Secrets of Klaus, the Baddest Ancient Vampire of Them All

We've seen some menacing vampires on The Vampire Diaries, but nothing like Klaus, the nastiest Original Vampire. Why is Klaus so nasty? What makes him such a monster? Why does he love witches? We asked Klaus actor Joseph Morgan.

If you haven't been watching The Vampire Diaries lately, you've missed out on one of television's great sagas. It's been serving up the twists and turns with break-neck speed (sometimes literally involving breaking people's necks). And the arrival of Klaus, the ancient vampire daddy with a dark agenda, has raised the stakes way higher than just some small-town love triangle. So we were excited to get Morgan's perspective on his vampire supervillain character.

Spoilers ahead...

So what can we expect to see from Klaus in tonight's episode?

Well Klaus is in Mystic Falls now, in his own body. So I can tell you that we're about to see that fight you've been waiting for. So there's absolutely that, and certainly get a little more of Klaus interacting with Katherine, in Klaus' own body. I watched the episode last night and I think you see a little more danger from Klaus.

What makes a good arch-villain?

I think the key is not to be too intense, and not to play too generically evil. I felt like it was clear from the beginning that these guys, the Originals, were all but invincible, all but indestructible. Nothing would be a threat to them. Klaus definitely has a short fuse [so if you upset him, he will become violent]. I think a good villain absolutely should have a playful side and a fun side, and you know, there's nothing more kind of sinister than someone kind of enjoying something, or reveling in something that is kind of evil. And I really felt that he should be sort of happy. One of the things I kept saying is that it should be kind of terrifying to be in the room with this guy, because you don't know what he's going to do, kiss you or kill you.

Why is Klaus so friendly with witches? We keep hearing that he hangs around witches a lot.

Well I think that as we've learnt now, you know that Klaus is a hybrid, you know he's a half werewolf, half vampire. So I think the witches represent a kind of element of power that he doesn't possess. So I think he he's surrounded himself with as many powerful witches as possible as insurance, another way of ensuring that he won't be defeated. That he'll always come out on top. I also thought... There's a line in the episode "Klaus" where someone says something about "Oh, Klaus and his witches." I imagined Klaus back in the day, with a sort of harem full of witches. I think it's partly a fascination, and partly a kind of insurance.

So his witches are sort of his posse.

I think so, yeah. As we've seen he's got at least two witches now, but I think there'll be more to come in the future. I think he relies on them to some extent. I mean, he's going to need witches if he's going to break this curse.

Why does Klaus want to be a werewolf so badly? Isn't it kind of painful and messy?

Secrets of Klaus, the Baddest Ancient Vampire of Them All

Well, you know it's not like he's going to bring out his werewolf side and suddenly not be a vampire. We're talking about Klaus, who's going to have the best of both worlds. He would be the only one, so it appeals to his vanity as well. Obviously, if you want to be the most powerful person around... At the moment, he's equal to his siblings, he's equal to the rest of the originals and to Elijah. So I feel like there's an elemnt of wanting to be the most powerful creature alive. And then there's the whole goal of being able to sire his own bloodline, and essentially be a god of his own race. You can call it what you want - but I see it as you could potentially build an army of hybrids, and then I think you could be unstoppable. So it's all really about power and ego.

So he's basically sort of an egomaniac.

Absolutely. I would say he's completely absorbed in himself and what he believes. And I think he's rarely been told that he's wrong. He's got people around him telling him that he's so great and he makes the right decisions all the time, and "Wow, you're an amazing person," and he's become sort of a spoiled child.

He's surrounded by yes-witches.

Yes-witches, absolutely. I love that. I think there was a sense in 1490 that he and Elijah were much closer, and I think there was a sense of Elijah being like a Consigliere to him, a counselor. So I think Elijah helped him keep his feet on the ground. But now Klaus has really gone to town with acting the way he wants, and doing what he wants.

So what's it like for Elijah to be from a different historical era than the other vampires? He has different values and experiences, because he's from a different time in history.

I think so, certainly. Absolutely, there's a line Elijah has way back in the series, where he says, "I'm an original, show me some respect." As a human being, when you've been through something traumatic, or various life-changing events, it feels like you've been through something. And you feel stronger. I feel like Klaus has lived through a hundred, a thousand, of these experiences and has come out stronger. He has always come out in control of things. So yeah, there's a sense of that. There's also a sense that the other vampires - the Salvatores, who are like 160 years old - these are pups to him, they're impudent little vampires who are running around, causing a little bother for him. I feel like [they don't know what it's like] being that old and they haven't seen the things he's seen. It's a very exclusive club and it allows him to have the benefits of experience.