Vampires have held our fascination for hundreds of years. They have gone from something people believed were real, to a fictional creature to fear in the night, to lost souls, to lovers.
To celebrate the opening of submissions for Triskaidekaphilia 2: Ravenous, Pen and Kink Publishing is hosting a series on vampires to get you in the mood.
This week, Errin Krystal looks at strengths and weaknesses of traditional vampires.
Vampires have long held a presences in mythology and these days in pop culture. I myself have had a fascination with these paranormal creatures of the night ever since I first saw the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film when I was seven-years old. Their powers and weaknesses have always held a particular interest, and are certain aspects of vampire lore that have remained part of the mythos forever.
Preternatural Senses: At their core, Vampires are predators above anything else. Whatever else they may be, darkly brooding love interest and the like, Vampires are the perfect hunter. Lightning speed, supernatural strength and agility, night vision, heightened hearing and smell. I mean, what chance could anyone possibly have over a creature that can hear the blood rushing through your veins, or the steady beat of your heart? Against a hunter who could be at your side in seconds, who could snap a neck between their fingertips before you could even blink?
Beauty: Yes, I am going to claim this as a strength/power. Like I said, Vampires are the ultimate predator, and let’s face it, vampires are often described as being beautiful. I have even seen it mentioned before where a person who is Turned actually becomes more beautiful, taking on an unearthly quality, their features altering slightly.
Hypnotic Abilities: Say you are actually able to resist the seductive allure of a stunningly sexy and dangerous paranormal being (good luck with that!). The Vampire also has hypnotic powers, they can mesmerise, draw you under their spell, and seduce you until they are all you see. Of course you are going to offer your throat up for a tasty snack. Unless that vampire takes a liking to you and keeps you under their thrall, making you a willing slave to their every whim.
Shapeshifting: I think this has to be my favourite. I think one of the reasons I love Vampires so much is that they certainly have a range of powers and abilities. And who doesn’t love a shapeshifter? Bats, wolves even shifting into a misty vapour are all within the Vampires repertoire. I mean, who is going to be suspicious of fog? Or think anything of that bat hanging in the tree outside your window. Ok, so a wolf lurking about is less inconspicuous than the previous two forms, but still, it could well be a Vampire stalking out his next victim and you would never know.
Daylight: Vampires are creatures of darkness, night dwellers, they do not wander about in the daylight. A Vampire walking about in the middle of the day? They would burst into flame. They belong in the shadows, shrouded in moonlight. I have seen a few decent examples of daylighters that actually work, but there is usually more involved than magic rings or ‘because they can’. Vampires are at their weakest during daylight hours, their powers severely diminished.
Religion: Vampires are often referred to as being damned or soulless, so religious artifacts can be used against them. Crucifixes and holy water will burn a Vampire, and cause excruciating pain. And while Vampire are able to enter public building, they cannot set foot on holy ground. It’s a strangle kind of irony that beings who have almost godlike powers, are brought low by blessed items.
Invitation Only: Technically a weakness yes, but as mentioned above, with their beauty and powers of compulsion, I think this is simple enough to get around. Vampires, after all, can enter public buildings, so it hardly matters they cannot just waltz into your house.
Silver: Traditionally also used to kill Werewolves, Vampires are also known to have an aversion to silver and depending on how it is used, can prove fatal.
Stake: The good old wooden stake through the heart. Classic. Find their resting place in daylight hours and dust!
Fire: This here is a great reason for Vampires to never venture out of doors in the daytime. Fire will reduce your Vampire to cinders.
Beheading: Once again, there’s just no coming back from this. Dust.
I am undecided whether the lack of reflection is a strength, weakness or just a general quirk of vampirism, but the one that always struck me as odd was the aversion to garlic? Thoughts?
Errin Krystal is a fantasy romance writer who has been writing since she was a small child. Her head has always been full of stories. She began work on her first novel when she was sixteen.
She lives with her family in regional Victoria, Australia, and works as a chef. In her quieter moments, she loves to indulge her passion for storytelling, basking in the joy that comes from creating vibrant characters, fantastical worlds and all manner of magical creatures. Dragons and elves, mages and warriors, troubled princes and beautiful princesses, romance, magic, and adventure can all be found in her writing.
Her first book, The Wild Realms of Véneanár: Book 1 – The Last Dragon Rider has just been contracted by The Wild Rose Press.
I am working on a book of my own that i had started years ago and just kind of stopped. Now that I have a little more insight on vampires it will greatly help me with my book. So for that I thank you.
Is vervain one of their weaknesses??
I think that is just from the Vampire Diaries novels, I’m assuming that the author just made that up as I’ve not seen it mentioned anywhere else.
I’m a massive fan of True Blood. Can someone tell me with all the tv shows and movies which show/ movie is the best representation of vampires. I’m also a massive fan of Interviewing a Vampire.
I think the best representation of a true vampire is the movie Van Helsing (2004) starring Hugh Jackman. They are very powerful even when facing the weaknesses listes here.
That’s probably one of the least accurate examples of so called ‘true’ vampires. Historically, vampires from folklore are little more than walking corpses that fed on blood and had few to no powers or abilities at all. The idea of a seductive, powerful vampire is a fairly recent invention, coming about in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Why are cemetery gates iron? Is iron anathema to vampires? If so, why?