Vampires in HBO's "True Blood"
|Description||A supernatural species of undead immortals.|
|First Seen||Dead Until Dark|
|Notable Powers||Superhuman strength, speed, senses, and endurance, healing factor, glamouring, flight, and voice imitation.|
Vampires are a supernatural species of undead immortals, who were originally humans converted by a maker. Their primary characteristics include being "undead" (characterized by a lack of a heartbeat, brainwaves, electrical impulses, need to breathe, and other bodily functions), fangs, and the need to drink blood to survive.
In "The Southern Vampire Mysteries", due to the creation of synthetic blood (marketed as TrueBlood) in Japan, vampires have revealed themselves to the global population (an event referred to as "the Great Revelation", "coming out of the coffin" and "mainstreaming") two years prior to the series. As vampires are able to sustain on synthetic blood instead of human blood, vampire representatives assure that vampires are not a threat to humans.
Reaction to vampires varies between countries and regions. However, they are considered legal citizens within the United States, albeit with limited rights and strict rules.
- 1 History
- 2 Powers and Abilities
- 3 Human Reception
- 4 Appearance
- 5 Anatomy
- 6 Feeding
- 7 Immortality
- 8 Creation
- 9 Powers and Abilities
- 10 Weaknesses
- 11 Sociology
- 12 Crime and punishment
- 13 Gallery
Prior to the first novel's time line, the vampires in the Stackhouse universe reveal themselves to the world as being actual, and not mythical, beings after Japanese scientists develop a Synthetic blood product that provides adequate sustenance for vampires and allows them to not have to feed on human blood .
Reaction to the vampires' Great Revelation is mixed. Islamic countries dish out death and torture to the vampire population, while nations such as Bosnia, Argentina and most African nations just simply refuse to acknowledge their existence. Some nations, such as France, Italy, and Germany, acknowledge the vampires, but they do not torture them nor do they give them the rights of citizens. The United States, The United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries are more tolerant,however, even in the USA they are not permitted certain rights like the right to marry.
Rather than acknowledging the legend that vampires are deceased humans that have risen from the dead to prey on the living, the vampires insist they are simply the victims of a medical condition that makes them allergic to sunlight and affects their dietary needs.
Powers and Abilities
Vampires are pale and cold, possess unfathomable strength as well as speed, and have keen senses of hearing, smell and vision. This makes it easy for them to protect themselves. They have the ability to remain completely still, expressionless and silent. Vampires can influence the minds of humans (glamour, often seen as a form of Hypnosis) if they are able to maintain eye contact, and a few can even fly; individuals may have other powers and abilities.
Vampires' Fangs come out when they are hungry, see blood, are sexually aroused, or when they need to fight. A vampire is compelled to obey his or her maker. The visages of Stackhouse vampires do not age. They can survive and recover from most forms of physical injury, but they will die if staked, exposed to sunlight, completely drained of their blood (if not treated promptly), or decapitated. Silver is highly toxic to them. Unlike the vampire mythology of other universes, crucifixes have no effect on vampires in the Stackhouse universe, holy water and garlic are merely irritants, and are able to enter places of worship or step on "holy-ground". They cannot enter a home unless invited and once they have been uninvited, they must exit the premises.
The "cult following" of humans fascinated by vampires includes volunteers willing to be bitten to provide fresh blood nourishment to vampires. If a vampire and a human share blood (each drinking from the other), it will form a blood bond, linking the pair's psyches. Vampire blood without exchange is sought after by humans as a drug that can enhance strength, heal wounds, and increase attractiveness, among other effects. Due to the shortage of willing vampire donors, human "drainers" attack vampires and drain their entire blood supply, either staking the vamps or leaving victims to die in the sun. The blood is then sold as a drug in vials on the underground market. It can be highly addictive, but may cause psychotic or murderous rampages by human users upon the first use, and it is highly unpredictable who will be affected in this manner. It is also expressed in "One Word Answer" that a Vampire's blood given to a dead body in combination with magic words can raise the ghost of the former owner's body.
Though many vampires in the Stackhouse universe try to live among humans, they remain very secretive about their organization and government. The vampires parted the continental United States into four divisions (clans), each represented by a symbol: the Whale, the Feather, the Thunder Bolt and the Eye. A division consists of multiple Kingdoms, each controlled by a single lead vampire known as the King or Queen. A kingdom is then divided into areas (formerly known as fiefdoms), each controlled by a Sheriff who owes allegiance to the monarch.
