I admit it. I love reading books about vampires. Recently I confessed to my parents that I used to hide books about vampires from them and read them at night because I was afraid they wouldn’t let me read the books.
Why the fascination with vampires? I have pondered that question of late. The books I enjoy about vampires are ones where there are “good vampires” and “evil vampires.” The good vampires don’t kill humans and they fight against their evil nature whereas the evil vampires do not value human life and take it with no qualms. (Many times they are also not vampires who chose to be turned but were forced into it or on their death bed when turned.)
Really, it is just a different spin on the classic good vs. evil plot line- but there is a twist. Vampires are considered evil- regardless of whether they are able to control their urge to drink human blood- they are creatures of darkness, with powers to control the minds of humans and superhuman strength. They can live forever.
In some ways, I feel like I can relate to vampires. I see the potential for evil within myself. My own selfish motives and desires urge me to do what “feels good” and not worry about how that may hurt those around me. To live in the moment and not think about the consequences that will come later. I imagine when a vampire is gorging itself on human blood it feels pretty good. However, the aftermath that they are left with leaves no doubt of the negative consequences of their selfish actions. They are murderers.
So in some ways, I feel like these books tackle morality and in a poignant way, and (sometimes) address the problem of evil. How do we deal with that ugly side of ourselves? Do we deny its existence until it rears its ugly head? What do we do to keep our own selfish desires in check?
And no, I don’t believe that vampires are real. But I think they are interesting characters to write about-they have two parts of themselves that are constantly at war with each other. Their self-control constantly challenged. They live surrounded by temptation. Isn’t that similar to our own struggles?
To close, I want to share some of my favorite vampire series/novels. Please feel free to share your thoughts and/or series that you have enjoyed.
Anne Rice– The Vampire Chronicles
Stephenie Meyer– The Twilight Series
L.J. Smith- The Vampire Diaries (the first vampire books I read as a teenager)