The universe of The Vampire Diaries is teeming with vampires, witches, and werewolves. Almost every character on the original show, as well as its two spin-offs, The Originals, and Legacies, are powerful in super-human ways. In fact, there’s so much power brimming among the various creatures that each new character seems to be more formidable than the last. With so many different skills — from super-strength for vampires to a venomous bite for werewolves to magical manipulation for witches — each being can more than hold their own. Add original vampires, vampire/werewolf hybrids, and even a combination of all three in the form of Hope Mikaelson to the mix, and the amount of power the different characters can wield becomes endless.
Of all the TVD characters, which are the most powerful? Who can most successfully outfight and outlast the others? Some of these characters shown here were never defeated, some met their demise and came back swinging, and some used their determination to level up and become more potent than their enemies.
Yet, while it would be difficult to run out of powerful characters in the world of TVD, there are also those who manage to be useless in a fight. In some cases, they gave it their all and just couldn’t get the job done, in others they simply didn’t have the will to fight back effectively. Regardless of their many other good qualities, these characters simply weren’t able to make it in a world overrun with so many supernaturally-charged creatures. Below, we explore the most powerful characters to emerge from the TVD universe and those who don’t make the cut.
Here are 20 Vampire Diaries Characters That Are Powerful (and 10 That Are Useless).
30 USELESS: TYLER LOCKWOOD
When Tyler was initially introduced on The Vampire Diaries, he was an obnoxious high school jock, but over multiple seasons and a couple guest stints on The Originals, he became much more. After triggering his werewolf curse, he became one of Klaus’ hybrids, and even managed to break their sire bond after realizing what Klaus could make him do. Then he passed away, was resurrected as a human, and triggered his werewolf curse again.
While his various supernatural incarnations gave him power, that didn’t save him from a lot of misery. Not only did he lose his whole family, but he was also possessed multiple times, and he was on the run for extended periods, causing him to come and go from the series at random. In the end, he was unceremoniously dispatched by Damon — an outcome he didn’t even fight very hard to avoid.
29 POWERFUL: STEFAN SALVATORE
Stefan’s longing for Elena was what starts The Vampire Diaries. Having lived a century and a half as a vampire, Stefan returns to Mystic Falls, the town where he was born, after setting his sights on Elena. While Elena may have been his true love, he was with several other women throughout the show and ultimately marries Caroline.
In the process, fans witnessed Stefan’s various strengths and weaknesses. Although he was certainly more powerful than any human — with superior reflexes, strength, and speed — Stefan was often weaker than many of the other supernatural creatures that populate the TVD universe because for a time, at least, he refused to drink human blood. This left him lacking the fortification it could give him. However, his refusal to indulge may have been for the best because when he got a taste, he became a notorious ripper and lost all control — a situation that gave him power over others, but limited power over himself.
28 POWERFUL: CAROLINE FORBES
Of all the characters in the TVD universe, Caroline had perhaps the most dramatic arc. She started The Vampire Diaries as a flighty teenager obsessed with finding a boyfriend. However, by her final appearance on The Originals, she was a stable adult, comfortable in her own skin and happy in her roles as a mother and educator.
The incident that started her on that trajectory was becoming a vampire. For most people becoming a vampire makes them more exaggerated versions of themselves, but it caused Caroline to mature. She learned she could be strong and stand up for herself. In the process, she also showed herself to be an impressive fighter and a loyal ally who was able to take on vampires multiple times her age.
27 USELESS: FINN MIKAELSON
When we first meet Finn, he’s an original vampire — and the ultimate mama’s boy. In The Vampire Diaries, he allied with his mother, Esther, doing anything she asked to help her with her plans to destroy his siblings. For all the power he supposedly wielded as an Original, however, he ultimately failed and was staked at the hands of the character with the least connection to the supernatural, Matt Donovan.
On The Originals, he was resurrected as a witch and once again was hopelessly devoted to Esther and her plans for his siblings. While he stirred up some trouble, he also spent a great deal of time as a spirit in Freya’s locket. He was then resurrected once more, this time as an Original Vampire, but quickly met his final demise after being bitten by super-charged Original Vamp, Lucien.
26 POWERFUL: DAMON SALVATORE
More than once on The Vampire Diaries, Damon demonstrated just how awful he could be. When he’s initially introduced on the show, he drinks both Caroline and Vicki’s blood and manipulates the two of them for his own ends. At that point, all the other characters despised him, including his own brother, Stefan.
Yet as the series went on, Damon gradually became a better person as he fell in love and started a relationship with Elena. That didn’t make him any less powerful, though. In fact, on more than one occasion he is shown to be able to best vampires who are older and more experienced. Through the course of the show, he also learns what really matters to him. When Cade tries to make him choose between saving the soul of Elena or Stefan, he sacrifices himself in an effort to save them both.
