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Perhaps the book explains this better than the movie, but why was Claudia helpless? Why did she need a protector in Interview With The Vampire?

Armand says:

"It's forbidden to make one so young... so helpless... that cannot survive on its own."

We are made to understand earlier in the movie that she is unable to create vampires, so we know this is one limitation of her size. Claudia says something to the effect of "I suppose we could people the world with vampires, the 3 of us" and Lestat replies, "Oh, not you, my little Claudia". For this reason alone, Claudia is less powerful than a vampire made from an adult.

Nevertheless, Claudia's mind grows as normal - and she is intelligent and capable in the movie. She participates in detailed ruses to lure in her human prey, and concocts a plan to destroy Lestat by feeding him dead blood. Indeed, she even cuts his throat herself. We see in several scenes that she is more than capable against humans (I suspect any vampire would be, adult size or not).

So when Armand says she is helpless, and cannot survive on her own, what does he mean? I realize she would have more trouble navigating the world than an adult vampire, as all the humans would initially treat her as her child appearance. But as far as pure survival, she seems as though she would be able to do so without issue. She would never have progeny, but survival alone, she seems fine.

It would seem her other large failing is that she is unable to defend herself against other vampires -- but neither can Louis when they are outnumbered 15 to 2. So what does Armand mean?

(As a side note, does Claudia still grow more powerful with age, as the vampires made from adults do?)

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  • Just to add. This does apply to very very young children, but there is certainly a cut-off age as Armond is 17 with curly red-auburn hair standing at 5'6" and in a separate Vampire tale from Rice (my favorite) Vittorio is turned at age 16, but Vittorio purposes a completely different cult of vampires. They do kill all of Vittorio's siblings and other family, but Ursula spares him at first seemingly out of lust. So there might be an argument that the European vampires at the time of Claudia's existence could live by a different set of rules than either earlier/other Vampires in other regions. Nov 1 '18 at 12:56
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Vampires (in Anne Rice's works) are both the sum of their human development and the sum of their physical skills and experience they acquired as adults. This is why vampires tended to make vampires of other adults, to expand their support structures and bring new and valuable experiences into their groups aiding in their survival.

What this means for Claudia is:

  • Her physical development is stunted. She will have the body of a child, and unable to utilize the full benefit of her vampiric powers that she could as an adult. Nor would she have access to the breadth of knowledge an adult might have had since she did not finish school. All of her learning about the world would be experiential. This is not a terrible thing considering the time, many people learned this way, but she could never take advantage of the opportunity to attend schools of higher learning in the body of a child.

  • Her superhuman strength will be proportionally distributed. Yes, it will be greater than a child her size, but will be no match for a vampire who achieved adulthood, the same proportions as a child her age who would fight a human adult.

  • Against humans, particularly using the subterfuge of appearing as a child, she does not have any issues of securing prey. Her problem comes in the fact that she is a child and is more susceptible to laws, rules, and controls in modern society. Children wandering the streets after dark may draw more attention to themselves than a wandering adult.

  • Yes, she would grow more powerful, as she fed upon the life-forces of humans over the centuries. But in her early years, as an abomination (as far as other vampires are concerned, she would experience no solidarity) she would be vulnerable to predation and destruction since, like other predators, she would be feeding upon the same resources and be considered a competitor; a weaker competitor...

  • Vampire culture does not abide weakness, and in an area where vampires dwell, dominance struggles are certain to occur. She would certainly lose such struggles.

  • It is implied that Claudia could not make a new Childe. This may be due to the quantity of blood required for a new vampire to consume in order to be transformed. It may require more blood than she will ever have in her body at one time.

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    Very interesting commentary (and certainly useful), but all these points imply that her only only real danger is from other vampires (which is a valid danger of course!) -- none from humans. She may be inconvenienced by mortals assuming she is a child, but they would not limit her, or be a danger. Would love to see another take on Armand's statements. If Claudia was the only (or last) vampire she could theoretically live forever (assuming she didn't go insane and kill herself). Aug 7 '12 at 1:48
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I think Thaddeus is probably about 100% correct in his assertions that Claudia's primary threats are other vampires, and Armand's comment, I think, is meant to imply that other vampires will always be Claudia's biggest threat.

Keep in mind, however, that the vampires in the Rice universe are fairly secretive and attempt to blend in with human society as much as possible--even the vampires involved in the Theatre des Vampyres had humans convinced that they were merely humans acting at being vampires. As such, Claudia, in order to "blend in" with society would always have to have a companion to act as her "parent" or "guardian". This is, I believe, difficult for Rice's vampires as it seems all of her vamps have on-again, off-again relationships with each other, and many go off to live solitarily for lengths of time. Claudia will never be able to do this, and if she attempted it she risked exposing the entire vampire world. Imagine social services getting a-hold of her and putting her in an orphanage! In Queen of the Damned, Lestat draws the ire of other vamps after he becomes a rock star and starts to draw too much attention to them. This is clearly an issue with them.

Initially, creating a vampire from a child means you must also teach that child self-control. Failure to do so risks that child running amok and killing anyone and everyone within her reach. By the time Armand met Claudia, she was old enough that this was no longer a problem, but Louis does state that after her transformation she had gone after prey with all the demanding of a child, including being reprimanded by Lestat a couple of times for being impulsive and killing people inside the house.

There is also the reality that, by turning someone so young, you, the maker, will eventually draw their anger once they realize that they will never grow up, and this could mean an attempt on your life. And, as Santiago points out to Louis, there is only one crime in the vampire world punishable by death: to kill your own kind.

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