hey followers Dracula is a hella rad book, if you’ve never picked it up, maybe do that. tis the season and all that. it’s weird and full of these NERDS who have NO business fighting vampires who end up all loving each other and overcoming darkness and all that good stuff!
plus it has mina harker in it, so
what other reason do you need
You’re a first-time nanny, desperate for advice. Suddenly, a heavenly light emanates from your youtube feed. A video, titled ‘Lucy’s Little Lovelies’, with a bottle blond grinning out of the still. The description reads ‘Babysitting Lessons: Basic For Beginners. Featuring Lucy Westenra, and friends.’ You click the video. It takes you to a separate screen, and the little wheel goes up. Then it lights up on a bedroom, with creamy, flowered wall-paper, and three occupants. The bottle blonde, a man her own age dressed professionally, and a dark-haired woman, watching the others with a faintly amused expression.
"Good morning, internet, and welcome to Lucy’s Little Lovelies!” booms the blonde.
"I thought we agreed that title makes you sound like the Hansel and Gretel witch." said the man.
“I am your host, Lucy Westenra, and these are my assistants, Jack Seward, and Mina Murray.”
"Hi." said Mina, with a short wave.
"Assistants?" said Jack.
"On our show, we’ll endeavor to teach you everything you need to know about proper baby-sitting.” said Lucy. “‘But Lucy, why should I listen to you?’, you might say.”
"I didn’t hear them." said Mina.
Without looking, Lucy covered her friend’s mouth.
"Well, I have several years of baby-sitting experience-” said Lucy.
"-from looking after your mom’s friends’ children." said Jack.
She covered his too.
"And when I see nannies boring and malnourishing their charges’ minds, and just doing their jobs so half-heartedly, it just makes me so- It makes me so-“
"What does it make you, Lucy?" said Mina, having escaped from her hand.
"To put it in three words," said Lucy. "really…quite…sad. So, here are some simple exercises to brighten you and your charge’s shared time.”
Asking the Cards, which the academicist Édouard Bisson painted in 1889—though a lovely thing—is more interesting for the novelty of its subject than for anything else.
After all, these women aren’t playing cards—they’re reading them.
Now, fortune telling is actually not an unheard-of subject in 19th-century painting. But generally speaking the reader is portrayed as old, rural, Romany, or some combination of the three.
Here, though, they are two rather fashionable young women, in a relatively urbane setting.
Edward Penfield, 1908 (via Animalarium)
The Period Drama Meme | 9/9 Heroines: Lucy Westenra (Dracula)
Clever Mina, she knows so much; she knows nothing of pain—not as I do.
the brides are so important to the narrative of Dracula, for all that they’re only present as bookends, and they’re the least explored part of the story and I care so much about them. The very fact of their existence belies every single adaptation and criticism that claims that Drac and Mina have ~something special~, whether or not that involves reincarnation bullshit, and speaks volumes about what kind of a monster Dracula is.
He has a collection of beautiful women who are dependent upon him (for…some reason? I mean, they are all vampires, presumably they could go out and steal babies on their own if they wanted to, but instead they’re confined to the castle and even to only one wing while Jonathan is around and only venture out when Drac is away, which means that either he has some power over them to command them or that they respect him as a leader for equally opaque reasons) and yet, the only emotional responses he has for them are boredom and anger. There’s no suggestion that he particularly cares for any of them, or even any suggestive nature to their interaction (and while I see where the critics who write them as symbolic of Victorian terror of female sexuality are coming from, I feel that’s not their only purpose in the text). The brides are merely a collection, like dolls, perhaps (given his grudging and prickly attitude when he gives them the baby) even a burden, and he deliberately leaves them behind when he journeys to London, like the rest of the relics of his past. Clearly they must have once have had some significance for him - everything in the castle is connected to the Prince of Wallachia and his glorious history - but to suggest that they still do would be absurd, and to suggest that he loves them, unthinkable.
And upon reaching London, Dracula wastes no time on finding another young, lovely woman to fixate upon. With the brides in mind, it’s all too easy to imagine Lucy’s long nightmare as only the latest in a series of predations. This is a creature who views women as conquests, prizes to be won and collected, and once he has won his game against them, once he has collected them, he has no further use or desire for them. He easily abandons Lucy to wander graveyards on her own, not even affording her the courtesy of a coffin in Carfax abbey at his side. Again, these are not the actions of a monster who loves.
There could still be enough wiggle room to read Dracula as capable of love, to read his pursuit of Mina in a romantic light or as somehow ‘different’ from the other games he plays, if it weren’t for the fact that the little band of vampire hunters are so clearly marked by their love for one another, and for lost Lucy. Most importantly, Jonathan and Mina’s love for one another, which is so strong that he would willingly sacrifice his immortal soul and all hope of heaven if it meant being with her, if it meant she wouldn’t have to face that fate alone. And in the scene where Mina has the group read the funeral rites over her, Stoker places huge emphasis on how much these men would do for her, out of love. This is a massive contrast to Dracula’s calculated, manipulative behaviour in turning Mina, and, I believe, shows a fundamental weakness in him. He cannot change, yes, cannot move forward with the ever-moving present, but also, as he cannot feel the kind of pure love and devotion that unites the band of vampire hunters, he has no one at his side, no one and nothing to rely on. The vampire is incapable of human connection, human feeling, and in the end, that is what makes him most monstrous.