Aug 21, 2007

Characters from Dracula

Stoker, Bram. Dracula . Westminster: Constable, 1897.
First American edition NY: Doubleday & McClure, 1899. Hardcover.

Stoker's Dracula has come to personify what most readers imagine what a "real" vampire must be like: an undead creature who lives on human blood, prefers to make his rounds at night, has superhuman strength, casts no reflection in a mirror, hates garlic, fears crosses and holy water, and can change into a bat, a wolf, or mist at will. Even though these traits are familiar and countless films have been made about Count Dracula, Stoker's powerfully written novel still rouses fear in even the most jaded heart. Through the journals, diaries, and letters of those besieged by this evil count, the horror builds as Dracula's plan to move his stronghold from Transylvania to Victorian England and create a new "unlife" for himself, seems unstoppable. For anyone not familiar with the story a brief description of the various protagonists can be helpful. These characters often show up in other vampire stories -- individually or as an ensemble.

Count Dracula -- a centuries old vampire of immense evil who has lived his many years in the Carpathian mountains of Transylvania causing endless grief and terror to nearby residents. He plans to leave his ancestral homeland and head for England's shores.

Jonathan Harker -- a young solicitor who travels to Transylvania at the behest of the Count in order to help him prepare for the move to England. Jonathan soon realizes he is not only in the presence of a terrible evil, but worse, is a prisoner in imminent peril for his life and soul.

Lucy Westenra -- a lively pretty young woman with three handsome suitors. She is also Dracula's first English victim.

Arthur Holmwood -- heir of Lord Godalming and the winner in the contest to win Lucy's hand.
Quincey P. Morris -- an American from Texas.
John Seward -- a doctor in charge of a nearby lunatic asylum. When Lucy becomes "ill" and does not respond to treatment, John sends for his former mentor Dr. Van Helsing in hopes that a cure can be found for her.

Mina Harker (nee Murray). -- fiancee (and later wife of Jonathan) who is also a close friend of Lucy's. After Lucy's death, Mina becomes the next object of Dracula's attention. He wants her for his bride. But the scheme is interrupted by Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Unfortunately Mina has been forced to drink some of Dracula's blood and now has a psychic link to him. This link, however, will be used to track him when he flees.

Dr. Abraham Van Helsing
-- Sent for from Amsterdam by John Seward, Van Helsing becomes suspicious of what lies behind Lucy's illness. Still he is unable to save her. It is Van Helsing who then convinces the other men - Harker ( who has escaped from Dracula's castle) and Lucy's suitors - that a vampire is at work and must be hunted down and destroyed.

-- a patient in Dr. Seward's asylum. Renfield practices his own brand of entomology. After quietly studying flies and spiders he then proceeds to eat them. He eventually becomes the human servant of Dracula.

Following is a brief list of modern day novels using characters from Stoker's Dracula as protagonists.

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman.

Blood to Blood: The Dracula Story Continues by Elaine Bergstrom

by Kate Cary.

The Bloody Red Baron by Kim Newman

The Book of Renfield : A Gospel of Dracula by Tim Lucas

The Diaries of the Family Dracul. by Jeanne Kalogridis - a series of three novels which should be read in order.
Covenant With the Vampire
Children of the Vampire
Lord of the Vampires

The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen.
This novel is followed by several others that are based on the closeness of Dracula (in this series he's a good guy) to Mina Harker and her descendants.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Judgement of Tears: Anno Dracula 1959 by Kim Newman

Mina by Elaine Bergstrom.

Renfield Slave of Dracula by Barbara Hambly

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