YMMV / Dracula

The book:

  • Americans Hate Tingle: In the first set of years after this novel's publication, it was heavily despised by Romanians as being a xenophobic "story made up by a foreigner to titillate other foreigners" which is not wrong since the novel's plot is largely about an evil Eastern European count coming to steal the pure and virtuous Anglo-Saxon women beloved of many Invasion Literature tropes. It is also disliked by others for more or less immortalizing and scapegoating Vlad the Impaler as a monster, and making the name of the Christian "Order of the Dragon" (which is what Dracula is supposed to mean) into a demonic being of low-grade pulp fiction. Romanian nationalism in the 19th Century also reclaimed and gave Dracula a Historical Hero Upgrade around the era when this book was publishednote , and the novel, to Romanians, seems like someone making a cheap propaganda about their Icon of Rebellion in the same period they were struggling against the Ottoman Turks and the Russian Empire. Granted even though Romanian's loathing for Bram Stoker's Dracula has ameliorated and have even been willing to capitalize on the fictional Count Dracula's association with the country by selling vampire related souvenirs, but it is still not wise to talk about Dracula at length. Ironically, Dracula himself is supposed to be an ethnic Transylvanian Hungarian and not Romanian, meaning that Stoker got the nationalities mixed up too.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: The final confrontation with Dracula takes less than three pages, and that includes the heroes fighting off his mooks.
  • Common Knowledge:
    • While Light is a weakness to Dracula in the original book, it wasn't the outright lethal weakness it became in adaptations like Nosferatu. It just weakened his powers and robbed him of his shape shifting abilities while exposed to it.
    • Recently, people have come to see the novel is a kind of egregious Malicious Slander on Vlad the Impaler (which Dracula Untold ran with). While the novel has the hypocritical xenophobia typical to all Victorian invasion literature (i.e. fears of foreigners invading the largest and most rapacious empire of the 19th century), the ameliorative reputation of Vlad the Impaler is very much Newer Than They Think. The oral tradition of Vlad the Impaler among the slavic peasantry was negative for most of its history, as chronicled by Romanian orthodox priests in the 1700s, so while Bram Stoker's novel is not especially flattering to foreigners and minorities (especially the Romani gypsies), it's portrayal of Vlad the Impaler as a blood-sucking monster is actually far more consistent to the tradition than the Romanian nationalistic movement of the 19th Century (which like all romantic nationalism was a bourgeois phenomenon with invented traditions and little connection to the majority of the people).
  • Complete Monster: Count Dracula himself is the Trope Codifier for the modern vampire. A hideous, blood-sucking monster, Dracula commits a number of crimes over the course of the novel, including keeping Jonathan Harker prisoner and trying to drive him insane; kidnapping a baby to feed to his fellow vampires, before sending wolves to kill the mother when she demands her baby back; driving his own servant, Renfield, to madness; sending a wolf after Lucy and her mother to gain entry to her house before draining her blood and turning her into a vampire (killing Lucy's mother through sheer fear at the wolf's appearance in the process); and turning Mina into a vampire to uncover his enemies' plans against him. Dracula ultimately plans to move to England so that he can feast on the people of London to his heart's content. Lacking the redeeming qualities or physical attractiveness of his future incarnations, the original Dracula is an undead abomination, devoid of humanity and worthy of no sympathy.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: The Count gets this to a truly startling degree. The stuffy nature of the Victorian era more than allows him to come off as an exploitation-tinged portrayal of a sophisticated sexy foreigner who drives the prim Victorian women (who constituted most of the early readership) wild with fears of vampirism turning them crazy with desire.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Averted with the Count himself, who is an ugly old man who physically repulses Mina when she first sees him, unaware of his identity, but played straight with Lucy - her vampire self is considerably more sultry and seductive than her original, innocent persona. Likewise with the brides.
