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.
Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Averted. Louis thinks that Claudia forgets her human life when she becomes a vampire, but it it doesn't keep her from delighting in tormenting and killing humans. Even Lestat calls her "my merciless Claudia."
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.
Author Avatar: Lestat is sometimes this for Anne Rice, but sometimes he's based on her husband.
Ax-Crazy: A lot of minor characters— vampires like eating baddies, and Akasha creates an army of misandrist women. Of the major characters, Armand exemplifies this trope in The Vampie Lestat. His fellow Satanists are relieved to discover they don't really work for Satan, need to fear religious symbols, or have to sleep among stinking corpses. Armand, however, hits a Villainous BSOD and starts chucking his followers into a bonfire.
Badass Gay: Before becoming a vampire, Lestat liked sleeping with both men and women and also earned the fairly badass soubriquet "Wolfkiller."
Berserk Button: Lestat's abduction by Akasha in Queen of the Damned was one for Louis, considering they'd just reconciled before that.
The women Akasha induces to rise up and kill all their menfolk.
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.
Cool Old Guy: Despite being in his seventies, David Talbot is smart, brave, and charismatic enough to merit a crush by Lestat.
Cold-Blooded Torture: The traditional Satanic covens regularly inflict this on humans as well as other vampires.
Cruel and Unusual Death: When cutting off Akasha's head doesn't immediately kill her, Mekare finishes the job by eating her brain-.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The vampires who attack Lestat at his concert stand no chance when Akasha shows up.
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 it to.
Death Seeker: Nicolas. He experiences a complete breakdown after his capture by the coven, but also reveals that he never really thought he and Lestat could make it as entertainers in Paris, and in fact participated in the hope that they would fail and starve.
Demonic Possession: Not "demonic" but "spiritual". A particularly nasty spirit named Amel likes pricking people so that they bleed. When Akasha and Enkil are mortally wounded by their subjects, Amel enters Akasha through her blood and takes root, turning her into the first vampire. By draining and then feeding Enkil her own blood, Akasha spreads Amel to him, although the core remains in her. Amel's thirst for blood is what drives all vampires, although the thirst decreases with each vampire, as Amel's essence is lessened. Since Amel's core is in Akasha, any harm that comes to her is spread to all vampires to various degree (in one case, exposing her to the sun killed many young vampires but only burned older ones). Killing Akasha would kill every vampire in the world, unless another one eats her brain and heart, taking the core into him or her.
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.
Drowning My Sorrows: Louis and Quinn. Daniel sort of, although he's trying to drown his on-coming madness from the knowledge that vampires exist.
Nicki deals with his depression by drinking heavily in The Vampire Lestat.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Vampires' feeding on blood has blatant sexual parallels, but an especially horrifying example occurs when Lestat turns struggling, pleading David into a vampire against his will. Later lampshaded by Armand, who calls it "a rape."
The Dung Ages: Armand was born into late-medieval Russia. Marius tries to introduce him to the Renaissance humanism that's flourishing during the same period in western Europe, but Armand remains one of the series' most superstitious characters.
Easy Amnesia: Armand thinks that being raped as a teenager caused him to forget not only the event, but his entire childhood up to that point. Overlaps with Trauma-Induced Amnesia, although it goes a bit farther than that trope.
Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Almost any dark-haired vampire will become this, but it's clearly indicated that Louis, Eleni, and Enkil qualify. Akasha takes it Up to Eleven in The Queen of the Damned.
Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: Despite the fact that he's a bling-loving, long-haired bisexual who describes himself as a "mother" in making a new vampire, Lestat "never imagined that a woman" could express thoughts like Gabrielle's; seems more disconcerted by Gabrielle's cross-dressing than by her killing people; assumes that Claudia lacks the will and cunning to defeat him; describes women as "terrifying"; rapes the waitress who tries to help him; agrees with Memnoch that the technically-sexless angels are "more male than female"; and describes the desire to conquer others as "purely male." Given that he has decades of chances to understand women as diverse as Gabrielle, Eleni, Claudia, Pandora, Akasha, and thousands of human examples, it's hard to attribute his attitude to anything but irrational prejudice.
