While I am a huge fan of The Vampire Diaries TV show, I have a confession to make. Despite being an avid reader, I haven't managed to conquer the novels by L. J. Smith just yet.
I prefer to read things that are totally unrelated to the TV shows and movies because I watch to avoid the storylines becoming repetitive, but after chatting to my friends and doing some research online I've decided that I should take the plunge into the L. J. Smith books, and you should too.
But why, you ask? For the simple reason that there are a wealth of differences between the novels and the TV shows that will make the reading experience new and enriching.
For the uninitiated readers among us, here are some of the key differences between the books and the TV shows.
What's in a Name?
This might not affect the plot a huge amount but the name of the fabled supernatural town in the novels is actually Fells Church.
The name was changed to Mystic Falls in the hit CW show for undisclosed legal reasons. The show does feature a Fell’s Church, but it’s just a structure in the cemetery.
A Change of Identity
It's not just the town that has had a change of identity. A lot of the characters have been renamed too.
Just a few examples are Matt Donovan being known as Matt Honeycutt in the book, Tyler Lockwood being named Tyler Smallwood and Elena's Aunt Jenna being called Judith.
Are You There, Jer?
Brace yourself Jeremy fans. Your favorite character doesn't even exist in the books.
In L. J. Smith's novels Elena has a four-year-old sister named Margaret which is obviously a huge difference.
I personally am interested in how this would change Elena's character. Surely being in charge of such a young and vulnerable person would help to make her less self-centred? Apparently not...
According to my good friend who has read all of the books, Elena in the book series has a personality that might seem awfully familiar to us.
That's right, she is way more like her doppelgänger Katherine. People who think the Elena in the show is self-centred and prissy at times should count their blessings because the alternative is apparently a whole lot less likeable!
In fact, Elena and Katherine have a bit of a personality transplant all round. In the book Katherine is described as a kitten while Elena is a tiger, but in the show, the opposite clearly applies.
Elena's Showbiz Makeover
In the Vampire Diaries novels, there is also something very different about Elena's appearance.
In the books, Elena is a blond haired and blue eyed beauty, but when Nina Dobrev auditioned for the part she wowed producers so much that they were willing to change the main character's look.
Obviously, this change had hardcore book fans enraged before the show had even began although most of them were converted by Dobrev's grade A acting ability.
While this change of appearance might seem drastic, it definitely isn't the most extreme makeover we've seen so far.
A More Bloodthirsty Stefan?
One of the first things we learn about Stefan in the TV show is that he is existing from a diet of animals and refusing to drink human blood out of principle (except for those pesky ripper phases...).
In the books however, Stefan does feast one one particular human's blood: Elenas. This blood letting takes place in an intimate loving sort of way, but it still paints a different picture of Stefan and his morals and ethics.
In the Vampire Diaries book series, Elena's best friend Meredith Sulez plays a big role in the epic story, but she obviously doesn't exist in the show.
The Bonnie Bennett who we know and love is created from a blend of Sulez and a girl with magical powers named Bonnie McCullough from the novels.
Bonnie McCullough is described as a petit redhead who received her powers from her druid ancestry, whereas in the show she is obviously a dark haired African American girl who is descended from Salem witches.
Have you read the Vampire Diaries novels?