Vampires are indistinguishable from humans, and appear as they did when they were turned, albeit with a paler complexion, due to lack of blood flow. Also, they have fangs that usually extend and retract willingly, though they can be stimulated to (unwillingly) extend. In addition, vampires are classified as being "undead," which means that they are technically reanimated corpses, (characterized by a lack of a heartbeat, brainwaves, electrical impulses, need to breathe, and other bodily functions).
Vampires remain identical forever after they are turned. Due to this, vampires cannot lose or gain weight or change their body in any way.
Vampires are recognizable from their fangs, which are located behind the maxillary lateral incisors (as opposed to the canines, as per vampire mythology). Fangs can be extended and retracted by choice, and are controlled by the movements of certain facial muscles. However, fangs protrude automatically when vampires are feeding, angry, excited, aroused (colloquially referred to as a "fang boner"), need to fight, or see blood. Fangs can also be removed, but grow back after three months. Without fangs, vampires cannot feed live.
Due to the lack of blood flow, vampires do not have any bodily functions. Because of this, vampires do not produce waste, and are unable to become pregnant, impregnate female humans or supernatural creatures, and have lower body temperatures (than humans).
Vampires have anatomically different tear ducts from humans, as they expel blood, not tears.
Vampires are reliant on human or synthetic blood, as they cannot ingest normal food or drinks, or supernatural blood (with the exception of Fairies). The synthetic blood (marketed as TrueBlood) is comprised of a varied cellular content, and comes in flavors such as O, A, B and AB, in both positive and negative varieties. Although the synthetic blood can sustain a vampire nutritionally, it does not truly satisfy the hunger or taste as good (Sam Merlotte compared this to abstaining from one's favorite foods, and eating Slim-Fast instead). Because of this, many vampires opt to drink human blood. Allegedly, virgin and baby blood taste the best, and faerie blood is exceptionally tasty.
If a vampire abstains from drinking blood, they will experience the "bleeds", during which the vampire will begin to bleed from their ears and nose (in addition, vampires experience the bleeds if they do not sleep during the day). The bleeds stop when the vampire feeds (or sleeps). If a vampire experiences the bleeds long enough, they will perish.
While vampires are unable to hold in anything but (actual or synthetic) blood, they can experience joy in smoking cigars and cigarettes. Since their bodies heal any damage rapidly, smoking will not have any lasting effect on a vampire such as it does on humans.
Vampires are immortal and, unless they are staked, exsanguinated, decapitated, exposed to sunlight, have their bodies destroyed (through physical damage, burning, freezing, etc.), or experience the bleeds too long, will live forever. Also, vampires do not suffer from diseases (however, vampires can be affected by hepatitis D, becoming, for the durations of about a month, lethargic and ill). In addition, vampires do not age.
A vampire that has been incapacitated without the ability to feed will henceforth continue living, albeit in great constant suffering due to the lack of sustenance, and will eventually perish.
The process of creating a vampire is rooted in blood exchange. A vampire drains a victim to the point of death only to replace that deficit with some of its own. The maker must then sleep underground with their soon-to-be progeny's corpse for a full day; sharing its life essence.
Newborn vampires will be thirsty, and will need to feed on human or synthetic blood to survive. Although newborns have some control of their abilities, they are mostly controlled by their impulses, and can cause serious harm and accidental deaths to humans around them. In addition, newborns cannot resist blood at all; resistance develops with age.
A newborns' existence depends upon their abilities, which are taught by their maker. These abilities take time to learn and develop, and as vampires age, they become more adept at controlling them. According to Bill Compton, two-thirds of newborns die during their first year without the guidance of their makers.
IOther supernatural creatures, such as werewolf, can be turned into vampires.
Powers and Abilities
Vampires possess many of the abilities of mythological vampires.
- Superhuman strength: vampires are vastly stronger than humans, werewolves, and shapeshifters, and grow stronger with age and experience (for instance, newborns, despite being able to outpower and kill any human, are weak compared to older vampires).
- Superhuman speed: vampires are able to move much faster than humans, and can move faster than a human eye can perceive movement. Vampires are able to perceive this movement, though, and, thus, possess accelerated vision (as shown when Eric Northman was able to see a speeding bullet in slow motion, and himself in normal motion while moving at superhuman speed). Speed, just like strength, advances with age, as older vampires are significantly faster than younger vampires. In addition, vampires have heightened reflexes. In addition, vampires (even newborns) are faster than other supernatural creatures.
- Superhuman senses: vampires have much stronger senses than humans, as they are able to see, hear and smell better than humans can. Vampires can also see perfectly in complete darkness.
