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Am I missing something in Dracula? - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Am I missing something in Dracula?
Okay, I just read the summary of a book in which Mina Harker's son, Quincy, is Dracula's son. (Pro fanfic.) League of Extraordinary Gentlemen seems to have her divorced from Harker. And of course, Coppola had her having an affair with Drac before Jonathan returned, and later begging him to "Take me away from all this death..."

It's true that Dracula battened on Mina, just as he battened on Lucy. It's even true that he's a sexual symbol. Note the word symbol. Whatever vamp lore has come to in Buffy, good ol' Drac's invasion into people's bodies was limited to his teeth, which symbolized other parts of the anatomy. And what he was symbolically doing was, you know, rape. He mesmerized (read: drugged) women and then took advantage of them, Lucy because he could, Mina in order to hurt the band of Fearless Vampire Hunters.

Mina hadn't met him. She wasn't in love with him, or wishing Jonathan was more like him. She didn't want to be attacked, and wasn't enticing him by showing her ankles under her Victorian skirts. That would be rape, as far as what the symbolism of the attack was. It can cause problems in a marriage, I'm sure, but it's not an affair, and does not generally provide a great start to a lasting and meaningful relationship between rapist and victim.

Oh, and symbolic rape does not produce real children, kthnxbai. In this case, it produced a half-vampire who was Mina. Mina's children--and I suppose this must be shocking--most likely belong to, you know, Jonathan. Her husband? You know, the guy we first met traveling to the Carpathians? The one Mina is absolutely nuts over, to whom she wants to be a helpmeet, who values her because of her intelligence and industry? What did poor, nice Jonathan do to deserve being treated by Drac-fandom like a cuckholded shmuck or an evil interloper? And what did Dracula, who was offstage for most of the goddamned book, do to warrant this romanticizing?

I think Jonathan and Raoul (from Phantom of the Opera) need to start a support group. Buffy's Riley can join it. And Cosette, from Les Mis, as well. And Ron Weasley. :headdesk:
35 comments or Leave a comment
frenchbraider From: frenchbraider Date: August 24th, 2005 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait, why Cosette? I thought everyone would love her! Was it some Eponine/ Marius supporters thing?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 24th, 2005 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not in LM fandom, but I've seen people who are talking about this, and yes, it seems to be Eponine/Marius fans.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 24th, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, it's definitely playing off the pornography of the time, but it's still rape--porno is not, generally speaking, a good source of romance. And Mina's behavior following it is certainly not, "Oh, my dear rapist! What shall I do without you?" She says at one point that she feels a bit sorry for him, but that's as far as it goes--she's absolutely devoted to helping her husband and the others hunt and kill him.
marukka From: marukka Date: August 24th, 2005 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know, I thought Mina in LoEG was treated with the same irreverent respect as all the other characters fondly ripped out of their source material kicking and screaming. That is to say, Alan Moore clearly knows and loves his source material, he's just... Alan Moore. Divorced or not, I think that particular take isn't from someone finding Dracula more interesting than Jonathan, but Mina more interesting than either of the guys :)

That's the comic, mind. I started to watch the movie but it seemed so bad. At least comic book Mina isn't a hot vampire chick...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 24th, 2005 11:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the concept of LoEG; I just disliked a good marriage being broken up for no good reason (yes, I'm sure the book gave a reason, but it's making up a reason in order to get to the divorce).
the_gentleman From: the_gentleman Date: August 24th, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
How far in to Volume Two of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have you got? The divorce isn't just because of the attack (although it's covered up as a "problem with an exotic gentleman") but because of the wounds that were left, and Jonathan's incapability to deal with it. Dracula's certainly not portrayed as the romantic figure.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 24th, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've only read about it (not a huge comics fan). The breaking up of the Harker marriage is what bothers me.
sixth_light From: sixth_light Date: August 24th, 2005 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
*seconds the support group* While I don't exactly support Raoul/Christine or Buffy/Riley, there is this tendency to dismiss characters for being too nice. And this is NOT A BAD THING. Relationships can be sweet and non-angsty. Admittedly, it's less fun to write about, but in real life? So much better. Cosette may be soppy, but Marius was in love with her, end of story. Read the book, people. (Even if he felt guilty about looking at her ankles, which was snigger-worthy.)
rose_in_shadow From: rose_in_shadow Date: August 25th, 2005 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! After I first read Dracula (and enjoyed it thoroughly I might add), I was bewildered by all the Jonathan-bashing. He was, after all, the hero of the story so to speak.

