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When the The Vampire Diaries first premiered in 2009 at the height of that other vampire franchise's fame, no one could have predicted what the show would eventually become. It didn't help that the first season felt rather cliched and silly, or that our current Queen, Katherine Pierce, was barely even a character. But once Season 2 premiered, everything changed. The series became synonymous with fast-paced storytelling and took pleasure in killing off characters left and right. 

Now in its fifth season and on the brink of celebrating 100 episodes (no, we can't believe it either), The Vampire Diaries has definitely made a few missteps along the way (the cure, anyone?), but the series still knows how to kill people off in ways that gut you... and then drag you through a field full of scorpions and broken glass, only to set you on fire afterward. Right now, we're waiting on pins and needles to find out whether Katherine will live or die as a result of being 500 years old and a human, so, in honor of this week's big celebration, and Katherine's humanity, let's count down the 10 best deaths of the series so far.

*hands you a tissue* Ready?

10. Elena Gilbert

This is by far the wettest and most beautiful death scene the show has ever done, but I suppose that makes sense given that it was Elena's. It wasn't terribly surprising that she died, but the fact that she drowned in the exact same spot where she'd nearly died with her parents made the moment especially poignant. Of course, it was kind of her fault since she made Stefan save Matt first (just as her father had done for her), but whatever. Let's focus on the fact that when Elena died, Evilaric died too. Because that's what really did me in.

9. Carol Lockwood

Klaus is one hell of jerk. I mean, we all knew this by the time he dunked Mayor Lockwood in the fountain on Christmas as a beautiful rendition of "O, Come, All Ye Faithful" played (and this was after he'd slaughtered a pack of hybrids), but he'd already caused Tyler so much pain that watching the life drain from her eyes really kind of sucked. Sorry, Carol. Sorry, Tyler. Sorry, Christmas.

8. Vicki Donovan

She was the first character to die on The Vampire Diaries, and she was Matt's sister, which means she kind of deserves a place on this list, even if we didn't have much time to spend with her. What her death lacked in sadness, though, it more than made up for in shock value. No one expected a seemingly major character death so early in the series, but there she went, and it was the first warning to fans that death would be a familiar figure in Mystic Falls. However, it wasn't until much later that I realized just how big of a role it would play. Silly me.

7. Caroline Forbes

Becoming a vampire was the best thing to happen to Caroline Forbes, because she was mostly insufferable and horribly self-centered in Season 1. Sometimes I forget that Season 1 Caroline existed, because everything is better that way, but right now I have to face the facts. Caroline was killed by Katherine in the Season 2 premiere, and it was so unexpected that I nearly forgot she had vampire blood in her system at all. Obviously, 77 episodes and a personality transplant later, Caroline is probably one of the best characters on the show, so, um, thank you for being such a horrible bitch, Katherine?

6. Grams

Setting aside the fact that this was the first time we really understood the consequences of magic, who hires Jasmine Guy and then just kills her off? I mean honestly. Sure, Grams has made ghostly several appearances over the years, but killing her off in the middle of the first season was just plain rude and inconsiderate, not to mention unbearably sad.

5. Anna

Anna was probably the best lady friend Jeremy ever had, and it sucked a big one when she died at the hands of Julian Sark John Gilbert, but that isn't the reason her death is ranked so high on this list. It's because despite her shady beginnings, she was one of the first vampires we came across who felt like a real human being. The girl just wanted her mom, okay? She wasn't a dick who murdered people for fun like Season 1 Damon tended to do, and she didn't hate herself for what she was like Stefan. Anna was Anna, and it's a shame she had to die at all.

4. Lexi

By far one of the best characters the show has ever created, especially when you take into consideration that she's one of the only people who can make Stefan happy, it was a terribly cruel move on Damon's part when he killed her. Yes, he had his reasons, but I still haven't forgiven him, and I don't intend on doing so anytime soon. Long live Lexi!

3. Aunt Jenna

Many now-deceased characters have made appearances on The Vampire Diaries after their deaths, but Aunt Jenna—poor, sweet Aunt Jenna—gave her life for Elena and was at peace with everything when Klaus killed her. Which means that, unlike many others, she didn't return when the veil dropped in Season 4. Aunt Jenna was kind of awesome, and she had just begun her relationship with Alaric when she was turned and then subsequently murdered. I'm still not over it.

2. Jeremy Gilbert

Yeah, he's back now, but there was a brief moment during Season 4 in which I kind of lost the will to live. A cave on a remote island in Canada is probably one of the last places I'd want to kick the bucket, but if it was as beautifully lit as the one where Jeremy perished after Silas broke his neck (and drank a lot of his blood), well, then maybe I'd think about it. But even though I had an inkling that the littlest Gilbert (and his magical biceps) would be back, it was still really hard to watch. And as a result, Elena switched off her emotions and then burnt down their house. I mean, all of Jeremy's video games were in there. All those moments Damon and Elena shared on that porch—boom, gone in an instant. Let's hope Jeremy doesn't die "for good" again, because I really like the Salvatore mansion and would hate to see Stefan's diaries go up in flames (oops, too late).

1. Alaric Saltzman

Look, there's no beating around the bush with this one. Alaric's death was by far the hardest thing I've ever lived through, and I'm fairly certain many of you feel the same way. Alaric was one of the best cast additions The Vampire Diaries ever made, and his transition from vampire-hunting history teacher to Elena's guardian and Damon's BFF was what made his demise so hard to handle. And the worst part about it wasn't even that it happened (though that final scene between Damon and Alaric and the bourbon and the jokes about rainbows was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever seen), it was that we had to relive those feelings over and over again every time he appeared after the fact, like when he returned as Evilaric and then died for good a few episodes later. Or when he popped up in Season 4 to tell Damon, who couldn't see him or hear him, that he missed him too. Or when his ghost returned after Bonnie had dropped the veil, only to have him disappear again once it went back up. Stop toying with our hearts this way, Julie Plec. Just bring him back for good already, because otherwise I think I have a pretty good case to sue for emotional trauma.

Which TVD deaths have hit you the hardest? And do you think Katherine will be earning a spot on the next iteration of this list in the show's 100th episode?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 2/12/2016

Season 7 : Episode 12

Next Episode

AIRS ON 2/19/2016

Season 7 : Episode 13

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