The Triumphs and Failures of AMC's Interview with the Vampire: Part 2

Carrying on from last week, we discuss our Ace perspective on the blood, the drama, and the sex in episodes 4-7 of AMC's new Interview With The Vampire series.


Courtney: Hello everyone, and welcome back to everyone’s favorite asexual vampire podcast. My name is Courtney, I am here with my spouse Royce, and we’re talking about Interview with the Vampire once again! If you haven’t already listened to it yet, I highly recommend going back to last week’s episode because, in that, we covered episodes one through three of the new AMC’s Interview with the Vampire series, and we’re going to try to finish it up today. And for a bit of extra credit, if you’d like, you can go all the way back to episode – I want to say – 14 of The Ace Couple podcast, where we talked about my ace reading of Interview with the Vampire, the novel. But hey, I’m not going to tell you how to live your life. If you want to just dive right in cold to episode four of the series, that’s what we’re doing today. So let’s get to it.

Courtney: So as we stated in part one last week, there were a lot of changes that were made to this series that generally we really liked. My biggest gripe is that they turned just about every situation that they possibly could, sexual. And in my initial reading of Interview with the Vampire, I believe that Anne Rice’s vampires are all asexual, if not potentially very romantic, potentially very sensual, but they’re not having traditional intercourse. And so that’s the most upsetting departure for me, because I think all the other changes were very clever. Aging Claudia up, which we’re going to talk about a lot here, is not inherently a bad thing. And in fact, I think it was very, very smart. They did really well with changing the timeline, bumping this up to the 1900s, instead of starting in the 1700′s, and writing Louis and Claudia as Black characters adds another complex layer to the power dynamics, and the power imbalance that they have in their relationship with Lestat.

Courtney: So all of these, very very good. But now we have Louis and Lestat, who are quite sexually active, with not only each other, but other people as well, and now we have a fourteen-year-old Claudia who, for some reason, gets turned into a vampire and is still dealing with some amount of, like, human puberty, like, perpetually I guess?

Royce: That’s the way they made it seem.

Courtney: I hate it! [laughs]

Royce: Which is–

Courtney: I hate it.

Royce: It’s definitely odd. And I’m still waiting for you to get through the book series to the part that you remember, that was like the aha moment, like “This, this proves it.” Because–

Courtney: I really hope I’m not hallucinating that. [laughs]

Royce: Well, I would need to comb through a lot of vampire mythos, but it was my impression that in most takes of vampires, being turned into a vampire doesn’t put you in stasis. It doesn’t take you as you were at the moment of death and just preserve that forever. Major aspects of normal human bodily function cease.

Courtney: Yes, which would include, you know–

Royce and Courtney: Hormones.

Courtney: Often also libido. So libido’s a very weird thing here, and I think– I think in the novels the vampires just do not have a human libido, they do not have a type of libido, or even necessarily a sexual attraction that we as humans would be able to identify or empathize with. And I think that was maybe their biggest flaw by inserting that human sexuality into these vampires. Because I mentioned last week that there was like a one-off line, that they didn’t even show to much of an extent, where Louis said, “Oh, when I wasn’t drinking human blood, when I was only living off of rats and animals, my libido wasn’t what it used to be.”

Courtney: But then when they insert Claudia, as a fourteen-year-old, her desire for human blood and her desire for sexual encounters, her still very humanesque libido, seemed to coincide with each other. Like, one-on-one. It’s not, “Oh, I drank human blood and now I have a libido.” It’s like they were both almost interchangeable in the moment.

Courtney: So we’ll– we’ll get to it. But I think– I think they made the physiology of the vampires a little muddy. And I think they didn’t necessarily even know their own rules. Because I think it was written by allos who just take for granted that everyone is sexual and everyone has a sexuality, but I don’t think they thought about it well enough to actually identify what would this look like in a vampire, if this is what we’re going to do.

Royce: Right. And going back to just sort of postulating about undeath and and other fantastical scenarios like this, for a person to go through a fundamental change that instantly changes their physiology – and then also live much longer than they should normally – there would be, one, a lot of grappling with habits and behaviors that had been established, patterns that had been woven in. And also craving stimulation in this new form, that would probably mostly come from curiosity and intellectual stimulation, and trying to just fill what would be this large void in their new life.

Courtney: Which I think is a wonderful point. Because to me, I would think even someone who, say, was sexual as a human, even if being turned into a vampire in this lore you are still sexual as a vampire, would not, at a certain point, just sex become boring? Wouldn’t anyone ever get tired of it? Because even– even Lestat, in a previous episode, had said like, “Oh well, you know, I sleep with all these other people to stave off the tedium of eternity.” And it’s like, does that really do it for you? Is it– is it that good every time that this is the one thing that makes eternity worth living? I think not!

Royce: I think that the– the horror or the tragedy of immortality is that given enough time everything ceases to be interesting.

Courtney: And that’s very much present in the Anne Rice novels too. I mean, Lestat at one point, just, like, buries himself under the ground and just hangs there for a while. Until the next new exciting thing resurrects him, which was, you know, rock music.

Royce: Yeah…

Courtney: Royce doesn’t like rockstar Lestat.

Royce: It was an odd decision in my mind. [Courtney laughs] Particularly for book two, I feel like that’s a book six, like, ‘you’ve already jumped a shark or two’ moment.

Courtney: [laughs] Well, here’s the odd thing, too. Because when I first read Interview with the Vampire, at the time I read it, at the stage in my life that I was at, it was the perfect book. And when I found out that there was a sequel novel, that in fact this was an entire series, I was afraid. Because I heard that the second novel was by Lestat’s point of view, and I didn’t want it. I almost didn’t read it because I was afraid of what it was going to do, or how it was going to change my perception of this– what I saw to be the perfect book. I obviously, after a period of time, did decide to go in and read it. And it was very different, but it added some new elements to the lore and that got me continuing to read, at least incrementally, over the years.

Courtney: And I want to say it’s a little harder to justify that the vampires aren’t sexual in The Vampire Lestat, because Lestat is who he is. I think Louis was always ace, even as a human. I talked about that when we discussed the novel. But I would discuss these books with queer allo people, and they were like, Louis and Lestat are having sex all the time. And in the second novel, “Oh, Lestat and Nicki, having sex all the time.” So they were seeing all of this gay sex and I was like, “Where is it? Show it to me, I don’t see it.”

Courtney: But then I would discuss the book with straight people and I liked it even less. Because then in the first novel, they were like, “Oh, Louis and Claudia are having sex.” And I was like, [alarmed] “Where did you get that?!” Yeah, I guess, I guess she’s older than that, but that’s a body of a five-year-old, and we are getting into some very muddy waters if that’s how you’re reading this.

Courtney: And then the straight people would also be like, “Oh yeah, you know, Lestat and Nicki were, you know, just platonic best buds. But once Lestat turns his mom, he and his mom were having sex.” And I was like, I– Are we reading the same books?! [laughs] Are we reading the same books?

