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Vampires. The very name conjures images that are a long cherished part of culture: spooky castles, hordes of fluttering bats, ancient cobweb-drenched coffins, and bloodsucking monsters who arise when night falls. Vampires have been haunting our collective imaginations for a long, long time and although they’re hugely represented in television, movies, and video games, they also are a huge part of literature. But who are the best among the children of the night? Let’s have a look at the top ten best vampires and see who comes out on top!
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10. D from ‘Vampire Hunter D’
Vampire Hunter D is a series of Japanese novels (twenty six as of this writing) by Hideyuki Kikuchi, centering around D, a half breed child of a vampire and a human. He hunts vampires across a post-apocalyptic world, full of monsters, mutants, bandits, lovecraftian beasts, and other horrors that have to be seen to be believed. Extremely stoic, D rarely allows himself to feel emotions in order to avoid giving into his ever present vampiric hunger for blood, which he actively resists. Owing to his half-breed status, he has a variety of supernatural and magical powers but often prefers to rely on his sword in combat. He’s also exceptionally beautiful and has a sidekick in the form of his left hand, a sentient symbiote known as Left Hand who enjoys needling his host and providing much needed comic relief. D tackles a variety of hunts throughout the novels, acting as a lone wanderer across the barren world, always showing up when there’s trouble but never lingering too long after the job is done.
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9. Don Simon Ysidro from ‘Those who hunt the Night’
Those Hunt The Night by Barbara Hambly features a complex vampire known as Don Simon Ysidro, who proves a seemingly charming, intelligent, even kind man to his ally Professor James Asher in their quest to hunt down vampires haunting Victorian era London. But beneath his seemingly all too human aura, Ysidro is an unapologetic predator, who has a reputation for murdering people throughout the centuries and when the predator comes out, he reveals himself as a monster through and through.
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8. Lestat de Lioncourt from ‘The Vampire Chronicles’
The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice features one of the most famous literary vampires of all time: Lestat de Lioncourt. Beginning as an antagonist in Interview With a Vampire, his popularity promoted him to the series protagonist and overall narrator. Vain and self-obsessed, Lestat is passionate about the arts, literature, and especially fashion, often pausing mid-narration to give the reader a description of what he’s wearing. His vampiric hunger knows no limits, as he is bisexual and will happily feed on both men and women. As an anti-hero, he is often framed as both a monster and a hero, quick to defend his behavior but often not backing it up. Both terrifying and compelling, Lestat is always the center of attention whenever he appears and for good reason.
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7. Thomas Raith from ‘The Dresden Files’
Thomas Raith from The Dresden Files is the brother to the main character of the series, Harry Dresden, a vampire of the White Court. Thomas, instead of sucking blood, preys on human emotions and energies, mostly often sexual energy. Thomas, thanks to his brother’s help, begins to overcome his monstrous affliction but struggles to retain it, often slipping in and out of his predatory behavior. Its hard for women to ignore him as well, thanks to his vampiric aura and exceptional good looks. But Thomas cares deeply for his brother and always remains a staunch ally, ready to fight by Harry’s side no matter what.
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6. Count Magpyr from ‘Discworld’
Count Magpyr from Discworld is a more comedic take on vampires, being a parody of Dracula and totally embracing hokey vampire tropes. The good Count wants to teach his children how to be vampires, such as avoiding garlic, religious symbols, and how to choose to best people to feed on. Hailing from a mounty, wintery region known as the Uberwald, Magpyr lords over his vampire family and dominates the poor villages near his castle. He can also turn into a flock of magpies and often uses them as spies around his kingdom. Colorful and comedic, the Count is a total blast of a villain and one who loves being a vampire.
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5. Yuki Cross from ‘Vampire Knight’
Yuki Cross is the star protagonist of the Japanese manga series Vampire Knight. Awakening with no memory of her past, she attends an academy called Cross Academy, where students are divided into two classes: Day Class (humans) and Night Class (vampires). She is appointed a guardian, which means she has to stop the different classes from killing each other as they try to learn from the school’s secrets. Colorful and comedic, Yuki is a cheerful girl who is brilliant but lazy and who hides a dark secret unknown even to herself at first: she’s a Pureblood vampire, meaning she possesses unique powers and abilities far surpassing most vampires. Unfortunately, her unique blood makes her a prime target of her kind, who wish to consume her blood for their own purposes.
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4. Lord Ruthven from ‘The Vampyre’
One of the first vampires in English literature, Lord Ruthven is the star of the 1819 novel The Vampyre by John William Polidori. He shares many of the characteristics that made Dracula famous but actually predates him considerably, being mysterious, alluringly sexual, but dark and violent beneath his aristocratic aura. However, unlike most vampires, he is not harm by sunlight or crosses but can be killed by mortal weapons. Hence, Ruthven tries to hide more than other vampires and anyone who learns his secret ends up dead.
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3. Kurt Barlow from ‘Salem’s Lot’
Kurt Barlow from Salem’s Lot by Stephen King is the master vampire of a brood of vampires that invade the sleepy town of Jerusalem’s Lot. So old, he predates the founding of Christianity, his origins are unknown but he is speculated to be a nobleman of Austria, which is backed up by his accent. Arriving in a box to the town, Kurt Barlow begins quietly building up an army of vampires, attacking victims in the dead of night and slowly spreading his evil inch by inch, block by block. In confrontations with him, Barlow easily overwhelms the protagonists, even shrugging off being threatened by a cross. Although he is killed at the novel’s end, staked in his coffin, his vampires remain and take over the town, making it a permanent nest to their kind.
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2. Carmilla from ‘Carmilla’
Carmilla of the 1872 novel of the same name. Carmilla is a lesbian vampire who preys on a young women (the narrator) and expresses homosexual desire toward her. Carmilla preys on the narrator multiple times before being hunted down and brutally staked by a hunting party led by Baron Vordenburg, a descendent of vampire killers. Carmilla predates Dracula and is often thought of solidifying vampiric traits, as well as being a sympathetic character and showcasing homosexual themes.
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1. Dracula from ‘Dracula’
The one, the only. The most famous vampire of all, Dracula made vampires cool, popular, and enduring all at once with his little novel. In contrast to his screen appearances, Dracula in the novel is quite threatening, beginning the novel as a recluse living his castle in the mountains and taking the appearance of a decrepit old man with hairy palms. He crawls up walls like a lizard, summons swarms of rats, his breath is rank like a corpse, and is generally thought to be a symbol of a sexual deviant. Dracula is a contrast to the movies and television appearances that made him famous but he’s still an icon on page and somehow, much more terrifying. After all, he doesn’t drink…wine.
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