The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Death Pool: Who Will Live, Who Will Die?

This week one of America's national treasures returns to the airwaves for another sickeningly entertaining spree of romance-flavored madness. Of course, when it comes to The Vampire Diaries we can expect certain guarantees: Unrequited love, betrayal, angst, transmogrification, bare pectorals, witty repartee, a crumbling educational system, and hilarious, hilarious wigs. But let's not overlook perhaps the most crucial element in the TVD multi-verse: DEATH ITSELF. In no town does the grim reaper work harder and with a more slavish devotion to breaking our hearts than in Mystic Falls. And with a positively swollen cast list this season, it's safe to say that a house clearing just may be in order.

Just to give you a sense of the stakes we're dealing with here: In Season 1 we lost Grams, Vicki, Mayor Lockwood, Pearl, Anna, and Sean Faris's torso. Season 2 ended the lives of Isobel, John, Jenna, Uncle Werewolf, and my beloved Rose. And I probably don't even need to remind you who we lost in Season 3: Dana, Esther, Finn, Mikael, Bill Forbes, and Alaric (multiple times). Anyway, that's at least one "regular" cast member death plus several deaths of characters that had been introduced in previous seasons each season! SO WHO WILL DIE IN SEASON 4?

Actually, let's make a game out of it: You leave your pick(s) for who will die this season in the comments below, and next May after we've shed our final tears over whatever devastation Julie Plec will have dreamt up for the finale, we can look back at this macabre time capsule and see who called it best! (For the purposes of this piece, "death" means "no longer in this realm." Vampirism doesn't count.)

Here are the known possible candidates. Choose wisely!

Joseph Morgan

Current Status: We last saw Klaus's body in flames after Evil Alaric poked it real good with a silvery white oak stake (or whatever the F). Notably, the coffin door was closed before Klaus's body completely burned up (Evil Alaric didn't know much about how fire works), so there's a chance it's still salvageable. Klaus's soul, however, currently inhabits Tyler's body, where he'll now presumably have much easier access to Caroline's heart, head, and ladyparts.

Reasons He Could Die: Now that Klaus's master plan seems to have run its course (he's a hybrid; he knows how to reproduce), the show may look for a way to get him out of everybody's hair for good.

Reasons He's Safe: Theoretically, if Klaus dies so will his entire bloodline, which seems to include the Salvatores, Katherine, Caroline, Abby, and Tyler. So, you know, that would be bad for the show in general. Plus: What kind of monster would want to kill off a character played by Joseph Morgan?

Odds of getting killed off: 100 to 1

: Nina Dobrev

Current Status: Katherine's been M.I.A. ever since Klaus took up permanent residence in Mystic Falls. (Missing in action. She didn't take up rapping. (I THINK.))

Reasons She Could Die: Now that Elena's a vampire (and hopefully on the road toward becoming a badass), Katherine's become slightly superfluous. Add to that the possibility that we'll meet the original doppelganger, and there's a chance Nina Dobrev herself would demand that Katherine be killed just to make things easier on her sleeping schedule.

Reasons She's Safe: Katherine is such a fan-favorite (and from her dialogue at least, a writers' room favorite) that to lose her could affect the overall flavor of the series.

Odds of getting killed off: 4 to 1

Kat Graham

Current Status: Mad at everybody. Hopefully making sure the soul of the original vampire that she helped doesn't try and molest her bestie.

Reasons She Could Die: Season 3 dropped more than a few big hints that Bonnie could be headed into dark magic territory, which means she could become a Big Bad, which means she might be headed for an epic, season-finale-style death. You gotta admit, that would be pretty compelling.

Reasons She's Safe: Demographics. Let's be real, diversity is a bit of an issue for The CW and this show in particular. Also Bonnie is very important to the series in that she's a walking deus ex machina who has gotten almost every character out of a pickle or two. Credit where credit's due!

Odds of getting killed off: 50 to 1

Claire Holt

Current Status: In the doghouse with most of Mystic Falls for kinda-sorta causing Matt to drive off Wickery Bridge.

Reasons She Could Die: Currently Rebekah doesn't have a solid love interest, which can be fatal in a show like this. Plus, just how much story is left to be told with Rebekah?

Reasons She's Safe: Rebekah's slow transformation from a thousand-year-old vampire into a teenage high school girl was one of Season 3's best elements, and I for one would love to see that continue. And who knows, maybe Matt will finally like her back for real? But anyway, come on: Claire Holt is a future superstar. Why on earth would the writers want to stop writing for her?

Odds of getting killed off: 5 to 1

Actor: Zach Roerig

Current Status: Matt was last seen getting rescued by Stefan while Elena drowned TO DEATH.

