So, everyone knows that Dracula is the most awesome vampire ever in English literature. And before anyone dares to mention Ed Cullen, I should point out that he fails to qualify both in terms of “awesome” and indeed “literature.” :P I actually have a niggling problem with Dracula though: it is this –
Dracula represents the fear of the outsider – fear of the foreigner. As a rich man he also represents the poor man’s fear that the upper classes are screwing him over. Given that he attempts to steal Jonathan Harker’s fiancée, he represents the fear of every man, that some stranger is giving your woman a far better time than you could possibly hope to achieve. He is, not to put to fine a point on it, Castration Anxiety personified.
Count Dracula is thus a perfect monster, but what he is not is a character. I say this because Dracula is aristocratic, rich, owns vast tracts of land, has a coterie of sexy lady Vampires with whom to share his enormous castle, and can snack on any of the local peasants whenever he feels hungry. Yet nowhere in Bram Stoker’s original novel is there any explanation as to why he would want to give all of this up, and move to Whitby – of all places!
Francis Ford Coppola sensed this fundamental flaw in the novel which is why he invented a back-story for Dracula for his film, namely that the Count was searching for his lost love. Given that she was played by Winona Ryder, he could have just done this by staying in Transylvania and following police-reports and in-store CCTV footage!
But was this what Bram Stoker originally intended? I mean about searching for a lost love, not about Winona Ryder, obviously. I discussed my concerns about Dracula with my fellow members of the Illuminati in the pub one afternoon. After recounting all the details to them, I asked: “So why would he want to move to Whitby?”
Inspiration seized one of my drinking companions. “They do nice fish and chips there!” he said.
“What?” I replied.
“They do nice fish and chips in Whitby! That’s why Count Dracula upped and moved to Yorkshire.”
So there you have it! For all the delights that rural Carpathia has to offer, the one thing that they have not is tasty battered (locally sourced) cod with chunky chips served with le purée de petit pois. I must say that given that I like a Fish Supper every once in a while – as well as liking Fish & Chips – I can to a certain extent sympathise with the old Count!