Monday, 29 August 2011

Arbitrary-Ranking Monday #1: The Seven Richest Vampires in Fiction

So now that I'm done writing Muse, I'm determined to turn this blog into something more than just me saying cryptic things about the progress I'm making on books that I'm not willing to talk about yet.

I actually really enjoy blogging. I used to write an opinions column for the university newspaper, I've worked on a massively popular student politics blog for a few years now, and I made a nice little side income doing paid blogging for the university during my last few years at Dal. 

Deadlines permitting, I'm going to update at least twice per week. "Arbitrary-Ranking Mondays" and "Face-off Fridays."

Today we start with a list inspired by conversation I had the other day about the main character in my book, Maeve. Maeve has spent the last 400 years discovering and cultivating artistic talent: Rubens, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Rossetti, etc. Between the paintings she commissioned to keep them afloat in their early days, to the works they gifted her out of gratitude and love, she has acquired one hell of an art collection over the years. If you think that a single newly discovered Rubens painting (Massacre of the Innocents)  sold for $76 million in 2002, and that she has likely acquired a bare minimum of a thousand such paintings, then her personal art collection must be worth in the tens of billions of dollars at least.

After considering this, I started to wonder what her considerable inheritance would be worth today given that the majority of it was prudently invested by a series of intelligent investors...and I realized that if vampires were real, they would probably control 99% of the world's wealth.

In that spirit, here is the first entry in Arbitrary-Ranking Mondays.

The Seven Richest Vampires in Fiction
(As opposed to all the rich vampires who really exist.) 


Nick Knight

$478 million

Sources of wealth:

Robbery, betrayal, astute investment advice.

Kind of disappointing, considering that Nick, at 800 years old, is the second oldest vampire on this list. Unless they are financial geniuses though, most vampires wouldn't have started making real money until the rise of the major, stable banks in the late 17th century, so let's cut him some slack.
No mystery on the numbers here: this figure is stated explicitly in the episode ‘Blood Money.’ As it turns out, noble Nick’s wealth has its origins in a robbery and his subsequent betrayal of his partner in crime. The initial amount stolen has been multiplied considerably over the years due to the skilful efforts of Nick’s financial advisors. (Expect to see this theme repeated.)


Deacon Frost

$2.5 billion

Sources of wealth:

Night clubs, crime, ???

Frost runs the swankest vampire night clubs in the world. He built a gigantic subterranean reconstruction of an ancient blood temple. When he ‘makes it rain,’ actual human blood comes pouring out of the club sprinklers. Dude has some serious bank. The supreme vampire council in Blade is depicted as the Five Families on crack, and they are scared pissless of Deacon (for good reason). He is basically Scarface. 


Miriam Blaylock

$5-10 billion

Sources of Wealth:

4000 years to accumulate the spoils of her conquests, collection of priceless antiques.

Much of Miriam’s net worth has to come from her four millennia of collectables. Experts have valued King Tut’s treasure at somewhere in excess of a billion dollars, so it is safe to say that her entire private collection must be worth somewhere in the billions as well.

Her main source of liquid wealth probably came from simple theft over the years. She seems like she has always lived a very lavish lifestyle, so a large chunk of her illicit earnings has probably gone to feeding her pricey tastes, but we have to assumed that she must managed to put away at least some of her loot for a rainy day. Miriam is a sharp woman, so it seems likely that she’s probably taken advantage of the modern banking systems to put that accumulated wealth to work. If she managed to put away a reasonable savings deposit every year since she met John, odds are that compound interest has allowed her to accumulate a fortune somewhere in the range of $5-10 billion. Not as much as it could have been if she lived a little less materialistically, but definitely enough to keep her in the sexy leather outfits to which she is accustomed.


Carlisle Cullen

$36.2 billion

Sources of wealth:
Investment choices, slow but steady deposits into his savings account.

Forbes Magazine actually lists Papa Cullen as the second richest fictional character of 2011. Given that their logic of compound interest applies equally well (if not better) for several vamps on this list, I assume that economists probably don’t spend that much time reading vampire fiction. Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me.

(Also, in response to a question raised by my girlfriend, let’s just not talk about the Volturi. Forbes says Carlisle is richer, and I've never read/watched this series, so let’s leave it at that. Perhaps Alice told him to buy shares in Apple and Microsoft. I don't know.)