25 POWERFUL: FREYA MIKAELSON
Freya is the Mikaelson siblings’ long-lost older sister. Unlike them, however, she isn’t an Original Vampire, but a centuries-old witch. Freya was a bargaining chip in a deal her mother made with her aunt, Dahlia, to use dark magic to fix her infertility. Dahlia did what her sister asked of her but only after her sister agreed that her first child and every subsequent first child in the Mikaelson bloodline would be given to Dahlia. As a result, Freya was handed over to her aunt when she was five and trained as a witch.
In her quest for power, Dahlia put a sleeping curse on Freya — she slept for 100 years and woke up for one. By the time Freya finally meets her siblings, she wants nothing more than to get away from Dahlia. Freya proved to be a remarkably powerful witch and even without the sleeping curse to shore up her power, she still was able to perform amazing magical feats that helped her siblings in the direst circumstances.
24 USELESS: JACKSON
Poor Jackson didn’t have an easy life. For most of his life, he was condemned, along with the rest of his werewolf pack, to stay in his wolf form except on the night of the full moon. Once that curse was lifted, he resumed his role as the alpha of the Crescent Wolf Pack. At the same time, he fell hard for Hayley whose entanglement with the Mikaelsons was a burden on both of them, but especially Jackson.
While Hayley had feelings for Jackson she was still in love with Elijah. This made her marriage to Jackson more an arrangement of convenience because it enabled her to grant her powers as a vampire/werewolf hybrid to the rest of their pack. Jackson had a great deal of strength because of the arrangement, but ultimately his downfall was his undying devotion to Hayley. When they were abducted by an enemy of the Mikaelsons, Hayley was made to watch as his life was taken right in front of her.
23 POWERFUL: KATHERINE PIERCE
Over multiple seasons on The Vampire Diaries, Katherine proved what a conniving, devious vampire she could be. As Damon and Stefan’s sire and Elena’s doppelganger, her existence was inextricably linked to theirs. While Katherine at times appeared to have real feelings for Damon and especially Stefan, her instinct for self-preservation was what drove her more than anything else.
Ultimately, Katherine ascends to become the queen of the Underworld. An appropriate designation for a character who had created so much hardship and chaos throughout her centuries of existence. While her power ebbed and flowed throughout the series, no matter her circumstances, she always used everything she had to make sure she got hers.
22 POWERFUL: RAYNA CRUZ
By the time Rayna Cruz showed up on The Vampire Diaries as one of the most fearsome vampire hunters in the world, her relentless pursuit had gone on since the 19th century. After a vampire forced her to end her father's life, Cruz vowed vengeance and was given enhanced abilities by a tribe of Native American shaman.
One of her new powers was multiple lives. Cruz was resurrected multiple times to continue pursuing her vendetta against the vampires. In fact, it was a vendetta she couldn’t give up because she had also been imbued with the unflagging need to slay all vampires. After so many years though, Rayna was exhausted, so she granted her final life to Bonnie. However, Bonnie inherited the hunter's blind devotion to the eradication of vampires, as Cruz knew she would. It was a final vengeful blow and a continuation of Cruz’s (multi-)life’s work.
21 USELESS: LEXI
Lexi didn’t make many appearances on The Vampire Diaries but despite her limited screen time, she made a big impression. Lexi was a 350-year-old vampire and Stefan’s best friend, but unlike Stefan and many other vampires, she wasn’t burdened by her immortality. She also never switched off her humanity and became completely immoral. Instead, she wore her vampirism lightly, enjoying the perks while still retaining her sympathy for people. It’s the reason she’s so likable.
Unfortunately, during her first appearance on the show, she met her demise at the hands of Damon, who uses her as a scapegoat to prevent the Mystic Falls’ Town Council from suspecting him or Stefan of being vampires. While Lexi possessed the basic powers of any vampire, her trusting nature prevented her from using them when she needed them most.
20 POWERFUL: BONNIE BENNETT
When Bonnie was initially introduced on The Vampire Diaries, she was just beginning to realize she was a witch. Her learning curve from no magic to powerful witch was swift, to say the least. Bonnie uses her impressive magical abilities to help her friends any way she can. In fact, Bonnie becomes the most self-sacrificing character on the show.
She loses her life and is resurrected, loses her magic and gets it back, loses friends and family and keeps on going, seemingly through sheer force of will. Bonnie seemed to amass her magical ability in such a short time out of necessity — the people she loved needed her, and she wasn’t going to disappoint them no matter what she had to do.
