Why Vampires Should Not Sparkle…

There’s no question that in the history of vampire literature, the vampire has always been something of a romantic figure in that dark and stormy, brooding and uncommunicative way. The vampire has always been the bad boy that some girl hoped she could teach to love again.
And if you look at literary analysis, going back to Bram Stoker, vampire mythology has also been a warning about the dangers of extramarital sex and has been full of thinly disguised racist. After all, Dracula was a foreigner, with strange ways, and that was at least a part of the reason his motives were suspect. The fact that he really was a monster was just a happy coincidence for van Helsing and the other hunters.
But over the years, the vampire mythology has evolved into the ultimate love story, the romance that transcends even death to keep star-crossed lovers together. So why do I object to sparkly vampires?
Well, in part, it’s because of the literary tradition. Turning the vampiric condition into a mere inconvenience on sunny days removes some of the tragedy of the monster. What makes vampire romances the ultimate love story is that the love is so deep that the partner who is going to be turned, (Because, after all, there is always one partner who is human, right?) is willing to give up their humanity to be with the person they love. I never got the impression Bella was giving up a whole lot. Sure, she had to stop seeing her parents, but don’t we all do that to some extent when we get married?
She got the rich husband with eternal life and the invonvenience of having to drink blood for food. It’s like being told you can only eat chicken. Sure, it’s inconvenient, but we all make dietary choices. And she had to give up sunlight in public. I’m not certain she missed it much.
No matter how much the vampire is supposed to be the romantic lead in your story, he or she should still be a monster. Now one I know in real life has ever fallen in love with someone who’s perfect. All of our leading men and women have flaws. Our leading monsters should have them too and for vampires, the curse should include only venturing out at night.
For readers in North America, I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day by giving away my favorite vampire short story Love Always, Jake wrapped in the anthology ELEMENTS OF TIME. Just leave a comment, telling me why vampires should or should not sparkle and be sure to leave me a way to contact you if you win! I’ll take entries until midnight February 15, central standard time.
Now, head over to www.preciousmonsters.com and follow the rest of the writers talking about Valentine’s with Vampires!

Comments
5 Responses to “Why Vampires Should Not Sparkle…”
  1. Jolie du Pre says:

    Meyer said she never read a vampire book or saw a vampire movie before she wrote Twilight. I think that’s why she made made her vampires sparkle – not to be different, just out of ignorance. Thanks for this excellent post!

  2. I do agree, vampires should not sparkle!

    Great post!

    HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

  3. I agree with you on cost. I’ve also liked my vampires to have some acceptance of the sun. Usually they have an extreme aversion but not a death reaction. Y’know, extreme sunburn that could kill if I was stupid enough to chill out in it. Gives them so much more flexibility and, as I’ve been told, makes them damn scarier. Yes, that man next to you on the train could be a vampire. bwah? Eeeek! Anyway.

  4. Tasha says:

    Vampires should very definitely not sparkle IMHO 🙂 I don’t mind the ultimate love story part, I enjoy a good vampire romance, but I can’t think of any evolutionary reason why a vampire would sparkle. If a story has the elements that push it forward, I can live without the monster in the vampire, however, I do like vampires that are monstrous as well, Dracula of course springs to mind and the Lost Boys – they were glorious monsters.

    What really annoys me is when a depiction defangs the vampires, which may sound utterly ridiculous, but that’s part of what totally makes a vampire for me. 🙂

  5. James Dorr says:

    I agree with Angelica about vampires and sun. Dracula, in the novel, could go out in the day but he had special powers only at night. Notably he couldn’t shift shape during the daytime, which made him more vulnerable when Van Helsing and company caught up eith him at the end (though there is that ambiguity, that if the sun had just reached the horizon might he have turned into a cloud of mist, and not dust, just as Qunicy and Jonathan stabbed him?). As for sparkling though, sorry, but that’s just stupid. (In Polidore’s The Vampyre, preceding Dracula by about 80 years, the vampire is particularly tied in with the moon and when “killed” is revived by being exposed to the rays of a fill moon.)

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