- Superhuman endurance: vampires are able endure pain better than humans and are unaffected by attacks that would cripple, maim, or kill humans with minimal effort.
- Healing factor: vampires have an accelerated healing factor, and are able to heal all types of wounds (such as open wounds, massive burns and tissue damage). If an injury is severe, vampires need human blood to initiate the healing process.
- Glamour: vampires are able to "glamour" humans. Glamour is a form of hypnosis, which requires vampires to make eye contact and use their voices to make humans do their bidding. Glamouring does not affect other vampires, powerful witches, maenads, fairies or other supernatural creatures. Excessive glamouring can have a negative effect on the mental stability of a victim. Glamouring is not an innate ability, as it needs to be taught and practiced (often by makers). Vampires can glamour at least two humans at the same time. Its effects are strictly temporary, with the exception of memory loss.
- Flight: some vampires have the ability to fly or levitate (it is suggested that older vampires can fly, while younger vampires can just levitate). When Sookie Stackhouse asks Eric Northman "can all vampires fly?", Eric responds "can all humans sing?", suggesting that not all vampires have this ability.
- Voice imitation: vampires are able to imitate voices (for instance, Bill Compton has been shown to be able to imitate Eric Northman).
Vampire blood abilities
Vampire blood is the life essence of vampires.
It is illegal to hold or ingest vampire blood due to its drug qualities, and, since the Great Revelation, there has been a growing black market for vampire blood. Some vampires are kidnapped by "Drainers", who are people that capture, drain and leave vampires for dead in order to get vampire blood. Vampire blood is sold for $200–$600 per 1/4-ounce, and is ingested in small amounts (1-2 drops). If the blood is not fresh, it can be cut with aspirin to prevent it from coagulating, and to extend the high.
Vampire blood has the following effects on humans and supernatural creatures:
- Healing: a human or supernatural creature that ingests vampire blood will be able to heal wounds at an accelerated rate.
- Enhanced abilities: a human or supernatural creature that ingests vampire blood will experience enhanced strength, speed, senses, endurance, aggression, and libido, as long as the blood is in their system.
- Blood bonding: if a human or supernatural creature drinks fresh blood from a vampire, a bond is created. The human will become sexually attracted to and have sex dreams about the vampire. The vampire, in turn, will be able to sense the location, emotions and state of the human.
- Drug qualities: a human or supernatural creature that ingests vampire blood will experience hallucinations, which vary from person to person.
- Withdrawal: if a human or supernatural creature is addicted to vampire blood, and stops ingesting it, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to those of heroin withdrawal (such as tremors, cramps, muscle and bone pain, perspiration, tachycardia, etc.).
Abilities as a Maker to a Progeny
- Empathic link: a maker can sense if their progeny dies, or is in pain or duress. It is unknown if a progeny can sense the death or pain of their maker.
- Calling: a maker can "call" their progeny whenever they want to. During a calling, the maker has to say the name of their progeny, and the progeny will feel a shiver and, if the maker chooses to, become aware of where their maker is.
- Commands: a maker can make their progeny to do anything they want to, and this is enforced by saying "as your maker, I command you". However, this ability has no effect if the progeny has been released.
- Releasing: a maker can release their progeny by saying "as your maker, I release you", giving them free will.
Vampires have a number of weaknesses, which range from irritating to fatal (it should be noted that the death of a vampire is referred to as the "true death"):
Decapitation: if the head of a vampire is severed completely, the vampire will perish. Breaking the neck of a vampire only causes mild discomfort.
Entry to homes: vampires cannot enter private human homes unless they are invited in by the owner of the house. Vampires do not need to be invited into public places (such as bars or restaurants). Humans can rescind their invitations from vampires, which causes the vampire to immediately leave the house.
Excess blood: if a vampire drinks too much blood, they will display alcohol intoxication-like qualities (such as euphoria, confusion, stupor, etc.).
Exsanguination: if a vampire is completely drained of their blood, they can become comatose, and eventually perish.
Fire: vampires can heal from burns, if given time and blood. However, if a vampire cannot get a chance to heal from the fire (for instance if they are left in the fire too long), the vampire will die.
Hepatitis D: a virus, which can be transmitted through blood, that weakens vampires for about a month.
Maenad blood: if a vampire drinks maenad blood, they will begin to choke and vomit.
Witchcraft: vampires are vulnerable to the effects of magic, such as necromancy.
Silver: vampires are also susceptible to silver, and any contact with silver will burn and melt the surface of the vampire it touches (such as skin, or eyes).
