5. Damon Salvatore
Damon, the original villain of the series who may have had the most notable character development of all. From his very first, “Hello, brother,” to his final scene, he’d done it all. There were times I really and truly despised him – the way he mistreated Caroline in the first season, when he killed Jeremy, Lexi, Tyler, etc. He bordered on unforgivable quite often, and yet, Stefan and Elena managed to save his humanity time and time again, bringing out the better side of him, the good side that had existed so long ago during his human years.
Slowly, or maybe all at once, he went from villain to dare we say the good guy (and back and forth again a few times). He may have done terrible, heinous, disgusting things over the years – but Damon’s story was one of self-realization and redemption (with only a few bumps in the road).
But in the end, he fought to sacrifice himself for his brother and give him the human life with his new wife, the life he always wanted. He compelled him to leave, to let him die, and gave a tearful, heartfelt and heartbreaking goodbye – because at his core, Damon is a big brother, and he has always, always loved Stefan. He was willing to give up his life with Elena, his chance at happiness finally, just to give Stefan a chance – and that says everything about Damon Salvatore.
This was a story about two brothers, up until the very end.