19 POWERFUL: HOPE MIKAELSON
As the daughter of Klaus and Hayley, Hope is brimming with power. In fact, she’s the world’s only combination of a witch, a vampire, and a werewolf. Given that supernatural trifecta, Hope has the potential to be one of the most powerful beings on the planet — but she’s not there quite yet.
First in The Originals and then on the second Vampire Diaries spin-off, Legacies, Hope has demonstrated a range of impressive magical and physical abilities. She’s even taken on a dragon and won. However, she’s still very young and hasn’t explored the full scope of what she can accomplish. While she may be extremely powerful for someone her age, she most likely has a way to go before she reaches her full potential. Once she gets there, though, she’ll be formidable.
18 USELESS: ENZO
Enzo managed to meet up with the Salvatores multiple times during his 100-plus years of existence. He was turned into a vampire by Lily, Damon and Stefan’s mother, was held captive with Damon in the 1950s, and then rekindled his friendship with Damon in The Vampire Diaries’ fifth season. While he had a love/hate relationship with both Damon and his brother, Enzo ultimately showed himself to be a good guy with some pretty bad luck.
Enzo was imprisoned and experimented on for 70 years. While he has various vampiric powers and uses them at a different time to help or hinder the main characters of The Vampire Diaries, he hasn’t had the opportunity to exercise much free will during his life. When Stefan finally rips his heart from his chest, all the promise of a better life with Bonnie ends with him.
17 POWERFUL: HAYLEY MARSHALL
Hayley was adopted when she was a baby, so she was never aware of her werewolf heritage. Once she triggered her werewolf curse, however, her adoptive parents kicked her out, leaving her to fend for herself at the age of 13. In order to survive, Hayley grew up fast, becoming savvy and street smart.
By the time she had a fling with Klaus, leading to her pregnancy, she was tough and independent. Her pregnancy led to her becoming a vampire/werewolf hybrid, making her even more powerful. She also became the alpha of her newly-discovered wolf pack. Despite her upbringing, she was a compassionate leader and caring mother — and she was fiercely loyal to the people she cared about, including the Mikaelsons, and especially Elijah.
16 POWERFUL: REBEKAH MIKAELSON
Rebekah, along with her siblings, was one of the first vampires. As an Original, she’s one of the most powerful supernatural beings around. After a thousand years, there’s pretty much no one Rebekah can’t best in a fight. She’s even taken on many lesser vampires at the same time.
She’s extremely dedicated to her brothers Elijah and Klaus and has spent centuries with them, even though Klaus’ controlling ways have sometimes made her turn against him. What Rebekah’s always wanted most, however, is a normal life and a family of her own. At times, this has created problems for her, like when Klaus locks her in a coffin for half a century to keep her away from Marcel. Ultimately though her persistence wins and in the finale of The Originals she shares her plans to take the cure for vampirism and become human again.
15 USELESS: JOSH
Through The Originals, Josh proved himself to be more of a lover than a fighter. Josh had the powers common to vampires, but he was young and therefore easily outmatched. He was a faithful friend, though, and became Marcel’s right-hand man after the demise of most of Marcel’s vampires.
Josh wasn’t a pushover but his ability to keep the peace in New Orleans when Marcel left the city seemed to be based more on the relationships he built with the supernatural creatures there than his use of force. In fact, Josh’s most noteworthy demonstration of his vampire strengths was perhaps his last. He went to rescue Marcel and fought against his captors successfully, until he’s injected with venom during the fight, leading to his sad end.
14 POWERFUL: KAI PARKER
Kai is a charismatic but homicidal witch. While he believed his destiny was to lead his coven, when he was a child, he learned he wasn’t a normal witch but a siphoner who could only get magic by draining it from someone who naturally possessed it. When he was denied what he believed was his birthright, he went after his siblings, dispatching many of them until his coven trapped him in a purgatory-like prison world, an alternate dimension where he could no longer hurt anyone.
After Kai escaped his prison, he found and drained the magic from two of his remaining siblings, leaving him super-powered. Still angry, he showed up at his twin sister’s wedding, took her out, and then magically dispatched the wedding guests. He eventually met his demise but managed to bring himself back from the Underworld to wreak more havoc. His power and lack of remorse make him a frightening villain.
13 POWERFUL: ELIJAH MIKAELSON
Elijah is a force to be reckoned with but he’s also the most reasonable of the Original Vampires. Always buttoned up in a suit, Elijah is considered the fair and moral Mikaelson who doesn’t let emotion overwhelm him.
