Before fans saw Klaus Mikaelson in the flesh on The Vampire Diaries, his reputation preceded him. He was the Original vampire all other vampires feared. While he was just one of the Original siblings, his rage, his ruthlessness, and his complete and utter lack of mercy had turned him into the stuff of legends. Then he finally revealed himself and The Vampire Diaries universe was never the same again. In Klaus, viewers got a villain so complex and unpredictable that he quickly became a fan favorite, along with his older brother Elijah and his younger sister Rebekah. In The Vampire Diaries spinoff, The Originals, fans had the chance to spend even more time with this powerful but damaged character.
Even after a thousand years, Klaus was still tormented by his psychological scars. Although he could be a genius tactician whose ability to think through a problem and get the results he wanted was impressive, more often Klaus acted on instinct — a reality that often proved deadly. As the world’s only Original vampire/werewolf hybrid, Klaus both celebrated and abhorred his singular status, using it to his advantage one minute and lamenting his lonely predicament the next.
Klaus was often a contradiction in terms, and a mystery even to himself. This made for a fascinating character and compelling television, but it also meant that there were things about Klaus that didn’t always add up. Despite all that, fans often found themselves rooting for Klaus, even when their better instincts told them they shouldn’t be.
Here are 20 Things Wrong With Klaus We All Choose To Ignore.
20 HE’S 1000 YEARS OLD BUT STILL CAN’T CONTROL HIS IMPULSES
If, as this quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein claims, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” then Klaus has been in pain from mental health issues for the better part of a millennium. When Klaus’ feelings are hurt, he has a tendency to lash out at anyone and often everyone around him.
This often has dire consequences and even some he may want to take back. Over time, instead of learning to control his impulses, though, he seems to have mostly learned how to justify his awful behavior. Perhaps being the most powerful creature around has made him believe he should never have to say he’s sorry.
19 HE HAS A HISTORY OF TAKING OVER OTHER PEOPLE’S BODIES
When Klaus first arrives in Mystic Falls on The Vampire Diaries, he’s not even occupying his own body. A witch transfers his spirit into the body of Alaric Saltzman. While he eventually has the witches bring his original body to town so he can assume his most familiar form, it’s implied that he has a history of taking over others' bodies so he can stay hidden.
Yet, while audiences are told Klaus is reclusive and has been infrequently seen for centuries, he becomes far less interested in using others’ bodies to keep himself disguised in The Originals. In fact, when his mother proposes a new body as an option for keeping her children alive while getting rid of their vampire bodies, Klaus seems incensed at the suggestion. Never mind, it sounds exactly like a plan he might think of himself if the need arose.
18 HE WANTS TO BE SEEN AS THE BAD GUY
Klaus’ worst behavior is born out of a deep hurt that started with his father’s poor treatment of his as a child. His turn towards power and self-preservation blossomed fully when he and his siblings became vampires and his father learned quickly afterward that Klaus was not his biological son. Incensed at the revelation and the idea that Klaus was a vampire and werewolf hybrid, his parents magically suppressed his werewolf side. Their torment and rejection of him because of what they perceived as the evil of his true nature became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When people see him as evil, as his parents did, Klaus simply fulfills that role — often in the most brutal way possible. While he’s desperate for companionship, loyalty, and love, Klaus has come to believe that the only way to stay physically and emotionally safe is to play up his dark side — something he learned from his parents long ago.
17 HE’S A SENSITIVE PAINTER
Despite his desire to be seen as merciless and unyielding, Klaus is actually the one member of the Original family who has a regular hobby: painting. His painting is the one constant in his life. No matter where he moves or what dastardly plans he’s working on, he uses his downtime to paint. He even claims one of his landscapes is hanging in the Hermitage museum.
Klaus' paintings serve as a window into his soul. When his creations are shown on both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals they often have a haunting, lonely quality to them that speaks to the way Klaus really feels. It seems Klaus pours all the sensitivity and delicate emotions he suppresses in other parts of his life into his art.
