The title of this post may conjure up all manner of dramatic questions and images, and even thoughts of doubt. Well, lay your minds to rest because I am not in the midst og any personal crisis nor am I doubting my writing. If anything I could never be more positive about it.
No, what I want to talk about today is vampires and romance.
If anybody asks me about vampires, I am more on the side of evil. blood sucking motherfuckers who don’t give a crap about anybody than the lovey-dovey, doe eyed yuppies that seem so popular today. Yet if you take a look at the shows I watch you will see a different picture. From Buffy and Angel to the current number one on my TV Show list the Vampire Diaries, it would appear that I am nothing more than a walking contradiction.
In my defense however, I would like to see a stake driven into all of the twilight characters. Although that may be more as a result of acting so wooden it makes Daniel Radcliffe look like Tom Hanks.
My love for all things Vampire Diaries aside, I stand by my feelings over Vampires. However, I do believe that there is a mix between the two. I do not think that Vampires should be painted as pure monsters, but nor are they daylight loving Jersey Shore watching metrosexuals.
I should probably confess at this point that my first real series of novels I ever planned was a YA Vampire series of 4 novels called True Evil that saw four vampires sired but learn that they had the ability to control their urges and could choose to be evil. This was about 10 years ago I had this idea and made rather extensive notes on it. Maybe one day I shall venture back to it, but not to hit an overpopulated market but because I liked the idea once.
If we look at the ultimate vampire; Dracula. There were definitely a lot of romance that surrounded him and his character, and much like Hannibal Lecter, he was well-mannered, well read and a very gracious host. I like that concept and think it makes a much more chilling villain than some mad doctor on a small tropical island planning to take over the world.
I guess what I am saying is at the end of the day, in my humble opinion (for what it is worth) vampires are evil. Maybe that is why I like the Vampire Diaries so much. When we boil it down, all of them vampire portion of the diaries are evil. They mask it and act with near perfect social graces when the call for it is there, but they are all killers, and have all been shown as such in some way.
To keep with the theme and the show, I think my favorite line involving any vampire lore was uttered by one of these well-mannered villains in last week’s episode. It is where Elijah is talking about their mother – the creator of vampires – and how she wants them all dead.
“Mother made us vampires. She didn’t make us monsters. We did that to ourselves.”
12 thoughts on “Am I Lying to Myself?”
I don’t use vampires exactly. However because of the pleasure/pain, lust/love nature of bDsm I have created a different type of evil, one that feeds off the energy of emotions pleasure and pain. This works well in the setting I have chosen and supplies the rational for the magic your mother never told you about.
This allows me to avoid the metrosexros while still finding room for lots of intensity and comic relief.
With the possible exceptions of angels and demons, I have always (mostly (well, since high school at least (and largely before that as well))) had a problem with the concept of All personsX are characteristicY. IRL, it’s almost always directed at some already oppressed group: “Of course blacks are poor. They’re lazy, what do you expect?” “Isn’t that just like a woman?” And so on.
I think it was when I was reading through the AD&D Monster Manual (first version) back in, what 1980 or something? I was looking through and thinking, “Well, Orcs are sentient. Why should they be evil? Why should all Drow be evil, and all Wood Elves Neutral Good? Is evil and goodness some genetic trait that overrides one’s ability to think and make one’s own choices?”
Good and Evil are not something that you are; they are the choices you make as you try to meet life’s demands. That’s what it is for humans, and I don’t see why that isn’t also true for Orcs, or Elves, or Vampires, or alien tentacle monsters. (Which isn’t an endorsement for the current crop of sexy vampires – my favorite True Blood vampire character so far (from the HBO series, at least) was Eddie from season 1. My favorite vampire that I’ve written is the one who, in response to “What do you mean you can’t drink her blood? You’re a goddamn vampire!” says, “I’m a goddamn Jew first, and even if she chews her cud, she’s still not kosher. You don’t chew your cud, do you?”
I’ve tried in my own writing to subvert all-X-are-Y-ism. I’m sure I don’t always succeed, but that’s the goal.
