TVC: The Style: Blood and Gold (B&G)

Perfect Time
With her ever-present penchant for lavish descriptions and close attention to historical details, Rice transports us to a dazzling array of eras and places in Marius’ tumultuous, 2000 years long existence. In fact, I would say that her vivid writing style was put into greater effect in Blood and Gold than in any of the previous Vampire Chronicles books.

Despite how it repeated parts of what had already been described in The Vampire Armand, I especially enjoyed reading the Renaissance period part of the novel. Not only was this written as a powerfully sensory experience, filled with rich details about the art and socio-politics of Venice then, this also covered the apex of Marius’ life, his perfect age, his self-described “Golden Time”.

Marius found happiness once more in the exquisiteness and exuberance of this era’s art, and even went so far as to fall in love with Botticelli and to seriously hone his painting skills for the first time. But more importantly, he also found meaning in his personal life by both finding congenial companions once more, as well as helping his mortal apprentices to progress in life.

In putting together this ensemble, I went for a relaxed, resort-like look to suggest the atmosphere of Marius finally being at ease with his vampiric nature and being able to find joy in the world around him.

The maxi skirt and espadrille sandals are reminiscent of the high-waisted silhouette and chopines of the Renaissance era silhouette, while the watercolour-like print of the blue top reflects the dreamy, shimmering canals of Venice.

I also chose a gold-based palette and luxurious-looking jewellery to represent the opulence of Venice at the height of its power. Finally, the punch of red reminds us of the violence and destruction that abruptly ended this period of Marius’ life.

Blood and Gold: Perfect Time

Imperfect Immortal
Marius had appeared several times before, as a minor character in the previous Vampire Chronicles novels. There, he was the infinitely wise, ever patient and always rational scholar and mentor figure.

Revealing Marius’ many flaws and fears, Blood and Gold completely shatters this impeccable illusion of him and presents him as being every bit as imperfect and human as anyone else. The combination of the gold base, the black horn and the skull of the ring denote the chasm between what Marius appears to be and what he is truly like.

Succumbing to his anger, Marius had held onto past grievances, hurt those whom he loved and made decisions, which he would come to regret. In this outfit, his all-consuming fury and bitterness is represented by the streaks of red on the blouse, as well as the image of the bear on the shoes.

Due to his pride and stubbornness, he had repeatedly refused to listen to others’ opinions and advice and hence had his joy turn to ashes in his mouth. This trait is symbolised by the peacock feather earrings, the rich purple shade of the bag, and the image of the bull on the shoes.

The final nail in the coffin came is Marius’ duplicity. He had never been completely open and honest to any of those whom he loved. In fact, his dishonesty finally backfired on him totally and left him without the final companion who had remained by his side. The uneasy fit of the asymmetrical and aggressively coloured top and skirt echoes Marius’ constant need to reconcile the vastly different sides of himself.

Blood and Gold: Imperfect Immortal

Part 1 of my post on the “Queen of the Damned” can be found here: The Book: Blood and Gold (Blood and Gold).

The first of my series of posts on the Vampire Chronicles novels can be found here: Interview with the Vampire (IwTV).

The second of my series of posts on the Vampire Chronicles novels can be found here: The Book: Queen of the Damned (QoTD) , The Style: Queen of the Damned (QoTD).

TVC: The Book: Blood and Gold (B&G)

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to review and recap Anne Rice’s “Blood and Gold”? After all, this novel recounts the life of Marius de Romanus, a two thousand years old vampire born in the height of the Roman Empire. He is a scholar, a teacher, a painter, a gentleman…and possibly the only character in the Vampire Chronicles who has loved and lost more than Lestat.

Skipping over the frenetic way in which he was made into a vampire and his taking the Mother and Father of the vampires (AKA Akasha and Enkil, or “Those Who Must Be Kept”) into his care, Marius begins his story at a low point in his life. He has been quarrelling with Pandora, the only person whom he has loved in both his mortal and vampiric life, over how they should deal with rogue vampires who were after the powerful blood of “Those Who Must Be Kept”. In a fit of anger, he left their home in Antioch without a word, and took Akasha and Enkil with him. This would prove to be a decision that he would regret for centuries to come.

Back in Rome, Marius once again met Mael, the ex-Druid who had once captured him and offered him as a blood offering to his “gods”, and Avicus, Mael’s maker. Although Marius was still angry with Mael for consigning him to life as a vampire, he still yearned for some sort of vampiric companionship and the three of them eventually fell into an awkward alliance to fend off the rogue vampires who turned up continuously in Rome.

As Rome fell into decay around them, the three vampires moved to Constantinopole, the new centre of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, they then had to deal with Eudoxia, a vampire who was older and more powerful than any of them, and who ruled the city like a queen. Having claimed to have drunk Akasha’s blood before, she threatened Marius to take her to see Akasha and Enkil again. After she met her untimely demise, Marius met and fell in love with her young lover, Zenobia. However, as he knew that he had to act swiftly and brutally as the caretaker of Those Who Must be Kept, Marius was forced to leave her in the care of Avicus and Mael.

After a catatonic slumber through the Middle Ages, Marius rose once more to experience the Renaissance in all its glory. He settled in Venice, opened his house to train and educate poor young boys, and met the other two greatest loves of his life, Bianca Solderini (a courtesan who resembled the women painted by Sandro Botticelli) and Amadeo/ Armand (a teenage boy who was kidnapped from Kiev and sold to a Venetian brothel before Marius rescued him).

Marius’ happiness turned to ashes when Santino, a fanatical coven master whom Marius had once met and treated with indifferent contempt, returned to exact his vengeance. Deeply anguished and severely weakened by Santino’s attack, Marius turns Bianca into a vampire to support and comfort him. For the next two centuries, Marius busied himself with plans to destroy Santino, as well as to find Pandora (whom he has not seen for centuries) and Amadeo (who was kidnapped by Santino and forced to join his coven).

Having been separated over a millennia, Marius was finally reunited with Pandora in Dresden. This was a bittersweet moment: Pandora was happy to find him alive and well but, having found her own companion and led her own life for so long, she did not wish to live with him again. To make things worse, in a last-ditch attempt to make Pandora stay, Marius had offered to leave Bianca for her. Unfortunately, this was yet another one of Marius’ big mistakes. Bianca overheard him and decided to leave him too. By the end of his story, Marius was all alone once more.

The first of my series of posts on the Vampire Chronicles novels can be found here: Interview with the Vampire.

The second of my series of posts on the Vampire Chronicles novels can be found here: The Book: Queen of the Damned (QoTD) , The Style: Queen of the Damned (QoTD).