The Vampire Diaries’ Elena Gilbert has always been constructed as a powerful teenager. In the novels by L. J. Smith and in the CW television series, Elena is always portrayed as popular, and independent and as having a great deal of freedom. The teenage dreams of Elena (Nina Dobrev) are shattered in a car accident, one that precipitates profound physical changes. She struggles to accept her circumstances, and is elated when she is later offered the slim chance of a cure: that perhaps, everything can be as it was once was. Elena has not become a wheelchair user, however, as is typical; instead, she has become a vampire. In this article, representations of vampirism will be explored through the lens of acquired disability, paying particular attention to the notion of the Temporarily Able-Bodied, the implications of a search for a cure, and how these impact on identity.

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