Before we knew the story of how Klaus (Joseph Morgan) became an undead bloodsucker on The Vampire Diaries, we speculated on the ways it could’ve happened. A genetic mutation? A particularly virulent form of rabies? Then in Season 3, Episode 8, “Ordinary People,” the Originals’ backstory was revealed, including how they were turned. It turns out vampires are made, not born.
Klaus and his siblings — Elijah (Daniel Gillies), Rebekah (Claire Holt), Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic), and Finn (Caspar Zafer) — were made immortal by their mother. Over a thousand years ago, Esther (Alice Evans) and Mikael (Sebastian Roché) moved to Mystic Falls from the Old Country. Their plague-ravaged homeland was unsafe, as they’d already lost a child. According to a witch named Ayana, what would become America was a “mystical land where everyone was healthy.”
It was their werewolfism that gave the Mikaelson family’s new neighbors their healing powers. Still, Esther, Mikael, and their children coexisted with the werewolves until Klaus brought his brother Henrik to see them transform. The little boy was killed, and Esther wanted to find a way to protect her children.
Not wanting to leave their home (and because Mikael refused to run), Esther asked Ayana for help. The witch refused. Skilled in magic herself, Esther decided to make the spell work on her own. Calling upon the sun for life and the ancient white oak tree for immortality, Esther created the spell. The siblings’ father had them drink wine laced with the blood of a woman named Tatia, then murdered them all with a sword.
When they awoke, the siblings were in transition. Mikael, now also a vampire, made them drink from a villager. With that, the spell was complete.
Of course, despite being called the Originals, the Mikaelsons weren’t the first vampires. Silas gets that distinction. He, along with another witch named Qetsiyah, created the spell that turned him immortal.