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Poppy North is the main protagonist of Secret Vampire and the soulmate of James Rasmussen. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Poppy learns of the Night World through James, and discovers that he is a vampire. With no other options, Poppy willingly decides to become a vampire with James' help, despite the risky process and the laws of the Night World. Poppy and her twin brother Phillip North later discover they are in fact lost witches. This revelation allows Poppy and James to live in peace from the Night World. Sometime after, Poppy and James join Circle Daybreak along with the other soulmate couples.
Poppy is a sixteen year old girl with fiery copper curls, green eyes and an elfin stature. As noted by Poppy, she also has four and a half freckles on her nose.
After her transformation into a vampire, Poppy becomes"inhumanly beautiful", like other Night People. Her hair takes on a "metallic" copper color and her skin becomes paler. All flaws, including her freckles, disappear.
Poppy runs high on life. She is energetic, totally carefree and adventurous. She is a hopeless romantic. Poppy gets along with people very well but when she feels threatened or the need to protect she will lash out. Prior to becoming a vampire; Poppy's two ambitions in life were to marry James and see the world; it is likely that she still plans to fulfill these dreams. Poppy is quite intelligent and quick-witted, though she mentions that she never tried very hard in school and mostly used her brains to outsmart the teachers, something she comes to regret following her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Poppy dislikes hospitals and doctors. She is also terrified of receiving injections; even the thought of it makes her nauseous. Poppy is a big fan of trance and techno music.
Poppy and her brother Phil are the children of Phillipa Hilgard and Jesse North. Because of their father's latent psychic powers and his obsession with the paranormal, their parents divorced which led to Jesse's estrangement from his children. Phillipa instead remarried with a man named Cliff Hilgard, who embodied everything Poppy's father wasn't.
At the age of five, Poppy met James in kindergarten. When the older boys started bullying him because of his "differentness", Poppy stood up to them and befriended James. Ever since, the two became best friends although Poppy harbored secret feelings for James.
When Poppy finds out she has terminal cancer her life is shattered. James rocks her reality when he tells her he is a vampire who can save her by changing her into one. The possibility of eternal life with James convinces Poppy of her choice. Phillip has reservations about James though and he informs Poppy that James is making a fool of her by pretending to love her. Poppy wonders why James never expressed his love for her before and she quickly changes her mind. She would rather die than take help from James. As Poppy becomes more ill Phillip realises he does not want his sister to die. He asks James to help Poppy.James explains to Poppy that Night World law forbids him to love a human and if he ever did express love for her she would've been killed by Night People. Poppy becomes a vampire and stays with James at his apartment until they decide on their future plans. Ash Redfern comes to visit. James is not there when Ash arrives. Ash immediately knows Poppy has been changed and he warns Poppy that James has risked his life by changing her without permission from the Night World Council. He convinces Poppy to run away with him to save James.
He takes her to Las Vegas. Poppy picks up on his devious plan to hand her over to a Night World elder but James and Philip have found them in time. James warns Ash that he will regret any harm that comes to Poppy. Ash laughs. He walks away telling Poppy she has a loud yell. Poppy is confused. She wonders how James and Phillip found her within a mansion. Phillip says he heard her in his mind and somehow knew exactly where to find her. It is James who figures out Poppy and Philip are both telepathic. This makes them lost witches. Poppy is delighted to know she was already a Night Person before her change. Poppy and James leave El Camino to find her father. She believes he is a lost witch.
Poppy will make an appearance in the final novel, Strange Fate. In a short story found on L. J. Smith's Official Website, Poppy is attacking a SEAL agent; she is able to use her exceptional telepathic ability to subdue the man and bite him to satiate her thirst. Interestingly, before inducing the SEAL into a stupor, Poppy reveals to him the vampire weakness to wood, and additionally takes his badge; Poppy is shown having a collection of badges.
However, as she is about to finish feeding, both she and the SEAL are alerted to a new presence: a large tri-horned black dragon. Poppy attempts to use her psychic Power to attack the horns, having stated that she had been heavily trained in utilizing her power with enough force to compare it to "an H-bomb". Just as she is about to unleash the attack, she is knocked into the bushes by James, who seeks to protect her from the dragon. The enormous creature meanwhile, to Poppy's horror, incinerates the SEAL with a fiery blast. James advises Poppy not to fight, and to instead stay put and hope the dragon forgets her, but the dragon soon turns toward the bushes. As a last attempt at escape, the soulmates use their bond to unite mentally; they lower their body temperatures significantly to avoid detection. However, the creature is not fooled, laughing at their effort.
The couple, acknowledging they are doomed, bid one another goodbye, exchanging declarations of love. Fortunately, as the dragon is about to breathe fire at them, Ash appears by helicopter, along with Poppy's twin brother, Phillip. The twins quickly begin a psychic assault on the dragon, termed as a Synergy Yell; Poppy and Phillip telepathically unleash a wave of telepathic power at the horns, as Poppy had remembered their significance. This action, ramped up by Poppy from a yell to a "shriek" is powerful enough to stun the dragon, allowing Poppy and James to escape up into the helicopter. However, the effort involved in the Syngery Yell, as he was not trained as Poppy was, causes Phillip to become overwhelmed and pass out.
