Thoughts on Vampirism

The Evolution of the Vampire: From Count Dracula to Edward Cullen?

Dare I even attempt it? It’s like comparing Sauron and … a pixie? (Pixies are mostly just annoying, not very evil.)
I feel I must attempt it. I have spent so much time thinking about this, that it seems silly not to try to write some of those thoughts down.
When exactly did vampires stop being scary?
Upon realizing that Vampires were facing a resurgence in popular culture, I decided to educate myself and read the most famous vampire novel: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I was surprised as to how much I enjoyed it! It was fascinating and terrifying. I had not been as actively intrigued by a novel in quite some time. I loved the metaphors, the symbolism and the beautiful writing. I adored the gothic horror of the story and the idea that Bram Stoker just embraced the notion of a purely evil and irredeemable character. There was no hope of saving the Count, just of saving everyone else. The Count’s evil nature was something to fight, something ordinary humans had to attempt to defeat even as they were terrified by it.
It was so good to be frightened by a well-told story.
The next vampire books I am familiar with are the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice:
I read these novels as a teenager and loved them. I knew I could never be friends with

these majestic creatures, but I could admire them – as they wished to be admired. Ms. Rice’s vampires were an insight into a monster – a heady imagining of what invincibility and immortality could be like. They offered an interesting study in cruelty and guilt.
Sure, they were somewhat poncy and foppish, overly interested in the material joys of the world and a bit too keen on sitting about and brooding. Maybe vampires shouldn’t brood, but they do have an awful lot of time on their hands and can’t spend all of it killing savagely.
Even Count Dracula had a castle and some lovely velvets (not to mention his eight wives). I suppose it must be mentioned that Vampires are often sexy. They drink blood and hypnotize innocent women (or men), seducing them with promises of power and immortality. They are ‘made’ at the pinnacle of their manhood/womanhood and are preserved as fiendishly attractive creatures for all time.
I think this is where Stephenie Meyer went wrong. She took the brooding and the high fashion sense, and forgot about the savage killing. She completely left out the “deadly, possessed creatures” aspect of vampirism. The vampires in the Twilight universe are too human – even the “evil” ones. Their weaknesses are human; the death of a loved one, the desire for revenge. They just have more strength for when they retaliate. They are not particularly clever. They are attractive, but were not necessarily chosen for their mental characteristics or personalities by their makers.
I really believe that they are just… humans with a very restricted diet.
They can even go outside! In daylight! What?!
To add insult to injury – the Cullens are abstinent. They withhold sex. They are chaste. At least Edward is. What a boring way to utilize your immortality.
side note – I find the cover, with the pale hands holding the bright red apple, to be a seductive cover. What a disappointment to realize that there is no seduction at all. Just lots of brooding and staring. Maybe some hand-holding.
What’s the point of that? It just makes for some very boring fiction.
I believe that the vampire mythos can be played with, and it has been done well before. I love re-writes of age old legends and fairy tales.
I just don’t understand why Ms. Meyer felt the need to use a Vampire in hers when she could have easily just made him a ‘strangely alluring human’. Maybe not as catchy, but also not a Vampire.
This entry was posted in book review, classics, criticism, YA. Bookmark the permalink.

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