Time to get into the complex profile of everyone’s favourite Count!
Originally from Transylvania, Dracula is the creation of Irish writer Bram Stoker, who wrote the famous novel in 1897, thus giving birth to vampire literature. The story follows the ambition of the Transylvanian undead noble to move to England in his search for fresh blood, and the efforts of Professor Van Helsing to stop him.
What Do We Know About Dracula?
The archetypal vampire is very strong and has the power equivalent to that of 20 men. As we well know from all movies and parodies, you may try to catch his reflection in the mirror but never succeed, as the Count doesn’t even cast a shadow. He is fanged and cannot stand being in the sunlight, as he loses many of his powers. He feeds on blood, which has a rejuvenating effect on him.
You can try to shoot him or stab him anywhere (except for the heart) with no success at harming him. He masters gravity and can climb on vertical surfaces - he can also fly by transforming himself into a bat. Shapeshifting is another superpower the great vampire has, as he can become smaller of bigger according to his own will. He is a skilled hypnotist and may sometimes teleport himself. He is (almost) immortal and can partly command animals. He can manipulate the weather.
Not to worry if you happen to bump into him while at Bran Castle, though! Believe it or not, there are ways to beat him as his own game!
All you have to do is get him into the sunlight, as all his powers cease when he’s in the light. He cannot morph into anything unless the timing is right: either he’s near his grave or it’s pitch dark outside.
He is always thirsty and loses control, becoming irrational when he senses blood, and thus easier to trap and challenge. Garlic and crucifixes keep him away and mysteriously seem to calm his thirst. He needs Transylvanian soil so as to rest during the day.
Last but not least, Dracula can turn others into vampires and pass on the undead curse by biting them.
One can argue Dracula is a sort of villain-superhero, and, as with any superhero, there is an origin story.
The character is inspired by a real-life historical figure, known as Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Țepeș), who was born in Transylvania and ruled Wallachia in the 15th century.
The name “Dracul” is a name belonging to his family and originating in the history of an ancient order of knights, the Order of the Dragon. Many of his ancestors bore this name.
Vlad the Impaler had a chilling reputation for being cruel to his enemies and to anyone who disobeyed the law. Some attested historical stories say that, besides impaling his enemies after battle, he used to practice poling rats sadistically, for his own pleasure. He used to nail the turbans to the heads of Turks.
Other stories say he used to boil people alive, with their heads upside down. His brutality was known and feared across Europe, although contemporary consensus shows many of the stories are exaggerated. However, Vlad was what we would call today a mass murderer. His obsession for justice almost reduced stealing to zero during his reign, as there are stories of fountains with golden cups which didn’t get stolen because of fear of punishment.
The Bottom (Bloody) Line
Brrrr! Chilling, right? Interestingly, there are people saying Vlad the Impaler's powerful impact on the local history was also partly good!
If not for everything else, his story inspired some amazing and entertaining stories and metaphors, giving birth to one of the most complex and fascinating villains!
Don’t forget to watch Dracula: Dead and Loving it, the satirical comedy with Leslie Nielsen, before visiting Transylvania.
We promise to tell you more about his story once we meet.
Want to visit Dracula’s Castle, now that you know his true identity? Book a day tour with us from Cluj-Napoca! We'll bring the garlic.