Saturday, November 6, 2010
By: Bram Stoker 4/5
This book has had a daunting pressure on me to read as it is one: considered one of the classic must reads and two: as a Romanian you must read what it portrays us as.
The last pressure is probably the greatest as I am a former descendant of Vlad Tepes aka the former ruler of Romania, aka Dracula. So before going into my dialogue on Dracula the book a little Romanian history.
Vlad Tepes as a fierce ruler and was also known as Vlad the Impaler for his very industrious techniques in impaling the know Turkies people when invading his land. He ruled from 1456 to about 1462 at the age of only 25! He was tough and as soon as he got his hands on a TURK he killed him, took his body and put a stake through their bodies and put the stakes on the street, where bodies would line the streets. This technique didn’t only apply this to the invaders, but to his own people that stole, raped, lied and were treacherous. During his rule, a money bag could be found on the street and no one would pick it up for fear of being considered a stealer. This is how he earned his name … Dracula. The name derives from dracu which in Romanian means devil, and the –ula at the end is assigning the devil name to him.
This bring us to Brahm Stoker many many many years later when he wrote Dracula in 1897, almost 435 years later than Vlad Tepes. Upon hearing of the devilish and romanticized Transylvania (which coincidently is where I am from), he wanted to set a book on it. So he wrote Dracula. Stoker did well in researching this book and the beliefs of the time, especially because rumor still followed in the late 1800s. So upon reading the book I was pleasantly surprised to hear the names of the towns from my childhood, and the descriptions of the land which were very vivid and accurate even though Stoker never went to Transylvania himself. The descriptions of the Carpatheians (Carpati) Mountains were wonderful. This book must have sent chills to people reading it at the time. It is filled with awe and with the darks beliefs of devils and religion. So my expectation in reading the book was that I would be terrified to the core!
Not so… It was amusing, it was a nice story but did it terrify NO! That might be in part one, I was listening to it on audio, and two, that in today’s society what we fear is very different than based on the religious superstitious of those days. The very beginning was great where Jonathon Hawker’s story, though I think it dwindled because there was a lot that just didn’t captivate me, and that again might be in part due to audio. The story does pick up again and you become engrossed in the ploy of the book, and Dracula’s play.
Things that I found interesting is that they called Dracula a count, and they didn’t say the name Dracula till the very end.
I don’t know if Vlad Tepes is buried in a grave that is labeled Dracula, but it might have been possible that the Romanian Orthodox would have buried him in a Christian way and named the grave as that. According to Wikipedia “He was taken back to Wallachia and buried. In the early 1900's Vlad was unburied for research. The researchers found nothing. Remains were found around his grave, and was thought to be the prince's remains. He was reburied and then left. When another dig took place years later, his grave was found destroyed and no remains were found. The other theory is that Vlad is buried at Snagov, an island monastery located near Bucharest”. From childhood I feel like I remember visiting both grave site possibilities with the first one being very well gated.