Can a Vampire Starve for Lack of Blood?

This will truly go down as one of the critical questions answered in the early twenty-first century: Can a vampire starve for lack of blood. The obvious answer is: It depends on the particulars of the vampire myth in question.

 

Let’s look at “Dracula,” for a moment, a book I’ve recently read. When Jonathan Harker first encounters Count Dracula in his castle he is an old man, although a very sprightly, spry, and strong old man. It is only after he travels to England feasting on the blood of the crew of the Demeter that he regains a youthful appearance. From this it seems to be apparent that he can go without blood, or at least, far less blood than he would like for extended periods of time and the ill effect he suffers is aging. In the book, he’s roughly four hundred years old. What, then, is the logical consequence of him going without blood indefinitely? I think it is reasonable to surmise that he would continue to age until he ultimately passed away, dying a vampire death of old age. So, as far as Dracula is concerned, this may be an alternative way to slay him: keep him confined and unfed for eternity; eventually he will die.

 

Although this is true of Dracula, I don’t think it is true of the vampire queen, Akasha, in Anne Rice’s novel “Queen of the Damned.” It’s been a while since I read the book, but I remember the vampire queen awakens from a slumber of several thousand years. If she can go that long without feeding and suffer no ill effects, it seems likely she can go on forever.

 

I have not read “Twilight” (although I saw the last movie) so I don’t feel comfortable commenting on it. It seems reasonable that they would die a Dracula-type death as well as they do seem to rely on the blood for nutrition purposes.

 

But isn’t that what all vampires do? They rely on blood for nutrition? I’m not sure. When they are undead, do they really need nutrition as we understand it? Or is the act of consuming human blood better understood as an act of horror meant to inspire fear and trembling? That goes with the myths in which the vampires are evil creatures of darkness. In such a case, blood consumption might not be necessary for survival as nutrition might not be its ultimate motivation.

 

Okay, lastly, I’d like to consider Lucian val Drasmyr, from my novel, “Drasmyr.” In the book, he is confined to a library for five hundred years during which he is a vampire thirsting for blood, but forcibly restrained from consuming it. He does not age, nor suffer ill effects despite the fact that he is not feeding. So, it would seem that he wouldn’t die without consuming blood either. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret, this very topic actually comes up in the next book, “The Children of Lubrochius.” More is to be said on this, but I won’t give away what is planned for the book. So, I will have to leave you there, wondering and full of curiosity.

5 thoughts on “Can a Vampire Starve for Lack of Blood?

  1. Lily Wight

    This is a very fascinating aspect of the vampire myth. Post-Dracula many Vampires seem to have evolved into truly immortal beings – Anne Rice’s vampires are unable to end themselves even when they try!
    Many seem to be stronger/enhanced on human blood whilst surviving on alternatives.
    I must admit I like my vamps old-school.
    Have you read Rice’s new werewolf novel? http://lilywight.com/2013/02/13/a-present-from-anne-rice-the-wolf-gift-matt-bomer-christian-grey/

    Reply
    1. atoasttodragons

      No, I haven’t read Rice’s werewolf book. I’ve only read a few of her books: Lestat, possibly Queen (don’t really remember–it was a long time ago), and the mummy one (Ramses… or whatever).

      Reply
  2. debyfredericks

    I have the sense that a vampire deprived of blood would go into a hibernation state until the opportunity to hunt presented itself, rather than dwindling and dying. As you point out, it would be too easy to brick up a vampire into a crypt and keep watch until it starved. With something so malevolent, it seems you’d have to actively kill it, whether by staking or beheading; it can’t die of any natural cause like hunger.

    Reply

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