Vampires and Angels

Faith_Fiction2I’m late, but I wanted to add my voice to the discussion started at My Friend Amy as part of her Faith ‘n Fiction Saturday. Here are the questions:

So my question for you today is…what do you think about these kinds [vampire] of stories? Do you enjoy the fictional vampire stories or the fictional stories about angels? Are you more likely to read a story about an angel than a vampire? What do you think is the appeal of these books?

Interesting topic in light of the discussion we had centered on Eric Wilson’s Haunt of Jackals.

First vampires. Not my cup of tea. I may have mentioned a time or two that I’m not a fan of horror. I don’t like being scared and don’t understand why anyone else would. It is an unpleasant sensation, so why would I voluntarily put myself through the experience for hours on end? It makes no sense to me.

Some people have told me it’s an adrenalin rush. I get plenty of that as a sports fan (and earlier, as a coach and player) and don’t find that source to be unpleasant (unless my team loses 🙄 ).

Of late I’ve been dismayed by the “twilighting” of vampires. As I understand their original mythic role, they were evil, beings to fight against. But today’s vampires—from TV’s Angel to Twilight’s whats-his-name—vampires might be blood-suckers, but their self-restraint made them good. It’s a very humanistic message, not to mention that it plays to the “love the bad boy” syndrome too many young girls fall into as it is.

But are angel stories any better? I’ve only read a couple. I understand “fallen angels” stories are becoming more and more popular. Uh … I thought fallen angels were demons. So how can fallen angels be characters we cheer for? Perhaps the fallen angels will be beings to fear, taking the place, in essence, of olden day vampires. In that case, I refer you to the paragraph above about my reaction to horror. 😀

The larger issue when it comes to angels, however, is exactly what Amy said in her answer to these questions: angels are real. Vampires, as fictitious beings, aren’t tied to the original imagining of such creatures. Authors are free to speculate all they wish.

Angels, as long as they are not the cute and cuddly kind—in other words, angels portrayed in any way as Scripture reveals them to be—must be handled in the same way other historical beings are handled. They must be researched. They must adhere to what we know to be true.

Personally, I don’t see stories about angels being interesting at all. If we give them anthropomorphic emotions, we will be distorting reality. If we show them as single-minded servants of the most high God, then there really is no internal conflict that makes for a good story.

I’m not in anyway interested in these stories. The ones I’ve read fell far short, even when the writing was good.

So I’ll have to say, count me out of these angel/vampire tales.

How about you? Are you a fan of vampire stories? And if so, why? Have you read any angel stories? Do you look forward to the new wave of stories featuring angels?

As an aside, months ago I started a discussion over at Amazon and last week, who should make a comment but Anne Rice. I wanted to verify that this was THE Anne Rice, and sure enough, it was. In the process, though, I visited her Web site and saw the “angels are the new vampires” tag line. That was the first I was aware of the coming trend.


  1. No I am not a fan of either. But I’m not a fan of horror, or Amish romances, or westerns either. 🙂 I think that people can read anything they want, and people can write anything they want, but for those of us who are believers, we should be careful to get our theology right. Would CBA authors/writers have even considered a vampire book before Ann Rice’s books and the Twilight books had sold a zillion copies? I’m big on portraying things as they are in reality, grit and all, but I’m no fan of horror.


  2. I agree with you. Morally I cannot see the justification for a vampire being a hero and I don’t like horror (it Horrifies me!)

    But I’d take what you are saying one step farther and bring it around to question magical elements in fiction. Sorcery cannot be good; there are no good witches. There are sorceries but they are evil. Unless power is attributed as gifted by God it is innapropriate for a hero to use. In Tolkien’s books he has a “good wizard” Should Christians endorse his books as God-honoring? There’s a fine line that should not be crossed.

    But our writing can reflect our growing understanding of God and his ways and laws, so the quality of speculative fiction should grow with the author.


  3. Scott: I agree whole heartedly about sorcery I have had the same kind of conversations with others. Witchcraft is ALWAYS protrayed as bad in teh Bible, as is sorcery. For that reason I have not read LoTRs’ It is nice to finally have somone else agree with me.
    Vampires as well as “Angles” are quite the hot topic right now. So why the fascination with Vampires? I believe it is because they ARE evil, but it draws a reader in with the internal conflict against “evil”. Stripping away the facade they are evil at the core, and I don’t believe a “good” vampire exists. They’re “nature” is evil, other wise they wouldn’t be vampires. Sorcery is a draw(at least how I understand it) because people crave power, it is an innate(and sinful) desire to have power over others. They also draw readers because then the Hero/Heroin must decide when to use the power. It is teh idea of always being in control I believe.
    These are simply my musings are observations of the topic. Quite the good post Mrs.Miller


  4. Let me clarify my comment:

    In rereading my comment. Since I believe that this is a post about Christian fiction/CBA published fiction, I realized that I should have said, “but for those who write Christian fiction,” not “for those of us who are believers.” So sorry. I’m very tired today, and this isn’t the first comment where my thoughts didn’t make it to the page correctly!

