The Runes are an ancient alphabet which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialised purposes thereafter. The Scandinavian variants are also known as Futhark or fuþark (derived from their first six letters of the alphabet: F, U, Þ, A, R, and K); the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc or fuþorc (due to sound changes undergone in Old English by the names of those six letters).
Throughout The Vampire Diaries Series
In Dangerous Liaisons, Esther planned to link her children together in order to finally kill them, but added that she would need Elena's doppelgänger blood in order to cast the spell, and after some consideration, Elena agreed to give it to her so she could move forward with her plans. That night, after all of the Mikaelson siblings had ingested the champagne laced with Elena's enchanted blood, Esther and Finn completed the spell so that they could all finally be bound together. Finn, who was acting as the "sacrificial lamb" for Esther's scheme, cut his hand to use his blood in the spell. Upon dripping his blood onto a sheet of parchment with the names of all five Mikaelson children written in Runic, Esther chanted the incantation, which resulted in the blood magically forming a tree on the parchment and sealing the spell, linking all five Mikaelsons as one.
During the fourth season makes its appearance the infamous Hunter's Mark, a bindrune loosely based on the real Vegvisir, a powerful seal of the Icelandic and magic that is the "right path to follow." Within The Vampire Diaries' mythology, however, the bindrune is part of a more complex pattern, a tattoo that begins at the dorsal face of the right hand and continues up the arm and across the chest, revealing the story of the first immortal Silas, the death of his lover at Qetsiyah's hands, his entrapment, and the ultimate mission of the Brotherhood. It serves many purposes - it's a map, a story, a coded message, an empowerment and a spell all at the same time.
Throughout The Originals Series
The runes are mainly used by the witches in the Mikaelson family because of their Norwegian and Viking origins.
In Chasing the Devil’s Tail, the powerful witch Esther uses runes drawn with a powder-like salt to brand the arm of her son Kol, as a warning that he should come back to her, possibly having completed his mission to recover the White Oak Stake. The runes in question are those that make up the name of Kol (Calc, Os and Laguz) together with a Triskelion, a symbol with three spiral arms.
In The Devil is Damned, Freya and Finn use the rune tiles, especially one that represents the child, to make a powerful spell localization allowing Finn to locate the hideout of Hope. Although the wooden tile was burned, Kol (in possession of Kaleb's body) with a spell brings it to its original state in order to discover its meaning.
In When the Levee Breaks, Freya carved a rune into the stones for Mikael's memorial is called "gar," which is an adaptation of the Norse alphabet rune "Gebu", comparable to the English letter "G". The rune can mean "gift" or "spear", and has been used to refer to Odin's spear Gungnir in Norse Mythology. Gungnir was believed to have been given to Odin by Loki, and is known for always hitting its mark and always returning to the hand of its wielder. When used in Runic magic/divination, it can mean conflicts, arguments, anger, struggles, confusion, hostility, and confrontation. It is also the Mikaelson family crest, as seen when Mikael was seen carving the gar rune into a wooden staff in Live and Let Die.
In You Hung the Moon, Elijah and Klaus asking their sister Freya to discover the true nature of the prophecy made by the witch Alexis about the destruction of Mikaelson family. The Norse witch, then, sets up the candles on a table and fills a bowl with Klaus's blood and has pieces of paper on the table with runic lines written above. While she's chanting the spell and is shaken by terrible visions, the paper with runes catch fire.
In The Bloody Crown, Freya replicated and enhanced her Mother and Aunt's ancient spells; the Original Linking Ritual and The Immortality Slumber spell. Due to the imminent destruction of the Mikaelson, (Freya unable to heal herself from a deadly poison, Elijah and Kol's demise from the Beast's venom and an insanity curse on Rebekah), Freya performed a last ditch effort to save her family, ironically the same spells that initially was attempted to destroy the Originals and a spell that she ultimately despised. Given access to her Mother's grimoire, Freya augmented the spells and added her own personal touch, a Chambre de Chasse, to link the siblings together to Klaus and to suspend them in a protective slumber until cures for each of them could be found. Therefore as long as Klaus remains alive, so does the Mikaelsons.
In The Feast of All Sinners, in an attempt to defeat the Hollow, Vincent resorted to a desperate plan: splitting the Hollow's soul inside each of the four Original Vampires, Klaus, Elijah, Rebekah and Kol. To perform this ritual, he traced an intricate symbol with a black unknown powder, resembling iron filings, sand or soil. The symbol was formed by a rhombus inscribed within a square and four runes drawn, within the corners. Each of the four Mikaelsons were positioned at the center of each side of the quadrant, while the runes separated them. The runes were as follows: Hagalaz (ᚺ) between Kol and Elijah, Thurisaz (ᚦ) between Kol and Rebekah, Dagaz (ᛞ) between Rebekah and Klaus and Othal (ᛟ) between Klaus and Elijah. At each corner, a single candle was place and along the sides of the diagram, numerous, persumeably, dark objects were laid outside the square. Within the rhombus, Hayley held Hope in order to release the Cursed Shackles that kept the Hollow at bay.
- The Mikaelsons' names appeared written in runic alphabet, generally Elder Futhark, although there are some mistakes in the spelling of some names in the show. The following are the correct versions in Elder Futhark:
- NIKLAUS (ᚾᛁᚲᛚᚨᚢᛋ) are: Naudiz (necessity/truble) , Is ("ice"), Calc ("well being"), Laguz ("Water"), Ansuz (one of the Aesir), Ūruz ("water/rain") and Sowilō ("sun").
- ELIJAH (ᛖᛚᛇᚨᚺ) are: Eoh ( "horse"), Laguz ("water"), Is ("ice"), Jera ("good year/harvest), Ansuz (one of the Aesir) and Hagal (the precipitation)
- REBEKAH (ᚱᛖᛒᛖᚲᚨᚺ) are: Raidō meaning "journey", Eaoh meaning "horse", Beorch meaning "birch", Calc meaning "well being" , Ansuz (one of the Aesir) and Hagal (the precipitation)
- FINN (ᚠᛁᚾᚾ) are: Feuh ("cattle/wealth"), Is ("ice") and Naudiz ("necessity/trouble").
- MIKAEL (ᛗᛁᚲᚨᛖᛚ) are: Mannaz meaning, Is meaning, Cen meaning "torch", Ansuz (one of the Aesir), Eaoh meaning "horse" and Laguz meaning "Water".
- KOL (ᚲᛟᛚ) are: Calc, meaning "well being", Os meaning "God" and Lagu meaning "Water". The Calc rune, by the way, is not 100% ascertained . In some alphabets is the upside-down version of Yr, symbolizing life. Upside down, it means "death".
- Some siblings share runic symbols within the name, form these symbols can be interpreted their character as well as their actions. For example irascibility (given by rune Laguz, symbolizing "the water") but also devotion to family (Ansuz, which represents the Aesir, the supreme Vikings deities), but also Naudiz, meaning trouble).
- A set of rune plotted overlapping each other is known as Bindrune, and are used to cast spells. An example are the Hunter's mark and that on Freya's tile.