Enfant Terrible: Claudia. Her favored method of hunting is taking advantage of her cuteness to trick people into thinking she's lost and helpless, and then ripping their throats out.
Ephebophilia: While Marius himself can't experience arousal due to the Dark Gift, he manually stimulates the adolescent Armand and surrounds himself with a troupe of boys in The Vampire Armand.
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. It's mentioned that she has to, periodically, replace the eyes with fresh ones.
Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Armand and Claudia. Claudia is repeatedly compared visually to a china doll, while Armand is often called cherubic. Both of them are deeply vicious.
Frozen Fashion Sense: The Satanists in Armand's coven wear old rags, some obviously outdated as well as rotting, when Lestat encounters them. Later, Lestat himself misses the luxurious fashions of the eighteenth century and dresses in the closest style he can get away with in late-20th-century Miami.
Go Mad from the Revelation: Humans who learn about vampires tend to go crazy; why remains unclear. It happens to Nicolas (although he already suffered from severe depression) and Daniel, Maharet seems to fear it could happen to Jesse before Jesse becomes a vampire herself, and Marius warns Armand that Bianca might go mad if they reveal their true nature to her.
Gone Horribly Right: Lestat wants to draw out the other vampires with his rock concert. It works!
Great White Hunter: David Talbot is an old Brit who keeps fondly recalling his youth, much of which was spent in the jungles of India and South America as this trope.
Gray and Grey Morality: Most of the characters have a high degree of moral ambiguity, although some (such as Louis) come across as A Lighter Shade Of Gray than the ones around them. Akasha is a likely aversion, considering that basically everyone besides herself thinks she needs to be stopped.
I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Either Trope Maker or Trope Codifier. Fledglings usually wind up despising their creators. Averted by Gabrielle, who, although she finds Lestat too boring for an eternal companion, still loves him and pops up from time to time to help him out.
Don't forget Lestat and Gabrielle: at one point, she actually describes him as her penis, and he describes them (post-change) as lovers.
Lestat and Gabrielle are unusually close for a mother and son, but they never have sex, 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.
This is misinterpreted for the Queen of the Damned film, where it is stated that any vampire who drains his or her victim completely will die.
Jerk Ass: If you asked Lestat he'd tell you it was Armand, if you asked Armand he'd tell you it was Lestat.
And don't even get Louis started...
Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Claudia wears lavish clothing and jewelry, but she can still move faster than humans can see and has little trouble dispatching them.
Kill It with Fire: One of the few ways to actually kill a vampire, although you'd better have the kerosene handy: Marius and Lestat both survive sloppy burnings, and Pandora uses a small blaze as a form of handwashing.
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.
Lover and Beloved: Marius and Armand had this sort of relationship during the latter's mortal years.
Lower-Class Lout: Roger describes Terry, his late ex and Theadora's mother, this way in Memnoch the Devil. He found her gaucherie both contemptible and sexy, which is how we got Dora. Another example is Armand's fat, greasy-haired victim from The Vampire Armand.
Louis views Lestat as this in Interview, even though most series readers interpret him as the polar opposite.
Mega Crossover: Blackwood Farm and Blood Canticle cross over characters and stories from both the Vampire Chronicles and the Mayfair Witches.
More Than Mind Control: While Armand doesn't hesitate to use mind control on his underlings (or anyone else for that matter), he also uses mundane torture and fire-and-brimstone sermons to keep them in line.
No Pronunciation Guide: Not massively, but you'll often find people confused about whether Lestat has a long or short "a". ('If they quit reading before Memnoch the Devil, where Lestat specifies that it's long.) 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.
My Greatest Failure: Marius regards Armand's "centuries of folly and suffering" as a penance for Marius's own selfishness in giving him the Dark Gift before he had a chance to live out a human life, even though Armand would have simply died otherwise.
