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Archived Group Reads 2009-10 > Dracula, part 6; Through End of Book

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message 1: by Paula (new)

Paula | 1001 comments For the discussion of the remaining chapters, and the entire book in general. Beware of spoilers!

My own question...
So?? What did you think?? Did it live up to the hype?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Definitely for me! The current "vampire" books, I feel can't hold a candle to this one. I loved the eerie atmospheric quality to the novel and felt the characters to be just perfect in the parts they portrayed. I couldn't help but feel the terror and felt that Stoker created a true Gothic tale with intrigue, a huge creepy factor and terrifying suspense.

I rated it a four only because I thought the ending dragged a bit.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I have a question. "How does the idea of color play into the novel?" Blood red lips, white skin etc.


message 4: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 83 comments I absolutely loved this book - I can't believe I hadn't read it years ago. I don't think it was particularly scary - it became more of an adventure story and at times I think was quite funny!

I was amazed that prior to going out on their hunt for the boxes Van Helsing was saying that Dracula could take many forms (eg bats) and then, I think it was Quincey, said there had been a huge bat on his windowsill and nothing more was said of that. They went out leaving Mina without so much as a clove, let alone a bulb, of garlic for protection - leaving her in an asylum where one of the inmates, Renfield, had escaped from twice! Unbelievable! And then no-one clicked that she slept longer than usual the next day and was fatigued for days before they twigged! lol


message 5: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) It irritated me that they didn't notice that there is something wrong with Mina, although the've seen one death already. They were surprisingly insensitive.

As for the colours, they are great vampire-meters. If white or red is mentioned, then you can be sure that someone is a vimpire/ got bitten by one.

I stand by what I said earlier- the second half is too long, uneventful, lacks in atmposphere. I wish the ending were at least a little less obvious.


message 6: by Julia (new)

Julia (jujulia) | 30 comments Has anybody read "Twilight" (and will admit this "guilty pleasure"?) I've been thinking to read at least the first volume now to see the difference to this classic....


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I have, Julia and I truly liked them. I just didn't find the "creepy" factor in these books as I did in Dracula. They are really a love story (I think) more than a vampire story.


message 8: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) They're two totally different books. There is nothing to compare, IMO.


message 9: by Silver (new)

Silver Kinga wrote: "It irritated me that they didn't notice that there is something wrong with Mina, although the've seen one death already. They were surprisingly insensitive.

As for the colours, they are great vamp..."


I had the same thought. After having already witnessed what happened to Lucy, and everyone having read all of the journals, and thus knowing exactly what happened, I too found it quite bothersome that they were so oblivious to what was happening to Mina.

I was quite surprised by the sexuality within this book, while vampire myth and sexuality is almost inseparable from each other, the scenes with Mina seemed to be particuarly graphic for lack of a better word, and it is hard not to imagine the Victorian audience not being shocked.

And I cannot help but to wonder how women would have responded to this book if indeed women were permitted to read the work of it if would have been too scandalous for a female audience.


message 10: by Silver (new)

Silver I am a bit confsued by ch. 23, when they are out destroying Dracula's varrious different coffins, and they get a telegram from Mina saying that Dracula has left Carfax and his heading to meet them.

It is stated that they cannot leave Mina alone at sunset, so presumeably it is still daylight at this time, so how is Dracula traveling around in the sunlight?


message 11: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) It was still daylight. I don't understand that one too, but I think that Dracula was able to travel during the day if he had a hat and a coat. He was only compelled to sleep when he drank a lot during the night. That's what I concluded.


message 12: by Silver (last edited Sep 29, 2010 12:33PM) (new)

Silver Yes the gist I am starting to get from what it says in the book, is appeently Dracula could travel during the daylight, but his powers only worked at night. Because Mina and Lucy were safe from him during the day and only had to worry after sunset.

Maybe it has to do with the subconcious mind being more open during sleep, which makes them more suspetiable to Dracula's influence at night.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Well that sure makes sense, Silver. I think it is more the movies that made us believe that vampires must sleep in their coffins during the day. I got the notion he was weak during the day so could be killed but extremely powerful at night and therefore could not be done away with.


message 14: by Silver (new)

Silver I wonder, is there ment to be any special meaning in the names Helsing and Godalming.

Though I cannot find any speical double meaning in the other names, these two struck out at me.

Also I am currious what otehrs thought about Mina's feeling pity for Dracula?

