"Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!"
— Count Dracula
The original Bram Stoker novel that the Public Domain CharacterDracula comes from. It was published in 1897.Jonathan Harker, a young British solicitor about to be made partner, is sent out to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to see about a new client of his firm. Waiting at home for him is his young fiancee and secretary, Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray. Jonathan expects to be back home within a few weeks, but he doesn't know that Count Dracula is an ancient vampire, whose intentions of moving to England are nothing less than a plan to feast on the teeming crowds of London.Meanwhile in England, a Dr. John Seward, keeper of an insane asylum, notices a strange habit of his patient Renfield: consuming live things so as to absorb their life energy. Renfield keeps trying to escape to the old abandoned house next to his asylum, which seems to be seeing a lot of activity all of a sudden. And Lucy Westenra, Mina's beautiful best friend with three potential husbands (including Dr. Seward), is beginning to fall ill...Concerned about Lucy's health, Dr. Seward notifies his Dutch mentor, Dr. Abraham van Helsing. When Van Helsing recognizes Lucy's illness as the mark of the vampire, he gathers Lucy's loved ones around him to save the girl: her fiance Lord Arthur Godalming, her American former suitor Quincey Morris, Jonathan Harker (who was found severely traumatized by Dracula, but alive), and Mina. Knowing that Dracula's power doesn't work during the day — although he can still move about, and fight, quite well during these hours — they form a plan to hunt him down and rid the world of him forever. Although the men initially try to keep Mina out of the loop to protect her feminine sensibilites, she quickly proves herself to be a strong and thoroughly clever investigator... which Dracula himself is just as quick to notice.This book is now in the public domain, and can now be found on Project Gutenberg.The main characters in the novel include:
Renfield — Dracula's pathetic yes man. This is usually only in the films though. Stoker's novel has him act as a kind of 'sensor' for Dracula, but no real explanation is given to how this is achieved. Renfield is simply shown to be an inmate at the asylum in the book.
Team Mom, who kept calming down the boys even after she was infected. She also had her moments of Badass Bookworm, helping Van Helsing by organizing everything and even giving him strategic insights. She's also The Heart, which is probably why most adaptations render her helpless.
Lucy Westenra — Distressed Damsel, played dead straight. She becomes the first victim of the count upon his arrival on London shores. The men try to save her, fail, and she becomes a vampire with a taste for children.
Jack Seward, Arthur Holmwood (later known as Lord Godalming), and Quincey Morris — Love Interests for Lucy who become secondary heroes following her distress. In adaptations, likely to be either dropped entirely or combined in some fashion with the Harker role. If not, they are The Lancer to Harker.
The Brides — Three beautiful and seductive Horny Devils who reside in Dracula's castle, desiring Jonathan's blood and welcoming Mina as their sister when's she's a Vampire Refugee. Due to their short role, it's not made clear what their relationship to Dracula is, some theorizing they're his wife and daughters or simply past victims he keeps for company. Their portrayal in various forms of media tend to shift on their behavior. Sometimes they are simply coquetteish, while other times they are sexually forward. Often fall victim to Adaptation Dye-Job.
This story provides examples of:
Admiring the Abomination: According to van Helsing, the Count "must indeed have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land. If it be so, then was he no common man: for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the 'land beyond the forest'".
Animal Motifs: Howling wolves are a sign of Dracula's presence, and he's repeatedly associated with (and has power over) wolves, bats, rats, and at one point lizards. However, horses are terrified of vampires.
Animorphism: Dracula has the power to shapeshift into wolves, bats, and smoke, and probably other things.
Apocalyptic Log: The journal of the captain on whose ship Dracula came over is chilling.
Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: Of the four men trying to track down Dracula, three of them are extremely wealthy by last act (two of them having inherited large estates, the other being a wealthy ranch owner), which means they can spend money and hand out bribes freely without having to worry about the expense.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Except for Lord Godalming, AKA Arthur, who is one of the protagonists, but not treated any differently from the rest. Dracula, however, is dead straight. Conversely, every vampire is aristocratic.
