“No,” I said to my husband, “you don’t get it. You can be born a vampire, or you can be made a vampire. Like being in the mob.”
“So how did Damon and Stefan get to be vampires – were they born that way?” he inquired gamely, steering the car through college town traffic on a bright, October Saturday.
“Well, in the book and the show, you know, they’re different in a lot of ways, but in the book and the show they only talk about ‘made’ vampires. In the book they became vampires because of Katherine. If a vampire drinks your blood and nothing else happens, you just die – like that girl Vicky – but if they drink your blood and then you drink some of theirs, you become a vampire, and live forever. You have to go through a lot of changes, but eventually you’re a vampire.”
“They must be great in bed after a few hundred years as guys in their twenties,” he mused.
“Also,” I went on as we pulled in the entrance to the recycling station, “there is a tradition of ‘born’ vampires that she writes about in some of her other books, they’re called ‘Lamia’ and I think that’s what Dracula was. I’m not sure, though.” He parked the car, and we got out to do our environmental duty, dumping our separate bags of glass, metal, newspaper, plastic (even #5) and cardboard in their respective bins.
Thai Kitchen for lunch?” he asked as he turned the key in the ignition. I nodded.
“Another thing,” I went on, “is that the ‘Vampire Diaries’ books were written more than a decade before the ‘Twilight’ books, and it seems like maybe Stephanie Meyers borrowed here and there. I think the Meyers books were better as books, maybe, but that’s still dirty pool. None of them are exactly great literature.”
“And yet you read them all.”
“It’s research. Plus, I get into them.”
“Yes, you do” he said as we came to a stop light.
“It was really nice of you to watch the ‘Vampire Diaries’ DVDs with me. I hope you didn’t really hate them.”
“Nah, I kind of got hooked, and it makes you happy.” I laid a hand on his, briefly, and then pulled it away as a thought struck me.
“The show is really different than the books – Damon and Stefan’s past all takes place in Civil War America instead of Renaissance Italy, and Elena is brunette instead of blonde, and Caroline is auburn haired and kind of nasty in the books instead of blonde and ditzy.”
“Is the hair color really that important?”
“Well, as I said, it’s not great literature, so there are some characters who you can only remember by their hair color, at least until they do something interesting.”
“Ah.” He pulled into a parking space across from the Thai restaurant, and we stepped again into the warm air that echoed with the cries from the Tae Kwon Do studio in the strip mall. “You know, it’s really okay if you just get into this stuff because you like it. I understand about the ‘research’ and everything, but I did catch you looking online at how to do makeup like Nina Dobrev this morning, and we seem to be listening to music from the show”
“I don’t love it,” I said en route to our favorite table, “I mean, I like it, but it’s all kind of ridiculous. It really is research.” I looked up as a fragrant curry platter passed by in the hands of a waitress. “According to the Smith books, vampires can eat human food, but it doesn’t satisfy their hunger like blood.”
“But it doesn’t have to be human blood.”
“Right! Stefan is weaker than Damon because he doesn’t consume human blood, so he doesn’t have as much of the Power.”
“So they can just decide whether or not to attack humans. Like, a moral thing.”
“Kind of. I think, I’m not sure, but I think that if you only consume animal blood, you have less power but you have more humanity – you know how Stefan said last night that he was sure that Damon didn’t have a shred of human decency left, before he tricked him into drinking the Vervain in Caroline’s blood and locked him in the dungeon thingy to mummify?” I caught a flash of color to my left, and turned my head to see the horrified waitress who had been standing next to the table, pad in hand, for several seconds.
“Research” my husband told her. To his credit, he didn’t even wink.