Dracula Ch. 21-24: Very Polyglot With Bloom and Blood

This post includes spoilers through chapter 24 of Dracula.

Once again I don’t know where to start with these chapters. We have developments with Renfield, lots of Van Helsing monologues, a terrifying vampire attack, and honestly an awful lot of moaning. I like how now that the team has formed, all of them are able to work together and do what they’re best at – eg Jonathan can abuse his capacity at the law to find Dracula’s properties; Van Helsing can provide collegian lectures on their foe; Quincey can shoot things….. I also like how they start to pair off according to their skill sets: Jack and Van Helsing the morbid doctors, Arthur and Quincey the hunters, Mina and Jonathan the documenters. Not romantic pairs, although Arthur and Quincey should probably stop showing up together in their pajamas (327).

So Renfield. I don’t even like Renfield and I still have 1,000 questions about how he fell in with Dracula and what his life (and death) goals are. Renfield gets upset when he sees Mina because he realizes Dracula is feeding on her and“it made me mad to know that he had been taking the life out of her” (331). Why is he mad? What is so special about Mina? I know Mina was nice to him THAT ONE TIME she met him, but honestly Renfield seems so completely determined before but suddenly he is throwing himself at his “Lord and Master” and getting the crap beaten out of him. What’s also, um, remarkable is that Van Helsing and his boys don’t even KNOW Mina is getting vamped until Renfield tells them. Because they are idiots, I guess.

And then none of them except Van Helsing has their stakes with them (332)! What a bunch of rookies! Van Helsing did not raise you this way!

QUINCEY: We can’t just barge into a lady’s room!

VAN HELSING: That rule doesn’t apply to doctors, and anyway Van Helsing can go ANYWHERE HE LIKES.

That scene in the Harkers room is terrifying though and I don’t want to talk about it, someone else can.

Instead, let’s do a Quincey sidebar because. Wow. This guy is a weirdo, there I said it.


-Quincey, probably

  • When the Harkers are attacked, Quincey runs outside and Jack sees him hide beside a tree. Is he….trying to hunt Dracula? Play hide and seek? I don’t think they covered this in Vampirehunting 101.
  • When they try to assassinate Dracula by waiting for him at one of his houses, Quincey takes charge and “without speaking a word, with a gesture, placed us each in position” (359). Headcanon that he’s doing all of these elaborate hand-signals and the rest of them are looking at each other like “wtf is Quincey trying to say???” “I don’t know, YOU fought with him in the jungle or whatever.”
  • Arthur is all, “Hey, it’s fine, guys, we’ll take my car[riage]” and Quincey’s response is A+: “Look here, old fellow, it is a capital idea to have all ready in case we want to go horsebacking; but don’t you think that one of your snappy carriages with its heraldic adornments in a byeway of Walworth or Mile End would attract too much attention for our purposes” (346-7).  It’s just. The best.
  • According to Van Helsing: “when Quincey give him something from his pocket which crackle as he roll it up” (372). I tried to find out what Quincey is bribing the sailor with but it’s a mystery. I’m guessing it’s paper money (maybe even YANK money!!!!), and Van Helsing is just describing it in a weird way because Van Helsing.
  • “Quincey is all man, God bless him for it” (385). Yeah,  okay, Van Helsing, but maybe don’t encourage Quincey because he really needs to find some chill.

We’re going to revisit my favorite theme in this book, “communication is power.” Dracula is a pretty smart guy, and knows his best chance (besides murdering all of them) is to destroy all their written evidence that they have painstakingly gathered and organized. So he goes and burns all their notes (336), like a jerk. BUT FORTUNATELY they have three copies because of Mina’s magical Manifold typewriter and also because she plans ahead. Four for you, Mina Harker! You go, Mina Harker, you use that man-brain.


We need a Jonathan Harker sidebar too.