Courtney: So let’s talk about Claudia in this series. I like that they aged her up. I don’t like the puberty element. I did enjoy that, starting on episode four, we’re sort of getting this narrated by Claudia’s point of view. I thought that was a very clever way to give this very tragic character a little more autonomy over how her story is being told. Because as this fourteen-year-old girl turned vampire, she is just writing in these diaries, just over and over, filling page after page after page. And Louis in present-day, talking to Daniel Malloy, is so still terribly tortured over Claudia and everything that would go on to transpire, that he’s not even telling this story, he just presents Claudia’s diaries, and says, “Hey, here, read these.” So I thought that was a good choice. I thought the actress playing Claudia was fabulous.

Courtney: We do have– and I’m trying to decide how I feel about it, because sort of blurring the lines and complicating relationships after becoming a vampire is very much in line with the themes of Anne Rice’s novels. Because, you know, Lestat, once he turns his mother, it’s like, “She’s not really my mother anymore and I created her into the vampire, and so now, what are we? What is this relationship?”

Courtney: But Claudia starts by calling them daddy Lou and uncle Les, and I have always seen Claudia as a daughter figure. And it seems like that’s what they’re trying to set up here. But then they kind of walk it back, but never fully. So we’ll, we’ll get into that when it comes up. But even in this episode, present-day Daniel Malloy even says, “You had a daughter?” And Louis confirms, “I had a daughter.”

Courtney: So that’s my favorite reading of this relationship. Anybody who says they were having intercourse in the novels is wrong.

Royce: I mean, they had a conversation about sex in the novels that explicitly disproves that, right?

Courtney: That was my reading of it. [laughs] That was my reading of it. But they do this weird thing later, and we’ll talk about it more, where Claudia starts to say, like, “Oh, I get it, I’m not your daughter, I’m your sister.” And so they have this, like, “Is she a daughter? Is she his sister?” kind of a thing, that I don’t know necessarily if it worked for me. But we’ll talk that out when it becomes a little more relevant.

Courtney: Here’s just a little, like, a death-nerd gripe of mine. So in this episode, Louis’ mortal mother dies and the three of these vampires attend her wake. And Claudia, while she’s there, is like, “It smells awful.” And Lestat, just being a little petty, is like, “Well, wakes were invented in places where it snows.” And that was a weird one for me, because since they moved the timeline up so far, we are squarely in the 1900s – I think we started in like 1910 so we are well past that – embalming was already growing popular in the United States by this period of time.

Courtney: Embalming really got popular during the Civil War in the 1800′s. So we are past that now and since we’re in the South there even were, by this period of time, Black-owned funeral homes in the South as well. So e– And even if you say– even if you say that, you know, she didn’t get embalmed, just chose not to, hasn’t quite caught on in this area yet, personal choice, whatever you say. It takes an awful long time for a body to actually start smelling bad. And maybe, maybe you could say that vampires can smell it faster, because they supposedly have such an aversion to dead bodies.

Royce: And just heightened senses in general.

Courtney: Just heightened senses in general, yeah. But no, that scene did not work for me. Because I know too much about the history of the funeral industry. And it wasn’t explained well enough if that was just the vampire thing, or what have you.

Courtney: So Claudia, our dear Claudia, fourteen-year-old Claudia. She sees a couple having sex in a car during this hunting lesson with Lestat. And as she sees this, in her head she said, “I came away understanding something else tonight. I can’t quite put it into words, but it’s like something opened up in my head, in my body.” And I was like, “Oh no… Oh no!” And this is what gets me too, because she says, “I’ve been 18 for seven months now, and it’s time I start acting like it.” And so, she starts pulling out, like, more mature clothing from the closet, but her body is still that of a 14 year old. So she’s even getting, like, mocked by people on the street for, like, wearing her mom’s clothes. Which that much is in line with Claudia from the original, because she gets very frustrated as an adult woman trapped in the body of a five-year-old, that people will never see her for what she is, and that she cannot act like the adult that she is.

Courtney: And that, to a certain point, she can’t be self-sufficient either, because she is so much smaller and so much weaker, and all these other things. But I just want to– Like, [sighs] why did you have to make absolutely everyone sexual, who wasn’t sexual. I would even– If they kept Louis and Lestat platonic sexually, but did do this to Claudia, I think I’d be more okay with it. Because even as the five year old vampire, once she gets old enough, she starts, you know, wondering about what these human experiences were like. And that’s when she asks Louis, “What was it like to make love?” what did that feel like, what was that experience. And I think that is a natural curiosity, even if it’s just theoretical. So if they made that a more active, okay, she’s a teenager now and she’s trying to do – quote – “teenager” things, then maybe I could get behind that.

Courtney: And I think that’s even a funnier element, because then she’d have these vampire dads who just, like, really don’t know how to handle her.

Courtney: And they don’t here, like she definitely disobeys them, she’s making trouble, she’s causing mayhem. I think it would be hilarious to have asexual parents who don’t know how to handle their, like, very sexual teenage vampire daughter. I think that could be funny. I think that could be humor, personally. But it’s the fact that they inserted it everywhere; Louis and Lestat, and Claudia, and another vampire we will get to– So, after this something “opened up in her body,” which I didn’t like the phrasing of that. Didn’t like it, didn’t like it. She meets a carriage driver when his horse completely loses control, and he offers to drive her back home. And so, he confirms the address with her, 1132 Rue Royale, and that had history-Anne Rice-New Orleans nerd Courtney very excited. Because that is the literal street address that Anne Rice said served as her inspiration for Louis and Lestat’s townhouse.

Courtney: So that is a real building. You can actually go see it. And I think I’d be surprised if they actually filmed inside of the building, because I’m pretty sure the building is like a museum right now. But it seems like they actually filmed from the outside. They either filmed the actual building with them rolling up to it, or they recreated a facade, but that sounds like a lot of extra work. So I’d be willing to bet it was the same building. And I just liked that little extra nugget.

Courtney: But she’s getting this drive home. She is lusting after this carriage driver. And she just says, “I want to know what his tongue tastes like.” And I’m like, “Oh God, please stop. No! I don’t like it!”

Courtney: And this guy can clearly tell that her body’s younger than he is. Mentally, they’re probably about the same age. But he kind of takes her out for ice cream, which she can’t really eat and enjoy.

Courtney: But they have this conversation and he’s like, “Oh, you know, you’re young.” And she’s like, “I am not. I am this– this many years old.” And he’s like, “That can’t be true.” And she says, “It is true, everyone in my family looks young for their age.”

Courtney: And that was funny, that was really funny. I like that. No lies detected. Because Lestat, at this point, is like, what? 159? Like he’s– he’s getting up there.

Courtney: So fast forward, Claudia and this carriage driver are, like, making out in the back seat of this carriage, and he kind of stopped her when she really starts going at him, and, like, tells her to slow down. But then she just bites his neck and starts feeding on him. And then she gets real sad when she realizes that he is dead now. And that was sort of the moment where I was also like, what is this? What are the rules for these vampires and their sexual desire? Because here Louis is saying, “If I’m not feeding on humans I don’t have as much of a libido,” even though we don’t really see that very much in practice. He just sort of said it.

Courtney: But then we have Claudia who’s clearly here, like, distressed by her, you know, libido with the lack of an outlet for it. And while they’re going at it, she just, like, stops the making out and starts eating him…? As if– And she can’t, like, stop herself and she doesn’t realize until it’s done, until it’s over, what she had done. Explain this to me. I don’t know.

