Daniel Gillies

When The Vampire Diaries' Elijah was introduced in Season 2, he wasn't supposed to stick around long. More than a year after his arrival the character remains one of the most popular in the show's history.

"In the beginning I was a very old vampire who was going to live like two episodes," Daniel Gillies explains to TVGuide.com. "They didn't know I was going to be a brother, I [just] was a henchman." But Elijah has transformed from being terrifyingly powerful in his knowledge and skills, to a still powerful vampire, but one with a distinct moral compass and compassion for Elena who Gillies calls a warrior.  

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Fans can't get enough of the Original, despite the immense threat he poses to the Salvatore Brothers, among others. Gillies has his own theories as to his character's popularity. "When Elijah shows his face you know things are going to happen," he says. "When he turns up he's exposition and movement and the story is taking flight — or maybe fans just like his multiple haircuts."

While Elijah prides himself on not being driven by impulsive rage like his brother Klaus, Gillies says that his actions towards Elena in last week's episode were so terrifying that it's the reason he fled town at the end. 

"Elena came quite close to peril and closer to peril than he ever thought she would and there's a disgrace in that," Gillies says. "He can be vicious and can be strategic, but he's never reckless and this was one of the few times on the show we've seen him be absolutely reckless in order to get what he needed. Sure, it was his life and the life of his brothers and sister, but placing Elena in the position of being a hostage was probably something he would change if he could go back or at least make certain she wasn't in true danger."

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Despite Elijah's upcoming absence (which we hope and assume will be temporary), Gillies has quite a few ideas as to who he'd like to work with in the future.

"I really enjoy my scenes with Ian Somerhalder. There's something very funny about those two in a scene together — they're sort of an odd couple," Gillies says. "Elijah is the sadistic, quiet, calm zinger- type comedy, whereas Damon is this snarky, sometimes bitchy and tempestuous vampire. Of course, if I could team up with anybody, I just feel like if [Klaus and Elijah] could ever solve their differences the world would be theirs."

Watch this week's Vampire Diaries Bite for more on Elijah's lack of a British accent and the Originals' uncanny ability to pick up modern technology:

The Vampire Diaries returns with new episodes on Thursday, March 15 at 8/7c.