In everything I’ve written, I’ve always tried to make my characters real, not cartoonish. That means the villains have some good in them and the heroes have some bad because, face it, so do we as humans. Nobody is completely good and nobody is completely bad.
In my novel, Vampire Origins, the vampires all have wildly different personalities because there is no one mould we cut all vampires out of. Some of the turned vampires bring elements of their humanity with them. Some – who were born vampires – have no humanity because they have never been human. And some are just pure monsters. Strangely enough, my daughters still like the one who I think is totally evil just because he’s totally evil AND hot. And it doesn’t seem to matter who I make him kill or how I make him treat other people, they just think it makes him hotter. Hmm, girls still love their bad boys.
Rebecca I totally agree, I am a sucker for a bad-boy vampire (no pun intended!)
Alex – I have to disagree with you. I used to think vampires were pure evil because all I knew was the Dracula story and that Hammer Horror films were scary (I led a sheltered life as a child). I prefer my characters to display both good and bad qualities, and with vampires and werewolves, the personalities are magnified because of what they are.
I challenge you to read my novel Love Hurts, and see what you think. There may be extremes of evil, but it isn’t presented as such, and you must decide who is ‘good’ and who is ‘bad.’ And it will get worse as the series progresses, trust me. Even my supposedly human heroine Jessica Stone has a few more revelations to endure, and some life changing experiences coming her way…
Think I might have to read your book, as Jessica Stone sounds like my kind of heroine. I’m actually tossing up making my heroine bad for one of the books in the series. She will try to rescue her little sister, who has been turned, and gets herself turned to achieve it – only to turn completely badass once she’s a vampire (and forget all about what she was trying to achieve).
Thanks Rebecca, your character sounds pretty interesting as well!
Thanks Catherine. You book certainly does sound interesting. I don’t think vampires are pure evil, but rather am more just fed up with them being portrayed as good. What I liked about dracula, and also in the vampire diaries is that just when you risk starting to think, oh this vampire is just a nice guy, you are reminded that they are cold blooded killers at heart. Sure they can be nice, but it isn’t necessarily their main personality trait.
That being said I am also a sucker for the villains, and always enjoy a bit of persona conflict. Maybe, and this only just came to me now, it is a case of series are best with the tormented kind of vampire because you have a long period of time to get to know them, while moves are short and require a different variation of the species. Hmmm… maybe I feel a second post on this topic coming on. 🙂
As a;waus Catherine, thank you for your comment.
You are welcome Alex! That’s what I try to convey with my characters. On the surface they seem like normal people, as they try to exist in the human world, but deep down the beast still lurks and when it is roused it is a harsh master.
Well, that was an awesome quote!
Well said (written). I agree with you about how I like my vampires. My first novel is a vampire crossover that aims for a PG-13 audience, but stays clear of the Twilight crowd. On the other hand, if there is a potential audience there that might like my book, I guess I had better play nice.
Where I have always found Vampires interesting is works that explore what it must be like to be powerful, immortal, and forced to feed on blood in order to survive. From the point of view of humans who are being fed upon they may be evil, but from a broader perspective they are, just like normal humans, not really good or evil, they just are. Anne Rice’s Vampires are a good example of this.
I would also note that while there might not be as much practical difference but Vampires in the Buffyverse are supposed to be actually corpses possessed by demons, although that isn’t brought up particularly often. Both Buffy and Angel featured vampires that were, while not necessarily good, weren’t actively evil either.
Personally, I find the portrayal of Spike the most compelling(in episodes where he is well characterized) because while he is certainly violent and more than willingly feeds on humans, he has no interest in destroying the world, he hunts down Slayers for the thrill of the fight rather than some darker purpose, and he helps the ‘good guys’ out of self-preservation and a desire to not see the world destroyed. Even when he has a soul, therefore curbing his darkest impulses, he is still gleefully violent. This is, to me, definitely a character which cannot be morally judged in human terms.
I agree, and would have Spike firmly placed in position no 2 in my list of favorite vampires. He was an example of what I love. He was a complete character, he was both good and evil at times, but at the end of the day, even when his hand (read soul) was forced, he still never lost that basic blood lust. I don’t just mean the drinking of, but rather the violence, and rage.