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We are home. We live everywhere and anywhere we choose. The world is our garden.
Queen Akasha, also simply known as Akasha, is the main antagonist of the novel series The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and its 2002 film adaptation Queen of the Damned. She is the oppressive queen of the vampires because she was the very first vampire ever born. According to the novel series The Vampire Chronicles, Akasha is one of the two lost-long ancient vampires alongside her husband and king, Enkil, who are both called Those Who Must Be Kept.
She was portrayed by the late singer Aaliyah in her second-to-last film role.
As told in the novel, Akasha was originally from Uruk, or modern-day Iraq. She rose to become a Queen in Kemet, the land that would eventually become Egypt; she and her husband King Enkil wanted their people to turn away from their cannibalistic ways and encourage the eating of grains. Queen Akasha was described as a lovely young woman who was "almost too pretty to be truly beautiful, for her prettiness overcame any sense of majesty or deep mystery." Underneath her physical beauty, Akasha is a fundamentally dark, empty vampire with no sense of morality, ethics nor human compassion; her actions are almost always based on her insatiable need to fill her own inner emptiness.
Akasha eventually becomes fascinated by the spirits of the supernatural, forcibly bringing the red-haired witch sisters Maharet and Mekare to her court to commune with these spirits. Against their advice, Akasha forces the witch sisters to seek answers from the spirits to countless shallow questions she asks, but the ensuing answers, some in the form of provocative and obscene gestures, ultimately enrage the Queen by confirming her inner emptiness -- "She had asked questions of the supernatural, a very foolish thing to do, and she had received answers which she could neither accept nor refute.". One spirit in particular, a bloodthirsty and aggressive entity called Amel, threatens Akasha and ultimately stages a weak but demonstrative attack against her. Akasha, in turn, has Mekare and Maharet publicly raped by her reluctant servant Khayman for their "witchcraft", and banishes them from Kemet.
One year later, the twin witches are recalled to the kingdom by Khayman, where they learn that Amel had kept his presence in the kingdom and that, when the King and Queen were coincidentally assassinated by supporters of cannibalism one night, the spirit of Amel joined with Akasha's soul as it rose from her body, re-entering her body through her wounds and fusing with her heart and brain to create an entirely new being: the vampire. Amel's deadly lust for human blood thus passed to Akasha. Akasha then took her king Enkil and passed the "Dark Gift" onto him, transforming Enkil into a vampire, and then made Khayman, who then passed it on to Mekare and Maharet. It was Mekare who tells the Queen what kind of being she has become, as well as explaining her newfound sensitivity to sunlight and thirst for blood.
As her progeny proliferate, Akasha's need for blood diminishes. Eventually she (along with Enkil) becomes a living statue, kept safe for centuries by guardians who know that she is the source of their existence and immortality. After one of these guardians tires of the task, he places Akasha and Enkil in the sun; vampires worldwide are burned or destroyed as a result of all being linked by the spirit of Amel that still resides in Akasha.
Akasha draws the vampire Marius to her and urges him to take her and Enkil out of Egypt. Marius does so and protects them for nearly 2,000 years. At one point, Maharet stabs the statue of Akasha in the heart; as Maharet feels the energy leave her own body, it confirms the legend that to kill Akasha is to annihilate all vampires.
In 1985, the vampire Lestat wakes Akasha from her trance with his music. She rises and becomes a relentless and severe destroyer, killing most of her vampire progeny worldwide while simultaneously kidnapping Lestat, who becomes her lover and cohort. She spares at least seventeen (Maharet, Mekare, Khayman, Louis, Jesse, Gabrielle, Armand, Daniel, Marius, Mael, Santino, Pandora, Eric, Vittorio, Thorne and the coven that made Quinn Blackwood, Manfred Blackwood, Petronia and one from ancient Greece) vampires from her slaughter—either ancient vampires she cannot easily destroy, or Lestat's loved ones and demands that they join with her in her plan for a new world order: to kill 99% of the world's men and to set up a new "Eden" in which women, with Akasha as their Goddess, reign.