Is this a sign of the greater virtue of women over men, or is it an indiacator of how women are weaker than men which is what makes them easy trargets to be swayed by Dracula's influence?


message 15: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) I think it was to show how absolutely admirable Mina is. So, her greater virtue.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I think that she was the antithesis to Dracula, while he represented evil and all that is bad with humanity, Mina represented what is good about the human race.

Great observation with the names, Silver. :)


message 17: by Grace (new)

Grace (graycie) | 16 comments Silver, you bring up a good point with the names. Especially with Lord Godalming because his name changes from Holmwood to Godalming right around the time of Lucy's transformation into a vampire and then her "true death". Breaking down his name, there's the word God and then "Alming". I know what the word means but I looked up the definition so that I can state it properly: Alms or almsgiving is a religious rite which, in general, involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue.
It is when he inherits his fortune that Arthur becomes Lord Godalming and he uses that fortune to go after and destroy Dracula and to save Mina Harker.


message 18: by Julia (new)

Julia (jujulia) | 30 comments what did everyone make of Mina having the men say the burial mess for her while she's still alive? For me that was one of the key scenes which also showed Mina'a great insight and her brave heart and virtue. Would people today ask the husband to do the reading and - before with Lucy - the killing or would we rather spare the person who supposedly loves the other one most from such a task? I imagine it rather heart-breaking to perform such duties for a person I have shared my life with - on the other side, who else should be the one to accompany the beloved one in such entangles?

One question: Have I missed it somehow or have we never learned how Jonathan escaped from Count Dracula the first time? I remember the letter Mina finally got from the nuns who cared for him during his brain fever, but have we somewhere been informed on how he saved his life this first time?


message 19: by Silver (new)

Silver I thought the portrayal of woman's virtue as well as her strength and bravery was quite interesting through the character of Mina, and while we have these 4 manly men in all their manly courage and bravery wanting to protect Mina, it seems in many ways Mina is in fact their backbone.

I thought it was quite ironic, when they first wanted to start keeping the information from her to protect her, and yet at the start of the book, Jonathan was the one who could not even bare to read his own journals and face what he had been through, and Mina was the one who had to read them for him in order to protect him.

And in the same way that the men are worried bout her being distressed by their discoveries, when Dracula first visits her, before she understands what is happening she is the one who wants to protect them from seeing her distress and tries to hide her emotions and anxieties.

As for Jonathan all we know is that he made up his mind to try and climb out the window and scale the wall to escape, and than somehow ended up in a hospital.


message 20: by Julia (new)

Julia (jujulia) | 30 comments Silver wrote: "I thought the portrayal of woman's virtue as well as her strength and bravery was quite interesting through the character of Mina, and while we have these 4 manly men in all their manly courage and..."

Silver, I absolutely agree with you on Mina's role - she's so much stronger than the men in some ways, especially as she's kind of alone after having been "infected" by Dracula. Somebody has mentioned the "polygamous" aspect of the group of men's relationship with Lucy, isn't it a little bit like that with Mina as well? It kind of struck me when Jonathan and Mina baptized their son with the first names of all of their friends - beautiful gesture, but the theme of one woman - many men keeps coming up throughout the novel, doesn't it?

Thanks for reminding me of how Jonathan got away from Count Dracula the first time - this escape was kind of anti-climactic, wasn't it? I thought the same thing about the end of the book as well - the end of Lucy was so much stronger and kept me reading page after page while the end of the big fiend was rather fast and as if Bram Stoker had wanted to finish the story off - I kind of missed a grand finale....


message 21: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) Julia wrote: "Silver wrote: "I thought the portrayal of woman's virtue as well as her strength and bravery was quite interesting through the character of Mina, and while we have these 4 manly men in all their ma..."

totally agree.


message 22: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 83 comments Mina Harker has appeared as a character in many comics and goth/industrial bands songs, most notably in League of Extraordinary gentlemen, where she doesn't have the 'special powers' of some of the other characters but is practical, independent and continually challenges the stereotypical roles of a woman at that time. Rammstein have used her in some of their songs and incognito DJ's have remixed their songs under the guise of the Mina Harker remix.


message 23: by Silver (new)

Silver Julia wrote: "Silver wrote: "I thought the portrayal of woman's virtue as well as her strength and bravery was quite interesting through the character of Mina, and while we have these 4 manly men in all their ma..."

Yes I agree that there seemed to be something Polygamous about the relationship between Mina and the 5 other men around her. As they all declared their love for her, even if it was not meant in a romantic sense, the same way it was for Lucy, but it seemed they all developed their own individual intimate relationships with her.

