Vampire Monday: Shea MacLeod
When people talk about vampires in fiction and why they’re so darned popular, they’re usually talking about one kind of vampire: Mr. Sexy Vampire.
Nothing wrong with that. I heart Eric Northman as much as the next red blooded girl (or boy). Mick St. James? Yes, please! A little Salvatore brothers? Be still my beating heart.
Sure, vampires look great in leather, look young and hot forever, and can stay up all night with Disco Fever. But that’s not the real reason vampires will always be popular in fiction.
I know, I know. I can see the look of abject horror on your face. The truth is, these sexy, sparkling minions of darkness are a fairly recent invention. And I’m thrilled with said invention, but they’re just a facet of the truth. The truth being: Vampires are us.
And that’s the real reason vampires will always be popular. Not because they’re rich or hot or eternal (Did I mention rich?), but because they embody all of our deepest, darkest fears and desires. Even the ugly ones. Especially the ugly ones.
Vampirism is about power. It’s about being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. No more rules. No more pesky conscience.
They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. That was never more true than when a human being is given the power over death, life, and everything in between. His (or her) only weakness the sun (and possibly garlic).
Come on, we’ve all dreamed, at least on a small scale, of having more power than we do right now. The power of money, the power of sex, or just pure, physical power. Maybe it was to get back at those mean girls in high school. Maybe it was to show the ex just what he’s missing. Or maybe, maybe just for fun. It doesn’t matter. It’s a real, very human desire.
A desire imbued in the vampires our mythology has created. There’s no safer place to explore that power than in the pages of fiction. And explore we will. As long as we have a safe face to hide behind. Not to mention a nice set of fangs.
We all desire things. Things we’re not supposed to want, things we think we can never have.
Vampires can have all those things. They’re immortal (or nearly so). Over a thousand lifetimes they can accumulate experiences and knowledge we can only dream of. They’re witnesses to history first hand. They can speak a hundred languages and play musical instruments. They’ve travelled around the world.
Notice that vampires are almost exclusively immune to human disease. Convenient that, since their sheer number of sexual conquests could put Casanova to shame (Maybe he was a vampire. Hmmm…).
Through the vampire we can explore our innermost desires while pretending to be above it all. They’re just naughty vampires, after all.
Face it. We’ve all got nightmares. Things that frighten us so badly we want to crawl under the bed.
Through vampires we can explore our fears: Death, un-death, loss, disease, old age. Vampires expose our darkest fears. They are our darkest fears. Nightmares made flesh, hungry for our blood.
The ultimate serial killer.
The popularity of vampires both now and throughout history is far less about how good looking and young they are and far more about how frightened we are. And therein lies a wealth of possibilities.
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Shea will give away a copy of her book to one commenter. She will post the winner in the comments section later this week. Stop back by to see if you won.