A supernatural species of undead immortals.
Superhuman strength, speed, senses, and endurance, healing factor, glamouring, flight, and voice imitation.
Vampires are a supernatural species of undead immortals, who were originally humans converted by a maker. Their primary characteristics include being "undead" (characterized by a lack of a heartbeat, brainwaves, electrical impulses, need to breathe, and other bodily functions), fangs, and the need to drink blood to survive.
Due to the creation of synthetic blood (marketed as Tru Blood) in Japan, vampires have revealed themselves to the global population (an event referred to as "the Great Revelation", "coming out of the coffin" and "mainstreaming") two years prior to the series. As vampires are able to sustain on synthetic blood instead of human blood, vampire representatives assure that vampires are not a threat to humans.
Reaction to vampires varies between countries and regions. However, they are considered legal citizens within the United States, albeit with limited rights and strict rules.
Vampires have existed since the beginning of humanity. According to the Vampire Bible, God created the first vampire, Lilith, followed by the creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve, who were created as sustenance for vampires. Members of the Fellowship of the Sun have their own theories of the first vampire, including Jesus (who rose from the dead), Lazarus (who also rose from the dead), and Cain (the son of Adam and Eve, who committed the first murder).
Bill Compton has stated that, many centuries ago, vampires created many of the vampire myths themselves in order to protect themselves. For instance, since it was believed that vampires could not be seen in the mirror, a vampire could prove that they aren't a vampire by appearing in a mirror. Other myths include holy water, holy grounds (i.e. religious buildings and establishments), crucifixes, and photography (i.e. it is possible to take a photograph of a vampire), which have no actual effect on vampires.
In 1610, a powerful witch named Antonia Gavilán de Logroño cast a spell that summoned all vampires within a 20 mile radius to expose themselves to sunlight, causing a number of vampires to die.
In 2006, vampires revealed their existence to humans, an event referred to as "the Great Revelation", "coming out of the coffin" and "mainstreaming". During the revelation, vampires began insisting that vampirism did not indicate rising from the dead, but, instead, to a disease which makes vampires allergic to sunlight and alters their dietary needs.
In 2010, Russell Edgington ripped out the spine of TBBN newscaster Jerry McCafferty on live television, which increased prejudice and hate crimes towards vampires. In addition, Russell Edgington became the poster boy (also called the "Osama bin Laden") of the Sanguinista movement, sparking more conflict between humans and vampires.
In 2011, 400 years after the death of Antonia Gavilán de Logroño, a witch named Marnie Stonebrook summoned her spirit. Antonia used Marnie as a host to control her, and cast the same spell she cast in 1610. However, as the vampires knew of her intentions, only one vampire perished. Marnie mentions vampires being politically powerful throughout the centuries, writing propaganda on witches and exxagerating many of their myths.
Vampires are indistinguishable from humans, and appear as they did when they were turned, albeit with a paler complexion, due to lack of blood flow. Also, they have fangs that usually extend and retract willingly, though they can be stimulated to (unwillingly) extend. In addition, vampires are classified as being "undead" (characterized by a lack of a heartbeat, brainwaves, electrical impulses, need to breathe, and other bodily functions).
Vampires remain identical forever after they are turned. Due to this, vampires cannot lose or gain weight (as explained by Eddie Gauthier, who said that, due to lack of exercise and a bad diet as a human, he remained overweight as a vampire) ("I Don't Wanna Know"), or change their body in any way (for instance, Jessica Hamby was a virgin when she was turned, and, after having sex, her hymen grew back).
Vampires are recognizable from their fangs, which are located behind the maxillary lateral incisors (as opposed to the canines, as per vampire mythology). Fangs can be extended and retracted by choice, and are controlled by the movements of certain facial muscles. However, fangs protrude automatically when vampires are feeding, angry, excited, aroused (colloquially referred to as a "fang boner"), need to fight, or see blood. Fangs can also be removed, but grow back after three months. Without fangs, vampires cannot feed live.
Due to the lack of blood flow, vampires do not have any bodily functions. Because of this, vampires do not produce waste, and are unable to become pregnant, impregnate female humans or supernatural creatures, and have lower body temperatures (than humans).
Vampires have anatomically different tear ducts from humans, as they expel blood, not tears.
