Revenants are kissing cousins to vampires, and while some sources consider them one and the same, there are significant differences between the two. Seeing as there isn’t a lot of supernatural lore out there where revenants are concerned, it’s time to set the record straight as to the differences between the two.
1. Revenants and vampires are created differently.
While both revenants and vampires are resurrected from the dead, the reason for their return differs. Revenants were thought to have died under violent circumstances and return as animated corpses due to unfinished business, such as exacting revenge for their deaths (Wiki Revenants). Vampires must be bitten by another vampire in order to return. Most legends need there to be vampire blood in the newly dead’s system for successful turning.
2. Revenants can go out in the daytime.
It is well-known that ultra-violet light can incinerate vampires beyond the point of no return, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Vampires on HBO’s True Blood are able to bask in the sun for brief intervals after drinking fairy blood, while the Salvatore brothers on CW’s Vampire Diaries can withstand sunlight so long as they’re wearing enchanted rings. On Being Human and some other shows, vampires have only a sensitivity to UV light and either burn or sparkle when exposed. Revenants, on the other hand, have no problem with light. They are able to walk about freely in the daytime and are immune to sunburn.
3. Revenants are teetotalers.
Vampires are notorious drinkers. On Vampire Diaries, for example, alcohol keeps vampire blood pumping. Vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer may feel their senses dulled after drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Revenants cannot drink alcohol (or ingest any food or drink for that matter), as it would only ferment inside their bodies.
4. Revenants can enter a home without being invited.
When they try to enter a private residence without invitation, Vampires hit a force-field-like wall preventing them from entering. While revenants can enter private residences without first being invited, they begin to smoke when they try, so they prefer to wait for the invite.
5. Revenants don’t drink blood.
The legend of the vampire first got started because people used to blame the spirits of the newly dead for their misfortunes. When they dug up the corpses, they were bloated as if they’d just fed. Some of them had blood on their lips. Because the process of decomposition was not well-known, people believed the corpses to have risen to wreak havoc and feed on unsuspecting villagers by night, and hide in their coffins by day. This is probably where the whole blood-sucking myth was born. Unlike vampires, revenants don’t need blood to survive. They are driven by the need to right the wrong they left behind by dying. Combine that with the mojo from a powerful necromancer, and revenants can live indefinitely.
Because they both developed from people’s unfamiliarity of the decomposition process, there are quite a few similarities between revenants and vampires as well.
Look for my next blog post to read what revenants and vampires have in common.