YMMV: Dracula

The book:

  • All First Person Narrators Write Like Novelists: Pretty blatant example. The novel is presented as a collection of diaries, telegrams and newspaper clippings, the diaries being kept by characters like Jonathan (a lawyer), Mina (a lady of society), Seward (a psychiatrist), etc. Not only do all of them write in very much the same style, but all of them make use of florid, poetic language, despite none of them being professional writers. They also include long pages of dialogue that any real journal keeper would simply summarize.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: The final confrontation with Dracula takes less than three pages, and that includes the heroes fighting off his mooks.
  • Complete Monster: Dracula himself keeps Jonathan Harker in his castle, trying to drive him mad in the process, kidnaps a baby to feed to the other vampires and then sends the wolves to kill the baby's mother, drains Lucy of her blood, attacks her and her mother as a wolf, resulting in Lucy herself as a vampire, and turns Mina into a vampire in order to know what the gang is doing to get him. He is accorded no sympathy, and portrayed as the undead abomination that he is.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: The Count gets this to a truly startling degree.
    • According to several feminist and post-colonialist critics, this was indeed the appeal and subtext of the story. The appeal of vampires as the foreign "other" out to seduce innocent Victorian women, and so needing men to be ever vigilant to protect women from their desires or weaknesses. This attitude is best conveyed in this comic by Kate Beaton.
  • 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 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... well... 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.
  • Ho Yay: Mina sure likes describing how pretty Lucy is. They even share a kiss in the Francis Ford Coppola film. The TV series outright makes Lucy a lesbian.
    • She also notices Dracula in London because they were both admiring the same pretty girl.
  • 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.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: How large percentage of the people who know about Dracula, have actually read the book?
  • Memetic Sex God: Dracula.
  • 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 is made the way to kill him) or the very simplified play.
  • Purity Sue: Debatable but Lucy. It's probably semi justified since most descriptions of her are coming from Mina's journal entries - and Mina does admire her. And since she's already dead by the time the story is written, it's probably a case of them fondly remembering her.
  • Ron The Deatheater: 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 the author would have known that.
    • 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.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Some folks actually wouldn't have minded seeing Dracula actually 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 never seeing the sun again (well the book never really stated that. Drac actually moved around in the daylight, only with limited powers) and the inhuman hunger for blood, receiving the powers of the night and immortality didn't seem like a bad trade-off. Well, at least for themselves; other people might not be so happy with the "being drained of blood" thing.
  • 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!
  • 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. In all movie adaptations, he's Promoted to Love Interest. Make of that what you will.
    • 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.
      • Sadly, this element takes a critical hit in most movie adaptions. most notably, in the Bela Lugosi version, she's portrayed as nothing more than a whimpering child in an adult body. This aspect is returned though in Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula which portrays a romantic attraction between Mina and the Count.
    • Nearly every adaptation turns Lucy into a sexually promiscuous and flirty girl, with the odd exception of 2013 television series (which turns her into a lesbian instead.) In the novel she's a downright Purity Sue but this gets turned into her lusting after all her potential suitors. It's shown as a huge character flaw that her sole ambition is to marry before she turns 20. An upper class Victorian woman wouldn't be expected to have more ambition than that. The novel makes a point that Lucy cares and possibly loves all her potential suitors - but that normally gets lost in adaptations that portray her as a shameless flirt. It seems an attempt at Death by Sex though one must realise that Lucy died before her wedding, therefore as a virgin while Mina married Jonathan and was presumably not a virgin by the book's end. 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!
  • 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!!
  • 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 BBC version (the most faithful adaptation of the novel yet made, despite the following change) 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.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Renfield and Lucy emerged almost instantly as the fandom favourites.