I finally (finished) read(ing) Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” recently.
I have to say it was both not what I was expecting and exactly what I was expecting.
Allow me to explain.
It was not what I was expecting because my idea of “Dracula” was more like a trapped-in-a-castle-with-a-madman tale. I had always had this idea that the tale of Dracula was a group of travellers had their ride break down somehow (horses died or ran off, carriage wheels broke, that kind of thing) and they were forced to seek refuge in Dracula’s castle.
Then one by one a traveller disappears and/or is discovered to have vampire bite marks on his or her neck.
Eventually someone figures out what is going on and the remaining travellers seek out the monster and kill it.
And I was partly right.
How it was everything I expected: it wasn’t gay like Twilight.
Sorry. I just wanted to make that joke.
Seriously though. I had heard things about how Dracula was a monster, that he was a vicious killing machine. Or at least a vicious turns-people-into-vampires machine. And that’s pretty much what he was.
But he was also so much more.
He was a conniving, fairly intelligent and brutal monster. He bites someone, and then returns until that person has been sucked enough that s/he is turned into a vampire.
And he has the power to command the weather, to a degree. He can also control animals. He can turn into a bat (OK, everyone knows that). I can take on a non-corporeal form.
In short, he is pretty much the prototypical horror.
Now, when it comes to how Stoker wrote his tale, I have to say I have some issues. Not many. Just some.
I like how he varied the perspective as he revolved through Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker, Lucy, Dr. Seward and a few others. It allowed the knowledge and understanding of the tale’s happenings to be developed as each character began to realize what was going on. And it also meant the reader was able to see that progression and foresee the other characters figuring things out.
On the other hand, it required some mental gymnastics, especially if the reader had to stop reading midway through one character’s journal. But that wasn’t really that much of a problem, just more of an observation.
So, overall, I was very happy with Dracula. It more than made up for my decision to read “The Weir of Hermiston.” My god, that was horrible.