Beyond the Wards, Vampire Academy Pt. 4

Lily Daher, Scarlet Staff

In the Vampire Academy novels, wards are the biggest and most effective way to keep Strigoi from attacking Moroi and dhampir communities. These wards are made using the four kinds of Moroi magic: water, earth, fire, and air. The wards at the Moroi Royal Court are checked several times a day, while those at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and other schools, are checked routinely every two weeks. It is very difficult to break regulated wards, however, in the television series, the wards are a little less complex than that. 

The wards in the show are held together using a special stake, that the audience does not fully understand just how powerful the stake is. In the book, a stake negates the power of the wards since a magic infused stake has violent purposes, where the wards are meant to protect. Strigoi would attempt to use humans so that they would wield stakes in order to help destroy wards, which can be seen during the battle of St. Vladimir’s in the book. 

The wards are an important part of both the show and the novels. In both the novels and the adaptation, the wards protect Rose from experiencing the full effect of Lissa’s Spirit use on her. When Lissa attempts to keep Rose from expereincing any sort of pain,Rose frequently absorbs the “darkness” from Lissa This causes Rose to feel extremely violent, hurt, and depressed when the Strigoi are nearby.She also maintained the ability to see ghosts, which is one of the biggest tells the wards were working.   

However, the wards cannot protect Rose from all of Spirit’s side effects. One thing that we see Rose experience a lot of is pulling the “darkness” away from Lissa and seeing the rage that encompasses Rose because of this. Many people are unfamiliar with Spirit magic in the show and the novel, although few  knew of it in the beginning. However, as Lissa’s presence in the Moroi society grows, so does the interest in Spirit magic. The more interest in the magic, the more people willing to abuse its power,, not unlike our novel antagonist, Victor Dashkov. 

As we have seen thus far in the show, Victor Dashkov is a relatively moderate politician as opposed to his written counterpart. In addition, the show has him as a rival to Tatiana Vogel, the extremist meant to replace the characters of Tasha Ozera and Tatiana Ivashkov. In the novel, Victor has an illness that prevents him from being able to assume the throne after Queen Tatiana plans to retire. However, in the show, Tatiana Vogel poisons Victor, causing him to fall ill. His daughter, Sonya Karp, who is a Spirit user with healing abilities like Lissa’s, uses her Spirit magic to heal her father. However, since Sonya does not have a Shadow-Kissed bondmate like Lissa, she feels the effects of Spirit with a fuller force than Rose or Lissa. There is one thing that helps Sonya fight for her sanity:her relationship with Mikhail Tanner. 

As Mikhail and Sonya begin to spend more time together trying to figure out ways to figure out the problem with the wards in addition to how to help the struggling dhampir community, they begin to strengthen their own relationship. Their affection is short lived though, as Mikhail becomes Strigoi during a field test given to senior Dhampirs, including Rose Hathaway. 

On this field test, Dhampirs are required to transport a Moroi, who is played by another dhampir, to a secure location before certified guardians can attack them. Additionally, Royal Moroi made a decision to release a live Strigoi on this field test to see if the students are truly capable of being a guardian after they graduate. This decision to leave a Strigoi on the field is what ultimately led to Mikhail’s demise. His existence as a Strigoi was short lived as Rose was forced to make the decision to kill him, savingeveryone else on the field test. 

Following Mikhail’s death, Rose was given molnija marks. During the molnija mark ceremony, Rose grew anxious about getting hers because of the association with them. It came to the point where she stormed out of the ceremony and refused to get them. Throughout episode 6, Rose struggles with inner conflict over receiving the molnija marks and is stubborn about getting the tattoo. 

Later in the episode, Dimitri talks to Rose about the molnija marks and convinces her that she should keep them. Rose is only willing to receive the molnija marks if Dimitri is the one who puts the tattoo on her. Although this scene does not exist in the book, Dimitri tattooing Rose’s molnija marks on her shows a level of intimacy that they had not experienced prior. In both the book and the show, Rose’s molnija marks ceremony comes with emotional intimacy between her and Dimitri. In the book, she has killed two Strigoi who had kidnapped her and her peers as well as being responsible for the death of her friend Mason (who is still alive in the show). Rose associates her molnija marks with Mason’s death. In both the book and the show, this represents how Rose is growing as a Dhampir into a guardian. When the first book was written, Rose wanted to be a guardian so she could gain molnija marks by killing Strigoi and being the best, as well as wanting to protect Lissa. However, Dimitri shows her what being a guardian is about which is what causes her to have feelings for him. 

Yet, in the show, Dimitri confesses his feelings for Rose first. In the books, Dimitri never would have confessed his feelings for Rose for a number of reasons. Additionally, the only reason he ever expressed any sort of feeling for Rose is when she prodded him to the point where he grew exacerbated by her. Overall, the dynamics between the show’s characters as opposed to the books are extremely different. Will these dynamics ultimately drive the show closer to the book or farther away from it? Let’s find out.