In his own words
Selected moments from "The Vampire Armand"
Beware, this page is full of spoilers and excerpts from "The Vampire Armand". ~
After all this time, Armand finally speaks his own words.
Dreadful gift that he shared with us. His long and chaotic life revealed to all of us who dare to read it.
Let me spread his word here.
Are you ready to ride a long way to hell and back?
all pictures on this page are © Hitori
Armand with David, p. 17
"Child's dawn" : I'm not as gifted as Marius, so I can't portray his fledgling as well as he'd deserve. Yet, the "cruel and mysterious" Armand has been a child. A wonderful one, who didn't have to hide from the day then, and could still be highlighted by the sun.
I resented this lonely intimacy, resented it enough to transform it, or rid myself of it utterly. I'd rather die or be away, in the dark, simple and lonely with common tears.
From the look in his eyes, I thought he could love without giving anything. Not a connoisseur, just a blood drinker.
"You make me hungry," I whispered. "Not for you but for one who is doomed and yet alive. I want to hunt. Stop it. Why do you touch me? Why be so gentle?"
"Everyone wants you", he said.
"Oh, I know. Everyone would ravage a guilty cunning child! Everyone would have a laughing boy who knows his way around the block. Kids make better food than women, and girls are all too much like women, but young boys? They're not like men, are they?"
"Don't mock me. I meant I wanted only to touch you, to feel how soft you are, how eternally young."
"Oh, that's me, eternally young," I said. "You speak nonsense words for one so pretty yourself."
"They could see nothing green here, and it's spring outside, southern spring. I can smell it through the walls. I want to look just for a moment on flowers. To kill, to drink blood and to have flowers."
"Not good enough. Want to make the book," he said. Want to make it now and want you to come with me. I won't hang around forever."
"Oh, nonsense, of course you will. You think I'm a doll, don't you? You think I'm cute and made of poured wax, you'll stay as long as I stay."
"You're a bit mean, Armand. You look like an angel, and talk like a common thug."
"Such arrogance! I thought you wanted me."
"Only on certain terms."
"You lie, David Talbot," I said.
Amadeo with Marius, p. 45
I grew agitated. God, don't let me think of God. Be my God.
"Amadeo, Amadeo, Amadeo," he said.
"What does this name mean, Master?" I asked. "Why do you give it to me?" I think I heard an old self in my voice, but maybe it was only this newborn princeling gilded and wrapped in fine goods that had chosen this soft respectful but nevertheless bold voice.
"Beloved of God," he said.
Oh, I couldn't bear to hear this. God, the inescapable God. I was troubled, panic-striken.
Amadeo's Near Death Experience, p. 126
It seemed quite a nuisance that I might die, and nothing more. Feeling better was of far greater importance, and nothing troubled me as to my soul or any world would come.
Then abruptly all things changed.
I felt myself rise upwards, as if someone had yanked me by my head out of the bed and sought to pull me up through the red cloth baldaquin and through the ceiling of the room. Indeed, I looked down, and to my utter amazement I saw myself lying on the bed. I sawy myself as if there were no baldaquin above my body to block my view.
I looked far more beautiful than I had ever imagined myself to be. Understand, it was utterly dispassionate. I did not feel an exultation in my own beauty. I only thought, What a beautiful young boy. How gifted he has been by God. Look at his long delicate hands, how they lie beside him, and look at the deep russet of his hair. And that was me all the time, and I didn't know it or think of it, or think what effect it had on those who saw me as I moved through life. I didn't believe their blandishments. I had only scorn for their passion. Indeed, even the Master had seemed before to be a weak and deluded being for ever desiring me. But I understood now why people had somewhat taken leave of their senses. The boy there, dying on the bed, the boy seemed the very embodiment of purity and the very embodiment of youth on the verge of life.
What did not make sense to me was the commotion in the room. Why did everyone weep?
Oh, poor child, I thought. You might have had a little more compassion for everyone if you had known how beautiful you were, and you might have thought yourself a little bit stronger and more able to gain something for yourself. As it was, you played sly games on those around you, because you did not have faith in your own self or even know what you were.
It seemed very clear, the error in all this. But I was leaving this place! The same draught that had pulled me up out of the pretty young body that lay on the bed was pulling me upwards into a tunnel of fierce, noisy wind.
