Testing Conventions about Vampires

They’re alluring, persuasive, seductive, and sexual. Or are they? These are just a few of the terms associated with vampires. Other conventions surrounding vampires include that they are undead, immortal, they bite others and drink their blood. Yet, these conceptions aren’t true for every vampire. I have read and seen numerous variations on these creatures. My favorite book series is The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare ; the main  characters include shadowhunters (half-human and half-angel), fairies, werewolves, mundanes, and vampires.

The three most important vampires in the series are Camille Belcourt, Raphael Santiago, and Simon Lewis. Camille is a stereotypical vampire. She is alluring, persuasive, seductive, and sexual.  This alluring quality persuaded Simon to return for more of her venom. Further on in the series we learn that Camille has a number of symbiont’s like Shori. There is non-consensual biting occurring that will transform Simon from a mere mortal into something and someone completely different. Once he has been bitten he is found dead and the options are to leave him dead or to bury him so he may rise again. About a minute into the clip below his best friend Clary chooses the second option of burying him so he may rise again furthering the conceptions of vampires as undead and immortal.  Furthermore, this relates to Clay’s Ark when Lupe tells Rane “‘You think you can choose your realities. You can’t.'” (Butler 522) Like Rane, Simon couldn’t choose his reality, his choice was taken away.

Another convention not previously mentioned, is that vampires are damned with no soul. They are seen as unholy because they beat the fundamental rules of science. The Romanian origin story of vampires goes back to Vlad Tepes in the 1400’s. During this time religion was the science of the generation by defining how humans were supposed to be. Vampires cannot hold religious objects, touch holy ground, or even utter the word God.

Corresponding to the idea that they are damned is the idea that vampires cannot go out in the sun. They are seen as creatures of the night. In most cases they are. However, we have seen in Fledgling that Shori can handle the sun better than the others because she is part human. Unlike Shori, Simon couldn’t go out in the sun until an incident occurred which let him. Like Shori, Jace is also an experiment. His blood contains pure angel blood which gives him special powers thus transferring some of that into Simon.

The final instance where we see the conventions of vampires being tested is that soon after Simon is bitten, but before he fully transforms, he attempts to eat like he normally would. In the following clip we see how he orders and a garlic bagel with extra garlic to test the theory that garlic repels vampires.In spite of his ability to eat normally this all changes once he is fully transformed furthering our conventions about vampires.

What can be taken away from all of this information is that we don’t often get a choice in the world we live in. Many times we find that consent is not asked for nor given before changes and decisions are made. Furthermore, these choices can lead to a bond that cannot be broken.

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