Magical Mondays: Who Gets to Be a Vampire?

(via goodreads)

(via goodreads)

I was recently reading the latest book in The Vampire Chronicles, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis. After the many ups and all-too-frequent downs of the series, reading the new installments comes out of the same schadenfreude-y curiosity that presumably leads other people to watch the Kardashians: namely, wanting to know what on earth these disaster (non)humans are up to now.

One of the major worldbuilding developments in the most recent books has been, as one might guess from the title, the ascension of Lestat into a sort of mutually-agreed-upon rulership of the vampire community. Even Lestat has acquired some self-awareness, over the years; he knows that he is not going to have the attention span to attend to every issue of the community, and so he forms a court of vampiric elders from across the world. While this has the immediate benefit for the reader of putting all the major players of the series in one place to stand around and be beautiful at each other, it also lends a seriousness to Lestat’s rule. His princeship is not symbolic, and for the first time the vampire community is less an arbitrary group of metahumans connected only by the fluke of their condition and more of an organized nation. And that, of course, means there needs to be rules.

In an increasingly plugged in and hyper-vigilant world where the existence of vampires is a very poorly guarded secret, it’s more important than ever that vampires maintain a low profile. As part of this (and as part of the mentality that vampires are not inherently evil despite their predatory nature) they are expected to behave in reasonably moral ways.

(via wikipedia)

Except for that whole “don’t turn children” rule. (via wikipedia)

Don’t kill; only take enough blood to sate your hunger. Don’t drink from innocents; only take blood from those who are clearly bad people (you know, like, sex traffickers, murderers, people who don’t use their turn signal). Don’t broadcast your existence to humans—a “do as I say, not as I do” rule given Lestat’s history—as this endangers the entire vampire community. However, despite the rather checkered history of how all these people actually became vampires, there don’t seem to be any rules forthcoming about who gets to be a vampire.

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Magical Mondays: Prince Lestat and Received Power

Magical powers can be bestowed in a variety of ways. Maybe characters are born with them, à la Harry Potter. Maybe power is accessible by anyone, but requires magical tools à la Supernatural. And maybe they’re inherited from someone else, or passed on via an object or ritual. A universe where power is received in this last way can offer a lot of interesting storytelling potential if done right. Think of the Aztec gold in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. All you need to have the power (okay, yes, the pirates consider it a curse, but they do ostensibly have magical powers) is to have a coin in your possession. Because there’s a large margin of error for this power to be abused, there are high stakes tied to who controls it.

I actually stumbled onto this idea as I read Anne Rice’s newest Vampire Chronicles offering, Prince Lestat. While the book itself was unfortunately representative of the self-indulgent wordiness of Rice’s later works, it did largely center on the theme of received power. Who is worthy of having power? What happens when that person becomes unworthy, and how and when should it be passed on?

Prince Lestat, By: Anne RiceSpoilers for Prince Lestat after the jump.

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Magical Mondays: Vampires and Their Limits

cartoon vampireWhen it’s done well, fictional magic combines a certain amount of mystery with a solid set of rules. Without well-defined limits, magic takes away any and all problems facing a protagonist, and no one wants to read a story without conflict. Magical creatures are no exception. Magical creatures need a list of things they can and cannot do. Vampires are a good example of this. There are plenty of variations on the original pop culture vampire theme, and the strengths of each version’s limits gives us a good idea of how much staying power each variation has in our culture.

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