Stoker uses the word "nosferatu" as an appealingly foreign-sounding synonym for "vampire", and identified as his source a work that cited it as the Romanian translation of "not living". Unfortunately, the word doesn't exist in Romanian, and no alternative etymologies (a Greek word meaning "disease-bearing," a Latin word meaning "you are our wild beast," or a mis-transcription of a legitimate, but unknown, Romanian or Slavonic word) have gained anything like consensus.
At times, Van Helsing's speech is just a random string of words without any resemblance to Dutch syntax. But every once in awhile, he sounds perfectly Dutch ("He infect you in such wise, that even if he do no more, you have only to live" is a very Dutch structure, for example). Less forgiveable are his occasional, very much not Dutch, very much German, exclamations of shock or horror.
May be Justified by the fact that Van Helsing is a learned man and may well have known multiple languages and/or even lived in Germany for a brief time. The time he spent there may have stuck with him.
Author Avatar: Jonathan Harker is the character most critics believe is Stoker's Author Avatar. Van Helsing might be an avatar for Stoker's father, who was also named Abraham.
Badass Mustache: While it's often left out in adaptations, when Dracula's appearance is first described, he is clean-shaven except a long, white moustache. This is probably based on portraits of Vlad the Impaler.
Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: It's strongly implied that Dracula is Vlad the Impaler himself. Stoker changed his villain's name from "Lord Vampyr" to Dracula after researching Vlad's grim reputation as a torturer.
Breaking and Bloodsucking: The Trope Codifier with a helping hand from Pop-Cultural Osmosis. Dracula never technically enters Lucy's bedroom. On the first occasion, he hypnotises her to leave the house and go down to the park. Thereafter, he goes to her bedroom window as a bat and she climbs partway out of it to be drained. When vamping Mina, he was able to enter because an inmate of the asylum she was sleeping in gave him leave. .
Dr. Seward: [Renfield] seems so mixed up with the Count in an indexy kind of way...
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Vampire hunting expert Van Helsing has quite the disturbing sense of humour.
The Cake Is a Lie: Dracula's deal to get Renfield to invite him in. And the deal Dracula reneged on; he offered Renfield thousands of rats. To eat. Renfield's insanity was a fixation on eating living creatures to absorb their life. Dracula going back on this deal is part of what instigated Renfield's Heel-Face Turn.
Cannot Cross Running Water: A stated weakness of vampires, except during "the slack or flood of the tide". It proves instrumental to slowing Dracula down near the end of the book.
Child Eater: Dracula's vampire companions and Lucy after she turned, though the latter never really fully drained her victims because circumstances would force her to leave them behind before she could.
Cold Iron: Just as suitable as a wooden stake for destroying a vampire's heart.
Collateral Angst: Dr. Seward observes several times that Jonathan seems to find Mina's metaphorical rape harder to bear than she does, and she, ironically, seems to be the one comforting him.
The boat that Dracula is on arrives at Whitby, where Mina Murray, the fiancée of the man who's unwittingly helped him, is by a strange coincidence on holiday at the time; in a twist of fate, his first victim is Lucy, Mina's best friend. What's more, one of Lucy's admirers, conveniently enough, runs the lunatic asylum right next door to Dracula's new house. He also has a friend and mentor who, while not a vampire hunter, certainly knows a lot about how to deal with them or ward them off.
In Chapter 2, Harker notes that Whitby is circled on Dracula's map of England, implying that the Count's arrival there is not strictly coincidental; why he would have chosen that place, even before he learns of Mina, is a bit of a mystery.
Dual Age Modes: Dracula appears much younger when he's recently fed. He apparently can change his appearance at will, since on the night that Jonathan Harker met him, he first appeared to have a long brown beard and then later appeared to have a long white mustache and no beard.
