Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vampires

Chalk it up to weird coincidences or mild obsession, but my life has been revolving around vampires just a bit. NB: If you don't like spoilers, don't read my post. It will just upset you.

It all started with the Twilight Saga. (Twilight is a really hard word to type; try it some time.) Twilight is what fills the void after Harry Potter and follows Bella Swan as she falls in love with a vampire and befriends a werewolf. It's gooey adolescent fiction goodness. Though it causes me much consternation that Bella has no real forethought. Develop your frontal lobe! The fourth book comes out on Saturday, but I'm not sure I can justifiably list it as a household expense so my reading will come a bit later.

To fill that void, I've been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy came out my freshman year of high school and I would watch it every week while talking to my best friend on the phone--except we only talked during commercials. The kick-butt female protagonist, who also like Bella falls in love with a vampire (but at least has the common sense not to want to be a vampire), saves the world almost every episode and sacrifices her (social and literal) life to save the world.

And finally, as I was listening to my British Literature lectures, I learned that in the summer of 1816 during a holiday at Lake Geneva two classic horror motifs were created while the housebound Romantic authors challenged each other in ghost stories. The most notable was that of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein, but also Dr. Polidori created vampires. Where would I be without the shaping influence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Sad, pathetic, unable to take on the world that will never appreciate how much I do for it. (Okay maybe a bit too much ad. lit.)

So why blog about it? Mostly to chronicle the inane trivia I learn, but also, vampires hold a seductive appeal and not just because of their thrall. Vampires never age. Bella struggles with this time and again as she continues to have birthdays while Edward does not. Buffy's classmate, Ford, seeks to escape his debilitating brain tumor by joining "the lonely ones." The vamps in Twilight are beautiful and nearly indestructable (no stakes through the heart for these guys).

And authors seek to find redemptive qualities in them. Edward's coven is committed to a vamp-version of the "vegetarian" lifestyle (no humans, but animals are okay). Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been cursed with a soul that keeps him from feeding. In a recent episode I watched, the demonic Judge threated to burn the humanity out of the vampires who acted too human, but it's that humanity which saves them from being monsters. But as Edward wonders, are these paltry acts of morality enough to save their souls from eternal damnation. Such is the question one ponders when faced with one's own short-comings and failures. Man, these are times when I'm thankful for grace...

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