Write an Article

The Vampire Chronicles Review Article

Anne Rice's vampires: Love and sexuality

Review by bendaimmortal posted over a year ago
fan of it?
3 fans
save
Three steps before we go. Just to try and avoid misunderstandings, which are all too easy to happen in a written form.

Fisrtly: This article's not at any point trying to rob you off your freedom to have, keep and state your own character views and opinions.

Secondly: I am not a homophobic or sexaphobic. I am merely trying to figure out its role in The VC universe; how the ricean vampires' sexuality differs from human sexuality as in on what level it should be seen and how important and essential it is to the story and relationships. I am not denying their sexuality at any point and I'm not trying to say this is the accurate and full image of the sexuality's role in the entire ricean universe and its relationships. When it comes to The Vampire Chronciles, the quotations from Anne Rice are the only real truth in this article, the rest is just my interpretation.

Thirdly: This is meant for anyone who's interested but especially for other newbies who are making efforts to understand or are confused anout them. Even I am still confused al along here but I'm trying.

Now, let me start from the beginning so you get a picture of how I am, where I come from and how I came to this point.

I've been a fan of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronincles since June 2008 and I'm sure my being new to this, shows here. Back then, I had only seen the movies but I considered myself a fan as I was genuinely interested in them and I begun to study the fandom. This, was a huge mistake. I should've just taken the books and read them. Which I didn't get to begin to do until sometime around November that year.

Until then, I was blue-eyed enough to have good faith in that people who sound so in love and fanatic about the books that they'd judge a movie adaptation so passionately and extremely, would know what they're talking about and deeply respect the books' characters and relationships. Added to that innocent belief, I knew the Chronicles are supposed to have homosexuality in them on one level or another and the homosexual (slash) fan art from videos to other art pretty much run over anything else in the fandom. Thus, I assumed most of the vampire relationships are homosexual or at least bi.

Then I bought the books and downloaded e-books too and begun to read. As I read, I couldn't let go of the images other fans had already given me. Eventually I stopped thinking what everyone else says and looked into it purely myself & then thought they're not gay nor lovers - which I however had later become a bit unsure of in some relationship's cases. No, the sexuality's absence in a significant level was very clear to me. I thought the books hint to homosexuality but do not exactly include it with the vampires. But the love between the vampire characters in their relationships I believed was just love in its purest, but that I didn't think was too clear. It can't be clear as it leaves room for possibilities. So many are so sure of their conclusions to be the only correct ones that I began to suspect if there after all is a certain way they're supposed to be seen. Well, it turns out as far as I see, there isn't - in 99% of the relationships that is.

You see, I got sick of the confusion and being laughed at for not seeing that "Lestat & Louis are lovers and gay" and so on, or Lestat & Nicki. So I wanted to try and make it clear to myself, by e-mailing Anne Rice, asking her what is her meaning in the whole sexuality matter with her vampires and my main question was if Lestat & Louis and Lestat & Nicki are supposed to be lovers of any kind. And that would imply I wish to understand what is important about the relationships seeing to the story.

I'm gonna offer her reply and my take on it for anyone who's interested.

Anne Rice's reply to my e-mail + my interpretation of it.

"The reader has to form his own conclusions."

Sure we do and I respect also the fact we are always and forever free to do so and keep them no matter what she says, but I did say I am interested in her own means on this because the matter is interesting and vital to the series.

Readers should make their own conclusions but this is her image of her vampires and thus the original and truest - (her words in quotation marks and in cursive and my take on them after it, so of course the cursive quotations are the her view. The rest is just my conclusion on them and it may or may not make sense.

"My vampire characters do not have sexual relations with each other or with humans."

So indeed, they're not gay nor straight in any practical level. And, even if they had sexual relations, Anne later on says repeatedly that gender and age doesn't matter to her vampires. So they couldn't be gay anyway. Rather bi or omnisexuals.