      • Jon’s white hair (355): for some reason I remembered his white hair happening after the castle section. Anyway, Victorian stories seem to be really into hair color change after traumatic events (see: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle).
      • “Today he is a drawn, haggard old man , whose white hair matches well with the burning eyes and grief-written lines of his face. His energy is still intact; in fact he is like a living flame.” I’ll just leave this quote here.
      • Jon’s Kukri knife is first mentioned (360), which I find hilarious because we have seen no sign of it before this point, and like, why do you even h

        ( image from kukriblades.com )

        ave one of those, and Bram did you even PLAN THIS BOOK AHEAD or did you suddenly decide Jon needed a terrifying weapon? Kukri knives are pretty significant. My notes tell me that they’re the weapon of a group from Nepal called the Gurkha, which both helped and fought against the British at different points in India. Essentially, this is the most imperialist weapon Jon could possibly be using, and he’s using it to get rid of the reverse-colonialist vampire. That’s….really subtle, Bram. PS: I’m not posting links because hilariously a lot of them have Dracula spoilers. Apparently Bram Stoker REALLY popularized this weapon.

      • “…if we find out that Mina must be a vampire in the end, then she shall not going into that unknown and terrible land alone” (350) My notes here just say “jon holy shit holy shit.” Somehow I’ve never noticed that Jon is saying that if they can’t save Mina, he’s decided to become a vampire too. Which is ….pretty dark, considering their beliefs about vampires being irredeemable and damned.

And today on “Pretty Unacceptable Things to Say” with our favorite doctor, Van Helsing:

      • “Do you forget,” he said, with actually a smile, “that last night he banqueted heavily, and will sleep late?” (348). Too soon, bro. Too soo.
      • “the Vampire’s baptism of blood” (378): do you think these through before you say them, or do you just blurt them as they occur to you? No chill, VH. No chill.

Bonus “And That Was Just Freaking Weird” round from Dracula:

      • “Your girls that you all love are mine already; and through them you and others shall yet be mine – my creatures, to do my bidding and to be my jackals when I want to feed” (361).

A few of you have finished the book already, and the rest of us are well on the way! One more week! Three more chapters! Yay!

Top 10 Tuesday: Halloween

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is “Halloween freebie” so I decided to talk about my top 10 “monster” books.


  1. Dracula by Bram Stoker: our Dracula readalong is finishing up at the end of this month, and I am having a great time rereading this book. It’s a frustrating story at times but it holds up astonishingly well 120 years after publication. If you want a scary, suspenseful, sexy vampire read, this is where it’s at.
  1. Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant: Feed, Deadline, and Blackout make up this zombie trilogy in a world where bloggers are the elite journalists in a world trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Georgia and Shaun Mason are a sister/brother blogging duo that are covering a presidential candidate campaign while also finding time to investigate zombie outbreaks. THESE BOOKS ARE AMAZING AND TERRIFYING and I love George and Shaun so much.
  1. Coraline by Neil Gaiman: A little girl is really angry with her parents and ends up in a mirrored version of her world where everyone has button eyes. At first she loves it and then everything goes downhill really fast. This book is incredibly creepy and atmospheric, with really fantastic characters. Buttons, man.
  1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: Cas hunts down homicidal ghosts and, well, kills them. But when he is spared by homicidal ghost Anna, he is determined to figure out why and ends up investigating Anna’s murder. This book is very unconventional for a YA paranormal and Anna is one of my favorite scary girls.
  1. World War Z by Max Brooks: FYI this is completely unlike the movie and does not star Brad Pitt. It’s sort of a short story collection, as it features “survivor stories” from all over the world from the beginning of the zombie outbreak to the end of it. It’s really fantastic, shows how various countries react to the outbreak and shows all the different varieties of being killed by or escaping from a zombie.
  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: This is a Halloween-ish retelling of the Jungle Book, set in a graveyard and centered on a boy that has been raised by ghosts. It’s beautiful.
  1. Reboot by Amy Tintera: Whoops, another zombie book. This one is more of a dystopia, where the “zombies” are less human the more time that passed from their death to their “reboot.” The protagonist is a girl who stayed dead much longer than any other Reboot, and so is considered more monstrous than others, but also faster and stronger. Zombie girl meets zombie boy love-story-thriller.
  1. Monstrous Affections ed. by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant: This is a short story collection full of absolutely amazing authors. It makes this list because of Sarah Rees Brennan’s incredible story about a half-harpy boy, but there are plenty of other great ones, eg Holly Black’s, Patrick Ness’, etc.
  1. Beowulf by Anonymous: Features two monsters, a dragon, a scary dark pool, and lots of limb loss and death.
  1. The Turn of the Screw by Henry JamesThis is my favorite “is she crazy or is there an actual ghost????!!!11” story by one of my favorite authors. It’s short and creepy and perfect.

