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.
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.
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).