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This article is about the character, Isobel. You may be looking for the episode named after her, Isobel.

My parents - your grandparents - they put it here when it became clear that the police weren't gonna find my body. They visit every week, and they bring flowers, even though there's no one buried here. The Isobel they knew is dead. So maybe there's a part of me buried here, the human part, the part that I abandoned when I chose to become a vampire, the part that used to dream about the day that she'd know her daughter. And instead you got to meet the other part... The part that would betray her own flesh and blood. I'm so sorry, Elena... That I was such a disappointment to you.
Isobel's last words and saying goodbye to Elena in Know Thy Enemy

Isobel Flemming was the wife of Alaric Saltzman and the biological mother of Elena Gilbert. She was good friends with her ancestor Katherine Pierce, a vampire she often conspired with. When Isobel was still in high school, she met John Gilbert and became pregnant with Elena. Isobel absconded a few days after Elena's birth, and soon after, John's brother Grayson and his wife Miranda adopted Elena. Many years later, Isobel met Alaric Saltzman. At first, she did not like him and even had a restraining order against him, but later she changed her mind and they eventually got married. While Isobel was still married to Alaric, she became obsessed with paranormal research. She met a vampire, Damon Salvatore, who turned her into a vampire at her request.

After being compelled by Klaus, she committed suicide by walking into the sun while her daughter Elena watched.

Isobel was a member of the Petrova Family and a former relative of the Saltzman Family due to her marriage with Alaric. She was also a relative to the Gilbert Family, as she was Elena's biological mother.

Early History[]

Isobel Flemming was born on October 17, 1975. She was raised in a small town near Mystic Falls and spent much time there when she was young. As a teenager, she met John Gilbert and the two began dating. Although John ended up falling in love with Isobel, she did not reciprocate his feelings. Shortly thereafter, Isobel becomes pregnant by John. After John tells Isobel about vampires, it sparks her curiosity and she dedicates her life's work to supernatural research.

Isobel was sixteen at the time and had run away from home. John brought her to his brother's office for the delivery and he delivered a baby girl. Isobel was heartbroken to give up her daughter but did so anyway, knowing that she would have a better life with Grayson and his wife, Miranda. They named her Elena. Isobel would always dream that she would one day be able to meet her daughter and tell her who she was.

Isobel later attended Duke University, where she studied folklore and parapsychology. She also met Alaric Saltzman during this time and they eventually married, while he accepted she wanted no children. Isobel later earned her degree and started teaching at Duke. Isobel's devotion to her work led Vanessa to go into folklore full-time.

Isobel soon became an expert researcher and started to study many aspects of supernatural lore such as vampires and werewolves. She discovered the existence of the Sun and the Moon Curse.

Isobel was later killed and turned by Damon Salvatore after seeking him out and sleeping with him. When it became clear that the police weren't gonna find her body her parents mourned her with a grave stone assuming her death to be May 4, 2007. Sometime later, she met Katherine Pierce and they became close and genuine friends.

Throughout The Vampire Diaries Series[]

When confronted by Alaric, Damon confirmed that he indeed turned her into a vampire on her own request, but that he only did it because he liked her. Later, Elena dialed her number after finding it on the phone of a man she had compelled. Isobel picked up but she hung up after she heard Elena's voice. When John came back to town, he told Damon that he had sent her to him, but he didn't know that she wanted to become a vampire. She later showed up at the Grill and confronted Alaric.

She threatened Alaric to force him to organize a meeting with Elena. Isobel wanted the device and instructed Elena to get it from Damon. She commented on Elena's choice of Stefan, not Damon. Two minions, Cherie and Frank, helped her while she was in town. John came to visit her in her loaned house and they discussed their alliance. Damon turned up later and after kissing passionately, he threatens her to stay away from Elena.

Isobel made Frank injure Matt and Cherie kidnap Jeremy, threatening to kill him, to make Elena work with her. Isobel, Cherie, and Frank later met with Elena, Stefan, and Damon and after being assured that Jeremy was safe, Elena gave Isobel the device. Elena asked her why she knew Damon would hand it over, and Isobel told Elena that Damon loved her. She then leaves town.

