Romance and the Vampire: Romeo vs. Dracula

Vampire stories abound, from the modern “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer, to the classic “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. I’ve never read or watched any of the “Twilight” series. I am tempted to, if for no other reason than I’ve written a vampire book myself (entitled Drasmyr–see my about page for the link), and I want to check out the competition. But I just have too many misgivings about the fundamentals of the plot to even bother. In my view, “Romeo and Juliet” does not offer a reasonable archetype for a vampire novel. A fellow blogger (That Fantasy Blog) wrote this review, which gives an excellent thrashing to the notion of using a vampire as a romantic partner. But I have a few further points to tack on.

 

I get the vampire as seducer or seductress. That makes perfect sense. They have quasi-demonic origins. And, at least in Western traditions, demons and evil are supposed to have a quasi-erotic attraction for humans. It goes with the mystique and temptations that come with evil. Somewhere along the way, though–I think it may have started with Anne Rice’s “Interview with a Vampire” series–we stopped looking at the vampire as a creature of the night, and started to humanize him/her/it. Then came the romanticizing. They were the ultimate bad boys. The beasts that every teenage girl wanted to tame. Oh, please.

 

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was not intended to be a teenage heartthrob. He was based on the draconian tyrant Vlad Tepes for God’s sake. Why, oh why, would you want to romanticize that? Also known as “Vlad the Impaler,” Vlad Tepes approached torture and killing with a near-religious fervor: he set enemy soldiers on giant wooden stakes, hanging them up to let gravity pull them slowly down the length of the stake so that each one would die an agonizing death, and not quickly, mind you.

 

Vlad Tepes was evil. The Dracula character was evil. Evil is fundamental to the nature of the vampire. Not romance. But dark and insidious evil.

 

Trying to morph it into something else, something actually desirable is, as “That Fantasy Blog” aptly puts it, creepy. A vampire is an animated corpse. And yet the modern teenager seems to  want to have a baby with one? What does that say about us?

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About atoasttodragons

The author, Matthew D. Ryan, lives in northern New York on the shores of Lake Champlain, one of the largest lakes in the continental United States, famous for the Battle of Plattsburgh and the ever-elusive Lake Champlain Monster, a beastie more commonly referred to as Champy. Matthew has studied philosophy, mathematics, and computer science in the academic world. He has earned a black belt in martial arts.

One response to “Romance and the Vampire: Romeo vs. Dracula”

  1. Arial Burnz says :

    LOL! I like your assessments in the trailing comments of this post. Yeah, I wouldn’t waste your time reading Twilight. The movies are fun and capsulize the books fine…brain candy. I only read the first, so I can only judge from that.

    It’s very disappointing to me, but I personally think the quality of appreciating the depth of real fiction is missing in the general populace. It seems most people (not all, just most) like things dumbed-down and shallow. I’m seeing 5-star reviews being given to stories that lack character development and solid plots; 3- & 4-star reviews given to stories that make you think and have layers and sub-plots and detailed world-building. I guess people don’t like to think these days. Corporate America is an example.

    I will definitely have to check your novel out. It sounds interesting, especially since I’m into vampires and high fantasy. I’d stay away from my novel if I were you, though. 1500s of Scotland, my hero is built like The Rock and my heroine falls madly in love with him. He does rip out the throat of an enemy, though. Does that count? 😉

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