I think Anne Rice vampires are not about sexuality on such a significant level as many seem to think they are ("drinking blood = sex to them", some say) but most significantly about love in it's purest and deepest exsistance - sexuality belongs to it but love stands on it's own as well. Which is by the way, one of the reasons why I think her vampire image is so outstanding. Usually vampires are portrayed as highly sexual creatures, who bearly have a heart. Anne pretty much turned that image upside down - or made the sexuality much more finer and elegant - with incredible depth and so made the vampire infinitely more beautiful, fascinating abd luring.

What I'm trying to imply is that I think the way ricean vampires are not homo/hetero-sexual with each other couldn't be more clear in the writing in the books - and that taking some little detail or a first impression and usually with failing to grasp the concept of homosexuality I think is making people miss out on something. Hence, people say "Lestat is gay because he says he loves Louis", while simply feeling love doesn't make a man homosexual. And, "Lestat clearly states he is attracted to Marius as more than a father.", which is actually true but in the scene in question that statement had like a gazillion literally given reasons that had nothing to do with a natural attraction, which leads to the fact he never felt that way for Marius since. All this person would've had to do is read the entire scene with thought and not blindly stare at the sexual terms used.

"But they are obviously attracted to and capable of falling in love with people of any age and any gender. They are "out of nature" once they become vampires, and they can love all people. Gender, age, etc., no longer matter."

I believe she is talking about love in it's purest and most basic exsistance, and not about love of any specific nature.

"Many gay readers have seen them as gay, and seen the books as gay allegory. Others
have not seen this at all. I see them as transcending matters of gender or age. Lestat loves Louis. Louis loves Claudia. Armand loves Lestat. Lestat loves Gabrielle. There is no distinct difference in the quality of any of these loves. This has also been described as polymorphous sensuality."


As I said I believe the vampires hint to homosexuality but don't really have such relationships and if they do have something like that (Marius&Armand), it's not the human thing as they're able to explore love, including this sexual element, on a drastically different level. She does not describe Marius and Armand as "gay lover" but as a "sensualized love affair" as in, I believe sexuality isn't the basic element though an essential part of the love. Or something. And in the end she seems to leave it all up to the reader, saying some gay people have seen them (the vampires in general) as gay and some have not seen it at all. I'd regard them omnisexual indtead of gay.

Anyway... She said just there; "There is no distinct difference in the quality of any of these loves." = Generally, her vampires are not so simply, exactly and literally lovers in the term's romantic meaning. They may not be "gay lovers", especially not for Lestat saying he loves / fell fatally in love with Louis - I see her pretty much saying it is as I reckoned, that it can, but isn't really essential to be imagined, anything absolute in nature but her vampires are about love and bond all in all. Except for...

Marius & Lestat. I pointed out that there is a distinct difference in the quality of those guys' love for each other seeing to their other loves and asked if there was a reason for this exception other than the fact Lestat's mortal life misery is screaming his yearning for a loving father-figure who he could put all his trust in.

She kindly replied again.

"I see the vampires as deeply loving all sorts of people. Once they are made vampires, they transcend gender and sexual desire. Their loves have to do with the essence of the person."

The Queen of the Damned (2002) film really can't be compared to the books in this love & sexuality matter as it doesn't respect the books at any level in it. But just in case... As I take it, the deeply loving all sorts of people doesn't mean the vampire literally fall in love of any nature with just anyone and everyone they meet. They love humanity but to fall in love of some nature, to create any real essence, takes something significant. Hence, Lestat could never romantically fall in love with someone like the film's Jesse, which the movie itself clearly proves too, by having no chemistry and no working storyline with them. And in the books Lestat seems to fall in love easily (in whatever nature) but it seems to take a deep and remarkable personality for him to do so. The film Lestat loves the film Jesse's humanity. That's all for the love whereas there is much more for hate and he clearly shows that part. So, let's also consider that even though the vampires are about love in it's purest and deepest exsistance - they are not brainless hippies. And the Queen of the Damned (2002) film is truly a disgrace to the books, while it is generally taken a fine film independently.

