Elena Gilbert’s doppelgänger, Katherine Pierce, is arguably one of the most iconic teen drama characters of all time. So, I ranked her ten most heartless moments on The Vampire Diaries, ranked from least heartbreaking to most heartbreaking. There will be spoilers for all eight seasons of the original series, so read at your own risk.
10. Escaping the Tomb
In season two, Katherine and Stefan got stuck in the tomb that had previously held the vampires from the 1800s. However, Elena made a deal with Elijah to get Stefan out in exchange for her compliance. Once the seal on the tomb was broken, Elijah compelled Katherine to stay in the tomb until he told her she could leave.
A couple of episodes later, though, Elena and Elijah’s deal was broken, with Alaric daggering him in the back. Once he was temporarily put down, she was able to escape. And where was the first place she went? The Salvatore house, specifically Damon’s shower. She moved in with the brothers, annoying all involved, but it backfired since Klaus caught her while she was living there.
9. Waking Up Mikael
This was both heartless and stupid, if we’re being honest. She was willing to trade every vampire’s life just to be free of Klaus. At least, she was until she found out that any Original that dies leads to the death of their entire bloodline. His waking ultimately led to the end of many of Klaus’s hybrids, yet another tragedy caused by her saving her own skin.
The scene leading up to Mikael getting free was also kind of funny, with her frustratingly trying to get him to react to her. She dangles a mouse over him as if he were a cat, and she offers him a random person off the street to no avail since he only feeds on vampires. It was ironic that she would come extremely close to death while trying to save her life.
8. Putting Partygoers in Danger
This entire episode showed how far Katherine was willing to go to save her own skin. To get the moonstone that she assumed would get Klaus off her back, she went as far as threatening all the guests at the masquerade party (and killing one unlucky student).
However, her advantage was short-lived. She had come to the party with Lucy Bennett, a witch who owed Katherine a debt. Lucy met her distant relative Bonnie Bennett and decided to turn against the vampire. Once she repaid her debt, Lucy knocked Katherine out and handed her over to the Salvatores.
7. Stabbing Stefan
When Katherine stabs Stefan just for rejecting her, it shows just how petty she can be. Their discussion about why she came back “just for him” showed that she did have a heart, but she just doesn’t use it much.
We have no idea how she would have reacted if he hadn’t outright said he hated her. But, since he did, we got to see her shove a large candle holder into his stomach. She could have just slapped him or splashed vervain on him, but no, she had to do the second worst thing she could do.
6. Body-Snatching Elena
After Katherine was force-fed the Cure by Elena in the season four finale, Katherine found out she was dying. She was on her deathbed, saying goodbye to her daughter when she hatched the plan. Elena came to visit, and Katherine took the chance and used her family’s magic to put her spirit in Elena. Katherine’s body died and her daughter, Nadia, woke her up in Elena’s body.
The next few episodes followed her compelling Matt to help her convince others she was her doppelgänger. When everyone discovered her lies, she got the last laugh by injecting a Ripper compound with werewolf venom in Elena’s body to deal with after Katherine died. It also wasn’t the last time we’d get to see Katherine doing something to mess with the Mystic Falls residents.
5. Turning Caroline into a Vampire
This might not have been the first time we saw Katherine do something horrible to someone, but it had the longest-lasting results. Caroline, in the first season, had been self-absorbed and one of my least favorite characters.
But, once Katherine made Caroline a message to Elena and the Salvatore brothers, that all changed. Caroline grew up quickly, doing all she could to take down Katherine. And, if Katherine hadn’t turned Caroline, we probably wouldn’t have gotten Klaus and Caroline’s love story or Alaric’s twins.
4. Taking Over Hell
In the television series, Hell is ruled over by Cade. At least, it was until Katherine died in season five and won him over with her “charm.” She convinced him to go after Stefan and Damon just because she wanted them back. This inevitably led to her and Stefan’s final deaths.
However, it was worth all the destruction in season eight just for her iconic monologue. “I hope you enjoyed the little show I put on for you. It’s been a hoot watching you take on the devil. Especially considering I’ve had him wrapped around my finger since the moment I stepped into Hell.”
3. Cutting Off John’s Fingers
The first time we ever see Katherine in present-day Mystic Falls is one of the most iconic. Impersonating Elena perfectly, John, Elena’s uncle-slash-biological-father, let her get too close. She cut off his fingers — on the hand that had the ring that brought the wearer back to life from a supernatural death — before stabbing him. “Hello, John. Goodbye, John,” is the last thing we hear her say in season one.
The whole scene was perfect, from John’s shock to Katherine evading Elena when she comes home to it feeling like a scene from a Scream movie. We even get a callback from the scene in the next season when Jeremy confronts her. “How’s John, by the way? Were they able to sew his fingers back on?” The answer is yes. Yes, they did sew them back on.
2. Linking Her Life to Elena
That masquerade party was just Katherine causing chaos over and over. During a confrontation with Damon and Stefan, she reveals that anything that happens to her would also happen to Elena. And she was proven right when Elena started bleeding from a stake wound on Katherine.
Katherine went ahead and teased the boys by cutting her palm, just to cause them distress. Katherine’s witch, Lucy, broke the link after meeting Bonnie, but it was too late. The damage was done. But, at least Katherine got what she wanted, I guess.
1. Sacrificing Jeremy
This is hands down one of the most heartbreaking moments from all three The Vampire Diaries series. Katherine wasn’t even on the mission with the group, so it came as a shock when who we thought was Elena just shoved her brother’s neck onto the mouth of a starving immortal.
His death caused Elena to turn off her humanity and burn down her house, leading to arguably Elena’s best season of the show. But, we did get Jeremy back — and Katherine’s downfall — later on when Elena force-feeds her the Cure.