|“||Expression is the manifestation of your will. You could do anything.||”|
Expression is a form of extremely dark and powerful sorcery that supposedly draws on energy that is so malicious it would demolish the world if it were ever called into existence. Unbiased details and history of Expression remain unknown; however, according to a witch named Nandi, the forces of Expression are considered so powerful that many witches discredit it as magic, for it expands beyond the limitations of both ancient and modern witchcraft.
Throughout the Vampire Diaries Series
Damon and Stefan Salvatore traveled to New Orleans, where they encountered a witch named Nandi, who explained to the brothers the dangers and darkness of Expression. Nandi informs Damon that her mother, Valerie LaMarche, tricked Damon into killing twelve innocent human beings in exchange for her supposedly breaking his sire bond to Charlotte. However, it was revealed that such a spell does not exist and that she only had Damon kill those humans so that she could have more access to the power of Expression.
Meanwhile, Atticus Shane began teaching Bonnie Bennett how to properly use Expression, claiming that the magic was neither benevolent nor malevolent, but instead a neutral source of power that is not monitored by Nature, and thus can be used however a witch sees fit, unlike something like Spirit Magic, which can only be used if the Spirits will it. Whether or not Shane's description of Expression stands true or not remains unknown.
Unbeknownst to Bonnie, she was drawing on the power of two separate sacrifices of twelve that were orchestrated by Shane behind the scenes in her practice of Expression; the first was a sacrifice of the twelve humans who were blown up in the explosion at Pastor Young's ranch, and the other was a sacrifice of twelve unsired hybrids who were slaughtered by their former Alpha, Niklaus Mikaelson for their betrayal. After the completion of the second sacrifice was completed, Bonnie's access to Expression continued to grow, as did the strength of her dark power. The first time she began to believe she was using Dark Magic was when she cast a protection spell on Shane to protect him drowning at the hands of Rebekah and Kol Mikaelson. In casting the spell, Bonnie accidentally used the talisman of her powerful ancestor Qetsiyah to link Shane to April Young, causing April to experience the effects of drowning in his stead. Bonnie later admitted to Shane that instead of feeling weaker while using magic like she used to feel while using Traditional and Spirit Magic, she instead just felt her power growing stronger while April was drowning, which led her to believe that the power she was using was evil. However, Shane continued to insist that Expression was a neutral power and that whether it was good or bad was determined by how it was used.
The first time Bonnie experienced the true strength of Expression was when she caused a pain infliction spell on Kol to protect herself from his attack while causing every bone in his body to snap and incapacitate him. This was the first evidence of just how powerful Bonnie had become, as that kind of a spell could not be cast on an Original vampire to such a strong degree by an average witch. At the end of that same day, Bonnie managed to incapacitate Niklaus Mikaelson without any struggle long enough to easily trap him in the Gilbert House's living room for four days by binding the spell to the new moon.
During the gang's trip to the Island, Bonnie became furious at Shane when he revealed to her that his wife had died from overuse of Expression after she tried to resurrect their son six months after he died. She worried that she would lose control of her magic and die in the same way, but Shane promised that he would help her stay in control. When they made it to Silas' tomb, Shane instructed her to use the spell that was magically sealed into Jeremy Gilbert's Hunter's Mark, but when Bonnie claimed she couldn't find it, Shane explained that Expression didn't require written spells. Bonnie was then able to use her Expression magic to draw the spell in the Hunter's Mark into her to open the tomb.
After Jeremy's death and the release of Silas from his tomb, Bonnie's magic slowly began growing uncontrollable, causing Bonnie to have accidents such as setting her couch on fire, blowing up light bulbs, and causing pain infliction spells on anyone who angered her. Silas, who sought to merge the Other Side with the living world by permanently taking down the Veil that separated the two dimensions, managed to manipulate Bonnie to help him complete the Expression Triangle by killing twelve witches, even despite her friends insisting that it was wrong, as doing so would essentially resurrect everyone on the Other Side, including their deceased enemies.
During the events of Because the Night, it was revealed that Silas finally confessed to Bonnie that he had been pretending to be Shane with his powers of illusion since they had returned from the island, along with the fact that they needed to kill twelve witches to complete the Expression Triangle. Bonnie, whose mind had been manipulated by Silas' psychic abilities, immediately agreed to do so and tricked her mother into enlisting the help of a former friend, Aja, and her coven into believing that she wanted them to cleanse her of her Expression magic. Aja and her fellow witches linked themselves to Aja to lend her their power as they began the cleansing spell, and though Bonnie was powerful enough to keep them from stripping her Expression, she was unable to fight the spell that pinned her to the ground. When Aja realized Bonnie was being controlled by Silas, she determined that Bonnie was beyond saving and was about to kill her when Caroline Forbes, unable to watch her best friend be killed, intervened and killed Aja to protect her. Unfortunately, this also killed the eleven other witches, as they were linked to her, and the Expression Triangle was inadvertently completed as a result.
