Brides of Dracula
Dracula character
Dracula (1931) trailer - Brides.png
Dorothy Tree, Geraldine Dvorak and Cornelia Thaw as Dracula’s brides in Dracula (1931).
First appearanceDracula
Created byBram Stoker
In-universe information
NicknameThe Sisters
The Vixens
Weird Sisters
Dracula's Brides
The Brides
SpeciesUndead human
Vampire
GenderFemale
SpousePossibly Count Dracula (unclear)
NationalityRomanian

The Brides of Dracula are fictional characters in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. They are three seductive female vampire "sisters" who reside with Count Dracula in his castle in Transylvania, where they entrance men with their beauty and charm, and then proceed to feed upon them. Dracula provides them with victims to devour, mainly implied to be infants.

Like Dracula, they are the living dead, repulsed by sunlight, garlic and religious objects. In chapter three of the novel, two are described as having dark hair and red eyes, like Dracula, while the other as being fair, with blonde hair and blue eyes.[1]

Novel

Sometime near the beginning of the novel, after Jonathan Harker arrives in Dracula's castle, he warns Harker that if he leaves his room to never sleep in any other room in the castle, but does not tell him why, clearly aware that the sisters will kill him.[2]

Late one night Jonathan explores the castle. He sits at a table writing in his journal and, as he begins to fall asleep, sees three women standing in the moonlight who cast no shadows. The women proceed to seduce him and, as one of them begins to kiss his neck, he feels her sharp teeth barely scrape against his flesh. Dracula then grabs her neck and hurls her away, chastising the brides for trying to feed on Harker when he wasn't done with him. He promises to give Harker to them after his business deal is concluded and gives them a "wiggling bag" (presumed by Harker to be a human child) to appease them. Harker soon fears for his life, at one point thinking he sees the brides dancing in the sky outside his bedroom, which strengthens his resolve to escape. Dracula makes good on his word and leaves Harker to the sisters when he heads for England.[3] Though Harker manages to escape the castle shortly after, he is badly traumatized by the encounter and is diagnosed with brain fever. Though they lose their victim, the brides continue to haunt the castle and terrorize the nearby village.

The sisters are seen again near the end of the novel as the protagonists pursue Count Dracula to Transylvania. The sisters suddenly appear at a camp consisting of Abraham Van Helsing and Jonathan's wife Mina. Sensing that Mina is cursed with vampirism, they beckon her to join them, referring to her as their "sister" and promising not to harm her. However, Van Helsing had previously crushed a Sacred wafer and scattered it in a circle around the campsite. Due to this protective barrier, both Mina and the sisters are unable to cross its border. Although the vampires kept away from the camp they remained in the darkness until sunrise upon which they fled back to the castle. At the coming of daylight, Van Helsing finds that their horses are dead. After Van Helsing binds Mina in another ring of sacramental bread, he subsequently goes to Dracula's castle alone to destroy the vampires and sterilize Dracula's tomb, keeping him from ever being able to enter it again. After locating the vampires' graves, he finds them asleep 'open-eyed'. He attempts to kill the first but almost fails as his eyes befall her beauty. Caught in an enchantment, he becomes entranced and lost in a state of uncertainty. Becoming overwhelmed with emotions, he feels compelled to protect her instead and even contemplates love for her. He suddenly hears a 'Soul Wail' from Mina which breaks the enchantment, allowing him to finish his work. First using a blacksmith hammer, he strikes a stake into her, then proceeds to operate on her, detaching the head from the body and filling the mouth with garlic. He repeats this process with the other two, taking him an entire day to complete.

Characters

In the novel, the three vampire women are not individually named. Collectively, they are known as the "sisters", and are at one point described as the "weird sisters".[4] Although the three vampire women in Dracula are generally referred to as the "Brides of Dracula" in popular culture and media, they are never referred to as such in the novel. Whether they are married to Dracula is not mentioned in the novel, nor are they described as having any other relation to him.

