Listen to them, the new fans of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. What music they make! As we continue exploring the Count’s evil castle in this month’s Lorehaven Guild book quest, we plan to peer deeper into this crypt. This year, over 200,000 readers have been reading Bram Stoker’s original classic novel, cheering its earnestly good heroes who fight this evil vampire’s predations. What have they thought about the story? How have they sought to respect the world they’re entering? And after many decades of showing Dracula as a cartoon or tragic figure, how can we better discern this villain and his horror versus the holiness of Christ’s power?
- Enclave Publishing: Dream of Kings by Sharon Hinck (Amazon ebook, hardcover, audio CD)
- Mountain Brook Fire, The Tethered World by Heather L. L. Fitzgerald (audiobook, ebook, paperback)
- David Umstattd, The Pilgrim’s Progress Reloaded
- Unlike the Count Dracula, we do sup. To-night we sup on concessions.
- This episode is a spiritual sequel to episode 39, with Geoffrey Reiter.
- There we focused mostly on Stoker; here we focus on new novel readers.
- It also follows from our last episode, Do Christians Really Need Horror?
- We see horror not as means to be “realistic” or edgy or to “get” legalists.
- Instead, we base our discernment of horror in the Bible and the gospel.
- This includes Dracula, a deeply Christian story now over 120 years old.
- The author, Bram Stoker himself, at least understood deep gospel ideas.
- Of course, we’re also exploring Dracula’s castle in our own book quest.
Chapter 1: How did #DraculaDaily boost this book?
- Stephen is indebted to his wife Lacy for tracking this year’s Dracula fandom.
- This began last year. A chap called Matt Kirkland rediscovered the book.
- Slate.com has the whole story. He started with 1,600 readers in 2021.
- The New York Times has a newer story (we found this after we recorded!).
- Now something caught fire, and his newsletter has over 200,000 readers.
- Fans get the novel, unabridged, but rearranged by day of record entry.
- That way old and new fans can read the book in a new way, and slowly.
- The format has reinvigorated the “book club” concept, and Dracula.
- Kirkland says most traffic comes from Tumblr, doing something right!
- In this case, it’s not just a wretched hive of scum, villainy, and pronouns.
- Fans are speculating about the book, cheering, grieving, making fan art.
- As of this recording, fans are nearing the book’s conclusion, on Nov. 6.
- Next, we’ll survey some of the fans’ reactions to the book thus far.
Chapter 2: How have new fans respected Dracula?
- Be not dismayed, fans of literature and Truth per a Christian worldview!
- Not all young readers appropriate stories as tools for their own tales.
- They are not rejecting the world’s creator and abusing it for their ill ends.
- They’re not projecting our own culture’s foolish religions over top of it.
- Instead, many Dracula readers are humbly entering this Victorian world.
- They’re rooting for Jonathan, falling in love with Lucy, admiring Mina.
- They support Dr. Seward and laughing with (not at) Quincey Morris.
- (Many loved Stoker’s incidental subversion of the “love triangle” trope!)
- (Stoker plays his trio of good men vs. the disordered vampire women.)
- And finally, they love the caring yet firm heroism of Dr. Van Helsing.
- Maybe even better, they’re catching on that many movies have ruined it.
- Stephen has never seen a whole Dracula movie, but has done research.
- Many movies, like Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 one, ruined the book.
- That film made Dracula into a sexy and sympathetically tragic villain.
- It also morally compromised the heroes, especially (and grossly) Mina.
- And these fans aren’t appreciating any of those changes, and rightfully so.
- For them, Jonathan, Lucy, and Mina are thoroughly victims of assault.
- For them, Dracula is a predator, not tragic/sexy, and needs to go down.
- And now some readers are discovering the many overt Bible allusions.
Chapter 3: Can this help us recover fictional evil?
- It’s great now to return to Stephen’s hopes in our October 2020 episode.
- Stephen had hoped this story could help people discern modern evils.
- And so far, many fans have. They are feeling, not just seeing, parallels.
- Many fans silently long for wholesome, caring, strong, emotive heroes.
- They want Jonathan and Mina to build their marriage and resist evil.
- They want Dr. Seward and Quincey to be different, faithful, strong men.
- And they don’t think Dracula or his predatory methods are sexy at all.
- They’re insisting we get a faithful Dracula film adaptation or miniseries.
- They are wholly accepting this Victorian, morally charged worldview.
- Lots of Christians cite Narnia as a example of Holy Spirit gospel warmup.
- In the future some newer Christians will cite Dracula as a darker preparation.
- Among this many fans, God might use this story to baptize imaginations.
- In short, it seems some damage from “sexy vampires” is being repaired.
- Now, let’s trace the light shining in Dracula back to its ultimate Source.
Great podcast from the guys at Lorehaven on the perennially miry subject of the horror genre and how Christians should approach it.
So did Count Thomas the Alchemist in the Lorehaven Guild:
Thoroughly enjoyed this week’s Fantastical Truth episode. The fear of God is nothing to [trifle] with. Sometimes we forget how Holy our God truly is. This episode exposed that to me in a new light.
Meanwhile at Lorehaven
- I’m No Horror Fan, But I’ve Grown to Love Bram Stoker’s Novel ‘Dracula’
- Join the Lorehaven Guild’s new book quest for Dracula.
- We’ve also shared our new review of Sharon Hinck’s Dream of Kings.
Next on Fantastical Truth
If it’s not one creepy critter, it’s another, here in Monster Month. Next to rise up moaning, not from the crypt but from the secret lab, it’s mad scientists. Whether it’s Victor Frankenstein from Frankenstein, or all those Marvel villains, or the folks who let loose dinosaurs from Jurassic Park—or the scientists actively trying to experiment on mutilating humans in the real world—mad science just won’t stop. What’s unique about these monsters and the monsters they make? How can stories like Frankenstein warn us against humming along with the “man was not meant to meddle medley”?
Explore the best Christian-made fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond, and apply these stories' meanings in the real world Jesus calls us to serve.