First in The Vampire Diaries and then in The Originals, Elijah Mikaelson was known as the honorable Original vampire. Unlike his unpredictable and threatening siblings, Klaus and Rebekah, Elijah had a noble demeanor that contradicted his vampire nature. Always impeccably dressed in a suit and tie and speaking in a formal cadence that gave weight to his pronouncements, Elijah came across as the only Original with a moral compass. While his brother Klaus was considered the worst of the worse and Rebekah was viewed with constant suspicion, Elijah did his best to keep his word and earn others’ trust. Yet, as much as Elijah wanted to live up to the persona he’d created for himself, he frequently failed — and often his victims discovered too late that his principled exterior was an illusion.
During Elijah’s tenure in the world of The Vampire Diaries, fans embraced this decent but flawed character. His dedication to his family, his desire to do better, and his restraint in the face of desire all made him uniquely appealing. Of course, at heart, he was still a long-lived vampire who was no longer entirely in touch with his humanity. Elijah often made questionable choices and took problematic actions, sometimes even upsetting his “bad” brother Klaus.
Nonetheless, it was hard not to admire Elijah’s constant search for redemption for both him and his siblings, especially Klaus. And fans rooted for him in his struggle against his vampirism. In order to remain in his corner, however, there are many things fans chose to overlook about Elijah through the years. We’ll take a look at some examples below.
Here are 20 Wild Things About Elijah Mikaelson Fans Choose to Ignore
20 WHEN WE INITIALLY MEET HIM, HE’S NOT ON KLAUS’ SIDE
Elijah was the very first Original to make an appearance on The Vampire Diaries. His presence is haunted by an even bigger menace, though — his younger brother Klaus. Unlike his half-siblings, Klaus is a half vampire/half werewolf hybrid, and desperate to break the curse that suppresses his werewolf side. The key to his plan is Elena, the latest Petrova doppelganger. When Elijah first appears, The Vampire Diaries gang believes he’s working with his brother.
The truth is more complicated though. Elijah, angry that Klaus has supposedly buried their other siblings at sea, intends to take out Klaus when he is vulnerable during the ritual to break the curse. While this doesn’t go according to plan, Elijah spends the rest of his time on The Vampire Diaries angry and at odds with Klaus.
19 HE POSES AS A HISTORIAN NAMED ELIJAH SMITH
In order to maintain his presence in Elena and her friends' lives and make sure his plans for Klaus come to fruition, Elijah wends his way into Mystic Falls society by posing as a historian named Elijah Smith. He claims he is researching the history of small towns like Mystic Falls for a book and his interest in the area and its founding families are purely academic.
The lie enables him to become a trusted presence in the town, eliminating any suspicion about his long-term residence there, leaving him free to pursue his true motives. Although it was a cover, Elijah could have written a fascinating book about the history of Mystic Falls had he chosen to, given he was born and raised in the area over one thousand years prior.
18 HE FOUNDED THE STRIX
The vampire society The Strix antagonized Elijah and his siblings throughout The Originals' third season. Yet, Elijah was responsible for founding the group in the Middle Ages. Elijah’s goal was to gather great minds to work together to improve society. Unfortunately, things changed when Elijah was forced to flee with his siblings to escape their father, who hunted them down for centuries.
In his absence, Tristan de Martel, the first human Elijah ever turned into a vampire, and Aya, Elijah’s former lover, assumed leadership of the group and took it in a very different direction than the one envisioned by its founder. The Strix became a group of sociopaths almost entirely from Elijah’s bloodline. The group hoarded power by engineering all sorts of atrocities. When Elijah later realized what the Strix had become, he abandoned the group. However, they no longer needed him — they had already become a dangerous force in the world.
17 HE BUILDS A LIFE WITHOUT HIS SIBLINGS
After the Mikaelson siblings each take on a piece of the evil spirit threatening Klaus’ daughter, Hope, they had to stay away from each other to prevent the spirit from gaining too much power. Believing he won't be able to maintain his distance from his siblings, Elijah asks Marcel, who has become an Upgraded Original vampire, to compel him to forget all about them. Without the burden of his family, Elijah became a piano player at a club in France and becomes involved with a fellow vampire named Antoinette.