And as for transcending sexual desire and gender... I think just like the love without sexuality element, the sexual element become pure and free and since they're above sexuality, "out of nature", the sexuality isn't what drives them but love in purest is, and sex may or may not have something to do with it. Unlike in human nature, which they're out of, sex ususllay drives and love may or may not have something to do with it.

"It is true that the relationship between Lestat and Marius is a father and son relationship;"

YES, it is, and later I'll be reasoning why it shouldn't be and can't logically be thought of as anything else. (Apart from the mentor/student and friends that combine to the father-son element.)

"however the relationship between Armand and Marius was a sensualized love affair type relationship. Gabrielle and Lestat is a mixed relationship, part mother son, part love affair. Louis and Lestat is a love hate relationship. Claudia and Louis is more a love affair. Lestat and Claudia a father daughter relationship.

So I would say the opening up of possibilities is what is key. The vampire state opens the characters to all different types of loves, but it is always the essence of the character that most determines the nature of the love."


She goes back into when it comes to the whole lovers/sex matter of the relationships that don't have the certain-quality label the way the Marius & Lestat does. As in, a father-son element can not be seen with a sexual touch without it becoming clearly disturbing and twisted and affecting both characters psychologically, which Marius and Lestat clearly are not. The only way they seem psychologically unusual is in the father-son way; Marius sets a boundrie, Lestat pushes it for the fun of it, Marius scolds him, which is one of the reasons why Lestat psushes the boundires because he enjoys being scolded especially by Marius, who on his behalf enjoys Lestat being a total, hopeless brat - so round and round they go. Such sweet nutties they are but completely and purely a father and son in heart, whereas the other nature of love they feel for each other is as friends, plus they're relationship include Marius being a teacher about being a vampire, which may be the essence of it or the father-son element but it all boils down to that sexuality and romance has no place in their love. Whereas, the essence of the following relationships she talks about, is of another nature of love - yet they either, have nothihng to do with sex.

"--- Armand is desperately in love with Lestat but it has nothing to do with sex. Armand feels Marius failed him and Marius feels Armand failed him, and that part has nothing to do with sex. Marius and Pandora, that is a love affair, but again sex has nothing to do with it. So they are all capable of loving people of their own gender and the other gender; gender doesn't matter. It's the essence. Lestat loves David Talbot as a lover, a friend, a mentor, a father, etc. --- It goes on like that. The act of dominating and drinking blood can happen between any two characters regardless of gender. They cannot be pinned down. They see all life as potentially beautiful and all forms of love as rewarding."

Regardless of Marius and Armand's relationships sexual quality in some parts, they're still in the end all about love to which the sexual element belongs but that sexual part doesn't make that much a difference, since it's sensualizing the love instead of driving it.

In other vampire relationships that she mentioned she said the love in them has nothing to do with sex, which I think makes perfect sense anyway, as I don't remember them doing what Marius and Armand are doing at some point but then again I haven't read all the books yet.

Whereas in Marius and Armand case, she mentones "that part", so she implies that in that relationship there are parts than have to do with sex and obviously there is. She didn't mention Lestat and Akasha, but I think the two fall beside Marius and Armand in this.

If you want to stop being confused, I believe you have to let go of sexuality in human human level 'cause the vampire have done so too. You're free not to, but if looked at for what they are; Forget human sexuality. Even in the very rare cases where it's in a way there, it isn't the human thing. If sexuality is part of a relationship on any relationship affective level, it's something finer than human sexuality. They don't feel sexual desire for each other.

So the blood drinking isn't a raw alternate to human sex. It is always a form of intimicity but that's all. The extacy it gives is on some level described with sexual terms but is still said to be indescribable, something no human can know. And that extacy always happens, no matter what the reason for the blood drinking; which can be anything from drinking for survival (as in eating), to giving another vampire strength / heal them if they're weak (like Marius fed Lestat blood when Lestat was all dried up of it and couldn't much move), to giving powers (which usually increase by aging but can be given through blood too), to turning someone into a vampire. And maybe sometimes, depending on the nature of the love in the relationship, they do drink blood just for the extacy. The blood drinking has a sexual type of...overtone?... but it has so many purposes and meanings for the vampire, that it is not compareable to sex.

