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Vampires (elders only?) can bite another vampire and get all their memories via drinking their blood. So why didn't Marcus just bite Viktor while Viktor was in hibernation, realise Viktor was carrying the key, kill him, take the key, then kill all the conven and go free William?

Sure this would have totally negated the plot of Underworld: Evolution, but why did he never attempt to do this before? Was there a factor I missed that made Marcus awaken with new urgency to carry out his quest to free William?

TL;DR: why did Marcus never attempt a coup d'état before in his previous reigns of the coven?

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Viktor implied that not only did he have William Corvinus locked away for all time, but also the threat of death upon him. While we know better that the caslte was completely abandoned, Marcus did not. He didn't want to risk his brother life. It was also implied by Marcus to Viktor that killing William may cause the death of the werewolves and their slaves, the Lycans, which was why Willaim was left alive in the first place after his capture.It was currently believed by most vampires that it was Victor that ruled (Marcus turned him for his cunning and tactics) and when Marcus first went to sleep, Victor took over, performing his coup d'grace. Amalia, whom Victor had chosen for the third Elder, was firmly in Viktor's camp, and continued the charade. So Marcus was overruled, and also generally believed to be the lesser of the three Elders. While there isn't a direct quote to this, rewatch the series and there's enough circumstantial evidence for implication.

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It was because Marcus didn't know he or William could be hybrids. He made Viktor capture William because William was a rampaging monster and, by his cunning, convinced Viktor to keep his brother alive for all eternity. Because he loved his brother. But, when Marcus became a hybrid by the blood of Lycan doctor, he knew William could be made into a hybrid. Thereby regaining his lost consciousness and so the two brother would rule together side by side.

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