born in Mystic Falls, Virginia in 1992. Elijah was the first one who found out about Elena before Klaus. At first, when Rose told Elijah about this, he didn't believe it. But soon enough he found out that the Petrova family line didn't end with Katherine because she had given birth to a baby girl that was given away by her father, thus continuing the Petrova bloodline. Once Klaus learned of the second Petrova Doppelgänger Elena, he came to Mystic Falls, and he kidnapped Katherine, temporarily taking over the body of Alaric Saltzman. As with Katherine, Klaus is responsible for the death of Elena's family, most notably their aunt Jenna Sommers, Elena and Jeremy's legal guardian. He terned Jenna into a vampire and killed her for the sacrificial ritual. Unlike with Katherine, Klaus successfully killed Elena and as a result, he breaks the curse. Fortunately for Elena, John Gilbert had Bonnie form a special spell that bound Elena's life force or essence to his. This spell brought Elena back to life, but in return, killed John and took his life. In The Departed, Jeremy took Elena to Mystic Falls Hospital after discovering her lying unconscious at home. Meredith Fell discovered Elena was suffering from a serious cerebral hemorrhage, and secretly injected her with vampire blood to heal her. This action fortunately saved Elena from death. The same day, Rebekah ran Elena and Matt off Wickery Bridge to save her siblings from Alaric, since his life force was tied to Elena. That way, if she died, so would Alaric. Jeremy arrives home to see Alaric, and he talks to him and Jeremy realizes that he is a ghost, and that if he is dead, that means his sister, Elena, must also be dead. Stefan hurried to Wickery Bridge, intending to save Elena, but she insisted that he save Matt's life instead, who was unresponsive after crashing into the water. By the time Stefan pulled Matt out of the water, Elena had drowned and died. Stefan brought her body back to Mystic Falls Hospital, where she woke up, transitioning into a vampire.
When Silas made himself truly immortal, nature made a shadow self or doppelgänger of Silas as a version of him that could die. Silas' doppelgänger is something that is able to die while Silas is not, thus maintaining balance of nature.
Powers and Abilities
- Petrova Doppelgänger Blood: The blood of Tatia and her doppelgängers (Katherine and Elena) can link supernatural beings (vampires, werewolves, witches and hybrids) to kinship with the help of magic conducted by any witch/warlock. The blood of a doppelgänger and Tatia can also be used in the realization of a curse or spell which is extremely powerful.
- Salvatore Doppelgänger Blood: When Silas was a human (a warlock) and before he was entombed for 2,000 years, it is highly possible that he had a child (or children) with his true love. This is the only plausible explanation for another doppelgänger (Stefan) to be born. Silas was a powerful warlock who created the spell for immortality. The bloodline must have continued through the Salvatore bloodline, meaning that Silas is an ancestor to all of the Salvatore men, including Damon and Giuseppe.
- In some traditions, when a doppelgänger is seen by a person's friends or relatives, the contact prophesies illness or danger, while a person seeing their own doppelgänger is an omen of death.
- In other traditions or legends, a doppelgänger is connected with the person copied; sometimes causing the feelings of injuries between the original and the doppelgänger. For example, if the doppelgänger is injured, the other person will also be hurt or feel pain.
- "Doppelganger" is a German word or term meaning "double walker" or "double goer"―a shadow self that is thought to accompany every person. Traditionally, it is said that only the owner of the doppelganger can see this phantom self, and that it can be a harbinger of death. Occasionally, however, a doppelganger can be seen by a person's friends or family, resulting in quite a bit of confusion.
- The word doppelganger is a loanword from German, written there (as any noun) with an initial capital letter Doppelganger, composed from doppel, meaning "double", and ganger, as "walker". In English, the word is conventionally not capitalized, and it is also common to drop the German diacritic umlaut on the letter "a" and write "doppelganger", although the correct spelling without umlaut would be "doppelgaenger".
- The term has, in the vernacular, come to refer to any double or look-alike of a person, most commonly in reference to a so-called evil twin, or to bilocation. Alternatively, the word is used to describe a phenomenon where you catch your own image out of the corner of your eye. In some traditions, seeing one's own doppelganger is an omen of death. A doppelganger seen by friends or relatives of a person may sometimes bring bad luck, or indicate an approaching illness or health problem.
- The doppelgangers of folklore cast no shadow, and have no reflection in a mirror or in water. They are supposed to provide advice to the person they shadow, but this advice can be misleading or malicious. They can also, in rare instances, plant ideas in their victim's mind or appear before friends and relatives, causing confusion. In many cases once someone has viewed his own doppelganger he is doomed to be haunted by images of his ghostly counter-part.
- Other folklore says that when a person's doppleganger is seen, the person him/herself will die shortly. It is considered unlucky to try to communicate with a doppleganger.
Trivia and Notes
- Petrova doppelgängers are humans for most intents and purposes. However they also fall under the category of supernatural creatures.
- Death by a doppelgänger counts as a supernatural death. Therefore, a person wearing a Gilbert ring comes back to life if killed by the doppelgänger. Conversely, the rings do not protect supernatural creatures, and thus would not work on a doppelgänger.
- They can, however, be compelled by vampires like any regular human.
- It seems that the men who spend a lot of time with a Petrova lady can't help but fall in love with her or fall vulnerable to her charms. Back in the 11th century, it was stated that every man in the village fell in love with Tatia, though Elijah and Klaus more than any others. Trevor, Elijah, Damon, Stefan, and Mason fell in love with Katherine, and Noah was obsessed with her. Matt, Stefan, and Damon fell in love with Elena.
- Katherine and Elena both became vampires, though Katherine has been cured and is now human.
- All three Petrova women have a first name that ends with "A".
- Only Elijah has met all three Petrova women and also developed emotional attachments to them: he was in love with Tatia in the early 11th century; he cared for Katerina in the 15th century and was romantically involved with her in the 21st century; and he has developed a close bond with Elena as a friend and kindred spirit. Klaus also met all three Petrovas, but only fell in love with Tatia, not Elena or Katerina.
- Both the Salvatore brothers and the Mikaelson brothers have had relationships with a Petrova lady: Elijah with Tatia, Katerina, and Elena; Klaus with Tatia; and Damon and Stefan both with Katerina and Elena.
- Silas and his doppelgänger, Stefan, both have first names beginning with the letter "S".
- In the series, a doppelgänger is a supernatural being, so the Gilbert rings have no effect on them.
- There's a possibility that Nina Dobrev has three different characters and roles -- the other role being Tatia, the Original Petrova who was used in binding the curse and the creation of the Originals.
- A person and his or her doppelgänger will look identical in appearance, but the differences stem from their rearing and community standards (such as their expressions, speech, reason, and connections with others).
- Petrova doppelgängers are not the only doppelgängers in existence, as Stefan is Silas' doppelgänger.
- According to some myths, doppelgängers tend to undo the lives of each other. Tatia was used to create Originals but her doppelgängers have influenced the deaths of all the three Originals.
- Katherine distracted Mikael, which let Klaus have a shot at his heart.
- Elena shot Finn with a crossbow to disable him for a few moments before Matt killed him.
- Elena held down Kol, which led to Jeremy weakening him with vervain and then killing him.
Theories Regarding the Creation of the Doppelgänger Species
There are two leading theories for the existence of the Petrova doppelgänger line, though neither has been suitably confirmed:
Hybrid Curse caused the line:
Tatia was a doppelgänger:
There is also little known about the details regarding Silas' doppelgängers, other than what Silas told Stefan in Graduation: