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Speculative Meta: Doppelgangers and The Mystery of Mystic Falls

Posted on 2013.11.27 at 17:29
Tags: ,
A meta on doppelganger lines, founding families and their secret societies, and Mystic Falls.

Word Count: 2600

Warning: Wild tangents of speculation are afoot.



Doppelgangers are beings that hold an incredible wealth of power within them but who are also without the ability to access said power on their own. This makes them vulnerable as many other supernatural beings want to use them to suit their own ends.

The sheer magnitude of the spells performed using their blood shows why it would be so coveted; Esther uses Tatia’s blood to bind an entire would be race out of existence and Klaus uses Elena’s blood to bring said race back into existence. These are big spells with big consequences. Esther uses Elena’s blood to bind all of the Originals together and Tessa uses Stefan’s blood to link him to Silas and render the ancient immortal powerless. Esther uses Elena’s blood to make the white oak ash stake last forever. These are also examples of doppelgangers being used against their will to further others ends, while the doppelgangers have no decent means to stop them.

However, in 5x07 comes an instance where the doppelgangers willingly give their blood for something they want, and have the anchor of an ancient spell transferred. This shows that with the right alliance they do have a powerful tool at their disposal. The doppelgangers that have been seen have always shown willingness to fight and not just play the victim role they were given; the issue is finding someone who is able to harness their blood but who can also be trusted to use said blood in the way the doppelgangers want it used. This could be hard because, as has already been demonstrated, there would be many wanting to use the blood for their own cause.

Tessa mentioned that she has seen doppelgangers falling in love ‘century after century’, which tells us that there have been many more doppelgangers than are known of. If there has been a doppelganger in every century this would have a serious impact on family lines, as they would be living with a constant threat over their loved ones (from any supernatural being who wished to garner their power). Even people in the middle of the time gap between doppelgangers would likely have either a grandparent or grandchild as a doppelganger, either way close family relations; and others would have either a doppelganger as a parent, a child, an aunt/uncle, a cousin, or a niece/nephew, etc. Given this ever-present danger, it’s likely they were motivated to find some way to defend themselves; perhaps this was one of the reasons that the Mystic Falls Founders council and Wiltshire Augustine secret society and lab was formed. 

There is an implied connection between the Augustine secret society and the Mystic Falls Founders council in the form of Grayson Gilbert, whose involvement in both has been alluded to (5x06). Grayson also knew of Elena’s doppelganger nature when she was just three years old. There’s also a connection in the idea of trying to ‘fix’ vampires to be harmless to humans. Bill Forbes, who was part of the Mystic Falls council, used a special cell that seemed to have been created for the purpose of trying to torture or fix vampires and he uses the same methodology of starvation and pain that Wes uses on Jesse. Though Wes seems further along in the process and has somehow managed to transfer a vampires craving to be that of other vampires blood. It’s an intriguing idea, the notion of allowing vampires to destroy themselves. 

Though canon suggests that it was the werewolves who informed every-one of vampires and headed the hunt, there’s no confirmation other than the Lockwoods being in charge. It’s possible that this is only half of the story, and the founding families found natural allies in the wolves, given the adage ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. If they were harnessing the power of doppelgangers it would also explain how they managed to take down witches and furthermore why they would be invested in wanting to take down witches (other than the obvious backwards thinking of the times), as witches are probably the greatest threat to doppelgangers. This is entirely speculative, but I just have the mental image of jars of Stefan’s blood hidden somewhere, Stefan being the obedient little boy that he was probably would have just unquestioningly obeyed when they took it from him. And let us not forget that the people of the Salvatore line are witches/warlocks (descended from Silas, a warlock) and would therefore be able to harness the power.

Spoilers have suggested that the audience will be surprised by who started the whole Wiltshire lab rat Augustine vampires thing, I suspect it might be someone from one of the founding families. The mention of the boss being happy that he has Damon back suggests that maybe there’s some history there; maybe Damon killed one of his loved ones, or maybe it’s someone with a closer relationship with Damon. Also Giuseppe’s name coming up in the same episode the lab is first mentioned could just be a coincidence, but it might be something more, especially considering Stefan’s doppelganger status. And if anyone would want to ‘fix’ Damon it would be him and from his reactions to his children being vampires, him doing whatever it takes brutality wise isn’t so unbelievable.