I must admit, however, that I am a closet Erik/Christine fan, but only because Erik has shown that he's redeemable, unlike Dracula. Oh, and Raoul has always seemed too arrogant to really appreciate Christine other than a trophy he wants to add to his collection. If Erik wasn't there as a rival, it's doubtful he would have persued her as avidly, IMHO. I really enjoyed the recent PotO adaptation's Raoul though (Patrick something??), he played the part in a manner I'd not seen before.
hermione_like From: hermione_like Date: August 25th, 2005 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I would totally join that support group. It's like people like the "bad" characters so much that they subconsciously make them good and then hate the good/innocent characters because they are what the bad ones aren't. Being nice and normal can be a good thing too!
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: August 25th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh I could rant aboutthat-oen for hours. and how much more fun it seems to be to write dark angsty torture-relationships than the more normal calm and ones. It doesn't have to be always happy and sweet ,it's just...I sometimes stareat my ow nfics that show the warm and comfortable aspect of love with no angst whatsoever.
sreya From: sreya Date: August 25th, 2005 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, I take it from the comments you're talking about LoEG as a book, and not the Sean Connery movie? Because I think in the film Mina says her husband has been dead for several years.

Not that I really paid THAT much attention, the movie was a huge spoof festival and I spent more time laughing than really paying attention.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2005 12:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Like I said, I read about it. I came across it while ordering graphic novels for the library, and got the summary. I ordered it, of course, but the issue of breaking up Mina's marriage annoyed me greatly. Why not just bring Jonathan along for the ride? Or kill him. (I saw the movie, but it didn't register much. I think I assumed she was lying, but don't remember clearly.) The divorce just rang all my irritation bells. I'm not a graphic novel reader at all.
lannamichaels From: lannamichaels Date: August 25th, 2005 01:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Dunno. I've always figured that Drac went for Jonathan first. What book was that, may I ask?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2005 02:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Now I'm home and I've ranted, and I can't even remember the title of it. This comes from going down long lists and ordering. I was only looking at books released after 8/1, and I think it was near the top, so it may be in the Not Yet Published category. The story took place during WWI, and the young man to whom Seward's daughter is engaged is serving in the army under a commander who turns out to be Quincy Harker, Dracula's son.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 25th, 2005 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
1. I haven't read Mina, just some excerpts from it but, if it's the one I'm thinking of, I believe Mina is going back to Jonathan at the end in hopes of reconciling.

2. As for Jonathan, I enjoyed the book, The Dracula Tape, where Dracula tells his side of the story. It runs mainly on the fact the book, Dracula, has a lot of logic gaps in it and runs more on emotional steam, and that it's at least part spoof. However, Mina still chooses Jonathan over the count (unfortunately, one of the sequels [the otherwise fun Holmes/Dracula File, where the count and his detective nephew team up] has them meeting again. Phooey).

I admit to having a very warped sense of humor, by the way, as far as these books go. However, I didn't like any of the sequels I read except the Holmes one. And I still thought Jonathan was better deal than even this milder count.

3. Victorian literature sometimes blurred the line between rape and seduction. Also, I've read a little bit about Stoker's life. My understanding is that, after the birth of their son, his wife told him she had done her duty and didn't wish to share a bedroom with him anymore (my understanding was that this was more from Victorian attitudes towards sex rather than anything he'd done, although I may be mistaken).

The end result was that Freud would have had a field day with Stoker. If Stoker were divided between Jonathan and Dracula, then Jonathan is the good husband and Dracula is the repressed sexual desires that Stoker couldn't express towards his own wife and which he couldn't help representing as monstrous(although I understand he found alternatives to celibate misery, so my sympathy is mixed).

I've always put down Count sympathizers to people who pick up on the emotions Stoker was feeding into this part of the story rather than the actual text of the story. I'm probably wrong. It's probably just people who don't like the good guy to get the girl.

From: (Anonymous) Date: August 25th, 2005 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Thought I should clarify the Victorian blurring with rape and seduction. Victorian lit generally went with the idea that sex was bad, actually having sexual desires was worse, and (in the case of women) sometimes not even admitted as existing.