Vampires are reliant on human or synthetic blood, as they cannot ingest normal food or drinks, or supernatural blood (with the exception of faeries). The synthetic blood (marketed as Tru Blood) is comprised of a varied cellular content, and comes in flavors such as O, A, B and AB, in both positive and negative varieties. Although the synthetic blood can sustain a vampire nutritionally, it does not truly satisfy the hunger or taste as good (Sam Merlotte compared this to abstaining from one's favorite foods, and eating Slim-Fast instead). Because of this, many vampires opt to drink human blood. Allegedly, virgin and baby blood taste the best, and faerie blood is exceptionally tasty.
If a vampire abstains from drinking blood, they will experience the "bleeds", during which the vampire will begin to bleed from their ears and nose (in addition, vampires experience the bleeds if they do not sleep during the day). The bleeds stop when the vampire feeds (or sleeps). If a vampire experiences the bleeds long enough, they will perish.
While vampires are unable to hold in anything but (actual or synthetic) blood, they can experience joy in smoking cigars and cigarettes. Since their bodies heal any damage rapidly, smoking will not have any lasting effect on a vampire such as it does on humans.
Vampires are immortal and, unless they are staked, exsanguinated, decapitated, exposed to sunlight, have their bodies destroyed (through physical damage, burning, freezing, etc.), or experience the bleeds too long, will live forever. Also, vampires do not suffer from diseases (however, vampires can be affected by hepatitis D, becoming, for the durations of about a month, lethargic and ill). In addition, vampires do not age.
A vampire that has been incapacitated without the ability to feed will henceforth continue living, albeit in great constant suffering due to the lack of sustenance, and will eventually perish.
In order to create a vampire, a human must be drained of their blood by a vampire (effectively killing the human), and the blood lost needs to be replaced by some of the vampire's blood. The vampire and human must then sleep in the ground until the newborn rises as a vampire. The newborn and the maker will have a maker-progeny bond, unless the maker deserts or releases their progeny.
Newborn vampires will be thirsty, and will need to feed on human or synthetic blood to survive. Although newborns have some control of their abilities, they are mostly controlled by their impulses, and can cause serious harm and accidental deaths to humans around them. In addition, newborns cannot resist blood at all; resistance develops with age.
A newborns' existence depends upon their abilities, which are taught by their maker. These abilities take time to learn and develop, and as vampires age, they become more adept at controlling them. According to Bill Compton, two-thirds of newborns die during their first year without the guidance of their makers (for instance, if Eddie Gauthier had been taught how to glamour, he could have been able to escape from his kidnappers).
It is unknown if supernatural creatures can be turned into vampires.
Vampires possess many of the abilities of mythological vampires.
- Superhuman strength: vampires are vastly stronger than humans, werewolves, and shapeshifters, and grow stronger with age and experience (for instance, newborns, despite being able to outpower and kill any human, are weak compared to older vampires).
- Superhuman speed: vampires are able to move much faster than humans, and can move faster than a human eye can perceive movement. Vampires are able to perceive this movement, though, and, thus, possess accelerated vision (as shown when Eric Northman was able to see a speeding bullet in slow motion, and himself in normal motion while moving at superhuman speed). Speed, just like strength, advances with age, as older vampires are significantly faster than younger vampires. In addition, vampires have heightened reflexes. In addition, vampires (even newborns) are faster than other supernatural creatures.
- Superhuman senses: vampires have much stronger senses than humans, as they are able to see, hear and smell better than humans can. Vampires can also see perfectly in complete darkness.
- Superhuman endurance: vampires are able endure pain better than humans and are unaffected by attacks that would cripple, maim, or kill humans with minimal effort.
- Healing factor: vampires have an accelerated healing factor, and are able to heal all types of wounds (such as open wounds, massive burns and tissue damage). If an injury is severe, vampires need human blood to initiate the healing process.
- Glamour: vampires are able to "glamour" humans. Glamour is a form of hypnosis, which requires vampires to make eye contact and use their voices to make humans do their bidding. Glamouring does not affect other vampires, powerful witches, maenads, fairies or other supernatural creatures. Excessive glamouring can have a negative effect on the mental stability of a victim. Glamouring is not an innate ability, as it needs to be taught and practiced (often by makers). Vampires can glamour at least two humans at the same time.
- Flight: some vampires have the ability to fly or levitate (it is suggested that older vampires can fly, while younger vampires can just levitate). When Sookie Stackhouse asks Eric Northman "can all vampires fly?", Eric responds "can all humans sing?", suggesting that not all vampires have this ability.