I think by the author's means her vampires are not compareable to human love and sex that simply even though naturally they can and should be compared to it to a degree, and I personally never saw simplifying it as fascinating, because they're vampires. Which was why I let go and looked into them purely myself.

And what I'm also extremely happy about is, that she has officialized that Marius and Lestat are about being a father and son - not that I ever had even the slightest doubt about it after I read the books myself - but seeing to this love/sexuality picture for her vampires - I feel it was necessary for her to say they are, which some of the fanbase seems to fail to see.
All the two explore with each other is the menror/student, father/son and being friends.

My thoughts on this in a nutshell:
1. The characters being lovers or gay isn't essential to the story and relationships. Love in it's purest exsistance is.

This leads me to an argument I received in the name of what Lestat & Louis are. As far as I understood it, I'm supposedly missing a huge part of their relationship and story if I'm not seeing them as lovers even though Lestat uses a passionate tone when saying he loves Louis, as in "I fell fatally in love with him." I never ignored that. It's just that the way I add that up, is: Falling in love + passionate tone = passionate love - of any possible nature. Not absolutely or even primarily romantic.
And as for the essence of Lestat & Louis's relationship - I really don't see it being there clearly - and even Anne herself decided to define it only with words "love hate relationship" - their relationship probably has involved throughout the books but that definition was her choice today, long after she had finished the serie. So I believe she still sees them more in that general level of love ansd hate that could be taken into many natures. Well, at least I think she wants us to look at them from that point of view and then make our conclusions. The same with Lestat and Nicki. I asked loud and clear about them as well, and she didn't say they're lovers any more than that they're not. So it most likely isn't an essential thing to worry about.

I think if you compare them to human ways of seeing the relationship as in "if they were human like that, they'd be gay lovers" and that's why you think they're as such and that there is no other way of seeing them, you are knowingly ignoring the important and significant element that they are not human. I rather see them loving on the differing vampire level, instead of thinking how that love would be in human ways and see them simply that way. So, I believe that the differing matters. There's more to them than being or not being homosexual lovers.

2. This I'm saying in the name of her officialising "it's the essence of the character that matters" when it comes to the nature of the love - and long ago I received an argument from a Lestat&Marius slasher, saying "Lestat never says how he loves Marius, he just says he loves him." - to which I gave an argument that it doesn't matter if he didn't say the words, when looked into what he does say and do with/about Marius, it is clear it's a son's love for his father and the other way around. As love confessed in words is not the essence. They way they act and think of each other, the way they need each other, is the essence. If we really need the words, he does utter such lines as "Marius. Don't be the angry father. Save me..." (from Queen of the Damned, when he wants to get out of the relationship with Akasha.) and "Marius. You turned your back on me. It came as no surprise really. I don't despise you for it. You always were the parent, the teacher, the high priest." (from the Tale of the Body Thief, after Marius had made very clear he was not going to assist Lestat through this shit the Brat Prince had pulled.) Just to mention few examples. And Anne has actually even literally said about Lestat & Marius; "They could never be called lovers." and really, as I said, I believe that's obvious from the books.

And now, according to Anne's words quoted earlier, it is as far as I see - most clear that Marius and Lestat seem to remain the only/one of the few vampire relationships/loves that is not left open for possibilities to see just in any way desired, but their love's nature has been defined in significant and clear level, even with Lestat's entire mortal life as a strong background for why it is and needs to be, a pure father-son love. "It is true Marius and Lestat have a father and son relationship", and she continues with the word "however" and the rest of the relationships she spoke on while also having their essence that matters the most, seem to have numerous different qualities that make them much more complicated in nature all in all, whereas Marius and Lestat's love natures blend in one - making it all they can logically be.