Courtney: So, she gets really upset. Lestat at one point is like, “Ah, it’s easy to get carried away when you’re young and in love.” Which does seem like a thing Lestat would say. But Lestat, being decidedly the worse of these two parental figures, made her watch his body burn as she’s, like, sobbing and trying to get away from it, and doesn’t want to watch. And he’s like using this as a very harsh lesson, like, “This is why we never get close to mortals,” which is rich coming from him. He’s had a mortal sidepiece for years at this point. Hypocrite!

Royce: Or you could make the argument that he probably doesn’t feel any emotional connection to said mortal.

Courtney: Hmm… they kind of waffle back and forth on that, but probably not, at least to the extent that he feels for Louis, if anything.

Courtney: So then in present day, after Daniel has begun reading these and is talking to Louis, Louis says that that boy’s death ushered in the darkest years of their life. And he says, “The facade of a happy life was broken.” And I just really like the interjections by Daniel Malloy here. I like that they made him an old man who is not going to take any shit from this vampire. Because really sticking it to him with the– with the tough commentary, he’s like, “Oh, she was a Band-Aid for a shitty marriage.” And Louis is like, “Well, I wasn’t gonna say that, but yeah, kind of.”

Courtney: But after that boy died, we now have a very angsty Claudia, who is increasingly acting out, and her diaries getting angrier by the page. And then I took down this quote, “Takes two souls a day just so she could stay in the same flat chested, hairless crotch, 14 year-old baby-doll-ed body as she grows old year after year.” Which for as crass as that sounds, coming from someone else, Claudia definitely starts talking like that in the diary as time goes on. And some of it, I really didn’t love.

Courtney: But by the end of this episode four, she’s getting so angsty that she actually intentionally harms herself. She burns her arm in the skylight of their townhouse, like, opens the skylight and just shoves her arm in, and screams. And that has me wondering if that’s foreshadowing, because I read the book, so I know what’s supposed to happen. But in this series, season 1, they didn’t even finish the first book. [laughs] So we do– we need a second season just to finish the first dang novel.

Courtney: So episode 5. Here’s a change I really didn’t like. Not only from my ace perspective, where I think they went a little overboard making absolutely everyone sexual, you could’ve not done at all, but at least pick one or the other. I thought just from a visual standpoint, they took out a very iconic and emotional moment that I would have loved to see this actress actually do as a fourteen-year-old.

Courtney: But the– the diary entry says, “Dear diary, am I going to be a virgin every single time I do it? Will my skin down there grow back like my hair does when I cut it?” I hate everything about that. I hate everything about that. Because in the book, and even in the first movie – which was not a very good movie, I think we talked about not loving that movie – one of the best scenes from that movie was Claudia, in a fit of emotion and frustration, grabs a pair of scissors and cuts off her hair. She is like aching for a change on the outside to reflect the changes she’s going through on the inside. And her hair grows back, because that’s what happens for Anne Rice’s vampires. Their hair grows back to the length it was when they died. Their fingernails grow back.

Courtney: And this is a devastating scene. And I think hair is so metaphoric, because how many times have we heard about, like, the breakup haircut or, you know, the freshman haircut. Becoming like life changes.

Courtney: People very often feel this need to change their hair. And throughout history, there have been many cultures that have used ritual hair cutting to signify some sort of mourning or grief period, or would only cut their hair during very life-changing events, such as a marriage. So to me, there is so much meaning to a young vampire girl who is frustrated at how she seems locked into this body that is too young for her. She doesn’t want this body anymore. She wants to be able to grow and change. And just tearing into your hair, cutting it without a second thought, only to see it grow back. Which is even worse than having a horrible haircut for eternity, because you just need something else.

Courtney: They took away this beautiful scene and just off-handed referenced the fact that, oh, I guess, she cut her hair at one point and it just grew back. Like, you’re a TV show! Show us that! Show us that!

Courtney: And why did you have to take all of this meaning behind hair, and growth, and change, and ritual, and simplify it to a hymen?! Are you kidding me?! That might be the worst change they’ve made. That might be what makes me the angriest, honestly. They made so many good changes but they didn’t keep what could have been so iconic. And I think they robbed that actress of the chance to do that scene. I would have killed to see her do that, and to see her interpretation of it. Because even the changes I didn’t love on Claudia, she performed them well. And they could have even added to the significance of the hair also, because now Claudia is a Black girl, or a Black woman trapped in a girl’s body. There’s more to the hair element that they could have explored, and they– [whines] Missed opportunity. And they threw it away to make it about sex. I hate it, I hate it!

Courtney: So one thing they did do, as Claudia continues to be reckless and act out, she starts, like, keeping bodies, and body parts, and trophies in the house. And then when the police show up at their door, she just, like, gladly lets them in. Like she is reveling in this precarious situation that she has put them in. And so of course, Lestat and Louis are fighting a lot about this. I think they made Louis, or they made Lestat rather a lot more overtly hostile to Claudia, which I don’t hate. Because if we are seeing Lestat as the abusive dude that he is in this story, you start seeing these, like, deep emotional abuses that could really be stinging this, you know, young teenage vampire long before everything else transpires.

Courtney: Like, I took down this fight where Lestat says, “You wanted her, you fix her.” And Louis counters with, “We’re doing this together.” And Lestat says, “No. Do you remember how happy our lives were before her?” And Louis is like, “Happy? We were not happy!” They’re just going at it.

Courtney: But then Lestat says that, “She is an anvil strapped around our ankles, pulling us to the pitch black ocean floor.” Buddy... Oh my God! That is terrible. That hurt me. That hurt me to hear. But then Claudia lashes out at them. And I don’t like this as a substitute for what the scene was in the book, because in the book Claudia is asking Louis alone what it was like to make love, and Louis is like, “I’m out of here. I don’t want to have this conversation.” But then he’s also like, “It wasn’t great.” [laughs] “Killing’s better, even though I don’t like killing that much.” So I loved that in the book. But Claudia–

Courtney: They made this so much more graphic, and I’m still ticked off about this. [mockingly] “Is the skin still going to grow back every time I do?” I hate it. But Claudia lashes out, and says, “Who am I supposed to love? You two have each other! Who’s my Lestat? Who’s my Louis? Not a human. What human would want me? Perverts? Like, the uncle at the rooming house that used to watch me pee? Or little boys? And 40 years from now, still little boys? How are you going to fix it?”

Courtney: And then– I– I don’t like it at all. She says, “Which one of you is gonna fuck me?” Again, like, maybe! Maybe if Louis and Lestat were asexual, and they were like, “What– what is going on? What are these feelings that you’re feeling?” Or at least Louis, at least Louis. Lestat can be Lestat. But, like, Louis in the book was so uncomfortable about sexual things, and was not ever seen doing it with anyone. And even when he referenced this long ago past, he was like, “Wasn’t that good. Overrated.” It’s just so– I don’t know. Why? I guess it’s not so out there for Anne Rice, because of the, like, borderline, possibly incestuous relationship between Lestat and his mother that comes later. But [sighs] to make Louis and Lestat sexual, and also Claudia be, not only sexual, but in this perpetual state of puberty, I hate.