Speaking of brutality, there’s also the consideration, if everyone knew, of how doppelgangers would’ve been perceived/treated by their families/people around them. Two thousand years is a lot of history, and time for many doppelgangers to exist. It’s possible some could have been considered demons or abominations as they had the face of another. There could also have been instances of the family not considering them to be ‘theirs’, rather someone else’s, especially if they had differing features from the parents.

The genetic aspect of doppelgangers is something to be pondered. To look like they do they would need to have received the DNA of the original doppelganger’s (Silas’s or Ammara’s) parents, so are they still related to their biological parents or has the magic changed this completely. Or is their appearance a form of magical glamour masking the effects their genetic make-up would have created in their appearance, changing their appearance without changing their DNA. Or does the magic somehow allow the same combination of genes from the parents to be passed down through a different combination (which would be tricky unless the parents were very similar to the original doppelgangers parents). Also is the magic inherent in their DNA, if a doppelganger was cloned would the clone still hold the magical traits of a doppelganger. There’s a big lab investigating the supernatural, hoping to protect their family/town, maybe they might try to find a way of stopping a baby from becoming a doppelganger.

So what are these secret societies really up to and did they exist before the founding families moved to the Mystic Falls/Wiltshire areas?

There are many instances where there’s suggestion that the historical records of Mystic Falls deviate from the truth due to various secrets and lies the inhabitants were keeping. For example, Elijah talking to Jenna (2x15), Giuseppe talking to Jonathon Gilbert (1x20), the Founder’s archives differing from historical record etc. Let’s start at the beginning of ‘Mystic Falls’ at which point the place already has a rich history but we’ll come back to that later. A simple question, when was Mystic Falls founded and who by? Given how much exposure it’s given on the show it probably should have a simple answer and yet it’s unreasonably complicated. 

Let’s look at the possibilities:

The vampires:

Option one: After the Founding families.

There are implications that they arrived in Mystic Falls at the same time as Katherine in 1864. Katherine talks about knowing what they were getting into before making a place for themselves in the town (referring to the werewolves).

Option two: Before the founding families.

There are references to land having been stolen from the vampires after they were put in the church to burn, suggesting they had the land in the first place. In addition to this the way Pearl speaks of the place suggests a long term connection; she talks of it as home, as a place that’s theirs; this would be a very unusual way for a vampire who is centuries old to think of somewhere they’ve been for a few months. It’s possible that it’s a place they come back to over the centuries. Also Elijah suggests the place was settled before the founding families and I think it’s likely the truth, though whether it was entirely by witches or vampires or werewolves is unsure; but changing the year of founding would account for the attempted cover-up, perhaps bringing the year forward to imply they were there first or pushing it back to hide the skirmish.

The witches: Before the founding families/ after the founding families. It’s mentioned by Sheila that the Bennetts went to Mystic Falls to escape the Salem witch trials and it’s possible they were settled in Mystic Falls and were the ones the Founders took the land from. But Emily Bennett seems to come to Mystic Falls at the same time as Katherine so that’s unclear.

The werewolves/Lockwoods: With the founding families/ before the founding families. It’s unknown whether the Lockwoods are descendants of the werewolves who lived in the place when the originals were there or came with the founding families.


The Founding families:

Option one: 1864. As much as it’s mentioned on the show there’s no actual suggestion that the town was founded in this year. But you never know, given the penchant for lying it could be the year. It might explain a few things such as a war over territory with vampires and werewolves. It’s also the year the town declaration was signed and the first founding ball happened.

Option two: 1859/1860. Let’s lump these two together, there’s not much difference. When the show starts in 2009 there are celebrations taking place for the 150th anniversary of the town. This places its official founding in 1859. There are some places it’s written as 1860, possibly due to celebrations in 2009 indicating the upcoming anniversary.

