I have written often about Twilight here on My Fangirl Life. I’ve admitted it before: I love Twilight and the vampires that come with it. But that’s only one part of my vampire love. In reality, it goes all the way back to the beginning.
Last night, I got together with a group of friends and played Fury of Dracula, a board game where four Victorian hunters chase Dracula around Europe until they are able to track down and defeat the vampire. The rules are long and complex and I still probably only understand 70% of them but the game was so much fun. If you’re up for the challenge you can check it out here.
I think what I loved most about the game was its connection to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The four Victorian hunters were Professor Van Helsing, Dr. John Seward, Lord Godalming and Mina Harker – all characters in the original 1897 story. Playing the game I enjoyed throwing in fun facts, like “Lord Godalming is the only one that can play the Lucy’s Revenge card because she was his fiance and she was turned into a vampire”. Spoilers, sorry. Or, “of course Mina starts with a bite already, Dracula bites, seduces and controls her for a large part of the story”.
I read Dracula in my first year of University and I loved it. This was before I read Twilight, before I saw Buffy or True Blood and before vampires were cool. Vampires in pop culture have come and gone. We’ve been obsessed with werewolves, dystopian societies and zombies since. But there’s still something about vampires that calls to me… perhaps that’s why I always wear scarves and turtlenecks, I’m hiding a bite and have been seduced! I love Twilight, I really do. But there’s something about the original. If you love classic literature or gothic horror, I highly recommend it for a number of reasons:
First, Dracula is told through the perspective of multiple different characters through the use of letters, journal entries, and ship logs. It’s an interesting style that creates mystery and suspense where sometimes the reader knows more than the characters, allowing the narrative to jump around in both time and space. It’s suspenseful and leaves you often unsure of what’s going to happen next.
Second, Dracula is scary. It’s become the base for vampire myth. I think Dracula encompasses every pop culture idea we have of vampires. The character Dracula is not a romanticized hero. He is frightening and manipulative. This is a horror story where the good guys are bitten and characters become vampires. Dracula wants to continue his rule uninterrupted and will do whatever it takes to get there.
Third, Dracula is sexy. There’s little romance involved, but it’s definitively sexy. First, there are the wives who seduce and take advantage of Jonathan while in Dracula’s castle. And then there’s Dracula’s relationship with both Lucy and Mina. With Mina, Dracula puts her under his spell and feeds on her numerous times in order to get what he wants. There’s desire. There’s lust. It’s quite sexual. And finally, who knew a blood transfusion could be so naughty? When Lucy’s fiance volunteers first to give blood to her, there’s something oddly sexual about it. Which is entertaining later on when she next receives blood from her other suitors.
So there you have it. If you haven’t given it a read already, I highly suggest Dracula. Or if you don’t feel like tackling a novel, the movie is quite good, as is the board game we played last night.
Till next time,
– Justine Alyssa