The story of the novel, “Prince Lestat,” while being convoluted, its arc spanning millennia, and, drawing to it, a plethora of characters, both known and new to the series, is really the story of one mortal girl, Rose. Rose is, really, the quintessential mortal in this realm of dancing monsters. One flower in the Savage Garden, that is plucked from the garden where so many others grow around her. And, truly, she is the metaphorical interpretation of the author. She has none of the author’s indomitable strength, that the reader can see, but, what she does possess, is the love of Lestat, or, in this case, Uncle Lestan. As a child, she is saved from her island, by Lestan, told that he will always love her, even though so many others seem not to do so. He cares for her through her childhood, and her teenaged years, ensuring that she will always have everything that she needs in order to survive and thrive as a young mortal.
Importantly, this story must be studied with the other novels in its purview. Lestat’s lovers are countless as the tale progresses, from “Interview with the Vampire,” on its long journey to “Blood Canticle” and beyond. Yet, the story of Rose is not revealed until this latest instalment. Symbolically, it would seem that this mortal aspect to Lestat, the generous and loving, and often deeply ponderous, Uncle Lestan, belongs to but one individual, and this person is not a child of the vampire, nor is she a boyhood friend in a little wooden tavern, or a screaming fan in the audience. But this one person, this one woman to have his most hidden love, is a mortal girl that he has saved, time and time again.
It can be read, that Rose’s secret “affair” with Lestat is a direct comparison to the author’s secretive love with this character. Yes, she shares him, Lestat, with the world, and they clamour for him, and cry for him, and demand that he return to them. But, what they never can see, is the love that makes him attainable. Rice loves Lestat in secret, away from the prying eyes of the world. Often, as with Rose, he is away, tending to the voices around him, tending to the cries of the people, but, he always returns for her.
“Lestat and I are dancing; slow dancing like kids did in the 50’s; he’s holding me and I’m leaning against him as we barely move on the dance floor. The bar’s dark and almost empty. Just the lights of the juke box in this corner. And this is my song for him, funky, old, pure — playing on the Juke Box. “Tonight you’re mine…completely.” Oh, how I’ve missed you. How I’ve longed for you. Oh, how much I love you.”
The persona of Lestat, for both Rice and, for the People of the Page, is so much more than a fictional series of words joined into descriptions, combined into a literary voice. He has the reckoning of a tulpa. He is more than alive for the vast majority of this fan base, and, his presence in this book, reflects a study on that very fact. Only, now, he is being revealed as not sharing every little detail of what he has been doing, every single moment of his long, long life, with his avid fans. No, rather, there is this one thing, this small corner, of his journey, which is all his own. His, and Rose’s. The Lestat Rose knows, the uncle that has cared for her since childhood is even different from the blood drinker the audience may have perceived him to be. Often kinder, more patient, giving in ways that do not benefit him as anything other than altruistic. He pours affection on his ward out of love.
Not out of some misplaced desire for further companionship, or meaning, or adventure.
And in the complexity of the Savage Garden, Rose is a rose, blooming her deep seductive colours, defended by thorns. In a misguided flirtation with “true love” she falls for her professor, her teacher of literature, words, Gardener, who, as it turns out, wants only to mould her into the perfect tragic love he has been craving. When she reveals to him her truth, pours her soul to him, because she believes she can, that he is trustworthy, he turns on her. He stalks her, seeming to attempt to uproot her, from her garden, treat her as a weed. And, in a story that somehow reflects a twisted tragic response to Romeo and Juliet, Gardener forced poison on the girl, almost killing her. That, if she will not be for him what he wants her to be, if she will lie and seduce him, and break his heart, he will snatch her from the world, and she will die in his arms.
A plucked flower, withered.