Today I’m continuing with the Blogging from A-Z Challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of awesome bloggers. My theme is: Elements and features of speculative fiction and entertainment. So throughout April I will be blogging about characters, objects and themes that appear in sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian series. Today’s post is all about Vampires.
Vampires are legendary ‘undead’ creatures who drain the life or energy of humans, usually by drinking their blood. The term vampire was popularised in the early 18th century when Eastern Europeaners brought their superstition and folklore into Western Europe. John Polidori’s 1891 novella The Vampyre, first depicted vampires as charismatic and sophisticated (rather than rotting corpses), and eventually inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The success of Dracula spawned a distinctive vampire genre, which is still popular today in literature and entertainment.
- Vampires prefer human blood to satisfy their thirst. In The Vampire Diaries they can become extremely weak and disintegrate without it. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, vampires become ‘living skeletons’ if they do not feed for prolonged periods of time. They can suffer brain damage, resulting in wild hallucinations, and they need the blood of a healthy human to recuperate.
- Though vampires prefer human blood, they can sustain themselves on the blood of other animals, as Stefan from The Vampire Diaries and the Cullen family from Twilight do.
- Generally the ‘modern vampire’ is beautiful or handsome in appearance, with pale skin, unusually coloured eyes, and fangs. In Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, they are exceptionally beautiful.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they appear as normal humans until angered or excited, when ugly ridges appear across their brows and their fangs protrude, giving them a savage, animal-like appearance.
Strengths and Superpowers
- Vampires are usually portrayed as having super strength and speed, ability to heal quickly and heightened senses.
- In The Vampire Diaries they also have the ability to control the minds and emotions of their victims, which is known as ‘compelling’, and sometimes they can manipulate their dreams.
- In Twilight, some vampires have their own unique superpowers, such as telepathy or premonition.
- Vampires do not require oxygen to survive, allowing them to survive in poisonous atmospheres, underwater and resist strangling.
- In both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Vampire Diaries, they must also be invited into a house before they can enter it. They can be burned by holy water, or a crucifix.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer they have an aversion to garlic as in the legends.
- In Twilight, vampires are unharmed by garlic, holy water, silver, stakes or crosses, and can enter homes without permission.
- In The Vampire Diaries they are weakened by exposure to vervain. Some humans protect themeslves by drinking vervain, which stops vampires from being able to compel them.
- Vampires must usually avoid direct sunlight, which can burn them. However, in Twilight, vampires avoid sunlight because it makes their skin ‘sparkle’ (*snort*).
Methods of Killing
- Vampires are said to be immortal, as they do not die of old age or illness.
- In The Vampire Diaries and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they can be killed by decapitation, exposure to direct sunlight, burning, a wooden stake through the heart, and certain ancient curses.
- In Twilight, the only known way to kill a vampire is to dismember his or her body and burn the remains before it can reconstruct itself.
- The usual way for a human to be turned into a vampire is for them to drink a vampire’s blood when they are close to death, after being fed upon by this vampire (their ‘sire’).
- After arising as an undead being, they usually have to consume vast quantities of blood. In The Vampire Diaries they must consume an exceptional amount within 24 hours or they will die.
- Victims of vampire attacks do not turn into new vampires unless they consume the sire’s blood. If the vampire drains all of the victim’s blood then they will die.
- In Twilight, humans can be changed into vampires from another vampire’s venomous bite. It is described as being incredibly painful-like burning alive.
- Vampires are usually much more savage and dangerous than their human-like appearance suggests. In The Vampire Diaries they are capable of biting the limbs off humans!
- However, recent vampire literature has included vampires with a conscience, who do not hunt humans and seek to live a peaceful life. The Cullen family from Twilight attend work and school and try to live normal lives, but they must move every so often before people notice that they aren’t ageing. The whole family is intelligent and creatively gifted due to their many years of life experiences.
- Vampires seem to be capable of human emotions such as compassion and love but often their more powerful vampire emotions will override them. Some vampires seem in turmoil as they struggle with the guilt of their crimes and the overwhelming thirst for human blood. Many are bitter about their semi-alive state and resent normal humans.
- There are many stories about vampires and humans falling in love with each other (including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, and the dangerous consequences of this union. The vampire is usually torn between his primal need to devour his mate and his human longing to protect them. Vampire and human couples usually have to face the problem of one of them being immortal, and the other having to grow old and die.