The Vampire Chronicles are a series of novels by Anne Rice that revolve around the adventures of an ever-changing coven of vampires. Throughout the series the protagonist, Lestat, seeks the origin of the vampire species and tries to fit his need for blood into a workable moral system. Books in this series:
The vampire cult that Armand leads...at least until Lestat shows up.
And I Must Scream: Akasha had Mekare's tongue cut out, and then sealed her inside a coffin that she set adrift in the Atlantic Ocean.
Many vampires also believe that if they are left in the sun or burned, and their ashes are left unscattered, they will experience this.
And then there was the Parisian vampire tradition of burying their criminals alive.
Anti-Hero: Lestat becomes a Type V after "interview".
Anti-Villain: Lestat in Interview. He's controlling, egotistic, selfish, and proud; he also proves to be Claudia's main obstacle to freedom and Louis goes between tolerating him and flat-out hating him. But at the same time he's easily the most fascinating character in the story and his attitudes set him apart from other actual antagonists encountered later.
Breakout Character: Interview With The Vampire is Louis's story, with Lestat as a villain and supporting character (he's actually absent for a good chunk of the novel midway). But thanks to all the positive feedback he got in Interview, Rice saw fit to not only make the sequel from Lestat's POV, but to pretty much make him the protagonist of the whole damn series.
Cannot Cross Running Water: Addressed with the explanation that vampires don't cross running water because they're territorial and streams often serve as natural boundaries for hunting territory.
C-List Fodder: Once unleashed, Akasha kills off most of the vampire race except, conveniently, for every single major character in the series, and plots to exterminate all men on earth.
This (except for the "exterminate all men" part) is justified in that Lestat's cadre of friends is the upper echelon of vampires who have been around for hundreds to thousands of years and who have very aggressively marked out their territory. They've gotten that old by being very clever and by learning how to move around in vampire society (i.e. learning who to not piss off). The vampires that Akasha kills are the young ones barely out of their first century, and considering how few older vampires are actually out there it seems reasonable to assume that even if she hadn't gone on a killing spree, most of them would still have died competing with one another for supremacy in a process of natural selection.
Not to mention, Akasha states that she spared some of the vampires who were not old and powerful yet because Lestat loved them. Louis and Gabrielle fall under this category.
Can't Have Sex, Ever: Once you're a vampire, you can't have actual sex. However, everything else practically becomes a substitute. Even the pattern on a carpet can bring rapturous pleasure to one's enhanced senses. Lestat specifically notes that male vampires' "equipment" no longer functions in The Queen of the Damned. This is why one of the first things he does when transferred into a human body in The Tale of the Body Thief is have sex with a woman (without her consent it should be noted).
It's also worth mentioning that vampires typically consider feeding upon one another to be almost as intimate as sex is to humans.
Lestat does this from time to time, the worst example being all of Chapter 16 in Blood Canticle, wherein he stops the plot to explain why he's in love with a character despite their complete lack of chemistry.
Lestat also takes time in the preface of Blood Canticle to complain about the fans' reaction to Memnoch the Devil, saying more or less that he gave them a glimpse into the mysteries of Heaven and Hell and all they wanted was "the fancy fiend" with glamorous leather and heavy motorcycles. He assures them that there's plenty of traditional badassery to go around but that he'll get to it when he's good and ready. Then again, that might be a full-on Author Filibuster, as well as Chapter 7 of the same novel, which has nothing to do with the plot or the series, but is a three page rave about the new Pope and some Saint in Mexico.
Creator Breakdown: Coming and going. Rice started writing the books to work out her feelings about her daughter's death(which led to her leaving the Catholic church), and stopped the series(and all but disowned them to boot) after experiencing a religious awakening that led her back to her faith. She has since left organized Christianity due to its opposition to homosexuality, birth control, feminism, and other liberal positions.
Cursed with Awesome: The vampires have eternal youth, super speed, super strength, telepathy, telekinesis and the power of flight, but some of them still see their existence as a curse.
Though this is averted (kind of) since Lestat admits (after the events of Tale Of The Body Thief) that, if he's really honest with himself, he would much rather be a vampire than a human.
Despite the the bad things he's been through as a vampire.
Some of the vampires view immortality as a curse and some don't and think the ones that do are ridiculous. The series stresses (at least in the beginning) that there are many different philosophical perspectives from which a vampire can view his situation, all of them equally valid.
To be fair, the focus of the series is usually on the incredible psychological strain of living for hundreds, or even thousands, of years and the toll it can take on ones sanity.
But at the same time, their society is either anarchic and devil-may-care or conformist and stifling, and the characters are deeply flawed by their emotions and frustrations brought out by the transformation.
And not to mention that sunlight and fire can (and does) easily immolate them.
But even that gets mitigated with age. A sufficiently old vampire can, in fact, withstand exposure to daylight, at least for a time. The very oldest can even handle a full day out with minimal worry.
