Jake Hamilton: Now we have Black Lightning - which is about something more than just running around punching people. To what degree does a superhero need to be fun and running around and punching people and then to what degree does it actually need to be about something bigger than that?
[image: three gifs of China Anne McClain, Christine Adams and Nafessa Williams sitting for an interview in a press room. a poster of Black Lightning stands behind them in the dark room. Christine and Nafessa watch China speak, nodding their heads in agreement with what she says. 1. China: Ooh, I think it needs to be about equal. Because it’s like, people will watch a superhero show just to see butt-kicking, you know, 2. China: but on the other side of it, it can’t be just that. There needs to be a foundation to it and you need to know something about them. 3. China: That’s why I like all of the superheroes having alter egos ‘cause you get to see their real life and then their superhero life.]
I know Louis kills indiscriminately and kills anyone who crosses his path. So if a lost child happens to cross his path or a bunch of punk preteens or teens would he kill them?
I had to think about this one for awhile, bc my immediate reaction was to defend Louis and say: “Oh no, our sweet bb Louis wouldn’t kill a child! Nor a preteen or teens! He may not choose guilty from innocent but surely a teen and under would be safe from him??!”
But he’s NOT a sweet bb. He’s a vampire.
Louis killed Claudia, or attempted to do so. More on that in a bit. The only further explicit reference we have re: his killing methods in canon is in QOTD, when Akasha states that he kills “without regard for age or sex or will to live.“ and since she can read his mind and Louis does not correct her on that statement, I would assume that she’s pinned him accurately.**
(**Note 1: in the scene at the end of book!IWTV (which we still don’t know if it actually happened or not, bc unreliable narrators), Louis takes a baby that a young vampire brings to feed to Lestat, and returns it to its home: “I returned to the small house from which the vampire had taken the child, and left it there in its crib.” So maybe BABIES are safe from Louis!)
(**Note 2: Louis accepts the offer of taking a bite of Denis, Armand’s mortal preteen/teen pet at the Theatre des Vampires, not knowing if Armand intended him to kill this offering or not, but in the book, Louis takes it without any resistance and Armand takes Denis back before Louis can finish him BC HE MIGHT HAVE.)
TL;DR #1: Yes, I do think Louis would kill a lost child/preteen/teen, and I think that the circumstances of such a choice could be worth exploring in fiction.
TL;DR #2: I think it would be unlikely for Louis, on his own, to kill one member of a group of ppl of any age, for the practical difficulty of killing one of them w/o the others noticing and causing a scene. I think this would make his kill more difficult than necessary, as Louis kills perfunctorily, only exerting the amount of time and effort required to satisfy the need:
“I would let the first hours of the evening accumulate in quiet, as hunger accumulated in me, till the drive grew almost too strong, so that I might give myself to it all the more completely, blindly.
“…I lingered only a short while, long enough to take what I must have, soothed in my great melancholy that the town gave me an endless train of magnificent strangers.
“For that was it. I fed on strangers. I drew only close enough to see the pulsing beauty, the unique expression, the new and passionate voice, then killed before those feelings of revulsion could be aroused in me, that fear, that sorrow.” (IWTV)
^If his killing style had changed since then, I think he would have mentioned it to Daniel during the interview.
It also begs the question whether he would kill the elderly, people with disabilities (mental, physical, etc.), and other types of people whose defenses are lowered to some degree, and I think “indiscriminate” applies to all of those categories. Yes to all, Louis kills indiscriminately.
TL;DR #3: Claudia is a child Louis kills (well, attempts to kill) in canon, and her similarity to Anne Rice’s daughter (who died at the age Claudia was turned) was very likely the reason for Anne writing IWTV in the first place. Through the characters in IWTV, I think Anne asked the questions to get the answers to exorcise her demons regarding that loss. Fiction is a safe ground from which we can examine and lance the pain we have experienced in real life and release it, and in sharing the story, we might give others a catharsis, too. I think this novel’s rich exploration of these difficult issues is part of what has made it so beloved by her readers, we can relate deeply with her story in our own ways and feel a catharsis from her explorations.
There are parents who outlive their children bc of these early-childhood diseases (and other reasons) and they have to find a way to go on living, and even trying to be happy again. I’m sure Anne will always experience pain from this loss, but through fiction, she may have been able to achieve enough closure to go on living her life.
I think Anne’s answer for herself at the end of writing IWTV was, “Neither you nor your daughter, nor anyone else, were being punished. Michele was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”