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19 June 2010 @ 03:19 pm
In the Eye of the Beholder  

This anecdote recently came up in conversation with pj1228.  It's one of those stories that I keep telling; please excuse me if you've heard it before.  I believe it illustrates something revealing.

Once upon a time, when I was a raw newbie to fanfiction, Marcia T. posted a story to fkfic-l in which Nick followed Natalie's urging and went cold-turkey on all blood.  He almost starved to death; the story ended with Nick terminating his quest, surrendering his human relationships, and returning entirely to vampire society.  I emailed Marcia, praising the tragic story I'd just read.  She replied, gracious but bemused, about the triumphant story that she had written.

What makes this funny is that Marcia founded the Dark Knighties, while I'm, you know, me.  We didn't know that, then.  We did have a great chat, the first of several, about how very differently we interpreted the same stories.

FK is police mystery, historical fiction, vampire fantasy and several other genres all at once, all together.  FK fandom is all the factions, 'ships and shades, all together.  Stories and discussions are most vibrant when we all play together, marshaling canon and striving to convince each other, across the imaginary lines.

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Foxy11814foxy11814 on June 20th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC)
Yep, I agree. It's great when a show, book, or anything else can inspire so many different interpretations and concepts for people to think about. :) FK is one of the few shows that can do this!
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 20th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
"Stories and discussions are most vibrant when we all play together, marshaling canon and striving to convince each other, across the imaginary lines."

One of the joys of FK fandom is the way we "play well with others". Also, as your tale shows, it helps to have a sense of humour.
dj_clawsondj_clawson on June 20th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
I liked that story. Does anyone know where it's archived?

It addressed one of the inconsistencies of the show. First season seemed to indicate that if Nick kicked blood, he would become human. The second two were pretty stuck on the idea that he would just starve to death.
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 20th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
Well, Natalie seemed to believe that if Nick kicked blood he would become human. The writers seem to have been a bit more equivocal. At any rate, in "Dark Knight: The Second Chapter", LaCroix kept commenting on how weak Nick seemed, attributing it to the lack of blood. There was at that point no suggestion from Natalie that Nick had actually got perceptibly any closer to mortality.

I'm inclined to think that the "starvation" idea was there from the start. The question seems to be which would come first: Nick's death (by starvation, presumably), or the destruction (by starvation?) of the vampire attributes and his reversion to mortality. Natalie obviously assumed the latter: she kept nagging him about drinking blood, certainly into the first part of the second season; and whipped up a blood substitute in one of the third season episodes, "Blind Faith".
Amy R.: Nick Againbrightknightie on June 21st, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
>"I'm inclined to think that the "starvation" idea was there from the start."

I believe that this is an available reading of the text, but not a required one. Starvation is not in Lacroix's list of ways vampires can die in "Dark Knight" -- is it? am I misremembering? And while Lacroix taunts Nick with "weakness" amidst the fire and urges him to drink from Alyce, Lacroix has a huge investment in getting Nick to drink human blood under any pretense; he is much more likely to be trying to make Nick succumb to temptation at that moment than expressing genuine concern for Nick's well-being.

Unless I'm forgetting scenes -- which is certainly possible! -- starvation doesn't really enter the text until "A More Permanent Hell."

Allowing vampire starvation presents a problem for several of the common metaphors underpinning FK episodes. (After all, an alcoholic will not die when deprived of alcohol.) Cousins and other vampirism-supporting factions have frequently trumpeted the starvation interpretation as their basis to condemn all Nick's hopes (and sanity). Of course possible starvation is no reason not to try for the humanity he wants! It's just a good reason not to try for it Natalie's way... if, again, the starvation interpretation is given sway.
dj_clawsondj_clawson on June 21st, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
I am of that interpretation, that if Natalie had been successful she likely just would have killed Nick, which comes up once in awhile in my fanfic when Aristotle, a very scientific guy himself, makes his opinions known.

