Interview with the Vampire season two has finally ventured beyond the confines of Anne Rice’s first novel. In the second season episode “No Pain,” we get our first taste of the backstory of the Vampire Armand (Assad Zaman), the vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac’s companion. This flashback scene, taking place in the 18th century, comes straight from Rice’s second vampire novel, The Vampire Lestat. In episode four of season two, “I Want You More than Anything in the Word,” we get even more hints into Armand’s past. And episode five, “Don’t Be Afraid, Just Start the Tape,” gives us the biggest clues into Armand’s less-than-savory past deeds. But before we get to that, here’s a reminder of how Armand was a stealth character in season one of Interview with the Vampire all along.

Armand’s Interview with the Vampire Introduction

Interview with the Vampire ended its first seven-episode season at roughly the halfway point of the novel, although things played out in very different ways. One twist in particular resonated loudly with readers of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Many fans wondered when the Vampire Armand, one of the series’ major book characters, would appear on the show. Turns out, that character has been there in the margins all along, ever since the very first episode. In the season one finale of Interview With the Vampire, Rashid, Louis’ supposedly human assistant, reveals himself to be the Vampire Armand. But just who is Armand?

Louis introduces Rashid in Interview with the Vampire episode one.
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Posing as Louis’ Servant Rashid

In the first episode of Interview With the Vampire, viewers meet a mysterious character named Rashid (Assad Zaman) who is at the vampire Louis’ beck and call. Seemingly a human servant, we’ve even seen Rashid in direct sunlight. Well, direct sunlight coming through windows. He also fed Louis animal blood. We also saw Louis feed on him directly, suggesting Rashid was a human blood bank for him. He was seemingly a devout Muslim who nevertheless called Louis “a god.” He didn’t speak much in episodes one through six, appearing as a protective human familiar. Like a less neurotic version of Guillermo from What We Do in the Shadows. And since there was no Rashid in the novels, viewers assumed he was an all-new character invented for television. Little did anyone suspect that in Interview With the Vampire, Rashid was really a well-known character from the book called Armand.

Rashid Is Really the Vampire Armand

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In episode seven, however, Louis revealed to Daniel the truth about Rashid—a truth Daniel suspected when he remembered that Rashid was with Louis in the San Francisco bar they first met at in 1973. And that Rashid looked exactly the same now as then. This could only mean that Rashid was a vampire himself, and it turns out his real name is Armand. The vampire Armand has been a principal vampire character since the start. As to how he survived sunlight in Interview With the Vampire, Armand explains to Daniel in Interview With the Vampire that more ancient vampires can survive small amounts of solar exposure. Rice established this rule herself. Although in the novels, Armand is not considered old enough to be impervious to sunlight.

Who Is Armand in Interview With the Vampire?

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So who is Interview With the Vampire‘s Armand? In the book, Louis and Claudia met Armand in 19th-century Paris, years after they escaped Lestat. He was 400 years old at that point and the master of a large coven of the undead. Armand’s coven posed as human actors only pretending to be vampires and performed for human audiences in the Theatre des Vampires. In the novel, Armand became a vampire in Renaissance Italy at age 17. Clearly, Armand was a full-grown adult upon his siring here. (This was like the film version too.) Armand fell for Louis and tried to lure him away from his obligations to his undead daughter Claudia. Essentially, so he could have him all to himself with no familial distractions.

When Armand realized that he could not cut the metaphorical umbilical cord, he secretly allowed his coven to execute Claudia, for the crime of trying to kill her maker Lestat. When Louis unleashed his revenge and slaughtered that coven, Armand allowed it to happen, seeing himself as free from the dead weight. He and Louis left Paris together as a couple, and it’s only decades later that Armand admitted to Louis that he allowed Claudia to die. It was only then that Louis left him behind. By the time Louis gave his interview in the book version of Interview With the Vampire, he and Armand had long since parted ways.

Armand, Reinvented for the Interview with the Vampire TV Show

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Clearly, much of this could not have happened in the TV series continuity. Armand and Louis are not only together in Interview With the Vampire, it seems they never parted. And the much older and more powerful Armand was subservient to Louis, despite that never being the case in the novels. In the books, the two maintain some affection for each other in the modern day but are not together in any real sense.

