Bianca Solderini

“The truth is most women are weak, be they mortal or immortal. But when they are strong, they are absolutely unpredictable.”

–          Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat

Bianca is a small character sketch in the larger canvas that is The Vampire Chronicles. However, her story alters the course of the lives of two pivotal personalities, aiding in shaping the story of Armand, and also, keeping the scholar, Marius, alive and formidable after the tragedy of the burning in Venice.

Bianca Solderini is a woman who, one would expect, should have crumbled as soon as her life began to fall apart. She had all the luxuries of a pampered upbringing. Her family had wealth and comfort, and the blissful ease which comes with a higher-than-working-class existence. But everything smashes to pieces for her when her brothers, who had been caring for her, die, and she is left to the mercies of her kinsmen. Men who, as it turns out, have an utter lack of respect for women, even those of their own line, and care little for the lives of those that stand between them and success.

They threaten her with the life of a beggar – and worse, the promise of death – if she does not do as they demand, and so she becomes their pawn. A harsh black widow, forced to kill nameless men for the protection of her virtue and position. Bianca is unfazed (or so it appears) by the ruthless destruction of lives to maintain her own. By the time Marius discovers her in Venice, she is an acclaimed and adored courtesan, and he instantly becomes fixated on her, imagining her as the very vision of Botticelli’s inspiration.

Bianca is enamoured with Marius, as is every other social sprite in Venice, and graciously accepts his gifts and affection. What Bianca does not realise is that Marius is considering making a project of her, deliberating over preserving her beauty, and he feels secure in this decision, when he perceives her evil with the Mind Gift.

At first he imagines her to be pure, perfect and it causes him to balk at the thought of changing her. But when he uncovers her dirty secret, it almost spurs him on and stops him in one instant. It would seem perfect that she become a vampire were she pure, a clean slate for him to create into a living work of art. A perfect Botticelli creation with an open, divine countenance. But then, when he learns of her ‘evil’ nature the spell is broken; even if she is like him – flawed by the need to take life.

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And so, in the midst of his turmoil, Marius finds Amadeo, takes him into his home, and begins the tutelage that he believes should be given to one who is ‘destined’ for the blood. But his mind is never entirely set, and occasionally he dreams of letting Amadeo, in his purity, his innocence, leave as all the other boys have done and will do. Turning back to Bianca as the one chosen to fulfil his purpose of becoming his immortal companion. All to compensate for the loss of his beloved Pandora.

But of course Amadeo falls in love with Bianca as surely as any other man. Perhaps more so because he grows up in her company. She has the mystery of an unattainable woman for a boy who is without a woman’s close influence. It is unsurprising when Amadeo acts on his devotion to Bianca. It is just as unsurprising that she is the one to care for him when he is struck down by his English lover. She stays by his side as he suffers through the fever brought on by a poisoned blade.

Once Amadeo receives the blood, and even before, he, Marius, and Bianca form an exquisite love triangle, in a way. Broken only by Marius’s desire to make Bianca recognise him for what he is. In a fit of fury, Marius seems uncontrollable, though in the controlled manner that he handles all things. Blindly threatening her life and then slaying her kinsmen, the ones that keep her a hostage of blackmail and finance as a lesson to Amadeo, and as the resolution to a promise to her. Surely, even without this act of ‘benevolence,’ Bianca would have cared for Amadeo when his precocious anger with Marius led him to bewitch an unstable man, creating the perfect setting for his death.

“’Oh, how often I’ve seen you cry,’ I said, ‘But not of late, and not so bitterly as you cry for him.’”

–          Anne Rice, Blood and Gold

She always felt like the perfect Bianca.

When Santino’s cronies destroy the palazzo, it is to Bianca that a desperately injured Marius turns – telepathically calling to her. Bianca does not even flinch at the sight of him. Her strength of character is perfectly apparent here. At first, when he takes her life, it seems that he has killed her, his body unable to sustain the blood for her, but she becomes a vampire nonetheless, as is his wish, and remains his companion for some time, keeping his secrets of the King and Queen. She is always the gracious hostess, the loving companion. But it is clear, early in their time together, that Marius still pines for the loss of his Pandora.

When he reconnects with Pandora, Bianca finds that her jealousy is more virulent than she imagined, despite insisting that she would never envy Pandora’s place in the heart and soul of Marius. It is when she learns of Marius’s promise to Pandora that he would leave Bianca if Pandora might just stay with him, that she leaves Marius, bitterly, angrily.