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.
Pet the Dog: Most of the vampires do this from time to time. Gabrielle and Lestat, despite their divergent interests, do show considerable loyalty to one another even after their transformations; Louis does his best to care for his "daughter" Claudia; Marius spent part of the fifteenth century sheltering abused boys; and, at one point, Lestat adopts an actual dog (which he does in fact pet). Even Armand went out of his way to save Bianca from becoming Marius's unfortunate lesson in vampire morality.
Physical God: Akasha imagines herself to be one as soon as she becomes a vampire at the edge of prehistory. This attitude only increases along with her powers as thousands of years go by. In The Queen of the Damned, the ancient vampire Azim has done this literally. He has a temple in the Himalayas where human pilgrims come to commit ritual suicide by offering themselves to him. His worshipers are quite excited when another "goddess", Pandora, stops by for a visit and are thrilled to offer themselves to her as well.
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."
Turning other vampires into torches is pretty much Akasha's hobby.
In the earlier books, it could be called Rage Against the Fact That There is No Heaven. The absence of God or underlying moral justice in the universe is a source of a lot of the characters' angst.
Rape as Drama: A very unusual example in The Tale of the Body Thief, which follows the perpetrator's perspective. Armand also states that he was raped as an enslaved human, but that actually caused less direct drama than most of the other things that happened to him.
Stalker with a Crush: Lestat for Louis and later David. Armand and Daniel take turns being this to each other.
Starcrossed Lovers : Marius and Pandora. Poor Marius in general has the worst luck in that department, all of his greatest loves are taken away from him at some point. Usually by Santino.
Stronger with Age: The psychic force that animates the vampires is gradually changing and adapting their bodies to make them more suitable vessels for its energy. Thus their powers only grow with the passage of time, even if they go through periods of hibernation, starvation or recovery from especially grievous injuries. The process can also be accelerated by drinking blood from older vampires. Akasha increases Lestat's powers by whole orders of magnitude by letting him drink large amounts of her blood.
Too Dumb to Live: Lestat receives little sympathy from other vampires when his Body Swap goes wrong in The Tale of the Body Thief, probably because they knew and told him it was a bad idea from the get-go. Daniel's determination to find Armand qualifies, too.
Unconventional Smoothie: One of Armand's fascinations while acquainting himself with the twentieth century is putting strange combinations of things in blenders, mostly sorted by colour.
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.
Unfortunate Name: Santino reasonably decides that "Amadeo" ("one who loves God") is a poor name for a Satanist and changes it to Armand.
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 Has a Point: Marius actually concedes Akasha's point that she could achieve world peace by killing 99% of human males (although he doesn't believe that the ends justify the means). A little odd when you consider that, even as a human, Akasha could have served as Exhibit A for female-induced destruction.
Villainous Breakdown: Armand can't cope when Lestat disabuses him of his Satanic delusions, then leaves. The resulting grudge has serious repercussions for Lestat down the line.
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.
We Used to Be Friends: Lestat's relationships tend to turn into this trope, as do maker/fledgling relationships in general.
Wholesome Crossdresser: Bianca sneaks around Venice dressed as a boy to avoid early-modern restrictions on women. She may have done some unsavory things in the past, but the other characters view this particular quirk as harmless, not to mention fairly common for human women.
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.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Armand grew up around crazy religious ascetics, got sold into slavery, lost everyone he cared about twice, and found out that Santino's coven had tricked him into murdering his last friend. He winds up committing his own list of atrocities, including: stuffing his coven's walls with starving vampires; kidnapping and tortutung Nicki just for knowing Lestat; stitching together the body parts of different living people out of curiosity; having two vampires executed to get Louis for himself; and stalking Daniel Molloy until the latter turns into a paranoid, homeless alcoholic.
Yaoi Fangirl: Bianca fantasizes about sharing her bed with Marius and Armand together.
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.)