Again, I mostly blame the inconsistent tone of the series, which never had a show bible. Ger, in his commentary on the show on the season 2 DVD, says that he played Nick like he was "an addict" which is itself creative but doesn't sync up with the mythology of the series. If vampires simply turned human by drinking less blood, someone would have figured it out way before Nick came along. Think about it. The only novelty of Natalie was that she was trying to find him supplemental nutrition to allow him to live without blood, but it was essentially not-blood blood, like methadone. It wasn't human food. It was vampire food. Nick was a vampire.

I would say Natalie was the most unethical ME I've ever seen, but there was that ME who killed people on the job, so Natalie is like, the SECOND most unethical ME I've ever seen.
Amy R.: Natalie Againbrightknightie on June 21st, 2010 06:55 am (UTC)
Some thoughts on an inversion of Natalie's pet theory:

>"If vampires simply turned human by drinking less blood, someone would have figured it out way before Nick came along"

Yes, if going light on blood were enough to trigger a transformation, absolutely, it would have happened to vampires before Nick. In a story with that premise, that might be what's in the Abbarratt ("1966"), or it might be another legend Lacroix keeps to himself ("Baby, Baby").

However, Natalie's contention -- a pretty silly contention, but we'll get back to that in a minute -- is that it's the blood that keeps Nick from coming back across. Nick must have not only less blood, but no blood at all, plus whatever other experiments she runs on him.

>"The only novelty of Natalie was that she was trying to find him supplemental nutrition to allow him to live without blood"

It seems to me that, within canon, the novelty of supplemental nutrition is secondary to the novelty of going without blood altogether. I don't think there's on-screen support for any FK vampire besides Nick ever trying abstinence (except Divia, trapped in that sarcophagus, come to think of it). Natalie is the only person in the series who suggests that Nick should live entirely without blood (animal or human). The other scientists/doctors/acupuncturists/shamans with whom Nick interacts do not suggest going without blood; Hans in "Let No Man Tear Asunder" actually hands Nick a beaker of blood to drink between treatments.

Nick has moral reasons to abstain from human blood, linked as it is to killing humans, but he seems content with the ethics of consuming animal blood. It's Natalie who decides that animal blood is objectionable, and her concern, unlike Nick's, isn't with ethics.

The flashbacks of "Only the Lonely" articulate the question of whether FK vampirism is a physical or metaphysical condition. To put it another way, it's the question of whether FK is a science-fiction or fantasy show.

Of course different episodes take different approaches.

Natalie is on the side of science-fiction (until certain circumstances in third season). She holds that Nick's vampirism is a physical condition only, and she applies only physical treatments to it. Ironically, when the audience agrees with her and embraces her physical-only premise, the audience then takes only one more step to arrive at the conclusion that her "no blood" approach is not scientifically valid. So if Natalie were right, then she would be wrong.

But when the interpretation swings the other way, when FK vampirism is metaphysical and FK is a fantasy, then abstaining from all blood could make sense. If Natalie is wrong, and the condition is not physical, then different rules apply -- as in "Near Death," "Blackwing," "Hearts of Darkness," etc. -- and psychological/spiritual renunciation of vampirism could be the key, justifying an otherwise irrelevant scrupulousness. So if Natalie were wrong, then she could, perhaps, be right.


Changing subjects:
>"he played Nick like he was "an addict" which is itself creative but doesn't sync up with the mythology"

Nick as an addict is not something that GWD made up on his own, of course. Addiction as a metaphor and theme is built into the series throughout, but especially in first season.

From the "drunk" scene in "Dark Knight" with the bottles around the loft ("Screw the sun. Give me the bottle!"), to the parallels with Rebecca's alcoholism in "Dying for Fame," to the twelve-step program in "Feeding the Beast," through assorted parallels with Schanke's smoking, and Janette's remark that her bartender thinks she's a lush, and the video game compulsion in "Games Vampires Play," and Schanke's remarks about the wine bottles in Nick's fridge... they go on and on. No, naturally real-world addiction does not adequately explain Nick's fictional vampirism, but his fictional vampirism is regularly a vehicle for displacing and then exploring real-world addictions.

