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Literature / The Little Vampire

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Rüdiger, the little vampire, as illustrated by Amelie Glienke

The Little Vampire (original: Der kleine Vampir) is a children's fantasy series by German author Angela Sommer-Bodenburg that follows the adventures of young Tony Peasbody and the child vampire Rudolph Sackville-Bagg (Anton Bohnsack and Rüdiger von Schlotterstein in the original, respectively). The first book was published in 1979 and has spawned 20 sequels up to 2015, when the final one came out.

It has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into over 30 languages. Sommer-Bodenburg states that her "vampire is not a bloodthirsty monster, but an affectionate little vampire with fears and foibles who will perhaps help free children of their own fears."

The books have been adapted to comics, theatre, radio dramas, two television series, a live-action movie, and a computer-animated movie.


The Little Vampire series and its adaptations provide examples of:

  • Age Lift: Slightly, but still. In the books, Anton is 9 and Rüdiger is 10. In the animated movie, they are both 13. In the live action movie, Tony is 8, and Rudolph is 9.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Anna will occasionally play this role to Rüdiger, but she averts the trope just as often by being far more mature and reasonable.
  • Betty and Veronica: Anna (Betty) and Olga (Veronica) to Anton's Archie.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Olga, who wants to turn Anton into her slave and takes advantage of Rudiger's feelings for her.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Anna hates it when Anton interacts with other girls.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Anton, usually as either a coping mechanism or to detract attention away from questions he doesn't want to answer.
  • Foil: Olga to Anna. Olga has short, neat blonde hair and dresses nicely but is spoiled and shallow. Anna has long, messy dark hair, doesn't care about appearance as much as Olga and is very nice.
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  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Several of the vampires, though Lumpi is the worst case — explained in-universe by the fact that he's an eternal teenager and will never grow out of puberty.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Rudiger is in love with Olga even though she couldn't care less about him at least until she nearly turns Anton into a vampire without his consentment, which makes Rudiger realize how evil Olga is and loses interest in her.
  • Jerkass: Rudiger can be this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: One difference between Lumpi and Rüdiger is that Lumpi fits this trope better.
  • Nice Girl: Anna, especially for a vampire. While she has a very different morality than a human, she's a lot more sweet-natured and considerate than any of the other vampires.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: Rüdiger, Anna and Lumpi will forever be the age they were made vampires. It doesn't seem like they actually agree with the trope namer, though. Desperately wanting to grow up is never an issue, even for Lumpi who became a vampire while in puberty and will never grow out of this difficult phase. Rüdiger and Anna, in contrast, still seem to be children at heart, despite the fact that they have been vampires for at least 150 years. In the live action movie, it's 300 years; subtract that from 2000, and it's 1700.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting:Subverted, Frederick's incantation at the ceremony sounds evil coming from a top-ranking vampire, but if you studied Latin... or used Google Translate, it means "All together, cry no despair, without day". Tony apparently thought it meant "I vant to suck your blood."
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The vampires in this story drink human blood, but can survive on animal blood or — if necessary — eggs as well. They are afraid of the sun and it remains uncertain if sun light would kill them, since the psychologist's desensibilisation program is never tested in practice. A spear through the heart would kill these vampires (as well as any living creature) and they don't like garlic. They don't have any superhuman powers, save for the ability to fly, but even this power comes from their vampire capes (made from a special tissue, as Rüdiger said in one book), so Anton can use one too. Throughout the day, the vampires in this story are unable to move and look dead for the curious observer.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Olga always wears a large pink bow on her hair.
  • Pretend We're Dead: Anton frequently disguises himself as a vampire to be able to attend the festivities of his vampire friends.
  • Promoted to Parent: Aunt Dorothee becomes Olga's guardian after her parents die.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Rüdiger and Anna were turned into vampires as children, but have been dead for more than 150 years.
  • Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness: The Little Vampire falls somewhere on the friendly half of the scale, as Rudolph and Anna the Toothless are friends to Tony. Aunt Dorothee from the books, however, is quite the opposite.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: When Rüdiger and Anton attend the festivities at the "Ruine im Jammertal", Rüdiger introduces Anton as "Antonio Bonsackio".
  • Undead Child: Rüdiger, Anna, Lumpi and Olga are this.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Geiermeier (English name: Rookery), who has previously killed one member of Rüdiger's family, and continues to pursue the rest.
  • Vampires Are Rich: Implied, Fred calls himself an aristocrat, and they certainly dress like aristocrats, yet it's unknown what rank they are.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Olga is afraid of the sound of someone knocking on a door since it reminds her of the night vampire hunters broke into her parents' castle.

Alternative Title(s): Little Vampire


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