Category Archives: Vampire Morality
Back to our main question: How do authors get us to root for these malicious creatures of the night who feed on human blood?
Well, what if they don’t feed on human blood?
Below is a list of alternate food sources vampires have used in popular vampires book and television series.
Human blood (but from a blood bank): Damon in Vampire Diaries (the TV version) does this.
Animal blood: In Twilight and in Vampire Diaries (book and TV series). In Vampire Diaries, animal blood can sustain vampires but isn’t as gratifying or empowering as human blood.
Synthetic Blood: Bill Compton in True Blood.
Symbiotic feeding: Shori in Fledgling by Octavia Butler. This one in particular is rather interesting. The “vampires” (called “Ina”) in this novel need human blood for nourishment. However, humans feel an intense euphoric sensation when they are fed on. Being bitten by a Moroi or Strigoi in Vampire Academy is similar, but in Fledgling the feedings heal human wounds and increase their lifespan.
No Alternatives in Communion
Sorry, but my dhampir don’t get to cop out. In Communion, my dhampir are powered by something inside of them called vampiric essence. They still eat regular food for the sake of the human part of them. But their vampiric essence requires human blood. Feeding on goats and rabbits won’t give them their superhuman abilities, which is what most of my characters are after.
Those are all my notes on Vampire Morality. Let me know if there’s any other alternatives to human blood I left out or if there’s any other aspects of Vampire Morality I should explore.
Thanks for reading.
Also see: Vampire Morality: The Need to Feed
Very few people want to cheer for a villain. And that’s how bloodsucking vampires are traditionally seen.
But somewhere in the literary evolution of the monster, vampires have become heroes. But how can a creature who feeds on innocent people be seen as heroic?
It’s not so bad if they don’t feed on the innocent, right?
Lestat, the central character of Anne Rice’s novels, one day decides he’s only gonna feed on criminals. In the readers mind, this isn’t so bad. Why, it’s even heroic! Good for Lestat for taking the law into his own hand and making those fiends suffer. Ever see the show Dexter? Dexter Morgan, the homicidal murderer with a sense of justice primarily kills other criminals, and we all love him.
I’ve mentioned before Anne Rice’s vampires even save the world in Queen of the Damned. But as soon as the threat is over, Lestat and the others return to murdering at least one human a night, reclaiming their status as the top predator of the human race. These vampires even create an island for themselves filled with high art and luxury shopping centers to draw humans in. But as long as their only feeding on criminals, who cares right?
One of the most consistent traits of a vampire, regardless of who is writing them is “the thirst.” The penalty for disobeying this ranges from fatigue to psychotic episodes. With an urge so powerful, it’s almost noble for a vampire to limit their diet to the people we don’t want in society.
What if the vampires don’t have a thirst?
In Communion, I play around with morality a lot. For one, I remove the THIRST for human blood. My Dhampir still require human blood to use their superhuman abilities. But, rather than having a thirst that would constantly drives them to feed, each of my Dhampir makes a conscious choice rather or not they will feed on a human.
As I mentioned in the previous post, some authors escape this problem by having their vampires not feed on human blood at all. In my next post, I look at other alternate food sources authors have used.
(P.S. In this post, I refer to criminals in a sarcastic, crass manner. Let’s remember everybody, vampires aren’t real. And, if they were, any lives they take (whether innocent or criminal) would be a problem.)
Vampires have always been associated with evil. Remember that Dracula guy? Yeah, he was the villain of the novel titled after him.
But, somewhere along the lines, vampires became heroes and/or anti-heroes. In Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned, a group of vampires even save the world! Albeit, from another vampire… who the main character was romantically linked to…
But forget about that. How can a writer get readers to cheer for a creature that should be repulsed and hated by all?
While there are some readers who enjoy reading a story centered on a villain’s criminal pursuits, most readers want to follow the tale of someone more noble.
Hence, we have the moral vampire readers can side with.
Anne Rice does this wonderfully. In Interview with a Vampire, Louis is our hero. He is the fledgling vampire who is determined not to feed on human blood. Louis is turned by Lestat, a loathsome vampire who takes joy in killing and sometimes tutoring humans.
The same Lestat is the “hero” of the other Vampire Chronicle books by Anne Rice. We are told by Louis that Lestat is a most detestable creature and aren’t shown many redeeming qualities. Lestat’s one good deed of ensuring his human father has a roof over his head is counterbalanced by the frequent verbal abuse Lestat gives him.
When we get Lestat’s side of the story, he claims he is a very moral person and only feeds on humans who are criminals. But even he admits he’s not what we’d think of as a hero. His choice not to follow what Marius tells him unleashes the villain who jeopardizes the entire world in Queen of the Damned.
As I’m doing another round of edits on Communion before sending it to an editor, I’m carefully considering the actions of my dhampir. I present my protagonists as likable but each dhampir can CHOOSE whether or not to give into their vampiric needs. Morally ambiguous situations arise, and the reader is left to make the judgment themselves.
My next few posts will be on some of the morally gray lines that are frequent in the vampire genre and common ways they are handled.
Check them out: