Dracula, True Blood and The Sookie Books

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Dracula, True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Dragonhawk on Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:32 pm

Dracula, True Blood and The Sookie Books

It was inevitable we would compare the book Dracula and our fave show and series of books. Dracula is, of course, not the first Vampire story, but it is the most influential. More movies, plays and television shows can give a nod to Dracula. It spawned a cultural movement with the modern day Goths. It is no accident the center of Goth culture in Britain is Whitby since so much of the action in the story is centered there.

For every similarity our modern Vampires have to Dracula, there are that many differences. Abraham Van Helsing is the first to truly put down the rules of Vampire. These are the things that rule the lives of Vampires.

• A Vampire retains his immortality and strength by feeding off the blood of humans.
• He has supernatural strength, speed and vision
• He can shape shift
• He must be invited into a mortal’s home
• He cannot stand garlic
• Vampires must rest during the day

These elements come from the folklore. How modern Vampires live differs from writer to writer. For example, the Twilight Vampires can come out during the day. In the film Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola Dracula can go out in the day but his powers are diminished. Most modern Vampires can ignore religious artifacts, or only are disturbed by religious beliefs they once held. For example, a Jewish Vampire would not be affected by a crucifix. Some Vampires cast reflections and shadows.
Abraham Van Helsing also tells us there is more than one way to become Vampire. You can be made Vampire the usual way, by being drained nearly to death and given the blood of a Vampire. You can also be made Vampire through Alchemy and Ceremonial Magik. It was this way Dracula, being the “first” Vampire, was made.

So, who was Dracula? There are so many arguments about who Dracula owes his parentage to. Truth is we can only speculate or hold a séance and conjure up old Bram and ask. The signs suggest he began writing Dracula and sometime during the end of writing his first draft, he researched a few things and discovered the name Vlad Dracul, who would have been Vlad Tepes’ father. Then he went in and added Dracula’s name and a few things he learned about the Impaler. Others believe he did extensive research before writing and used the real historical characters Vlad Dracul and Vlad Tepes to create the most heinous and romanticized character in literature.

The characters in Dracula are typical Victorian era characters. Primarily upper class, having all the Victorian moral values, they are stock characters. The women are usually demure who acquiesce to the better wisdom of men and all the men are courageous and courtly. So, how do they, or can they compare with True Blood and the Sookie Books?

Sookie as Mina/Lucy-

If you took the two characters of Mina and Lucy with their Victorian attitudes, you have Sookie Stackhouse to a degree. Perhaps it is because though Sookie is a thoroughly modern Millie, she is a southern lady, a lady who fights with her two natures: to be independent and self reliant without the interference, support or protection of a man, but at the same time having a level of expectation for the same. She is Mina is that she is a more proactive girl, uses whatever she has at hand, ventures into the world of computers and cell phones and information she gleans from her experiences and the genre books she reads. She is proud of the fact she has saved the lives of the supernatural men in her life, Eric and Bill, and that sometimes, she is strong enough not to ask for their help, even if she could really use it.

She is like Lucy in that she likes being cute, with her own sort of sexual mystique, who has powerful and exotic men in her thrall. She also tells us many times she loves to feel cherished and protected, even when she gets irritated with the men trying to do that very thing. Like Lucy and Mina, Sookie is often a victim to the interests of a Vampire.

How she is unlike either of these women is she works, has sex with whomever she likes, and would never dream of allowing a man, regardless of their species, tell her how it is going to be. She is the mistress of her own destiny. Mina and Lucy are happy to bend to the will of men. Oh yeah, and Lucy and Mina would not date Vampires. Not willingly. They have very little need for them and find them repellent.

And like Mina and Lucy, Sookie has a blood bond with a Vampire. A couple of nice, sexy, devoted Vampires, but Vampires none the less.

If you think that was a stretch…get a load of the next ones…

Now, the temptation to compare Bill and Eric to Dracula is a natural one. But really, the only things these three boys have in common are they are all three Vampires. The only other connections are they are obsessed with a human woman. And in True Blood, Bill and Eric have made Vampires, female Vampires to be specific, just as Dracula has. Other than that, Bill and Eric really have nothing in common with Dracula.

