In The Vampire Diaries, many of the original villains change into heroes through the duration of the show or its first spin-off, The Originals. Damon Salvatore, presented as the big bad in the first season, becomes one of the main characters with the biggest heart – doing anything to protect Elena, developing a strong friendship with Bonnie, and even trying to sacrifice himself for his brother, Stefan.
Then we have Klaus, presented as the biggest bad in The Vampire Diaries. He kills several people and some important characters like Aunt Jenna. Those he doesn't kill, he threatens and terrorizes. However, he also is humanized. After all, he fell for our favorite character, Caroline, and well, he is dealing with daddy issues. If we can cut Klaus some slack, shouldn't we be able to cut Katherine some as well? Read on to see the reasons why we should, and the reasons why we shouldn't.
10 Should: Helped Stefan When No One Could
In Season 5, Stefan tries to deal with his anxiety of being locked in a trunk by Silas and drowning repeatedly over a period of months. During the time he was gone, Elena and Damon were developing their romantic relationship and had a wonderful time. They didn't know he was locked away.
Caroline thinks that the best way to get Stefan to deal with his anxiety is to lock him in a tight space. However, Katherine astutely realizes that his feelings are more about Elena and Damon than the tight space. She puts herself in harm's way (since she is now human), locks herself in there with him to force him to deal with his feelings. For someone bent solely on survival for years, this is an unusual risk for Katherine, but she helps him deal with his pain and move on.
9 Shouldn't: Abandoned Her Friends
Katherine has abandoned those who befriended her several times, and we could write a list solely on that. However, the one that stands out the most is when she abandoned the tomb vampires. Her deeds (and obsession with the Salvatore brothers) were part of the reason why they were captured and left to desiccate for over a hundred years.
Meanwhile, Katherine escaped from that same fate. Katherine could have found a way to get them out; she's very resourceful. But they aren't very important to her, so she doesn't try to free them. Very few people or vampires matter to Katherine, especially when her own survival is on the line.
8 Should: Never Turned Off Her Humanity
Katherine may be many things, but weak isn't one of them. While she may try to escape in other ways, she does keep her humanity live and active.
Katherine likes control, and as monstrous as she is, she still thrills in emotion. Katherine likes passion and flirts with love. She won't excuse her actions by not claiming authorship of them due to having her emotions/humanity turned off. However, bad as her actions may be, she takes responsibility for them, and we can respect that.
7 Shouldn't: Killed Both Caroline and Jeremy
Katherine killed Caroline in order to get a message to the Salvatore brothers. Luckily, Caroline had vampire blood in her system and returned as a vampire. Once Caroline became a vampire, she actually developed as a more interesting and charismatic character but still, Katherine did kill her.
Less forgivable is what Katherine did to Jeremy. She fed him to Silas initially with only a small wound (which he could have recovered from), but impatient as always, Katherine bit his neck, creating a large wound that would kill him. Eventually, Bonnie did figure out a way to bring him back. But for a while, his death seemed permanent.
6 Should: Forced to Give Away Her Daughter
A young human Katherine had a daughter. Since her father believed that she had disgraced the family, having a child out of wedlock, he wouldn't let her even see or hold her baby. In a memory, we see an anguished Katherine begging her father to let her hold her daughter just one time.
When she escaped Klaus, she searched for her daughter to no avail. Hundreds of years later, her daughter, Nadia, now a vampire, found her. Katherine wished that she could have given Nadia a better life, and she also wished that she had it in her to be a better mother. By the time Nadia found her, Katherine was jaded and not able to be the mother she would have been when she was human.
5 Shouldn't: Manipulates Mason and Tyler
Katherine manipulates everyone around her; it is her master skill. However, what she does to Mason and Tyler is especially brutal, because she makes them trigger their werewolf curse. Knowing that Klaus needs to sacrifice a werewolf for part of his ritual and wanting to get in good with Klaus, she seeks to help him. Mason, as a werewolf, would be part of that help. Worse yet, Katherine plays with Mason's emotions because he loves her.
When Mason dies, she turns to Tyler. She compels two of his friends to make him angry, so that he accidentally kills them. The first one doesn't work, so the second friend is ordered to hurt him. He killed the friend in defense.
4 Should: Klaus Killed All of Her Family
Katherine becomes a vampire in order to escape Klaus. She runs back home and finds a horrible scene. Her whole family (sans Nadia, who had been given away) has been slaughtered. Katherine sobs and holds her mom's bloody body.
When Katherine is made human again in Season 5 (after Elena shoves the cure into her) and is dying, she keeps reliving this moment. She blames herself for their deaths, and as bitter as she has become, it's clear that she loved her family. Their deaths haunt her.
3 Shouldn't: Jumped into Elena's Body
Before Katherine can die, a spell is done that gives her the ability to live on in Elena's body. Little by little, she works to erase Elena. On top of this, rather than running off with her daughter, Nadia, she wants to stay and live Elena's life.
Elena has what Katherine has always wanted: a stable home, friends who love her, and a chance to get back with Stefan.
2 Should: Klaus Hunted Her for 500 years
As a son, Klaus was hunted by his own father and lived in constant fear. He does the same to Katherine. Her life is about surviving to the next day by whatever means possible. The reason that she is like this is because of Klaus. He even returns to watch her die a human death, wanting to torture her until the very end; luckily, Caroline convinces him to drop that.
Being hunted changed Katherine. Her survival instinct makes sense considering who she was running from, an unforgiving original vampire (before he became a kinder Klaus).
1 Shouldn't: Becomes the Queen of Hell and Seeks to Destroy All
When Cade is no longer there to govern hell, who should step up but the resourceful Katherine.
She does know how to make the best of a bad situation. With this power and in this role, she seeks to destroy all of Mystic Falls. Katherine knows how to hold a grudge. Luckily, she doesn't succeed, but it was pretty close.