I think that it's telling that the season in which the addiction metaphor has the most rein is also the season in which the idea of vampire starvation does not exist on-screen.
dj_clawsondj_clawson on June 21st, 2010 07:29 am (UTC)
I like the interpretation LaCroix offers in "Baby, Baby" of the legend - that like most legends, it's stupid and doesn't work. And that's why it doesn't work. Everyone else is shocked, but he's not. That was just a great LaCroix moment, and also a great writing moment for the series, if you interpret it that way. Yes, there are legends about vampires that are wrong and even vampires are stupid enough to believe them. (I had other issues with that episode, mostly how the vampire in that episode whose name I now forget could have possibly not been clearer about wanting to sleep with Nick and not wanting him to turn her into a vampire BEFORE he turned her into a vampire. It was just massive stupidity on both ends)

As for the addiction thing, I'm mostly a season 2 fan in terms of rewatching except for select episodes of other seasons, and it's really in season 2 where Nick abandons Nat's way of doing things after his near-death experience. They didn't go into this very often, I think because it was sometimes a little more than a detective could handle, but to me Nick's quest was about penance, in the medieval fashion, and penance in the medieval fashion means suffering a hell of a lot to get where you're going, which is why he put up with all of the painful or horrifying and/or possibly deadly "cures" Natalie offered him. If he suffered, he won. In the High Middle Ages, suffering washed away your sins. The Catholic overtones of the series started really heavy, then disappeared for a long time, then reemerged every once in a while, and usually when they did, Natalie was totally out of her element (see her actions in the near-death experience episode, or Sons of Belial).

As usual, pretty much whatever interpretation the show's current writer took, LaCroix was always more aware of what was going on in Nick's head than anyone else, especially Nick. It wouldn't be very useful for him to say, "No, don't do that, you'll die," because Nick was very suicidal. Instead he would just try to stop him from doing it.
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on June 23rd, 2010 06:27 am (UTC)
I composed a very long answer to this post, and then LJ ate it. I can't spend any more time on it tonight; I will have to try again another day.
Amy R.: IBbrightknightie on June 28th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
on "Baby, Baby"
Please accept my apologies for my brusque expression of frustration when I lost my earlier reply. Your comments were intriguing, and I really wanted to engage with them. Then, *poof*!

But to begin again (this time safely on my hard drive), this will take more than one reply, due to LJ length limits.

I have a new short story in mind based on "Baby, Baby," so I've been pondering some of its elements on and off for a while.

> "I like the interpretation LaCroix offers in "Baby, Baby" of the legend - that like most legends, it's stupid and doesn't work."

For myself, I find my fun in wondering about the origin of the legend, how Lacroix heard it, how Serena heard it, and why Lacroix never trotted it out to mock Nick -- or, if there were any possible truth in it, to caution Janette about sex that might fulfill it. I wouldn't put it past Lacroix to have invented it and inflicted it on Serena himself, in yet another an elaborate plot against Nick.

I would submit that although the legend didn't work in the way in which Serena interpreted it, it could as easily be that she interpreted it mistakenly as that there is no truth whatsoever behind it. Many fans interpret the "Baby, Baby" legend as the background for Janette's transformation in "The Human Factor" -- that instead of becoming human because of "true love plus sex" (an offensive scenario, really), she became human because, unknown to her, Robert fulfilled the obscure legend's requirements correctly and she conceived. ~shrug~ Obviously, that's an interpretation outside canon. But it's better than many HF rationales; I rather like it as a way of bringing HF back within established canon.

> "Everyone else is shocked, but he's not."

That's a new interpretation to me. Interesting! I had never previously thought of Nick or Serena as shocked, just very disappointed and heart-stricken, respectively. But it is true that Nick never uses the possibility of failure as he attempts to talk her out of the murder; he invokes morality and the law. That means that either he had embraced the idea that this cure will work, or he knows that she has embraced it and that the possibility of failure isn't worth raising. Anyone who had fully embraced it would, indeed, be shocked.

Yet beyond it being silly for them to assume that Serena's interpretation is necessarily the correct one, it's silly to assume that conception would be that easy under any circumstances. While it sometimes is, other times couples try repeatedly for months, sometimes years. And then there's the timing of when the gametes meet, and when the joined gametes implant, and so on. If the key to the legend -- for characters who believed it -- was conception, then they should have prepared for needing to try and try again. Also, while the fantasy genre can grant an immediately complete transformation, it could also follow a little sci-fi logic and suggest that the transformation is not immediate, that it spreads out from the new life over time. If the characters had been thinking -- not that this would have fit into the parameters of an episode, or serial television as constructed in the '90s -- perhaps it should have occurred to Nick and Serena to check back in a couple of days or weeks.