Sleep or blood deprivation: if a vampire does not sleep during the day, or does not feed for a period of time, they will experience the "bleeds". The bleeds refer to vampires bleeding from their ears and noses. If a vampire continues to be deprived of sleep or blood, they will die from blood loss.
Sunlight: vampires cannot endure ultra-violet light in any form (for instance, sunlight or tanning beds). If a vampire comes into contact with sunlight, their skin will burn and they will be severely weakened, and, eventually, burst into flames and perish. The older a vampire is, the quicker they will burn; when Godric walked into sunlight, he perished in about 30 seconds, while Bill Compton was just severely charred after 3 minutes. UV light burns heal more slowly than regular burns (such as from fire).
Wood: vampires are susceptible to wood and wooden objects (such as stakes and wooden bullets). If the heart of a vampire is pierced with a wooden object, the vampire will explode, and leave behind dust.
Between humans and vampires, humans display bigoted and racist attitudes towards vampires due to fear. Although some humans support the Vampire Rights Amendment (which campaigns for equal rights between humans and vampires), others do not, such as organization like the Fellowship of the Sun.
Within vampire communities, most vampires live in harmony, and racism and homophobia are virtually non-existent.
Vampires have been shown to be tolerated by the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the majority of MED countries. However, vampires are hunted in the majority of Islamic and South American countries, and most African countries refuse to acknowledge the existence of vampires.
Since the Great Revelation, vampires have been involved in human politics (through organizations such as the American Vampire League), in order to campaign for equal rights for vampire (such as allowing vampire-human marriages).
Vampires also have their own governmental system. In the Unites States, the Authority, which has existed for several centuries, oversee all vampires, and vampires, regardless of age, must respect the Authority. Magisters give rulings over vampire disputes, and rule over entire continents. Furthermore, the States are divided into kingdoms and queendoms, which are ruled by a king or a queen, or both. Each kingdom or queendom is furthermore split into areas.
Within areas, vampires can arrange themselves into nests, in which a group of vampires live together. The hierarchy of a vampire nest is as follows:
- The oldest vampire in the nest
- The rest of the vampires in a descending order according to age
Furthermore, within vampire communities, vampires have a hierarchy according to age. Older vampires are more powerful than younger vampires and, thus, younger vampires are expected to obey older vampires.
Interaction with humans and supernatural creatures
Vampires have differing opinions concerning humans. The Authority and American Vampire League aim for mainstreaming, and, while some vampires agree that humans and vampires should be equals, others believe that vampires are above humans. For instance, the Sanguinista movement is opposed to mainstreaming and the Authority, and support the belief that vampires should dominate humans. Nonetheless, vampires have engaged in relationships with humans, in which vampires claim a human they believe need protecting or care about. The vampire identifies the human as "theirs", and this claim prevents other vampires from feeding on or having sex with the human.
A vampire and human can also share a blood bond, in which the human drinks the blood of the vampire. A vampire can only claim one human, and a human cannot be claimed by multiple vampires at the same time. However, a vampire can share a blood bond with multiple humans.
In addition, vampire groupies, or people who have sex with and are willingly bitten by vampires are referred to as "fang bangers", which is viewed as a derogatory term.
Vampires dislike shapeshifters and werewolves. They are accepting of practicing witches, but do not condone necromancy, as this is a possible threat to vampires. In addition, vampires find faeries irresistible because the smell of their blood is so enticing to them.
Crime and punishment
Vampires live according to the laws of the Authority. However, a king or queen can declare edicts, and create new laws. In the United States, the following activities are illegal, and punishable:
- killing another vampire
- selling vampire blood
- feeding from another vampire's human
- stealing wealth, real estate, or other property (including humans) from other vampires
Other laws dictated by the Authority, in order to keep order, include:
- when a vampire enters or departs an area, the vampire is required to make this known to the sheriff of the area
- makers are responsible for the actions of their progenies
Vampires also have laws to human (although they are not recognized by human systems), and violations of these are monitored by sheriffs. Humans are often tortured and/or killed for violating the following laws:
- dealing or selling vampire blood
- draining a vampire
- kidnapping a vampire
- killing a vampire
Punishments, due to violations, are administered by the Authority, Magisters, kings or queens or sheriffs, depending on the seriousness of the crime. There are set punishments for crimes (for instance, feeding from another vampire's human is punished by fang removal), but a Magister can change the punishment if they wish to. For instance, when Bill Compton killed Longshadow, the set punishment was five years in a coffin encased with silver.