Reasons He Could Die: It's a miracle that Matt is still alive, to be honest. But in this case Damon won't be too thrilled about Matt's role in the accident, plus Elena may not be able to prevent herself from drinking him like a Capri Sun TO DEATH.

Reasons He's Safe: It's Matt! He will outlive us all. I have a working theory that this whole show is just a fever dream nightmare that an 80-year-old Matt has been recounting to his senile roommate at a rest home.

Odds of getting killed off: 40 to 1

: Torrey DeVitto

Current Status: After a fakeout in which we suspected Meredith was the town serial killer, it turned out she was a clever and trustworthy ally to our heroes.

Reasons She Could Die: Now that Alaric is dead, it may be harder to justify keeping Meredith involved in the characters' lives. Plus her transgressions against the town populace (treating them with vampire blood for seemingly ANY affliction) could get her in trouble with a resurgent anti-vampire council.

Reasons She's Safe: Meredith is a key character from the books who was a long time coming for the TV series. It would be super rude for the writers to give her the boot so soon.

Odds of getting killed off: 8 to 1

Michael Trevino

Current Status: It's not clear where Tyler's SOUL resides, but we know that his body is the current home and/or plaything of Klaus.

Reasons He Could Die: It's automatically a bad sign if your character is so inessential that he disappears for a half-dozen episodes at a time. But also, the werewolves are mostly useless? And a Tyler death could be used for maximum emotional impact in a Caroline arc.

Reasons He's Safe: Tyler does more than his fair share of maintaining TVD's shirtlessness quota, plus if the werewolves are going to continue being an integral part of the series, he's their current best bet for representation.

Odds of getting killed off: 9 to 1

Actor: Marguerite MacIntyre

Current Status: Last we checked, Sheriff Forbes was basically pro-monster, frequently helping her daughter and friends deal with the anti-vampire forces in town. In the season finale she even helped Caroline and Tyler get fake IDs so that they could go on the run and avoid the Council.

Reasons She Could Die: It's been implied that this season will see a big upheaval in Mystic Falls' leadership, and that could include a change of management in the Sheriff's Department. Plus, you know, this show LOVES to make Caroline cry.

Reasons She's Safe: It's apparently Mystic Falls law that a Forbes MUST be the Sheriff, so unless we meet some new cousin of Caroline's, it looks like Liz is here to stay.

Odds of getting killed off: 10 to 1

Actor: Nathaniel Buzolic

Current Status: After spending quality time in Denver with Jeremy and having one last baseball-bat-themed throwdown with Damon at some dead vampire lady's house, Kol headed for the hills and stayed far away from Mystic Falls.

Reasons He Could Die: Personality-wise he is basically the worst. Kol barely did anything in Season 3 except behave like a sneering jerk and inspire dozens of bizarre/scary Tumblrs.

Reasons He's Safe: His character has been pretty unexplored so far. I'm not saying this show always fleshes out its characters before killing them off, but it would seem that Kol's immediate death could be a missed opportunity.

Odds of getting killed off: 3 to 1

Actor: Robert Ri'chard

Current Status: Jamie and Bonnie share a mother, but that didn't stop them from sparking a bit of a romance at the Decade Dance. But just when Bonnie was about to get her swerve on (finally), Esther totally cockblocked them! It's not clear where Jamie went after that. Probably to chop more wood.

Reasons He Could Die: This show loves F-ing with Bonnie so much. Jamie's death could be seen as the final straw in her descent into the dark side.

Reasons He's Safe: Same with Kol, it would seem that Jamie isn't quite fleshed out enough for his death to be meaningful. However, that's also reason enough to kill him off, right? I don't know. He pretty much seems like a goner to me for some reason.

Odds of getting killed off: 2 to 1

Actor: Susan Walters

Current Status: Last we checked, Mayor Lockwood was in hot water with the newly ticked anti-vampire council and was using her power to help Tyler and Caroline run off together.

Reasons She Could Die: Ever since becoming pro-monster, Mayor Lockwood has most likely provoked the wrath of a council that would just as easily recall her as have her murdered.

Reasons She's Safe: It's doubtful this show would want Tyler to become an orphan, let alone eliminate the leader of one of the town's most powerful families in a show ABOUT powerful families. What would TVD be without the Lockwoods?

Odds of getting killed off: 30 to 1

Actor: Persia White

Current Status: After reuniting with her daughter, getting killed, and being converted into a vampire, Abby returned for one last round of witchcraft when she assisted with Bonnie's desiccatio-ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Reasons She Could Die: ZZZZZZZ

Reasons She's Safe: ZZZZZZ

Odds of getting killed off: 3 to 1

Actor: Daniel Gillies

Current Status: Elijah ended the season trying to negotiate for possession of Klaus's body, but became suddenly confused when he learned that Klaus was supposedly perma-dead though his bloodline wasn't. "WTF is going on?" —Elijah (paraphrasing).

