Guest post by Jenn Windrow
Vampires. Throughout their history they’ve come in different shapes, sizes, and sexiness. They’ve been kind and they’ve been killers. They’ve been loved, hated, and every emotion in between. And no matter what myth you follow, most have the same aversions. Whether it be sunlight, garlic, holy water, or a wooden stake to the heart, most vampire purists stick to the basics of vampire lore.
But there are exceptions.
Today I want to talk about one of those exception…sunlight. The how and the why some authors decided to break the rules and let their vampires have a little fun in the sun.
While vampires have always been considered creatures of the night—anyone else hear the Rocky Horror Picture Show song in their head? No. Just me—their aversion to sunlight wasn’t always an issue. When vampires were first introduced the only thing the sun did was suck…haha…some of their power. Make them a little weaker during the day. But through the years, as the stories of vampires evolved, the aversion to sunlight did too.
But why? No one knows for sure. Maybe they wanted to make them darker, scarier, creepier, more horror like. But whatever the reason the aversion to the sun has become a major theme in the world of vamps.
However, I did mention exceptions above, and I wanted to look at a few of the more popular ones in modern day fiction. So, let’s dive into the world of daywalkers.
Probably the most popular daywalker. The half human, half vampire, all around bad ass has been a cult classic for years. Blade can walk in the sun thanks to the human half of his DNA. All the strength and speed and skills of a normal vampire without the pesky burning up in the sun issue. Making him an effective vampire killing tool…and kill vampires he does.
While the vampires in TVD have the normal aversion to sunlight, the author found a fun and stylish way around having to keep the characters indoors until after the sun went down. Witch spelled rings. Rings so powerful that when worn they protected the vampire from the harmful rays, allowing them to lead a normal high school life even though they were centuries old. Because how could they help with the annual cheerleader carwash if they couldn’t go outside?
Yes, the sun could still kill vampires in the Buffyverse, but Joss Whedon took some creative liberties with his vamps. As long as the sun wasn’t directly touching them, if they were wearing a cape or in the shade, they were safe. Afterall it is hard to have a show, about vampires, set in California, in a town called Sunnydale without letting the vampires have a little bit of daytime drama.
The lore around Twilight is not fully understood by everyone, but Edward had no problem going out in the sun, in fact it made him sparkle. Yes, sparkle. And the story is set in the Pacific Northwest, so they really didn’t have a lot of sun to worry about. Just werewolves and teenage angst.
Yes, even the original Dracula could walk in the sun without any harmful UV effects, but it did render him less powerful. He was his full scary strength at night, but if he needed to torture a local villager during the hottest part of the day the pesky rays of the mid-day sun wouldn’t have stopped him.
When Lestat was first introduced he couldn’t go into the sun, in fact we all remember that famous scene of poor Claudia frying to death in the torture chamber, but as Lestat grew older and after he drank Akasha’s blood he was able to endure the rays of the sun. Anne Rice liked to reward her vampires for years of torture.
Simon didn’t start off as a vampire, and after he was turned he couldn’t walk in the sun. It wasn’t until he drank Jace’s blood, the blood of a full angel, that he could start hanging out with Clary, his bestie, during the day again.
Those are just some of the vampires in modern literature or film that are allowed to spend a day on the beach, but they all have one thing in common, the writers have given us a reason why their vampires are different. And with a why, I can believe anything.
Personally, I like the idea that vampires have a weakness. That there was something so powerful, to keep their almost unlimitless power in check. I don’t care if they eat garlic or knock back a vat of holy water, those are little things that a vampire can avoid, but not the sun. The sun gives our favorite bloodsuckers a true enemy beyond angry villagers and jilted lovers.
Jenn Windrow is an award-winning author of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Vampires, Greek gods, and a bit of Demon fun for everyone.
She loves characters who have a pinch of spunk, a dash of attitude, and a large dollop of sex appeal. Top it all off with a huge heaping helping of snark, and you’ve got the ingredients for the kind of fast paced stories she loves to read and write. Home is a suburb of it’s-so-hot-my-shoes-have-melted-to-the-pavement Phoenix. Where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a slew of animals that seem to keep following her home, at least that’s what she claims.