Vampires & Ancient Egypt: A Blood-Curdling Combination
I have mentioned before how obsessed I am with Ancient Egypt. But my love of dark things doesn’t stop there.
The Vampire Chronicles
When I was in high school, I quickly got hooked On Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles series. The rich language, the intriguing characters, and the otherworldly stories made it easy to fall in love with the books.
Luckily for me, it didn’t take long for my two loves to combine. In both The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned, there is mention of the very first vampires, Queen Akasha and King Enkil, who ruled Egypt. However, they didn’t start out that way.
Ruthless leaders, Akasha and Enkil mistreated their people. When a group of attackers left both Akasha and Enkil for dead, the malevolent spirit Amel saw his chance. Known for his bloodlust and boasts that he enjoyed the taste of human blood, he combined his spirit with that of a dying Akasha.
When her spirit returned to her body, it was intertwined with his. Although her wounds had healed, Akasha’s King Enkil was dying. Using her newfound powers, she healed him with her blood, thus making them the first and second vampires.
There’s an iconic scene in the movie adaptation of Queen of the Damned when, in a frenzied state, Lestat plays his Stradivarius to awaken Akasha from where she has been entombed in stone for centuries.
The movie might not have won rave reviews, but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t love seeing this melding of my two loves – Ancient Egypt and vampires – play out on the big screen.
Making It Her Own
I love that Anne Rice combined these two myths to create a really cool origin story for vampires. And even though I don’t know everything there is to know about Ancient Egypt, I have an inkling of what may have inspired her. There is much lore about various Ancient Egyptian gods, so watch for my next blog post where I’ll explore some of these myths.
It’s not easy as a writer when working with such iconic tropes. You want to bring something new and cool to the genre without being cliche. I think Anne Rice achieved that. It goes to show you that you can breathe new life into old genres and make your stories something that readers will clamor for.
What Do You Think?
Have you read Anne Rice’s books? What do you think about her take on the origin of vampires? Let’s chat about it in the comments section below!
I LOVE the trilogy. I read INTERVIEW in 1990-ish(?). I borrowed it from a girl I worked with. Somehow we got talking about vampires and she mentioned Anne Rice’s novels. Fell in love by the end of the first chapter. I loved the movie adaptation too, and I have both the movie and the soundtrack. Matter of fact, I’ve used the soundtrack for inspirational writing. I did not care for Queen of the Damned, just because I felt it told only half the story. The first half being Lestat’s history. I did love the actress who played Akasha.
I think she modernized some old tropes about vampires and made them more relatable. Those who felt ostracized by society for perhaps being attracted to darker imagery could now consider themselves their own society.