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Credit: Annette Brown/The CW

The fretful anticipation surrounding The Vampire Diaries‘ finale has been building since stars Nina Dobrev and Michael Trevino announced in early April that they would leave the show after season 6.

With a fanbase as committed as TVD‘s, it was inevitable viewers would be equal parts up-in-arms and dissolved-in-puddles regardless of how the characters made their exits. Unfortunately for Trevino’s fans, his werewolf hybrid character Tyler Lockwood ended on more of a whimper than a growl on Thursday. The fanfare around the departure of Dobrev’s on-screen persona Elena Gilbert, however, certainly merited the uproar heard around the Twitterverse during and after the East Coast airing.

Understandably, most of the emoji-laden outbursts centered on how the show wrapped up Elena’s epic romance with endgame love Damon Salvatore (who, just for extra heartache, is played by Dobrev’s former off-screen boyfriend Ian Somerhalder).

Dobrev recently told PEOPLE that saying goodbye to TVD was "bittersweet," and fans certainly seemed to share her mixed emotions.

See Elena’s Emotional ‘Exit’ From ‘The Vampire Diaries’

If you want to avoid spoilers, stop reading now. If you’ve seen Thursday’s episode, “I’m Thinking of You All the While,” extend your agony or your ecstasy with some of the most dramatic reactions to the season 6 finale.

Earlier in the day, Dobrev’s costar Paul Wesley posted a touching, tear-inducing farewell:

Dobrev also made fans feel weepy with with social posts throughout the day, including this behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of her parting gifts from the cast and crew:

As 8 o’clock neared, creator Julie Plec herself:

Not long after the episode began, the pain was real.