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The birth of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles occurred while she was mourning the death of her daughter, the inspiration for Claudia in the 1976 novel Interview With the Vampire. The movie rights to Interview were purchased back in 1976, but the film wasn't produced until 1994.
== Method of creation of fledglings ==
In almost all cases, fledglings are created when a master vampire chooses a successor or 'child' and drains him or her almost to the point of death. The victim then, if possible, drinks some of the old one's blood in return. This is necessarily an act of will and trust as well as a physical exchange. One unusual characteristic is that after the transformation, the fledgling and the master can no longer psychically hear one another.
In one unusual circumstance, Magnus, a mortal, discovers a vampire's sleeping place and steals blood from the helpless sleeper during daylight hours. After drinking this blood he is transformed into a true vampire, without having undergone either the near-death experience between master and fledgling, or the death & burial sequence by which the vampires of Les Innocents are made.
In the death and burial sequence, we are told (it is never shown) that the chosen, who apparently must commit various crimes and misdeeds in life to be chosen for vampiric life, do appear to die before their families and are given only a small amount of vampiric blood before burial. They must survive the burial and break out of their coffins or else die of starvation if they are not strong enough.
== The Vampire's Nature ==
Firstly, Rice's vampires nearly always kill when they drink. There are instances when the drink alone is not sufficient to cause death, and in these situations the vampire may kill the victim by some other means. Gabrielle angers Lestat in one such instance by breaking a victim's neck 'when the little drink she took was not enough to kill...' ('The Vampire Lestat'). These vampires enjoy the psychic aspects of mortal death as much as the actual blood. They ingest the memories of those they kill, although those memories do not survive in their minds as such.
Their appearance is no longer a mortal one. Their skin becomes quite pale, and may look iridized when the vampire is hungry. Likewise, their eyes tend to reflect many colors. Lestat uses makeup at one point in his rock-star career, and points out that in order to pass as a mortal at all, he must feed immediately beforehand.
Their physical abilities are greatly enhanced from what they were as mortals. Physical strength is much greater. Gabrielle, as noted above, easily breaks a man's neck. Armand and Lestat climb up a vertical tower and on occasion fight with one another in a cathedral; during this battle they grapple and throw one another many feet across the room. They do not need or want mortal food. Alcohol in the blood affects them, as well as drugs. (Claudia poisons Lestat by bringing him child-victims who have drunk absinthe, which is a poison to mortals in large enough quantities as well). Upon becoming a vampire, these individuals lose their mortal sexual abilities, which are superseded by the intimacy and lust of the hunt and the kill.
Rice's vampires may not actually be capable of flying, but they seem to be able to levitate, and/or ride air currents to some extent. Magnus appears to fly with Lestat when he kidnaps Lestat; Akasha also appears to be able to fly to some degree. In terms of simple physical feats, the power and control is greatly enhanced. Lestat, in his first nights, discovers he can speak or sing so loudly that it not only hurts mortal ears but arouses great suspicion of his true nature. When he attempts acrobatic maneuvers he finds he can literally leap to the ceiling.
Their mental abilities are greatly altered as well. Armand reads books as if they were brief treatises, at great speed; he also can project his mental voice in a 'calling' that profoundly affects both vampires and mortals. They can 'hear' voices from all over the world, though most of them learn to filter out this 'noise'.
== Methods of Destroying Ricean Vampires ==
These vampires can be destroyed in the following ways: fire, exposure to sunlight with subsequent scattering of the ashes, beheading, probably staking if it breaks the spine or destroys the central nervous system. Fire alone will not kill them.
All Ricean vampires are related through their blood to Those Who Must Be Kept. These are their original 'parents,' Enkil and Akasha of Egypt, who were attacked by traitors who unwittingly gave a demon entrance into their victims' bodies. This turned these mortals into creatures who could no longer procreate, nor tolerate daylight, and who must take mortal blood to survive. In the course of the Vampire Chronicles, it becomes plain that all vampires are thus interrelated, because when Those Who Must Be Kept are left out in the sunlight by an elder weary of caring for them, all other vampires are burned or destroyed by the transmitted effects of the sunlight upon their parents. And at the end of 'Queen of the Damned' only a cannibalistic ritual act performed by Maharet and Mekare, an echo of the loving ritual they had once set out to perform upon their mother's body, can save the entire population of vampires from death as Akasha herself dies.