Lestat himself survives close to two days in the sun of the Gobi Desert. It hurts like nothing else (forgive me) under the sun, but when it's over, his powers and mobility are unaffected and aside from a massive suntan that will last for decades, the damage is, literally, only skin deep. Maharet regularly walks in the sun every several years in this way to keep up a tan that makes her more lifelike to mortals. The very eldest vampires, when they really consider it, worry that if the sun can't do the job, there may be nothing that can kill them even if they wanted to.
Driven to Suicide: The overwhelming majority of vampires end up this way, because they can't handle the continuous changes in human mindset and lifestyle.
Everyone Is Bi - Sort of. Vampires don't have actual sex, but the enhanced senses make them Sense Freaks to a point where rubbing against any sufficiently interestingly-textured surface makes an orgasm seem rather dull. Additionally, gender isn't an issue for romantic or sensual purposes; things become beautiful (to them) because said things are alive. So, everyone is Bi-romantic, bi-sensual and extremely hedonistic.
Eye Scream: Akasha had Maharet's eyes cut out. Maharet's solution is to steal the eyes of her victims, pop them into her eye sockets, and let her vampire blood work its magic and allow her to see.
Lestat and Gabrielle are unusualy close for a mother and son, but they never have sex and their relationship never seems romantic in nature, so the presence of this trope is debatable.
Though it's hard to make an argument for the presence of incest when most of the characters are incapable of having sex.
Inherent in the System: Lestat's maker Magnus warns him several times that he should not drain his victims completely; he should drink enough to sate his thirst and then let them die. The reason for this doesn't become clear until Lestat actually kills his second victim and and begins feeling guilt because he felt the man die instead of just watching it.
Jerk Ass: If you asked Lestat he'd tell you it was Armand, if you asked Armand he'd tell you it was Lestat.
Literary Agent Hypothesis: The core five books (Interview with the Vampire and all those featuring Lestat in a main character capacity) are written by Lestat and distributed as works of fiction, except for the first, which was dictated by Louis and distributed as a work of fiction.
No Pronunciation Guide: Not massively, but you'll often find people confused about whether Lestat has a long or short a. Also, is Akasha AH-kah-shah, or uh-KA-shuh? Nicolas is almost always pronounced like the English name, including in The Musical, but the French pronunciation would be more along the lines of nee-koh-LAH.
One Steve Limit: Just barely averted by a minor character in Interview being named Daniel. Daniel Molloy doesn't comment when he's mentioned, probably because Rice hadn't named him yet.
They are not soulless. Just the opposite in fact. Their souls are so strongly bound to their bodies that they need to be almost completely destroyed to be assured of death.
No vulnerability to religious artifacts.
Stakes through the heart do not kill them, and they will be able to just pull it out.
Do not need to sleep in a grave or coffin. Anyplace free of sunlight will do.
But the books do imply that the belief that vampires need to sleep in coffins is a commonly held superstition among some groups of vampires (specifically those of the "Old World") or, in some cases, a practice based more in tradition than actual necessity.
Unaffected by garlic (although they cannot eat it, nor any other kind of food).
They have reflections.
They cannot shape shift.
Pretty much the only vulnerabilities they have in common with most depictions of vampires are fire and sunlight and if they're old/powerful enough, not even that will kill them.
Many vampires are seen to be unusually resistant to even fire and sunlight even when they do inflict harm. Both Lestat and Marius survived being burnt down to charred skeletons draped with meat and eventually recovered fully. And after converting Lestat, his creator Magnus went into an enormous bonfire and warned Lestat to scatter his ashes afterwards to ensure his death, as there was a fair chance he could eventually recover from even that.
They have heart beats (though their hearts beat considerably slower than that of a living person)
They breathe (though it's implied that this is more out of habit than actual need for oxygen)
They also need air in their lungs to speak.
Their bodies are smooth and poreless, giving them a kind of statuesque beauty but grows paler and ever more inhuman over time. Among other things, substances like water, dirt, and dust do not cling to a vampire's skin the way they would a human's and can be wiped clean the same way one would clean a mirror.
They cannot have "sex" as such. At least not the males anyway. Their phalli do not actually work anymore. Females could obviously be penetrated, but it is unstated if they could have an orgasm.
A vampire's powers come about through a combination of their own age, and the age of the vampire who created them and generally follow a particular order: The Mind Gift grants telepathy with one another and lets vampires read minds. The Fire Gift lets them set fires, from lighting candles to engulfing infernos. Then the Killing Gift can let vampires basically bludgeon their enemies from the inside out. The Spell Gift implants hypnotic suggestions. And finally, the Cloud Gift lets a vampire fly.
Lestat is a skilled computer hacker in Tale of the Body Thief, but doesn't know how to use email when it becomes a plot point in Blood Canticle.
Also in Blood Canticle, Lestat forbids Quinn to create a website for fear that it would expose vampires to humans...even though he himself was once a rock superstar who wrote many books about his vampire life. Uh, huh.