Option three: Pre-1840. Stefan tells Elena that him and Damon were born in and grew up in Mystic Falls (1x06). If this is a lie it’s an intriguing one, why would he lie about this to Elena? It certainly seems as though it was Stefan’s and Damon’s childhood home. Perhaps even though they lived there, the families only officially founded it years later. Though if they had been there all those years with the vampires, surely they would have noticed them not aging, unless the vampires come and go. 


Why did the founding families choose the place to set up their town, I mean they knew what they were getting into they named it Mystic Falls. Was it entirely random, possibly. Was it some mystical lure, I really hope not; as much as I loved Buffy and Charmed I don’t want this town to be on a Hellmouth, Supernatural Nexus, or any other form of energy, with all the history we’re given I want there to be an actual reason, so actual reasons are what I’m going to base my theories on.

One option is that the Lockwoods, being werewolves, were drawn to the vampires already settled there and decided to settle in for a fight when said vampires got back. Another option is that they were manipulated to be there by some external party. The last option is that the founding families all decided on the place for a particular reason.  

It is the place where vampires were first created. It is the place many probably think the doppelganger curse was created when Tatia died in the sacrifice. It is the place where the white oak ash tree was and where the forest of new ones grew. There’s a place of power where several witches died, this power could be channelled. The new doppelganger is born in the same town as there once stood a forest of white oak ash trees; the only weapon that can kill her would be attackers, let’s not pretend there wasn’t some fore-planning here.

Were the Founding families merely looking for new opportunities or was it something else? If they need to protect their doppelganger children (namely Stefan and his Ammara-doppelganger counterpart), they can run, hide or fight. Possibly this was them picking all three; running from where they were to hide in Mystic Falls, as a powerful base to fight from. This could also be a reason to lie about when they got there as it may be known when the doppelgangers left wherever they were coming from. Also to hide where Ammara’s-doppelganger was born, so no sacrifice ritual can be done. Of course the different times could also be due to territorial disputes/ them trying to steal land/ pretending they’re living side by side and then laying claim in the 1860’s. Either way I don’t think the entirety of the secrecy was due to them keeping secrets of the fight against vampires.

In 2x05 Mason has a noteworthy conversation with Liz, conveying just how secretive the secret council is but also how unaware the council are of the vampires walking in the daylight. The thing is they were walking in the daylight in 1864 as well and no one back then knew, how come? They were told that vampires can’t go out in the day, who by? The werewolf Lockwoods? Why would the Lockwoods say that when they knew many of the vampires were daywalkers (they could smell them so knew they were vampires). And also why is there no note of this for the current day council; after they found out that Pearl etc were vampires they must have realised some vampires were able to walk in daylight, unless someone wiped this from records (possibly Stefan or Damon, or possibly someone else). Perhaps this oversight is because the vampires never were the sole focus of the council.

It’s not just about keeping secrets from outsiders. Many members of the founders council have secrets from the other families: Lockwoods and the werewolf gene, Gilberts and the doppelganger thing (I think it’s the Gilbert family that’s descended from Katherine not the Flemings. It makes sense given the Gilbert’s knowledge. And the only proof otherwise is Katherine saying Isobel was her descendent which she could’ve said for any reason, besides it’s unlikely Katherine could track her descendants as there would be millions by now), Salvatores and the doppelganger thing (assuming Giuseppe knew), Salvatores and the fact that the vampires who seem to be haunting Mystic Falls for decades are actually Stefan and Damon Salvatore. The Salvatore lie is most intriguing, they’re unwilling to tell Stefan and Damon about the secret council but at the same time unwilling to tell the secret council about Stefan and Damon despite all of the ‘animal attacks’ and certain family members living in fear (Zach said it was the reason he didn’t have children, that seems pretty serious, and he said his grandfather felt the same about Damon).

The point is I think that a lot of the secrecy and lies surrounding the founding families had to do with them being doppelganger lines. It explains Jonathon Gilbert and Giuseppe Salvatore being close in their own secret niche and the forest of white oak ash in the Salvatore’s back yard. The Founders made their home in a place where vampires, witches and werewolves probably already resided, maybe because of the doppelgangers, maybe because of something else. Either way, there’s something much bigger to this story.


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