  • Fair for Its Day: Mina is actually quite a feminist character. Throughout the novel, the men behave foolishly, while Mina is the only one to be consistently intelligent throughout. Some later adaptations, especially Alan Moore's comic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula center on Mina as the main character of the book and tend to dismiss the other male characters (save for the Count) to better emphasize the feminist subtext. Also as noted under Values Dissonance, it has an inversion of the Death by Sex trope before it ever became a trope. Lucy becomes a vampire before her wedding, therefore dying a virgin. Mina however marries Jonathan in the course of the story - so is likely not a virgin by the end. Dracula even attacks them while they're in bed together. It's usually lost in adaptations that portray Lucy as the slutty one and Mina as the Shrinking Violet.
  • Foe Yay: Dracula and everyone. Especially Jonathan. "He belongs to me!" indeed.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When he and Seward are alone, Van Helsing bursts into laughter over Arthur absurdly treating blood transfusion as a metaphorical sex act, which, in hindsight, looks like a Take That! Leaning on the Fourth Wall. This, of course, does not deter some critics from interpreting vampirism in exactly that way.
  • It Was His Sled: Considering "Dracula" is now practically synonymous with "vampire", the big revelation about the Count isn't nearly as shocking as it once was. Indeed the surprising thing for readers is the Unbuilt Trope about how banal he comes of as being in Jonathan's first meeting with him, which gives readers the impression that this is a guy you can hang out with, at least once.
  • Les Yay: Mina sure likes describing how pretty Lucy is. They even share a kiss in Bram Stoker's Dracula. The TV series outright makes Lucy a lesbian.
    • She also notices Dracula in London because they were both admiring the same pretty girl.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: How large percentage of the people who know about Dracula, have actually read the book? As Orson Welles noted:
    "Dracula would make a marvelous movie. In fact, nobody has ever made it... all the movies are based on the play."
  • Misaimed Fandom: Related to Mainstream Obscurity, many people believe Dracula and Mina were love interests. In the book, he is closer to her rapist.
  • Nausea Fuel: Renfield's attempt at aping vampirism.
  • Praising Shows You Don't Watch: Some people call Sadly Mythtaken on many things saying that "Dracula never sparkled" or "Dracula never went out into the sunlight". The former is more or less common sense, but the latter pretty much shows how much they read Dracula. This is probably due to Lost in Imitation, all adaptations are based on either Nosferatu (where sunlight killed him) or the play.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Van Helsing tends to be portrayed as this in re-tellings from Dracula's point of view, where he's seen as radical and clueless. He particularly gets flak for the transfusions that, admittedly, could have killed Lucy in real life - leading to said re-tellings claiming that Dracula turned Lucy in order to save her life - but at the time the book was set/written, neither he nor Stoker would have known that (blood groups and the rhesus factor were only discovered in the following century, and blood transfusion was more or less luck of the draw for doctors at the time).
    • Van Helsing doesn't get it as bad as Jonathan Harker, who is regarded as a boring and uninteresting Audience Surrogate with the interesting characters being Dracula and Mina. Modern critics interpret Harker as a stuffy Victorian male whose marriage to Mina will make a working schoolteacher into a home-maker, with the plot about her run-in with Dracula serving as a good cover and excuse for doing so. Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had Jonathan divorce Mina after the events of the book because she had become "damaged goods".
  • Rooting for the Empire: Some folks actually wouldn't have minded seeing Dracula beat the main characters. The book goes out of its way to make vampirism seem like the worst thing in the world. But outside from limited powers in sunlight and the inhuman hunger for blood, receiving the powers of the night and immortality didn't seem like a bad trade-off. It also doesn't help that the heroic characters are bland and forgettable. Really, the only interesting characters are Dracula for his evil and his powers, Mina for her smarts, Lucy for her fate, Renfield for his madness, and Van Helsing for his mad science. Seward and Quincy have no character traits beyond "one's a psychiatrist, the other's from Texas." Arthur at least gains audience sympathy for the Trauma Conga Line he goes through. Really the worst off is Jonathan, who's completely boring and has no memorable traits whatsoever. He was unsympathetic to earlier readers because he complained about being sexed up by the Count's brides, which paradoxically makes him more sympathetic to modern audiences on account of the recent criticism of the trope.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: It can be easy to assume Sadly Mythtaken after Nosferatu and other such vampire-themed works gave us a different example of what a vampire is.
