Khayman

“Until this night, this awful night, he’d had a little joke about himself: He didn’t know who he was, or where he’d come from, but he knew what he liked.”

– Anne Rice, The Queen of the Damned

The character of Khayman is testament to the fact that a vampire’s age does not necessarily affect the humanity that he possesses. It has very little to do with whether or not he becomes a raving monster or continues to treat mortals with compassion. At present, Khayman is the oldest vampire, the first created by Akasha, following the creation of Enkil. Both of his predecessors are dead, making him the eldest blood drinker in the world, and yet he continues to be the embodiment of a gentle being, concerned with the fate of humanity, from its greater societal dealings down to the fragility within each individual human.

Khayman, when he makes his first appearance in The Queen of the Damned, is an ancient vampire, wandering the earth with an addled memory. He cannot remember his beginnings and he does not know who he is. Though he knows that the Talamasca refer to him, in their files, as Benjamin the Devil, a reference to his dealing with them in the past, during which time he would create mischief to scare field agents and certain of the scholars. But, as with everything else, he treats the Talamacsa with a gentle reverence, vowing not to hurt them, as they have shown kindness to him in the past.

Khayman’s creed, when feeding, is simple. If he knows (and understands) a mortal, and this can be anything from friendship to a passing greeting in the street, he will not harm said human. This is a slight variation on the feeding patterns we have seen in Anne Rice’s vampires before. We know that Marius teaches those he takes under his wing to feed from the evildoer, that Louis once subdued his appetite to feed from rats, that Armand (for a time) fed from those who ‘wanted to die,’ and that all of them have had lapses in judgement where they fed from the innocent. Khayman protects his conscience by being oblivious to the living consciousness of those he feeds on.

“And as their eyes met she softly whispered his name: ‘Khayman, my Khayman!'”

– Anne Rice, The Queen of the Damned

His memory returns to him when he encounters a recently awoken Akasha in Athens.

It is in Maharet’s compound that we learn of Khayman’s history. A steward to the King and Queen, Enkil and Akasha, Khayman was thoroughly devoted to his land and his regents. And already, at this point, he was a gentle soul, which is made clear to us when he befriended the two witches Mekare and Maharet, for whom Akasha had quite some hatred, based purely on their culture which she was adamant to destroy.

Thus, it was a traumatic blow for both the reader and Khayman when it was decreed by the two rulers that Khayman rape the twins as punishment for speaking against the Queen.

A spirit, Amel, who had attached himself to the twins, then took it upon himself to terrorise Khayman, being that spirits are simple of mind and he was unable, or unwilling, to differentiate between the one who committed the treacherous act and the one who ordered it. Khayman is hounded by Amel until he begs the King to do something. It is when the two regents are attacked and killed within Khayman’s home by simple mortals that Amel sees his chance at experiencing the flesh and, unwittingly, creates the first vampire by entering into Akasha’s blood and becoming a part of it.

“His cloak flared like sleek wings, and the delicious cold air bruised him and made him laugh suddenly as if for one moment he were the happy simpleton again.”

– Anne Rice, The Queen of the Damned

Lonely Duckling.preview

The King and Queen send Khayman to retrieve the witch twins, Maharet and Mekare, understanding that they have some knowledge of spirits and being unable to bear any form of light or the desperate thirst now plaguing them. What the two women have to say when they return to Egypt seals Khayman’s fate – in order to ease the suffering caused by the spirit within them, they must dilute the blood.

On a pretext, Khayman is summoned to Akasha, who turns him into a vampire, spreading her curse. He, enraged and beyond liberated from his own loyalties, seeks out the twins, who have been cruelly mutilated and imprisoned by the tyrannical Akasha, and turns them into what he is. He intends to create enough vampires to cause trouble for the King and Queen as revenge for what they did to him and his companions. And he is successful. But eventually Akasha proves more capable of deceit and ruthlessness than what he does, and separates the threesome.

In the present day, Khayman displays his compassion and his childlike kindness by warning younger vampires against the Queen, assisting Lestat’s fledglings in finding their respective ways to Maharet and the council which intends to do away with Akasha, and also in falling in love swiftly and thoroughly. He can no longer be killed by Akasha as simply as what the younger blood drinkers can, and for this reason, and the reason of his own sweetness of nature, he chooses to aid them and protect them from Akasha.