Alexander Lucard (AKA Dracula) 

$40 billion

Sources of wealth:

 Sale of creepy old medieval castle, using ghosts to help him locate buried treasure (seriously, read the opening to Dracula), founder/CEO of an evil mega-corporation.   

Is it just me, or did Old Man Cullen totally steal Drac's look? (I suppose he did add the stupid scarf.)

You may not recall this lovely television series. It came along at the perfect time for me. I was both old enough to have read and become obsessed with Dracula, and young enough not to realize what a cheesy, hokey show this was.

Alexander Lucard (or A. Lucard—nudge nudge, wink wink) owned an EVIL corporation. What this corporation did is a little foggy. Like all great 90s-era evil corporations though, you can rest assured that it dumped large quantities of pollution into beautiful waterways (a fact I re-learned within a minute or two of watching one of the few episodes easily accessible online.) Not sure what it does in 2011 though--dumping toxic waste is soooo 1991.

(For the record, I'm betting that Drac found a way to profit from bullying gay teenagers. He's that good at what he does.)


Charles Bromley

$50-100 billion

Sources of wealth:
CEO of Bromley Marks, chief supplier of blood in the US in a future ruled by vampires.

This guy was rich before he was a vampire. There’s no cheating here, as he earned his money the good old-fashioned way—unfettered capitalistic greed. Bromley Marks is what you would get if you fused Pfizer, JP Morgan Chase, and MacDonalds. (Though possibly a little less evil.)

It’s hard to say just how rich Charles Bromley is—it probably depends how much Bromley Marks stock he owns. Given his last name, odds are he has a healthy chunk. You have to figure that his company is worth more than Lucard Industries too. Whereas Lucard Industries' main product seemed to be cartoonish villainy,  Bromley Marks pretty much controls the supply for the only food anyone can eat/drink anymore. If Bromley’s wealth is comparable to mega-billionaires like Bill Gates or the Walton family, his net worth might be in the range of $50-100 billion dollars.



$70 billion - ??? 

Sources of wealth:

Inheritance, entertainment ventures.

He isn’t the oldest vampire on the list. He isn’t close to the oldest vampire in his own series. The fact is though, we can verifiably prove that he pulled off the single smartest financial move in vampire history: he invested a massive amount of wealth in a savings account, and didn’t touch it for well over two centuries.

This one requires some extra math.

First, let’s deal with his modern earnings as an entertainment icon. He states that in the first two weeks it was available, his self-produced album sold 4 million copies. One can only assume that number went up dramatically after the exploding-vampire craziness that took place on stage during his first concert. He is also supposedly the author of several of Anne Rice’s most popular books, selling somewhere in the realm of 30 million copies altogether. All very impressive, but if it were up to these creative earnings alone, he probably wouldn’t even have made the cut for this list.

This entertainment revenue is only a drop in the bucket though. In the late eighteenth century, Lestat inherited the collected wealth of Magnus, a 300-year-old vampire who had been a powerful mortal alchemist during the Middle Ages. In one of the most brilliant moves in investment history, Lestat promptly invested the vast majority of this massive fortune. At the start of The Vampire Lestat he states that he recently transferred some of his “old wealth” from the “immortal Bank of London and the Rothschild Bank.” Since he does not have this wealth with him when he arrived in America in 1791, he must have invested it some time before leaving Europe. If we conservatively estimate Magnus’s “incalculable” horde of gold and jewels as being worth $20,000,000 in today’s dollars (~$1.6 million in 1800), then it stands to reason that Lestat is a fantastically wealthy man. Assuming a fairly modest annual interest rate of 5%, 220 years in the bank has transformed that initial fortune into $73,684,417,001. Given that he spent decades mooching off Louis’s wealth, and decades more sleeping, it is safe to say that he probably never touched this stash before waking up and starting his rock career in the 1980s.

This estimate holds up given his behaviour. In Tale of the Body Thief, he drops $20 million like it’s chump change. That’s right: he spends more than Lebron James’s yearly salary without so much as blinking an eye.

It’s worth considering that the above estimate is entirely dependant on conservative numbers, and only reflects the wealth he inherited from Magnus. Add a percentage point or two to that interest rate, and we could be talking about a fortune in the trillions.

Makes you wonder if you should just move back in with your parents and put your paycheques into a long-term savings account, hmm?


For the record, I know this list is completely arbitrary--hence the title of the post. I also realized that the word count is way too long. I'll keep this short and blog suitable from here on out. If  I've left off a vampire that you think is richer please, post in the comments and start a debate!

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