16 HE GAINED A REPUTATION DESPITE BEING ON THE RUN
Since Klaus was turned into a vampire, he has been on the run from his adoptive father, Mikael. Mikael became a hunter of vampires in general when he saw what his children had become. However, he was particularly adamant about taking down Klaus due to both his hybrid nature and the fact that he took out his mother and framed Mikael for the crime. Mikael’s desire to end Klaus is so singular that Mikael’s been known to destroy whole cities to find his son.
While Mikael’s persecution has made Klaus paranoid and distrustful of everyone he meets, it’s also had an unintended consequence — Klaus takes out his resentment and frustration at his situation on anyone he perceives as even slightly disloyal. As a result, despite constantly running from his father — often at a moment’s notice — Klaus has developed a scary reputation of his own.
15 HE SAVES THE LIVES OF THE FOLKS IN MYSTIC FALLS DESPITE NOT LIKING THEM
Klaus never seemed to much care for a majority of the characters on The Vampire Diaries. He’s threatened all their lives at one point or another and done unspeakable things to the people they love (RIP Aunt Jenna and Mayor Lockwood). Yet, he’s also saved or protected many of their lives. Sometimes this was for selfish reasons, as it was with Elena whose blood helped him make hybrids, or because he genuinely cared, as it was with Caroline. However, he also saved Damon’s life multiple times while never really seeming to like him.
Before officially moving to New Orleans, Klaus raced back to Mystic Falls to heal Damon. In the process, he saved the whole gang from a band of angry resurrected ghosts. While Klaus can be cruel and indifferent towards life, he does have some sense of morality.
14 HE WAS DESPERATE TO BE A WEREWOLF BUT NEVER TURNS
When he drained his first victim as a vampire, Klaus triggered his werewolf curse, becoming a hybrid. This was an abomination in the eyes of his parents and they quickly suppressed his werewolf side. As a result, Klaus never got to experience all of who he was and what he was capable of. So, he spent most of his immortal life attempting to reverse the curse his parents’ placed on him and become a true hybrid.
Despite successfully breaking the curse, Klaus never seems to embrace his werewolf side. The only thing from his werewolf heritage he uses to his advantage is the werewolf venom in his bite, which is lethal to non-Original vampires. While this makes him scarier than even the other Original vampires, he continues to lead with his vampire side in every other aspect of his existence.
13 HE TAKES OUT HIS BIOLOGICAL FATHER
Klaus never really knew his biological father, Ansel. Ansel was the Alpha of his werewolf pack and although he lived near the Mikaelson family, Klaus’ mother, Esther, wouldn’t let Ansel meet Klaus because she wanted to hide her affair and Klaus' true parentage from her husband, Mikael. When the truth came out, Mikael dispatched the nearby werewolf pack, including Klaus’ biological father, preventing Klaus from even meeting him.
When Esther came back into her children’s lives during The Originals, she revealed she’d also resurrected Ansel in order to give Klaus the father he’d always wanted. Klaus barely believes it and wants nothing to do with Ansel at first. Soon, Ansel’s supportive and accepting ways wear Klaus down and he starts enjoying his encounter with his real father. When Ansel admits he knows Klaus’ daughter is still alive, though, Klaus quickly takes him out in order to maintain the secret of his daughter’s continued existence to protect her against anyone who wants to harm her
12 HE WAS HAPPY UNTIL HE BECAME A VAMPIRE
Klaus and his family lived in Mystic Falls as humans centuries ago. When Elijah tells the story of their origins, he claims the family was happy. Klaus always had the most difficult time even then because their father always disliked him. While Mikael wasn’t aware that Klaus wasn’t biologically related to him at the time, he instinctively seemed to have it out for him, hurting Klaus for even the slightest sin.
Klaus and his siblings were close, though, and Klaus was a devoted brother. Although his relationship with his father was challenging, Klaus had not yet developed the anger and loneliness that caused him to become suspicious of his siblings after they became vampires. Instead, the camaraderie of his brothers and sister gave him strength and happiness to persevere in the face of their father’s torment.
