|Created by||Bram Stoker|
In the novel
Seward is the administrator of an insane asylum not far from Count Dracula's first English home, Carfax. Throughout the novel, Seward conducts ambitious interviews with one of his patients, R. M. Renfield, in order to understand better the nature of life-consuming psychosis. As a psychiatrist, Seward enjoys using the most up-to-date equipment, including using a recording phonograph to record his interviews with his patients and his own notes. Several chapters of the novel consist of transcriptions of Seward's phonograph recordings.
He is best friends with Quincey Morris and Arthur Holmwood. All three propose to Lucy Westenra the same day. Although Lucy turns down Seward's marriage proposal, his love for her remains, and he dedicates himself to her care when she suddenly takes ill.
He calls in his mentor, Abraham Van Helsing, to help him with her illness, and he helps Seward to realize that Lucy has been bitten by a vampire and is doomed to become one herself. After she is officially destroyed and her soul can go to Heaven, Seward is determined to destroy Dracula. The novel's epilogue mentions that Seward is now happily married.
Seward often appears in different adaptations of Dracula but in a wide variety of different roles. He is often referred to as "Jack" Seward. The most common change is to portray him not as Lucy's suitor, but as her father (or sometimes Mina Harker's father). This was almost certainly based on the decision made in writing the Hamilton Deane stage adaptation. Such portrayals include:
- Gustav Botz (as Dr. Sievers) in Nosferatu (1922)
- Herbert Bunston in Dracula (1931 film)
- José Soriano Viosca in Dracula (1931, Spanish language version)
- Charles Lloyd-Pack in Dracula (1958)
- Paul Muller in Count Dracula (1970)
- Donald Pleasence in Dracula (1979)
- Harvey Korman in Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)
In recent years, the trend has been to return Seward to his role in the novel, as a suitor for Lucy's hand in marriage, in:
- Mark Burns in Count Dracula (1977)
- Richard E. Grant in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
- Matthew Johnson in Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (2002)
- Tom Burke in Dracula (2006)
In the 1938 Mercury Theatre on the Air radio production of Dracula, Seward's character was combined with Arthur Holmwood's and renamed Arthur Seward. He was voiced by Orson Welles, who also voiced Dracula in the adaptation.
In other works
In the alternate history novel Anno-Dracula, where Van Helsing fails and Dracula becomes the ruler of Britain, Seward becomes the murderer well known as "Jack the Ripper", whose targets are vampire prostitutes who remind him of Lucy (Seward is actually indirectly responsible for this new timeline; an injury he sustained to his hand in a confrontation with Renfield means that Seward hesitates when they discover Dracula attacking Mina, resulting in Dracula killing Jonathan Harker and Quincey Morris before escaping with Mina). Seward is finally killed after suffering a complete mental breakdown.
Seward appears in Dracula the Un-dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt. In the novel, set 25 years after Dracula, Seward has become a morphine addict obsessed with destroying the undead. At some point before the events of the story, Seward comes into contact with the Romanian actor Vladimir Basarab, who assists him in hunting the vampire Countess Elizabeth Bathory. After chasing Bathory and her servants from Marseilles to Paris, Seward confronts Bathory's servants in Paris, only to be killed by Bathory's carriage.