WoJ on Vampires

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However, while taking your killer down with you might be the most immediately gratifying thing to do with a death curse (assuming that they haven’t up and prepared to defend against that kind of magical retaliation, which only a real moron *wouldn’t* do if they knew they were off to murder a wizard), it might not be the SMARTEST thing you could do with it.  Still, magic in the Dresden universe is only as formidable as a wizard’s imagination can make it.

I mean, Maggie’s death curse on Raith did /more/ than render him virtually powerless.  It freaking crippled the entire White Court by rendering its head executive suddenly unwilling to get aggressive.  It took that same executive’s focus and warped it from an outwardly-oriented expansionist agenda (What, did you really think Raith just bumped into Maggie at a /bar/ somewhere?) to one of frantic power-defense, paranoia, and infighting.  Had she merely killed Raith, another vampire much like him would simply have stepped into his shoes.  Instead, her curse sandbagged the entire White Court for two or three /decades/.

It isn’t until the events of White Night that the White Court really begins to . . .

. . .but perhaps I’ve said too much.   ::)

Anyway, Maggie’s curse, of course, also made Raith suffer.  Horribly.  It made him live in a constant state of drug-withdrawal-level hunger, and fear, and eventually reduced him to outright slavery to someone with centuries of comeuppance to dish out.  But that was just icing on the cake.

2009 Lexington signing:
Q:  What protections are there against the White Court?  
A:  True love – real true love, not just romantic love – protects only against WC vamps feeding through lust/intimacy.
2010 Lee’s Summit signing
Q:  Do you have to have sex in order to have protection from the White Court?
A:  No, you don’t have to.  It is helpful, though.
Q:  Can homosexuals be protected from the White Court?
A:  Of course.  Any time it is Real Love between equals, there’s the possibility of protection.  A parent and child couldn’t be protected because they are not equals.
Q:  Are the White Court affected by thresholds?
A:  Not really, they’re too mortal.  But they might be affected if they were mostly vamped out when trying to cross a threshold.
2009 Bitten by Books Q&A:
#62 “You’ve said that True Love (real True Love) only protects against WCVamps feeding on lust. What protects against the other WCVamps?”
It isn’t real complicated that way. The vamps who feed on fear get bad effects from real courage. Those who feed on despair choke on hope. :)

“With regard to True Love, you commented that it needs to be self-sacrificial love… some folks have pointed out that you (generally) can’t get more self-sacrificial than a parent’s love for a child… are parents protected because of that love?”
Not necessarily, because it’s got to be reciprocated equally or it doesn’t work. While a parent’s love for a child can be something pure and selfless, the child doesn’t return the same kind of love. Children can’t. The nature of the relationship isn’t one of equals exchanging trust and affection, but of the greater protecting the lesser.
Also, frankly, not all parents give a flying frack about their children. I’ve been close enough to it to see how sad it is. Like everything else, the depth of affection varies from person to person, and the depth of emotion which some claim to feel is sometimes not matched by action. It’s easy to claim sweepingly intense emotions. Being the person who has to do distasteful, boring, and irritating things to keep faith with your child, day in and day out, is another matter entirely.
Don’t get too hung up on the True Love thing. What’s written in the books is what Harry understands and hears. It isn’t necessarily how things are, or at least /all/ of how things are.
“If True Love only protects against feeding on lust, could Thomas change his mode of feeding (like Madrigal did) and then be able to be with Justine again?”
If Thomas was comfortable with the idea of terrorizing Justine to sate his appetites, or consciously putting her in a state of despair for the the same reason, I think it would be safe to say that the love between them wouldn’t really exist any more. :) In which case, no, it would not be an obstacle in the first place.
Love’s kind of complicated. The devoted, pervasive kind especially so. This isn’t a problem Thomas can game his way through.

2011 NYC Signing Q&A
Can a human becomes a White Court vampire?
No, you gotta be born that way.
2011 Bitten by Books Q&A
How many sisters does Thomas have?
I can’t find that notebook, grr. I think it’s nine. Papa Raith’s bodyguards minus one who is utterly bonkers and kept more or less in the attic, and Inari, the one who got away.
2011 Atlanta Signing
The three families of the White Court feed on different emotions, is that like knife, spoon, fork, or can they mix it up?
They can mix it up, and it’s one of the things they fight about a lot, about what they do.  There’s all this “you are what you eat” sort of thing in play, and the different houses have different aspects [unintelligible] divide things up by territory.  And you could feed on all sorts of stuff.  You could probably be a White Court vampire that fed on the warm happy feeling that people get when they’re holding a puppy.  Although you’d be a really….you’d probably sparkle if you did that.  [Unintelligible] it might actually be fun to show that in some future files.
Unverified WoJ from the 2011 Naperville signing:
‘Are there White Court vampire wizards?’