> "mostly how the vampire in that episode whose name I now forget could have possibly not been clearer about wanting to sleep with Nick"

I suppose that the obscurity of her request complements the obscurity of the legend.

Serena's coyness is extreme! It can't be the period, can it? The '20s were nearly as "liberated" as history had yet gotten. Yet an ordinary human would have been hard-pressed to figure out what she meant metaphorically by wanting "immortality," never mind a character who has immortality. And we can't even attribute it to a language barrier. If we invoke the "Near Death" scenario, she's even more on the hook for her own condition; per ND, she could have chosen to die a human, if that's what she wanted.
Amy R.: Faithbrightknightie on June 28th, 2010 12:55 am (UTC)
on Nick's Quest and Penance/Absolution
> "I'm mostly a season 2 fan"

This statement made me smile with a memory of when people used to identify themselves by the season in which they discovered the show (e.g. "I'm a third-season newbie"). Each of the seasons is acutely distinct, in every way; it really does make an interpretive difference where one sets up imaginative shop in the series. The first season is my own favorite.

> "it's really in season 2 where Nick abandons Nat's way of doing things after his near-death experience"

"Near Death" originally aired as the fourth-to-last episode of second season. I know that it's in production order on the DVDs, up at the midpoint of the season, but I still have a hard time re-ordering the season in my mind to match that. My first instinct is still that ND is part of the immediate lead-up to third-season, and from there -- on the verge of third -- your assertion is definitely true. However, in production order, I'm a little lost. What are the episodes you see between ND and third season as showing that Nick is abandoning Natalie's recommendations?

> "but to me Nick's quest was about penance,"

Of course! Penance (and absolution). It's right there in the opening spiel ("repay society for his sins") for those who don't close their eyes. Nick expects and accepts suffering for himself along the way, and also has some calculus in mind, some formula like earning relief from years of Purgatory in the old-fashioned way that prevailed for the vast bulk of his existence. (This is one of the many issues with "Near Death." In a very simplified and antique way, ND basically posits a Protestant path to redemption -- faith alone, not works -- and Nick cannot get his mind around it. What he says to Natalie at the end of the tag shows that he's back on "earning" his way to salvation.) Nick believes that his works -- evil and good -- matter in his damnation or salvation.

I value and enjoy this element of the series. While it's not my area for real scholarship, I am fond of the middle ages as a hobby interest. And I'm Catholic. FK gives me plenty to play with. I get more interested in this part of the series as the years pass, while I get less interested in some other parts.

One of the great and interesting things about Nick, though, is that the beliefs of his mortality are not all there is to him. He is not quite the same man he was the night Lacroix brought him across. He has grown and changed, learned and absorbed new ideas, not only new technologies and skills. (His valued artifact from a dig that helped determine when an epoch began, cf. "Spin Doctor," is good evidence of integrating intellectual changes.) That's one of the things about FK vampires -- cf. "Last Act," "If Looks Could Kill," "Partners of the Month," etc. -- that makes them different from many other universes: they must grow and change, or they may end up like Erica.
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on June 28th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC)
on Nick and Suicide
> "because Nick was very suicidal."

I would like to take my ruminations on this and make a separate, fresh post of them. I hope you don't mind. It's getting a bit crowded down here in the replies on this post. :-)
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 21st, 2010 08:57 am (UTC)
"Natalie [...] holds that Nick's vampirism is a physical condition only [...]. Ironically, [...] the audience then takes only one more step to arrive at the conclusion that her "no blood" approach is not scientifically valid. So if Natalie were right, then she would be wrong.

[...] If Natalie is wrong, and the condition is not physical, then different rules apply [...] and psychological/spiritual renunciation of vampirism could be the key [...]. So if Natalie were wrong, then she could, perhaps, be right."


