Since the Twilight Saga debuted in 2006, young adults all over the world have been obsessed with immortal creatures who suck blood and fall into forbidden love with mortals. These individuals are commonly known as vampires, and are perfectly exemplified in the series by Stephanie Meyer. The success of Twilight opened a new market for vampire related items. However, is the vampire trend only a fad or has it just a continued a trend that had lain dormant for years?
Authors themselves did not create the subject of these stories. Communities and tribes created vampires to help explain strange occurrences like the loss of livestock or the disappearance of a loved one. These legends were created with the common knowledge that they were dangerous, and the creatures themselves were to be avoided at any cost. With different descriptions of details (whether a silver bullet or a stake to the heart would annihilate) coming from different directions, there were no set standard for what these imaginary beings would do. That is where the authors stepped in; they filled in the holes of the legends, either making vampires vicious and lusting for blood (like the myths and legends suggest) or misunderstood creatures of the night who lived in fear of society.
Stephanie Meyer was not the first author to draw inspiration from the undead. Vampires have been running rampant through literature since the 1700’s with Heinrich August Ossenfelder’s poem “Der Vampir”, which was published in 1748. Since then, many different versions of the same creature have been making their way through literary history, taking engaging detours from representation of malicious, mysterious monster that vampires were created to be.
One of the first authors to deviate from this path was Anne Rice in her books Interview with a Vampire and the accompanying series, named The Vampire Chronicles. The book was published in 1976, and told the story of a 200-year-old vampire named Louis. Louis tells his story to a reporter, only referred to as “Boy”. In the story, Louis and others attempt, and succeed, to over throw the leader of their “family” of vampires. After the interview, Louis expresses his doubts about immortality and the vampire lifestyle. The interviewer, unfortunately, only sees the advantages to being a vampire, and asks Louis to change him. Louis is disgusted, attacks the interviewer, and disappears. After recovering from the attack, the interviewer is used as a food source for the former leader of the “family”.
Though the vampires remained killers throughout the book, Rice created an entire new view of vampires. They went from killers of innocents to victims who had no choice whether they became monsters or not. She created characters that defied the status quo of being vampires. She created a new breed.
Stephanie Meyer continued to develop and fine-tune this “new breed” of vampires in her series The Twilight Saga. Between all of the drama between Edward, Bella, and Jacob, Meyer created characters that hated what they had become, instead of just accepting their fates. She humanized creatures who weren’t human. Stephanie Meyer did not start a fad, but she improved the way readers view vampires.
All of these representations create and continue a varied legacy, modified now by TV series and movies. Regardless of the depiction, one thing is for certain, the human fascination with those unnaturally inhuman remains.