Yes, there are. Thomas is middle-of-the-road in power and [ed: think I’m remembering this correctly] the strongest don’t get as strong as mortal wizards [/ed], but they can pull off some strong tricks with their Hunger.
2015 Grid Daily interview
Question about Lord Raith.  In Blood Rites, Lara bests him in the fight, but in the White Knight he’s still up, walking and talking, with her controlling him.  How does that work?  Is he a ventriloquist dummy?
He appears to be in charge, but he isn’t, because Lara can do terrible things to him if he doesn’t play along, and that’s his option now.  So he has to play along with Lara and wear the target on his chest while she runs things from behind the scenes.  Everyone else in the White Court, it doesn’t take them very long to figure out this is what’s going on.  But that’s the play that they have going on, everyone has to pretend that Lord Raith is the one in charge even though they know better.  Until it comes time to unseat Lara, and they’ll have to take Raith out of his position in order to get Lara out of hers.  Lara, at the same time, she’s got to ferociously protect his position.  It gets very byzantine in the White Court.  They’ve basically got a figurehead emperor, and a pile of ministers with the real power.  Lara happens to be on top of that pile of ministers at the moment.
2016 Reddit Podcast Q&A
How old is Lord Raith?
He’s a couple thousand years old.  He’s got 2 thousand years of paranoia kinda built up.  Plus he’s been absolutely bonkers the past 30 years or so.  He’s hardly functional as a vampire, he’s getting to where he’s not evne functional as a figure head for much longer.  That’s going to be a problem for lara to deal with.
Will we find out about Lord Raith’s library?
There’s kind of a long game going on in the Dresden Files, and Lord Raith has been involved in it in the last couple of cycle’s it’s gone on.  He’s been trying to educate himself about it, and he meant to be a player in it this time it came around, but getting involved with Margret kind of screwed him over.
Lara’s got his library now and knows everything he knows, which explains a lot of her actions.
later in the video
Paraphrased:  A gestating Wampire’s Hunger feeds off the mother in the same way the fetus does in order to generate enough essence to sustain itself until later, and then it goes dormant until the teenage years.

Blampires, and the Stokerlipse

Quote from: Drulinda

if it came to it would he [Harry] actually be able to use necromancy on mavra?

Harry wasn’t bluffing.  ::)

I think that was all within the text.  I didn’t record Jim saying it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he didn’t.

The text definitely says that the Wampires somehow motivated Stoker to write his books though.  And Jim does sorta confirm that Stoker was killed for being spot on.

Stoker was killed for being delicious.

Lara: Bram, Bram, Bram.  You’ve done so well.  Time for your reward.

Lara (later): …

Lara (in her journal):  It’s so easy to get carried away when one works with the creative talent.  So much enthusiasm.

See, so I was right.  He didn’t die of syphilis.  Lara wouldn’t have had it (her demon would have killed it, assuming she’d ever been exposed), and I doubt she’d have had fun times with Stoker if he already had it.  So Lara ate him, and then spread the story that he died of syphilis.  (OK, I admit it, my theory was that the black court killed him and spread the false story.  But I still claim being right that in the DV Stoker did not die of syphilis. :D )

Die of syphilis?  God, no, man.  Stoker was the cutout. :)

The BC didn’t /know/ about the WC’s involvement until well after the fact, at which point it was entirely academic.  The BC who are left survive because they are extremely pragmatic.  They don’t have enough trouble surviving /without/ picking a fight with the entire White Court, who will only send the peasants and pitchforks anyway?  If one needs to vent one’s spleen, one does it on hapless mortals, preferably those no one will miss.

The BC who wanted to get all ballsy about Just Vengeance died in the fifties and sixties, culminating in the heyday of the Hammer films. :)