Courtney: So Claudia reveals that she attempted to make another vampire. It didn’t work. She tells them to make her one, so she can have a companion. Otherwise she’s going to leave. Go on her own and look for other vampires. And Lestat says, “They will shred you to shrips.” Shrips?! [laughs] “They will shred you to strips. You’re built like a bird, because you were a mistake.” First of all, aw, that’s really cold, Lestat. But that makes less sense to me when she’s not literally five. Because yeah–

Royce: Yeah.

Courtney: She’s still small as a fourteen-year-old, but like what’s the rule here? At what age do you get superhuman, vampire strength?

Royce: It’s not nearly as drastic.

Courtney: Yeah! But yeah. And so anyway– Like, Claudia’s like– she calls Lestat cruel, and then asks, like, “How dare you refuse me one love, when you’ve got two?!” And that’s talking about Lestat’s mortal lover, Antoinette. But here’s the drams… He previously told Louis that they were over. Because Lestat got jealous seeing Louis with that soldier boy, and said he was going to cut it off with Antoinette. But Claudia, she knows things, she observes, she follows, she listens, she watches. And so, she uses that bombshell to say to Louis, “He treats us like shit, and you take it. He’s tired of us; the housewife and the mistake.” Dang.

Courtney: So, yeah, I like the angst. I really do. Like, a good vampire story needs the angst. But even Louis, present-day, says, “She spent every night, for half a decade, with no friends locked in the emotional storm of puberty.” And maybe it’s just asexual me, my– like, no-libido me… But is this something that pretty much everyone can relate to? Are all the allos like, “Yeah, I know exactly what that’s like, and that’s torturous, and that’s terrible.” And they’re empathizing with this?

Courtney: Because to me, this is so far away from anything that I can even fathom. Like, what is the [emphatically] perpetual emotional storm of puberty?

Courtney: But she runs away, and then it becomes very evident that Louis and Lestat are just seething and resenting each other. But in a departure from the book, she’s gone for seven years. She’s off doing her own thing. She goes to college campuses, trying to read books, trying to study, trying to track down the history of vampires, and where– where her kind might be, where they come from.

Courtney: And we see a scene where a college student starts harassing her one night, as she’s leaving the library, and a new vampire shows up on a motorcycle to step in. And he tells her that he heard Louis calling out telepathically apologizing to Claudia, asking her to come back. And his name is Bruce. And I’m like, okay, who the heck is Bruce? Did they just make up another vampire out of the blue?

Courtney: Luckily, they didn’t. But I still don’t like the addition of Bruce. So, Bruce was not a name that I recognized. But the two of them, over campfire, just start talking and he says that, oh, he’s always wondered what it would be like to hunt in a pack. And she’s like, “Oh, like a little gang.” He’s like, “Yeah, like a little fang gang.” And I was like, “Oh! Fang gang. Got it.” That is from Queen of the Damned. There is a 14 year old girl nonetheless, who gets turned into a vampire and they call her Baby Jenks, and she’s only in there for like a chapter because she immediately dies. But she got turned by the Fang Gang, and it’s a motorcycle gang of American vampires, after– well, like, during this period of time when Lestat’s doing his rockstar thing.

Courtney: And I was like, okay, so this is, like, prequel or preview to that, I suppose. And she even tells him then that he doesn’t look like a Bruce, “You’re more like a Killer.” And I was like, “Oh!” – because the leader of the Fang Gang motorcycle group was called Killer.

Courtney: And so I was like, “Oh, okay! So this is Killer’s origin story. All right.” I guess most people were not going to get that unless you have read The Queen of the Damned. But this– this is like the origin story. I’m at least glad that they tied it in that way, because I was going to be really mad if they just invented a vampire for the sake of this one scene. Because he reveals that he has been stalking her, and she gets a little uncomfortable. He puts an arm around her and she bolts away, he chases her, and like, breaks her leg and said something incredibly misogynistic. And then the rest of the pages in the diary for that story are torn out. Louis has torn them out. Daniel Malloy is not able to read them. Louis even says, “It’s clear what happened from there.” And so they’re very much implying that this was a sexual assault situation.

Courtney: And I was going to be so mad if they just invented a new vampire just to come and sexually assault her. But I guess he actually is in the world of Anne Rice, just not in this book. Has– had not ever actually met Claudia. But that almost makes it so much grosser now that I think. And I don’t know if they’re planning to continue this series, like, for years and years and years – where they’re going to be getting into the Queen of the Damned or not – but if they are, this guy is now going by the name Killer, which Claudia gave him. And then he’s turning a fourteen year old drug addict into a vampire, Baby Jenks, like so many years later…? I really hate it. I don’t like it. Oh, I don’t like it!

Courtney: But yeah, Daniel continues to call Louis out on his shit saying, “Whenever you do that, whenever you editorialize, it calls into question all the other shit you’re shoveling my way.” He’s like, “I need to know the real facts, you promised me the real facts.” And then Louis ends up, like, totally losing his cool. Very uncharacteristic of him in this modern day setting. And he starts, like, mentally somehow taking hold of Daniel, causing him to, like, shake and begin to writhe in pain. And Rashid, the assistant, wink-wink, comes in and rests a hand on Louis’ shoulder to calm him down. And then Daniel’s free from whatever hold this is. And Daniel, just like, slaps Louis in the face and then continues. That was kind of satisfying to see, just– just a little bit.

Courtney: Because it’s like, “Let’s get this slap out of the way, first of all, don’t do that again. Anyway, continuing.”

Courtney: But Lestat is such a jerk. They took what was already an abusive character and, like, cranked him up to 11. Because like, back to the scene, for example, when Claudia says, like, who’s gonna– like, “Which one of you two is gonna fuck me?” Louis is like, “I can’t believe I’m hearing this.” But Lestat’s like, “Oh, I prefer a fuller figure.” [wheezing] I was like, “Oh, my God! What the hell?!” So Lestat is just a savage. And later Lestat says to Louis, you know, “I’m the one who’s right in front of you, and unlike Claudia, I’m a fully grown adult with all the right appendages.” Wow… wow! Even though I’m skeptical about whether or not your appendage is supposed to work that way, Mr. Vampire.

Courtney: So this is where you start blurring the lines, which is weird. Because in the past tense, they referred to her as a daughter. In the present tense, with Daniel Malloy, he referred to her as a daughter.

Courtney: But then you have this scene where Louis has one final conversation with his sister in a cemetery, and he sees that she has gone and engraved his name and a fake date of death in the family mausoleum, which is brutal. But I love her. And she’s moving, she is cutting all ties with him. And Claudia’s watching this from a distance. And she writes, “Today at the cemetery, I finally understood something so obvious that I had pondered for a decade, why they made me: to be Louis’ sister.” Which [sighs] I don’t know. Because then from this point on, in the flashbacks, they occasionally interchangeably– like, Lestat at one point refers to her as ‘our sister’. So they even sort of like start changing the way they refer to her, but only sometimes. So it’s a– it’s an interesting dynamic.

Courtney: But after seeing this, she comes home. She mentions all the books she’s been reading and that she’s wanting to go overseas to look for them, and that she only came back to pick up Louis so that the two of them could go together. And Lestat tells her that the vampires out there are vicious. But he sort of gives her a knowing look and he says, “Oh, but you learned that already.” And she sort of has this, you know, pained expression on her face, this trauma response from what’s happened to her. And he says, “The vampires in Europe are much worse.” And he continues to antagonize her about that. And Claudia and Lestat fight over Louis, in this moment. And then Lestat just beats the ever living hell out of Louis, like, nearly decapitates him dragging him by the open-neck, throws him across the room, punches him in the face, bites his neck. And then flies up into the sky, into the atmosphere, and just drops him.