A heated philosophical discussion ensues; while Akasha insists that her plan is for the benefit of humanity in the long run and will usher in a new era of peace, Maharet boldly defies her and points out the underlying truth: that Akasha simply wants to dominate and be worshipped, to once again subject everyone to her will, and to once again create a new system of religious dogma to fill her inner emptiness, with absolutely no regard for the lives at stake.
The surviving vampires all refuse to join with Akasha, but before she can destroy them, the vampire Mekare arrives at the scene and shoves her into a glass wall. The broken shards decapitate Akasha. Maharet and Mekare then immediately grab Akasha's heart and brain. Mekare eats the brain and then the heart, and thereby the soul of Akasha; as Mekare does so, she takes into herself the source of the spiritual fusion with Amel and becomes the new life force of the vampires, while Akasha's ancient body finally disintegrates into black dust.
Queen of the Damned
Akasha was awakened from her slumber by newly made vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, bringing the statue form of Akasha to life before drinking some of her blood. The taste of Akasha's blood left Lestat enamored by Akasha, despite the warnings of Marius de Romanus (who had turned Lestat into a vampire) that she was too powerful for him. Years later, after Lestat had become the lead of a popular rock band, Akasha began searching for him.
When Akasha arrived at The Admiral's Arms (a London-based vampire club) and learned from one vampire that he and several vampires were planning to kill Lestat for exposing the existence of vampires and his overall flamboyant ways. Looking intrigued, Akasha replied, “Really? Is that what you’re going to do?”
Before he even had a chance to answer, Akasha turned and then walked over to the dance floor. She then danced seductively before calling the vampire over to her; she then ripped the vampire's heart from him, later using her powers to cause several other vampire club-goers to turn to dust before eventually setting fire to the entire club.
Akasha later arrived at Lestat's live concert in Death Valley after he and Marius fought off a group of attacking vampires, taking him to her new home, which is surrounded by the corpses of 100s of people Akasha had slain overnight (presumably for sustanance and pleasure). The seductive vampiress then entranced Lestat into staying with her and becoming her king, with the pair feeding off of each other's blood.
In the film's climax, protagonist Jesse Reeves (along with her aunt Maharet, one of the Ancient Vampires, and a few of her fellow Ancients) confronted Akasha and Lestat, with Jesse being shocked upon seeing how Akasha had manipulated Lestat into becoming her subordinate. The evil Akasha blasted the Ancient Vampires for wanting to live peacefully with mortals before asking Lestat to kill Jesse.
Lestat appears to follow Akasha's orders as Jesse allows Lestat to feed off of her, but instead of killing her, Lestat instead drinks enough of Jesse's blood to break free of Akasha's hold. Mad at what Akasha made him do, he then attempted to kill Akasha by draining her of her blood, only to be stopped by Akasha. Akasha then began to fight off the Ancients, murdering two of them before becoming weakened by their attacks. After Akasha reminded the Ancients that anyone who drained the last of her blood would die, Lestat attempted to finish her off, only for Maharet to instead make the sacrifice, draining Akasha of her blood and causing the vampiress to first turn into bronze and then disintegrate into black dust.
Akasha never actually attacks anyone by biting their neck. She either sets them on fire, rips their heart out, or bites another area of their body.
Aaliyah was the first actor to be cast for the film. She was enthusiastic about taking the role due to her fascination with Egyptian mythology and also being a huge fan of vampire horror fiction.
Halle Berry, Jenna Dewan, Vivica A. Fox, Vanessa Williams, Rosario Dawson, Samantha Mumba and Jada Pinkett Smith were rumored to be taking the role of Akasha before Aaliyah was cast.
Aaliyah gets top billing as Akasha's actor despite not appearing in the film until the fifty-one minute mark and having a total of twenty-six minutes of screen time.
The blood that Akasha has in her mouth is really cherry juice.
Aaliyah died in a plane crash shortly after principal photography was completed but had not yet actually performed any ADR redubbing for her character. Michael Rymer called in her brother to help with overdubbing her voice following her death due to their similar voices, with special vocal technology being used to make his voice sound more feminine.