The series finales of The Originals and The Vampire Diaries have not been kind to Caroline Forbes.
And frankly, she deserves better.
Warning: This article contains major spoilers from The Originals and The Vampire Diaries. If you don’t want to know how these series end, don’t read any further!
In the series finale of The Vampire Diaries, Stefan Salvatore sacrificed himself so that his brother could have the life and love that he’d been waiting so long for. Mere hours after he’d gotten married to Caroline (albeit in a forced ceremony), he chose to give up his life for someone else, making Caroline a widow long before her time.
Then, in the series finale of The Originals, Klaus Mikaelson sacrificed himself to save his daughter! The dark magic of the Hollow was too much for Hope to handle, and Klaus didn’t trust himself to not turn on his loved ones (and subsequently the whole world) with it inside him, so he took his own life to destroy the magic, once and for all. He did this just after reconnecting with Caroline, the girl who he’d waited years for.
Is it exactly the same thing? No. Klaus was certainly not Caroline’s husband, but they’ve always shared an important connection, and it’s clear that Caroline still harbors feeling for the original vampire. She may’ve only kissed him because of the sacrifice he was making, but things were still looking better than they ever had before. She saved the voicemail that he’d left her upon his return to New Orleans for years! It seemed like “however long it takes” was finally coming to an end, and Klaroline was going to get their happy (yet probably still tumultuous) ending, after all.
But nope. Klaus had to go be all selfless and take a stake to the heart.
Yes, Stefan spent a large portion of his life attempting to atone for the guilt he felt for forcing his brother to turn. In the end, his sacrifice helped Damon live the human life that he’d taken from him. I do believe that Stefan’s storyline and development suffered to make room for Damon’s, but I can still get behind his reasoning and accept his sacrifice
Klaus obviously wasn’t going to let his daughter die at the hands of the Hollow’s magic, so his sacrifice makes sense as well. He finally found a love that was worth giving up everything for. He successfully gained true immortality, but gave it up for his legacy to continue in a different way. The redemptive conclusion to his story is a good one.
Sure, I could get behind both of these sacrifices if it was only the stories of the deceased that we had to consider. But that’s not the case. The lives of these characters are so intertwined that the conclusion of one’s story will inevitably affect those of all the others. The death of these men permanently stain the storylines of their family, friends, and significant others.
One of the best threads of Caroline’s storyline on The Vampire Diaries is the one that took her from being the girl who never got picked, to the one everyone wanted. After being second best to the Elena Gilberts of the world as a girl, she beautifully blossomed into the woman that nobody in Mystic Falls could get enough of.
As a teenage human, Caroline was neurotic, uptight, and frankly, kind of mean. Her insecurities caused her to lash out at those around her, whether they deserved it or not. She was horrible to her mother, gave some “too tough” love to her friends, and behaved recklessly in romance.
When she became a vampire, everything changed. Her neuroticism could’ve translated to an absolute nightmare of a vampire, but instead, her preparedness and attitude actually helped her to take naturally to her new lifestyle. She gained a new confidence that calmed her insecurities and became the Caroline that we know and love today.
This Caroline is one of the best characters in the entire Mystic Falls canon. She’s funny, fierce, good, honest, and a pillar of strength for everyone around her. She held Salvatore and co. together for the last few seasons of The Vampire Diaries and continued to keep Klaus in check in the final season of The Originals. To know her is to love her, and love her they do.
Caroline remains the last love of both Stefan Salvatore and Klaus Mikaelson, but in the end, they both picked someone else over her. Their choices weren’t bad, but they weren’t her. Stefan had loved his older brother his entire life, and couldn’t cope with Damon being the one to take the metaphorical bullet. Klaus’ daughter changed his whole life, and he had no option but to save her.
Can we really say that Caroline is the girl who everyone picks if, when push really comes to shove, she continues to be left alone? Pretty much every character in The Vampire Diaries has put their life on the line to save Elena or to win Elena’s heart. Can the same really be said for Caroline?
Caroline deserves a love that will choose her above everything else. Firstly, because she is essentially the light of all their lives, but also because her storyline demands it. She deserves to be treated like the girl who’s worth sacrificing everything for.
Caroline Forbes deserves better than she’s gotten in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, but all hope isn’t lost. If Caroline’s story continues into Legacies, I hope she finds a love who values her above all. For me, this part of her storyline won’t be complete until she finds it. Somebody who picks her.