Dewey’s Readathon Oct16 Progress

Stay tuned – I will be update this post with my reading progress from 5 am October 22nd  to 5 am October 23rd for Dewey’s 24-hour readathon. I will also be on twitter @bahnree.

Hour 1:

Opening Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? The Pacific Northwest! It is wet here.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Hmmm I’ve heard a lot about Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. A lot of the books in my stack are by authors I haven’t read before which hopefully will work out.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Popcorn popcorn popcorn *lifts popcorn bowl and pours popcorn directly into my mouth*
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I feel like I’m trying to quit smoking or something because there are no Star Wars books in my stack…..WILL I MAKE IT???!!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I’m reading ONLY e-books (or that’s the plan) which I have never done for Dewey’s before. Eeeeek!

Pages read: 56

Books finished: No books but a short story, “How To Piss Off A Failed Super-Soldier” by John Chu. I really loved it!

Hour 2:

Six Word Story: She feared music, and thus danced. #SixWordStoryRAT

Pages read: 74

Total pages read: 135

I am reading Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. It seems like a magic retelling of Pride and Prejudice so far.

Hour 3:

Bookish Other Half: My bookish other half is Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle. I have a lot of inner “old lady” tendencies and I lose my temper and I find the description “Sophie was remorseless but she lacked method” very relevant to me.

Pages read: Not sure, but I took a walk and listened to three chapters of The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan. It has a REALLY wonderful audiobook narrator!

Hour 4:

A Book and A Snack challenge:

Pages read: 78

Total pages read: 213

Hour 5:

Pages Read: 20

Total pages read: 233

Hour 6-7:

I was at Bible Study, so we read a few chapters of Isaiah.

Hour 8-10:


Pages read: 68 from Shades of Milk and Honey and I listened to three more chapters of The Tropic of Serpents.

Total pages read: 301 + 6 audio chapters

I read “Carnaval of Souls” by Jilly Dybka for the poetry mini-challenge.

Book Memories challenge: One of my most significant book memories is picking up The Fellowship of the Ring. It was intimidatingly thick but I realized not much bigger than Redwall, and suddenly realized that yes, I COULD read this book and I WOULD. I read it in 2 days and it got me interested in a bunch of things including writing, folklore, mythology, and languages. Thanks, Tolkien!

Literary World Tour Challenge: I would definitely go to New Zealand and explore all of the places used in the filming of the movies (based on my favorite books everrrrr). Even if I didn’t love LotR, New Zealand has AMAZING scenery!

Cast Your Book Challenge: I’m reading Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. I would cast Jena Malone as Jane, the protagonist, because Jane reminds me of Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice (2005), played by Malone, and also because I really like Jena Malone.😄 I would cast Lily James as Jane’s Sister, Melody, who is very pretty but sort of a drama queen. I would cast Oscar Isaac as Mr. Dunkirk who is charming and nice to everyone. I’m not sure who I would cast as Mr. Vincent…..maybe Matthias Schoenaerts?

Hour 11:

I finished Shades of Milk and Honey! WHooooo!!!! I enjoyed it but the plot was a little strange for the last little bit and then everything was really tidy?

Books finished: 1

Hour 12:

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now? Deerskin by Robin McKinley
2. How many books have you read so far? 1 book: Shades of Milk and Honey, and 1 short story: “How To Piss Off A Failed Super-Soldier” by John Chu
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Ummm pretty much anything on my list. I’m excited to try Throne of Glass.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I went to Bible Study which was a planned distraction, but otherwise I’ve listened to audiobooks while walking or cooking, so it’s working out.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? It’s pretty much the same as other readathons I have done. I’m enjoying my audiobook, which is pretty weird I guess.

Hour 13-17:

I’ve been reading Deerskin by Robin McKinley which is really weird, D A R K time. I’m just starting The Girl At Midnight which seems entertaining!

Pages read: 200

Total pages read: 592

Hour 18-24:

Finished The Girl at Midnight!


2 books finished (and parts of 3 others read)

1 short story finished

3 hours of audiobook

849 total pages read

10 mini challenges completed


Dracula: Modern AU

This post contains spoilers for the first 17 chapters of Dracula.