Armand’s Backstory (Partially) Revealed in Season 2

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In season two’s second episode, we see Armand and Louis’ meeting in Paris went much as it did in the novels. Armand is highly intrigued and attracted to Louis, even though his coven is wary of this mysterious American outsider. In episode three of the second season, “No Pain,” we get flashbacks to Armand in the late 18th century, learning more about his past. During this era, he is a 300-year-old vampire who leads a coven called the Children of Satan. These vampires dress in dirty clothing and sleep in graves. They believe it is God’s will they serve Satan, and therefore, they must eternally suffer.

Because of these ancient rules, the coven thinks of Lestat as an outcast for living among humans. Armand kidnaps Lestat’s human companion, Nicolas, as a way to lure him to the cemetery Les Innocents, where Armand’s coven operates from. Once Lestat enters the coven’s lair, they realize the rules about haunting graveyards and running from crucifixes are merely folk stories, myths perpetuated by Armand as a means of control over his flock. Armand is enraged that Lestat with his brazen ways has destroyed a coven that lasted hundreds of years.

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Armand, now demoralized after his coven has seen through his lies, tries to seduce Lestat as his companion. He feels the young vampire owes him for destroying his coven. Although Lestat is equally intrigued by Armand as he is with him, he ultimately rejects him. Lestat leaves France, leaving the theater he owns to Armand and his coven. He instructs them to use it as their new lair. It was Lestat’s notion that the coven pose as human actors who pretend to be vampires. All of this is information about Armand’s past that was never revealed by Rice in the first novel. It’s all crucial backstory she first told in 1985’s The Vampire Lestat.

Armand Tells Louis About Marius, His Ancient Roman Vampire Maker

In episode four, Armand takes Louis to the Louvre in the dead of night. The elder vamp shows Louis an old painting, Palma Vecchio’s Adoration of the Shepherds With a Donor. While standing before the painting, he explains his origins to Louis, all taken from The Vampire Lestat, where Armand explained them to Lestat instead. Armand tells Louis he was born Arjun, and his parents sold him into slavery to a merchant ship captain in Delhi. The name “Arjun” is actually that of another, more ancient Indian vampire in Rice’s novels. In the books, Armand’s birth name was Andrei, something we learned in 1998’s The Vampire Armand. The series has switched his country of origin from Russia to India, thus the name change. Also, Armand was kidnapped in a raid, not sold by his parents in the novels.

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They sold Arjun to a brothel, until his vampiric master, Marius de Romanus, bought him. Marius renames him, Amadeo, meaning “one loved by God.” Armand heavily implies Marius pimped him out as a prostitute (Again, not something from the novels). Regardless, Armand speaks of Marius as though he loved him greatly. He posed for paintings for his master, and Marius only gave him the dark gift when he became very sick and was near death at age 27. In the novels, he was 17, and dying from a violent attack. Later, the Roman coven burned Marius alive for being a heretic, and took Amadeo and brainwashed him into their Satanic coven. Renamed again as Armand, they eventually sent him to run the Paris coven that Magnus, Lestat’s maker, had abandoned. In the novels, Magnus was never an official part of the Paris coven.

Armand Erased Memories of Louis and Daniel

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In episode five of season two, we get an extended flashback to Louis’ original 1973 interview in San Francisco. In the book, Louis was long split from Armand at that point. But we learn in the series, the two were very much together still at that point, and Armand intervenes as Louis is about to drain and kill the boy reporter, Daniel Molloy. He then saves Louis from suicide by sunlight, and erases Louis and later Daniel’s memories of the incident entirely. But not before holding Daniel hostage for days, essentially torturing him. It’s a scene that breaks book canon, but also illustrates how ruthless Armand can be to preserve what he feels he has. In this case, Louis’ companionship.

Although we are told Armand’s backstory, we don’t actually see it in flashbacks. Season two may yet show us some of Armand’s early days with Marius, his Roman vampire maker. Marius is a major character in The Vampire Lestat, and later, The Queen of the Damned. So, the producers of Interview with the Vampire may wait for season three to show us these parts of his history in a visual sense, until they’ve cast this major role. But we now know more about Armand in the universe of this series than ever before.

Originally published on November 28, 2022.