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).

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TVC: The Style: Queen of the Damned (QoTD)

Clash of Old and New
As mentioned in my previous post on “Queen of the Damned”, what I like most about QoTD is how it alternately hurled us back and forth between the mystical and distant reign of Akasha and the world of the modern vampires.

Through the use of multiple narrative perspectives, the dizzying cacophony of voices that reverberated through the novel lets you peep into the lives and minds of the other vampires in the series. Not only do we revisit old friends, we are also introduced to a whole cast of new characters who each bring their own personality and experiences to fully flesh out the Vampire Chronicles universe. And of course, Rice’s ever-lavish descriptions (e.g. Lestat’s glittering rockstar career, the technology-filled sanctum, which Marius had built to house Akasha and Enkil, etc.) further helped to reinforce this point.

In this ensemble, I have tried to emphasise the novel’s skilfully woven juxtaposition between the past and the present, the old and the new. The simple gold jewellery, almost austere-looking white dress and the sandal-like heels echo the relaxed silhouette of ancient Egypt. On the other hand, the overall minimalism of the outfit, the nearly monochromatic palette, as well as the edgy details (i.e leather, studs, cut-outs) symbolise the glamorous world of rock stars and electric lights.

Queen of the Damned: Clash of Old and New

Feminine Mystique
The main narrator of QoTD, Lestat, is male. Indeed, it seems that most of the vampires that populate the Vampire Chronicles are male. Yet, whilst the Vampire Chronicles series has been criticised for being overly male-centric, in QoTD, at least, the overarching plot is driven by the acts of 3 immensely powerful female vampires.

Akasha presents a fiercely proactive, strangely naïve and brutally straightforward solution to supposedly end all the problems in the world. At the same time, Maharet shows us another way of leading the vampires: caring, wise, logical, and possibly a little too reticent to effectively deal with the tumultuous events that unfolded in QoTD.

Arguably, neither style is perfect and it is only when Mekare combined the traits from both, that the deadlock in the vampires’ council meeting could be resolved. Mekare acted logically and without illusions (insomuch as she could) to bring down Akasha, by sending out streams of telepathic images to communicate her story with vampires all over the world and slowly but surely making her way to the vampire council meeting. Simultaneously, she acted simply but violently to exact her revenge on Akasha.

In this outfit, I have combined elements to represent the two competing ideologies. Akasha’s desire to build a “warrior goddess” cult-like following presumably arose from her queenly status in mortal life, as well as the god-like worship of royalty in Ancient Egyptian culture. This is symbolised by the ornate gold details, and the “hardness” of the materials used. The dominance of the various shades of red (which could represent life, victory, anger and evil in Ancient Egypt, depending on the context), is also apt in describing Akasha’s attitude throughout her campaign.

On the other hand, Maharet’s “Earth Mother” model of leading the vampires seems to be rooted in her spiritual powers as a witch. The use of white (which represented cleanliness and purity) and green (which represented nature, growth and regeneration), as well as the various floral accents, reflects her strong links with the natural world.

Queen of the Damned: Feminine Mystique

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

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