This is incredibly cute—not to mention very insightful. Do any of your essays expand on this? It would make an excellent paper.
Amy R.: Natalie Againbrightknightie on June 23rd, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)
>"This is incredibly cute—not to mention very insightful. Do any of your essays expand on this? It would make an excellent paper."

Thank you very much for the generous reaction to it! No, it's not written up anywhere. That the search for a cure looks different as fantasy than as sci-fi is an old saw of mine, but that Natalie is caught in an incongruity between the two just came out of a chat with leela_cat following the ficathon.
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 23rd, 2010 08:30 am (UTC)
I think writing it up would be a good idea, if you can find the time.

Of course, unless you have some free days—and money!—to attend a conference, you may not be able to present the paper properly. (I'm thinking particularly of the IAFA, which would a very appropriate venue; but there are certainly other conferences.) Still, if nothing else, you could add your paper to the collection on your website.
Melissa: forever knight - nat's journalgnosticdiva on June 22nd, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
Natalie is on the side of science-fiction (until certain circumstances in third season)... when the audience agrees with her and embraces her physical-only premise, the audience then takes only one more step to arrive at the conclusion that her "no blood" approach is not scientifically valid.

Another great irony is that her own research proves her wrong. In the second season episode, "The Fix", there's a snippet of conversation -- prior to Natalie putting Nick on the Litovuterine-B -- that goes something like this:

Nick: "A vampire virus?"
Nat: "More like a genetic alteration."

What follows is a lengthy explanation from her about his vampire RNA and that excess nucleotides he possesses are not found in humans -- something which cannot be altered simply by fasting. Which is why the Litovuterine is such an important plot device.

Yet, by MBIAV in Season 3, Natalie's back on the "no blood" kick.
Amy R.: Natalie Againbrightknightie on June 23rd, 2010 04:49 am (UTC)
>"something which cannot be altered simply by fasting."

Natalie's approach to a cure is sadly mixed-up and scientifically invalid. But in all fairness to the Natalie character, she is never made to say that abstinence from blood alone will cure Nick.

She says several times that "it's the blood that keeps [him] from coming back across," but she is always running other treatments in tandem with encouraging Nick to abstain from blood -- garlic pills, tanning bed, eating human food, whatever is in the assorted protein shakes, the lydovuterine, etc. She never says that the cure is complete abstinence from blood, case closed. She seems instead to be saying that his blood intake is keeping the door to mortality shut, but that even if he ceases his intake and the door opens, it will take some additional unknown treatment to push him through that door and cure him.

A point in defense of finding some viability in Natalie's theory -- however thin -- might be in "Fever," where she sys in the morgue that Nick has resistance to the disease that the other vampires lack because his blood intake has been low. If abstinence can protect him from that, then that would be something to investigate -- a possible key to the nature of FK vampirism. That is, as long as we're in a science-fiction episode. The minute we're back in a fantasy episode, it all swings the other way. :-)
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 23rd, 2010 09:41 am (UTC)
Sadly, there are more fantasy episodes than SF ones. Personally, I'd have liked a better balance between the two.

It isn't just that Natalie believed in a medical cure while Nick trusted at least as much in religion and magic. Science was repeatedly countered by plenty of evidence that there is more going on than science can explain—things the viewers themselves saw on screen, such as the allergy to religious objects, the near death visions, and the Indian spirit plane. Until "The Fix", we saw very little that looked like real research, not from the perspective of anyone with even a slight knowledge of science/medicine. Just stop and think of the effort that has gone into trying to find a cure for cancer or AIDS.

If you look just at the first season (which established viewers' basic impressions of the characters), what did Natalie offer Nick? Diet counselling, food supplements, and sunbed treatments. That isn't exactly high-order research! A spa could do as much. As a result, her assertions that her approach is the right one to cure Nick come across as perversely derived more than anything from her faith—and I do mean faith—in medicine.

I suppose the truth is that the people making the show knew little about science themselves, and were not about to find consultants to make Natalie's research plausible because, in those pre-CSI days, lab work was not seen as "sexy" TV.
Amy R.: Natalie Againbrightknightie on June 27th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
I personally like the fantasy elements most of all because I'm most interested in the metaphors -- "what does vampirism represent this week?" -- and the metaphors are most productive on the fantasy side. But I appreciate and enjoy that the show was equipped on both sides of the scale.