- Voice imitation: vampires are able to imitate voices (for instance, Bill Compton has been shown to be able to imitate Eric Northman).
Vampire blood abilities
Vampire blood, or "V", is the life essence of vampires.
It is illegal to hold or ingest vampire blood due to its drug qualities, and, since the Great Revelation, there has been a growing black market for vampire blood. Some vampires are kidnapped by "Drainers", who are people that capture, drain and leave vampires for dead in order to get vampire blood. Vampire blood is sold for $200–$600 per 1/4-ounce, and is ingested in small amounts (1-2 drops). If the blood is not fresh, it can be cut with aspirin to prevent it from coagulating, and to extend the high.
Vampire blood has the following effects on humans and supernatural creatures:
- Healing: a human or supernatural creature that ingests vampire blood will be able to heal wounds at an accelerated rate.
- Enhanced abilities: a human or supernatural creature that ingests vampire blood will experience enhanced strength, speed, senses, endurance, aggression, and libido, as long as the blood is in their system.
- Blood bonding: if a human or supernatural creature drinks fresh blood from a vampire, a bond is created. The human will become sexually attracted to and have sex dreams about the vampire. The vampire, in turn, will be able to sense the location, emotions and state of the human.
- Drug qualities: a human or supernatural creature that ingests vampire blood will experience hallucinations, which vary from person to person (for instance, while Jesus Velasquez and Lafayette Reynolds experienced spiritual hallucinations, Jason Stackhouse and Amy Burley experienced more trip-like hallucinations).
- Withdrawal: if a human or supernatural creature is addicted to vampire blood, and stops ingesting it, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to those of heroin withdrawal (such as tremors, cramps, muscle and bone pain, perspiration, tachycardia, etc.).
In addition, if a human ingests an excess amount of vampire blood (i.e. more than 1-2 drops), the effects may persist longer than intended. For instance, after he drank a vial of vampire blood, Jason Stackhouse experienced sweating, exhaustion, and a persistant erection (which caused priapism), resulting in Tara Thornton taking him to the hospital.
Abilities as a Maker to a Progeny
- Empathic link: a maker can sense if their progeny dies, or is in pain or duress. It is unknown if a progeny can sense the death or pain of their maker.
- Calling: a maker can "call" their progeny whenever they want to. During a calling, the maker has to say the name of their progeny, and the progeny will feel a shiver and, if the maker chooses to, become aware of where their maker is.
- Commands: a maker can make their progeny to do anything they want to, and this is enforced by saying "as your maker, I command you". However, this ability has no effect if the progeny has been released.
- Releasing: a maker can release their progeny by saying "as your maker, I release you", giving them free will.
Vampires have a number of weaknesses, which range from irritating to fatal (it should be noted that the death of a vampire is referred to as the "true death"):
Decapitation: if the head of a vampire is severed completely, the vampire will perish. Breaking the neck of a vampire only causes mild discomfort.
Entry to homes: vampires cannot enter private human homes unless they are invited in by the owner of the house. Vampires do not need to be invited into public places (such as bars or restaurants). Humans can rescind their invitations from vampires, which causes the vampire to immediately leave the house.
Excess blood: if a vampire drinks too much blood, they will display alcohol intoxication-like qualities (such as euphoria, confusion, stupor, etc.).
Exsanguination: if a vampire is completely drained of their blood, they can become comatose, and eventually perish.
Fire: vampires can heal from burns, if given time and blood. However, if a vampire cannot get a chance to heal from the fire (for instance if they are left in the fire too long), the vampire will die.
Hepatitis D: a virus, which can be transmitted through blood, that weakens vampires for about a month.
Maenad blood: if a vampire drinks maenad blood, they will begin to choke and vomit.
Magic: vampires are vulnerable to the effects of magic, such as necromancy.
Silver: vampires are also susceptible to silver, and any contact with silver will burn and melt the surface of the vampire it touches (such as skin, or eyes).
Sleep or blood deprivation: if a vampire does not sleep during the day, or does not feed for a period of time, they will experience the "bleeds". The bleeds refer to vampires bleeding from their ears and noses. If a vampire continues to be deprived of sleep or blood, they will die from blood loss.
