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Bloody Wonderful

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There is a convention amongst fan fiction writers that the blood of a vampire has healing properties for other vampires, especially if the blood comes from an old vampire, and even more so if from the sire. I have been happy to go along with this, thinking it a useful and interesting idea, but recently I started to consider if there was any basis for it in canon.

There have been three examples in canon of vamps drinking from other vamps. The first was Luke feeding from the Master (The Harvest) which although it was clearly a moment of great significance, even reverence, for him, had nothing to do with healing. It did however apparently imbue him with greater strength, and seemed to forge some sort of link between the Master and Luke – such that the Master knew when Luke was killed. It is this incident that is presumably the origin of all the conventions about vampires being able to read each other’s minds after feeding off each other, as well as gaining strength from an older vampire’s blood. It is worth bearing in mind though that the ritual was specifically to try and free the Master, and was designated for a very particular time, both of which facts make it problematical to extrapolate from this incident to more general notions.

The second example was Dru scratching Spike and licking his blood (School Hard) – very sexy, but again nothing to do with healing, power exchange or anything much. And finally, Darla and Angelus were seen biting each other during sex (Dear Boy). What if any the consequences of this were it is impossible to say. What we can say is that the only examples of one vamp feeding from another are to do with ritual and sex play, not with healing.

However, there is of course one significant example of an older vampire’s blood being used as a medicine: when Angel’s blood was used to cure Dru (What’s My Line, Part 2). But there are two things worth bearing in mind about this. Firstly, it was a complex ritual involving additional incantations and the blood was exchanged by means of a dagger through their hands, not drunk at all. And secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the cure was totally unknown to the vampires before they discovered it in the obscure writings of DuLac. One could go so far as to say it was sufficiently unusual that Spike and Dru hadn’t even thought Angel might be able to help them in any way. In other words, from this evidence alone it appears that using the blood of the sire is not a normal cure amongst vampires.

What does have some basis in canon is the idea that blood generally will speed up healing, and that some blood is more powerful than others. The blood of a Slayer is required to cure poisoning (Graduation Day, Part 2) and pig’s blood was not enough to revive Angel after starvation, he needed human blood instead (Deep Down). But it is worth stressing that there is no example of a vampire claiming to need blood to help heal a wound faster, and certainly none of one vamp offering their blood to another for such a purpose. We know that vampires can feed from each other in the Jossyverse, so it is therefore not too much of a stretch of the imagination to suppose that when a vampire needs to feed the blood of another vampire will do just as well as any blood would, but there is very little evidence that an older vampire’s, or even the sire’s blood is in any way better.

There is another very important consideration though. In the Jossyverse, a vampire represents evil, and as such in metaphorical terms they are in every sense of the word dead – not just physically but utterly. Incapable of generating life, love, even of undergoing simple change. Of course it is the way in which individual vampires can show the bluntness of this model that makes for so much of the show’s fascination, but the model overall still stands. And as such for vampire blood generally to be seen as a cure for anything, even other vampires, might well seem to go against the overall philosophy of the Jossyverse.

Or at least that is the current situation. But I have a suspicion this may well be yet another of those cases where the show one day will follow where fan fiction has led. Watch this space.