3. It is ok to vision Lestat & Louis and Lestat & Nicki as lovers and it is just as ok to vision them not to be lovers but something else. But it is not that valid to vision any of the ricean vampires practically gay as in homosexuals in rawest level, as it is a pure impossibility for them to be practically that, them being above sexuality and having no sexual relations with each other nor with humans. I once heard a more fitting term; "bi-romantic".

Now, as mortal human beings, they sure had sexuality in the very level but this article is completely and purely talking the vampires, and after turning into that there is no sexual relations, they transcend the desire and gender, and love gets a whole new meaning and value.

-The following is not quoting Anne Rice, but EternalMiyu on "Can Anne Rice's vampires have sex?" at IMDB.com / Interview with the Vampire Discussion Board:
"Vampires become sterile and sexually unresponsive, however, so any 'pleasure' derived from this would just be from the emotional/psychological satisfaction of being slightly intimately closer to the partner during the blood-drinking process. As Talamasca2 stated, pretty much everything is about the blood once you become a vampire. If a vampire enjoys any sexual penetration, which I would assume is rather rare, it's entirely from an emotional standpoint. This tendency would be more likely in a newborn vampire and would fade rather quickly, as the fledglings are more inexperienced in the blood-drinking department."
Share this article with others!

Around the Web

11 comments

user photo
Myf_1992 said:
Reading The Vampire Armand last night I came a across sentence which I think explains some of your points very well.

Marius says this to Armand while preparing to turn him;

"[you] must now rise above the pleasures you have so loved."

Marius is obviously referring to Armands love for sleeping around. And note he says "rise above", which suggests that they are above such earthy pleasures. To rise above gives the impression that they transcend such things, and through become a vampire they become "out of nature". Sex is no longer a part of their world, it is not important, and that they are not leaving it behind, or feeling this is the price for eternal life, but that they must feel pride in not having it, almost like they are angels. There are better more pleasurable things, such as consuming another's blood.

I don't know how to explain it properly, but that's the best I can come up with.

And hey I can't be that bad at analysis English literature cause I found out I got an A in my English Literature GCSE. (yay me!)
posted over a year ago.
 
user photo
smile
Yay, you, indeed! ^___^

Thank you for this. Now there's the "because Anne Rice said so" and "because Marius said so" if someone doesn't want to believe the other parts in the books. :D
posted over a year ago.
 
user photo
Yes, Anne Rice's vampires cannot have sex, but they can still feel attraction and have feelings for. It is just like a person who is not sexually active, but is attracted to the same sex would be homosexual, or attracted to the other sex would be heterosexual, etc. Just because they are not having sexual relations, it does not mean the romantic feelings are not there. That is also why I believe people do not choose to be gay, that they just are that way. Many gay people I have spoken to have known they were gay from since they were children, and of course they were definitely not having sex at that young age. Likewise, a gay man who is in denial might have sex with women, and not with men, not because he is actually attracted to women, but because he is in denial and afraid of his homosexual feelings (Ennis in Brokeback Mountain is a good example of this. I know I'm digressing, but I just wanted to point that out. This comes back to Rice's characters because I think certain characters were a certain orientation before they were turned. I don't believe Lestat was straight, and I also don't believe Louis was gay. But after they were turned into vampires, it is obvious that they have feelings for each other. And that is what I think Ms. Rice meant when she said that it transcended gender. And I also agree with what Myf_1992 said. Their feelings for each other has nothing to do with the sex itself, but for the love and romantic part of it. Which is how I believe Lestat loved Louis.
posted over a year ago.
 
user photo
Thanks for the input, again. (: Since you have obviously also given a lot of thought and analysing on these matters, and may have been a fan for a longer time, I'd like to know do you think this article makes any sense? At least seing to it's effort as stated in the beginning; 'What I am trying to figure out is how the sexuality differs from human sexuality as in on what level it should be seen and how important/essential it is to the story and relationships in The VC?'
posted over a year ago.
 
user photo
Finally!! someone else has noticed this.
They have no sexual desire but they can still feel love, in its purest form, untainted by sex.

