On The Vampire Diaries

Damon Salvatore: Vampire Hunter

By Mary Borsellino

Vampires who kill other vampires have been a mainstay of
mythology for almost as long as vampires themselves, but
they’ve been enjoying a period of particular popularity in the
last few decades. The modern world makes it hard to believe
in noble, shining-armor heroes the way we might have, once
upon a time. Things are too complicated and messy and
there are too many compromises to be made. That shining
armor tarnishes quickly.

But a fallen hero, a savior with a dark side, is something
we can understand and relate to. Even Buffy, who seemed at
first to be the brightest and bubbliest of vampire killers, was
more like a vampire’s mirror image than its foe by the time
her show concluded: she’d come back from the dead–quite
literally risen from the grave, like the title of one of Dracula’s
better-known movies–and her superhuman strength was
revealed to have come from the same demonic forces as that
of the monsters she killed.

These days, if you throw a stone at popular culture, you
can hit a vampire who kills other vampires without even
trying. In Japanese anime there’s the quiet schoolgirl Saya
of Blood: the Last Vampire
, the enigmatic wanderer D of
Vampire Hunter D, or the cruel gangster Alucard of
Hellsing. In America there are the charismatic, tortured
title characters of the Blade films and TV shows such as
Angel and Moonlight, to name just a few.  …

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