“’But that’s the point, you see,’ She said in a low, compassionate voice. ‘I heard the things you said to her. And I’m leaving you.’”

–          Anne Rice, Blood and Gold

That is the last we see of her.

There are two conflicting opinions on the existence of Bianca. Armand speaks of having seen her in Paris, chasing her from his territory with an unenthusiastic threat. Marius mentions a female vampire who died at sunrise collecting shells on a beach.

The strongest of implications, however, is that Bianca still lives. She is of too much import in the lives of two vital characters to be gone from the scene.

The truth is, how does one come to terms with such desolation? To lose the boy she cared for to an unknown fate? And to be betrayed by the man she loved as well?

Bianca has always been a woman of masks. She is as strong a woman as Pandora, but in a more subtle fashion. A courtesan on the surface, beautiful, exquisite, and magnificent, carried on the currents of compassion and grace, creating love and lust in all men that she encounters. And a determined, if lonely, girl beneath it all. An outsider to the Chronicles, but with a mallet-like effect on the outcome of two important characters.

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22 Comments

  • Reply A. April 25, 2013 at 6:25 am

    Akasha did tend to spare the people around Marius, even if she crushed him under ice. Maybe there was some nod to his dedication all those years, however selfish she may have imagined it was. I am absolutely certain that Bianca is still with us. Important people have died before, but there are many reasons I believe she lives.

    • Reply Lafaeyette April 25, 2013 at 8:28 am

      That was my thought, that she would not have killed Bianca, because (and I may stand to correction here) she did not deliberately go after any vampire that Marius felt attachment to. Although that may have been coincidental.
      I like to think Bianca’s still around.

  • Reply A. April 25, 2013 at 8:33 am

    You like to think, huh? 😉

    • Reply Lafaeyette April 25, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Yeah. Just sometimes. Y’know. When the mood takes me…

  • Reply Erica February 5, 2014 at 6:40 am

    I’m not sure but I also think Akasha spared most of the vampires she let feed from her and also the ones Marius was attached to so I think and hope she was not destroyed.

    • Reply Carmen Dominique February 9, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      As do I.

  • Reply B. February 5, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Anne Rice has mentioned on her facebook page that Bianca is still alive and living in Paris. In the same post she says she feels that Louis and Armand are in New York. So there’s definitely hope that she was spared and still alive.

    • Reply Carmen Dominique February 9, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      I continue to keep the faith that maybe one day we will see Bianca’s story on our bookshelves. I see via Facebook that a few fans are clamouring for it.

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

      I hope so.

  • Reply Hook in Mouth May 19, 2014 at 7:11 am

    “The truth is most women are weak, be they mortal or immortal. But when they are strong, they are absolutely unpredictable.” Do you agree with that?

    • Reply Carmen Dominique May 20, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      In a sense, yes. I have seen so many woman who inadvertantly ruin the forward cause for femininity simply by being weak in the face of attractive/charming/heroic men. Or just men that desire these women to change physically and mentally for the sake of their status as men.

      But then, I have known women who… are so strong in the face of all of this modern world’s insistence of a vapid female, that there faces at once spring to mind. And yes, I have always thought of these wonderful women as unpredictable.

      • Reply Hook in Mouth May 22, 2014 at 6:11 am

        Trying to understand what you’re saying. So you think its okay for a guy to tell you change yourself for him and what do mean being weak around attractive men? You mean like squee?

        • Reply Hook in Mouth May 23, 2014 at 8:32 am

          I guess I am weak bc if I saw any of the vampires from the VC I would squee. Even Armand. Even a female. Even an intersex vampire. Even if they were going to kill me. Sincerely- weak ass fangirl.

          • Carmen Dominique June 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm

            No, I am saying quite the opposite, actually. Weakness comes from expecting others to show you how to live. Strength comes from simple, harsh decisions that will ultimately wreck your life briefly to improve it in the future.

  • Reply Hook in Mouth May 19, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I didn’t think it was evil for her to kill those men. She had no real choice in the matter. Better than become another statistic of a dead woman and there are not female beggars. I have never seen a female homeless person in my entire life, they are all prostituted. I’m sure if I went to sleep on a park bench I’d wake up dead. Hell my cousin almost got raped by a stranger recently bc she had her iPod on.

