So, basic questions. Iíve read what is on HP Lexicon about vampires (not much, incidentally) and I need to know two things,
1) Can vampires be witches and wizards?
2) How does one become a vampire?
I'm going to give my answers based on another halfbreed that we all know and love, the werewolf. Taking a werewolf as an example, we can surmise that yes they can be witches or wizards, and that a vampire would be created by the bite of another vampire. Outside of the HP world, vampires are created by the bite of another such infected person, so why shouldn't it hold true in the HP realm.
Roughly every three months, a question of vampirism crops up in this section of the board, and then me and all the other vaguely gothic loving members dive in to give their two cents. Sadly, these have become abbreviated over time, but nonetheless, let's at least start from somewhere.
Indeed. J.K. Rowling gives us, in my opinion deliberately, very little description of what vampires are within her world. With that in mind, you are pretty free to choose whatever characteristics of things you want. If it isn't in canon, then it gives you free fanfiction roam, so to speak.
Originally Posted by FullofLife
On the other hand, there are a great many of us here who delight in sinking our metaphorical fangs into this sort of thing. This thread is doubtless about to become crammed with sentences involving "Well Anne Rice said this", and "Bram Stoker said that" and "White Wolf says", yadyadya....
I'm here to offer the white wolf version, which, I believe, leaving the plot to it's players, allows the greatest analysis of the system and condition.
But, of course, this is simply an opinion.
1. Can Vampires be witches and wizards?
(Summarising White Wolf) Yes, vampires can be witches and wizards. However vampires are supernatural beings with their own branches of magic - mostly relating to blood - and own habitats and lifestyles. When the curse of vampirism is passed onto a muggle, that muggle loses most of their previous existence to become a vampire. A wizard, on the other hand, loses more. The magic of the Magi and the magic of Vampire almost cancel each other out. If a wizard becomes a vampire, they lose their mage powers - such as the skill and use of a wand. However, there are now a significant number of vampiric magical disciplines available to them, and in the ones that are magical, they have an inherent ability within. Just as an Athlete turned vampire might well be predisposed to extremes of speed or strength, so wizards turned vampire have a predisposition to magic. Although their previously held talents disappear, they show new aptitudes for vampiric magic than their newly created brothers.
2. How does one become a Vampire.
Another In-My-Humble-Opinion, if you wouldn't mind. This depends upon which books you are reading. My opinion is one that seems to be shared to a certain degree within most vampiric books, which is different to the bite of a werewolf, say.
In this train of thought, a vampire is made by first taking a victim (wizard or muggle), and draining them of their blood. Once their blood is drained, and they lie dying, a vampire pours (by methods left to your thought process) it's own blood into them to replenish them. In as such, the vampire's bite causes someone to be a vampire, but is fatal. Only with the addition of the vampires own blood does the victim survive to become a vampire. (Victims fed human blood, or unbitten humans fed Vampire blood, will become White Wolf's version of Ghouls, but I digress)
If you become a vampire in this way, you are prone to certain life changing factors.
3. You need blood to survive.
More than food, more than water, and - given your newly undead condition - more than air. That is what keeps your undead heart beating.
4. You will not age, in any way.
That means not only will you not grow old, but the cuts and scars you had when "embraced" will never fade, nor will your hair naturally change. Generous vampires allow their childe to have a good shave before they are embraced.
5. With the inability to age, comes the inability to reproduce.
Vampires - barring a handful of very grim exceptions - never have children beyond those they chose to infect with their bite. That is not to say they cannot, er, forgive me - interact on that level with the opposite (or same) sex - merely that the ability to do so is based on the vampiric manipulation of the body, rather than human body reactions.
6. Sunlight just became an issue, and fire became more so than it had been before.
If you go in sunlight, you're dead. Maybe, if you're a vampire hardened to that sort of thing, you might last four or five seconds. After that, you're a burning pile of ash. Almost exclusively sunlight=death features among all vampiric assumptions.
Fire on the other hand, kills vampires. It also, in almost all fantasy books, kills just about anything else. Nonetheless, being one of two (or three, see below) things that can kill a vampire, a vampire based on these assumptions should be duly afraid of them.
7. A stake through the heart paralyzes until it's removal.
It doesn't kill. This theory is disputed and accepted in just about equal measures throughout vampire literature.