London, 2016:

Jonathan Harker, a real estate agent, has to travel to Romania to pitch some London properties to an extremely wealthy client that wants to move to London. Jonathan’s fiancee Mina is a journalist working for a London newsblog. She had a last-minute interview on the coast or she would have gone with him. Since they met they’ve been writing emails to each other in Elvish, Klingon, and other made-up languages of their own because they are huge nerds and because Mina is paranoid about her stories getting stolen.


When Jon goes to Transylvania, all the locals try to convince him not to meet up with Count Dracula. As evidence, they produce all these weird Vines of fog, bats, and one of a wolf in the distance but nothing concrete because vampires can’t be filmed. He thinks they’re trying to prank him since he’s British. Count Dracula lives off in the boonies so Jon has to take a bus and then meet Dracula at one of the stops. The Count gets there just in time, rolling up in a shiny Rolls Royce because obviously.

Jonathan gets trapped without any communication as there isn’t any cell service or wifi. Instead of emailing Mina, Jon keeps writing email drafts just in case he finds a way to send them. He’s a 21st century man and doesn’t consider smoke signals or flares.

While Jonathan is in Romania, Mina goes to her interview and then visits her friend Lucy, a socialite who studied interior design. Lucy is proposed to by three guys who all know each other from Afghanistan: Arthur, a philanthropic trust fund baby; Jack, a doctor at a mental hospital; and Quincey, an American daredevil who can’t catch a break. When Mina catches Lucy sleepwalking, she keeps it secret from most because Lucy is engaged to a famous rich guy (Arthur) and Mina doesn’t want to cause any trouble with the paparazzi. Mina is then called off because her husband has been found at an airport suffering from major trauma.

Renfield, one of Jack’s patients, is a Gulf war veteran suffering from PTSD and a nervous breakdown….or that’s what modern science says.

Van Helsing is a hipster natural medicine doctor with a following but also a lot of critics.

When Lucy gets sick, they put her in a real hospital and everything except Van Helsing can’t get them to put enough security on her room so him and the boys trade off watching her. They all try to donate blood but it turns out Jack can’t pass the drug test. Mina comes back immediately thanks to a text from Lucy and also donates a lot of blood.


During Lucy’s final attack by Dracula, she is trapped in the hospital with a bunch of unconscious staff so she whips out her phone and texts Van Helsing and company, who immediately come to the hospital and save her from imminent undeath.

The whole group then embarks on a mission to hunt down the vampire Dracula, who they all witnessed mid-act at the hospital and also they have all seen Buffy so they know what’s up now. They can’t warn anyone else because whenever they try to film anything, nothing shows up because vampires can’t be seen on camera. No one benches Mina at any point.

They probably all live happily ever after?

Honestly I’m surprised at how easily you could transfer the whole story to modern-day. What do you think about my AU? What would you do differently, or how would you do other parts of the story? 



Dracula Ch. 18-20: Manlike, They Were Immediately Murdered By Rats

Okay, everyone, I’m going to be honest here: we’re getting closerish near to the end of this book and I am getting REAL TIRED OF EVERYONE’S SHENANIGANS, mostly in regard to not taking the proper precautions and to the treatment of Mina by her crew.

“Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina! She has man’s brain- a brain that a man should have were he much gifted-and woman’s heart. The good God fashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when he made that so good combination” (278).

For a purpose, eh? That purpose must be hunting and killing an immortal evil vampire, right? Right?


….Oh. Van Helsing, you are full of rat poop. YOU HEARD ME.

Anyway, Mina’s reaction to this is grouchy but understanding because she’s been brainwashed by the system – I mean, because she loves her husband and doesn’t want him to worry.  “Manlike, they have told me to go to bed and sleep” (287). TYPICAL. But I love how even though she’s going along with what they want, she’s still pretty snarky in her journal. Even Renfield is on Team Mina (278).

If the guys had followed up their benching of Mina with some, you know, smart decisions, I could maybe forgive it. But then they immediately go and investigate Dracula’s house AT NIGHT while leaving Mina at home ALONE. I mean, it’s not like we just sat through Van Helsing’s lecture on the Strengths and Weaknesses of Our Vampire Enemy and established that he is stronger during the night…

Oh, wait. We totally got that lecture. In all seriousness, Van Helsing’s lecture in Chapter 18 is a pretty great sum-up of what we know about Dracula so far from the book. He confirms that Dracula is the dog that ran off of the shipwreck, and probably can shift into dust-clouds, which seems like a really fake skill but that’s okay.

