Brides of Dracula
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|Brides of Dracula|
|Created by||Bram Stoker|
|Spouse||Possibly Count Dracula (unclear)|
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 men 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 sunlight, garlic and religious objects. In chapter three of the novel, two are described as having dark hair, and the other as blonde.
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. Jonathan Harker, the protagonist of the story, encounters her at her tomb in Munich. Just as she is about to bite him, Dracula intervenes and destroys her. Then, in the form of a great wolf, he keeps Harker 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." 
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.
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. 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. 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.
As vampires, the sisters are powerful in their own right; their beauty and seductive charm belie lethal, predatory interiors. Their beauty and flirtatious manner appears 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 brides 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.
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 room in the castle other than his own bedroom, but does not tell him why, clearly aware that the sisters will kill him. Late one night Jonathan explores the castle and ventures to see which rooms are open to him. He finds many of the doors in the castle are locked but one room in particular he forced open, noticing that the door wasn't locked but the hinges were fallen. He enters into the furthest right wing of the castle with views from the windows overlooking the countryside and rooms with comfortable furniture. He sits at a table writing in his journal and as he felt sleepy, he remembered Dracula's warning but felt satisfied disobeying it and lays in a great couch in the corner of the room. As he believes he is sleeping he sees three women standing in the moonlight which was shining throughout the room but not casting any shadows upon the floor. More than delighted that fresh prey has entered their domain, they proceed to seduce him. Harker feels a burning desire for their lips to kiss his. As one of them begins to kiss his neck, he feels her sharp teeth barely scrape against his flesh. At that precise moment Dracula is seen grabbing her neck and hurling her away from him. Driving them back and chastising them 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" (highly presumed by Harker to be a human child) to appease them. Harker soon fears for his life after this encounter, at one point thinking he sees them dancing in the sky outside his bedroom when he nearly nods off, which strengthens his resolve to escape. Dracula makes good on his word and leaves Harker to the sisters when he heads for England. 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 Van Helsing and Mina Harker. 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 to which they fled back to the castle. At the coming of daylight, Van Helsing finds that their horses are dead (He speculates that they had died of fright in the sisters supernatural presence. Though some adaptations likewise has the sisters kill the horses directly either to slow down Helsing or simply feed before they flee back to the castle). 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 then filling the mouth with garlic. He repeats this process with the other two as well taking him an entire day to complete. Dracula's reaction to their deaths is not known.
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.
In Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula, the brides were played by Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick. Bellucci, Bercu and Kendrick's dialogue was entirely in Romanian, and Kendrick reportedly helped her co-stars to speak her native tongue correctly. In this adaptation the vampire portrayed by Kendrick is clearly modelled on Medusa the Gorgon, and has living snakes coiled through her hair; another appears to be based upon an Arabian princess due to her attire. It is the brunette vampire (portrayed by Kendrick) that is the leader, rather than the blonde (portrayed by Bercu).
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.)
Some films inspired by the novel show fewer than three. In the 1995 spoof Dracula: Dead and Loving It only two Brides appear, where they are depicted as heavily sexualized when they first arrive in the room where Renfield is staying as they attempt to seduce him. Dracula saves him from the Brides, sending them away, before convincing the simple minded Renfield he had simply had a strange dream. The Brides are neither named nor have any spoken dialogue in this film.
While the Brides usually remain nameless, they are called Verona, Aleera, and Marishka in the 2004 film Van Helsing, respectively portrayed by Silvia Colloca, Elena Anaya, and Josie Maran. Verona is the oldest of the brides and Dracula's consort, whereas Aleera and Marishka are his concubines. Aleera, despite being the youngest of the trio, is portrayed as the most vicious of the three. Their roles are greatly expanded into those of secondary antagonists; motivated by a need to find a way for their offspring to live, as vampire children are born dead. They are also given the ability to transform into harpy-like creatures and fly.
NBC is developing a TV series about the Brides of Dracula characters titled Brides, with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa writing, and executive producing with Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter. The series 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 the things they do to maintain wealth, prestige, legacy — and their non-traditional family.