For perhaps the first time in his life, Elijah is content. After several years, though, he's inevitably drawn back into his family’s troubles. However, he still doesn’t remember them and, as a result, fails to defend Hope’s mother, Haley, when she needs it most. So when his memories finally come flooding back, his grief at his actions is overwhelming and he immediately goes back to his old life with his siblings, leaving France and Antoinette behind.
16 HE’S A MUSICIAN
Some members of the Mikaelson family have a creative streak. Klaus is a painter and Elijah is an accomplished piano player. Unlike Klaus painting, however, fans barely ever saw Elijah play the piano on The Originals. In fact, he pursues this creative outlet the most during the time when he can’t remember his siblings during the fifth season. Even though his memory has been erased, when he finds a piano, he discovers he can play. So when he moves to France, he gets a job playing at a club.
Elijah is also shown teaching a young Marcel how to play the piano in the 1800s and in the present day playing with a jazz combo in a New Orleans bar. Yet, despite Elijah’s clear enjoyment of music and talent for playing, other concerns prevent him from pursuing this interest in the way he might.
15 HE CAN BE ARROGANT ABOUT HIS STATUS
Like many an elder before him, Elijah can have an inflated sense of his own importance as an Original vampire. Mostly, he doesn’t like younger whipper-snapper vampires thinking they can go up against him and win. On The Vampire Diaries, in particular, this leads him to threaten the significantly younger Salvatore brothers more than once.
Elijah’s confidence in his powers as an Original leads him to be largely impervious to intimidation. However, he can also be quick to anger and lash out when an opponent doesn’t show him the respect he believes he’s due. This can result in his proving his superiority with an object lesson in just what a show of strength from an Original looks like.
14 HE SPENDS EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME AWAY FROM HIS SIBLINGS
While the Mikaelson siblings pledged to be there for each other “always and forever,” they’ve also been known to spend significant amounts of time away from one another. Sometimes that’s because Klaus has put a dagger through their hearts, which sends them into a catatonic state until the dagger’s removed. During those times, Klaus has stored his siblings in coffins until he's decided to wake them again.
This has happened to Elijah numerous times during his existence, but there have been other times when he’s simply lost touch with his siblings. This was seen most clearly during The Vampire Diaries. Elijah estranged from Klaus when he was first introduced. He also wasn’t with Klaus and Rebekah when they met Stefan in Chicago, and he took off for parts unknown after he and his siblings dispatched their duplicitous mother.
13 HE FORGIVES KLAUS FOR ALL THE AWFUL THINGS HE DOES
It’s inevitable that siblings will fight — and that’s especially true if you and your siblings are over one thousand years old. So, the Mikaelson siblings' periodic squabbles aren’t surprising. On the other hand, some of the things Klaus has done would be unforgivable to most.
Klaus has daggered his siblings repeatedly, including Elijah, keeping them out of commission for decades, and sometimes centuries. He’s also been responsible for the demise of at least two of Elijah’s paramours, Celeste and Gia, and he's poisoned his brother with his werewolf venom, leading Elijah to become incredibly sick for several days. Even when it takes him a little time, however, Elijah always finds the capacity to forgive his brother for his deplorable actions.
12 HE PUTS KLAUS’ HAPPINESS ABOVE HIS OWN
When Elijah’s memories are wiped at the end of The Originals’ fourth season, fans got a glimpse at what Elijah’s life might have been like had he had a chance to pursue his version of happiness without the burden of his siblings. What made Elijah happy was simple: a woman to love, a job playing piano, peace, and quiet.
Yet, throughout the majority of his life, these were pleasures he was mostly denied because he prioritized his siblings over himself. Klaus, in particular, made Elijah’s pursuit of his own desires impossible. Klaus was always pursuing one scheme or another and Elijah felt obligated to either support him, work to thwart him, or clean up his latest mess.
11 HE HOLDS A TORCH FOR KATHERINE PIERCE FOR 500 YEARS
Elijah first meets Katherine Pierce over 500 years ago when she was still human and going by her original name, Katerina. Elijah quickly fell for her, and perhaps the feeling was mutual. Unfortunately, Klaus was planning to sacrifice Katerina to break the curse suppressing his werewolf side. Knowing what Klaus had in store for her, Elijah made a plan to save her. Before he could help, though, Katerina figured out how to turn herself into a vampire and fled.
