Lestat de Lioncourt is a character from the famous Vampire Chronicles of north-American writer Anne Rice. We are introduced to this charming and ruthless being in Interview with the Vampire and "The Brat Prince" appears in most (and the best) books of the series, being the narrator of The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, The Tale of the Body Thief and Memnoch The Devil.
ATTENTION: There may be some spoilers for those who haven't read The Vampire Lestat and Interview with the Vampire
Lestat was the son of the French Marquis de Lioncourt with an Italian noble lady, Gabrielle, and lived on his father's castle on Auvergne, south of France. He was not, however, the eldest son and had no claim to a nobility title. Even though it may seem glamorous to be a French nobleman on the 18th century, there was no glamour in Lestat's life. As a teenager, his family was broke and they had absolutely no hope of ever being noticed by the King's court in Versailles.
Lestat spent his days hunting in his family's domains, the only reliable source of food the proud family had during winter. He felt frustrated and bored, hurt by his father's lack of education and his mother's coldness.
His rebellious nature always made him the black sheep of the family and he tried to run away twice: when he was little and, thanks to his mother's efforts, received education in a nearby monastery, he tried to become a monk. Brought back home by force and forbidden to continue his education, Lestat was very miserable. His mother lent him her books and they began to create some of sort of a stronger bond.
Years later, when he was in his teens, he visited a country fair and saw a company of actors performing old Italian comedy. He fell in love with theater and ran away with them. But his family hunted him down and brought him back, again by force.
After a fierce encounter with a pack of eight wolves while hunting, Lestat killed all of the animals and was acclaimed by the villagers, receiving many gifts. But the most important of them was meeting Nicolas de Lefent, a very wealthy bourgeois. They soon became close friends and indulged in a life of drinking on the local inn and talking until early morning about escaping their lives.
In 1779 they runaway and reach Paris in safety. Lestat became an actor and Nicolas a musician (he played the violin) at Renaud's Theatre, a tiny little place on Boulevard du Temple. They were happy for a few months, pretending to be simple people and enjoying life.
The Dark Gift:
But all this was destroyed when the vampire Magnus first saw Lestat and decided to make him his heir. After a few strange apparitions and episodes, Magnus kidnapped Lestat and forced him to drink his blood, thus becoming a vampire. Confused and overwhelmed by his new senses and life, Lestat would soon be alone. For Magnus created him out of spite for the Parisian vampire coven’s rules and intended to kill himself. He did so by jumping in a fire, after instructing Lestat on the most basic rules of vampire survival.
Lestat kept himself hidden from Nicolas’ or anybody else’s view. He wrote letters to his family and his beloved friend, but they were alarmed and intrigued by his disappearance. Nicolas would never forgive Lestat for this and his sad story is worth a node of his own.
Lestat’s mother, Gabrielle, rushed to Paris after the strange news of his disappearance. She was fatally ill and, when Lestat finally agreed to see her, he could see her disease. He then made her his first fledgling (vampire child). They roamed Paris in delight and lived together in harmony for a while.
Then, as life was sweetest, the Parisian vampire coven found them. Mother and son found refuge on the churches and the other vampires seemed to fear them for being able to “enter the house of god.” They meet the lovely and dangerous Armand, leader of the ignorant vampires and narrowly escape many times.
At the same time, wealth and immortal life was not enough for Lestat. He needed love and recognition; he needed the stage lights and Nicolas. He decides to buy the theatre and make a comeback, but Nicolas is even more disappointed, seeing that Lestat hides something. After discovering the secret, Nicolas begged for his vampire blood. And Lestat gave in, bringing about the first of many tragedies. Nicolas becomes mad and gets captured by Armand. Lestat and Gabrielle are also captured and, after a night of infinite philosophical discussions, they are responsible for a revolution inside the coven, ultimately destroying it.
Armand would never forget that Lestat caused this downfall and then refused to live with him and teach him the ways of the new century. After all this, life in Paris was unbearable and Lestat travels around the world, leaving the theatre to Nicolas and searching for the vampire Marius, Armand's father, who is believed dead. But Gabrielle soon tired of this life and luxury and left to live in the jungles, leaving her son and vampire father in deep pain.
Lestat finds Marius and discovers the vampires’ ancient history in the stone bodies of Enkil and Akasha, the first vampire couple. He drinks from the powerful blood of Akasha, which would come in handy when he gets attacked by his north American fledglings Louis de Pointe du Lac and Claudia.
It's ending, I promise:
The many adventures of Lestat (which include encounters with the devil, vampire archeology, rock concerts and body switching) have always the mark of boldness and a strange mixture of idealism, refusal do give up and irony. His blond hair and dazzling looks are irresistible to all who cross his path. But his main drive is to find a cure for his loneliness and search of love and recognition, in the most surprising ways. Lestat is the ultimate dark hero.
"Evil is a point of view,' he (Lestat) whispered now. 'We are immortal. And what we have before us are rich feasts that conscience cannot appreciate and mortal men cannot know without regret. God kills and so shall we; indescriminately He takes the richest and the poorest, and so shall we; for no creatures under god are as we are, none so like Him as ourselves, dark angels not confined to the stinking limits of hell but wandering His earthand all its kingdoms."
Louis claims in Interview with the Vampire that Lestat made a new one to counter-attack Claudia and he, but this is not confirmed by Lestat later on. Neither do we have this man's name and he dies in the fire on the New Orleans house anyway.
He was played by a blond Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire and by stunning Stuart Towsend in Queen of the Damned. But neither could do him justice. If I had my pick, I’d have Guillaume Depardieu as he was in the movie All the mornings of the world.