So in the midst of my Vampire Chronicles reread, I had to switch gears and jump into The Vampire Armand for a while. I really enjoy that book. Armand is a complex character. Now, it should be noted that this book was written when Anne Rice was still very devoutly Catholic and religious. Armand is a very complex character who has moved through his 5 centuries of life while experiencing the highs and lows of love, religion, and tragedy. I would argue that Armand is one of the true tragic figures of modern literature.
Hi Coven Members-
We are now on the threshold of our fifth week, and this group is still alive in some semi-functioning manner. Last week, I did receive a response to the fourth week’s reading on the Lestat Book Coven group on Facebook. Of course, those without access to Facebook are more than welcome to leave their responses to this week or the forthcoming week’s two discussion questions in the comment area for the discussion posts, which will appear this Monday.
Unfortunately, my blog schedule is rather crammed for the upcoming weekend, and I will not be able to post the discussion post on its regularly scheduled time on Sunday evening. Nonetheless, you should be reassured that the longest delay for either the weekly newsletter or posts describing assignment details will never be longer than a day.
Anyways, today’s newsletter is short because there isn’t much news to inundate…
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Clyde Lewis is discussing the Tetrad tonight on Ground Zero, and this year there are 4 Blood Moons. The Grand Cardinal Crossing includes the four areas of the zodiac where the Tetrad will take place: Capricorn, Libra, Cancer, Aries. And the Queen was photographed in front of the painting “Abbraccio Cosmico” (Cosmic Embrace) with Pope Francis, a painting that depicts two humanoid beings embracing while being surrounded by 4 zodiac symbols: Capricorn, Libra, Aries, and Cancer. Is that a coincidence? Do they know something?
This leads to speculation: What will happen when the Blood Moon rises?
I bought The Vampire Chronicles Volume I for my Nook. I already have the books, and in some cases I have more than one copy. But I knew that if I had the books on my Nook I’d read them even more. And it’s true. This also means that I’ve been skipping around the Vampire Chronicles gleefully, revisiting passages that I haven’t seen in a while. Jumping ahead to the Queen of the Damned has been a lot of fun. Reading about Armand and Daniel has been the most enjoyable. I’ve always enjoyed those two.
I’ve been insanely busy the past few weeks, but being able to catch up to my old friends has been great. It’s always wonderful to be able to pick up a much-loved book and fall back into it as if reading it for the first time. I feel like I’m falling in love with Anne Rice’s vampires all over again, and now that I’ve been to New Orleans, I’m finding a whole new connection to the books.
I’ve talked about my well-worn copy of Interview with the Vampire purchased when I was 14 at Don’s Market in the middle of nowhere during a family trip in 1994. I’m not using that copy during my re-read of The Vampire Chronicles because it’s too fragile. Right now I’m using the 20th anniversary commemorative edition I bought in 1996. It’s a trade paperback, so it’s larger and it has a fancy embossed cover. I love it.
Recently I thought about purchasing The Vampire Chronicles for my Nook, which would make them much more portable. (I haven’t yet made the purchase…I’m still on the fence because nothing beats the feeling and smell of a book) While I was shopping on bn.com, I started perusing the comments and was shocked to see how many people gave the books 1-2 stars simply because it was too full of “history.” What the hell do these people think “vampire lore” means? Many of the commenters were teens; having read TVC when I was 14, this didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was how many people were upset that they had to get through so much history to get to the story. People: The story is about the history! Louis himself tells the Reporter that he wants to share his life’s story. That is a history of someone’s life!