Courtney: And yet still in present-day Louis is like, “I don’t consider myself to be abused.” Like… Oh, you don’t? That’s neat.

Courtney: So even though seeing that scene is so much more physically graphic than any abuses we saw in the book, it really, really works. But I actually loved – and this was all an addition, this was not in the novel – Louis like, after this moment, completely cuts Lestat off. Like they kick him out of the house, and it’s just the two of them living together for a while. And Claudia is like trying to rehabilitate him by, like, bringing small animals in the house, being like, “Here, hunt them.” You know, he’s like, struggling to walk and run around. But Lestat is constantly bringing gifts, trying to apologize. And it was just so funny, because like, Claudia would answer the door and be like, “No, you’re not going to talk to him.” And he’s like, “Please, just let me talk to him, and let him tell me himself.” And then Louis would just, like, chuck his coffin out of the window, on a top balcony, and it would just come, like, crashing to this cobblestone street.

Courtney: And that is just so good. I love that. It’s– it is delicious. [laughs] But what eventually finally gets Louis to go to Lestat and talk to him, was that Lestat recorded a song, pressed it into a record, but had Antoinette sing part of it. And when Louis hears this, he is livid. He immediately goes to Lestat, who is actively, like, in bed with Antoinette, he yells at him. They kick Antoinette outside and she’s like, “It’s my house.” And they’re like, “I don’t give a fuck, get out.” And they– they start fighting, Antoinette is outside crying, and then they just start having sex again with Antoinette right outside crying. And– I will never understand, like, angry sex or like, hate sex, but that’s what they do, I guess. And now Lestat gets to move back in with them, I guess?

Courtney: But Claudia and Louis set down these ground rules and they’re like, “Kill Antoinette, no more secrets from us, and you have to answer any question we ask you.” And one of the questions they asked is, “Who made you?” And so Lestat tells the story of Magnus, and how he got made, which is something we normally don’t get at all until the second book. Which I think is kind of interesting that they’re giving these little bread crumbs of story, but I hope it doesn’t deter them from actually showing it later on.

Courtney: And I don’t know if they know if they’re going to be able to go on long enough to actually start filming what is the second novel in form of the series. But part of what made Lestat such a complicated, elusive character in the first novel was that knew basically nothing about him before he met Louis. So now they’re saying, well, they did know some things he held off for a while, but eventually did tell them some things.

Courtney: And Claudia even starts asking questions about Nicki, as if she had heard of Nicki already. So they knew some things. And then in some weird compromise – which I don’t know, I didn’t like this too much – Lestat, like, makes Louis start eating humans again as opposed to animals. Because Lestat’s like, “Oh, well, if we’re trying so hard and we’re trying to make these compromises for each other, the fact that you’re eating vegetarian makes me feel bad.”

Courtney: And Claudia also eats humans, and she oddly, like, backs Lestat up on that, even though she hates his guts. And she’s like trying to make Louis enforce a boundary, she’s like, “Yeah, you know, actually he’s got a point there, it makes me feel bad too. I just feel like you think you’re so much more superior to us.” So they, like, pressure him into starting to eat humans again. And I’m like, “Okay, vegetarian hate, all right…” Which is a real thing that people do.

Royce: It’s really bizarre too. If you see someone else making a different life choice, and that makes you feel bad? That’s– that’s you. That’s something in your head.

Courtney: Yes! The number of times I have, like, turned down something someone’s offered me, either because it’s meat, what have you, and I’m like, “Oh no, thank you.” They’re like, “Oh, you! You think you’re better than me?!” I did not say that. I don’t know what– what vegetarian, what vegan from your past hurt you, but all I’m doing is turning it down and making a different choice.

Courtney: I’ve even, like, at a backyard cookout, I have, like, brought my own vegetarian, like, burger patty to ask them to grill for me – because I knew there wouldn’t be any food there for me otherwise – and someone be like, “Oh, would you like a burger?” I’m, “Oh, no, thank you. I brought my own patty because I’m a vegetarian.” And then someone started, like, yelling at me like, “Oh, how dare you come to a cookout and start proselytizing to us!” Like, pardon me? I’m still here, I just brought my own food… I– So, I don’t know, watching that was weird for me. It hit me in a very weird place.

Courtney: And I don’t know. Did it seem at all out of character at this point for Claudia? Because even if she does feel that way, I feel like she was not willing to give Lestat an ounce of anything. And yet here she’s like, “Yeah, you know, Lestat brings up a good point. You should change this fundamental part of your, like, morals and behaviors.”

Royce: I think there were several points in the show, and in a lot of depictions of relationships in general, where I end up going, “Really? This is what you’re concerned about right now?” [Courtney laughs] When there are so many larger, more systemic, like, more potent issues going on, this is– this is what you’re going to bring up? In this moment? Because yeah, with all the tension between Lestat and them, through all of this time, that does seem a bit odd.

Courtney: Yeah… Yeah. So Lestat, of course, is a brat. He doesn’t like being told what to do. So he does technically kill Antoinette, but he also turns her into a vampire. Which– Antoinette was just such an interesting character, because in the book, the biggest glimpse we got of, like, a new mortal love interest was a young musician guy. And I always assumed that he reminded him in some way of Nicki, but no, we have Antoinette now. But like, right after they have this conversation about like, “Oh, you should start eating people again,” then Claudia’s like, “Well, I’m running away, gonna come with me Louis?” And Louis is like, “No, I’m not gonna do that.”

Courtney: And so, Claudia’s like, “Yeah. Just change your entire eating behaviors and your morals, and I’m going to leave you alone with the abusive guy who is making you do that. But I think that’s a good choice.” I thought that was a weird– a weird series of things, because she’s not even staying with them for long. She’s like, “I am out of here.”

Courtney: And so she gets on a train in the luggage cart, of course, because this is a long train ride, she can’t be exposed to sun. Louis mentions that if anyone deserved to ride in first class it was her, but even as a mortal she was still Black, she would need to ride in the back. But as a Black vampire no less, she had to just make do with whatever she could. And that was hiding amongst the luggage. And here was another odd thing, and here’s why I think that making him eat humans was even weirder. Because Claudia and Louis can speak telepathically, specifically those two, so that Lestat cannot hear them since he made them. And Claudia just starts frequently antagonizing him telepathically any time he would make a concession to Lestat. She would whisper in Louis’ head like, “Oh, it’s just an honor to sleep under master’s roof.” And you know, Louis just kind of being a pushover in general, Claudia starts very very pointedly saying like, “You are being submissive to this white man, who is cruel to you.” So I don’t know. She’s got a weird set of priorities there, I think.

