“Have you seen that awful den of hellish infamy–with the very moonlight alive with grisly shapes, and every speck of dust that whirls in the wind a devouring monster in embryo?”
-Jonathan Harker, who has lost any chill he ever possessed
If you’re reading this, you probably finished reading Dracula (if you haven’t finished reading Dracula, spoiler warning!).
If you haven’t checked out the #dracalong hashtag, it’s not too late and it’s full of hilarity. #Recommended
I hope you all enjoyed the book. It’s long, occasionally long-winded, and internally inconsistent, but, hey, we can’t have everything. Or so they tell me.
Let’s talk about these deplorable adorable amateur vampire-hunters one last time.
I like how Van Helsing is dropping new vampire rules to the bitter end, e.g. when he says Dracula “cannot cross the running water of his own volition” (392). Haven’t we already seen Dracula use the ferry on the Thames?
Someone should follow Jack Seward around and poke him around when he says something completely unacceptable, like when he talks about how great euthanasia is (395), during a time when they might soon have to murder Mina for her own good. Like….there is no good time to say that but especially not now, Jack.
Remember that one time (in the end of chapter 25) when Van Helsing sends Mina off to get a manuscript so he can talk about her privately with Jack, but then at the very end of that scene, when they’ve talked to Mina again, Jack informs us that he writes all of these conversations down and THEN HAS MINA TYPE THEM OUT ON HER TYPEWRITER? WHAT IS THE POINT OF PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT YOUR OWN PERSONAL DOCUMENTATION PROFESSIONAL? Ahem. This is fine.
In any case, it’s good that they keep Mina informed (by whatever method) as she’s the one to work out which route Dracula is taking back to his castle, and so saves the assassination expedition from failure. I love how she’s “the train fiend” and just, the best at geography and routes and things. Van Helsing and Co. try to rely on hypnotizing her thereby “spying” on Dracula, but instead she helps the most by using her awesome brain, and I love that.
It takes us a while to get there, but the actual “fight” against Dracula is very short and abrupt. I appreciate that the format of the book as a collection of documents is striving for realism, and the fact that the most action-packed bit is recounted in very few words adds to that realism. You don’t wax poetic about who traded which blows unless you’re writing epic poetry or something similar. The moment when Jonathan and Quincey deliver the final blows is pretty epic. But I also understand that for such an intense book and for a conflict that’s drawn out for so long, the ending may be unsatisfying. What did you all think?
I think the scene soon before the climax is more graphic and chilling:: when Van Helsing is exploring the castle and sequentially murdering the three female vampires. A. Gross, dude and B. That would be really scary???? To be wandering around a hopefully-abandoned castle???? and murdering beautiful monster ladies????? C. Wolves outside. D. Your friend back at camp who is possibly turning into a vampire at that very moment. E. Big Daddy Vampire might get home at any minute.
And on that note, thanks for joining me on this read-through of Dracula!
(Coming up next: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’ll be posting on the first eight chapters next Monday, November 7th).