Is it a concern when vampires become good? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I’m going through a fantasy series right now and in the last book, the main character is up against a contingent of vampires. I am quite enjoying the series and eager to see how it turns out. Vampires happen to be quite popular in our culture and Halloween time seems like a good time to talk about them.
Many of my generation know about vampires from playing the Castlevania games. Had Emil Hamilton not jumped in, they would have been called “Dracula Satanic Castle”, which means most of us would have never played them because our parents would have never bought such a game for us. Definitely a wise move since it has been a staple series.
The game traditionally involves a member of the Belmont clan who has a whip and sets out on a journey to slay Dracula. Later games didn’t always follow this rule, but at the start, this happened. In the third game, you could also switch between other characters, one of whom was Alucard, the son of Dracula. (Read his name backwards.) Alucard was also a vampire, but didn’t care for Dear Old Dad’s ways.
We can think of many other vampires in popular culture today. The Blade movies come to mind. There are a number of animes that have characters that are vampires. Then, there is obviously the Twilight saga.
An interesting concept to be sure to have a redeemed vampire, but could that also be a problem? Years ago, my ex-wife and I tried going through a book together that we never got around to finishing, but I really enjoyed. I don’t know where it is now or if I even still have it, but it’s called The Vampire Defanged by Susannah Clements.
From what I remember, the thesis was that originally, the vampire was an embodiment of sin. If you wanted to know what evil was, look at Dracula. As the book I am reading says now about the main vampire villain, he is the antithesis of life itself. He is an undead creature that chooses to live despite that he should be dead. He does not give life, but he takes it and spreads his death by turning the living into vampires. He cannot live in the light. He can bend others to his will and has no morals at all.
This is an evil indeed.
There is a benefit to evil being seen as truly evil. We need to see the vampire in these stories as the epitome of darkness. In Stoker’s work, he would be one that would be a fulfillment of the seven deadly sins. He would also not be defeated just by someone who was really tough and capable. They would have to be holy as well and have equipment that was holy. It wasn’t power that defeated the vampire so much as holiness.
Clements’s main thesis as I remember it was that the more we took sin seriously, the more the vampire was truly evil. The less we take sin seriously, the more we tame the vampire. Eventually, sunlight just makes them sparkle and they drink animal blood only to survive.
There is something cool about vampires being redeemed and becoming forces for good, but I can’t help but be concerned. Have we lost sight of evil? We could say that we are having true redemption, but perhaps we should consider.
Feel free to share your thoughts.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)