>"As a result, her assertions that her approach is the right one to cure Nick come across as perversely derived more than anything from her faith—and I do mean faith—in medicine."

Lacroix has a line in "Fever," in the morgue, about Natalie's "faith in science." Dialogue-wise within that scene and episode, it comes out of nowhere; I have to wonder whether an earlier script made more sense of that line with some preceding interaction between Lacroix and Natalie. But series-wise, at that moment Lacroix is expressing exactly what you say above: that Natalie's convictions are not objective, logical or rational, but are faith-based.
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 21st, 2010 08:50 am (UTC)
"Starvation is not in Lacroix's list of ways vampires can die in 'Dark Knight'...."

Not that I recall, no. LaCroix does intimate that Nick is starving for blood, but not that he will actually die for lack of it.

"...Lacroix has a huge investment in getting Nick to drink human blood under any pretense; he is much more likely to be trying to make Nick succumb to temptation at that moment than expressing genuine concern for Nick's well-being."

As for motivation: you are, of course, correct. LaCroix was definitely trying to tempt Nick into killing. In so far as he was genuinely concerned for Nick's well-being, he was here—as always—equating "well-being" with embracing the vampire.

However, for the ploy to have a chance of working, it does depend on Nick buying what LaCroix is saying. And that depends on Nick feeling weaker than he normally expects to be. Otherwise, it would be transparently obvious that LaCroix was talking havers, and Nick would simply say so. In fact, Nick clearly found what LaCroix said to be plausible (and was genuinely tempted to bite Alyce); and that suggests that he was indeed weaker than usual.

Of course, LaCroix could be wrong about the explanation: perhaps it wasn't lack of blood that was making Nick weaker. However, the episode doesn't offer any alternatives.
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: puzzleswiliqueen on June 21st, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
LaCroix does intimate that Nick is starving for blood, but not that he will actually die for lack of it.

And this is what I always considered the baseline reality -- regardless of where the balance stood between physical and metaphysical in any given episode -- which knocked me for a loop the first few times I encountered fellow fans who saw it differently. I still do the confused-puppy head-cock at some ideas that have been familiar for years, I must confess. :-)
Amy R.: Nick Againbrightknightie on June 27th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
:-) I'm comforted that you agree on that point. :-)
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 20th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
"The Final Fast": it's in the main archive (http://www.fkfanfic.com/fanfic/t/thef1739.txt).
Amy R.: Nick Againbrightknightie on June 21st, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
>"Does anyone know where it's archived?"

I was going to say that I don't remember the title and haven't seen the author around fandom in over a decade, and point out her file on the Former FTP Site. However, "The Final Fast," as identified here by greerwatson, is very probably it. I remembered the story as more skillfully written and with a somewhat different emphasis and ending, but it's been over fourteen years since the one time I read it.

>"It addressed one of the inconsistencies of the show. First season seemed to indicate that if Nick kicked blood, he would become human. The second two were pretty stuck on the idea that he would just starve to death."

Throughout the series, Natalie says that she believes total abstinence is the route to mortality, but, throughout the series, she acts to give Nick blood when he is injured -- from "Dark Knight" with Schanke's donation, to "Night in Question" in the hospital. I tend to think that this particular inconsistency is focused inside the Natalie character. We never learn why she believes that abstinence from blood is the key to her physical approach to Nick's condition. It harmonizes nicely with Nick's abstinence from killing -- if it can be characterized that way -- but of course those are two entirely separate things.

I agree that starvation as a means to kill vampires doesn't enter the picture until the later seasons. It's not in Lacroix's litany of ways to die in "Dark Knight." It does seem to figure in his contemplative mood in "A More Permanent Hell," late in second season, as he foresees losing all the younger vampires until only ancient ones such as himself remain. And then in "Ashes to Ashes," Nick wonders how Divia could have survived... I'd have to rewatch the episode to see what information Nick conclusively has about what Lacroix did to her; I honestly don't recall... but if Nick thought she were not decapitated, Nick's question and Lacroix's reply there both raise starvation/dehydration again as expected for vampires.