People usually take one word from the book, and impose their own views. Which leads to misunderstandings, or what Anne Rice said "different interpretations". It seems the vampires have never in the book, ever done something sexual with one another. This is very purposeful. Theres even a part of the book where Lestat (in The Tale of the Body Thief) he says to David Talbot "We should make love, while we still have the chance", This is the part where Lestat had gotten a mortal body again (the body thief traded bodies using his ability), this clearly shows that Lestat could not have sex with David Talbot (or want to) while he was a vampire. Theres also a scene in the Queen of the Damned, where Lestat says "And the organ, the organ we don't need, poised as if ready for what it would never again know how to do or want to do, marble, a priapus at a gate". He refers to his penis here.

As you have said, there are many instances in the book where vampires basically say that they...

Cannot feel sexual desire (therefore) Cannot have sex (therefore) Cannot have children.
(well infecting people with vampirism by drinking their blood is "their way" of having children, clearly different though)
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
user photo
Yeah... I just can't get over how people find the blood-drinking to be downright sex to them. The act is so rarely if at all, described in a purely sexual tone, as in, it always has a non-sexual/non-pleasure-seeking purpose. If she meant it to be sex or them to feel sexual desire towards each others, I think she would've written them to drink each others's blood much more and for no other than pleasure purposes. Not even Lestat and Louis do that even though in her image they're supposed to be lovers.

Even if I am still searching for the full accurate image of The VC vampires' love and sexuality, one thing I'm sure of and that is that they're about love in it's purest exsistanxe and that the blood-drinking is not supposed to be seen as sex and that they don't feel sexual pull/desire towards each other in such an extreme/strong/same levele as humans do.
posted over a year ago.
 
user photo
Yes, I think Anne Rice made it clear, that as vampires, the characters don't feel sexual desire. Not only can they no longer have sex, but they never feel any desire for anything sexual either. The blood-drinking is not symbolic of sex. It is simply something they must do. But they do feel love for each other, and that love can be in a romantic sense. Also, whatever orientation they were before they were turned becomes irrelevant. (Like how Louis was most likely heterosexual before he became a vampire.)
posted over a year ago.
 
user photo
Some people say that blood is symbolic of sex, I think its got to do with the fact that blood is pleasurable to them (I remember in queen of the damned, Akasha and Enkil said that blood was better then sex ever was). Blood I think is the human equivalent of "food". Even though blood drinking can be a sensual thing (like drinking it from vampires neck) its never a sexual thing... and usually its a violent thing (which it always is when a vampire drinks from a human being). So there are similarities, but I guess people can be imaginative.
posted over a year ago.
 
user photo
I also always thought that the physical pleasure is caused and is so high because blood doesn't run through their veins at any other time. That would partially explain why no human can know the extacy it causes. Because it always does run in our veins, we can not know how it feels when it only happens occasionally.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
user photo
Just added this to the end of this article:

"Vampires become sterile and sexually unresponsive, however, so any 'pleasure' derived from this would just be from the emotional/psychological satisfaction of being slightly intimately closer to the partner during the blood-drinking process. As Talamasca2 stated, pretty much everything is about the blood once you become a vampire. If a vampire enjoys any sexual penetration, which I would assume is rather rare, it's entirely from an emotional standpoint. This tendency would be more likely in a newborn vampire and would fade rather quickly, as the fledglings are more inexperienced in the blood-drinking department."
-EternalMiyu on "Can Anne Rice's vampires have sex?" at IMDB.com / Interview with the Vampire Discussion Board.
posted over a year ago.
 
user photo
I'm glad Ms. Rice permits readers to reach "their own conclusions."
Ms. Rice has--it's a matter of record--written erotic and pornographic novels, and in The Vampire Armand, there is lavish orgiastic sex of all kinds. I feel this doesn't all end when one becomes a vampire, and that the voracious often-continuous blood-taking between Akasha and Lestat in Queen of the Damned is a
metaphor for real sex. And how Letat swoons! Heck, they all swoon during blood-taking, and is not this euphoria too entirely like sexual pleasure?

posted over a year ago.