Courtney: And throughout this episode they’re flipping back and forth between calling her ‘our sister’ and ‘our daughter’. But then this scene – oh, my gosh – absolutely gave me chills through my veins. Louis comes home and Lestat’s sitting in the parlor, and says, “Germany has invaded Poland.” Before saying, “Just think, our sister was on her way to Europe. I’m so glad she decided otherwise.” And then they look across the room and Claudia’s just sitting in the room silent, after we saw her get on the train. And this was just– Even seeing this brutal, bloody, physically abusive scene earlier. And even getting this, you know, cut to black insinuation of a sexual assault earlier. Like, this was to me the most viscerally disgusting scene. Because they show us later, but at the moment, I was like, “Lestat, what did you do…? What did you do?” It’s somehow worse. It is somehow worse because it’s just the emotional manipulation, and the control, and the gaslighting in the fact that she’s trying to break away and escape on her own, and Lestat did something to mess it up. Ugh… ugh.

Courtney: But then it does show us what happened. And Lestat kills the conductor of the train. Takes his hat, puts it on, and then uses his severed head like a puppet to talk as he bursts through this door and finds Claudia. And Claudia’s like begging him, please, to let her go and he refuses. And then he lets Claudia know that he found out what happened when she ran away. And he says the name Bruce to her, and tells her that he can hear Bruce thinking about her often. Oh, it’s so gross! UGH. See, this was exactly– I didn’t even need to see it to know it was something this bad. And then he asks her, “What if something like that happened to you again?” And she is sobbing in the back of this train. And then he outright threatens her and says, “If you try this again, Claudia, I won’t snap your leg, defile your pocket, and zoom off on a motorbike. I will turn your bones to dust.” Oh… OH! Lestat is such a vile creature.

Courtney: And after we see this flashback within a flashback, we know how Lestat brought her back now. She says in Louis’ head, “We are his slaves and I will free us both.” And that sort of harkens back to a much earlier episode, pre Claudia, when Lestat kept referring to Louis as fledgling, and Louis lost his cool and said, “You’ve got to stop saying that word because it is starting to sound an awful lot like slave.” So now we have Claudia here using that same language.

Courtney: But then we see a different kind of flashback, a flashback to when Daniel first met Louis. They’re in a gay bar, they’re talking, they’re getting drinks. And we see that this elusive – quote – mortal assistant, Rashid, is there with him? [gasps] Gasp! And that’s when I was like, “Alright, confirmed, that is definitely the vampire Armand. It’s gotta be, who else is it?”

Courtney: But also this gives me so many more questions about the timeline and what’s going to happen after– after this first novel. Because I said, when we reviewed the novel, I was like, Louis and Armand are really the couple that people should talk about more, but everyone talks about Louis and Lestat, but it’s Louis and Armand. But even Armand leaves. So they aren’t– should not be together anymore. I don’t know if they separated and then got back together. I am dying to find out. But since they’re in this gay bar, we sort of get this hint from Daniel, who now has a, you know, a wife and children. So we find out that he is at least in some realm of bi. Because in this flashback, Daniel says, “Oh well, you know, why don’t we go back? I want to interview you. And if something happens, you know, I’m cool but I do, actually, really want to interview you.” Which is very interesting, because technically Daniel and Armand become a couple. And Armand, actually in The Queen of the Damned book, is the one who turns Daniel into a vampire, but they have this, like, love affair with him still as a mortal, for a prolonged period of time before converting him.

Courtney: And so I’m like– Is that just gone? Do they just– Does that never happen now? I– I’m– I’m really curious to see where they take that. But Armand kind of declines to join them for the interview, but tells Louis, you know, “You go ahead.” And this is all kind of in a dream. Like, Daniel Malloy is dreaming this memory, and he wakes up, and he’s like, “Now, wait a minute, was that guy actually there?” So very, very compelling.

Courtney: And then we’re into the final episode, episode 7. So episode 7, back in New Orleans, locals are really starting to take note that this family does not age. Some outright condemn them, others want to know their secrets, they’re getting, like, salt circles and other very superstitious items at their doorstep. They’re getting letters, they’re getting sick and dying people coming to them saying, like, “What’s your secret?” So, they clearly have got to go.

Courtney: And they’re just sort of spitballing, like, “Where should we go?” Throwing out some different places. And Louis, at one point, mentions Greece. And we mentioned this a little bit during last week’s episode, but Lestat just wistfully is talking about all the things that are in Greece, and he says, “Those who must be kept.” Woo… Which– If we go this far, maybe, maybe this is going to be an entire ongoing series of vampire media breakdowns from an ace lens. Because we already did the first novel, which sort of talked a little bit about the bad movie from the 90s too, now we’re doing this series. I mentioned last episode, we have a lost episode of The Ace Couple podcast where we recorded some thoughts about The Vampire Lestat.

Royce: We recorded that like a year ago, didn’t we?

Courtney: Over a year ago, easily, yes. And it’s– it exists, we have the audio. That was when you first learned that Lestat became a rockstar, and you were unimpressed. [laughs] And I would like to reread Queen of the Damned, because I would like to make sure that I am not just making up this lore reason why the vampires do not have intercourse. I think it exists. It’s probably in Queen of the Damned, but there might also be an element of it in Tale of the Body Thief, now that I think about it, so. I don’t think I’ll have to go any further than that, but then comes the vampire Armand. And now Aramand is such a hot topic again, so I don’t know. We’ll– we’ll see. Maybe this will get way out of hand very quickly, but we will see.

Royce: Vampire Armand is the sixth book.

Courtney: Really? What’s the fifth book?

Royce: You forgot about Memnoch the Devil.

Courtney: Oh Memnoch! How could I forget about Memnoch the devil! Silly me. Here is a deep, deep, deep cut of The Ace Couple lore, for all of you hardcore fans out there keeping track. Break out the lore book. Just before I moved down to Kansas City, when I was coming down to visit Royce and I got in that horrible, horrible car accident that we discussed in Our Asexual Love Story, like, probably our third episode, I was actively reading The Vampire Armand at that point. I had read up to Tale of the Body Thief and stopped for a long time. And then I read Memnoch the Devil. And then after another gap of time, I was like, “All right, Vampire Armand, here we go, let’s continue this series.” And that book got ejected from the vehicle, could not be found.

Courtney: I never found that copy of that book that I was, like, three quarters of the way finished with. So–

Royce: It’s probably still on the side of the road outside St. Joseph, Missouri.

Courtney: My gosh. St. Joseph, Missouri still has that concrete barrier on the side of the road, just broken into pieces, they’ve never moved that or fixed it. It’s just– it’s just mine. That is my mark on St. Joseph, Missouri. It’s my concrete barrier. And probably a copy of The Vampire Armand. My cell phone also, somewhere out there. Who knows what else is there?

Royce: Was that an old brick phone? Because that probably survived.

Courtney: It was an old brick phone, yes! Although we did actually recover that, now that I think about it. Because then that phone got stolen, and I was like, “Really?”

Royce: Yeah.

Courtney: It just survived a car crash and you’re going to steal a brick phone that has no value at all?

Royce: Yeah, it still works. [Courtney laughs] Someone stole it within a couple of weeks, I feel like.

Courtney: Yes! Yes, it was. We talked about that in ‘I almost became an asexual lingerie model’. That was a continuation of that story. Truly a series of unfortunate events.