And speaking of the Polygamous aspects of this book, if we look at Dracula itself, it is much more of a blatant and literal polygamy, with his three brides, and seeking to try and add to his harem as it were.

Also I thought it was kind of funny how after everything was over, the group was no longer drawn together by these terrible events, and normalcy could be restored to their lives again, Seward and Godalming were conveniently married off.


message 24: by Julia (new)

Julia (jujulia) | 30 comments Silver wrote: "Julia wrote: "Silver wrote: "I thought the portrayal of woman's virtue as well as her strength and bravery was quite interesting through the character of Mina, and while we have these 4 manly men i..."

Ha ha, true, - but better than being killed off like poor Quincey....


message 25: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 83 comments Maggie wrote: "Mina Harker has appeared as a character in many comics and goth/industrial bands songs, most notably in League of Extraordinary gentlemen, where she doesn't have the 'special powers' of some of th..."

Re my above comment - I just happened to be talking to a friend about Dracula and she told me all that stuff about Mina Harker. Its not anything I knew about and I typed it as she said it! Just thought it quite interesting.


message 26: by DebK (new)

DebK | 6 comments Julia wrote: "Has anybody read "Twilight" (and will admit this "guilty pleasure"?) I've been thinking to read at least the first volume now to see the difference to this classic...."

Absolutely no comparison. Twilight is garbage and not true to the original vampire behaviors at all!


message 27: by DebK (new)

DebK | 6 comments I must have missed something in this book. I was waiting the ENTIRE book to find out how John Harker got out of Transylvania! I thought for sure I'd know the details by the end of the book. Did I miss something? Perhaps it comes from reading the book on a Kindle. Yikes!


message 28: by DebK (new)

DebK | 6 comments Movie versions of the book: I rented two versions -- one was the BBC version and the other was a more modernized version with Keanu Reeves. If you like lurid sex, the Keannu Reeves version will appeal to you. The BBC version was just okay in my mind. I think this could make a FANTASTIC atmospheric movie with modern-day special effects. The BBC special effects were just too hokey! What a waste that this has never been done. Or am I wrong?


message 29: by Silver (new)

Silver Deb wrote: "I must have missed something in this book. I was waiting the ENTIRE book to find out how John Harker got out of Transylvania! I thought for sure I'd know the details by the end of the book. Did ..."

The only thing we know about John Harker's escape is that we see him about to climb out the window, and than somehow he ends up in the hospital, but it never elaborates on what happens in between.


message 30: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) And I waited to read about how dracula and his mistresses became vampires.


message 31: by Silver (new)

Silver Kinga wrote: "And I waited to read about how dracula and his mistresses became vampires."

I presume the Dracula turned his brides the same way he was going to try to do with Lucy and Mina.


message 32: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) Silver wrote: "Kinga wrote: "And I waited to read about how dracula and his mistresses became vampires."

I presume the Dracula turned his brides the same way he was going to try to do with Lucy and Mina."


But it is suggested that he turned the fair one because he loved her. If vampires don't love, how come? Maybe they were lovers before he became a vampire? That's what I'd like to know.


message 33: by Silver (new)

Silver Kinga wrote: "Silver wrote: "Kinga wrote: "And I waited to read about how dracula and his mistresses became vampires."

I presume the Dracula turned his brides the same way he was going to try to do with Lucy an..."


I do not recall where it was suggested that he loved her, can you tell me what chapter it was in? I would like to go back and reread that part.


message 34: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) It was when the 3 women almost 'kissed' Jonathan and again near the end of the book when van Helsing was looking for their coffins.


message 35: by Silver (new)

Silver I will go look that up again.


message 36: by Scott (new)

Scott (Karlstadt) | 123 comments Is Mina portrayed as a vampire in this 21st century versions of the story?


message 37: by Scott (new)

Scott (Karlstadt) | 123 comments Silver wrote: "Deb wrote: "I must have missed something in this book. I was waiting the ENTIRE book to find out how John Harker got out of Transylvania! I thought for sure I'd know the details by the end of the..."


message 38: by Scott (new)

Scott (Karlstadt) | 123 comments Stoker leaves room for doubt as to whether or not Jon and Mina are indeed vampires. They are both free of the Count's power for now, but what evil lurks in them?


message 39: by Silver (new)

Silver Karlstadt wrote: "Stoker leaves room for doubt as to whether or not Jon and Mina are indeed vampires. They are both free of the Count's power for now, but what evil lurks in them?"