The origin and identity of the Sisters, as well as the true nature of their relationship with Count Dracula, is never revealed. One of the three may have been identified in the short story "Dracula's Guest", as the vampire named Countess Dolengen of Gratz.[5] The protagonist of the story, who is never identified, but presumed to be Jonathan Harker, encounters her at her tomb in Munich. Just as she is about to bite him, a great wolf who is presumed to be Dracula intervenes and destroys her. The wolf keeps the protagonist warm from the cold and yelps for nearby soldiers to come to their location. In the novel, Harker writes about one of the female vampires in the moment he is with them, stating, "I seemed somehow to know her face and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where."[6]

The two dark-haired vampire women are described as facially resembling the Count, in that the three have aquiline noses. It has been suggested[by whom?] from this that it may have been Stoker's intent that these two are Dracula's daughters, extending the sexuality metaphor of vampirism to incest.[7] When the brides first discover Harker, the blonde vampire is encouraged to feed on him first, with one of the others stating, "Yours is the right to begin," signifying that she has some status over the others. This could imply that the blonde vampire is Dracula's wife or consort, and the mother of the two dark-haired women if they are indeed his daughters. When Van Helsing discovers the sisters' tombs, the blonde is far more opulent than the others', as if for a loved one or one of high status. Harker describes the women as "ladies by their dress and manner", indicating that the vampires are of high lineage, further suggesting the idea that they are Dracula's family. The blonde vampire is shown to act in a mildly rebellious manner toward Dracula when he scolds her for attempting to feed on Harker; Dracula's reaction upon discovering the sisters with Harker is both that of a jealous husband and an angry father. The vampire women claim that Dracula does not love them, nor has he ever loved them, but Dracula insists he does love them and shows he cares for them by providing them with victims to feed upon. However, it is not explained why he left them behind in Transylvania rather than taking them to London with him.

Even though it is never specified, it is possible that the term "sister" wasn't meant in the literal sense and is, instead, more comparable to the relationship of the women and not as they are to Dracula. They are also depicted in the novel calling Mina Harker their sister after she is forced to drink Dracula's blood, afflicting her with vampirism.[8] Mina and her best friend (and Dracula's future victim) Lucy Westenra also call each other sisters in the novel despite not having any blood relation. The vampire women may be his wives throughout his lifetime, descendants of his whom he turned into vampires or simply nonspecific women he killed and turned into vampires to create more of his kind.

As vampires, the sisters are powerful in their own right; their beauty and seductive charm belie lethal, predatory interiors. Their beauty and flirtatious manner appear to be their greatest power when it comes to bewitching their victims into a trance-like state. Harker and Van Helsing are both attracted to and yet repulsed by them. They can seemingly appear out of nowhere and are inhumanly strong, as shown when they kill Van Helsing's horses. They also have the power of flight, as seen when they fly in the air with their dresses trailing behind them.

The vampires serve as foreshadowing for the threat of vampirism in the story which, as seen with Lucy, later on, includes Dracula's power of corruption over his victims once he has drained their blood and made them into vampires.

Screen adaptations

Commonly all three brides appear in film adaptations of the novel, though some film adaptations depict them as a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. They are typically depicted as enchantingly beautiful young women, coquettish and seductive in manner, often appearing like succubi in the night, dressed in flowing silk nightgowns, and behaving in a wild and sexually aggressive manner.

TV series

In 2015, NBC began to develop a TV series about the Brides of Dracula characters titled Brides, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and produced by Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter. The series was built on the premise "What if Van Helsing did NOT kill the three brides of Dracula? What if they survived for centuries and are now living in New York City?", with the series being described as a sexy reimagining of Dracula as a family drama with a trio of strong, diverse female leads, a show about empowered women and their attempts to maintain wealth, prestige, legacy, and their non-traditional family.[9] In October 2019, the series was still being developed with the intention to sell it to a streaming service.[10]

On January 8, 2020, it was announced that ABC handed out a pilot order to the series. Aguirre-Sacasa will pen the script and exec produce alongside Berlanti and Schechter. Maggie Kiley will direct the pilot. The Brides will be a co-production between ABC Studios and Warner Bros. Television.[11] In March 2020, Deadline Hollywood reported the cast: Gina Torres as Cleo Phillips, the leader of this vampire trio and now a maven of New York City real estate;[12] Katherine Reis as Lily Stevens, the youngest sister and now a striving singer;[13] Chris Mason as Roland Grant, a stylish real estate mogul who arrives in town to challenge Cleo for professional supremacy and who has secret ties to Dracula;[13] Sophia Tatum as Justine Strang, an aspiring model;[13] Goran Višnjić as Dracula, the powerful, ageless, and iconic King of Night who “turned” each of his three brides and was left for dead at his destroyed castle in the Carpathian mountains;[14] Erin Richards as Renée Pélagie, the sister who is now the head of a top modeling agency in New York City, known for her torrid affairs with her beautiful female models;[15] and Charlie McElveen as Arthur Seward, an ambitious young news reporter working the graveyard shift at his paper covering news of the bizarre, and the love interest to Lily.[16] On June 29, 2020, ABC decided to drop the series from the 2020-2021 lineup in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the series is being pitched to other networks.[17]