Due to the Dead: What makes Seward so uneasy about investigating Lucy's vampirism.
The scene where Dracula forces Mina to drink his blood reads like a rape scene.
Vampirism in general. It's especially obvious in the situation when Lucy has been ravished and drained by the monster, and the men who love her have one option to restore her purity: to inject their own precious bodily fluids into her. This is lampshaded by one of the characters mocking the idea of the blood transfusion being a metaphorical sex act.
Eats Babies: The three women in Dracula's Castle. Lucy almost reaches this point.
Empathic Environment: Immediately after vampire Lucy is slain, the weather is described as sunny and pleasant.
Exposition of Immortality: In chapter III, Jonathan Harker converses with the Count on Transylvanian history, and observes that the Count speaks of "things and people, and especially of battles, [...] as if he had been present at them all."
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Mina Harker's journal entry in chapter 23 paraphrases some sailors, and their obscenities. An example: "They say much of blood and bloom and of others which I comprehend not, though I guess what they mean" and "Whereupon the captain tell him that he had better be quick—with blood—for that his ship will leave the place—of blood— before the turn of the tide—with blood."
Ghost Ship: The Demeter is regarded as one of these when it runs aground at Whitby.
A Glass of Chianti: Dracula doesn't eat or drink, but Harker comments very favourably on the food and wine the Count serves.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Mina gets an evil one that the Transylvanians recognise. Dracula gets one from Jonathan early on, but it's inconsistently described in the text.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Interesting variation. Lucy, befitting her treasured English Rose status, is described as blonde (Seward refers to her hair lying on her bed pillow in "sunny ripples"), but as a vampire, is described by eyewitnesses as having dark hair. Especially fitting as her childlike innocence before getting attacked by Dracula is absent from her vampire form.
Have a Gay Old Time: "Holding his candle so that he could read the coffin plates, and so holding it that the sperm dropped in white patches which congealed as they touched the metal,". ... High-priced candles at the time were often made from spermaceti, the waxy effluence drawn from the head cavity of a sperm whale. It was not at all uncommon to refer to this substance simply as "sperm".
Hysterical Woman: There aren't any in the book, but Dr. Seward certainly believes in this trope. At one point he remarks, "Men and women are so different in manifestations of nervous strength or weakness!". Mina seems to exist to defy this trope, as no matter how distressed she gets, she has it together better than her husband. She does go into hysterics at one point, but it's for a very good reason and she gets over it with amazing quickness. Several of the men also have brief hysterical episodes.
Idiot Ball: The main characters know that a vampire can only enter a house into which he is invited, but they still keep his victim in a house that they know Dracula can already enter. Also, they know that Lucy died and rose as a vampire after becoming paler and weaker over many days. When Mina's not feeling well and looking rather pale, they write it off as a simple illness.
Informed Ability: Vampirism is really vague in this story and it's not really clear what it does besides what's shown. Most known is that it turns the victim into a monster, they gain a few powers and they drink blood. Okay fine, but outside that we only get hints that it's the worst thing ever for the victim, because apparently their souls are either trapped in their bodies or taken over by the monster they become. Or the person becomes corrupted and evil just from turning. Was Lucy truly evil just be-old monster? Outside of feeding on humans, it never really goes into too much detail on the specifics of what's causing the change. But that might just add to the mystique for the sake of horror.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Dr. Seward and Quincey lose to Arthur in wooing Lucy, but they're good sports about it. Both of them give blood to save Lucy without hesitation.
I Have You Now, My Pretty: When Dracula gets a hold of Mina in her bedroom, he ups the evulz by telling her "this isn't the first time" she's satisfied his... thirst.
Ill Girl: Lucy when Dracula starts feeding from her; her mother could also count.
I Made Copies: After Dracula attacks Mina, he trashes Seward's study and burns the Scrapbook Story the heroes are keeping. Unfortunately for him, they had another copy locked up in a safe.