I did not get that impression at all, and I think that Stoker makes it pretty clear that they are not intended to be vampires, for the stain upon Mina's purity, the mark of the pruned cross upon her forehead disappears as a sign that her purity and innocence is restored again, and that the curse of Dracula has been stopped.

If she was still a vampire, than the mark of the burned cross would have remained.


message 40: by Rebecca (last edited Oct 17, 2010 06:43AM) (new)

Rebecca Should finally finish up today. This has been a great read and dicussion. I really enjoyed the book. I agree the last half dragged on a bit with all the planning to destroy Dracula. I wanted them to just get on with it. I had never read Dracula before because I thought it was just silly, but really there are alot of themes and theory to look at. Marialyce I am with you Twilight "Can't touch this" ;). Anyone intrested in reading Frankenstein next?


message 41: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 18 comments Just finished this and I agree with you all--the ending could be called a bit anti-climactic. They have to fight the Gypsies but not Dracula himself? They can just open his coffin and destroy him? (This complaint is one of the major ones people make about The Historian, by the way, which is also about Dracula.Interesting.) But still, a very thrilling tale other than that. As for Twilight, I love romance, so I thought I enjoyed them at first, but I've quite gone off them now.


message 42: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca What do others make of Mina journal when she writes of Dre. Van Helsing said " "Our dear Madam Mina is once more our teacher?" I am I way off but does Van Helsing seems to have a love for Mina beyond friendship?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I sort of thought of it as a kind of father/daughter type thing. Did you see something different. Rebecca?

I am glad you enjoyed this book. I know I did. Sure, I would love to read Frankenstein with you and others.


message 44: by Rebecca (last edited Oct 21, 2010 04:04PM) (new)

Rebecca I ordered Frankenstein from my paperbackswap so Let me know and others when you want to start. :)

Oh ok Marialyce. I didn't see it that way but maybe if I had thought about it earlier in the book maybe I would have seen it. I thought it was more intimate when Helsing talk about watching her and when they were laying by the fire but maybe not?

Dracula, My Love by Syrie James looks like a good one too. Maybe a good Post Dracula. Have you read The Historian yet?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) No, I haven't read The Historian, but I certainly want to, Rebecca. I have Frankenstein on my Kindle so I am ready whenever the mood strikes everyone.


Hummmm maybe there was something there. You know how these Victorians loved to hide their innermost feelings.


message 46: by Jamie (last edited Oct 21, 2010 07:00PM) (new)

Jamie  (jaymers8413) I would love to read both The Historian and Frankenstein!

I really enjoyed Dracula but found the most intense and ominous part to be the beginning. Do you think Stoker toned down the story for the Victorian audience?

I agree the ending was not as graphic and such a page turner as when Lucy was destroyed or laid to rest but if done right in a play or movie would visually induce more interest than reading.


message 47: by Kin (new)

Kin (kinkykin) You know how it is when you write something. At the beginning you know exactly what kind of atmosphere you want to create and how you should go on with the story. But later on... you don't remember these emotions that kindled yor imagination when you were starting. So your story becomes less and less intense. In my opinion, that's what hapened to Stoker.


message 48: by Lauri (new)

Lauri | 56 comments Kinga, I agree entirely. At some point, Stoker got so distracted with the Professor's linguistics and the little intimacies between Mina and "the boys" that it stopped adding to the story - it distracted the reader as well. I thought the first part of the book was very powerful, but as you say it became less intense and really by the end the story had lost most of it's energy.


message 49: by Alison (new)

Alison | 1 comments I'm almost finished with the book and I'm sorry I never read it before!! The ending has really dragged for me as well so I've been reading it on and off over the past few weeks.

I really liked (and was happily surprised) at how creepy it was! I come across very few modern books that are truly creepy-not gory-just good old creepy. The descriptons of the wagon and the gypsies and the scenery (especially the ship running aground in London) was wonderfully written. I think, overall, that those were my favorite parts of the book. I'm a sucker for good creepy-ness :)

Thanks to all (who did) for voting for this book-I really enjoyed it and probably wouldn't have read it otherwise.


message 50: by Scott (new)

Scott | 92 comments So many layers. Van Helsing's 'my friend Arminius', named after a Dutch theologian who opposed the concept of 'predestination', which has been linked to obsessive behavior. Van Helsing and folk myths connect obsession with vampires, like putting piles of rice around a vampires grave so he becomes preoccupied with counting the grains.


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