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For the 1960 Hammer film, see The Brides of Dracula (film).

The Brides of Dracula are 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 male humans with their beauty and charm, and then proceed to feed upon them. Dracula provides them with victims to devour, mainly infants and children.

Like Dracula, they are the living dead, repulsed by religious objects. In chapter three of the novel, two are described as dark haired and the other as blonde, though some film adaptations depict them as blonde, brunette and redhead. The Brides of Dracula usually meet their end at the hands of Abraham Van Helsing, whether it be a stake in the heart, decapitation or exposure to sunlight.

NovelEdit

In the novel the three vampire women are known as the 'sisters'[1].

Although the three vampire women in Dracula are popularly referred to as the "Brides of Dracula", they are never referred to as such in the novel, instead referred to as the 'sisters'; whether they are married to Dracula or not is never mentioned, nor are they described as having any other relation to him. Though it is mentioned by the sisters that Dracula does not love, nor has he ever loved them, the count himself claims he once loved them in the past.[2] The two dark-haired women, however, are described by Jonathan Harker to have "high aquiline noses, like the Count's". It has been suggested 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.[3]

Harker and Van Helsing are both attracted to, and yet repulsed by them. Harker encounters them when he wanders the castle during Dracula's absence and enters a luxurious salon where the sisters are kept. The blond vampire is depicted as the "leader" of the three and Dracula's favorite, as one of the brunettes describes in their encounter with Harker, "Your's is the right to begin", meaning that the blond has first bite of any of their victims, but she is also referred to as "The First" meaning that she might be Dracula's wife and therefore the mother of the two dark-haired females, if indeed they are the count's daughters. The sisters are powerful in their own right, but live in fear of Dracula, although the blond vampire can be seen defying him when she demands to feed upon Harker.

Sometime near the beginning of the novel, they visit Harker and try to feed on him. Harker tries to resist their seduction and is saved by Dracula, who drives them back. He then leaves Harker to the sisters when he heads for England after Harker finishes their business deal. Harker manages to escape the castle, but is badly traumatized.

Near the end of the novel, they attack a camp consisting of Van Helsing and Mina Harker, beckoning the latter to join them and referring to her as their "sister". However, Mina is repulsed by them (mostly due to the holy circle Helsing created around her using holy water, negating the vampirism in her. Had he not, Mina would have heeded the sisters call and been turned). Van Helsing wards them off, but the sisters manage to kill their horses. Van Helsing subsequently goes to Dracula's castle and, after locating their tombs, destroys them by staking and decapitating them.

In other mediaEdit

Commonly all three brides appear in film adaptations of the novel, though some adaptations show fewer than three, such as the 1995 spoof Dracula: Dead and Loving It, in which two appear, and The Horror of Dracula, where a single bride appears. They are typically depicted as enchantingly beautiful young women, coquettish and seductive in manner, often appearing to men like succubi in the night, dressed in flowing silk nightgowns and behaving in a wild and sexually aggressive manner.

Although missing from the silent film Nosferatu, the Brides made silent appearances in the 1931 film Dracula and the Spanish language version of Drácula. (The latter film, shot simultaneously on the same sets at night with a separate cast and crew, depicts the brides as more obviously sexual than in the more chaste English-language version.) Likewise the three brides are present but silent in the Jack Palance television adaptation, in which they succeed in feeding on and turning Harker into a vampire. They had lines in the 1977 BBC production entitled Count Dracula.

In Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula, the brides were played by Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick. They lure Jonathan Harker to a secluded bedchamber in Dracula's castle before sexually abusing him in an erotic frenzy. When Dracula voyages to England to seduce Mina, Harker is given to The Brides. They keep him prisoner, regularly raping him and draining just enough of his blood to keep him in an anaemic stupor. He eventually escapes them, and they are not seen again until a confrontation with Van Helsing in the Carpathian mountains, after which he beheads them. Bellucci, Bercu and Kendrick's dialogue was entirely in Romanian, and Kendrick reportedly helped her co-stars to speak her native tongue correctly.

While the Brides usually remain nameless, they are called Marishka, Aleera, and Verona (played by actresses Josie Maran, Elena Anaya and Silvia Colloca, respectively) in the 2004 film Van Helsing. For the first time, the Brides are more than brief background, becoming important minions of Dracula and powerful combatants. In Van Helsing, both Dracula and his Brides have the ability to transform into large winged monsters.

