Tuesday 8 December 2009

Psychic Vampires in Love

Bit of a random thought process...

Having recently been to see Twiglet: New Moon (don't judge me; my wife watches for the vampire romance, and I watch for the FX and the monster fights), and half-watched some of the early episodes of True Blood, I found myself reflecting on a theme common to the two stories, and in fact common to supernatural drama in general. Bear with me, here.

In the Twilight films, Bella is immune to vampiric mind-control and mind-reading. This is one of the reasons she is so attractive to Edward, who is a mind-reader; he is fascinated by her, because she maintains an air of mystery that no-one else has. In True Blood, Sookie is a telepath, and thus immune to vampiric influence, while Compton is a vampire and thus unreadable by telepathy. This explains their attraction to each other; Compton usually finds women too easy to control, and Sookie is generally too appalled by human nature, but with each other, once again, there is the allure of the unknowable and uncontrollable.

As I say, this is a common theme. It's a variation on the "Beautiful Monster" archetype in fiction: the alien being with a compassionate heart, who for all his power yearns only to be human. The Beautiful Monster dates back at least as far as Frankenstein, and probably much earlier. It reveals our humanity to ourselves, forces us to question what it is to be human, yadda yadda yadda. Cue A-Level Eng. Lit. essay; 2000 words on my desk by the end of the month.

But really, is the idea that robust? Okay, I can see that love (or at least, lust: the horrible will-she-won't-she, stomach churning, anguished first stages of a proper crush) depends a lot on doubt and mystery, at least as you and I experience it. But am I supposed to believe that someone who has that insight by nature - who has always had it - is unable to feel love because of it, and will suddenly fall head-over-heels for the first person who denies it?

Here's a quick mental excercise. Imagine being fully possessed of sight, as you presumably are. Now imagine growing up in a community of the blind: your parents and siblings, your childhood friends, your colleagues and fellows. At every stage in your life, you can see them - see their unguarded expressions, their irritable gestures, their rolled eyes and mouthed obscenities - where none of them can see yours, or each others'. Then one day, the woman/man (delete as appropriate) of your dreams walks in the room, wearing a balaclava. Suddenly you're in the exact same position as everyone else around you! Only now can you truly experience love the way those around you do! This is it! This is real!


As a rule, losing a means of perceiving someone - hearing but not seeing them, seeing but not hearing, hearing their words but not their tone - is actually quite threatening. Personally, if I was some kind of mind-reading vampire, I'd be a bit uncomfortable around someone on whom my powers had no effect, and probably get the Hell out of their way.

But then, I don't write Paranormal Romance.

Just a thought.


R.R.Jones said...

Deep dude, bring on the zombies and let's get back on track here, lol.

David Moore said...

Alright, alright! I can only post what comes to mind.

Fair point, though, well made. What was I thinking, posting about emo bloody vampires?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that this theme has been explored one time to many. Vampire with a heart ? pah. Pathetic teen-girl romance without a shred of believability leave it for the fan-fic dross.

David Moore said...

Hear, hear! Let's have vampires that kill the shit out of stuff and love being undead. Then send in guys with crucifixes and holy water to cleanse them. That's vampires.