This is one of the reasons his shows of strength can be so scary. Elijah is extremely powerful and can easily best multiple opponents at once, but because of his outwardly calm and collected demeanor, his ability to be so aggressive is often disconcerting. Yet, Elijah is capable of being the most brutal member of the Mikaelson clan, strategically deploying his powers when needed in the deadliest ways. This is especially true when it comes to his brother Klaus, who he’s endlessly loyal to, despite Klaus’ frequently questionable actions and Elijah’s disapproval.
12 USELESS: CAMI
Cami deserved much more than she got on The Originals. She was smart, compassionate, and strong-willed. A student studying to be a psychologist, Cami came to New Orleans to investigate the mysterious death of her twin brother, which led her to the supernatural residents of the city. She soon became involved with the Mikaelsons, and especially Klaus. While she was willing to stand up to Klaus for his treatment of her and he respected her for it, Cami’s position as the only human involved with the Original Vampires made her vulnerable.
She was taken hostage more than once to draw Klaus out. And despite her boldness and attempts to take on beings far stronger than her, she ultimately succumbed to compulsion and became a vampire. While that made Cami more powerful, she never had much of a chance to show her enhanced capabilities. Instead, she met her demise shortly after turning. A sad end for a character who got wrapped up in forces beyond her control.
11 POWERFUL: MIKAEL
Mikael was one of the only beings that could scare the Original Vampire siblings. He is their father and was made a vampire at the same time they were. However, when Mikael saw the evil he and his wife created, he vowed to wipe his children from the face of the Earth. As a result, he became a vampire who hunts other vampires and subsisted off vampire blood instead of human blood.
A Viking warrior in life, his skills in battle were only enhanced with his immortality, leading to his ability to outmatch and overpower his children. Knowing he was stronger than them, the siblings often fled from him instead of facing him. Mikael was especially determined to do away with Klaus who he pursued relentlessly. Ultimately, Klaus overcame him multiple times, but given Mikael’s powers and their familial attachment, their fights were especially difficult battles.
10 POWERFUL: DAHLIA
Dahlia is the Mikaelson siblings’ aunt, although most of them didn't meet her until she learned about the birth of Klaus’ daughter, Hope, in the present day. Unbeknownst to the siblings, Dahlia made a deal with their mother that granted the first-born child of each member of the Mikaelson clan to her. In exchange, she cured their mother’s infertility, so in Dahlia’s mind it was a fair trade — after all, none of them would exist if it wasn’t for her.
Dahlia’s desire for the first-born children wasn’t out of familial affection, though. The first-born of the family was supposed to be super-charged with magic and Dahlia wanted to take advantage of that, as she had done for a thousand years with her sister’s first-born daughter, Freya. Dahlia was incredibly powerful, and her magic knew almost no bounds. She was ruthless in her pursuit of Hope, until finally, the entire Mikaelson clan took her down together.
9 USELESS: MATT DONOVAN
Matt is the perpetual odd man out in the world of The Vampire Diaries. Well-meaning and kind-hearted, Matt is the only one of his friends to never develop any lasting supernatural powers or abilities. Yet, he suffers terrible losses, including his sister Vicki, because of his association with supernatural beings. While he’s loyal to his friends, he eventually reaches his limit and tries to wall off Mystic Falls from anything and everything supernatural.
As the only human in the group, Matt lacks any of the others’ physical or magical powers, so they tend to limit his involvement in their adventures for his own protection. That hasn’t prevented him from becoming entangled in events more than once, but he’s never in the middle of the action. If anything, the biggest mystery surrounding Matt is how he managed to become Mystic Falls’ sheriff so quickly.
8 POWERFUL: QETSIYAH
Qetsiyah is an object lesson on what a powerful woman scorned can do. More than one Vampire Diaries character indicates that Qetsiyah is one of the single most powerful witches to ever live. So, when her fiancée, Silas, asked her to make an immortality elixir, she did so, believing they’d take the potion together on their wedding night. Instead, Silas drank the elixir with his secret lover, Amara.
In her rage and hurt, Qetsiyah sealed Silas in a tomb with the cure to immortality. She also created The Other Side, a sort of purgatory for supernatural creatures, where she expected him to go once he took the immortality cure. When Silas was released from the tomb thousands of years later, Qetsiyah brought herself back from The Other Side to take him on once again, her magical powers as potent as ever.
7 POWERFUL: SILAS
Silas started out life as one of the world’s most powerful witches. After taking the immortality elixir with his true love Amara, however, he’s entombed with the immortality cure by his enraged fiancée, Qetsiyah.
