INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE Season 2 Delves Into Lestat’s Book-Accurate Backstory

Spoiler Alert

The first two seasons of Interview with the Vampire have, up until now, largely stuck to the events from Anne Rice’s original 1976 novel. But in season two’s third episode, “No Pain,” we go beyond book one at last. Viewers witness a slice of events first described in Rice’s second vampire novel, The Vampire Lestat. These events pertain to Lestat (Sam Reid) and his connection to Armand (Assad Zaman). What we saw on screen was all largely faithful to Lestat’s canonical backstory.

Lestat’s Backstory Finally Explored

The book cover for The Vampire Lestat in hardcover and softcover.
Alfred A. Knopf/Ballantine Books

In the second novel in Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series, The Vampire Lestat, we finally have a proper telling of Lestat’s origins. He deliberately kept this information from his progeny, Louis and Claudia, in the first novel. In The Vampire Lestat, we learn that Lestat was the young son of a nobleman in 18th-century France. One who had long ago lost his fortune. He runs away with his best friend Nicolas to Paris, where he becomes an actor. A powerful vampire called Magnus becomes enamored with Lestat’s talent on stage and flowing blonde hair. He then makes him a vampire against his will. He also leaves him his fortune, after throwing himself into the fire. Lestat uses that money to buy the theater.

The History of Lestat and Armand Revealed

Sam Reid as Lestat and  Assad Zaman as Armand in the Interview with the Vampire episode No Pain.
AMC Networks

Eventually, another more ancient vampire starts stalking Lestat. This is Armand, a 300-year-old vampire who leads a coven called the Children of Satan. These vampires dress in filthy rags and live in the catacombs beneath Paris. They believe it is God’s will they serve Satan, and eternally suffer. Thus, Lestat is an outcast for living richly and among mortal humans. Armand kidnaps Lestat’s human companion, Nicolas, as a way to lure him to Cimetière des Innocents. This is a medieval cemetery in Paris where he and his coven reside. Once Lestat enters the coven’s lair, they realize the rules about haunting graveyards and running from crucifixes are just myths, stories perpetuated by Armand to control them all.

Lestat and his human lover Nicolas in Interview with the Vampire, season two episode three, No Pain.
AMC Networks

Armand then tries to lure Lestat as his companion, feeling he owes him for breaking his coven of their traditions. Although Lestat finds himself intrigued by Armand, he ultimately rejects him. He chooses to leave France to search for older, more powerful immortals. However, Lestat leaves the theater he owns to Armand and his coven, instructing them to use it as their new lair. It was Lestat’s idea they pose as humans pretending to be vampires. That was the untold origin of the Theater of the Vampires from Rice’s first novel, and how Armand came to be in charge of it.

Interview with the Vampire Finally Ventures Beyond Rice’s First Novel

Sam Reid as Lestat destroys Armand's coven in Interview with the Vampire.
AMC Networks

In the third episode of Interview with the Vampire season two, we get our first taste of history first presented in The Vampire Lestat. In the original novel, there is no hint of Lestat and Armand having a past. Or the theater ever belonging to Lestat at all. Rice reveals all of this in book two, along with Armand’s backstory. In “No Pain,” we see Armand’s retelling of events. He explains to the interviewer, Daniel Molloy ( Eric Bogosian), how he first met Lestat.

Assad Zaman as Armand in Interview with the Vampire season two.
AMC Networks

In the series’ continuity, Armand and his coven spy Lestat parading about Paris in fine clothes and feeding upon mortals almost openly. He mentions that Lestat was made by the ancient vampire Magnus, who was an outcast from their coven. This is a minor deviation from the novels. In the books, Magnus was never part of the coven. Instead, he stole the vampiric blood from one of the coven entombed in the ground. Although Lestat leaves the theater to Armand, in the novels, he never performed with their troupe. As theater owner, one can interpret that as the founder. Most importantly, Lestat’s period of origin is 18th century France, which is when he became a vampire in the novels. Interview with the Vampire’s first season changed the events of the novel to the early 20th century.

Is Episode 3 a Hint of Interview with the Vampire Season 3?

All of this indicates that when the producers of Interview get to season three, and focus on the events of The Vampire Lestat, it will likely remain faithful to the book. While a period-accurate version of Interview with the Vampire was made in 1994, Lestat’s backstory was almost totally altered for the 2002 movie Queen of the Damned. The AMC series would be the first screen-accurate adaptation of Rice’s second novel. The book that really turned Lestat into a name brand, and truly got The Vampire Chronicles going.

Lestat is the flashback scenes in Interview with the Vampire season two episode three, No Pain.
AMC Networks

Although this episode gave us a part of Lestat’s backstory, there is still much left to show. Armand’s full backstory from Renaissance Venice, Lestat’s mother Gabrielle, and the ancient vampire queen Akasha are all a big part of Lestat’s tale. We’re excited for this series to finally get to this part of the story. This is where Rice’s supernatural world really opens up. Although it will be interesting to see how big a role Jacob Anderson’s Louis plays in season three. His character is barely in the second novel. Perhaps he interviews Lestat, who spills the tea on his history to his love at last? We’d honestly be there for that reinvention.

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