    I liked how Armand was sexual with her but also treated her as a person beyond that. Why is that so rare in men? I think its common for women to dissociate, maybe that is weak, I don’t know. Bianca was a strong character and likable to me and I usually have trouble relating to anyone fictional or non fiction from an upper class background. Hopefully we will hear more from her in the new books.

    Both her and also Sybelle and Benji didn’t flinch when seeing a burnt vampire which is some special kind of bravery I’m sure.

    • Reply Carmen Dominique May 20, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Oh yes…. I whole-heartedly agree on all your points, but particularly on the last. If anyone ever doubted Bianca’s strength, they ought to consider that she did not flee from Marius when he looked like a pile of blackened sticks in some tattered cloth.

      • Reply Hook in Mouth May 23, 2014 at 8:35 am

        How is the name Bianca pronounced?

        • Reply Carmen Dominique June 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm

          {b-ee-AA-nk-uh}

  • Reply peach April 17, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    *my email address correction*
    I just completed the novel “Blood and Gold”. I have loved most of Rice’s vampire and witches novels but didn’t care for all her books and somehow let this novel go unread all these decades.
    It is in my top three Rice favorites! What a treat this saga was!
    For some reason, the story of Bianca deeply touched me.
    She is a woman who was used for what she could give to others all her life. I was saddened when the story unfolded that the admirable Marius also used her for his own purposes. Yes he loved her, but not for the pure, devoted soul that she was. It was for how she listened to him, soothed him, what she brought to him.

    I agree that in some ways, women can as a whole be inherently weak when it comes to men they want in their life and I also have come to believe this trait is inherently driven by our DNA, imprinted upon us along with other survival skills. Not to say that all women have this basic nature ( flaw, in today’s world?) – just as not all women feel the basic maternal instinct. But yes, women make decisions which often negatively affect their lives when it comes to men – decisions men are simply not prone to make over the women in their lives.
    However, women often are moved to correct their course.
    As was Bianca. Her character was described as a survivor, and I believe her motivation in leaving Marius was to survive. He was never going to return her pure love and devotion. This was made plain to her. He would be with her unless Pandora was willing to return and requested that no other woman compete with Marius and his attentions/ devotions. At that point, Bianca and her devotion would hit the curb.
    Eternity is an awfully long time. I’m glad that her character was drawn in such a way that Bianca did not waste one more week devoting herself to Marius.

    Bianca is now, surprisingly to me, really my favorite character in the vampire chronicles. I believe many women can relate to her. I loved Marius but liked that Rice was willing to reveal his serious character flaws. I believe, personally, that when he could have physically rescued Amadeo, he chose not to due to anger. He left Amadeo much as he left Pandora for basically the same reasons, however unaware of his own motives for abandoning him he might have been. He insinuates that Mother kind of told him to do so, but imo that was what he needed to believe in order to abandon his child. All simply my conjecture, of course.

    With the powerful blood of both Marius and the several infusions of the Queen’s blood, Bianca was no weakling. She would have been one of the strongest of all vampires of that time, growing only stronger through the centuries. Marius knew this and yet still, he badly underestimated her ability to survive and to survive very well without him. I wonder why? Did he withhold teaching her information about her powers and skills in order to keep her feeling dependent upon him? Did he think her not very intelligent? Unworldly? This is part of what does not make sense to me regarding how Marius saw Bianca as a person. Perhaps it was an inherent flaw in that this was his universal view of women in general.

    I hope, very much, that Anne Rice will return to this character and pick up Bianca’s life story where it was left. Of all the characters, this is one I’m most curious about. Why did the Queen tolerate her presence all that time? Why was she not part of the gathering when the Queen awoke to change the course of history, for the two had closer ties than any other female character or even male character save a very few. Certainly she was not destroyed with all the others when the Queen woke to dominate the world – I’m certain of that.

    It”‘s been fun reading what others think of this character and being able to express my own thoughts . I’m happy to know that Bianca has developed her own little fan club! Such a shame it would be if Bianca’s story ended in this book for I believe a very rich story could be developed around the character of Bianca. I hope Anne Rice is writing Bianca’s tale right now!

    • Reply Carmen Dominique April 17, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      *blush* What a lovely comment. I am often saddened by the general contempt that many readers seem to have for Bianca. I have seen her referred to as a whore, and, as “that silly girl that followed Marius around.” It’s always refreshing to see someone really appreciate her as one of the strong female influences in the novels, and, importantly, in Marius’ life.

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