On stage

Characters based on the original Brides

In literature

References

  1. ^ Stoker, Bram. "Dracula, by Bram Stoker; CHAPTER 3 Page 8". pagebypagebooks.com. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  2. ^ Stoker, Bram. "Ch 3, Jonathan Harker's Journal". Dracula (PDF). p. 43. Let me advise you, my dear young friend. Nay, let me warn you with all seriousness, that should you leave these rooms you will not by any chance go to sleep in any other part of the castle.
  3. ^ Stoker, Bram. "Chapter 3, Jonathan Harker's Journal, 16 May". Dracula (PDF). pp. 51–58.
  4. ^ Stoker, Bram (1897). Dracula. London, England: Constable & Robinson. p. 47. ISBN 978-1503261389. I dared not wait to see him return, for I feared to see those weird sisters.
  5. ^ Stoker, Bram. Dracula's Guest (PDF). pp. 7–8.
  6. ^ Stoker, pgs. 54–55
  7. ^ Gordon, Jan B. (1997). "The Transparency of Dracula". In Davison, Carol Margaret (ed.). Bram Stoker's Dracula: Sucking Through the Century, 1897-1997. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Dundurn Press. ASIN B00CMP4NA4.
  8. ^ Stoker, Bram. "Ch 27, MEMORANDUM BY ABRAHAM VAN HELSING 4 November". Dracula (PDF). They smiled ever at poor dear Madam Mina. And as their laugh came through the silence of the night, they twined their arms and pointed to her, and said in those so sweet tingling tones that Jonathan said were of the intolerable sweetness of the water glasses, ‘Come, sister. Come to us. Come!’
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (1 September 2015). "Brides of Dracula Drama From Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Greg Berlanti Lands At NBC With Pilot Production Commitment". Deadline Hollywood.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (21 October 2019). "Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Gets HBO Max Pilot Order For 'The Shelley Society' Gothic Drama, Teams With Berlanti Prods. For 'The Brides' Dracula Reimagining". Deadline Hollywood.
  11. ^ Lesley Goldberg (8 January 2020). "'Brides' of Dracula Drama From 'Riverdale' Bosses Nabs ABC Pilot Order". The Hollywood Reporter.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2 March 2020). "Gina Torres To Headline 'The Brides' Dracula Reimagining ABC Pilot". Deadline Hollywood.
  13. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (3 March 2020). "Katherine Reis To Star In Brides Of Dracula ABC Pilot, Chris Mason & Sophia Tatum Also Cast". Deadline Hollywood.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (9 March 2020). "Goran Višnjić To Play Dracula In 'The Brides' ABC Supernatural Drama Pilot". Deadline Hollywood.
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (11 March 2020). "'The Brides': Erin Richards To Star In Dracula Reimagining ABC Pilot". Deadline Hollywood.
  16. ^ Petski, Denise (11 March 2020). "'The Brides' Pilot Casts Charlie McElveen; Juan Alfonso Joins 'Ultra Violet & Blue Demon'". Deadline Hollywood.
  17. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (29 June 2020). "'Thirtysomething(else)', 'The Brides' & 'Valley Trash' Pilots Not Going Forward At ABC". Deadline Hollywood.
  18. ^ Patrick Mulkern. "Dracula by Northern Ballet". Radio Times. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  19. ^ Vampires: The Marvel Undead (2011)
  20. ^ Dracula Lives! #1 (1973)
  21. ^ Dracula Lives! #10–11 ( Jan.–Mar. 1975)
  22. ^ The Tomb of Dracula #68 (1979)
  23. ^ Marvel: Shadows & Light #1 (1997)
  24. ^ Dan Berger: "Night of the Living Gingerbread." Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol.2 #51 (Mirage, October 2008)
  25. ^ Dracula: Curse of the Vampire, sections 228 and 440 (2021, Snowbooks, ISBN 978-1913525002)