AMC is quickly becoming the home of popular fantasy author Anne Rice‘s many acclaimed works. Following the success of Interview With the Vampire Season 1 starring Jacob Anderson as Louis du Pointe du Lac and Sam Reid as Lestat de Lioncourt, Alexandra Daddario then led Mayfair Witches, both of which have been renewed for Season 2. While all the characters in Interview With the Vampire are quite interesting and add to the story in their own way, Claudia (played by Bailey Bass) is in many ways the best. It’s one thing to be given immortality in an adult body, but it’s another entirely to be eternally trapped in the body of a child. Unlike her counterpart in Anne Rice’s novel or in the 1994 film adaptation, the new AMC series aged Claudia up from a young child to a teen in a somewhat controversial move — but this choice has ultimately led to Claudia becoming one of the most complex and engaging characters in the show.
Claudia Enters ‘Interview With the Vampire’ at a Vulnerable Time for Lestat and Louis
Claudia comes into Lestat and Louis’s lives at a dire time. She’s almost killed in the fire that consumed many of the buildings in Storyville, but she’s saved by Louis in an act of selfish desperation. He begs Lestat to save her, to turn her into one of them, and Lestat, to appease Louis, fulfills his request. At first, Claudia is happy in her new life. She lives luxuriously along with her new vampiric family, enjoying the decadence of her afterlife — and for a short while, they are happy. Lestat has further chained Louis to him and Louis has the family he’d longed for. But the bliss doesn’t last long. Claudia is simply a bandage for an already tumultuous relationship and when she starts to see the cracks in their lives, she also sees the cracks in her own.
Claudia is tormented by loneliness as soon as she becomes aware of it. Lestat and Louis have each other, romance as well as family. But she has been trapped in eternal youth, regarded as a child by both Louis and Lestat as well as the outside world. She feels like a third wheel with the only people who truly know her. Claudia falls in love with a boy and, in doing so, learns just how deep her loneliness goes. When she finally gets to be with him, she drains him of blood by accident and the sorrow of that act consumes her. She becomes uncaring of the consequences of her actions, going on killing sprees and desperately trying to turn others into vampires so she won’t be alone anymore. It’s a more childlike version of the desperation Lestat and Louis both possess, but she acts upon it while paying little mind to the consequences, still naive and overconfident in her own power.
Claudia Leaving Home in ‘Interview With the Vampire’ Allows Her To Grow
It’s only after she runs away and travels between colleges for a while in Episode 5 that Claudia is able to shed some of the resentment and existential fear that clouded her mind in New Orleans. It’s also then that she encounters her first vampire outside of her family, learning the cruelty of these beings who feel entitled to whatever they want. But it’s in going through all of this that Claudia learns what she truly values and finds new reasons for being. Claudia wants to see and learn more about the world, about vampires, and about herself, and she wants Louis to be there with her when she does.
Her early development from naive girl to jaded vampire is fascinating on its own, but Claudia truly comes into her own after her return in Episode 6 of Interview With the Vampire. Her appearance spurs a massive blowout between Louis and Lestat resulting in Louis being almost killed by the other vampire. He’s out of commission for a good while with Claudia stepping in to take care of him. Her return alone shows a great deal of growth but after seeing Louis part ways with his sister once and for all, she takes up that mantle herself. Rather than a surrogate daughter, Claudia takes care of Louis like a sister.
Whenever Lestat shows up with some trite gift to try and win them back, she coolly rejects him, stepping in to protect Louis when she knows how difficult it is for him to handle Lestat himself. Though her body remains that of a child, her mind has grown immensely. Both Claudia’s emotional and empirical intelligence has reached a level that matches (or surpasses) her creators. Having seen more of the world and other vampires than Louis has, she’s become fiercely protective of him. She tries to convince him to flee with her and when her own attempt is foiled by Lestat she doesn’t condemn herself to a life with him as Louis has, but she starts plotting instead as Lestat might.
Claudia Is the Vampire Lestat Could Have Been
Claudia is like if Lestat learned to grow as a person. She starts off as a naive and glutinous new vampire. Over time, she comes to resent the cage this eternal life has given her and sets out on her own for a while. But also over time, she matures and comes back to Louis because she’s learned to see and understand his pain as well as her own. And she’s like Louis in so many ways with her thirst for knowledge and the intense empathy she has for those she cares about (though for her that’s mostly just Louis himself). Claudia can see through Lestat. Once she comes back she knows never to trust him and even after he drags her off the train, she’s not deterred by him. If anything, his betrayal of her choice and his insistence on keeping her caged for Louis’s contentment just make her more determined to foil him.
It’s Claudia who reveals Lestat lied to them about killing his lover, it’s Claudia who carefully plots his murder, and it’s Claudia who snuck in a second piece of bait without even Louis’s knowledge to ensure their success. She’s become a mastermind in her own right. Her evolution takes place over only a few episodes and yet it feels completely natural. She was born out of the selfish desires of others, and yet she learns to look past that and find meaning in her own second chance at life, something more than either of her creators were capable of doing.
Bailey Bass pulls off Claudia’s evolution impeccably. Over the course of a few episodes, we see Claudia transform from a naive girl to a calculating vampiress. She’s a lovely middle ground between Louis and Lestat. She’s still a caring person but not to her own detriment, she doesn’t want to hurt others, but she understands the necessity of survival and freedom. Through her, we, too, are able to look past the glitz and glamour to see Lestat for the selfish man he is, and through her, we too feel the urge to push Louis away from this life and towards something better.
Claudia exists to break out of the cycles that created her. The cycles of abuse that created both Louis and Lestat are almost mimicked by her in her early desperation for companionship but as she grows she learns to long for freedom rather than company in her cage. And she very nearly achieves it. She’s able to trick Lestat, beat him, and get Louis out of New Orleans, but she can’t change Louis’s mind entirely. While Claudia saw Lestat the Monster, Louis still saw Lestat the Man, and this discrepancy is what makes her conclusion for the season so impactful but so sad. She’s done everything she can to save Louis, and it’s still not enough, but she was able to save herself from becoming either of them, and that in itself is a victory, as she’s able to grow even when her life itself has stagnated is a great feat. And Claudia, badass that she is, shows both the viewers and those around her that things are not immutable. She will go toe to toe with the devil and win.
The Big Picture
- The choice to age up Claudia in AMC’s Interview With the Vampire makes her a more complex and engaging character, perpetually trapped between childhood and adulthood.
- Claudia’s experience of loneliness and her accidental killing of a boy drives her desperate attempts to find companionship as a vampire, showing her naivety and overconfidence in her own power.
- Claudia’s growth and transformation throughout the season allow her to break free from cycles of abuse and become a fiercely protective and calculating character, leading her to confront and outsmart Lestat.