Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vampires In Fiction - Where did it all begin?

Vampire novel are hot, let's face it Twilight helped knock them into the stratosphere. As a vampire novelist I know the criticism that other authors face regarding the similarities to Twilight. This is also similar for books about magic and Harry Potter. I thought it would be a great post to put some of these misunderstandings to rest. Although Twilight and even Vampire Diaries are great books as are the film/TV adaptations, they are not the first nor will they be the last vampires around. Now it is also common that vampires from various stories can use other things to decrease craving, some even use tomato juice. Here are a few facts and some similarities between various books, movies, TV, and myths.


Vampires that drink animal, synthetic or donated blood: 
  • The Littlest Vampire (2003) Film - cows blood
  • Underworld (2003) Film - artificial blood 
  • Blade (1998) Film - Blade
  • Twilight saga(2008) Film, (2005) Literature - The Cullan's
  • Interview With A Vampire (1994) Film,  (1976) Literature - Louis
  • Doctor Who (1963) TV - Nyssa Tried to create a synthetic blood
  • True Blood (2008) TV, Sookie Stackhouse (2001) Literature - Drinks synthetic Blood
  • Vampire Diaries (2009) TV, (1991) Literature - Stefan
  • Forever Knight (1989) TV - Nick
  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel (1997) TV, Literature (1992)
  • Kindred the Embraced (1996) TV - Julian
  • Hellsing (2006) - Seras drink blood bags
  • Dark Shadows (1966) TV (1991) TV - Barabas
  • The Embrace Series (2011) Literature - drinks a combination of animal and donated blood prepare like gourmet meals

I only posted some of the more known/popular credits, but as you can see there's many fictional vampire that drink blood other than directly from a human.Another thing I would like to point out as similarities is the methods to destroy vampires. Many fictional and mythical vampires can be destroyed by wooden stakes, decapitation, burning, the sun and so on. These are not new to only this generation of vampires, it goes back to the beginning.It is also common for vampire to live away from busy cities, choosing smaller cities and towns in order to hide from the masses. Most vampires want to remain unknown and the best way to do so is to seclude themselves. This is done in Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Immortal Embrace, My Blood Approves (their house is away from the city center and secluded) as well as many others. 

Now many complain the Edward (Twilight), Nathanial (Embrace Series) and even Stefan (Vampire Diaries) are far too romantic. My response is these along with others that are similar is simple, these are all romances. Romance books are there to take the reader into a fantasy world where the man is chivalrous and the woman has class.As a woman, we all want the romantic man, the one that does everything right and holds our feelings higher than any other....even if just for a day. We want to be spoiled and loved and yes respected. Now in books like this (even without a vampire) someone always has to stay away from someone else for one reason or another. If could be a disapproving family as in Romeo and Juliet or even a best friend's ex. The list can go on, but forbidden love is what makes it exciting. 

Years ago family crests and talismans were common, today they can still be found, but for the most part and old fashion.Would it not make sense that these vampire families, clans, covens would have something of this sort. It's something to tie their old life with their new life, giving them something to remind them of who they are or were. Some talismans were commonly blessed by witches. This could be for many reasons and still used in common pagan/wicca (among other) religions. Think about the rosary that Catholics use, it is a special item that is blessed and helps the carrier to feel secure, faith and hope.    

Definition:  pheromone is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting outside the body of the secreting individual to impact the behavior of the receiving individual.There are alarm pheromonesfood trail pheromonessex pheromones, and many others that affect behavior or physiology. This is common with humans, our partner releases pheromones that appeal to us. So what does this have to do with vampires? Well it is also common that vampires are attracted to the blood other their mates, victims, food sources. This can also be explained to pheromones.

So when did vampires first appear in fiction? (Taken from Vampiric Studies)
 ~ 1819 ''The Vampyre'', a short story, written by John Polidori. It is believed to be the first vampire story in English literature. Polidori was Lord Byron's friend and physician. It is said that he wrote ''The Vampyre'' in response to Lord Byron's "We shall each write a ghost story.'' The same literary challenge that inspired Mary Shelley to create Frankenstein.

