Armand


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Armand

(pop culture)

Armand is a 400-year-old, teenaged-looking vampire and major character in “The Vampire Chronicles” of Anne Rice. He is introduced in Interview with the Vampire where in the years immediately prior to the French revolution he headed a group of vampires who performed at the Theater of the Vampires in Paris. He first appeared on the streets of Paris after learning of the presence of fellow vampires Louis and Claudia in the city. He broke up a fight between Louis and one of the other vampires, whom he had sent to present the two with an invitation to the theater. After the performance the following evening, he and Louis, who were strongly attracted to each other, had a conversation concerning God and the meaning of existence, during which Louis was forced to confront the meaninglessness of life.

Louis also had to deal with Claudia’s jealously over his obvious infatuation with Armand and her own dilemma of being trapped in the body of a child. His acknowledgment of his feelings for Armand freed him to create a companion for Claudia, in the older woman Madeleine, a dollmaker. Armand’s feelings for him saved Louis’s life when he, Madeleine, and Claudia were taken captive by the Parisian vampires who executed Claudia and Madeleine. The vampires had confined Louis in a coffin, but Armand released him. In return for the favor, an angry Louis warned Armand that he was about to vent his anger. Thus Armand escaped when Louis burned the theater, killing the vampires caught in its confines.

In the second volume of the Chronicles, The Vampire Lestat, Armand’s background is laid out. He was born in Southern Russia but as a child his family was taken prisoner by Tartars and sold into slavery in Constantinople. He was bought by a vampire named Marius and taken to Venice. Marius used him as a model for a painting, The Temptation of Amedeo. Armand was only 17 years old when Marius made him a vampire. Through the centuries he retained his youthful appearance with auburn hair, brown eyes, and a beautiful face. When Marius’s home was invaded by a group of Satanists, Armand was inducted into their coven and went on to become an accomplished Satanist leader. He moved out across Europe gathering potential Satanists into new covens. Eventually he settled in Paris as the head of a coven. Over the years he had fed regularly, and perfected a technique of drawing people with a death wish to him, but kept several matters to himself. He never made another vampire. He also had lost (or never possessed) any belief in God or Satan.

He had been in Paris a century when Lestat arrived, and as a new vampire encountered Armand and his coven. Attempts to bring Lestat into the coven resulted in its being destroyed and most of their number being killed. Eventually, Lestat bought and gave them the theater, hence when they discovered that Claudia had attempted to kill Lestat, they were particularly incensed.

After Louis burned the theater, he and Armand traveled the world together. They lived together in New York City for many years, only returning to New Orleans in the mid-1970s. A short time later, they went their separate ways.

After Louis gave the interview that became the book, Interview with the Vampire, Daniel Molloy, the interviewer, came to New Orleans looking for Lestat but found Armand instead. He developed a relationship with Armand, but was frustrated as Armand would come and go at will leaving Daniel begging Armand to give him the Dark Gift (transformation into a vampire). Through Daniel, Armand learned about the twentieth century, and finally decided to leave his old ways behind. He became obsessed with new technological gadgets from food blenders to television. He quickly made a fortune and built a fantasy shopping entertainment complex near Miami called the Night Island.

While he refused to make Daniel a vampire, Armand did give Daniel an amulet that contained a vial of his blood. If ever he was in danger from other vampires, he was to break the vial and drink it. They would feel Armand’s power and stay away from him. However, Armand’s continued refusal to make him a vampire was a constant source of conflict. Daniel left and allowed his life to degenerate. Finally, in 1985, Armand reconnected with his disparate young lover.

In 1985 there was crisis in the vampire community. Around the world, vampires were being killed. It was the work of Akasha, the awakened primal vampire, but Armand was not yet aware of her activity. Through his clairvoyance, Daniel perceived Akasha as the name of the new evil. In the face of the threatening situation, Armand broke down and made Daniel a vampire, the only time he had transformed anyone.

After the final confrontation with Akasha, the surviving vampires gathered at Night Island to recoup, but then go their separate ways. Several years later Armand went to New Orleans to meet Lestat, about whom he had developed some concern. He met his old friend as Lestat was about to embark on his adventure into heaven and hell. He was still around when Lestat returned. Lestat again destroyed Armand’s worldview with his story of the great beyond. The religious feelings that welled-up inside him led him to commit suicide by exposure to the sun. Several other vampires imitated his action.

In the vampire world dying is often not the end, and such was the case with Armand. In Rice’s later book, The Vampire Armand, we learn that his suicide attempt was a failure, though he was badly burned in the process. He is eventually rescued by two children, Benji and Sybelle, whom he came to love and with whom he resided. To his chagrin, Marius turned the pair into vampires, blunting Armand’s hope that they have a full normal life.

Sources:

Ramsland, Katherine. The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993. 507 pp.
Rice, Anne. Interview with the Vampire. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976. 372 pp. Rept. New York: Ballantine, 1979. 346 pp.
———Memnoch the Devil. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. 354 pp. Rept. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995. 434 pp.
———. The Queen of the Damned. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988. 448 pp. Rept. New York: Ballantine Books, 1989. 491 pp.
———. The Vampire Armand. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989. 388 pp.
———. The Vampire Lestat. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985. 481 pp. Rept. New York: Ballan-tine Books, 1986. 550 pp.