Characters based on the Original Brides
At the beginning of the 2012 film Dracula 3D, Dracula attacks a young woman named Tania (portrayed by Miriam Giovanelli) after she secretly meets a lover, making her a vampire and his minion. He later passes her off as his niece to Harker, whom she tries to seduce. Tania is eventually dispatched by Van Helsing.
In the 1960 Hammer film The Brides of Dracula, the Baron Meinster (David Peel) is a vampire who attacks an unnamed local village girl (played by Marie Devereux) and the heroine Marianne's friend Gina (Andrée Melly), turning them into vampires and his "brides". Although he actually proposes to Marianne (Yvonne Monlaur), his plan to vampirize her too is thwarted by Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), who kills the Baron while the two vampire brides seemingly escape. Despite the film's title, Dracula never appears in it.
The Brides of Dracula concept was also present in the 1987 horror comedy The Monster Squad, in which Dracula abducts three young women and turns them into his vampire brides.
They appear in Dracula, the musical.
In the Czech Musical Dracula, the brides are called "nymphs". They are the victims of Dracula, slightly resentful but still devoted to him. They are jealous, mischievous and enjoy troubles and gossiping. They serve as a comical relief but at the same time they represent Dracula's dark, vampiric side.
They also appear in the French Canadian musical Dracula - Entre l'amour et la mort.
They also appear in the 2002 Italian TV mini-series Dracula (known as Dracula's Curse in foreign markets). As in the 1992 version, they speak in their native tongue and play up their supernatural nature by being able to fly and phase through objects.
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. 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 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 the Brides: The Angry Angel (1998) featuring Kelene, The Soul of an Angel (1999) featuring Fenice Zucchar and The Angel of Death (unpublished) featuring Zhameni.
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 Dracula Tape they are seen not long after Harker comes into the castle with Dracula warning them to leave him be. In this story, the brides are disrespectful to Dracula and try to undermind him where they can. Dracula later reveals that he has tired of them and does not even remember why he turned them in the first place. It is implied that unlike Dracula (who did not want to scare or harm anyone), the women let the power go to their heads once they became vampires and he had more or less planned to abandon them in the castle. But while Dracula was trying to make friends with Harker, their visit as depicted in the novel only make the situation and misunderstanding worse. In this adaptation they are named Melisse, the tall dark haired bride. Wanda, the second dark haired one and described as full breasted as well as mentioned to be Melisse's younger sister. And Anna, the blonde haired bride who is noted to be the senior of the three and the one who is most outspoken and rebellious against Dracula. Later in the story when Dracula returns back to the castle, he finds that the three have terrorized the village Dracula was friends with and promptly confronts them. Anna attempts an assassination by controlling a partially turned farmhand to attack him, but Dracula easily thwarts the attempt, reprimands them and sends them away. When they're killed by Van Helsing, Dracula does mention that, while he was glad that their deaths prevented jealously with Mina, that he didn't wish that fate on them as well.
In Dracula's Diary by Michael Geare and Michael Corby, the Brides are named Trandafira, Vlastimila and Pavola.
In The Satanic Brides of Dracula by Lucas Thorn, the Brides are named Vasilja, Senka and Hailwic.
In the Marvel Universe, the three Brides in the original novel are identified as Nikolett Bodo, Bettina Kaposvar and Emese Kisfaludi. They have been Brides since at least 1691 as revealed in the story Suffer Not a Witch in the Dracula Lives series. In the two-part story called The Pit of Death, set in 1809, the protagonist Lupescu is thrown into the titular pit while invading Dracula's castle. He is attacked by seven of Dracula's Brides, among them his blind wife, Velanna Lupescu. He manages to stake all seven and arranges their bodies into the shape of a cross so that Dracula would be unable to approach them to remove the stakes.
