A vampire who represents the figure of the wise teacher.
"I'm always fascinated with the idea of the older, wiser teacher," says Rice. "It captured my imagination in The Teachings of Don Juan- that an older, more experienced mystic or adept would teach one [an apprentice] how to use such powers."
Lestat first hears of Marius when Armand tells him how he became a vampire. When Armand first knew him in the fifteenth century, Marius had been a Venetian nobleman and artist. He chose to work among mortals, have mortal apprentices, and make religious art. It was Marius who bought Armand from the brothel and fell in love with him. He then painted The Temptation of Amadeo in an attempt to capture on canvas Armand's qualities forever, and he made Armand so that he could join with another kindred soul. Marius desired their bond to be permanent, but their happiness was short-loved when, only six months later, Santino 's coven put a torch to Marius and captured Armand. Marius managed to escape to his secret shrine in the mountains of Northern Italy, where he healed himself by drinking the healing blood of Those Who Must Be Kept. He did not see Armand again until 1985 in Sonoma, although he had been aware that Armand was suffering through three centuries of loneliness. (VL 292-300)
"I don't remember the first moment Marius sprang into my mind," says Rice. "Maybe it was when Lestat said he wanted to know whether immortals had been made in Roman times, when it was more enlightened and sophisticated than the Dark Ages. So Marius evolved as a character who really had the wisdom of that ancient world- the cleverness, the wit, the perspective on the world that I feel a sophisticated Roman should have had. He may have been evolved from the force of Armand's image. I might have written Armand's story before I knew who Marius really was."
After hearing about Marius from Armand, Lestat decides Marius could teach him a lot about the best way of living as an immortal. He sets out to find him, for ten years leaving messages all across Europe until Marius- won over by Lestat's persistence and innocence- finally comes to him. Marius then takes Lestat to his sanctuary on a Greek Island. (VL 310, 323, 338, 360-363)
With blue eyes and white-blond hair, Marius wears red velvet no matter what the era. His face astonished Lestat: "What one of us could have such a face? What did we know of patience, of seeming goodness, of compassion?" (VL 361) Marius seems to depict a pure image of human love. Gentle, vital, and noble, he emanates a godlike power, although he is more human than any vampire Lestat ever encountered. Marius does have the ability to perform supernatural feats like levitation and mental telepathy, but he prefers to do things the human way. To him, human gestures are more elegant and require less energy. "There is wisdom in the flesh," he claims. (VL 379) His goal is not to transcend human emotions but, rather, to refine and understand them. He also seems connected to everything around him- thus being the antithesis of Armand, who is connected to nothing. Marius shows Lestat Those Who Must Be Kept- Akasha and Enkil, the original vampires- and tells his own story. (VL 378, 385-396)
The bastard child of a Keltic woman and a wealthy Roman, he was a citizen of the Roman city of Massilia during the time of the Roman Empire. Never bored or defeated by life, he always felt a sense of invincibility and wonder. An important life theme for him was the idea of the existence of continuous awareness, because Marius desired that nothing spiritual ever be lost. A scholar, at the age of forty, at work on a history of the world when a Druid abducted him. Because he was an extraordinary human being, the Druids wanted him to replace the God of the Grove, a burned and crippled vampire who no longer inspired their ceremonies.
The Druid priest, Mael, forced Marius to learn the Druid language and customs. On the night of the great Feast of Samhain, the Druids took Marius to the giant oak tree where they had imprisoned their other god. Inside it, the vampire god taught him the lessons of the vampires and urged him to go to Egypt, to find out why vampires in other places- and himself as well- had been burned or destroyed. After being made a vampire, Marius broke free of the Druids and pursued this new course.
In Alexandria, Marius encountered other burned vampires. One of them took him to the Elder- a vampire who told Marius about Akasha and Enkil, the vampire progenitors. Marius learned that he, like other vampires, is vitally connected to them, and that if they suffered harm, he and all other vampires would experience similar damage. Since they had been placed in the sun, as a consequence vampires everywhere had been burned or destroyed. The recognition that whatever happens to them happens to him upsets him, although it affirmed Marius' desire for the existence of a continuous awareness.
That same night, Akasha asked Marius to take her and Enkil out of Egypt before the Elder- the one who had deliberately placed them in the sun- destroyed them. Marius took them as requested, traveling around Europe until he settled on the island fortress in the Aegean, where he built a shrine for them and where he now sits with Lestat. (VL 396-466)
Marius feels he is truly immortal, that he is the perfect guardian for Akasha and Enkil, and that he is now the "continual awareness." He is in love with humanity's progress, although he realizes that human evolution away from belief in gods and superstitions has made him, as a vampire, obsolete. No purpose is left for him. (VL 466-467)
After Marius tells his story, he sends Lestat away to live on his own, for the equivalent of one mortal lifetime. He tells Lestat not to look to history to give him meaning, because the dilemma of how to live one's life is always a personal one. However, Marius vows that he will be available if Lestat ever needs his help, and extracts from Lestat a promise never to tell anyone about him or his whereabouts. (VL 468-470)
They do not meet again until the twentieth century, when Lestat becomes a rock star and reveals the whole vampire history in his songs. By that time, Marius has moved his immortal charges to a northern wasteland where he plays Lestat's music for them. In response, Akasha rises and destroys the shrine, trapping Marius in ice for ten days. Marius sends out signals of danger to the other vampires. His child and lover, Pandora, urges Santino to help dig Marius out, and while Marius survives, the experience has humiliated and spiritually bruised him. (QotD 17-31, 68, 264)
Marius joins the vampires who stand against Akasha and Lestat and their rampage of destruction, and uses his own belief in the need for human evolution to attempt to reason with Akasha. After he demise, he urges Lestat not to write about it, but Lestat ignores his advice. The surviving coven drifts apart, and Lestat believes that Marius has gone into Asia. (QotD 264-275, 437-444)
He appears again in BT only as an angry presence at Lestat's antics; he turns his back on Lestat in front of Louis' burning shack as if he is finally finished with him. (BT 272)
In a segment that was included in the first draft, then condensed to a few lines, Marius uses Khayman to bring Lestat to Hong Kong. There he scolds Lestat for making himself conspicuous to the mortal world. At this time Marius is still a scholar, reading newspapers and books in many languages, and looking through a high-powered telescope in search of the continuous awareness about which he dreams. (BT 4-5)
Taken from Katherine Ramsland's The Vampire Companion.