Courtney: So Daniel sees Rashid taking a phone call, and he steps outside into the sun, and then we see Daniel kind of squint like, [sucks teeth] “What’s going on there? Because now I think you’re not a mortal but you’re in the sun.” Hmm, suspicious. Which I suppose for those who have not read Queen of the Damned, “Those who must be kept” are like the mother and father vampire. They’re believed to be the first two vampires. So it’s the Queen of the Damned and her husband, Akasha and Enkil. So they are those who must be kept.

Courtney: So that’s definitely a nugget for the people who have read the books, and know how that continues.

Courtney: But they sort of decide, before they leave New Orleans, let’s give this entire town a big middle finger. Let’s go out with a bang. We need drama. We need theater. We need lavishness. Let’s throw a ball. And hey, this is New Orleans, let’s throw a Mardi Gras ball. And it’s very Masque of the Red Death, very masquerade ball New Orleans, impending doom. It’s beautiful. I loved it. This did not happen in the book but this is one of the best changes they’ve made. It was gorgeous. It was striking. I am obsessed with masquerade balls. I attended a masquerade ball in New Orleans, and that was [kiss noise]. I would love to go to another one.

Courtney: Also, funny story about Masque of the Red Death, since this kind of gave me those vibes. When I was, like, a junior or senior in high school, I was taking just some literature class, and we were doing an Edgar Allan Poe curriculum – and I had already read all of Edgar Allan Poe by this time, because I was that kind of teenager – so it was very easy breezy class for me. But one day, my teacher was gone; we had a substitute. We were assigned to read The Masque of the Red Death and told we were going to have a discussion about it in class the next day. And so the substitute comes in, takes attendance, and then out of nowhere, says, “My only notes for the class are: have Courtney teach class today.” [laughs] And I was like, “Um? Excuse me?” And so she was like, “Okay…” This substitute was so confused. She was like, “All right, which one of you is Courtney?” I was like, “That’s me.” So she’s like, “All right, I guess you’re supposed to teach the class.” And the substitute just sat, like, in the corner, in her desk. And I was like, “All right.”

Courtney: So I get– I get up to the podium at the front of class, and I taught The Masque of the Red Death and led this discussion about it. Totally without warning. I don’t know why this teacher was like, “You know what will be better for the class? Having Courtney teach this, than a substitute clearly. Because she’s that kind of teenager. She knows Edgar Allan Poe inside, outside, backwards, forwards.” It was so funny. But then, when she got back, as thank you for teaching the class, she got me, like, a bound volume of, like, the completed works of Edgar Allan Poe. And just, like, gave it to me as a gift. And it was the best thing ever. That was very very cool.

Courtney: Also I should probably read Masque of the Red Death again, because I haven’t read that since the pandemic started. [laughs] And that’s a very good pandemic read.

Courtney: So Lestat decides, “If we’re going to host this lavish ball, and we’re going to make it a Mardi Gras masquerade, I want to be the Mardi Gras King.” So they go to this gentleman, whom we haven’t seen for years, white guy, business guy, totally ready to screw Louis over at any turn. He sort of scoffs when he hears, first of all, that they want to throw a Mardi Gras ball. Because he was like, “Mardi Gras is, like, right around the corner and these balls take a lot of time. We do not have time to do this.” But Lestat’s like, “I want to be Mardi Gras King.” And he scoffs, and he’s like, “Him?” Like, “You? You want to be Mardi Gras King?” And in their endless vampire riches, they’re like, “Hey, we know you just lost a boat for bringing in shipments, we will give you a new boat if you can make this happen.” And so this guy even pulls out like an old photograph of them, from years ago, and even kind of says to Claudia, like, “What’s going on with, like, your dad and uncle?” Or these two. Like, this is a photo from so long ago, and what’s wrong with this picture? Like, he’s kind of calling them out. He’s like, “I know something is weird here.” But their offer is too sweet for him to refuse. So he’s like, “All right, I– I guess. I guess we’ll make this happen.”

Courtney: And they throw this ball. It is gorgeous. And then we have a scene of Louis and Lestat dancing together in their finery, in their masks, and everyone stops– Stops and stares. It is beautiful. I love it. Just like I said about the brothers tap dancing early on in the series, I think showing them on that dance floor, being stared at by other people in their lavish costumes, showed more intimacy between this couple than any sex scene ever could. And especially since we know now that they are planning to escape. Claudia is clearly plotting how to get rid of Lestat. We know how complicated and tortured this is. We’re able to see that Louis still has these deep, deep feelings for Lestat, even though this is an abusive relationship, this is a toxic– what Daniel calls it, a fucked-up gothic romance. So it gives us that last little reminder that this is still not going to be easy for him, and I thought it was great.

Courtney: And even says sort of, like, as a nod to the era that, “Oh, many things would be written about the– the tragedies of that night, but they wouldn’t write about these two men dancing together. As if the only crime unfit to print took place on that dance floor.” And I’m like, “Aw!” It’s so good. So I don’t know. Something about the publicness of it. The lavishness of it. The reactions from other outside people, and yet they’re still in their own little world, the two of them having this dance. I think it’s able to visually show so much more complexity than a sex scene. At least any sex scene that I have ever seen.

Courtney: So there are these twins who attend the ball and Claudia telepathically tells Louis that she’s poisoned one of the twins. And I thought this was a good call back to the book, because Claudia did poison twins, but they were young, they were like children. And that was her attempt at killing Lestat.

Courtney: So we still have the twins, but they’re aged up, they’re adults, they’re attending this party. And how– how would we explain how the rest of this episode transpires? Because there’s sort of been an ongoing theme of Claudia and Lestat playing chess together, while Claudia’s telepathically talking to Louis. And we see that play out in a very dramatic fashion here. Because now it’s not just that Claudia is bringing Lestat a poisoned human, she is playing like three-dimensional chess. She has all of this strategy. She’s several steps ahead of him.

Royce: Yeah, the foreshadowing to this was a chess game. Claudia’s shown playing chess with Lestat a couple of times, but in one tense moment, she– I want to say she gets into a position where she has won the game. Like there is no winning for Lestat. And Lestat gets pissed and she walks away intentionally and doesn’t finish out the game.

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: And he throws a fit about it.

Courtney: Of course he does!

Royce: And this is another case where she has it all planned out, and Lestat thinks he has it understood, he thinks he’s uncovered their plan, and there’s another move that he hasn’t seen sitting behind it.

Courtney: Yes, it’s very interesting though, because the way it plays out it’s like– We’ve been watching Pokerface recently now, and we have learned that that’s not a whodunit, they call it a howcatchem. Which [laughs] I– I did not know that that was a genre. But this is like, kind of like a howcatchem, like, we know–

Royce: We know that–

Courtney: That Claudia’s up to something.

Royce: We know that something is afoot. We know– we suspect at least that it isn’t going to go down as easily as they think it is, but we haven’t seen all of the pieces fall into place. We haven’t seen the revelation yet.

Courtney: It’s like a reverse Uno howcatchem. So we get this very dramatic scene, where they invite all of these people who want to know about the Fountain of Youth. And so they’re sort of toying with people and giving them flowers, giving them boutonnieres to get them into the– [emphatically] the secrets. And so they invite a group of people upstairs, in secret, and start saying, like, “Oh, I was born in this year,” and Lestat’s like, “I was born in 1760.” And then they just start slaughtering all of these people. And Claudia tells Louis that they’re going to save the twins for Lestat, because she poisoned one of them. But then one of the twins, who is not dead yet, but he’s very much unconscious, they’re like, “Oh we saved the last one for you.” And Lestat is like, “Hmm. Interesting.” And then he calls out to someone else and – dun dun dun – Antoinette walks into the room. And she’s like, “Laudanum.”

