~ Tara Fox Hall
The Thin Red Line Part 3: "Vampire Immortality" ... by Tara Fox HallAny author that writes about vampires has their own take on the monster of myth and shadows. Hell, some do not even restrict their undead—who are not even always undead—to the hours of night.
There are all manner of vampire foils, from the stake to the cross, garlic to silver, sunlight to running water, and almost all the details about a vampire are mutable to the author’s whim, depending on the kind of tale being written. But there is one facet alone that is unchangeable: immortality.
Vampires can be killed—or kill themselves—but if left alone to thrive, they can live forever. It’s easy to see why this figures into vampire tales that contain romance.
Vampires mean LOVE love LOVE love LOVE forevermore!
|Author Tara Fox Hall|
We want the intensity of infatuation, the adventure of new romance, the life-and-death feeling of living moment-to-moment waiting anxiously for the next encounter. Yet I think there is more going on here, as this specific vampire attribute is also present in vampire novels that are not marketed toward the romantics.
The reasoning (or desire for permanent romance) lies in how we humans define immortality: the ability for eternal life.In film and fiction, a vampire’s immortality is usually put to the test, either rescuing his lady fair, or just trying to beat back the waves of enemies that are usually after his blood.
There are few vampire stories that do not have the “good” vampire become badly wounded somewhere in the course of the tale…and a “bad” vampire gets reduced to a pile of ashes or becomes a decomposing corpse. But can anyone tell me of a “good” vampire who did not make it out of his story wounded, but still alive? Maybe a handful, in all of the stories and films around. And why? Because he’s the good guy, and we want him to win in the end, to open his eyes and see his beloved darkness fall again. Adding the immortal aspect means we can put the hero—or heroine, no bias here—through hellish situations and still know they can make it through, adding extra suspense, drama, and intrigue to the plot.
But let’s go one step further, and push the envelope beyond vampiric ability for regeneration. I argue that we vampire lovers don’t just want our fanged hero to live on to face another night. We want him redeemed!
In most stories, a vampire’s origin spirals back to a long ago mistake, some error of judgment that was made in the far distant past. That mistake is usually paid for in blood, and always results in a damned eternal life. Some vampires embrace their fate, their own survival paramount above anything else. Others fight fang and talon against it, determined to rise above what they’ve become and help others. But BOTH types of vampires have the luxury of living forever, a future rife with the most important feeling of any epic saga: the possibility of hope.
That expectation of a change for good in a life of certain unending night is the key to making our damaged hero whole again. Here is also where many vampire tales impale themselves fatally, because it is one thing to redeem the vampire and bring him out of his eternal despair, and quite another to redeem him to the point he is no longer a vampire.
I have never been a fan of stories where a vampire is suddenly human again, after being a creature of the night for untold millennia…and is just thrilled to be returned to the daily normalcy of everyday human life. There is a thin red line between vampiric redemption of a hero who faces a new moon, brave and resolute…and a syrupy sweet HEA with a tamed vampire that neither satisfies nor thrills.
Alexander Pope said that "hope springs eternal." I say, knowing you have all eternity before you—and the time to experience the world and change who you are—gives the most damned creature optimism for redemption. (Just don’t redeem him to much so he loses those lovely fangs of his.)
Back List of Promise Me Series titles:Surrender to Me (PM novella + excerpt from Immortal Confessions)
Promise Me (Promise Me Series #1)
Broken Promise (Promise Me Series #2
Taken in the Night (Promise Me Series #3
Taken for His Own (Promise Me Series #4)