We know, from implications and brief glimpses in later novels, that Khayman chooses to stay with the twins once Akasha is destroyed. It is a sweet thought to imagine him finally finding some semblance of peace after six thousand – and more – years of wandering with only half a memory and a subtle feeling of emptiness.

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47 Comments

  • Reply Samantha April 1, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Khayman always reminded me of Marius, minus the snobbiness. lol
    No, but I love Marius. I am just glad you wrote this to remind me of how interesting I found Khayman. Kudos!

    • Reply Lafaeyette April 1, 2013 at 8:01 am

      Thanks Samantha! I always thought Khayman was kinder than Marius. Although, I must really try and reconnect with what I loved of Marius in the past. These days I’m always angry with him.

      • Reply Isabel April 1, 2013 at 8:29 pm

        Angry with Marius… I wonder why?

        • Reply Lafaeyette April 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm

          Various reasons. Many of them due to his eventual treatment of the people he claims to love. The one instance which stands out most painfully to me is the sheer misery of Armand in The Vampire Lestat, and the fact that Marius could have tried to find him and reconnect with him. Yet when he did find Armand he turned and left. It was upsetting to me.

          • Isabel April 8, 2013 at 4:50 am

            That’s only fair. But I think that In my opinion I can’t blame him for not “rescuing” Armand, after all several years had passed and Armand had chosen his path. Things could’ve been different but, in a way I believe it was a way for him to let Armand grow up as an immortal. Then again, he did treated wrong those around him. Pandora… even Lestat. Yeah… you’re right. But I still love him. He’s one of Anne’s greatest characters. Thanks for your answer.

          • Lafaeyette April 8, 2013 at 6:45 am

            He just has a history of leaving people behind which makes me slightly unhappy :/

      • Reply Rozyve May 14, 2014 at 5:01 am

        You have every right to feel that way.

        • Reply Carmen Dominique May 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm

          You think so? I sometimes wonder. After all, his behaviour is simply very… human.

          • Hook in Mouth May 18, 2014 at 8:59 am

            How is it human?

  • Reply Emma April 1, 2013 at 12:45 am

    I have to say that I love to read Anne Rice’s book’s which is something in it’s self to get me to read as I grew up not reading much as im Dyslexic and had no confidence in my ability to read, I was 16 and had just left school when I first picked up a book that I liked and a few years later I discovered Anne Rice’s novels Im now 32 and have read most of her novels many times over I wish I had her ability to write but I just don’t have it in me…would be my dreams come true to actually meet the lady her self who helped me with out even knowing it to find the confidence to read along with the other author I first discovered,

    Kind Regards Ems.

    • Reply Lafaeyette April 1, 2013 at 7:59 am

      That’s lovely Emma. I do hope you get to meet her. It is a dream of mine as well. I so love Anne, she helped me through the darkest times of my life without even knowing it.

    • Reply Rozyve May 14, 2014 at 5:01 am

      Reading competently with dyslexia is a huge accomplishment- you should be proud. I have dyscalculia myself, the lesser known but similar condition that could be called math dyslexia.

  • Reply Sumiko Saulson April 1, 2013 at 5:02 am

    I love that artwork of Maharet and Mekare – who is the artist?

    • Reply Lafaeyette April 1, 2013 at 7:58 am

      It is a tumblr piece… one of the many that I wish would be tagged with the artists name. But it has been seen on many different sites. There is another very like it that I think is by the same artists. I should find it for you, it’s exquisite.

    • Reply M March 14, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      Sumiko, it’s from Deviant Art but I dont know the actual Artist.

  • Reply wildlina April 1, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Wonderful portrait of Khayman. I like how you find that human trait on him regardless time. As you seemed to notice Anne Rice doesn’t make us think of him as a central figure but if you think about it, this character will be a statement of natural goodness as a possibility in human beings….very nice indeed, you made me think… 🙂 Lina

    • Reply Lafaeyette April 1, 2013 at 7:56 am

      Yes, I agree. He always sees the goodness in others. Maybe even up to and including his own downfall at their hands. But I would hope that he never changes.

