Publication Details

McMahon-Coleman, K. (2013). Myriad mirrors: Doppelgangers and doubling in The Vampire Diaries. In S. George & B. Hughes (Eds.), Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day (pp. 210-224). Manchester: Manchester University Press.


As Samantha George notes in Chapter 4 above, mirroring is of fundamental importance in Gothic literature and film. It is also a prevalent trope in the CW network teen drama, The Vampire Diaries. The television series is itself a ‘doubling’ in that it is an adaptation of a series of novels by L. J. Smith, creating a situation wherein the same central characters inhabit the parallel townships of the novels’ Fells Church and television’s Mystic Falls, and consequently have histories which are, at times, contradictory.2 The television version also explicitly explores the concept of the doppelgänger, and thus the idea of reflection, even as it manipulates the historical and cultural contexts of the characters. Nuclear families are noticeably absent in the television series, yet significant emphasis is placed on the twin themes of brothers as foils to each other, and an ongoing focus on matrilineal power. The series focuses on the new, humanised vampire (as examined elsewhere in this book), but also explicitly attempts to reflect ‘real’ contemporary teenage society and adolescent relationships, albeit it through the lens of the supernatural.