DAVID SAUNDERSON continues counting down the days until his Transylvanian holiday by readng Dracula by Bram Stoker. Today, he discusses Chapter 2!
To summarise this chapter: Jonathon Harker meets Dracula at his big richly-decorated but old castle and it doesn’t take long for him to realise that the Count is a strange fellow. Dracula talks a lot – quite different to the movies – and is very knowledgeable about a lot of things especially England. He’s also a bit of a snob but he is a count after all.
Throughout this chapter we start getting little hints that Dracula may something other than human. Especially when Harker discovers that the Count doesn’t cast a reflection in the mirror. There is a scene at the end of the chapter that shows Harker shaving and cutting himself. Dracula is quite excited by the blood. This differs from the Francis Ford Coppola movie version, where Gary Oldman’s Dracula takes the razor and licks the blood in an almost orgasmic fashion. In the book, the vampire is cast away when he sees Harker’s crucifix. It’s not long after this that despite all Drac’s politely passive aggressive behaviour, Harker is a prisoner in the castle.
Chapter Two is full of history of Transylvania and gives us a background to Dracula being very much a creature of the Old World. As I said, Dracula doesn’t really stop talking in this chapter – which is a big stretch to that of Christopher Lee in the Hammer film versions. Lee talks for the first 10 minutes or so of the first film Dracula (1958) and then spends the next 15 years hissing like a cat. Great films but very different to the novel.
Things I have learned from this chapter: One amusing revelation has been that Jonathon Harker’s boss was a man named Peter Hawkins, a solicitor from Exeter. We discover that Mister Hawkins could not visit Castle Dracula himself to meet Dracula because of gout and had to send Harker instead. And why this is funny is because I have a friend named Pete Hawkins who would have liked to accompany us on our trip to Transylvania but work commitments means he has to stay at home. Will a Peter Hawkins ever visit Transylvania? The stars seem to say no!
My favourite quote from this chapter is: “Listen to them—the children of the night. What music they make!”
DAVID SAUNDERSON is the founder and managing editor of The Spooky Isles. In the daylight hours, he works in marketing. By night, he organises ghoulish and frightful ghost tours and events with Spooky London.