  • Reply seer kennel (@seerkennel) April 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Khayman was in the beginning and remains today my favorite among Anne’s ‘boys’ :). I think possibly the only one who truly did not wish for the Dark Gift and would have given it back for a heartbeat.. but today perhaps he has made his peace with immortality and has come to appreciate the value of learning lifetimes without the interruption of what we mortals call ‘death’.

  • Reply seer kennel (@seerkennel) April 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    By the by Ems congratulations on breaking through your reading ‘wall’! And I met the Lady herself at a Servant of the Bones book signing at Joseph-Beth’s in Lexington Ky years ago – quite a character, gracious and with a bit of cheek 😉

  • Reply Rozyve May 14, 2014 at 4:58 am

    “as if for one moment he were the happy simpleton again” I love how you put a duckling under that! Why are ducks a symbol of happiness? Do you think Khayman is like a duckling?

    • Reply Carmen Dominique May 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      I think Khayman is gentle and I suspect, from the general feeling of him, that he loves all soft gentle things as well. In a way, he’s quite fragile: his thoughts, his mentality. A friend of mine suggested that Khayman would like ducklings. Because they are so soft and fragile, and in need of care.

      • Reply Hook in Mouth May 16, 2014 at 11:28 pm

        Awww.

  • Reply Hook in Mouth May 19, 2014 at 8:07 am

    I think he was cruel at times. Not always gentle.

  • Reply seer kennel May 19, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Khayman is definitely my favorite character.. but.. gentle? Not sure of that. Principled might be a better term. Considering his origins and position in life, everyday – even unconscious – cruelty would not be beyond him. And conscious cruelty at the behest of his rulers would have been a common thing. In spite of that I don’t think he is inherently cruel, any more than any average person of high status / great wealth gets up each day and says “I’m going to be cruel to someone today.” And of course there will be a reason that the Talamasca named him Benjamin the Devil :D. Not to mention that aside from his refusal to feed on those he can name or knows, those he does feed on he utterly destroys.. I enjoy all of Anne’s boys and girls and the world she created for them to inhabit – but I would particularly love to see Khayman’s story someday :).

  • Reply D May 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Nobody is always gentle, but I wonder if your sympathy for the Talamasca is well placed. He toyed with them a bit overmuch perhaps, but I can understand that urge. As for his killing technique, I can see how it would horrify most people. He does not seem arbitrary about who though, even if he does not learn their name until that first bite.

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

      I don’t have any sympathy for the Talamasca, or any other corrupt organization I care about the individual people toyed with and always gentle was the wrong phrase. I am not an intelligent or eloquent human being by a long shot- forgive me. I guess I was just wondering which is his true nature, cruelness or gentleness? How can there be both in one person? How can a gentle soul hurt others? How are his feeding habits not arbitrary? Please explain.

      On vampires killing someone who lacks “will to live”- that is arbitrary. I have no will to live when I don’t take my medication, so what! What kind of ethical standard is that? Why don’t they use all their money to get those people mental healthcare?

      Why, when there are so many men who think its okay to buy prostituted people to abuse, do you kill harmless mentally ill people (children!) a la Pandora’s kill in the book Pandora? There are men that purposely infect prostituted girls with HIV and laugh in their faces about it, that give them permanent incontinence and disability, that degrade them until they question if they are human. http://rebeccamott.net/2014/05/21/see-the-human/
      Why doesn’t anybody care about prostitution being a human rights abuse? Why don’t you kill johns when there are so many of them?

      I don’t have it in me to feel horror to be honest. I am sad for every human who was innocent that had their life taken by a vampire playing God when there is so much scum to choose from.

      I am just too spiteful to feel true horror though I have plenty of shallow fear. Fear is always shallow, not as deep as horror as I understand the words. I SHOULD feel horror but I am a failure to humanity.

      Which vampire are you D?

    • Reply The Light's Bane July 10, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Nothing else to say D? Just popped in to make one post? There must be internet slang for someone who does that but I don’t know it.