It dawned on me that in the wake of the Twilight Saga, vampire literature has taken a sharp nosedive. Gone is the history and the lore. Now the backstory is nothing more than an aside in a conversation. No one seems to have the patience for it. (I read Twilight only because I was at Comic Con and someone at the publisher’s table gave me a free copy and I read it while sitting in a line. Yeah. I read it in a matter of hours. It didn’t require deep thought, which isn’t an insult, by the way. It’s just a statement. You don’t need to ponder the book. You read it and move on to the next one.) Now, it was amusing to see that one comment compared some passages from IWTV to Jacob’s point of view in Breaking Dawn (i.e. repetitive and not exciting). I won’t touch that one because I know that Team Jacob fans are rabid (no pun intended), but it’s funny to me that these comments all basically say the same thing: these readers do not want history and lore and lush imagery and prosaic passages about the majesty and mystery of New Orleans and what it’s like to be a vampire. No. They want the action. They want the drama. They want the romance. And they want it now.
Not everyone is like this, mind you, but it does suggest that the tide is changing in literature. I will be interested to see how Anne Rice’s newest book, Prince Lestat, is received by the crop of new vampire fans who think every vampire is like Edward Cullen.
Remember when Lestat was at the height of his Rock Star days, and he comments that his legions of fans don’t truly believe that he’s a vampire? They’re just caught up in the spell of it all, and they probably wouldn’t be so enthused if they knew the truth and the evil he was capable of. Lestat debated this point later on with David Talbot in Tale of the Body Thief. In Anne Rice’s world, vampires must feed on blood to survive, and while some try to walk the fine line between good and evil, some find it much more pleasant to give up the charade and be evil, unapologetically, because they like it (Theater of the Vampires, anyone?). I think the generation of vampire fans who joined the ranks amid the whirlwind of The Twilight Saga are like the fans that Lestat speaks of. If Edward Cullen didn’t feed on animals and instead tore a few throats out (especially a few throats attached to innocent people)…would he still be a heartthrob? Maybe. Maybe not.
Why are people still drawn to the Vampire Lestat and religiously flock to the annual Vampire Ball in New Orleans? Personally, I think it has to do with the fact that Lestat is as human as we are. He’s imperfect and he tries to do the right thing; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Isn’t that the human experience? (Yes, yes, I know, he has killed people. Lots of them. I know. But people…he’s a work of fiction. That means we can embrace him all we want. If you’re wondering, I think he’s one of the most complex characters ever written.)
It makes me sad to think that the vivid imagery of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire is being criticized for having too much history. Ironically, I read IWTV when I was 14 and eventually majored in history, and don’t think that discovering the magical worlds of Pre-Revolutionary France, Venice during the Renaissance, New Orleans (at any point in history), and ancient Rome through The Vampire Chronicles didn’t have something to do with that. Anne Rice has a knack for bringing the past to life with her meticulously researched settings.
I’m not sure a digression needs to have a distinct conclusion…but I will say this: I enjoyed reading The Twilight Saga but those books are in a category unto themselves. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles cannot (and should not) be compared to the work of Stephanie Meyer. It’s totally fine to be a fan of one set and not the other. Tearing apart the Vampire Chronicles for having too much “history” and “vampire lore” is silly, though. As Lestat would say: “Mon Dieu.”
With all the things going on in the world today, I was shocked to wake up to this story:
Mets player Daniel Murphy left before opening day to be with his wife in Florida who was giving birth to their first child, a son they named Noah. Murphy opted to take the MLB’s 3-day paternity leave to be with mom and baby, and that’s what sent New York’s sports media into a frenzy. Some broadcasters went as far as to say that his wife should have had a C-section prior to the start of the season.
In an age where mothers don’t even take their full maternity leave to rush back to work, I think that the broadcasters are toeing the line on a dangerous precedent: the birth of a child is far more important than baseball. I love sports, but that’s the truth. I used to work in college athletics and I was disappointed when my boss opted to attend a conference meeting with her newborn because she was afraid of “how it would look” to the men if she wasn’t there just because she had a baby.
I’d like to see how these broadcasters explain themselves to their wives–or their future pregnant daughters. It’s insensitive and it sends the wrong message about priorities and what’s important in life.
I don’t have kids…but I know this much: If men were the ones having babies, this conversation would not be happening.