When Louis falls improbably in love with Merrick, it never occurs to David that something supernatural is going on, even though he's an expert in magic and he knows she's a witch.
All vampires possess at least some degree of Telepathy. Mind over Matter is the basic animating force of vampires, accounting for their superhuman strength and speed, which often seem to violate normal laws of physics. The older and more powerful ones also have various additional abilities, including telekinesis, pyrokinesis and the ability to kill people telekinetically. They can also fly and are capable of Astral Projection.
YMMV, but this is one of the few times when the ridiculously lavish dimensions of a text actually work to the advantage of the novel. This could be due to one of three reasons: 1) the writing itself is actually good quality (unlike some books), 2) it works to illustrate how hedonistic and sensual Lestat's Point of View is, or 3) it's a triumphant example of So Bad, It's Good. Personal preference may determine where and if it crosses the line.
Pyro Maniac: In the first book alone, Louis burns down two houses and a theatre, sets Lestat on fire and says that he could "spend hours just staring at the candles."
Undead Tax Exemption: Material possession minded vampires employ elaborate systems of lawyers, front companies and multinational bank accounts to manage their assets. They actually find this even easier in the modern era, as people increasingly believe that as long as there is a record of something then it must be legitimate. Where necessary they employ telepathy to aid in maintaining their secrecy. Lestat actually selects his first attorney at least in part because he finds the man's mind very easy to read and is thus always able to come up with the right explanations for anything questionable.
Unreliable Narrator: The Lestat that appeared in Interview with the Vampire was not merely the antagonist; he was a stupid, cruel and petty villain. The (vastly different) Lestat of the later books claims he was spitefully misrepresented by Louis.
Although it can be debated whether Vampire Chronicles fits this trope at all, as we're not talking about one narrator who is inconsistent, we're talking about two completely different narrators within the series (not counting the multiple points of view of The Queen of the Damned). Of course a depiction of Lestat from the perspective of Louis (who resents him) is going to be more harsh and critical, and a depiction of Lestat from his own point of view is going to be more forgiving. No one sees themselves as being "stupid, cruel and petty." Lestat knows and fully understands the motivations behind his own action and Louis doesn't, which would account for any seeming inconsistencies in Lestat's characterization.
The simplest explanation is that Lestat went through a lot of personal change as the series progressed, which explains why he became a very different character in the later books than he was in the early ones (toward the end he even starts to believe in God.)
It is worth noting that Louis is self-absorbed to the point where, unlike most vampires, he almost never seems to exhibit any significant telepathic ability. Thus his point of view is entirely his own. Lestat, in contrast, makes extensive use of telepathy, particularly as his powers grow, and many of the observations in the stories he narrates came directly from the thoughts and memories of other characters. Thus he is to some extent an omniscient narrator.
Vampires Are Rich: Or at least, they can be if they choose. Being immortal, telepathic and willing to kill people makes the accumulation of wealth fairly easy. Some vampires do eschew money or property. But over time the older ones in particular just find it convenient to be rich, if only because they develop a taste for lavish lifestyles. Plus, one year's regular consumer product can be a priceless antique a century later.
Villain Protagonist: The main characters are all vicious murderers, but it's OK because they feel bad about it.
Debatable: Many of the main characters do not kill humans, but instead survive by the "little drink" (taking small amounts of blood from several humans instead of completely draining one) or at least only kill people who seem to deserve it (murderers rapists etc.) and a vampire who kills without discretion is usually depicted as being (at least somewhat) worse than one who is selective about who he kills.
This is usually chalked up to the fact that a vampires mind simply doesn't work the way a humans mind works and the fact that, if you look at it subjectively, humans really are below vampires on the food chain. Lestat himself alternates between idealistic and pragmatic on the matter throughout the books.
They don't always feel bad about it, in fact some of them never do.
Armand in particular exhibits little guilt over killing humans, although he is not always cruel to the victim when he does it. Gabrielle flat-out states "I will be a goddess to those I slay." when she decides to venture into central Africa (then largely unexplored by Europeans).
Marius encourages ethical feeding habits, but is not above a killing when it is convenient.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: The whole corner stone of the series, at least until it Jumped the Shark (though when exactly this happened is debatable) is that eternal life really isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Yaoi Guys: Lestat and Louis, Armand and Louis, Lestat and Nicki, Armand and Marius (and HOW!) , and so on...
The love vampires feel for each other is usually just depicted as a generically romantic sort of love, not distinctly sexual, though Rice's tendency to use somewhat sexually suggestive language to convey the intimacy of certain moments doesn't help.
Your Vampires Suck: Aimed at Dracula in the series, the series itself is probably the second most common after Dracula to receive this treatment in other works.
Though this didn't seem like genuine criticism on the authors part, but more as a means of illustrating how her vampires are different than Bram Stokers Dracula (who is most commonly regarded as the "traditional" model of a vampire.)