8. Garlic will make you breath smell.
Vampires, with a heightened sense of smell, find this unpleasant. Of course, an unpleasant smell never saved anyone. Well, except my friend Paul, but that's another story, and one that probably doesn't bear repeating.
To say it again, these are simply one of many different opinions on the vampire curse. There have been many people who used this section of the board to cite, or use, extremely different versions of the vampiric curse. Some called them a race, like goblins, others used a more werewolf like syndrome. but I prefer this one. To me, it offers the best combination of traditional mythology, romantic vampirism, and base logic (where that is even remotely applicable). What should be key to your thinking, however, is that since nothing is canon, none of these rules (or ideas, I should say) should hold you back.
I've written a bit of vampires into one of my fics on MNFF, and I tend to make things a lot more like the Werewolf condition--treatable, and manageable, if you want to manage that sort of thing. My ideas all come from folklore, Bram Stoker, and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (and she got her ideas from Stoker, I believe). I try to de-romanticize the vampire as much as possible.
I seem to remember reading somewhere that there was a vampire casually mentioned in the back of a pub Harry went into in one of the books. Pardon me for not searching all of them, but I got the impression that vampires were treated as undesirables, but still interacted with the wizarding population. They seem common enough, if candy shops stock blood-flavoured lolly pops. (I'm trying to access the lexicon to find another reference I stumbled upon once to a vampire pop singer in the lexicon, but it's giving me an error.)
I've borrowed a bit from mythology and toned things down a bit to make them more like the werewolf condition in my fic. My idea was, three times bitten makes one a vampire, who is undead, cannot be killed save for the usual means, does not age, but must live off of animal or human blood. Vampires do not eat regular food, just blood. I figured that vampires would be quite uncomfortable in sunlight and burn easily, but they wouldn't die. Like werewolves, I figured some vampires might be able to pass as wizards/muggles while others might "let themselves go" (Sort of like Grayback vs. Lupin)
Since Lupin was able to use magic as a werewolf, I assume that vampires (or those who don't "let themselves go") would be able to as well.
My opinion is Muggles and Wizards would have different reactions to vampire bites. Perhaps it only takes one bite for a Muggle to become a vampire, but for some reason I'm rather attached to the idea that it would take three bites for a wizard to become a "full vampire". In my fic, wizards bitten once or twice would attract full fledged vampires, and would experience some vampiric symptoms (sort of like Bill after being bitten by Greyback). Paleness, gauntness, and distaste for garlic are symptoms I've incorporated. I've written that there is a treatment for the symptoms (just as a plot point for my story), but like werewolves, I don't think there would be a cure.
Really, it's up to you to interpret as you will, just remember to consider JK's canon, and read into the hints she drops as much as you. That's all an of us really CAN do, but you do have a considerable creative license
Mentions of vampires in the Harry Potter books include one being present during one of Slughorn's parties, with a biographer friend of Slughorn's, and Hagrid having an argument with one in a pub - I believe, In Minsk, mentioned during OotP. Other than that, it's down to History of Magic's vague assertions and a one off assumption of Dean's, I believe.
EDIT: *Slaps Forehead* - Also, as Cmwinters points out, Voyages with Vampires - and there was me thinking I had every base covered.
*Skips in with a tray of cookies and Hot cocoa*
In my views vampires are more of a race than anything, they procreate as humans do, and are just a mutation of the human gene. An adaptation or Evolvement if you will.
They are night stalkers and live off of blood, and with time sunlight may no longer be a problem to some, through evolving of course. Now to the Question of what happens when one Vampire drinks the blood of another I believe they take on their characteristics. They are the meaning of the phrase you are what you eat, I believe they take on the characteristics of what they feed on. If they feed on wizards they get magic, Wolves they get strength and so on and so forth.
You can even goes as far as to say they pick up their physical characteristics as well, as an example you may have it that a male vampire is quite picky and will only drink the blood of beautiful women, you can have it as though he is very feminine and beautiful, same goes for the old and decrepit, they drink the blood of the young life they look young.
This all goes to saying that Blood is your life force, they are drinking in that life force they cannot go unchanged.
Furthermore, I do not see them as immortal, but as ageing slowly over millennium's.
This is only my opinion on the subject matter.
If you have any questions on my views I'll be happy to elaborate.
Ah, and don't forget Lockhart's book Voyages With Vampires, Keefy!