Even though he becomes a desiccated corpse, he never takes the immortality cure. He keeps his eye on his goal of reuniting with Amara and maintains his immortality, no matter the cost. Over the next two millennia he sharpens his skills in mind control and illusions, so when he’s finally unearthed, he’s able to control just about anyone. This enables him to successfully go against the supernatural characters in the TVD universe. While he eventually meets his demise at the hands of his doppelganger, Stefan, he causes all kinds of mayhem before his end finally comes.
6 USELESS: JOHN GILBERT
When John Gilbert initially blows into Mystic Falls on The Vampire Diaries, Elena only knows him as her uncle, a distant figure who doesn’t play a big role in her life. She later learns that he’s actually her biological father, but that doesn’t stop John’s relationship with her from being strained.
John was brought up to hate all vampires, but he ends up working with Katherine and Elena’s biological mother, Isobel, who are both vampires. Although he comes across as cold and secretive, many of the actions he took were to protect Elena, even though she didn’t always know it at the time. Despite being trained to take out vampires, John wasn’t a powerful character. In fact, his biggest strength rested in the ring he wore that protected him from death at the hand of supernatural creatures.
5 POWERFUL: KLAUS MIKAELSON
Klaus is a fascinating study in contradiction. Imbued with an incredible power as an Original Vampire/werewolf hybrid, he still longs for the affection and love he was denied by his father — even after 1000 years on earth. This often leads to him being a selfish, impulsive nightmare who lashes out, indiscriminately takes out those he perceives as enemies, and uses whatever means necessary to intimidate and control.
On the other hand, Klaus can be an intelligent strategist and skilled tactician. Through his actions, he also shows how much he cares for a small circle of individuals, especially his daughter, Hope. Ultimately, he sacrifices his life to save hers — a redemptive end for a character that often seemed irredeemable.
4 POWERFUL: CADE
Arcadius, better known as Cade, was literally the Devil. Of course, he didn’t start out that way. In ancient times, he was a man who just happened to have psychic powers, which he used to help others in his village. When he tried to help the wrong person, however, the man turned the rest of the town against him and he was burned at the stake. In his anguish, Cade let out a psychic blast so powerful that he created another dimension.
From then on, Cade resided in the Underworld he created collecting the souls of the wicked. In order to continue to operate on Earth, he created the Sirens, who were granted immortality in exchange for collecting the souls of evil-doers. In his realm, Cade was all-powerful. When he crossed over into Mystic Falls, he remained very dangerous — as a Devil who walks the Earth would be.
3 USELESS: JENNA
Jenna was Elena and Jeremy's aunt and legal guardian. She was so young when she took responsibility for them, though, that her relationship with them was less like that of a parent and more like that of a friend. Despite all the supernatural activity swirling around her, and the fact that she was compelled by Katherine repeatedly, Jenna remained oblivious.
That is until Elena’s birth mother, a vampire, showed up at her door and she quickly learned she’d been kept in the dark. Soon afterward, Jenna is turned into a vampire by Klaus. Unfortunately, she’s nothing more than a sacrificial lamb for a ritual he plans to perform, so she never gets to experience any of the powers she might have acquired as a vampire. In a supernatural world, Jenna was too naïve to stand a chance.
2 POWERFUL: MARCEL GERARD
Marcel was turned into a vampire by Klaus. When Klaus and his siblings fled New Orleans, he spent the next century ruling the city, arranging a tenuous peace by controlling the witches and werewolves, leading the vampires, and working with the humans. When Klaus came back to town, Marcel was unwilling to give up his power so easily even though Klaus and the other Originals could easily best him at that point.
Marcel’s vampire powers became turbo-charged, however, when he took a serum that gave him powers beyond that of even an Original Vampire. With his new power, he not only uses his now-venomous bite to almost end Elijah and Kol, he also bests Klaus, and runs the rest of the Mikaelson clan out of New Orleans.
1 POWERFUL: THE HOLLOW
In a universe of powerful beings, The Hollow may be the most impressive example due to her single-minded pursuit of more and more magical power. Born thousands of years ago, and imbued with impressive magic, The Hollow was willing to do whatever she needed, including ending the lives of members of her own tribe, to get more. Realizing she was evil, she met her end at the hands of her own mother. In her final moments, she cursed her people to be werewolves.
While The Hollow was no longer alive, her spirit — and her desire for more power — didn’t go far. She uses her influence to corrupt anyone she can, amassing more and more power by convincing them to make sacrifices to her. When she resurrects herself in the present, her power is extraordinary, even enabling her to beat Marcel. In the end, The Hollow is responsible for dividing the Mikaelsons, almost taking out Hope, and leading to Klaus’ end — quite a track record, even in The Vampire Diaries universe.
Can you think of any other characters in The Vampire Diaries that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!