I'm not sure, however, that the later seasons really make a bigger deal of the possibility of vampire starvation than just those two scenes. Am I forgetting some scenes?

I know many fans whose interpretations insist that Nick would starve to death without blood, and that Natalie is inadvertently trying to kill him with her regimen, but even after AMPH, I'm not sure that's a required reading -- after all, Lacroix routinely withholds, shades and shapes information on vampire existence (cf. "1966," "Baby, Baby") to maintain control of Nick, so we don't have to take his word for it if it would make a better story not to.
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 21st, 2010 09:22 am (UTC)
"We never learn why she believes that abstinence from blood is the key to her physical approach to Nick's condition. It harmonizes nicely with Nick's abstinence from killing -- if it can be characterized that way -- but of course those are two entirely separate things."

Nevertheless, I think you probably have the key to the scriptwriters' approach to Nick's condition.

There are human populations who consume blood as part of their food supply, albeit usually a minor part; and, like Nick in the present, their source is animal. As far as I know, no one—except vegetarians, who reject all meat-eating—condemns blood puddings as morally evil. They may not like the flavour. They may even dislike the idea of making puddings of blood. But they don't condemn blood-pudding-eaters as depraved. (Weird, maybe; but not evil.) However, it is true that blood is not a customary food source in North America, and many North Americans feel squeamish about it.

That brings us back to the "psychological/spiritual renunciation of vampirism" you mentioned previously. Although the abstinence treatment (if one can call it that) is couched in pseudo-science and put in Natalie's mouth, the appeal to Nick himself is probably on the moral level. Not that he can follow Nat's instructions, of course; but he never questions her assertion that abstention from blood will result in a cure—and I suspect that that is because it seems to make sense to him as a moral renunciation. Combine that with the fact that few North Americans consider blood products as acceptable food for humans, and it is a short step to accepting the interpretation of Nick's diet as morally wrong, even when he's drinking cow blood.

I think the abstinence cure was supposed to make sense to the audience on that level. Certainly, it has no scientific justification, nor was any attempted.
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 21st, 2010 09:42 am (UTC)
"Throughout the series, Natalie says that she believes total abstinence is the route to mortality, but, throughout the series, she acts to give Nick blood when he is injured [...]. I tend to think that this particular inconsistency is focused inside the Natalie character. We never learn why she believes that abstinence from blood is the key to her physical approach to Nick's condition."

Have you had a chance to read Attachments yet? I've posted the littl'uns on FKFIC-L, and also on my website (http://www.foreverknight.org/FK4/FKfanfic.htm), where they now come with pretty graphics (pop in and have a look!); but I'm still working on HTMLing Attachments. It's rather long....

When you have a chance to get around to reading it, you will see that Natalie's research on and treatment of Nick play a major role (among so many other things I touch on). I've tried to integrate all the things we know from the series so that her behaviour makes...well, if not total sense, then at least more sense. Of course, the novel starts with the night they met and keeps going to the bitter end; but Natalie's research is a significant thread throughout.
Amy R.: Readsbrightknightie on June 23rd, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
>"Have you had a chance to read Attachments yet?"

I'm sorry, but I have not yet read it. Its length does distinguish it from the other stories in the ficathon game. As soon as I'm all the way through it, I will comment on it.
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 23rd, 2010 08:47 am (UTC)
I figured you probably hadn't had a chance yet. Judging by the relative lack of comments compared with other stories, I suspect that its length has daunted other people, too.

Not to worry. I have patience.

In any case, I have plans. Even as I was writing it, I could see it as a proper web novel. Each "attachment" is set off as a separate table, with one of a set of graphics; and these are carefully chosen to augment the text (not just there for pretty). In addition, since there are many references to things from the show, I'm putting in subtly hidden links—which flash up, if you mouseover—so that the reader of fallible memory can get background info on references. Plus there will be even more of my usual copious notes.

Needless to say, this is taking me time, and won't be finished soon. Still, if it takes you that long to get around to reading it, you may even have a choice of formats!