Love Dodecahedron: Arthur and Lucy become engaged, but Dr. Seward and Quincey Morris are in love with her as well. Van Helsing seems to grow to love both Lucy and Mina, even though he's technically married to a madwoman, and there's plenty of Ho Yay between him and Dr. Seward. Mina marries Jonathan, and the surviving six form a True Companionship where they all love everybody.
Motif: The imagery of red-against-white is repeated over and over again — wolves with red tongues and white teeth, Dracula's red blood-stained lips against his pale white skin, a red wound on a white shirt, etc..
Mind Control: Dracula intends to do this with Mina, but it backfires on him once he realises that if she can show him whatever the heroes are up to, she can also show them whatever Dracula is up to.
No Ontological Inertia: Killing the original vampire before its bitten victims die (and subsequently resurrect as vampires) returns said victims to normal. Otherwise its permanent.
No Time to Explain: Prior to needing to stake Lucy, Van Helsing's answer for everyone's confused questions amounts to, "I can't explain now, just trust me. You'll know everything soon enough, but you'll wish you didn't. Did I mention within the last five seconds that you just need to trust me?".
Not Himself: Lucy when she becomes a vampire. It's implied she's even aware of it when the transformation nears completion and the vampire part of her briefly surfaces to try and seduce Arthur as she's dying.
Van Helsing is a doctor, scientist, occultist, detective, lawyer and holy man. This all comes in handy for hunting vampires. It's also stated that he has at least three doctoral degrees, one of which is an MD.
Dr. Seward is a general practitioner, every type of surgeon and a psychiatrist to boot.
One Degree of Separation: Dracula's first victim just happens to be Lucy Westenra, the best friend of the fiancée of Jonathan Harker, who is probably the only living human who's seen him for what he really is. Not only that, but Dr. Seward, one of Lucy's former suitors and the good friend of her husband, not only owns the mental institution right next door to Dracula's new house, but is also the protegé of Dr. Van Helsing, perhaps the only practitioner of modern medicine who can recognize vampirism and knows how to treat it. Also, one of Dr. Seward's patients, Renfield, happens to have a strange psychic connection to Dracula.
Orient Express: When Dracula escapes from England to Varna by sea, the cabal sworn to destroy him travels to Paris and takes the Orient Express, arriving in Varna ahead of him.
Poor Communication Kills: Van Helsing is understandably reluctant to tell anyone his theory that Lucy is being attacked by a living corpse each night, but Mrs. Westenra surely wouldn't have tossed out the garlic had she known the stakes. Similarly, had the gang deemed fit to include Mina in their conferences, she might have been saved from Dracula's attacks. The moment she is included in the discussions, she puts the pieces together that leads the group to finally confronting Dracula. An Aesop on the importance of including women in important conversations?
When Van Helsing realizes that Lucy is anaemic because her blood is being drained by Dracula, he orders that her three suitors give her blood transfusions to save her life. Transfusions were performed during this time period, but blood types had yet to be discovered. Depending on the blood-types of the parties involved, Lucy's transfusions could have been fatal in their own right. In the story, they are only unsuccessful because Dracula keeps preying on her.
Dracula's appearance is compiled based on Victorian ideas of physiognomy, which hold that criminals are racially degenerate and atavistically regressive. Dracula's features in particular paint him as a thug and sexual deviant. All of these principles have since been thoroughly discredited.
Dr.Seward: I am satisfied that Lucy's body is not in that coffin, but that only proves one thing.
Van Helsing: And what is that, friend John?
Dr. Seward: That it is not there.
Van Helsing: That is good logic, so far as it goes.
Shovel Strike: Jonathan Harker strikes The Count with a workman's shovel while he is in his coffin. This prove ineffective at slaying the vampire, merely creating a large scar on Dracula's forehead.
Southern Gentleman: Quincey Morris, Texan, and a very positively portrayed American; typical in British works of the day but surprising today.
