The Talamasca

“We watch. And we are always here.”

talcard

The Talamasca (Animal Mask) is a secretive group who loosely refer to themselves as “psychic detectives.” On the surface, the water seems calm; the Talamasca appear to be nothing more threatening than a gaggle of dusty librarians and antiquarians, led by some rather wealthy men and women, who occasionally go hunting for treasure, artefacts, and evidence of the supernatural. But as the world of Anne Rice’s novels turns, we start to see that there is much more to them, some of it bright and altruistic.

Most of it deep and dark.

The Talamasca is an organisation deeply shrouded in mystery. There is no clear indication of where it came from. There are hints, rumours, speculation, but no clarity. What we do know is that it has been in existence for thousands of years, it has countless vaults housing countless supernatural trinkets of sentiment, and its members answer to the elders. There has never been an explanation for the presence of the elders. Who are they? Are they mortal? Probably not. But that opens another door which the reader should be terrified to see behind… If the elders are not human, what are they?

The first clear appearance of The Talamasca was in The Queen of the Damned with the introduction to the tale of Jesse Reeves. In Jesse’s story we discovered a nurturing side to the Talamasca. An organisation which seeks out people with some semblance of psychic ability, orphans in a supernatural world, and fosters this talent in these foundlings. The Talamasca approached Jesse and granted her, with her telepathic abilities, a clear purpose; through assignments and tasks intended to increase their database of information on supernatural beings.

Unfortunately, Jesse’s story, and her destiny, was also the catalyst which began a chain of events devolving into a ‘cold war’ between the Talamasca and the vampires. More specifically, between the organisation’s pride and the vampire Lestat.

Black and white

Lestat has no qualms about being the most recognised and loved (or hated, depending on one’s perspective) member of the coven. Thanks to this little character quirk, regardless of how it occurred – of what happened to Jesse – and because he is at the forefront of everything, Lestat takes the blame. He chose to be a rock star, which caused Jesse to go looking for evidence that vampires exist, which then caused her death and her subsequent change into a vampire, and he wrote the book which tells the story. Of course it is all his fault.

The next member of the Talamasca to fall to the machinations of the vampiric defiance over death is David Talbot. We know David’s story. We know that he chose to leave the Talamasca with the death of his old body and live his life as a young man. But this was not to be. Lestat had designs set upon him and no one was going to change his course of action. David’s close friends suspected the truth and all the rest had to be rumour, but whatever the case, the Talamasca knew that Lestat had something to do with the loss of its Superior General. This was a second strike against his name.

Finally, the last straw for the Talamasca, came with the loss of one of their most powerful witches, Merrick Mayfair. Once again, one cannot distinctly lay the blame on Lestat. In fact, if anything, it was Merrick’s doing from the beginning. But that is the burden of being a beloved fiend. When you do good, you get minimal praise, and when you behave inappropriately, or even seem to, your rivals will try to squash you with the repercussions of your own actions. Lestat was not responsible for Merrick’s ‘death,’ but this was of no consequence in the decision made by the Talamasca to send him an ultimatum, a declaration of ill-will.

It would seem, from the Vampire Chronicles, that their passivism does have its limits. Or perhaps their pride had just become irked by the tranquil manner in which their members seemed to be being picked off.

vx50dee87c

Still further insight is granted to us in the trilogy, The Lives of the Mayfair Witches. Whilst the vampires are of concern to the Talamasca, the witches are somewhat more of a burden. They are highly dangerous due to their history with the spirit of a Taltos: Lasher. More importantly, they are dangerous because of what they can do when this spirit obeys them.

The greatest danger for their organisation, however, comes after the death of Lasher, when the Taltos have been documented and filed. When their own members turn against them to uncover more about this extinct race of people and try to create more.

There is darkness with the Talamasca, a darkness which is borne from a desire for knowledge and gain; to further oneself within its ranks at all costs. This greed drives the actions which lead to the death of Aaron Lightner. And still further darkness is made apparent to the reader as those responsible for betraying their own are brought forward.