The concept was also present in the 1987 horror comedy The Monster Squad, where Dracula has abducted three young women (Mary Albee, Joan-Carrol Baron, and Julie Merrill) and turns them into his vampire brides. In Dracula 2000, the Brides are composed of Dracula victims Solina (Jennifer Esposito), Valerie Sharpe (Jeri Ryan), and Lucy Westerman (Colleen Fitzpatrick). Each bride is destroyed in the end.

The Brides also appeared in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer in the season 5 premier "Buffy vs. Dracula". They were renamed as "The Three Sisters." As Buffy fights Dracula, the Brides work to "distract" Giles from coming to her aid. They are credited as "Vampire Girls" and played by Marita Schaub, Leslee Jean Matta, and Jennifer Slimko.

They also appear in the French Canadian musical Dracula - Entre l'amour et la mort played by Rita Tabbakh, Elyzabeth Diaga, Brigitte Marchand, and Casiopée.

In literatureEdit

In Fangland, author John Marks re-imagines the Brides of Dracula as Greek brothers.

In the alternate history novel Anno Dracula, Dracula becomes dominant in Britain and eventually weds Queen Victoria, becoming Prince consort and Lord Protector. Despite being married to Victoria he keeps his retinue of brides, who despise the now-powerless and chained Victoria. It is mentioned that one of the brides is Barbara of Celje.

In the first sequel, The Bloody Red Baron, the Brides of Dracula are mentioned as including Mata Hari, Lady Marikova (from the novel The House of Dracula by Ronald Chetwynd-Hayes), Lola-Lola (from the film The Blue Angel), Sadie Thompson, Lemora, and the Baron Meinster (from the film The Brides of Dracula).

In the beginning of the second sequel, Dracula Cha Cha Cha, a list of Dracula's official brides is given. They are: Elisabeta of Transylvania (from Bram Stoker's Dracula), 1448–1462; Ilona Szilagy (Vlad III's real-life second wife), 1466–1476; Marguerite Chopin of Courtempierre (from Vampyr), 1709–1711; Queen Victoria, 1886–1888; and Sari Gábor, 1948-1949. The plot surrounds Dracula's engagement to Princess Asa Vajda (from Black Sunday).

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has written a trilogy called Sisters of the Night, with each book featuring the story of one of brides: Kelene: The Angry Angel (1998), Fenice: The Soul of an Angel (1999) and Zhameni: The Angel of Death (unpublished).[4]

In The Diaries of the Family Dracul by Jeanne Kalogridis, the Brides are imagined as Zsuzsanna Tsepesh, a descendant of Vlad Dracul (believed in the novels to be his niece); Dunya, a Transylvanian servant of Vlad's mortal descendants, and Elisabeth Bathory, the notorious Hungarian noblewoman who murdered hundreds of her servants and bathed in their blood.

In the 2011 horror novella The Brides, Raven c.s. McCracken gave a new twist to Dracula's origins, with the three sisters now becoming the driving force behind the legend, creating Dark Princes over the years to cover their own tracks, until they create the "wrong" Dark Prince.

References Edit

  1. Dracula, pg 47 "I dared not wait to see him return, for I feared to see those weird sisters",pg 244 "He come on moonlight rays as elemental dust, as again Jonathan saw those sisters in the castle of Dracula pg 377 "Then I braced myself again to my horrid task, and found by wrenching away tomb tops one other of the sisters, the other dark one. I dared not pause to look on her as I had on her sister, lest once more I should begin to be enthrall. But I go on searching until, presently, I find in a high great tomb as if made to one much beloved that other fair sister which, like Jonathan I had seen to gather herself out of the atoms of the mist. She was so fair to look on, so radiantly beautiful, so exquisitely voluptuous, that the very instinct of man in me, which calls some of my sex to love and to protect one of hers, made my head whirl with new emotion."
  2. Dracula, pg 38
  3. Jan B. Gordon's "The Transparency of Dracula", in Bram Stoker's Dracula: Sucking Through the Century, 1897-1997, edited by Carol Margaret Davison.
  4. http://www.chelseaquinnyarbro.net/biblio_alpha.html

External linksEdit

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