A number of Brides are seen in the Marvel Comics series The Tomb of Dracula, ranging from victims long since turned from ancient times to recent ones of modern day. In the story The Return to...Transylvania!, Dracula seeks out his Bride Marissa Constanda to turn him into a vampire, after he had previously become human. She refuses, telling Dracula that she now serves a new master. In the story Into the Tomb, Blade encountered two Brides named Beatrix Nanai and Catherine Kiskvnalas while looking for his mother Tara Cross, who had also been turned into a Bride. All three were killed by Blade.
The Brides are seen in the DC Comics mini series, Victorian Undead II: Sherlock Holmes vs Dracula led by Lucy Westerna in trying to ambush the heroes when they come to investigate a possible hiding spot of Dracula's. Curiously despite the Brides being centuries older, Dracula gave Lucy command over them, likely because of her resistance to religious symbols due to being turned in a modern era.
In the mini-series Grimm Fairy Tales present Helsing, three of the Brides track down the protagonist and try to kill her. She kills two of them before the third retreats. Near the end of the story, when the heroes track Dracula to his mansion during a party, we see he has amassed a large group of women as his Brides though orders them to let the protagonist pass so she may confront him. They show up briefly in first issue of the sequel mini-series "Helsing vs Dracula".
In Dracula: Ruler of the Night, which re-tells the story, the Brides are eventually summoned to London once Dracula has landed in the city and has the Brides infiltrate the Westerna household as maids after Helsing is summoned to cure Lucy to spy on their actions. It is from them that Dracula is able to enter the household and continue feeding on Lucy. When Lucy's mother is sent a telegraph about her deteriorating condition. Dracula sends the Brides to intercept her carriage and kidnap her. The mother, along with Lucy, later are turned into two new vampire Brides. Dracula grains a third bride in Milly Van Helsing, Helsing's wife, who he learns about from Lucy, absconds her from the mental institution holding her and restoring her sanity via the vampirism, albeit under his commands. Thus making a total of six Brides in this story—three from the olden times and three from the modern day era.
In Count Yorga, Vampire, which is a modern-day re-telling of Dracula, Yorga likewise has his own set of Brides, first starting out with two: a red-haired Bride and a blonde (who is later revealed to be Donna's deceased mother), then later adding the protagonist's brunette friend, Erica to the ranks. The sequel, The Return of Count Yorga increases the number of Brides to a least a dozen, with the protagonist's sister, Ellen and a friend, Mitzi, joining them.
In the webcomic, Dracula Everlasting, Dracula decides to start creating Brides again to give him an edge against the protagonists. He starts with three, two hookers, as well as the mother of the protagonist who was a witch when human, in the hopes of using her power against her daughter. After he loses her, he creates six more Brides in preparation for the final battle.
In the 'Alucard' novel by Matthew Scott, Dracula has three vampire brides: Illyana, Camilla and Silvia. Each is described respectfully as blonde, raven haired and a red head and are highly sexual vampiresses and enjoy inflicting chaos and bloodshed whenever the opportunity presents itself. There is also a fourth bride mentioned in the novel, Jana, but who is ultimately killed by her and Dracula's son Alucard shortly after her resurrection as a vampire.
- 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.
- Stoker, Bram. Dracula's Guest (PDF). pp. 7–8.
- Stoker, pgs. 54–55}}
- 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.
- Stoker, Bram. Dracula (PDF). Ch 27, MEMORANDUM BY ABRAHAM VAN HELSING 4 November.
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!’
- Stoker, Bram. Dracula (PDF). Ch 3, Jonathan Harker's Journal. 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.
- Stoker, Bram. Dracula (PDF). Chapter 3, Jonathan Harker's Journal, 16 May. pp. 51–58.
- Andreeva, Nellie (September 1, 2015). "Brides of Dracula Drama From Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Greg Berlanti Lands At NBC With Pilot Production Commitment". Deadline Hollywood. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation.
- Vampires: The Marvel Undead (2011)
- Dracula Lives! #1 (1973)
- Dracula Lives! #10–11 ( Jan.–Mar. 1975)
- The Tomb of Dracula #68 (1979)
- Marvel: Shadows & Light #1 (1997)