Sunlight: vampires cannot endure ultra-violet light in any form (for instance, sunlight or tanning beds). If a vampire comes into contact with sunlight, their skin will burn and they will be severely weakened, and, eventually, burst into flames and perish. The older a vampire is, the quicker they will burn; when Godric walked into sunlight, he perished in about 30 seconds, while Bill Compton was just severely charred after 3 minutes. UV light burns heal more slowly than regular burns (such as from fire).
Wood: vampires are susceptible to wood and wooden objects (such as stakes and wooden bullets). If the heart of a vampire is pierced with a wooden object, the vampire will explode, and leave a bloody mess.
Between humans and vampires, humans display bigoted and racist attitudes towards vampires due to fear. Although some humans support the Vampire Rights Amendment (which campaigns for equal rights between humans and vampires), others do not, such as organization like the Fellowship of the Sun.
Within vampire communities, most vampires live in harmony, and racism and homophobia are virtually non-existent.
Vampires have been shown to be tolerated by the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the majority of MED countries. However, vampires are hunted in the majority of Islamic and South American countries, and most African countries refuse to acknowledge the existence of vampires.
Since the Great Revelation, vampires have been involved in human politics (through organizations such as the American Vampire League), in order to campaign for equal rights for vampire (such as allowing vampire-human marriages).
Vampires also have their own governmental system. In the Unites States, the Authority, which has existed for several centuries, oversee all vampires, and vampires, regardless of age, must respect the Authority. Magisters give rulings over vampire disputes, and rule over entire continents. Furthermore, the States are divided into kingdoms and queendoms, which are ruled by a king or a queen, or both. Each kingdom or queendom is furthermore split into areas.
Within areas, vampires can arrange themselves into nests, in which a group of vampires live together. The hierarchy of a vampire nest is as follows:
- The oldest vampire in the nest
- The rest of the vampires in a descending order according to age
Furthermore, within vampire communities, vampires have a hierarchy according to age. Older vampires are more powerful than younger vampires and, thus, younger vampires are expected to obey older vampires.
Interaction with humans and supernatural creatures
Vampires have differing opinions concerning humans. The Authority and American Vampire League aim for mainstreaming, and, while some vampires agree that humans and vampires should be equals, others believe that vampires are above humans. For instance, the Sanguinista movement is opposed to mainstreaming and the Authority, and support the belief that vampires should dominate humans. Nonetheless, vampires have engaged in relationships with humans, in which vampires claim a human they believe need protecting or care about. The vampire identifies the human as "theirs", and this claim prevents other vampires from feeding on or having sex with the human.
A vampire and human can also share a blood bond, in which the human drinks the blood of the vampire. A vampire can only claim one human, and a human cannot be claimed by multiple vampires at the same time. However, a vampire can share a blood bond with multiple humans.
In addition, vampire groupies, or people who have sex with and are willingly bitten by vampires are referred to as "fang bangers", which is viewed as a derogatory term.
Vampires dislike shapeshifters and werewolves. They are accepting of practicing witches, but do not condone necromancy, as this is a possible threat to vampires. In addition, vampires find faeries irresistible because the smell of their blood is so enticing to them.
Crime and punishment
Vampires live according to the laws of the Authority. However, a king or queen can declare edicts, and create new laws. In the United States, the following activities are illegal, and punishable:
- killing another vampire
- selling vampire blood
- feeding from another vampire's human
- stealing wealth, real estate, or other property (including humans) from other vampires
Other laws dictated by the Authority, in order to keep order, include:
- when a vampire enters or departs an area, the vampire is required to make this known to the sheriff of the area
- makers are responsible for the actions of their progenies
Vampires also have laws to human (although they are not recognized by human systems), and violations of these are monitored by sheriffs. Humans are often tortured and/or killed for violating the following laws:
- dealing or selling vampire blood
- draining a vampire
- kidnapping a vampire
- killing a vampire
Punishments, due to violations, are administered by the Authority, Magisters, kings or queens or sheriffs, depending on the seriousness of the crime. There are set punishments for crimes (for instance, feeding from another vampire's human is punished by fang removal), but a Magister can change the punishment if they wish to. For instance, when Bill Compton killed Longshadow, the set punishment was five years in a coffin encased with silver. However, as the Magister was intrigued by the case (as Bill killed in order to protect Sookie Stackhouse, a (presumed) human; it is unusual for vampires to prioritize humans over vampires), he decided that Bill had to create another vampire, Jessica Hamby, to replace the vampire he killed.