Spiritual Successor: Has been compared to Frankenstein from the time it was released, as both of them are Scrapbook Stories that took old-school horror tropes and placed them in modern (at the time) settings with modern (at the time) technologies, to great effect. This comparison, as well as Universal's and Hammer's movies, have ensured that the two works remain widely associated with each other to this day.
Staking the Loved One: May be the first widely known example — the vampire formerly known as Lucy Westenra is destroyed by Arthur under Van Helsing's direction.
Stay in the Kitchen: Deconstructed, as leaving Mina out of the action turns out to be the worst thing the men can do for her. When they do include her in planning sessions she's competent to the point of Only Sane Woman.
Stockholm Syndrome: Mina doesn't develop Sympathy for the Devil until after he's bitten her, and after she previously decided that the Thing that did that to Lucy doesn't deserve a drop of pity. She still believes that he should be killed; not only to save mankind, but to save Dracula's own soul. She turns out to be right.
Trope Maker/Trope Codifier: Defined most of the standard vampire tropes; vampire folklore varies wildly throughout the world, but Stoker's winnowing of these inconsistent myths results in the standard set of vampire powers and weaknesses. However, some of Dracula's attributes didn't catch on, most notably his unhandsome appearance and weakness to Cold Iron (probably cribbed from Irish vampire-like fey the dearg-due).
Tyke Bomb: When one thinks about vampire Lucy's attacks, considering she's now a servant of Dracula by that point, her biting kids can be seen as this. If she had continued unopposed, they would've eventually died with no one the wiser on what was truly happening other then a mysterious sickness (Since unlike Translyvania, London is unaware of vampries. Something Dracula is banking on) The children would then arise as vampires and spread more of the vampirism and building up Dracula's undead forces.
Vampire Vords: Subverted: Dracula speaks excellent English, and has called Harker to his castle to, more than anything, help him get rid of his accent so that he won't be seen as another Funny Foreigner when he has moved to England.
Victorian Novel Disease: Parodied, or Played for Drama, or used as a Red Herring, depending on how you read the novel. In classic literature, tuberculosis was used as a stock disease. It was rarely referred to by name, but the symptoms were always the same: a young lady would become pale and sleepy, and a blush would show on her sickly face. When Van Helsing refuses to name Lucy's illness, the reader of the era would have assumed that she has tuberculosis. But actually, Van Helsing realizes that she's becoming a vampire.
Viewers Are Geniuses: Stoker seemingly overestimated widespread knowledge of vampire lore, creating a situation where the fandom rather than the author is widely Sadly Mythtaken. Dracula is destroyed by a knife through the heart rather than a stake. Sharp steel or iron objects like needles or knives are effective vampire kryptonite in Slavic mythology, yet adaptations, sequels, and even "scholarly" annotated versions of the novel jump on the lack of a wooden stake as proof that Dracula is Not Quite Dead.
Vasquez Always Dies: Inverted. The sexually curious yet feminine Lucy is killed by the eponymous villain. However, Mina, the maternal yet logical wife of Jonathan Harker, survives. Indeed, Van Helsing even describes Mina as having a 'man's brain'.
Virus Victim Symptoms: We see it gradully with Lucy as more of her blood is taken. Starting with becoming weak and pale, then becoming susceptible to Dracula's power. And finally, as she dies the first time, the bite marks on her neck suddenly heal, her canines become sharper and her demeanor suddenly becomes more lustful.
Wall Crawl: Dracula. Also how Jonathan escapes the castle.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: All the vampires, whose souls are unable to find peace until their bodies are destroyed, and who are described as bearing tranquil expressions once they have been "purified". Mina even grows to pity Dracula, and to consider his destruction a mercy.
Writers Cannot Do Math: Save yourself a major headache — do not try to make the dates make sense. It's corrected in some editions.
You Are Worth Hell: To Jonathan, Mina is worth vampirism. Fortunately, it doesn't come to that. He even theorizes this is how vampirism has spread in the past. All the other men are willing to die for her, as well.