The first vampires of history were all female. Surprised! So was I when I researched the history of vampires. Vampire stories have appeared in one form or another in nearly every part of the world. Probably the first vampire creature was Lilith. She was Adam’s first wife, who refused to be subservient to Adam and left the Garden of Eden. She seduced young men and drank their blood in vengeance. Also there is Lamastu and Lamia both described as stealing children from their beds and seducing young men. They were known as succubus, a female demon seducing men and draining them of their life force. Sounds like a vampire!!!
Many other vampire creatures have been written from nearly every culture across the world. The dead being reanimated and seeking the life force of others to survive. These creatures tended to be depicted as monsters and horrific to look at.
Things changed and along came Dracula, a handsome charming vampire seducing hapless females into his grasp. A role reversal from the original vampire type creatures in historical texts. I remember watching Dracula films as a teenage boy at home alone. Being scared and intrigued by the character, and wishing I could have the power of vampire. It would make life a lot easier as a teenage boy.
More Dracula films followed and copies. I first noticed a change in the way vampires were depicted in the Buffy series with Angel. Angel the vampire who had regained his soul. He sought redemption by protecting Buffy and her friends. This lead to the attraction of opposites, Vampire and Vampire Slayer, star crossed lovers. This was the first time I noticed a popularised vampire romance story. Buffy remained the stronger of the two, she didn’t need rescuing, she was the rescuer. Buffy turned the whole vampire culture on its head. Then switched around again with Angel losing his soul again and turning back to the Vampire monster, then back again to the vampire with a soul. The lover story full circle and the knowledge they can never be together, as his fulfilled love for her would lose his soul and put everyone in danger.
There could only be one Buffy, but the idea of a humanised vampire hero has remained.
In many books and films now the vampire has become the hero, but has been humanised to some level to create an emotion bond with the audience. Blade the half human vampire tracking down and destroying vampires. In Underworld, Selena the vampire-death dealer, protecting her coven against the werewolves and discovers her life as a vampire has been a trick. She protects a man who is being sought to become the first vampire/werewolf hybrid. Selene is the hero saving the day. Vampires as the heroes and humanised through their emotions. Both these stories give us the belief you could be a vampire, but yet retain your humanity and be a hero without being a monster.
These ideas of humanised vampires, but with the human protagonist live on in Twilight, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and countless other Vampires books now available. The genre of vampire romance was well and truly born outright. Sex and love has always been part of the story, but originally the seduction of the victims merely a way for the vampire to feed, not an intended romantic attachment. The recent formula follows a well trodden path of Girl Meets Bad Boy, helps tame him through a number of ordeals and obstacles. He finds her special and different to all the other girls he has ever met. The twist being the Bad Boy is as bad as you can get, the ultimate bad boy, he is a vampire. The market is well defined with many variations and is very successful
Role reversal has always been away of reinventing the stories and each time it brings a little change. From Lilith to Dracula. Dracula to Buffy/ Angel and to Selene and Blade the hero vampires. Finally, onto the last role change of Bella and Edward, humanised vampire, and a story of star crossed lovers. However, I have yet to see the role reversal of the Twilight formula of Boy Meets Bad Girl. So I thought I would write it. Plus I wanted to re-capture the original spirit that interested me in vampire stories. What would it be like to be a vampire? To have that power and its responsibilities and to suffer its consequences.
So let’s turn the recent formula on its head and give it the spark of a new angle, a new relationship dynamic. Boy meets Ultimate Bad Girl Vampire. He tries to tame and humanise her. I doubt it!! The dynamic in the reversed roles is completely different and would take a different route. It also needs a new twist to take the vampire story on its on unique path and help develop the vampire culture even wider. The book ,”The Birth of Vengeance”, takes you on this journey into a new world of vampires and a new relationship between a human and a vampire not told before.
However, as I write this blog on the history of vampires I realised my story takes us full circle. My twist using role reversal is in fact bringing us back to square one. We are back to the female vampire seducing the young innocent men as first noted by Lilith, Lamastu and Lamia. My story could be seen as a role reversal of the Twilight genre, or a re-imaging of the first vampire stories. You decide!Twitter