Reasons He Could Die: Elijah is beloved enough by the fans that his death would be shocking and meaningful. Also Daniel Gillies appeared in a lead role on the now-canceled Saving Hope, which could mean he's looking to continue working elsewhere.

Reasons He's Safe: Elijah's backstory has yet to be fully mined, particularly the details of his relationship with Katherine (and Katherine's original ancestor). Also if Elijah died his fan base would take to the street, flip over cars, etc.

Odds of getting killed off: 8 to 1

Actor: Steven R. McQueen

Current Status: In the Season 3 finale, Jeremy helped Matt whisk Elena out of town before he was visited by the ghost of a finally-dead Alaric.

Reasons He Could Die: Like Tyler, Jeremy's been known to disappear for stretches of episodes, which could mean there just isn't tons of story potential with this character. Also he's rumored to be getting in deep with a new a vampire hunter, which could have some deadly consequences seeing as he lives in a town full of vampires.

Reasons He's Safe: Jeremy's pretty much Elena's biggest tie to her own humanity now, so it would be particularly brutal of the writers to take that away from her. Plus, come on, look at this kid. Who would want to kill him off?

Odds of getting killed off: 75 to 1

Actor: Phoebe Tonkin

Current Status: We haven't met Hayley yet, but it's rumored that she'll be a werewolf friend of Tyler's who helped him gain control over his pain when he was up morphin' in the mountains.

Reasons She Could Die: The main reason would be that guest-stars just don't last very long on this show, particularly werewolf ones. Plus as Tyler's foxy friend, she might just find herself on the wrong side of one of Caroline's bad days.

Reasons She's Safe: Aside from the fact that this show needs a good old-fashioned werewolf again (Tyler's technically a hybrid), Phoebe Tonkin is the highest-profile actor snapped up by TVD in a while. Assuming the writers figure out how to properly harness her awesomeness, she could very well be sticking around for the foreseeable future (or at least until she scores The CW's new Wonder Woman gig).

Odds of getting killed off: 9 to 1

Actor: Todd Williams

Current Status: Another new character, Connor is rumored to be a vampire hunter of some kind. It's not yet clear if upon arriving in Mystic Falls he will immediately give up vampire hunting and develop a drinking problem instead.

Reasons He Could Die: Honestly, from the sounds of it he seems like a four-episodes-at-best villain. I guess we'll find out!

Reasons He's Safe: This show could really use a fearsome vampire hunter as a long-running adversary. His longevity on the series will probably come down to Williams' charisma, let's be honest. Charisma tends to keep people alive around these parts!

Odds of getting killed off: 3 to 1

Actor: David Alpay

Current Status: This new character is rumored to be someone from whom Bonnie seeks guidance.

Reasons He Could Die: As he's an authority figure working in the field of education, something tells me Professor Shane will always be judged unfavorably against Alaric. Unless there's something else to his backstory, he just reeks of expendability.

Reasons He's Safe: I'm guessing Professor Shane's plotlines will be a way to acclimate us to the reality of college life in Mystic Falls, so he may survive at least until our heroes enroll at the university in Season 5. Assuming that these characters even graduate high school. (WHICH I WON'T.)

Odds of getting killed off: 15 to 1

Actor: Gabby Douglas

Current Status: After revealing that TVD was one of her favorite shows, the cast and crew welcomed America's favorite gold medalist (non-Nathan Adrian edition) with open arms. It's not clear what kind of character her walk-on cameo will be, but I like to think she'll be playing herself and in full leotard.

Reasons She Could Die: If the producers were serious about giving Gabby Douglas the royal treatment, then what experience in Mystic Falls would be complete without getting MURDERED? The only question is, which Salvatore brother did Douglas choose to do the honors?

Reasons She's Safe: Maybe America doesn't want to see Gabby Douglas get murdered? We're not all McKayla Maroney.

Odds of getting killed off: 1 to 1

Actor: Not yet cast

Current Status: We've only ever heard about Bonnie's dad from a smattering of off-hand remarks over the course of three seasons (!). But it's clear he's not a huge fan of her witchcraft or even knowing what she's up to or where she's staying at any given time or her general well-being. He's pretty chill like that.

Reasons He Could Die: His introduction and then sudden murder would be yet another way to drive Bonnie toward the dark side. Remember, this guy is allegedly the parent she's closest to.

Reasons He's Safe: Um. I guess maybe because his daughter knows magic sometimes?

Odds of getting killed off: 2 to 1

Who do YOU predict will get killed off during Season 4?

Comment below and we'll revisit this piece in the spring to see who came the closest!

UPDATE: We've closed the official poll, but here's how you voted:

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