Armand returning briefly to his family as a vampire, anonymous, p. 193
There came no response from them verbally. But I had what I wanted from their minds. I had all of it. Yes, Yvan was alive, and now I, this strange man, was saying that Andrei lived too. Ivan mourned for a son who not only lived but prospered. Life is a tragedy, one way or another. What is certain is that you die.
Armand's vision of (un)life, as a young fledgling, p. 204
Within the months after my return, I knew I had set the tone for my approach to the world around me. I should wallow in the luscious beauty of Italian painting and music and architecture, yes, but I would do it with the fervor of a Russian saint. I would turn all sensuous experiences to goodness and purity. I would learn, I would increase understanding, I would increase in compassion for the mortals around me, and I would never cease to put a pressure upon my soul to be that which I believed was good.
Good was above all kind; it was to be gentle. It was to waste nothing. It was to paint, to read, to study, to listen, even to pray, though to whom I prayed I wasn't sure, and it was to take every opportunity to be generous to those mortals whom I did not kill.
As for those I killed, they were to be dispatched mercifully, and I was to become the absolute master of mercy, never causing pain and confusion, indeed snaring my victims as much as I could by spells induced by my soft voice or the depths of my eyes offered for soulful looks, or by some other power I seemed to possess and seemed able to develop, a power to thrust my mind into that of the poor helpless mortal and to assist him in the manufacture of his own comforting images so that the death became the flicker of a flame in a rapture, and then silence most sweet.
I also concentrated on enjoying the blood, on moving deeper, beneath the turbulent necessity of my own thirst, to taste that vital fluid of which I robbed my victim, and to feel most fully that which it carried with it to ultimate doom, the destiny of a mortal soul.
Marius to Amadeo about meddling with mortals, p. 217
"Pretend, and grow strong with each pretense," he whispered in my ear. "Rather, draw close and be loving and love, without the luxury of complete honesty. For love can bridge all."
Young fledgling Armand to Marius, p. 222
"Aristotle," I said. "And St. Thomas Aquinas. Ah, well, great systems give comfort, and when we feel ourselves slipping into despair, we should devise great schemes of the nothing around us, and then we will not slip but hang on a scaffold of our making, as meaningless as nothing, but too detailed to be so easily dismissed."
"Well done," he said with an eloquent sigh. "Maybe some night in the far distant future, you'll take a more hopeful approach, but as you seem as animated and full of happiness as you can be, why should I complain?"
Armand about his time in the Théâtre, p. 265
Actors we became, a regular company of immortals bound together to perform cheerfully decadent pantomimes for mortal audiences who never suspected that we white-faced mummers were more monstrous than any monster we ever presented in our little farces or tragedies.
The Théâtre des Vampires was born.
And worthless that I was, dressed up like a human with less claim to that title than ever in all my years of failure, I became its mentor.
Many a night I took my place alone in my velvet-curtained box, a gentleman of obvious means in the narrow trousers of the age, with fitted waistcoast of printed silk and close-cut coat of bright wool, my hair combed back beneath a black ribbon or finally trimmed above my high stiff white collar, I thought upon those lost centuries of rancid ritual and demonic dreams as one might think back on a long painful illness in a lightless room amid bitter medicines and pointless incantations. It could not have been real, all that, the ragged plague of predatory paupers that we were, singing of Satan in the rimy gloom.
And all the lives I'd lived, and worlds I'd known, seemed even less substantial.
What lurked beneath my fancy drills, behind my quiet unquestioning eyes? Who was I? Had I no remembrance of a warmer flame than that which gave its silvery glow to my faint smile at those who asked it of me? I remembered no one who had ever lived and breathed within my quietly moving form.
I developed in those eight decades of the Théâtre des Vampires - we weathered the Revolution with amazing resiliency, the public clamoring to our seemingly frivolous and morbid entertainments - and maintained, long after the theatre was gone, into the late twentieth century a silent, concealed nature, letting my childlike face deceive my adversaries, my would-be enemies (I rarely took them seriously) and my vampire slaves.
I was the worst of leaders, that is, the indifferent cold leader who strikes fear in the hearts of everyone but bothers to love no one, and I maintained the Théâtre des Vampires, as we called it as well into the 1870s, when Lestat's child Louis came wandering into it, seeking the answers which his cocky insolent maker had never given him to the age-old questions: Where do we vampires come from? Who made us and for what?
