This summer I spent a lot more time in airports than normal. Between conferences, job interviews and my brother’s graduation I became an expert flyer (think George Clooney in Up in the Air) and being the reader that I am I needed a good book. When I travel I can’t read “literature.” Airports are not conducive to concentration and then I miss the beauty of the language and/or plot intricacies. After finishing one plane book I found myself stuck in an airport while on my way to ALA in New Orleans. Taking my destination in mind I searched for a good book, hopefully with a southern setting. My searches continually brought up Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, and I finally broke down and downloaded the first onto my Kindle.
I’m not normally a supernatural genre type of girl but I flew through the first book (I have yet to finish the second, two months later) on one trip. Granted the only other vampire book I’ve ever read is Twilight but I noticed a slightly disturbing similarity. Bill, the vampire from Dead Until Dark became immortal during the Civil War. I can’t remember when Edward was turned vampire, but it was sometime in the 1800s. After reading Dead Until Dark I started wondering—are the romantic interest vampires consistently from the age of chivalry so that we modern readers are less likely to think “creepy stalker man”?
I know that manners and attitudes towards women were much different in the 1860s than they are today, but I have to wonder about the authors and their motivations. Edward watching Bella sleep would definitely not fly in his original time period yet this and his other “protective” measures become romantic in the context of the vampire novels. I noticed this less in the Charlaine Harris book, but Bill continually referred to Sookie as “his.” Women are not possessions no matter how much she might love you!
Are the authors using old vampires as a mask for completely inappropriate behavior? Or have we gone so far in the other direction, past the point of chivalry, that this kind of attention is actually desired? Perhaps, so frustrated with our current romantic situations (friends with benefits etc), women have turned to the past and glamorize it so completely that it would be unrecognizable to a person who lived then.
I’m not entirely sure I have a point here or if I just think too much. Let me know what you think!