A Kiss of Vampires…The Kiss of Death?
There’s a lot of vampire paranormal and urban fantasy fiction out there, and I’ve read my fair share of it. I’ve also watched a lot of it. One of the trends I’ve noticed in a lot of the fiction is the tendency for vampires to cling together.
Laurel K. Hamilton called a group of vampires a “kiss”, but I don’t know if anyone else has picked up on that nomenclature. It could be that vampires find the rest of the world a fairly hostile place. Humans like to hunt them down and chop off their heads and carve out their hearts, so vampires prefer the safety-in-numbers factor, and gather in groups whenever they can.
Hunting in groups is possibly more effective, too. Who knows? If there is any reasoning behind it at all, whatever the reasons, they don’t make it to the printed page or film. The vampires just lump together like predatory animals, usually living in big, rambling houses that humans could never afford.
Charlaine Harris’s vampires congregate. So do Hamilton’s.
Now, if the humans in the fictional world the vampires are living in are fully aware of vampires, then living and gathering in big groups like that is of little consequence. The humans might find it vaguely uncomfortable, but that just adds conflict to the drama of the novels.
But when it comes to fictional worlds where vampires are not “out” to the general human population, then big groups of vampires are a problem.
Ever since I began writing paranormal and urban fantasy romance, I have always questioned the wisdom of vampires gathering in large numbers and drawing attention to themselves. The movie Underworld was particularly bad in this regard. They had whole estates full of armed vampires…and that didn’t raise any questions amongst the humans living nearby? (Although I love Underworld, and suspend disbelief where I have to, including allowing the idea that you can shoot your way through to the next floor by turning in a circle and firing bullets.)
I have always avoided the group/herd mentality in my vampire novels. It seemed to me that vampires with survival instincts honed over hundreds and sometimes a thousand years or more, would know better than to hang around in large, attention-getting groups. With Blood Knot, I formalized this logic even more.
Consider very early Christian groups, way back in the first and second centuries, when Christians were a persecuted minority. Back then, they didn’t gather in large groups. They didn’t dare. They met in secret and used secret symbols (the fish symbol, or Ichthys) to lead other Christians to their meetings. And the meetings were small. Two or three or four. Perhaps a handful.
It was this idea I used to form the vampire world that Sebastian and Nial live in, in Blood Knot, where vampires never meet in groups larger than two, and long term associations between two vampires are unusual. As the vampires are on the verge of being exposed to humans, this gives the vampires weaknesses they must work to overcome.