  • Reply Hook in Mouth May 23, 2014 at 11:26 am

    “He just has a history of leaving people behind which makes me slightly unhappy :/” I think more than slightly!

  • Reply seer kennel May 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Truthfully all we can do is speculate at any motives (Lady Anne as well) for the First Brood. Given their (unimaginable) age we can’t really have any concept of how such a passage of time causes the human psyche to morph into something that has very likely completely forgotten what being human is. They are alien beings that have been stranded here on earth for millennium among a species unlike them 🙂

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 24, 2014 at 12:12 am

      They don’t have human psyches they have vampire psyches. I understand many thousands of yrs is a long ass time to be alive but its no excuse for unbridled sadism.

  • Reply seer kennel May 24, 2014 at 3:19 am

    POV isn’t it? When the mind is no longer bound by mortality, morality is superfluous 😉

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 24, 2014 at 4:36 am

      That is a reversal. Mortal lives aren’t very long. It could just as easily be said mortality is superfluous.

      • Reply Hook in Mouth May 24, 2014 at 4:37 am

        immortality*

  • Reply seer kennel May 24, 2014 at 5:51 am

    I’m not quite sure of your meaning, or that you understood mine 🙂

    Perhaps best to leave it lay.

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 24, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Miscommunication. What I thought you were saying you think vampires think human lives are superfluous so one human life doesn’t matter very much when lost. I was saying one could say immortality is superfluous too and that you were using a psychological reversal to justify unfair and sadistically random killing habits. Then I saw the upthread and realized what you meant. Ya it is a point of view that can go either and has been described in different ways during the series. Lestat describes himself as having a human soul but there are other parts that say they have a vampire soul. Do souls have a species? How can we know? Off to find that quote but I don’t remember which book it was in.

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 24, 2014 at 9:13 am

      Found it! So he did not actually use the word soul. “I’m also infinitely more powerful, though the human in me is closer to the surface than ever- an anguished and hungry being who both loves and detests this invisible immortal shell in which I’m locked.”

      • Reply Hook in Mouth May 28, 2014 at 4:31 am

        The other was Vittorio of course.

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 25, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Why is your name “seer kennel”?

  • Reply seer kennel May 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I’m either seer or seer kennel everywhere out here in the ether – I used to raise and show dogs, my kennel name was seer, so when I first ventured out here in ’93, with all of the warnings of anonymity and safety I ‘signed on’ under my kennel name :). In my ‘usual’ circles most correspondents know who I am so I rarely even realize that there are those in less frequented places who don’t. I’m so used to being called seer this long later I’m not sure I’d remember to answer to my RL name :).

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 26, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Cool. I thought it meant an animal shelter for psychic dogs. They use mind control to get your scraps.

  • Reply seer kennel May 27, 2014 at 3:54 am

    {{grin}} Now there’s an interesting premise for a book..

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 28, 2014 at 4:27 am

      My dog doesn’t need to be psychic, she just looks at with her big innocent eyes and I feel tempted to give her food.

  • Reply The Light's Bane June 6, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Khayman hates kitties.

  • Reply The Light's Bane June 25, 2014 at 3:34 am

    The bloody history from the past
    Deceased humans now forgotten
    An age of legends and fear
    A time now so distant

    Less numbered as they were their lives
    So primitive and pagan
    Superstitions were a part of the life
    So unprotected in the dark nights

    Pagan fears
    The past is alive
    The past is alive

    Woeful people with pale faces
    Staring obsessed at the moon
    Some memories will never go away
    And they will forever be here
    – Pagan Fears, Mayhem

  • Reply seer kennel July 10, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Not so distant, not so forgotten..

    I think that’s why we humans are so conflicted, racial memory lives beneath the (very thin) social veneer.. Probably why Anne’s Boys (and Girls) are so popular, along with all of the Otherkind that populates so much of our entertainment media. We can re-experience those memories under the illusion of safety ;).

    • Reply The Light's Bane September 4, 2014 at 3:41 am

      I don’t know what you mean by this comment. What is racial memory?

  • Reply seer kennel September 4, 2014 at 11:58 am

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_memory_%28psychology%29

    Not sure that link will work but a search for racial memory will get you a link 🙂

    Goes back to Jung..

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