Let me return now to the Paris of the 1870s - some decades after - to the moment when the young New World vampire, Louis, came through my door, seeking so sadly the answers to the terrible questions of why we were here, and for what purpose.
How sad for Louis that he should put those questions to me. How sad for me.
Who could have scoffed more coldly than I at the whole idea of a redemptive framework for the creatures of the night who, once having been human, could never be absolved of fratricide, their feasting on human blood? I had known the dazzling, clever humanism of the Renaissance, the dark recrudescence of asceticism in the Roman Coven and the bleak cynicism of the Romantic era.
What did I have to tell this sweet-faced vampire, Louis, this all too human creation of the stronger and brasher Lestat, except that in the world Louis would find enough beauty to sustain him, and that in his soul he must find the courage to exist, if indeed it was his choice to go on living, without looking to images of God or the Devil to give him an artificial or short-lived peace.
(title from a poem of Verlaine)
The destruction of the coven of Paris. The most beautiful devil killing his brothers in the name of love.
Click on the picture to get the full size pic (87 K).
About Daniel, p.273
In time I conceived another love naturally, a love for a mortal boy Daniel, to whom Louis had poured out his story, published under the absurd title Interview with the Vampire, whom I later made into a vampire for the same reasons that Marius had made me so long ago: the boy, who had been my faithful mortal companion, and only sometimes an intolerable nuisance, was about to die.
That is no mystery unto itself, the making of Daniel. Loneliness will always inevitably press us to such things. But I was a firm believer that those we make ourselves will always despise us for it. I cannot claim that I have never despised Marius, both for making me and never returning to me to assure me that he had survived the horrible fire created by the Roman Coven. I had sought Louis rather than create others. And having created Daniel I saw my last fear realized within a short time.
Daniel, though alive and wandering, though civil and gentle, can no more stand my company than I can stand his. Equipped with my powerful blood, he can contend with any who should be foolish enough to interrupt his plans for an evening, a month or a year, but he cannot contend with my continuous company, and I cannot contend with his.
I turned Daniel from a morbid romantic into a true killer; I made real in his natural blood cells the horror that he so fancied he understood in mine. I pushed his face into the flesh on the first young innocent he had to slaughter for his inevitable thirst, and thereby fell off the pedestal on which he'd placed me in his demented, overimaginative, feverishly poetical and ever exuberant mortal mind.
But I had others around me when I lost Daniel, or rather when gaining Daniel as a fledgling, I lost him as a mortal lover and gradually began to let him go.
Daniel himself had no use for the world, and had come to me hungering for our Dark Blood, his brain swimming with macabre, grotesque tales which Louis de Pointe du Lac had told him. Heaping every luxury upon him, I only sickened him with mortal sweets so that finally he turned away from the riches I offered, becoming a vagabond. Mad, roaming the streets in rags, he shut out the world almost to the point of death, and I, weak, muddled, tormented by his beauty, and lusting for the living man and not the vampire he might become, only brought him over to us through the working of the Dark Trick because he would have died otherwise.
I was no Marius to him afterwards. It was too exactly as I supposed: he loathed me in his heart for having initiated him into the Living Death, for having made him in one night both an immortal and a regular killer.
As a mortal man, he had no real idea of the price we pay for what we are, and he did not want to learn the truth; he fled from it, in reckless dreams and spiteful wandering.
And so it was as I feared. Making him to be my mate, I made a minion who saw me all the more clearly as a monster.
There was never any innocence for us, there was never any springtime. There was never any chance, no matter how beautiful the twilight gardens in which we wandered. Our souls were out of tune, our desires crossed and our resentments too common and too well watered for the final flowering.
Armand to David, p. 281
You look at me as though your curiosity will put me off guard, when nothing of the sort is true.
Hurt me and I'll destroy you. I don't care how strong you are, or what blood Lestat gave to you. I know more than you do. Because I show you my pain, I do not of necessity love you. I do this for myself and for others, for the very idea of others, for any who would know, and for my mortals, those two I've gathered to me so recently, those two precious ones who have become the ticking clock of my capacity to go on.