As she was leaving town, she called John and reminded him how Elena was their daughter and they owed her something. She told him to kill Stefan and Damon so that Elena wouldn't be in their world anymore. Isobel showed up at school to say goodbye to Alaric. He gave her his ring and vervain, telling her to either kill him or compel him. She reminds him she wanted this life, then compelled him to let her go.

Alaric, Elena, and Damon went to Isobel's office in Duke, looking for information about werewolves. Katherine told Stefan to find Isobel as she could track anyone down. Stefan calls Isobel but reaches John instead, resulting in him returning to town. John informs Elena that Isobel is working on ensuring Klaus stays away from Mystic Falls. John tells Katherine that Isobel is working on freeing her from the tomb.

Isobel returns to town and introduces herself to Jenna. Elena refuses to invite her into the house and slams the door in her face. John, however, trusted Isobel and invited her in the next day. Isobel proposed a solution to protect Elena by taking her to a safe house where no vampire she didn't want could enter, but Elena responded by telling her to get out of the house.

Isobel meets with Katherine. She tells Katherine she found one of Klaus' witches and made a deal for Katherine's freedom which involved giving him the moonstone and the Petrova doppelgänger. She told Katherine she returned because she was jealous of Alaric dating Jenna.

She later found Alaric and tells him about how she compelled him to let her go. She apologizes and then Maddox takes him away. After Katherine and Elena switched clothes, Isobel takes Elena away. She calls Katherine and apologizes, saying Klaus wanted her, and Katherine is taken by Maddox. Isobel takes Elena to the grave her parents put there once it became clear the police weren't going to find her body.

She tells Elena how she used to long to meet her, but that's not the part of her that Elena got to meet. Maddox phones Isobel who tells him that Elena is safe. He sets her free, so Isobel removes her lapis lazuli and burns to death in the sun. She was compelled to do this to herself by Klaus. Elena takes her lapis lazuli and realizes that despite everything, she's upset that Isobel's dead. It is likely that Isobel found peace, as her ghost did not return at any time after her death, nor was she mentioned by any character later on.


She views humans at the most a means to an end to her, as a source of food, entertainment (including sexual), puppets to be robbed of their free will using them as "muscle" against other humans if she wishes not to condescend to do it herself. She has no compassion, even colder than Damon and has no compunction in programming a human as a messenger boy and having him kill himself after the message is delivered. She feels absolutely no guilt in killing and feeding, voluntarily "turning off" any such evidence of conscience. It is only with her daughter and former husband that she does display any affection in any form and it is often fleeting. However, she worries about Elena's relationship with Stefan and can see how Damon is attracted to her daughter.

She shows she never stopped loving her daughter despite becoming a vampire and apparently not caring for human life. Isobel is also an expert researcher who usually finds what she wants. Amongst her significant finds, she found Damon Salvatore and Katherine Pierce. She also managed to find Klaus although he had become so reclusive that many believed him to be a mere legend, this ended up being her downfall as he begun compelling her and forced her to commit suicide after she did everything he asked.

Powers and Abilities[]

Isobel possessed all the standard powers and abilities of a non-original vampire.


Isobel had the typical weaknesses of a non-Original vampire.



The Vampire Diaries[]

Season One

Season Two

Season Five

Season Six

Season Eight


Season Four


  • Isobel meaning is "pledged to God". It is a variation on the name Isabella or Elizabeth.[2]
  • Flemming comes from Danish, English and Old French origins. In Danish, it comes from a medieval nickname meaning "from Flanders".[3]


  • Jenna states that Isobel was sixteen when she had Elena. However, given Isobel's birth year on her tombstone (January 18, 1978), Elena would have been born in 1994. Elena was 17 years old in 2009, so she was born in 1992. Maybe Isobel's tombstone information is incorrect. There is conflicting information, a different birth date (October 17, 1975), from a picture of her driving license. It's also likely the 1978 birth is a production error.
  • In Isobel, Isobel says that Katherine found her, but in By the Light of the Moon, Katherine says Isobel found her.
  • With The Other Side's collapse and Hell being destroyed, she either found peace or went to a dimension similar to Hell, if one exists.



See also[]