In Pictures of You, it was revealed by Silas that Expression can take a life of its own if it isn't properly controlled, as the grief from Jeremy's death and the guilt from completing the Expression Triangle and being under Silas' control caused her magic to become wild and unpredictable. The peak of her Expression powers was demonstrated at the Mystic Falls High School Prom, when Elena Gilbert, who had turned off her humanity switch following her brother's death, attacked and fed on Bonnie to keep her from permanently bringing down the Veil to the Other Side. Not only did Bonnie cast a spell on her blood that caused it to act as a poison that temporarily weakened Elena, but she was also able to heal her neck wound within seconds, at an even faster rate than that of a vampire or werewolf. This seemed to suggest that Expression was an unnatural form of magic, as witches, who are meant to be Nature's servants, were not intended to be so powerful as to heal in that way. She demonstrated this immense power again when she perfectly cast a locator spell to find Silas without even needing a personal item with which to guide her, something that all other witches need to complete such spells.
In She's Come Undone, Bonnie began hiding from Silas after she realized that he still wanted to use her to permanently lower the veil to the Other Side, much to his dismay. She allied with Katherine Pierce to make a deal: if Katherine gave her Silas' Tombstone she had in her possession, which was full of Qetsiyah's magic-infused, calcified blood, Bonnie would contact Qetsiyah and get the Immortality Spell from her to make Katherine a truly invulnerable immortal like Silas. Though she was hesitant at first, Katherine ultimately accepted, but in The Walking Dead, she tried to back out of their deal. However, since Bonnie had anticipated such a reaction, she magically linked Katherine to her so that she couldn't leave her side, as Bonnie was afraid that Silas would run into her and read her mind to figure out what they were doing. Bonnie dragged Katherine along to each of the three points in the Expression Triangle (the site of the human sacrifice, the hybrid sacrifice, and the witch sacrifice) to activate them so she could channel the immense power of the triangle in conjunction with the blood-infused headstone to temporarily drop the veil to the Other Side within the boundary of the triangle itself. As Bonnie channeled the triangle, her magical power caused a violent windstorm to break out in the town that ended up causing a power outage. Once Bonnie dropped the veil within the Expression Triangle, any spirit on the Other Side who had reason to be in Mystic Falls could become visible and physically interact with the environment there. Bonnie then tried to summon Qetsiyah so she could ask her how to stop Silas and how to make Katherine immortal, as per their deal, but Katherine's constant bickering interrupted her.
Soon after, Silas attacked Bonnie by using his psychic powers to make her believe she was choking. After he left, Bonnie's Grams' ghost appeared and insisted to Bonnie that while she didn't like that Bonnie was using Expression, sometimes they have to make tough choices. She then reminded Bonnie that Expression magic is the manifestation of the witch's will, which meant Bonnie could put Silas down as Qetsiyah did 2,000 years ago. Bonnie, who is now self-confident enough to do what she needed to do, went after Silas to find him. She and Damon found him at the same time, and Damon was able to restraint him with chains while Bonnie used her Expression magic to desiccate Silas to the point of literally turning into stone. Afterward, Bonnie was so overwhelmed with awe at what she had accomplished that she decided she needed to take advantage of her power and bring Jeremy back from the dead, much to Grams' dismay. Grams reminded her that no one had the power to reverse death, but Bonnie stated that she not only had Expression, but she also had Dark and Spirit Magic. She drew power from all three sources as she tried to resurrect her friend and former flame, but the immense combination of magic proved to be too much for Bonnie and it killed her before she was able to put the Veil back up.
Since the Veil was still down, Bonnie was still able to practice magic even despite being a ghost, and she used her Expression magic to trap Kol in the boiler room to prevent him from hurting any of her loved ones. Then, by sacrificing the ability to bring herself back to life, Bonnie chose to use her magic to restore the Veil to the Other Side, back where it belonged. With the Veil restored, Jeremy was resurrected while learning of Bonnie's fate to accomplish the task.
Powers and Abilities
- Advanced Telekinesis: Expression allowed Bonnie to become a very powerful telekinetic, able to move and control objects with her mind effortlessly. She was extremely proficient in this skill and was able to choke Elena and break her bones without even looking at her. She even stated to Katherine, "I can crush your skull without even flinching," indicating just how much power she had. She was able to control multiple cars with this magic, and the power of her spells could make even large caves fall apart.
- Advanced Pain Infliction: Expression allowed one to inflict immense pain onto a person that could constrict or dilate the blood vessels to the point of bursting. Bonnie was able to use this power to disable two Original vampires and several average vampires with ease, something that would otherwise require the power of 100 witches to perform.
- Advanced Pyrokinesis: Expression allowed Bonnie to generate immense flames simply by focusing. It was such a powerful ability that she effortlessly conjured flames while she slept.
- Accelerated Healing: Expression allowed Bonnie to heal almost instantly with little to no effort on her part after she was attacked by Elena, much like that of a vampire.
Spells and Rituals
- Main article: Spells and Rituals
- Aja tells Bonnie that she has dealt with Expression before and knew of the hold it can have on oneself. Her statement, however, remains unclear as she could have been admitting to having practiced Expression herself, or she could have known someone who was drawn to and consumed by it, considering she knew a cleansing spell for Expression.
- The sacrifice of thirty-six people creates an immensely powerful vortex known as the Expression Triangle. The Expression Triangle is so powerful, it is strong enough to bring down the Veil that separates the mortal realm from the Other Side.
- In the digital comics Loyal Dogs, Carissa was a one of "Emily's witches" and she practiced Expression. She attempted to help Katherine to kill an Original, though was not powerful enough. Alternatively, she used her magic to keep her young and beautiful for over a century.