11 HE COMPELS HIMSELF A THERAPIST
Klaus’ relationship with the bartender and psychology master’s student, Cami, has its ups and downs over the years. However, when it starts, Klaus uses Cami for his own ends. At first, his goal is to manipulate his former friend Marcel. Later, he compels Cami to record his memoirs and then forgot about all things supernatural as soon as she leaves his presence. During one of these sessions, however, Cami figures out what he truly wants: a therapist.
The knowledge Cami’s gained from her studies enables her to understand Klaus in a way few others can. While he won’t admit it to just anyone, Klaus knows how damaged he is and that he requires help in ridding himself of his demons. For Klaus, his encounters with Cami offer him a chance to examine his vulnerabilities while his compulsion of her prevents his secrets from ever being exposed.
10 HE CAN BE COMPASSIONATE BUT THEN CHANGES HIS TUNE
Klaus has been known to show flashes of compassion. The most prominent example of this is his adoption of Marcel. Fans were first introduced to Marcel as the vampire ruler of New Orleans, but his beginnings were quite humble. He was born the son of a slave in the early 1800s. He came to Klaus’ attention when he stood defiant as a child against his master. Klaus admired the young boy’s strength of character, so he invited him to live in the Mikaelson’s home and raised him like a son.
Nonetheless, Klaus could be hard on Marcel. This was especially true when Marcel reached maturity and started a relationship with Rebekah. Klaus was unwilling to let the relationship progress and took out his ire on both Marcel and Rebekah, despite his claim that he loved them both.
9 HE’S AN ABSENTEE FATHER
On The Originals, Klaus’ daughter, Hope, is the key to his redemption. Regardless of how much he cares about her and the sacrifices he makes to keep her safe, Klaus has a habit of disappointing Hope as a father. The first time this happens it’s not his fault. He ends up being held prisoner by Marcel for an extended period of time early in Hope’s life. His imprisonment is the key to keeping the rest of his family safe.
However, when the Mikaelsons finally find a way out of their predicament, a new problem raises its head. The Hollow, the spirit of a powerful witch, takes over Hope’s body. To help her, Klaus and three of his vampire siblings divide The Hollow’s spirit between them. It's a move that makes it necessary for Klaus to stay away from Hope. However, in the years that follow, Klaus barely stays in contact with his daughter, never calling or writing to her. Hope misses and resents her father, but he was unwilling to be there for her until it became absolutely necessary for him to return to New Orleans.
8 HE HAS A CODEPENDENT RELATIONSHIP WITH ELIJAH
When fans first meet Elijah and then Klaus on The Vampire Diaries, their relationship seems antagonistic. Elijah even claims he wants to eliminate his brother — until he changes his mind at the last minute. Yet, on The Originals it became clear that Elijah has spent a majority of his life hoping Klaus would become a better person. While they intermittently fall out and stop speaking, as many siblings do (especially if they’d been around for 1000 years), Elijah is almost obsessive in his devotion to saving Klaus from his worst instincts.
While the dependency between the brothers often seems to primarily come from Elijah, it becomes clear that Klaus needs his older brother too. Elijah serves as a sort of moral compass for Klaus and is often the only one who can control him. When the siblings are prevented from seeing one another after dividing the spirit of the Hollow between them, Klaus constantly goes to visit Elijah, clearly feeling lost without him.
7 HE HURTS THE PEOPLE HIS SIBLINGS LOVE
Klaus has a history of hurting the people he loves the most — and he often does so by hurting the people his siblings love. Ever insecure, Klaus often felt threatened when one of his siblings started a relationship, particularly when they were especially taken by their new significant other. To ensure they wouldn’t choose their romances over him, he often attacked the people his siblings cared for.
When Rebekah asked him for permission to turn her lover, the Governor’s son, into a vampire so they could be together forever, Klaus threw him off a balcony. Klaus was also responsible for the demise of Elijah’s girlfriends Celeste and Gia. By the time Rebekah returns to New Orleans in The Originals she had become so paranoid about how Klaus might treat her significant others that she either refuses to get into a relationship or tries to keep her romances a secret.
