Thursday, October 09, 2008

Pity for the Vampire

I was sitting in the doctor's office today after my treatment (happy happy joy joy) and some sweet old soul was talking to me like you do when you are in strange social settings. She asked me if I was a patient or was I waiting for someone. I showed her the hospital bracelet I always have to wear. There was that look of pity. I hate it when they do that.

So, it dawned on me as I read my book, that that is the reason Bill always warns Sookie off from pitying him and all he lost when he became a Vampire. When it is done to you, you feel this wave of "poor thing" wash over you emanating from the person you speak to. Being a aurist and sensitive to people's vibes and auras, my illness makes it worse. And with the sickness, I am more aware of their rainbow like colors in that sunburst halo. I suppose I have something in common with Sookie, in that I have scruples that tell me that I am unethical to just go about looking at people's auras. Thing is, I can't see my own and tell if I am getting better or not. But maybe it is better if I not know. But let's get back to Vampires, shall we.

Bill has lost a lot in his time for being a vampire. He lost his mother and father, his beloved sister, his wife and children, all because his being a Vampire made it impossible to go home, because now he is the stuff of myth and legend, a souless monster wandering the night looking for humans to feed on. He would place his family in jeopardy if he tried to allow his family to harbor him, even if they could accept that he is a Vampire.

And he walked through nearly two centuries, either alone or in the company of others like him, who I think that despite his declaration that he craves the company of other Vampires, he actually despises them, and himself a little. Maybe that is what is wrong in Bill and Sookie's affaire d'amour. He can't let go of that whole Vampiric arrogance because he sees himself as nonhuman, but he doesn't really like what has happened to him. Unlike Louis in Interview with a Vampire, Bill was forced to be a Vampire by the woman who made him and then forced again to leave his loved ones by this same female Vampire.

But Sookie is human, warm and alive, and she loves Bill and it hurts her to think of all he lost because she knows how she would feel if something bad happened to him. She understands loss, with the brutal murder of her grandmother and the deaths of her father and mother. She wants to show him compassion, and maybe that is what Bill is really afraid of, the compassion. Passion is different, it is hot and liquid and fun to play with and in. Compassion is a complicated, complex thing. It makes you vulnerable, even more so than passion. Once you lose your ability to be compassionate, you lose your soul to indifference. And on many levels, for a sensitive man like Bill Compton, compassion was something he could not really afford. Compassion, after all, requires that you feel things that are painful.

So does Bill or any other Vampire for that matter, have a soul? We play with the notion of a Vampire with a soul in popular culture, Louie, Angel, now Bill Compton. Even on the series Charmed Cole, the demon Balthasar, was half human and possessed a soul. Why do we want in this day and age to endow the Vampire with a soul? Is it so we will like them better? Is it that we hope that characters like Bill Compton can fall in love with their Sookie and live happily ever after? Is it so that we can believe in a redemption for them, that God might pity them? That's ironic.

Francis Ford Coppola's take on Bram Stoker's Dracula played on that notion, that Mina's love for the Count, albiet a bit glamoured, would free him from the curse that condemned him to his state as Vampire and give him peace, in otherwords, salvation.

Will embracing compassion and empathy make Bill feel and be more human? Will it help him with his angers and rages and hungers? If he does that, is he like the Children of Lir who were turned into a swans and when they were freed after a thousand years, they became old people and died? Will compassion and empathy kill our beloved Bill Compton and cause him to lose what he craves the most, almost more than blood and that is a normal life? We shall have to see.