    Tolkien didn’t write Christian fiction for a CBA publishing house. (Some might not have wanted to publish him, 🙂 LOTR was filled with Christian symbolism and themes, but it still wasn’t in a Christian fiction genre. If writers are going to write paranormal stories in the “Christian fiction” genre, then they have to be much more careful of that fine line as they have to answer to God, AND both their book and their publisher carries a Christian label. If believers write a fantasy novel for general publication, then they have to answer to God for the contents of the book, and it really isn’t any of my business as I don’t have to read it.


  5. Rebecca

    You haven’t read LOTR?!

    You are seriously missing out on one of the greatest trilogies in all of literature. Why, it was instrumental in starting the fantasy genre!

    If you’re concerned about sorcery and witchcraft, it’s honestly very minor in the books. The books are written as though magic is part of the culture – the world – more than anything. This is what enabled Tolkien to tell the story. The story itself is much more about the morality of their world and the interactions of the characters.

    Why not start with the Hobbit. Gandalf has mere cameos in that book at both ends. The vast majority of the book is a traveling adventure – nothing more.

    If you can read the kinds of books you mention on this blog, you can most definitely read LOTR. Otherwise, you come across as not trusting the work of a fellow Christian (Tolkien) and yet trusting non-believers (any work by a non-believer).

    You said in comment #3, their “’nature’ is evil, otherwise they wouldn’t be vampires.”

    I think that is the point.

    The author wants to identify the very nature of a vampire and explore that. Donald Maas, whether you like him or not, suggests that what readers/viewers want/need today is extremes and opposites. What better opposite is a good vampire? I’m not defending him, but I do think that a lot of people respond to this concept in our culture. We live in a media-saturated world and people are bored with the same old thing.I think this is bad and dangerous, but there it is. The Bible says that in the last days people will essentially make up their own minds about things and go their own way. I think we’re seeing an early version of that. Everyone wants to understand the world their own way. Books and content like this allow them to explore that.

    Again, I say it’s dangerous. One interpretation I have of the unforgivable sin from scripture is that people mistake God for the Devil and vice versa. Essentially, they decide that evil is good – and then die in this belief. I don’t know how this view stacks up against other views but it’s certainly something to be wary of.

    Mind, this is to add to your views and the other comments. I believe we are all essentially on the same page here. (Though I can’t believe you haven’t read LOTR!)


  6. Forgive my long comment. There are so many facets to this conversation I got carried away! (And still didn’t touch half of them like the Witch of Endor…)


  7. Wow! Great post.

    Um…Daniel, Rebecca never said she didn’t read LOTR. heh heh

    Oh, how I would love to get into the argument over whether witches and sorcerers were OK to read and write, but, alas, I have no time for such disputes. Loved the post, Becky, and look forward to future posts you are going spin as you try to straighten us all out. 🙂


  8. I cannot say that I am a fan of vampire stories. The mere idea of surviving on blood–human or otherwise–is creepy. Like you, I do not enjoy deliberately terrifying myself and I don’t understand other’s fascination with it.

    Obviously, one of the most popular vampire series (Twilight) isn’t horror. Does that make it “ok” since vampires aren’t by nature evil? Some would say “yes,” others “no”. I don’t know. My objections to the books are more based on hearsay regarding the characterization than anything I know about vampires.

    Can vampires legitimately be portrayed as good? Perhaps. In older tales, dragons were usually the “bad guys” and on the side of evil. Cunning they were, but cruel. Now there are many “Christian” books (I really don’t like labeling books that) wherein dragons are the “good guys.” Could the same thing happen to the portrayal of vampires? It appears that it is.

    On angel stories: I don’t like the idea because of what you mentioned–Angels are real. And they are powerful. But we really don’t know much about them beyond that. Thus I do not think we mortals can truthfully write a story of that sort. It would be worse than misrepresenting a historical character. At least we know how humans act and think. We know nothing of the sort in regard to angels.

    @ Millardthemk: I would submit to you that Gandalf, Sauruman, Radagast, and even Sauron himself from “The Lord of the Rings” are not wizards in the traditional sense of the word. That is, they are not magicians working outside their powers with things with which they have no business. They aren’t even human for that matter. They are the Maiar, an ancient race created by Illuvitar (God in Middle Earth) and who are essentially the angels of Middle Earth. Thus those things that they do that seem magical, are actually outworkings of the power granted them by God. I would not call the book “Christian,” indeed, I hesitate to call any book that, but I would say that it is wholesome, hearty, and an excellent example of a writer’s craft. And I do think it is God-honoring. But such is my opinion. It need not be yours.


  9. Rien: Thank you, but I shall still not read them. I appreciate you comments though!


  10. Hmmm, so much going on in this good discussion, I think I’ll have to post on the topic again. Thanks for all the input!

    Oh, and Dennis, Sally is right. I’m not the one who has not read LotR. Quite the opposite. God used those books to spur me on to write.



  11. […] J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, vampires, witches, wizards We had such good discussion on the Vampires and Angels Tuesday post, I decided to blog on it again rather than responding in the comment […]


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: