It was never easy being Elena Gilbert in The Vampire Diaries. From threatening original vampires to a mercurial boyfriend and a toxic doppelgänger, Elena’s life was riddled with drama and tension. So when the showrunners gave Elena a happy ending instead of killing her off, Elena’s fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.
But there are, of course, some fans who think Elena’s ending is quite strange and half-baked since it gives out very little information about where she went after the series ended, or the kind of challenges she faced in her life with Damon. Elena’s diary entry at the The Vampire Diaries series finale is even more mysterious and worth an exploration, so here’s a look at why Elena’s ending made sense and why aspects of it did not.
Does Not Make Sense: Too Generic
Elena’s ending is the biggest copout in the series; though the conclusion of her storyline disguises itself under a traditional ‘happily ever after’ trope, it’s actually too loose-ended. In the series finale, Elena writes in her diary that she and Damon go on to live a long, happy life together which implies that their human lives find some sort of fulfilment.
But showrunner Julie Plec refuses to add a sense of solid closure to Elena’s storyline as she said, “You can define it as closure, you can define it as heaven, you can define it as some sort of spiritual otherworld. Whatever it is that you want to define it as, that is what peace means to me – which is that somehow you find yourself at peace because you have everything you ever wanted.”
Fitting Ending: She Wanted Peace And Finds It
After everything Elena has been through for eight long seasons, she deserved a sense of peace and fulfilment and her storyline basically ends on a note of positivity. Her diary entry is very telling because though she doesn’t reveal where she is or what she plans to do, it clearly implies that she is happy with her own life.
For fans of Elena, this is a big deal considering how tumultuous and threatened her life has always been on the show; the possibility of a safe, happy life is the perfect ending for her.
Does Not Make Sense: Makes Things Difficult For Legacies
Elena’s loosely-wrapped up personal arc makes things messier for Legacies and future spin-offs. The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young & Gifted is a school for untrained witches, vampires, werewolves or kids who have been affected by the supernatural. It is situated at the Salvatore Boarding House and is founded by Alaric and Caroline, who were close friends of Elena and Damon.
The point is, Elena and Damon are a crucial part of the school’s heritage and ideally students would have to be taught about them and must know where they went. The fact that they are both only referenced a few times seems odd considering they are not dead and have a daughter Stefanie who could attend the school. Not giving Elena’s arc a solid ending takes away from the credibility of her own legacy.
Fitting Ending: It’s The Ending She Wanted
Fans can find comfort in the fact that Elena’s life found the direction she wanted and she is, in fact, happy with it. If she’s living a human life with Damon and goes on to have children, it means she has found a sense of stability and happiness and was able to leave her murky, supernatural life behind.
It’s also important to note, a simple, homely and happy life is what season 1’s Elena also wanted originally.
Does Not Make Sense: The Diary Entry Was Weird
After everything that Elena has been through, it hardly seems fair that the trajectory of a protagonist this fierce would end on this tame and confusing note. Though the diary was a nice touch because it recalled the untroubled, season 1 Elena, it was weird because the diary had been missing in action for quite some time now.
Also, whatever Elena wrote in the finale provided very little information about what fans really wanted to know, so even as a nostalgic reference, it wasn’t very effective.
Fitting Ending: Potential For Future Spin-Offs
The biggest perk of an open-ended storyline that’s up for interpretation is the fact it can always be brought back for a spin-off. Though Plec wanted to do away with the Elena and Damon storyline, clearly Elena and Damon’s history is a very big part of Legacies and has a potential for future spin-offs, as well.
Damon and Elena’s daughter Stefanie has already been mentioned once in Legacies and in the future, too; their storyline can be revisited for the sake of the show or maybe a different show in the same franchise.
Doesn’t Make Sense: Doesn’t Contribute Anything To The Doppelgänger Storyline
What made Elena so refreshing as a heroine of a teen vampire show is that she had her own historic legacy as a doppelgänger that affected the supernatural beings around her in a big way. So the fact that her ending has so little to do with her doppelgänger self is really unrewarding to the fans. It’s somewhat tricky trying to find fulfilment with Elena’s doppelgänger storyline of course, since nothing like this has been explored in pop culture.
However post Katherine’s death Elena is the only living Petrova doppelgänger but her ending on the show is not designed to highlight her significance on a broader supernatural scale.
Fitting Ending: It Makes Sense That She Steps Out Of Mystic Falls
Elena has never really travelled outside of Mystic Falls much, except her whirlwind trip to Chicago with Damon; in fact, her college was also located in Virginia, the same state as her hometown. So it makes sense for her to step out of Mystic Falls to raise a family with Damon or to travel.
The show suggests that Damon and Elena do pursue a domestic family life since they have a daughter, and since they’re both human, they’d obviously want a new place to raise their family to start afresh.
Doesn’t Make Sense: Damon And Elena Needed A Better Closure
To be fair, the ‘Delena’ storyline does find closure as Elena confirms she and Damon go on to live happy, long human lives. But this is the equivalent of the ‘and they lived happily ever after’ ending in kids’ fairy tales and lacks any real context or information.
Many fans had rooted for Elena to choose Damon over Stefan because Damon was a more competent ally for Elena and their relationship was actually grounded and based on a foundation of friendship. But the diary entry ending is quite juvenile considering it doesn’t do anything to give justice to their relationship.
Fitting Ending: The Human Connect
It’s true Elena never really got to enjoy her human adult life as her life has been threatened with vampires and a toxic doppelgänger since she was a teenager. The fact that the show gives her a chance for a do-over and reassigns her humanity actually makes for a rewarding storyline.
It’s a grounded ending that shows the best of both worlds; since she didn’t always want to be a vampire, but she wanted to be with Damon.