The Talamasca is above the law; it is its own law. And its justice is secretive, non-negotiable, and unforgiving. It is easy to recall the pit that Tommy and Marklin are shoved into in Taltos once their plot has been uncovered. And also the old bones down that shaft; the fact that the members responsible for putting them down there do not care that Tommy dies in the fall, that Marklin soon will be dead too. That was, after all, the intention. The desire to see the traitors dead for what they did to their ‘family.’ The question one should ask is, how many times has their justice gone by unnoticed by the world outside of their insular society?

And the answer is simple. With the money and power that the Talamasca possesses, why should anything else be the case? They protect their secrets. And if a member within their faction is found to be of treacherous nature, no amount of money and political sway will defend them against the ultimate justice of their peers. There will be no trial.

images

These questions have not yet been answered for us, but we can only hope that, in the future, things will be made clear with further publications. Even if we never receive the answers, though, this will only serve to further the purpose of the Talamasca. It is a force that is meant to be secretive, quiet, and insular. The lack of information on the Talamasca is all the explanation that the reader really needs.

Although, I have to admit, I am dying to know what it is with Talamasca members and bees.

Print Friendly

37 Comments

  • Reply Jen Roy March 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I have always loved the Vampire series and have read every single one of them. I also have read all about the Mayfair witches, the violen, all of her books, I hope Anne Rice will continue on with the series someday

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      As do we all, Jen 🙂

      • Reply Jestin Hoffman April 21, 2013 at 10:57 pm

        Amen and amen!:)

  • Reply Karen Baize March 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I have read all of the books Anne Rice has written, the vampires, witches and other entities along with the Talamasca. I too would like to know what it is about bees and the Talamasca, further I hope Anne will continue her series on these in the near future for all of us to enjoy.

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      I do hope so too. I imagine that wherever there are supernatural forces, the Talamasca will be present 🙂

      • Reply Myesha budke July 9, 2016 at 6:19 pm

        Why use talbot as a last name for David out of all the names is curious to me I come from a long line of talbots and to spell it as exact peeks my interest sense I’ve been trying to research my genealogy with little luck but why not talbott or another name entirely???

        • Reply Carmen Dominique July 22, 2016 at 5:28 am

          I can’t be sure. Perhaps ask her? I’ve seen Talbot in frequent use as a first name, but seldom otherwise.

  • Reply Carol Waitkins March 17, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I’ve pondered many times regarding who my favorite character of Ann’s really is? Well there are just too many. Louie, Lasher, Lastat, oh; David or maybe Jesus Christ. I can’t even choose a favorite book. Maybe, “Tale of the Body Thief”. I’ve read Ann’s other works under a different name and loved those as well. I’ve been to the Museum in New Orleans. (Gee, I hope it’s still there), in case I ever get back there. I enjoy your expressions of her work and your respect for her. She must be a grand Lady. I enjoy your page, although I must admit, I usually am here if Ann Rice suggests looking at “whatever”. Thank you, Carol

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 18, 2013 at 6:03 am

      Thanks, Carol. I, too, find it thoroughly difficult to choose a favourite book or a favourite character. It’s a tough decision.

  • Reply Sharon Mills March 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I wouldn’t want to this to be the end of the vampire series. Their is still to much to find out about them. As for the Mayfair Witches we want more of them also. I hope Anne Rice you will still write about all of them all. As for the Talamasca I for one want to see them fall. And all their secrets reviled. Thank you for the chance to comment. Blessed be Anne Rice.

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 18, 2013 at 5:59 am

      Yes, I think the Talamasca have become arrogant, it’s time they took a hard knock.

  • Reply Kathy March 17, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Anne Rice took my to places of my childhood imagination! Her work is wonderful, hope she continues all her work!