2009 WoJ forum post
4. if the elders of the black court could have taken mab, then HOW ON EARTH did any mere force of humans manage to go up and stake them? i mean, they should’ve wiped out anything that was coming after them if they can take on MAB herself…just a thought
Power in the spirit world isn’t the same thing as power in the material world.  And a one-on-thirtyish fight (Mab vs the elders of the BC) is WAY different than a one-on-20,000 fight (a BC vampire against a modest mortal city).  Especially when the 20,000 know what your weaknesses are, and how to kill you with them. Smiley  And that’s assuming that you don’t have a saint, or an independent wizard, or a shaman, a Knight of the Cross or some other champion, or other spiritual allies on your side which was not uncommon.  Hell, for that matter, you might well be aided by vampires from the other Courts.  *Everyone* resented how powerful the Blacks had become.
(and shouldn’t the black court be the most numerous? in blood rites, ebenezer mentioned after a few weeks, there would be dozens or even hundreds of vamps, so y don’t the black court vamps just settle down in africa or india and start biting away?)
Nukes.  :)
You get all /that/ assertive, and you risk stirring mortals into awareness.  And we monkeys are /dangerous/ in large groups, especially with all our ferromancy (technology).
There’s also a psychological issue on behalf of the vampires.  Bear in mind that evolution made a pretty brutal selection among the Black Court.  The ones who survived and prospered were those who avoided notice, respected the potential danger mortals represented, and who were generally quick to leave town rather than charge into a confrontation.
In any personal-scale conflict, a mature BC vamp is gonna tear holes through any mortal or White Court vampire.  But the mortals started cheating, and doing all their fighting in angry mobs, and creating weapons that were ridiculously overpowered for the job of killing one another which could actually inconvenience, wound, or even kill a BC vamp.  Murphy did all right in that BC nest, because she had allies, appropriate weapons and (most importantly) knowledge and a plan.
2011 Bitten by Books Q&A
Are individual BC vamps capable of feeling affection fo those they cared about in life and could they hold back from eating them if they really tried? maybe go to the blood bank instead? i know vamps as a whole dont do this but actions of individuals fron the other courts like thomas not killing justine in BR and susan dying for maggie seen to imply its not all black and white.
Oh, it’s possible a BC vamp could feel something toward those it knew in life, but those feelings wouldn’t really motivate it toward a given behavior. If it’s hungry, it feeds, and if it happens to be eating its own child from life, it might think ‘Ah, I recognize that one. Interesting. This should probably be upsetting me, but it tastes so /good/…’
If the blampire had a rational, cynically self-centered /reason/ to keep someone alive though, it certainly would, and it is entirely possible that some blampires have enough of a sense of enlightened self-interest to preserve a few mortals that have proven useful. Until they don’t.
2015 AMA
Are all red courts and black court vampires evil?
This is a pretty huge question and depends a lot on how you view the world.
Red Court vampires, by definition, to become a vampire, have to murder someone else to become what they are. They have to end another person’s life to satisfy a desire that does not /need/ to be satisfied in order for them to continue living. Every single one of them makes a choice to sate that desire rather than allow another human being to live–the Fellowship of St. Giles proves that.
(Of course, there are shades of grey involved–a half-vampire who was kept starving and without water in a basement for three days before they were thrown a mortal has a much more difficult time making a clear-headed choice than a half-vampire who was restrained yet cared for by a group of religiously fanatic monks at a Fellowship stronghold, but there’s still a choice being made.)
That could, by some people, be considered a working definition of evil. Sometimes unfortunate, sometimes understandable as to how someone could make that choice, but evil nonetheless.
Black Court Vamps are a different story. They’re actually tainted by something hideous and unworldly. They are driven to kill to survive. They don’t really have a lot of choice about it. They enjoy being what they are, and doing what they do. They can be sad that they don’t have someone who loves them, or upset that the world has passed them by and has changed on them, but at the end of the day, they’re basically black-hearts who occasionally pull out a few of the tattered remains of their humanity, fail to fit back into them like they used to, and get maudlin about their glory days when they could watch the sun rise.
And also what is Drakul a scion of?
Drakul wasn’t a scion of anything! He was something entirely unhuman that got trapped in human form. Dracula was his half-human child, who naturally had enormous paternal issues, and wound up creating himself as the first Black Court Vampire in an effort to win his father’s approval.
It didn’t work out so well.
2015 AMA
How are Black Court Master Vampires made/elevated? Elders?
Mainly by growing more powerful by feeding on more lives. The more you kill, the stronger you are, as a Black Court vamp. Also by demonstrating that you can beat the stuffing out of your rivals. They’re very much a Darwinian society of might-makes-right.
But most of the old ones worked out that you can’t just go on killing sprees to farm XP. You’re helpless a large portion of every day, and the food will come find you and end you. So they wait for good opportunities for that kind of thing. Wars, famines, and plagues are awesome for leveling up.
2016 Reddit Podcast Q&A
When are we going to see Mavra again?
Um… 19?  *pondering*  Wait, I’m sorry we’ll definitely see her in Mirror Mirror.  She’s a fast ally of Dresden’s in Mirror Mirror.
2016 Reddit Podcast Q&A
When your a black court vampire who essentially just gets to stay alive for as long as you want, time is much different to an immortal or virtual immortal than it is to one of us.
How old is she?
I think she’s about 600.

Other Vampires

2000 LKH fan board post Jim made about Vampires shortly after he researched them for Grave Peril.

Also keep in mind that Christianized (then Stokerized) vampires changed from what they originally were: literal animated corpses that emerged from the grave to feed on the life forces (not necessarily blood) of the living.  Fangs are a Stokerism, for example–vampires were considered to be nighttime visitors who were never seen, but who would appear in the dreams of the victims. The victims would grow weaker and weaker, usually developing respiratory problems, and if the vampire was not found they would eventually perish.

