'The Vampire Diaries' 12 Worst Villains of All Time, Ranked

Season eight is set to introduce "evil herself," but how will she measure up to these 12 formidable villains from seasons past?
Courtesy of The CW

It's good to be bad on The Vampire Diaries.

While The CW's long-running supernatural drama became an instant hit initially due to the onscreen chemistry in the main love triangle between Elena (Nina Dobrev), Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder), it has thrived because of the juicy, nasty, complicated and compelling villains that terrorize the town of Mystic Falls and all its inhabitants. Over the past seven years, villains have come in all shapes and sizes on the series, from vampires to witches to werewolves to hybrids to even regular humans, but 12 have stood out from the rest.

In advance of season eight introducing "evil herself" as the big bad, The Hollywood Reporter rounded up the 12 worst (and best) TVD villains, ranked from least memorable to fan-favorite. 

12. Markos (Raffi Barsoumian)

It's honestly hard to even remember this season five villain. He was a Traveler, who wanted … something? Only two years later and we can't recall his purpose. Officially the worst TVD villain of all time.

11. Atticus Shane (David Alpay)

"Professor Creepypants," as Damon so aptly nicknamed him, was obsessed with raising immortal witch Silas (also Wesley) to bring his dead wife back to life. He also had a very strange, controlling relationship with Bonnie (Kat Graham). Shane died before he could see the fruits of his labor though, which was definitely what he deserved. It's his fault Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) was killed, after all.

10. Isobel (Mia Kirshner)

Elena's biological mother and Alaric's (Matt Davis) wife literally sold her soul to become a vampire. Once she transitioned, she left behind her old life and became best friends with Katherine (also Dobrev), but her most evil action was of course dumping Alaric. This was only the first in a long line of failed relationships and heartbreak for poor Alaric, and Isobel is to blame for it all.

9. Elijah (Daniel Gillies)  

In the early seasons of TVD, Elijah was truly a force to be reckoned with. The first Original vampire introduced struck fear in the hearts of everyone, human and vampire alike, but once his brother Klaus (Joseph Morgan) was introduced, we realized that Elijah was actually the noble one. Sure, he can still massacre with the best of them, but he can also be trusted to do the right thing. 

8. Silas (Paul Wesley)

Stefan's immortal doppelganger started off pretty evil when he killed Jeremy by draining his blood to wake up. And he killed Bonnie's father in front of the whole town just to test his own psychic powers while Bonnie could only watch in horror. But as the season went on and we learned he was only trying to reunite with his true love Amara (also Dobrev), Silas lost his bite and became a weak villain. And don't even get us started on Qetsiyah (Janina Gavankar), his scorned ex.

7. Mikael (Sebastian Roche)

Even before he became a vampire, this guy did not have one compassionate bone in his body. He was a terrible father to Klaus and harsh to his other children. When he found out his wife Esther (Alice Evans) cheated on him and Klaus was not his son, he spent the next century hunting down Klaus to kill him and his other children who sided with Klaus. To be fair, Klaus did murder his mother, so it was also out of revenge, but still. What kind of father dedicates his life to killing his children?

6. Rebecca (Claire Holt)

Above all else, the Original sister just wanted to be loved. But in her quest for love, she killed Elena, causing her to turn into a vampire. That's pretty unforgivable. But we couldn't help but love her sassy, take-no-prisoners attitude.

5. Dr. Wes Maxfield (Rick Cosnett)

Although the arrogant Whitmore professor didn't really leave his mark on TVD long term, Wes was evil in the truest sense. He sadistically tortured vampires in the name of studying them and creating the ultimate "Augustine" vampire, one who would only feed on other vampires and not humans. He turned Damon into this new Ripper vampire and tortured him and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) and other vampires for years, so Damon torturing him to death was totally warranted.

4. Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic)

He tried to kill Matt (Zach Roerig) and did everything in his power to kill Jeremy to prevent Silas from waking. He felt no guilt over his many kills. He did learn remorse later on The Originals, but as far as any TVD fan is concerned, Kol was pure evil.

3. Katherine  

You just couldn't help but love this villain. Sassy Katherine may have committed a lot of crimes, but it was all in the name of self-preservation. If there was one thing Katherine excelled at, it was surviving despite having the most formiddable Original on her tail for over 500 years as the Petrova doppelganger who outsmarted him. Still, that doesn't excuse her for all the people she killed, manipulated and betrayed along the way, like Jeremy. 

2. Klaus

The Original hybrid did many inexcusable things like transforming Tyler (Michael Trevino) into his Hybrid slave, killing Tyler's mom, killing Jenna (Sara Canning) and attempting to kill every single character more than once. But when TVD needed to make him less of a villain and more of an antihero capable of carrying his own show with The Originals spinoff, he became less terrifying and actually weirdly likeable. He even became a love interest for one of the best characters on the series, Caroline (Candice King), causing a passionate group of "Klaroline" fans to even root for him to find a happy ending with her. Talk about character evolution. But still, killing Jenna? Seriously not cool.

1. Kai (Chris Wood)

The most formidable-yet-likeable TVD villain of all time was none other than Gemini siphon witch Kai. He was so psychotic, so sadistic and so cruel that his entire family banded together to lock him away in a prison world, keeping him stuck in 1994 for decades. But when he got out, his reign of terror was unstoppable. He killed Alaric's pregnant wife on their wedding night, tortured Bonnie, and cursed Elena with a Sleeping Beauty spell, tying her life to Bonnie's and ensuring the two best friends would never see each other again. But not only was he a competent villain, he had such joy carrying out all his evil actions. There's a reason why all TVD fans loved to hate and hated that they loved Kai – he was so much fun to watch onscreen, even when he was ruining the lives of our favorite characters.

Check out the retrospective video on past villains and teaser trailer for the new season eight villain below: 

The Vampire Diaries' final season premieres Friday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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