Rich Vampires

A common vampire trope I’ve touched on in some of my reviews is the notion of “rich vampires.” Count Dracula is typically portrayed as quite wealthy despite the fact his castle is in near ruins in the novel Dracula. The vampires of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles are all fabulously wealthy. Jean-Claude in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake novels is a savvy entrepreneur. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Count Saint-Germain is rich. The list goes on.

Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee

Generally speaking, the idea is that the vampire either starts out wealthy or finds ways to invest what money they have and just through the act of not dying accumulates vast amounts of wealth. Now, I’ve often questioned this, because on a long timescale, banks aren’t that stable. Also, the idea of governments backing banks is a fairly recent one. Even then, on long timescales, governments rise and fall limiting their ability to guarantee anyone’s investment.

What’s more, if you actually adjust the markets for inflation, the growth may be less than you might expect. For example, if you invested $1.00 in 1950, you would have $7.00 in 2010 once you adjusted for inflation. Not bad, but hard to say that you’d get rich unless you started with a large investment. Also, the only reason there’s been that much growth is a period of rapid market rise in the 1950s and again in the 1980s.

This is the reason the Scarlet Order vampires are mercenaries. They needed to find a way to survive in the world of humans and fighting for human causes allowed them to do just that. Desmond Lord Draco is rich, though not fabulously so, just because he’s been good at stashing gold in out of the way places and keeping it from falling into his enemies’ hands. Other members of the Scarlet Order aren’t so financially adept.

Visiting the website TV Tropes, I discovered a new spin on this idea that I hadn’t really considered before. paperbackbookstanding_849x1126 (1) They suggest that vampires not earning an income can be a metaphor for the drain vampires would place on society. Not only do they drain blood from people, but they drain those resources people would use to survive. The Scarlet Order vampires would be offended by the idea.

If you’d like to discover more about the Scarlet Order vampires, visit my website to read the first chapters, see some reviews, and discover more about Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order and Vampires of the Scarlet Order.

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4 thoughts on “Rich Vampires

  1. Perhaps another way to look at it is that vampires are able to accumulate wealth by influencing important people to include them in pyramid schemes and such, since vamps are often thought to have a form of mind control. Also, they don’t have some expenses that others do, such as buying groceries. If they want to simplify, all they really need is a coffin in a secluded location.

    • Good point. Of course, vampires could simply be thieves, which is how my vampire Alexandra makes money to start. Given her stealth and abilities to get into heavily guarded places, it’s easy for her to steal from palace storerooms where her take won’t be noticed until long after she’s out of the area.

      What really struck me about this trope is that it often applies to any immortal character in speculative fiction, and they often succeed through legal investment. Even Lazarus Long is wealthy because of careful investment (which reflects Heinlein’s politics and economic beliefs). It strikes me this would be a lot harder to accomplish than it’s often made out to be, unless the character is very savvy about grabbing their money before governments, banks, or markets collapse, then reinvesting it when they’re stable again.

  2. dm yates says:

    I’ve read many ways that writers try to explain the wealth of vampires. As for your book, it’s realistic in many ways.

    • Like you, I’ve seen a lot of explanations for rich vampires. I could probably do several posts on the subject. Thanks so much. I’m really pleased that you enjoyed the Scarlet Order vampires.

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