“The nosferatu do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger, and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil” (280-1).

Van Helsing mentions the “Scholomance” in his lecture, which I tried to find out more about but I guess I need to use an actual library. The wikipedia article is sorta helpful but most of their sources aren’t online for free. I was amused to notice that, besides all the links to World of Warcraft and Cassandra Clare, most links quoted Dracula when talking about Scholomance. Anyway, the long and short of it is that Scholomance is a magic school off in the mountainous boonies and is run by the devil.



I really enjoy how Morris, who doesn’t seem to be that interested in the research side of things, just walks out of the room so he can shoot at the bat he saw outside the window. And then…no one else raises the possibility that the bat might be Dracula? It’s probably fine. Bats are totally normal except for when they’re shapeshifting avatars of the undead. Maybe they’re just in denial. But, AGAIN, they follow this up with a night-time exploration of Dracula’s house. WHY DID YOU NOT GO DURING THE DAY ARGH.


Seward uses his skeleton keys to break into Dracula’s house (295), confirming my headcanon that he is secretly a body-snatcher in his spare time. I’m really onboard with this theory, you guys.

I haven’t talked very much about Renfield in these posts, mostly because I don’t know what to do with him.


“That horrid thing has the wolves and rats and his own kind to help him, so I suppose he isn’t above trying to use a respectable lunatic” (294).

He’s clearly under the influence of Dracula. He’s clearly a lunatic. I guess I’m pretty much like Seward – very suspicious of Renfield at all times and unsure what Renfield’s purposes are. He seems to want to become a sort of vampire himself, as shown by eating all the flies and whatnot. We don’t really know how or why he is aware of Dracula and thinks of him as his master. But why is he freaking out so much about leaving the asylum in chapter 18? Is he motivated by Dracula or by himself and for good or evil? Renfield: DISCUSS. Do you like and/or empathize with him? What do you think his deal is?

Top 10 Tuesday: Bookish Names

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted  by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme is Ten Characters I’d Name A Child/Dog/Cat/Car/Etc. After.

  1. Greyhame, from The Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien: This is one of Gandalf’s many names, meaning “greymantle” or “greycloak” and is also the name of my current (grey) car. I like the sound of it.
  2. Achates, from The Aeneid by Vergil: My current computer is named after Aeneas’ bestie. There’s really no reason for this except I like the name and Achates seems like a nice dude.
  3. Mary Russell, from Laurie R. King’s series starting with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice: one of my previous cars had this name. It got totaled and I don’t like to talk about it but I love Mary Russell and gosh I loved that car.
  4. Felagund, from The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien: I really want to name a dog Lord Finrod Felagund Hewer of Caves someday. Better than werewolves if you know what I mean.
  5. Matthias, from Brian Jacques’ Redwall series starting with Redwall: I like this name and I see no problems naming a child after a tiny sword-wielding mouse.
  6. Mara Jade, from Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn: I can’t decide if I would rather name a daughter or a tabby cat Mara, but bonus points if you have two animals you name Mara and Jade. I like the name Mara and I like the name Jade and I love Mara Jade so I don’t see a downside.
  7. Cress, from Cress by Marissa Meyer: This is a cute name. I don’t know, I would name a cat or dog or child this and cuddle it forever.
  8. Gimli, from The Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien: this just seems like a really good name for a grouchy little dog with delusions of grandeur. Maybe a Scottish Terrier?
  9. Mina Harker, from Dracula by Bram Stoker: This would be a good name for a computer or a typewriter: it’ll organize your information for you and be the best at it
  10. Alexander: Whether it’s referring to The Great, Hamilton, or Lightwood, it’s just a good strong crazy name, IMHO.

Dewey’s Readathon Oct16

I’m doing the thing again.


Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon is this Saturday, October 22nd. Reader sign-ups are here.

I haven’t yet made it all 24 hours and I won’t this year either but I’ll be participating as much as possible. This will be the first time I am reading e-books only, as my e-book TBR is getting ridiculous and I recently learned that I read much faster on my Kindle.

Here is my “stack” of potential reads:

I may throw some comics in there, too, if the occasion calls for it.

Are you participating? WHATCHA GONNA READ?