(This changed from being called ‘vampires’ to being called ‘consumption’ eventually, but the root of the word, ie ‘consume’ is kind of amusing, in a dark way. Even if it wasn’t a supernatural horror eating people alive any more, it was something /else/ eating them alive, and that’s the only word they could really call it.)

Vampire folklore stretched up into the early 1700s in New England (cf, Mercy Brown) but vampire folklore was fairly narrow and fairly unknown in Western Europe and the Americas, until Stoker’s book was published. then they were still obscure, while Stoker’s book fell flat on its face, until a play began to popularize the image of the vampire as a sex object and all of a sudden it caught on in Victorian England.

Well, after that, you can’t have enough kinds of stakes, holy objects, symbols, hexes, curses, crosses, or nubile virgins to make the audience happy, and lots of variants developed. Always favorite for killing vampires was beheading and dismemberment (or as Buffy would call it, “Slice and dice, cool.”), which you have to admit is a pretty darn good way to kill /anything/.

In any case, if you actually go out and dig into vampire lore, it’s tough to find much before Stokerism swept the vampire world. There’s more Hammer films than pre-1800s books on vampires, at least that are popularly available. Montague Summers (a rather creepy guy himself) compiled what he claimed was a collection of accounts from various priests in the Church who had battled the Undead from not too long after the death of Christ. It makes for interesting reading, though it has more in common with Ghost stories or Demon possession stories than the conventionally accepted vampire.

Internationally, creatures that sap the lifeforce or drink the blood are entrenched firmly in darn near everyone’s folklore. The Malaysian version of the vampire is like some enormous hair mosquito that attacks infants in their coffins, and is a sort of spiritual hit man for hostile gods, delivering death and disease at their instruction. China has some odd vampires, but then their ghost legends blend pretty well into the whole ‘dead drawing life from the living’ concept, as much of their ancestor-worship-custom taps into some of the same beliefs. Africa has vampires, though they are often identified with snakes, and in South America vampires were lined up with vampire bats (duh) and with a couple of different nasty old gods and monsters that I found. It’s a really interesting, if time consuming bit of research, but rewarding in the long run.

As much as we’d rather pretend it’s an antiquity, the vampire as we see generally is a fairly recent invention, rivaled by very few modern monster myths. Aliens, Bigfoots, and maybe the Immortals, from Highlander, are just about the only thing with a mythos that is at all comparable in volume or following. I gleefully mutated vampires for my own books (they come in 47 flavors, like Baskin Robbins) and I would heartily encourage other writers to swirl freely from the melting pot and to not feel overly hidebound by ‘what everyone knows’. Laurell’s innovations with vampires (such as Human Servants and the Marks) are formalizations of vague happenings in earlier movies, and a neat area to choose to explore (though I am WAY more fond of what she has done to build a plausible lycanthrope society).

Sheesh, I babble. Hurry up dinner, and finish heating up. :)


Per Priscillie:
Jim mentioned at ConDFW that there were a total of seven courts, but the final three were little more than mosquitoes.
2010 Huston signing:
Q:  Do you have any plans for the Jade Court to show up?
A:  The Jade Court is adamantly not involved.  They are very busy being not involved.
2010 Bitten by Books Q&A:
#215 “Was the White Council and the Red court ever at war before this last one? what kind of diplomatic relationship did they have? friendly? peaceful? trying to kill each other at ever other turn?”
Mostly it was small-scale conflicts between individuals. The Red Court has pretty much been headquartered in South and Central America, generally, while the White Council stuck to the wealthier nations of Europe, the US, and the upper end portions of Asia. It moderated the potential for conflict, though individuals fought in outlying areas where those general borders overlapped–places like Chicago.
2009 Kansas City Q&A @34:30
Why did you set up the vampires into 3 different courts
I didn’t want to do a kind of stock Hollywood vampire, I was kind of tired of that and everybody was doing it still.  This was in the early 90’s when and they were telling everybody “stop writing vampire fiction it’s about to die!”
So I decided, what if the Hollywood version that we have is not the truth but is the result of several fragments that we’ve all put together.  What if the vampires are built on the same principals as the blind men and the elephant (he gives the analogy).
So I broke out the three broad different vampire elements.  One was that they were these hideous monster dead things that crawled out of the grave and came back.  The other was that they were these blood drinking monsters who were driven by their hunger and could never be sated.  The third one was that they were just damn hot and sexy.
So I said ok, we will have the hot and sexy vampires, the blood lust vampires, and the animated corpse vampires.  That would be three times as many vampires and that makes things harder on Harry, and I’m always for that, my whole career is based on torturing Harry Dresden.
2016 Reddit Podcast Q&A
Dusk till Dawn was the inspiration for the Red Court


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