When Elijah meets Katherine again in Mystic Falls, he's angry at her betrayal and is cold towards her. That quickly changes though after they both leave Mystic Falls. Elijah and Katherine start a romance. The relationship is the fulfillment of what Elijah hoped for centuries prior, but it’s unclear whether Katherine returns his affections or is just using him to get what she wants.
10 HE FULFILLS THE PROPHECY DOOMING HIS FAMILY
There’s always one prophecy or another causing havoc in The Vampire Diaries universe. In the third season of The Originals, there was a prophecy that predicted doom for Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah Mikaelson. It was a fate they spent the whole season trying to avoid, until Elijah accidentally made it come true by going after Marcel.
Before Elijah ended his life, Marcel had taken an elixir that turned him into an Upgraded Original Vampire. So despite Elijah’s actions, Marcel came back seriously angry and substantially stronger than Elijah or Klaus. He proceeded to put Kol, Elijah, and even Klaus down. Without some quick thinking from their sister, Freya, the family would have been lost for good.
9 HE HELPED HIS FATHER CURSE KLAUS
After Elijah and his siblings were turned into vampires by their mother, Esther, a powerful witch, Klaus also activated the curse that made him a werewolf after he drained his first victim. This made it clear that Klaus didn’t share the same father as the rest of the Mikaelson siblings. Instead, Klaus was fathered by one of the werewolves who lived nearby — a fact Esther had kept secret from everyone.
Surprised and horrified by this revelation, Klaus’ father, Mikael, insisted that his wife curse Klaus to suppress his werewolf side. And Mikael enlisted Elijah to make it happen. Elijah helped his father bind Klaus and stood by as he tortured him with the curse. Even one thousand years later, Elijah was still attempting to atone for his actions against his brother.
8 HE’S IN LOVE WITH THE MOTHER OF HIS BROTHER’S CHILD
After an ill-advised dalliance, Klaus discovered that the werewolf Haley was pregnant with his child. While Klaus took some time to warm up to the surprising news, Elijah was thrilled there would be a new generation of Mikaelsons. Not only did he embrace the idea of becoming an uncle, however, he also became completely devoted to Haley.
Yet, his interest went far beyond protecting his niece and becoming friendly with the baby’s mother. He was enamored of Haley, realizing there was much more to her than just being the mother of Klaus’ child. While Klaus and Haley were never in a relationship, this still touched off a confusing dynamic between the brothers as Klaus fretted that his child might see Elijah as her father instead of him.
7 HE PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN DAVINA’S SACRIFICE
After Kol was forced to drain Davina by her angry magical ancestors, he and Marcel took her to Freya hoping she could bring Davina back. Freya knew what to do but she needed to channel power from Elijah to make it happen. After drawing Davina’s spirit into a protective circle, Freya realized that instead of bringing Davina back she could use her spirit to draw power from the Ancestors and turn Lucien, a vengeful Upgraded Original Vampire who was coming after the Mikaelsons, back into a normal vampire.
After initially refusing, Elijah changed his mind after realizing Lucien had taken Klaus and Haley. He restrained Marcel as Freya carried out her plan, dooming Davina in the process.
6 DESPITE BEING KLAUS’ BIGGEST ADVOCATE, HE OFTEN SUSPECTS THE WORST OF HIM
More than any other Mikaelson sibling, Elijah spends a great deal of time trying to help Klaus be a better person and attempting to find the key to his redemption. Despite their codependent relationship and Elijah’s focus on his brother’s improvement by any means necessary, there are times when Elijah has believed the worst about Klaus.
On The Vampire Diaries, he and Klaus are initially estranged because Klaus has told him he has thrown the bodies of their siblings into the ocean, never to be seen again. Klaus was lying, but Elijah believed him despite knowing the way his brother could weaponize his words. Then on The Originals, Elijah is informed that Klaus is only excited about his unborn child because he wants to use her blood to create more vampire/werewolf hybrids. Elijah is appalled and judgmental towards Klaus, who had no intention of doing what his brother accuses him of.