6 HE’S JUST LIKE HIS ADOPTIVE FATHER
The person Klaus resents and fears most in the world is his adoptive father, Mikael. Mikael and Klaus never got along when they were human, but once Klaus became a vampire and Mikael learned of his werewolf parentage, things got even worse. Mikael's actions in response to the revelation scarred Klaus deeply.
Yet, the irony is that in many ways Klaus is just like Mikael. Mikael ruled over his family with an iron fist and controlled his children as he saw fit, an attitude Klaus also shows towards his siblings. Mikael, a Viking warrior, also admired power above all else, a trait Klaus shares. In addition, Mikael verbally abused Klaus to keep him down, even when he was human. Having learned from the best, Klaus shares this flare for using his words to hit people where it hurts.
5 HE FALLS FOR A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT
Klaus is one of the oldest creatures on Earth, and yet during his time in Mystic Falls, he falls for Caroline. While Caroline was a vampire and didn’t suffer fools, she was also still a high school student. As a result, when she wasn’t attempting to save her life or the lives of her many supernatural friends, she was worried about studying for tests and stressing about what to wear to school dances. While none of those things was an issue when Klaus was a child in the tenth century, given the centuries of life experience he has under his belt, it's likely they would still strike him as trivial.
Yet, Klaus is completely smitten with Caroline, and the pair definitely has chemistry. Also, he seems to like the fact that she’s willing to stand up to him and that she calls him on it when he does something awful.
4 HE CRAVES LOVE BUT RUNS FROM IT
Klaus desires love but also fears that those who claim to love him are actually lying. So, instead of letting them leave him, as he suspects they will, he alienates them first. It’s a pattern he repeats again and again with his siblings. Whenever Klaus senses they might reject him in some way, he accuses them of believing he doesn’t belong because he's only their half-brother.
This also may be why he has such a hard time embarking on a romantic relationship. Since fans met him, Klaus develops feelings for Caroline, who was unavailable, and Cami, who he used as a pawn in his power games instead of developing a real relationship with her. Even when Cami was no longer a pawn and seemed to reciprocate his feelings, Klaus walked away repeatedly before letting himself be happy with her.
3 HE HURTS AND CONTROLS HIS SIBLINGS
Klaus has a history of placing daggers in the hearts of his immortal siblings, rendering them unconscious. He then totes them around in coffins for decades and sometimes centuries in order to keep them under his thumb.
His eldest brother Finn got the worst of this behavior — Klaus left him unconscious for 900 years. However, Elijah, Rebekah, and Kol were also daggered numerous times. As the lone half-sibling, Klaus feels like he doesn’t belong yet is desperate to keep his siblings with him. His use of daggers is one of the ways he makes sure that happens. Klaus claims he’s punishing his siblings for their transgressions against him. However, his actions towards his siblings are actually evidence of his deep insecurity.
2 HE ALMOST TAKES OUT THE WOMAN HE LOVES
All the characters on The Vampire Diaries know that Klaus is in love with Caroline, including Caroline herself. That doesn’t stop Klaus from biting Caroline in a moment of agitation, infecting her with werewolf venom.
Caroline had been taunting Klaus who was magically imprisoned in Elena’s living room. Eventually, Klaus cracked, condemning Caroline to a slow, agonizing demise. Klaus’ blood is also the cure for werewolf venom, so he could have easily saved Caroline immediately after biting her. Instead, he refuses to help until she's almost at her end. Had she not said something nice and hopeful about him at the last second, he may not have saved her at all.
1 HE TREATS HIS HYBRIDS badly
After Klaus broke the curse his parents placed on him and became a true hybrid, his next course of action was to make more of his kind. His goal was to create a new family for himself full of creatures that were just like him. While it took a great deal of trial and error, Klaus eventually successfully created a small army of vampire and werewolf hybrids.
However, he didn’t treat these newly created hybrids like family, he treated them like slaves. Klaus didn’t spend time with them and get to know them. He commanded them as if he owned them. The hybrids were all sired to him and, as a result, did his bidding without hesitation. Yet, they weren’t all happy to carry out his orders — something Klaus never took into consideration as he lorded over them.
Is there anything else wrong with Klaus from The Vampire Diaries? Let us know in the comments!