Courtney: So, Lestat had sent Claudia– or had sent Antoinette to spy on Claudia, thinking something was probably up, but Claudia knew that Antoinette was a vampire, and knew that she was spying on them. So she set things up to give Antoinette the wrong impression about what had transpired. So she wanted Antoinette to think that this twin had been poisoned, but actually she poisoned the guy who set up this ball, who scoffed at Lestat when he said he wanted to be the Mardi Gras King. And it’s beautiful! Because she’s like, “Your arrogance. I poisoned the guy who scoffed at you. Because I know you, and I know you were dying to kill him in that moment.” And sure enough, that was like who he killed first in this room of people.

Courtney: So Lestat was already– had drunk the poisoned blood. He’s thinking he’s in the clear because he’s getting the wrong set of information from Antoinette. And it’s so much more complicated, and so much more extra, than what actually happened in the book, but this is exactly what I want from an adaptation. I want you to make Claudia even more clever. I want the intrigue, I want the three-dimensional chess, and I want the damn ball!

Courtney: I am so happy that this wasn’t just, you know, Claudia alone in a room with Lestat being like, “Here, I brought you some twins. Drink them. Oops, one’s poisoned.” This was so much better. This– this is what we need from an adaptation. So, very good choices were made all around. This was definitely the way to go out on the last episode of this.

Courtney: And then here’s how they end it off. We get to present day, and Daniel Malloy starts asking questions, because now he remembered in his sleep that this Rashid was with Louis way back when, and just as young and youthful as he is now. And then he starts thinking about just the things he’s observed too. Because, you know, they’re sharing meals together. Daniel Malloy’s eating real food, Louis, for the most part, is having blood, whether it’s from an animal or brought in. And he takes, like, some blood from this big guy who is clearly just, like, hired and he doesn’t do well. But then he’s showed– shown feeding off of this Rashid also, and Rashid is, like, totally fine. So Daniel even asks, like, “How does a 200-pound bouncer pass out after he feeds on him? But you are fine.” He’s like, “You are such– Like, you’re a small guy, you are skinny, you’re like 100 pounds soaking wet.” I don’t think he actually says that, but that’s a saying. Is that a saying you’re familiar with, Royce? Or is that a South Dakota thing?

Royce: That’s a broader say.

Courtney: Okay.

Royce: I mean the number changes.

Courtney: Sometimes I say sayings or words and Royce is like, “That’s not a word. I’ve never heard that before.” And it’s like, Kansas is not that far away from South Dakota, but apparently we have some little language quirks that occasionally when they come out–

Royce: There’s a weird North Central American English language pocket.

Courtney: So I always have to ask sometimes, especially when we’re in a microphone. I’m like, “How many people from all over the world are listening to us now? And I’m just using an expression or a word they’ve never heard.” Because you, from three states away, hasn’t heard some of these until we met.

Courtney: So then Daniel starts getting a little feisty, he’s upset about the complete change in narrative. He’s upset that there’s some vampire shenanigan going on with this Rashid that he can’t figure out. And I thought this was just– [sighs] I liked this line. I really liked this line. I like this Daniel Malloy as a character in this form. I thought aging him up and making him a cantankerous old man was great. But he says to Louis, “You don’t need a memoir, you need a hundred sessions of EMDR.” Which is a therapy most known for treating PTSD. And, you know, honestly maybe fair. There is a weird– I’m gonna be curious to see where they take this unreliable narrator thing and where this is going.

Courtney: Because now, the way they end this episode, Daniel Malloy saying, “This is just like San Francisco.” And they fight. They’re like, “No, no, it isn’t!” San Francisco being where they had their first interview. And he says, “Well, how will it be any different?” And then this Rashid floats up in the air menacingly, and he’s like, “I won’t spare your life this time!” And he’s like, “Whoa! Hold on now.” And then Louis says, “I’d like you to meet the vampire Armand, the love of my life.” And that is how this ends!

Courtney: And now I’m dying to see what happens. Because why are Louis and Armand still together? They did get together for a period of time, but then Armand left. And after Armand left, he found Daniel, and they had a relationship. So, where is this going?

Courtney: I’m also curious – since they’ve changed perspectives a couple of times, since they had Claudia narrating her own story through her diaries – is Armand going to start telling some of the story now? I’d love to see his perspective on what happened at the upcoming Theater of the Vampires. Because, mind you, if they follow the plot points of the book, Claudia is going to die by the end of this novel, and she is going to die at the hands of this ‘The Theater’ that Armand oversees. And so I’m very excited. I– I want to see what happens, where this goes, how Armand is going to play a part both in past tense and present tense now. I’m intrigued.

Courtney: So I’m excited for season 2. And I suppose that’s all I have to say about that. I think we covered just about everything from what we’ve seen so far.

Courtney: Do we know– Has there been a release date for season 2 yet? I know they have already started production. And while you’re looking that up, I remembered reading about the actor who plays Armand – I thought this was the sweetest thing, because he is a huge fan of the books, huge fan of Anne Rice, and this vampire world – and he auditioned for the part of Rashid, knowing that Rashid was not a character, not really knowing the secret that this was going to be revealed to be Armand. So after a series of auditions, after he got far enough down the line, he had a meeting with the– the director, and was told, “This is Armand in disguise.” And I was just, like, so happy for this guy. Because he was like, “I got off that meeting, and almost, like, fell out of my chair and, like, started crying. Because now I have an audition for the vampire Armand. When I thought I was just this, like, minor side character they made up for the series.” And it’s like, “Aw, I’m so happy for him!”

Royce: So I don’t see a season 2 release date, I do see that they have stated it will cover the second half of the first novel and it will be eight episodes long. So that would be 15 episodes total.

Courtney: Okay.

Royce: I also see that in the works is a crossover between Interview with the Vampire and Mayfair Witches.

Courtney: Yeah, I wondered about that. I wondered about that. Hmm, very fascinating.

Courtney: So, let’s see, I think our take away from this episode is don’t get locked in a fucked-up gothic romance. Except maybe in your mind. Maybe– [laughs] I am aego-fucked-up-gothic-romance myself. [laughs] It’s a terrible joke. This is the kind of romance story I love. I don’t like just sappy lovey-dovey, rom-com type romance. I like the muddy, messy, sticky, dark, messed-up romances. But not for myself. Just in theory. Just– just to read in my novel by candlelight. Because, believe you me, you do not want one in real life! So that’s my take away. Don’t do it.

Courtney: And as always, please make sure to follow or subscribe or whatever it is you do on the particular platform you’re listening to us on. And let us know your thoughts: should we continue this ace reading of vampire media? Because we might just have a lost episode of The Ace Couple podcast to release, if you are interested. And we might just have a few more Anne Rice novels to get through, to finish this up. But I’m definitely excited and curious for season 2. Who knows when it’ll be out, but we will be watching it.

Courtney: Thank you all so much for being here. And we will see you all again next week.