5 HE CLAIMS TO PUT HIS SIBLINGS ABOVE ALL BUT DOESN’T HELP BROTHERS KOL AND FINN
While Elijah claims to value his family more than anything else, it’s a sentiment that often doesn’t extend to his brothers Kol and Finn. The oldest Mikaelson brother, Finn, is the most neglected. Klaus keeps Finn daggered in a coffin for over 900 years and none of his siblings, including Elijah, seem to put up much of a fuss about it.
Youngest Mikaelson brother, Kol fares slightly better than Finn, but not by much. Kol believes himself to be the Black Sheep of his family and acts out because of it, often annoying his siblings in the process. When Kol appears to be a threat to a young Marcel, Klaus puts him down with a dagger through the heart. While Elijah could have helped his brother, he instead supports Klaus over Kol, believing Klaus’ selfless act on behalf of Marcel could be a path to Klaus’ redemption.
4 HE DRAINED HIS FIRST LOVE
Elijah and Klaus met Tatia, a Viking widow and the first Petrova doppelganger, when they were still human. They both loved her, but Tatia only returned Elijah’s affections. Tatia was horrified when she learned that her blood was a key ingredient in the spell to turn the Mikaelson siblings into vampires and believed they’d become monsters after seeing the destruction Klaus caused taking his first victim.
Wanting to reassure her that he was just the same as ever, Elijah chased after Tatia and tried to convince her that he still loved her. Tatia had cut her hand when fleeing, however, and the smell activated Elijah’s bloodlust. Although he tried to fight it, he eventually gave in and drained Tatia, taking her life. Elijah felt so guilty that his mother performed a spell that kept the memory of what happened behind a red door in Elijah’s mind.
3 HE WEARS SUITS TO COVER UP HIS VAMPIRE NATURE
After taking his girlfriend's life, Elijah realized what being a vampire really meant, and was appalled at what his new existence would be. After his memory of draining his first love was safely hidden in his mind, Elijah’s mother instructed her son to clean himself up. And Elijah kept clean for the next thousand years.
He chooses a buttoned-up style that makes him look polished and proper. Showing this image to the world, but especially to himself, helps Elijah cope with his vampirism and even believe there may be hope for redemption from it. Instead of reveling in aggression like many other vampires, Elijah prefers to rely on gentlemanly negotiations and alliances when he can.
2 HE CAN BE EFFICIENTLY BRUTAL
When Elijah resorts to aggressive tactics to get his way, it comes in swift, deadly bursts. Unlike other vampires who relish draining their victims and take their time carrying out their vicious actions, Elijah prefers to quickly and efficiently remove his victims’ hearts from their chests. Although Elijah doesn’t need to employ this tactic frequently, when he does, he can take out a group of vampires and other creatures in no time flat, leaving only destruction in his wake.
It’s those times that Elijah’s trusty pocket handkerchief is made for. Elijah can use it to wipe his hands clean, removing any evidence of his brutality and moving on without dwelling on his actions.
1 HIS USE OF COMPULSION CAN BE ESPECIALLY CRUEL
Elijah can be brutal in a fight, but the depths of cruelty he can reach are best demonstrated by his use of compulsion. Elijah and his siblings have the ability to compel both humans and vampires alike to do their bidding, but Elijah’s use of compulsion has gone above and beyond that of the other Mikaelsons. For example, soon after his introduction on The Vampire Diaries, Elijah compelled another vampire to stake himself instead of bothering to do it himself.
However, Elijah’s most surprising use of compulsion involves the first three people he, Klaus, and Rebekah ever turned: Tristan, Aurora, and Lucien. When the Mikaelson patriarch came after his children, forcing them to flee, Elijah compelled Aurora, who was in love with Klaus, to see him as a monster. Then, he compelled Tristan, Aurora, and Lucien to believe they were Klaus, Rebekah, and him so they could act as decoys and throw Mikael off the trail of Elijah and his siblings. Once the compulsion was lifted the three vampires wanted nothing more than to retaliate against the Mikaelsons for what Elijah did to them.
What do you think of Elijah from The Originals? Let us know in the comments!