  • Reply TamAirah March 17, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    “…sometimes I can’t stop myself from drinking more…more…and MORE!” ;-D

  • Reply Angie March 17, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I’ve also read all of her books, actually more than once but I can’t remember anything about the bees and the Talamasca. I guess I’ll have to go re-read them again. 😉

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 18, 2013 at 5:58 am

      It’s a very small line that David says which has people hung up on the bees. That he (like many talamasca members) is afraid of/not fond of bees… Strange.

      • Reply Hook in Mouth May 24, 2014 at 4:49 am

        I remember that line. There was also something in Pandora about bees.

  • Reply Bonnie March 17, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I am just starting the infamous stories. Right now I am reading Blood and Gold. Talamasca has always intrigued me. Anne Rice seems to hint alot on Facebook to the people of the page on maybe another book in the works. I for one am hoping this to be true as do all of her fans.

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 18, 2013 at 5:58 am

      Yes, she has. But I’m not too sure that she’d ever delve back into the Vampire Chronicles. One can only hope.

  • Reply Lars March 18, 2013 at 12:01 am

    I liked reading your essay – Thanks! Looking forward to see how Anne will let Talamasca make contact (or already has…) with the characters in her new werewolf chronicles.

  • Reply Laura March 18, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Yeah! What’s with the bees?

  • Reply A. March 22, 2013 at 8:27 am

    In Celtic mythology, the honey bee is a messenger between this world and the spirit realm, and associated with wisdom.

    If you can bear the white on white writing, there is a very detailed webpage on bees here.

    http://www.witchschool.com/profiles/blogs/animal-symbolism-of-honey-bees

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 22, 2013 at 8:33 am

      It would make sense. The Talamasca like to be ordered and in control; they’re also mightily in awe of, and occasionally terrified, of the power that spirits possess.

      • Reply Hook in Mouth May 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm

        Maharet said they aren’t that powerful or knowledgeable.

        • Reply Hook in Mouth May 23, 2014 at 10:04 am

          The spirits that is.

  • Reply Devika Fernando March 26, 2013 at 9:43 am

    The part of the Elders being not human is intriguing! It never occurred to me but suddenly it sounds perfectly correct to me. What about some ancient spirits population of sorts…
    I have to say, somehow I had expected the Talamasca to show up in Anne’s latest novel, The Wolf Gift, too because the Man Wolf seemed like a perfect thing to add to their “collection”. Hmm…
    Anyway, I see the Talamasca as a great way to portray how humans react to the supernatural and how desperately they wish for control, superiority etc.

  • Reply Hook in Mouth May 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    The elders are probably some kind of immortal but not the vampire type.

    • Reply Carmen Dominique May 20, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      No, I imagine they are not vampires. Perhaps closer to angels.

      • Reply Hook in Mouth May 23, 2014 at 10:05 am

        Really?! What makes you say that?

  • Reply Hook in Mouth May 24, 2014 at 5:04 am

    I didn’t know dick the Talamasca was til I read post bc I never read Lasher. I knew from the Chronicles they enjoy harassing vampires in their spare time and are stuck up and authoritarian.

    • Reply Hook in Mouth May 24, 2014 at 5:07 am

      how* dick. Anyways if the Talamasca is reading this I just want you to know you’re dicks and your organization sucks. Give up.

  • Reply The Light's Bane July 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I say they should change their mascot from honey bees to bed bugs. “Always there” reminds me of my abusive ex-boyfriend.

  • Reply Chuck Woffard February 27, 2015 at 12:43 am

    My introduction to the Talamasca came through “The Witching Hour” which I have read 3 times and about to start my fourth. I am deeply intrigued about this organization and its members. I am disappointed to learn that it is fictional. How great it would be if it were not. I have so wanted to visit the House in Amsterdam.

    • Reply Carmen Dominique February 27, 2015 at 7:08 am

      Well, you know, so many individuals throughout the world believe in the existence of the Illuminati. Who is honestly to say that they are incorrect?

  • Reply Anastasia January 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Come out

  • Leave a Reply