  • Squick: Lucy's gums turn pale from Dracula's blood-sucking. Erk!. Dracula cuts open his chest and forces Mina to drink from it, almost as if he is nursing her. There's a reason future stories to use this method of vampirization tend to have the victim drink from the wrist or neck.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Some readers often wondered why Dracula never brought his brides with him to London. Wouldn't that have given the heroes more of a challenge. Likewise him never biting Lucy's mother and changing her into a vampire as well. The Brides get their roles expanded in the film Van Helsing and are an Ensemble Darkhorse for many fans. Though it is stated that Mrs Westenra died of heart failure when the wolf crashed through the window to attack Lucy. Presumably she would have been dead by the time Lucy was a vampire, making it impossible to turn her.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The casual antisemitism displayed by Harker, the sexism, the xenophobia, and such would have been seen as perfectly normal and cultured for the well-to-do British reading this novel when it first was published.
    • In the novel, Dracula is Mina Harker's metaphorical rapist and is more or less presented as a foreigner from a backward part of Eastern Europe with gypsies as his Mooks and the novel claims that he wants to take over The British Empire, which is more or less not far from "foreigners want to take our women and government". Most adaptations modify this by making Mina and Lucy consensually respond to the Count, and make the story about women's sexuality, but this comes with the issues of Adaptational Consent.
    • Nearly every adaptation turns Lucy into a sexually promiscuous and flirty girl, with the exception of the 2013 television series (which turns her into a lesbian instead). In the novel she's a pure maiden who loves multiple men, but this gets turned into her lusting after all her potential suitors. Her sole ambition is to marry before she turns 20, though an upper class Victorian woman wouldn't be expected to have more ambition than that. The novel makes a point that Lucy cares for and possibly loves all her potential suitors, but that normally gets lost in adaptations that portray her as a shameless flirt. Kate Beaton, author of the Web comic cited this incident, noting:
    Here we have Bram Stoker's Dracula, a book written to tell ladies that if you're not a submissive waif, society goes to hell and ungodly monsters are going to turn you into child killing horrors and someone is going to drive a bowie knife through your heart/cut off your head/etc. As you deserve!
    • The story is rife with the casual sexism of the time: for instance, when Mina has a bright idea, Van Helsing remarks that she has "the brain of a man". However, an open-minded reading will show a deconstruction with a strong feminist leaning, as the men are perpetually useless at anything except a straight fight, while Mina is the only character to be consistently intelligent and useful throughout.
  • What an Idiot!: No one seems to find suspicion in the fact that Mina is displaying the same symptoms as Lucy when she was being fed on by Dracula, including her own stinkin' husband!! This goes both ways, as the Count inexplicably chooses to just attack Mina instead of killing all of his enemies in their sleep while he has the chance.
  • The Woobie: Arthur. He loses his dad, his fiancee, and his soon-to-be mother in law in less than a week of each other. And then he has to kill his undead fiancee, who's turned into an unholy abomination against nature.
    • And then his best friend dies.
    • Jonathan as well, to some extent.
    • Mina, to the fullest extent. Taken Up to Eleven in the 1970s BBC version where she's Lucy's sister.

The 2013 television series:

  • Critical Research Failure: Historical accuracy obviously isn't what this series is interested in, but oil wasn't discovered in the Middle East until 1908, twelve years after the events of the series. Grayson acts as though its existence in the Ottoman territories is common knowledge, but knowing about massive deposits of oil in the Ottoman Empire during the 1880s/90s would have radically altered the politics of the era.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The nature of the show's conflict, where even civilians caught in the crossfire all deeply flawed people, has resulted in this for some. Not helped that by the end, just about everyone except Mina has crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Renfield and Lucy emerged almost instantly as the fandom favourites.