If you are a fan of The Vampire Diaries, you might have wondered about the mysterious connection between Elena Gilbert and Katherine Pierce, the two women who look exactly alike but have very different personalities and histories. Are they sisters, cousins, or something else? Here is everything you need to know about their relationship and the origin of the doppelgängers.
What is a Doppelgänger?
A doppelgänger is a living, breathing double of oneself, according to Isobel’s research assistant at Duke University. They are rare and supernatural occurrences that are linked to magic and destiny. In The Vampire Diaries universe, there are two main bloodlines of doppelgängers: the Petrova doppelgängers and the Salvatore doppelgängers.
The Petrova doppelgängers are the female descendants of Amara, the first immortal woman who was turned by Qetsiyah and Silas. Amara’s shadow self was Tatia, a beautiful woman who lived in ancient Greece and was loved by both Klaus and Elijah Mikaelson. Tatia’s blood was used by Esther, Klaus’ mother, to bind his hybrid curse and turn her children into vampires.
The next Petrova doppelgänger was Katerina Petrova, also known as Katherine Pierce, who was born in Bulgaria in 1473. She became pregnant with a daughter at a young age and was disowned by her family. She gave birth to Nadia Petrova, who later became a vampire and searched for her mother for centuries. Katherine also became a vampire after escaping from Klaus, who wanted to sacrifice her to break his curse.
The last Petrova doppelgänger was Elena Gilbert, who was born in Mystic Falls in 1992. She was adopted by Grayson and Miranda Gilbert after their biological daughter died in a car accident. She also looked very much like Elena. Elena’s biological parents were John Gilbert, Isobel’s ex-husband, and Isobel Flemming, a former student of Alaric Saltzman who became a vampire after meeting Katherine.
The Salvatore doppelgängers are the male descendants of Silas, the first immortal man who was turned by Qetsiyah and Amara. Silas’ shadow self was Stefan Salvatore, who was born in Mystic Falls in 1846. He became a vampire after being turned by Katherine, along with his brother Damon. Stefan met Elena in 2009 and fell in love with her.
The next Salvatore doppelgänger was Tom Avery, who was born in Atlanta in 1988. He was a paramedic who saved lives and had no idea about his supernatural heritage. He was killed by Enzo in 2012 after being kidnapped by Sloan, a Traveler witch who wanted to use his blood to resurrect Silas.
How are Elena and Katherine Related?
Elena and Katherine are both Petrova doppelgängers, meaning they share the same physical features and are two sides of the same soul. They are both descendants of an ancient bloodline, which is connected to Katherine’s evil vampire family, the Petrova Doppelgängers. However, they are not blood related to each other as sisters or cousins.
Elena is the descendant of Katherine’s daughter Nadia, who had many children over the years as a vampire. Nadia’s line eventually led to Isobel, Elena’s biological mother. Katherine is the descendant of Tatia’s son, who survived after his mother’s death. Tatia’s line eventually led to Katerina⁴.
Therefore, Elena and Katherine are very distant relatives who share a common ancestor in Tatia. They are also part of a cosmic balance that ensures that there will always be a shadow self for Amara and Silas, the original immortals.
Why do Elena and Katherine Hate Each Other?
Elena and Katherine have a complicated history that involves love, betrayal, jealousy, and revenge. They have both loved Stefan and Damon at some point in their lives, but their feelings were not always reciprocated or genuine. Katherine has tried to kill Elena several times, either to escape from Klaus or to get Silas’ cure for immortality. Elena has also tried to kill Katherine after she fed her brother Jeremy to Silas, resulting in his death.
Elena blames Katherine for ruining her life and stealing her happiness. She believes that Katherine is selfish, manipulative, and cruel. Katherine resents Elena for having everything she never had: a family, friends, a graduation, a prom, and a choice. She thinks that Elena is naive, boring, and undeserving of love.
However, despite their hatred for each other, they have also shown moments of compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. Elena felt sorry for Katherine when she learned about her tragic past and her daughter. Katherine helped Elena turn her humanity back on after she lost Jeremy. Elena forgave Katherine on her deathbed before Katherine possessed her body. Katherine admitted that she envied Elena and wished her happiness before she died for real.
Elena and Katherine are two sides of the same coin, who have more in common than they think. They are both survivors, fighters, and lovers. They are both Petrova doppelgängers, who have been caught in a web of destiny, magic, and blood.