Symphony for Sybelle. That might as well be the name of this confession. And having done my best for Sybelle, I do my best for you as well.
Armand about Lestat, p.289
The James Bond of the Vampires, the Sam Spade of his own pages! A rock singer wailing on a mortal stage for all of two hours and, on the strength of that, retiring with a slew of recordings that feed him filthy lucre still from human agencies to this very night.
He has a knack for making tragedy of tribulation, and forgiving himself for anything and everything in every confessional paragraph he pens.
Marius to Armand after having made Sybelle and Benjamin vampires, p. 383
When he spoke his voice was tremulous and lustrous with feeling. He hated the storm inside himself and he was overcome by my sorrow. I knew this plainly enough. It gave me no satisfaction at all.
"You despise me now, and perhaps you're right. I knew you would weep, but in a very profound way, I misjudged you. I didn't realize something about you. Perhaps I never have."
"What's that, Master," I said with acidic drama.
"You loved them selflessly," he whispered. "For all their strange faults, and wild evil, they were not compromised for you. You loved them perhaps more respectfully than I... than I ever loved you."
He seemed so amazed.
Armand telling Marius why he was stunned by the Veil, p. 385
He nodded. "Yes, I do wonder. Because I know you. And I know that faith is something which you simply do not have."
I was startled. But instantly I knew he was right.
I smiled. I felt a sort of thrilling happiness suddenly.
"Well, I see what you mean," I said. "And I'll tell you my answer. I saw Christ. A kind of bloody light. A personality, a human, a presence that I felt I knew. And He wasn't the Lord God Father Almighty and He wasn't the maker of the universe and the whole world. And He wasn't the Savior or the Redeemer for sins inscribed on my soul before I was born. He wasn't the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and He wasn't the Theologian expounding from the Holy Mount. He wasn't those things for me. Maybe for others, but not for me."
"But who was He, then, Armand?" David asked. "I have your story, full of marvels and suffering, yet I don't know. What was the concept of the Lord, when you spoke the word?"
"Lord," I repeated it. "It doesn't mean what you think. It's spoken with too much intimacy and too much warmth. It's like a secret and sacred name. Lord." I paused, and then continued:
"He is the Lord, yes, but only because He is the symbol of something infinitely more accessible, something infinitely more meaningful than a ruler or king or lord can ever be."
Again, I hesitated, wanting to find the right words since they were so sincere.
"He was... my brother." I said. "Yes. That is what He was, my brother, and the symbol of all brothers, and that is why He was the Lord, and that is why His core is simply love. You scorn it. You look askance at what I say. But you don't grasp the complexity of what He was. It's easy to feel, perhaps, but not so easy to really see. He was another man like me. And maybe for many of us, millions upon millions, that's all He's ever been! We're all somebody's sons and daughters and He was somebody's son. He was human, whether He was God or not, and He was suffering and He was doing it for things He thought were purely and universally good. And that meant that His blood might as well have been my blood too. Why, it had to be. And maybe that is the very source of His magnificance for thinkers such as me. You said I had no faith. I don't. Not in titles or in legends or in hierarchies made by other beings like ourselves. He didn't make a hierarchy, not really. He was the very thing. I saw in Him magnificence for simple reasons. There was flesh and blood to what He was! And it could be bread and wine to feed the whole Earth. You don't get it. You can't. Too many lies about Him swim in your ken. I saw Him before I heard so much about Him. I saw Him when I looked at the ikons in my house, and when I painted Him long before I even knew all his names. I can't get Him out of my Head. I never have, I never will."
I had no more to say.
They were very amazed but not particularly respecting, pondering the words in all the wrong ways, perhaps, I couldn't absolutely know. It didn't matter what they felt anyway. It wasn't really so good that they had asked me or that I had tried so hard to tell them the truth. I saw the old ikon in my mind, the one my Mother had brought to me in the snow. Incarnation. Impossible to explain in their philosophy. I wondered. Perhaps the horror of my own life was that, no matter what I did or where I went, I always understood. Incarnation. A kind of bloody light.
I wanted to be left alone by them now.
Your wishes are my command, Amadeo. Thank you for coming back with that lovely present.
Fly back to the main page
Soulcatchers : Armand ~ River Phoenix
Music ~ Library ~ French summary ~ Map