“Prince Lestat” – A study on literary symbolism, and literature as a symbol for the author’s public personality: Tenders, Roses, and other Flowers in the Savage Garden.
All discussion points are the opinion of the website author. Comments are welcome, and, encouraged. Please also note, that this page, and its subsequent discussions, do contain spoilers.
It can be stated, simply enough, that the latest Anne Rice novel “Prince Lestat” – sitting at, according to the author and critics, number eleven in The Vampire Chronicles – is a definite departure from the previous ten novels in this series. Of course, some readers will choose to include The New Tales of the Vampires in any study of The Vampire Chronicles as a whole, thus, incorporating the stories of Pandora and Vittorio. It is so wholly unlike the other stories that it even opts not to speak of two novels that preceded it at all. Both “Blackwood Farm” and “Blood Canticle” have almost been erased from this novel’s purview. An intriguing choice, as the story of Lestat seemed, almost, completed, by the last reckoning pages of the final chapter in the series.
The hero of the tale, had finally learned the meaning of selflessness, sending his lover, Rowan Mayfair, back to her family, to defend her from the darkness he felt within himself. In the spirit of studying the “goodness” of the Lestat-character, versus his supposedly inherint evil (being that he is a thing of darkness, as many of the pivotal characters believe vampires to be) the last puzzle piece, that is the ending of Blood Canticle, proffered an element of extreme selflessness, altruism, if you will, in that, for the first time notably, Lestat did something that, in no way, benefited himself.
At the close of Blood Canticle, Lestat is a broken man, regretting not only his past decisions, the choices that led him to, once more, be alone, at the choice of his children, who all seem to leave him like dust to the wind, in order to escape the metaphysical shackles he sets them in. To liberate themselves and become their very own blood drinkers, with stories of their own to tell in large glowing volumes. He also regrets those most recent decisions which have left him alone. He almost regrets the Goodness within him, yet, he caves to its demands. He allows himself to be alone, a trait, which, does not seem to suit him. Not the dashing prince, before he was ever crowned, forever pulling one or another consort with him through eternity.
It seems fitting that, at the beginning of Prince Lestat, our hero is still a broken man, following the logic set out above. Then, it also does not. The novel’s predecessor, while ending darkly, also ended with a promise of a bold return. A return of the Brat Prince as the star, once more, of his own literary drama, unfolding with him moving across it like a raging catalyst. However, that story’s inclusion in this new novel, is absent. It is as if the altered Lestat, a young blood drinker, impassioned, yet, chained by the passions of his conscience, has been replaced by one much older. He has experienced more, he has done things, that, his devoted scores of fans have been kept in the dark with regards to.
It is, as if, Lestat, has been leading a secret life, off the page, one that the reader did not expect, could never have seen coming. He is not the brazen, laughing, strident manipulator of the night the reader might recognise. Rather, he is a broken man. He pines the loss of his humanity. He pines, as if, he does not know where to place himself, what to do, how to comfort his own sense of loneliness, in spite of so many calling for his company, in comfort of their own misery. He is, the image of his own fandom, prior to the release of this very story – lost, alone, desperate for some reminder that it has not all fallen to ashes and bone, dust of the ages.
This Lestat de Lioncourt, is at once, stronger of character, and, more sorrowful, than the reader has, as of yet, seen him. He is a symbol of how, the audience, barely knows him at all, envisioned as he is, perfect flawless, by the end of Blood Canticle, in Prince Lestat, he reveals aspects of his personality heretofore unseen. And, indeed, he reveals, through the plot of the pages, a secret life, that, vocal as he may be, on all his dealings with the mortal world, he has not yet unveiled, to his avid fans.
It has been said, recently, that the character of Rose is a Mary Sue; the ideal representation of the person the author wishes to be. But, considering the unkind ramifications of the term, is it entirely fair to use in this regard? Can a hapless heroine like Rose, also in dire need of saving, ever be a Mary Sue? And, that being said, does this invalidate the notion that, yes, Rose is the literary symbol for the author herself?
The fascination behind this chapter title cannot possibly evade the reader. Any reader. What are the flowers? Their significance? Is it fair to presume that they refer to the beauties Marius has collected through his long life, painted and cared for, and, ultimately, left behind him, like roses in a vase – however immortalised they may be on canvas? And, what then was the explanation for his stunned sadness?
The phrase first coined in the novel The Vampire Lestat, this pairing of words sparked an intense debate and discussion that subtly traversed every novel in the series, and now, finds its way back to the reader, rife through a story that speaks of jungles and flowers with all the reverence anticipated by an audience already well-versed in this charming motif.
Benji speaks to the masses, the community, the people, calling for Lestat, beckoning to him, musing on where he might be, what he is thinking, offering aid in the darkness, and promising a brighter future for the populace of blood drinkers. If it seems comfortingly familiar to those People of the Page, who frequent the author’s page on Facebook, perhaps there is reason for it.
The discussion of the goodness of love pitted against the inherit, supposed evil of the monstrous vampire is age-old, and unanswered, though, these traveled characters, spanning books and millennia, must offer some answer, some reprieve from the argument.
The viability of vampirism, the devotion of the readers to characters that have grown alongside their audience, been loved from afar, feared, and, desired like no living man or woman.
Blood drinkers are sexist. The oldest are stuck in the loop of their age, the reasoning of the time during which they lived, and, therefore, many suffer the inability to divine the gradually dissipating line between the genders. How then, do they slip so effortlessly into one another’s roles?
“The spotlight doesn’t just light them up. It makes us disappear.”
– Rock of Ages
Princes are never emotionally available.