~ 1845 - 1847 ''Varney the Vampire'' or ''The Feast of Blood'' made its appearance. It was published as a series of stories called ''penny dreadfuls''. It was incredibly popular at the time and the series ran for a total of 220 chapters. Originally published anonymously, and in 1847 re-published in book form. The author is now believed to be Thomas Malcom Rymer. The original edition was an epic sized book of over 860 two columed pages.
Varney had a lasting impact on vampire fiction being the first to have many of the traits and abilities of today's fictional vampires. He had superhuman strength, fangs that left two puncture wounds on the neck, and he had the ability to hypnoticly control others. Also poor Varney was the first vampire to hate being a vampire. Another trait that has carried over into a lot of modern fiction.
~ 1872 ''Carmilla'' by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. ''Carmilla'' tells the story of Laura, a young woman who finds herself the object of Carmilla's attentions. Carmilla being, of course, a female vampire. The fact that Carmilla is a lesbian vampire is not difficult to figure out considering her intentions toward Laura aren't all for blood, it seems, and all of her victims are female. While Carmilla is noctunal, she can go about by day, she can change form into a huge black cat and pass through solid walls. Carmilla does sleep in a coffin.
Written some 25 years before Dracula, Carmilla had a strong influence on Bram Stoker's work. ''Carmilla'' was first published in the magazine ''The Dark Blue'', in three issues (January, February and March of 1872) and in the same year it was published in Le Fanu's collection of short stories ''In a Glass Darkly''
~ 1897 ''Dracula'' by Abraham ''Bram'' Stoker an Irish novelist and short story writer. ''Dracula'' has to be one of the most popular horror stories of all time. Since its publication, it has never been out of print! Only a very few books can boast that claim. Although Stoker appears to have taken much of his inspiration from ''Varney'' and ''Camilla'' he spent years researching the remote mountains of Transylvania as the setting for his tale. He studied the Eastern Eurpoean vampire legends and gypsy folktales as the basis for his Count even though he did not strictly adhere to those legends and tales in the creation of his charactor.
Since its publication, ''Dracula'' has inspired countless novels and stories, plays, and movies.
For some 57 years no vampire novel even came close to the popularity of Stoker's ''Dracula''. Vampire fans found the tales they loved as short stories in the pulp magazines such as ''Weird Tales'' which had become the home of many noted authors of vampire short fiction. Authors such as C. L. Moore, Manly Wade Wellman, Robert Bloch, August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, Seabury Quinn, Henry Kuttner, Robert E. Howard and a host of additional writers.

 I could go on for pages (okay, more pages) proving my point that many vampire myths and traditions have been around since the beginning and used by various writers, producers, directors and so on. I think I've made my point and hope you all enjoy my thoughts about vampire fiction and the similarities within it. Someone once told me "There is no new ideas only extensions of old ones." 

I found this great chart on Wikipedia that I had to share about vampires and powers. I also added the Embrace series for comparison . Thanks for joining me and I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Immortal
Unnatural strength
Unnatural senses
Unnatural speed
Unnatural healing
Flight
Shapeshifting
Mind Powers
Telekinesis
Pyrokinesis
Other
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Vast number of potential Disciplines
Immortal Embrace
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Gifted
Gifted
Gifted
Various power are gifted or gained 
No
Yes
Yes
No
Spirit users can heal.
No
Yes
Some, not all.
No
Vampires that are fire users.
All Moroi have an extra power: water, fire, earth, air, and sometimes spirit.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Only Markus in his winged creature form
Limited
Through drinking their blood
No
No
?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Gifted
Gifted
Gifted
Gifted vampires can have a variety of different abilities.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Gifted
Uncommon
Can "Glamour" humans, erase memories and possibly bend their will
No
No
Can feel the emotions of whoever has drank blood from them, such as if they are in danger. They can also feel when their "maker" is in trouble, and a maker can feel the same thing for their progeny (vampire children).
Television Series: Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
No
Dream Manipulation
Novels: Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Only in bird form
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
They can control the elements, animals and the weather
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Can climb any surface and may hang from the ceiling to sleep
North American folklore
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Nocturnal animals, fog
Yes
No
No
?
Yes
Stronger than humans, but not unnaturally strong
Yes
Fast, but not unnaturally so
Depends on vampire affinity
No
No
No
Depends on vampire affinity
Depends on vampire affinity
Most are specially talented or have an affinity for one thing or skill
Yes
?
Yes
Faster than humans, but not unnaturally so
Depends on affinity
No
No
Yes
Depends on affinity
Depends on affinity
Most are specially talented or have an affinity for one thing or skill
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes, but it resembles teleporting
Yes
in winged creature form
Winged bat/demon-like creature
?
No
No
?
Yes
Yes
?
Either this or teleportation
Yes
Yes
Bat
Hypnosis
Yes
No
Time travel, necromancy,possibly teleportation
Yes [27]
Yes [27]
Yes
Only Dracula
Gifted
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Wolf, bat, dust, fog
The hunters track Dracula through his telepathic link with Mina
 ?
?
control of nocturnal animals - wolves and rats mentioned specifically
Yes
Yes
Mostly smell
Gifted. Kain gains mastery of time
Yes
Ancient Vampires were able to fly, Kain can levitate, Raziel can glide
Wolf, bat swarm, mist
Gifted
Gifted
Gifted
Corruptions caused some clans to gain abilities others did not. Some powers are also granted by the Reaver or by consuming the blood or the soul of some characters
Yes
Yes
Enhanced sense of smell
Yes
Yes
No
Only Dracula
No
No
No
?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Gifted
No
Gifted
Gifted
Gifted
Gifted vampires are able to walk on walls and ceilings.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes, but wounds from silver heal slowly. Holy water inhibits healing
Gifted
Rare
Telepathy is stronger after biting, can enthrall with eyes
Gifted
Gifted
Call animals, drain power from sired vampires, rot without damage(dependent on bloodline)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes


1 comment:

  1. Very well explained, Charlotte. You did a lot of research to prove to others that you are NOT the only one that has written about vampires and added in witches and shape shifters. I believe your books are very exciting and not formatted from these other books and whether others agree or disagree, I don't care. All I know is that your books are very enjoyable and they are a series with more to come, keeping the suspense there and you don't only focus on the vampires, you focus on all of your characters. I say, keep up the great work and it everyone gave your books a chance, they would see what I see!

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