I don't know if anyone has ever said this before (probably yes), but it's something that I've had on my mind for like months now, and I wanted to write it out and share it. One of the main reasons why Caroline and Hayley/Camille are such different characters.
Personally, I do not watch The Originals (I went noooope as soon as the baby plot was announced), so this might be totally based on something which isn’t even 100% accurate, but I have seen many people complain about how one of the things that is really irritating about Hayley and Camille is that, whichever quality or strength they possess, it’s always talked about and underlined to the point of severe repetition by the characters around them. Camille is smart and wise and brave. Hayley is a queen. And, I mean, okay. If you say so. The audience is somehow brought to believe all these things (or at least, that would be the aim) because the narrative says so, because it’s the point of view of another character, of the writers themselves obliviously. It makes them fall short, and they actually end up appearing as flat, weak characters who do not actually deserve all the titles which are attributed to them in one way or another.
But Caroline? What’s the last time we have seen someone else address her qualities? Oh, yeah. Stefan. But was it in a flattery way? Hell no. (“Caroline, you’re a horrible person. You are thoughtless. You’re shallow. You’re completely undependable.”) And, yes, he was obviously being sarcastic and we got that, we got that because we know that that is the complete opposite of what Caroline as a character has grown to really be. You can point out her qualities by masquerading them as flaws because the audience is going to understand that anyway. Because they’re all qualities that Caroline has proved to have. Is that something that they would ever dare to do with someone like Hayley or Camille? No. Why? Because neither of them has proved, during the show, to actually embody any of the qualities which so many times are attributed to them.
And that, to me, says it all really. All three of them are as fictional as it gets, of course they are, but while Caroline still appears as real to us, because she is alive and we know her, we could pick her characteristics up from a list if asked to, the other two are nothing more than words on papers at the end of the day, and that is why they have failed as characters.