But, they do have some connection to the men who hunt for Dracula.

Bill as Jonathan Harker/Abraham Van Helsing- Bill is our tragic hero, our lover, and our scholar. Bill loves Sookie; Jonathan loves Mina. Bill is unfaithful with a female Vampire named Lorena; Jonathan is unfaithful with the Vampire brides. Bill has secrets from Sookie he tries to keep from her because if she knew she would be hurt; Jonathan has secrets as well but he offers Mina the opportunity to learn his secrets as a gesture toward honesty.

Abraham Van Helsing is our scholar of the occult and the obscure. Like Bill he has read the folklore and the mythologies and he has consulted other authorities. Bill in second season comes to a turning point in his Vampire life and he begins to read the histories and myths to understand what he is and whether he can be something different. Van Helsing and Bill both wonder if a Vampire can be an agent for good, can mainstream and retrieve their soul.

Eric as Arthur Holmwood and Quincy Morris- Arthur is a titled lord with all the benefits of such a title. He is educated, smart and has a certain sexual something. In the grander metaphors of the things he does as a Vampire hunter, one of the most sexual scenes is the staking scene where Arthur stakes Lucy. While she was a sexual virgin his extreme penetration of her with the stake, so wrought with sexual imagery, he claims her as his wife by freeing her soul from the damnation of the germ that reanimates her into a Vampire.

Quincy is Eric’s unlettered, rough side. This does not mean he is not smart. It the primal Viking part of him that is so like the wildness of the men of the American west, so different from their European counterparts. But even the savage has sort of courtliness. Quincy promises Mina he will stake her if there is no way to defeat Dracula and Eric promises Sookie he will never make her Vampire, no matter how much he would want to keep her, since she doesn’t want it.

Lafayette as Renfield- I can hear you know, Aslinn, you have lost your mind. But wait…what do we know about RM Renfield?

• Renfield had been a prisoner of Dracula and had been terrorized and blood bonded to Dracula
• Renfield does what he understands to be Dracula’s bidding
• Renfield waits for Eric’s orders and expects them with fear and anticipation
• Renfield has a connection with Mina as he sees the both of them as creatures of the Vampire.

Now look at Lafayette.

• Lafayette has been a prisoner of Eric and has been terrorized and blood bonded to Eric
• Lafayette does Eric’s bidding
• Lafayette is always waiting for Eric’s next order and waits with fear and anticipation
• Lafayette has a connection to Sookie and sees them both in the same predicament, being in service to Eric.

Lafayette is imprisoned by Eric for the crime of selling V and knowing what happened to Eddie Fornier. Eric uses him as leverage to get to Sookie, to press her into his service to hunt for Godric in Dallas. Eric has certain expectations of Lafayette (thankfully for Lafayette, it does not entail him catching flies or spiders and feeding birds to cat to enrich their life force for the Master) but Eric also knows Lafayette is a weak vessel. Lafayette does what Eric says because primarily he is afraid of Eric, but he also does it because he admires Eric and enjoys the protection he has when in the company of the Vampire, for example, the scene at Hot Shot when Lafayette was trying to press Calvin’s drug dealing clan to sell V.

And because Lafayette and Sookie both have a bond with Eric they are connected to each other in an off handed way.

As to the end of the Sookie Books and True Blood compared to the end of Dracula, it is impossible to say what the parallels might be. Dracula ends with the death of the count and Quincy Morris. I hope CH and AB does not decide to end their adventures as tragically.

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Re: Dracula, True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Dragonhawk on Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:43 pm

From Barrister:

I think it is very interesting the Vampires of True Blood have so little in common with the legendary Dracula...I suppose that is indicative of the evolution of the vampire story though Dracula is the source of our notions of vampire, vampires as characters have evolved from him...Comparing Bill and Eric and Jessica and Pam to Dracula, he really does come off quite primitive and some how gross, unfinished. Not even endowed with Eric's noble sauvage...Noble Savage. Interesting....this deserves deeper pondering


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