The Vampire Diaries: 10 Differences Between Damon In The Books & amp; The Show
Many fans of The Vampire Diaries believe that the show wouldn’t be such a hit if Damon Salvatore wasn’t in it. And they’re probably right. Ian Somerhalder’s charismatic portrayal of the older Salvatore brother immediately won him the love of the audience. Damon was the bad guy turned good guy the fans loved to hate… and then simply loved. His transformation on the show was one of the most detailed ones. When Damon first showed up, he was there to make his brother miserable but that changed over time – and in the end, Damon was willing to die for Stefan.
With that said, Damon’s story is much different in the books. Even though he still became a more agreeable person over time, there was darkness to this version of Damon that the show didn’t portray. As a result, it’s interesting to see all the differences and imagine what could have been had the show chosen a different approach.
Different Set Of Powers
Vampires can do a lot of things on the show that humans aren’t capable of. They’re stronger, faster, and can compel humans to do what they want. However, vampires, Damon included, are even more powerful in the books. For example, Damon can fly, communicate via telepathy, and control the weather.
The show hinted at some of these powers when Damon had Elena surrounded by fog in the cemetery but that happened in the first episode and the show didn’t return to it later on.
Much Older Damon
In the books, both Damon and Stefan are much older than in the show. The show states that Damon was born in June 1839 and changed into a vampire in 1864.
That means that by the time the main story starts, Damon is already over 150 years old. However, that’s nothing in comparison to the age of his book counterpart. The Damon from the books was born during the Renaissance period and is, therefore, over 500 years old.
The fact that Damon was born during the Renaissance times isn’t the only important detail about his origin that the show changed. In the books, Damon and Stefan not only have Italian ancestors, but they’re Italian themselves. They were born in Italy and lived there.
However, in the show, Damon and Stefan were born in the United States, in Mystic Falls, more specifically. That makes them Americans, not Italians, despite their surname Salvatore.
He Stays In The Shadows
Damon is the main antagonist on the show in the first season. With that being said, he quickly reveals he’s in the city to make Stefan’s life miserable and also get Elena for himself.
However, in the books, Damon is much more cunning and keeps his cards closer to his chest. For example, Elena meets him multiple times before she even realizes he’s Stefan’s brother. And Damon also hides from Stefan and manipulates him into believing he’s responsible for murdering people while Damon’s the one doing it.
Damon & Elena Have A Bond Much Sooner
Even though Elena and Damon end up together on the show, it takes Elena a long time to admit she’s attracted to Damon. This is different in the books. Damon is interested in Elena from the start and even though she likes Stefan, Elena feels inexplicably drawn to Damon.
Even before she knows who Damon is, she still feels attracted to him and whenever she meets the handsome stranger, she feels a mysterious connection to him. All of this brings Elena and Damon closer together in the books.
Damon’s Death Is Different
The way Damon transforms on the show also differs from the books. All fans will remember that Damon becomes a vampire when Stefan tricks him into drinking blood after they’ve been injured and Katherine dragged away. Damon believes that Katherine had died and wants to die too.
In the books, though, it all goes down differently. Katherine shared her blood with the Salvatore brothers and then fakes her own death. Driven by grief, Damon and Stefan attack each other and end up killing one another. Except instead of dying, they turn into vampires.
Not So Many Girlfriends
Damon has lived for quite a long time on the show – but nowhere as long as in the books. Despite that, he’s dated many more women on the show. Besides Katherine and Elena, Damon had a fling with multiple other characters. To name just a few, the list includes Caroline, Elena’s mother Isobel, Klaus’s sister Rebekah, Rose, Lexi,… and the list goes on.
In the books, though, Damon is mostly connected to two major love interests, Elena and Bonnie, and he doesn’t spend that much time focused on short-term romances.
He’s Much More Merciless
Damon might have become an instant fan-favorite on the show despite the many bad things he’s doing – but even at his worst, the Damon of the show isn’t as bad as Damon in the books. Damon is even more set on tormenting Stefan in the books and he stops at very little to achieve his goals.
For example, when Elena tricks him and he’s incapable to enter her room, Damon is furious and he threatens to attack Elena’s little sister Margaret. To threaten a 4-year-old kid is something that wouldn’t most likely win the show’s Damon any popularity points with the audience.
Damon’s Relationship With Stefan Remains Complicated Longer
Both in the books and on the show, Damon and Stefan are eventually forced to work side by side and forget their differences. By the first season’s finale, Damon mostly seems to be a good guy and he helps Elena and Stefan.
It takes him a long time to mend his relationship with Stefan in the books, though. And Damon also goes to greater lengths to make Stefan’s life a living hell in the source material. For example, when Stefan disappears, Damon is quick to tell Elena that Stefan had died because with Stefan out of the picture, Damon has a greater chance to get Elena all for himself.
He Looks Different
Just like a majority of The Vampire Diaries characters, Damon also looks different on the show. Most notably, his eyes are much darker.
Ian Somerhalder has piercing blue eyes but Damon has dark brown eyes, almost black. What both of them share, though, is that they have very dark hair.