As the dragon is too stunned to follow, the helicopter is ordered by Ash to return to Circle Daybreak; Phillip is wrapped in a shock blanket while Poppy is given tea for comfort. Ash reveals, when questioned by James, that the dragon had in fact was targeting James himself, as foreseen by the Maiden, Aradia; "for some reason the dragon doesn’t want Redferns or Harmans—especially ones with human or ex-human soulmates.” Poppy quickly observes that Ash is doing this for Mary-Lynnette, to which Ash replies quietly: "Everything I do I do for her."
The Elders would never have approved of Poppy's transformation. Opposed to humans becoming part of the Night World, the Elders would not condone James's actions - even if he is rescuing his soulmate. Poppy and James's relationship is one of the first indicators that the soulmate principle is on the rise - and Poppy is perhaps the most famous modern made vampire in Circle Daybreak.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Before her transformation into a vampire, Poppy was a lost witch. Had she been trained in witchcraft, Poppy would've had all the regular powers of a witch. The powers that Poppy exhibited were:
- Premonition: This power mainly manifested in a weaker form as "hunches". While in a deathlike state, Poppy dreamed of meeting Ash Redfern before she actually did.
- Telepathy: Poppy is noted as being exceptionally talented at telepathy. While exchanging blood with James, she could easily communicate with him through telepathy.
After being turned into a vampire, Poppy gained all the powers of a vampire:
- Immortality: Vampires are immune to natural death and can only be killed with wood through the heart, fire or psychic attack.
- Super Strength: Vampires are much stronger than humans, easily bending metal objects out of shape.
- Super Speed: Vampires are much faster than humans, capable of catching up to humans running at full speed without tiring themselves.
- Supernatural Agility: Vampires have much more faster reflexes than humans and react much more quickly.
- Enhanced Senses: Vampire senses are more acute than a human's and they are able to detect things indistinguishable with human senses.
- Enhanced Resilience: Vampires are far more resistant to damage and pain than humans. Wood is the only thing capable of keeping a vampire from healing instantly.
- Enhanced Healing: Vampires heal much faster than humans, to the point that an otherwise fatal injury is healed in a short space of time, unless the injury is inflicted by wood.
- Transformation: Whenever vampires are angered or in anticipation of feeding, their canines sharpen, their eyes become more silver in color and their lips redden.
- Telepathy: Vampires can broadcast and receive the thoughts of other beings. This power is particularly difficult to master. It should be noted that Poppy is particularly talented at this power, even before she became a vampire. Her transformation strengthened the power even more.
- Mind Control: Vampires can control and manipulate the minds of humans to their will. This power does not work on all humans and Night People are immune to it. They can also erase memories completely, even being able to eliminate days worth of mental impressions, provided the memories are not entangled with the memories of other events.
- Power: The rise of the Old Powers granted vampires an ability known as Power, the means to conduct psychic attack, which can be strong enough to kill, even being harmful to fellow vampires.
- Poppy is the very first character introduced in the series.
- She is also the first female character introduced.
- Although it was only revealed at the end of Secret Vampire, Poppy is also the first lost witch introduced (with the first witch introduced being James's acquaintance, Gisele).
- She is also the first made vampire to be introduced, and the first witch to be shown to be transformed into one.
- Through their father, Poppy and Phil are distant relatives of the Harman Family.
- Poppy states that she likes witches, mainly because of the matriarchy. Ironically, Poppy turns out to be a witch.
- Poppy enjoys music and gets excited when talking about it to others. This is a key part of her bond with James.
- During her struggle with Ash, Poppy demonstrated the power to telepathically inflict pain on him. This is due to her original heritage as a witch, her innate powers enhancing her telepathic power as a vampire (which also explains how she was able to develop this mental skill so quickly, even astonishing James).
- Poppy was not born a vampire but by coincidence she happens to be named after a natural thing, similar to lamia. The name ‘Poppy’ refers to both the flower and the poppy tree. Like her namesake, the character Poppy has curly red hair. The surname ‘North’ means ‘from the north’ in Old English.
- She and Maya Dragonslayer, her soulmate's ancestress, are thus far the only witches of the series who were changed into made vampires, and whose powers were strengthened by the change.
- Poppy bears a close resemblance to another character of the series: the witch Winnie Arlin. Both boast curly red hair, green eyes, and are compared in appearance to elves or pixies. Both are also (at least for Poppy initially) witches.
- Poppy is nicknamed 'Poppet' by her mother. Her father, on the other hand, nicknamed her 'Kilowatt' or 'Eveready', in reference to her lively and energetic personality.