|“||The hunters were spelled by witches to kill vampires; if you prevent one from fulfilling his destiny then he'll take you down with him.||”|
The Hunter's Curse is an automatically enacted curse when any supernatural hunter of the Brotherhood of the Five is slain by that which they hunt. The curse causes its victims to be psychologically tortured by the specific hunter after death by creating powerful hallucinations, slowly bringing them to a madness that coaxes them into taking their own life. The curse has affected several immortal beings, such as Klaus, an Original hybrid, though at the time his hybrid nature was bound, Elena, a non-Original vampire, and Silas, the first immortal.
Workings of the Curse
According to Klaus, the Brotherhood of the Five were spelled by witches to kill vampires; however, their utmost task was to kill Silas. The Hunter's Curse however was a fail-safe. As described by both Klaus and Atticus Shane, if a hunter is killed by that which it hunts, then that person will be cursed to walk the Earth in torment until he took them down, too. The curse was a means to ensure that if the hunter was killed, the killer would also eventually take their own life due to the effects of the curse. Humans, however, are not subjected to this curse. This was demonstrated when Julian compelled Rayna to kill her father, Vicente Cruz, a hunter of Brotherhood of the Five, so that he wouldn't be affected by the Hunter's Curse.
The Effects of Hunter's Curse
The vampire responsible for the murder of the hunter would experience horrifically vivid hallucinations, usually in the form of the people that the recipient has killed in the past (the first being the hunter that was killed to trigger the curse) which would then prey upon the killer's guilty conscience, and may even manifest in strange forms, tempting the killer to kill themselves in order to escape this psychological torment, as was the case of Elena. And even those who are remorseless and have no problem with murder are not exempted, as in the case of Klaus, who was only able to survive because he was an Original vampire, long enough for the curse to stop. The only way for it to end was if a Potential Hunter were to be awakened before the recipient(s) kill themselves.
Vaughn speculates that the curse's existence is not tied with the Hunter's Mark, since he was confident that Damon and Rebekah will bring the Hunter's Curse upon themselves if they kill him, despite the fact that the mark is no longer present on his body. As Silas received the curse after Jeremy's Mark freed him, this further backs up Vaughn's theory. He also seems to think that with the mark having served its purpose and now gone as a result of Bonnie casting the spell that liberated Silas, it will not re-appear on a Potential. This means that by a current Hunter of the Five's death, the one(s) responsible for killing him will forever be haunted by the curse, as no potential would be awakened to carry on the predecessor's purpose.
Recipients of the Hunter's Curse
- Klaus - Klaus got himself unknowingly cursed after he had slain all the original members of the five in retaliation for their attempt to neutralize his family with White Oak Ash Daggers. He was struck with the hallucinations not long after that, and was tormented inside his head for a period of 52 years, 4 months, and 9 days. It presumably took this long because being the original Brotherhood's killer, the next potentials had to be awakened. According to him, it was during this time when he actually experienced the flow of time itself since becoming a vampire.
- Elena Gilbert - Elena sustained the Hunter's Curse after killing Connor Jordan. Klaus opted to confine her in order to prevent her from killing herself. She was eventually cured after her brother, Jeremy Gilbert, was deduced by Damon to be the next Hunter of the Five. To carry on Connor's legacy, he awakened his abilities after killing a hybrid.
- Silas - He got the Hunter's Curse after killing Jeremy Gilbert. However, unlike in the case of Klaus and Elena, he easily defeated it in minutes (as he tells Bonnie Bennett).
- Silas was the only one who was able to overcome the effects of the curse.