That being the case, an author who wanted to deal with seduction (or symbolic seduction) had a hard time finding a way of not representing the girl as less than willing.

It was a messed up time, and there are a fair number of stories from it that gross me out when I think over the implications, but I suppose it makes an argument for seeing the count as a seducer. Sort of.

Oh, let's just stake him again and get it over with.

doomandnachos From: doomandnachos Date: August 25th, 2005 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not well-versed in Dracula or Buffy, but I can see Raoul, Ron, and Cosette forming a support group. :)
I wonder how many of the Raoul and Cosette haters/ignorers have actually waded through the novels, or are they taking this from the stage shows? I was re-reading bits of both Phantom and Les Mis recently, and I remember being quite glad that most of Phantom is in Raoul's POV, as it helps him break the stupid, campy-romance-hero role that the stage production seems to give him *stabs*. And Cosette? Perfectly nice girl, all-around. Plus, y'know, Eponine was a criminal, or at least an accomplice. Marius was a lawyer. That relationship's doomed.
*suddenly realises how much she is rambling*
arclevel From: arclevel Date: August 25th, 2005 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Mina's children--and I suppose this must be shocking--most likely belong to, you know, Jonathan. Her husband?

Oh, Fern, where do you get these ideas? ;-)

I think a lot of the modern romanticization (or whatever the real word is) of Dracula comes from our general (see above word) of vampires. I went through a *major* vampire kick when I was roughly 13, and two of the three fandoms I've been most involved with are vampire-heavy (Buffy/Angel and Forever Knight). Most of these stories feature one or more main characters who were "good" vampires, while the vast majority of them were bad (and largely one-dimensional). That just seems to be the current way of doing vampire stories, instead of seeing vampires as pure monsters. Since the quintessential vampire is still Dracula, I think we automatically try to put him in that category of a vampire who's good at heart, or feels remorse for past actions, or at least wants to love and be loved -- like Louis from Anne Rice, Angel, Nick Knight from FK, or Stefan from the Vampire Diary books I loved so much. The fact that Dracula really had a lot more in common with all the background vamps in those other series, who were really just out for blood, more blood, and making baby vamps, gets kind of brushed aside in favor of making him what we see as interesting today. And then I think Mina sort of gets sucked in with him, because if you're going to make him sympathetic via love, then you have to give him someone to love, and the story's more interesting (to most people) if it's mutual but doomed and/or forbidden.

I confess that I really only know the musical versions of Phantom and Les Mis (which I tried to read in high school and gave up on after the first 75 pages of absolutely nothing happening), but I don't get your grouping there. I don't see how either Riley or Ron fits in. I'm pretty neutral on Riley overall, but the end of that relationship was entirely his fault and pretty much destroyed whatever "nice guy" status he once had. As for Ron, the main "competing" ship there is for Harry, who's as much a nice guy than Ron (far nicer, actually). I don't think of Draco/Hermione as being that common, though I could just be hanging out in the wrong corners of fandom for it. Or am I entirely misunderstanding the criteria for the support group?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2005 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Or am I entirely misunderstanding the criteria for the support group?

The criteria are mostly "canon matches who are ignored in favor of 'more interesting' characters." ;)
darreldoomvomit From: darreldoomvomit Date: August 25th, 2005 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Riley? Really? The vamp ho suckee? Ok.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2005 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I mostly ignore season 5, since his function there was more or less to build up to leaving the show. It wasn't quite as clumsy as Oz's departure--at least they gave him most of a season to work up to that weirdness--but it was still too obviously a case of "We will introduce this fault in a previously nice character in order to facilitate his departure from the cast" for me to take it particularly seriously as a characterization trait.
narcissam From: narcissam Date: August 25th, 2005 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
It seems likely that Lois Lane could apply for membership, having seen the Smallville fandom in action.
biichan From: biichan Date: August 26th, 2005 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
You mean in the canon. Because AlMiles are so all about Lana being Clark's quote unquote soulmate. Lois is like Chloe and Lex--a much more interesting person to pair up with the hero than the designated love interest.

(And I kind of like Lana. Doesn't mean I'm not sick of AlMiles wanking over the dailies though.)
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: August 25th, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
hmmmmpublishedbadfic. *gulps*. this reminds me of the jane ausen sequel Ireadaboutthat had somen rapedand killedand som other gratuitous angst that just mae the whel story do a left turn for as far as I could gather from that summary.
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