Jonathan Harker

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Jonathan Harker
Dracula character
Created byBram Stoker
Portrayed byGustav von Wangenheim (Nosferatu)
David Manners (Dracula)
John Van Eyssen (Horror of Dracula)
Fred Williams (Count Dracula)
Bosco Hogan (Count Dracula)
Trevor Eve (Dracula)
Bruno Ganz (Nosferatu the Vampyre)
Murray Brown (Bram Stoker's Dracula)
Keanu Reeves (Bram Stoker's Dracula)
Steven Weber (Dracula: Dead and Loving It)
Rafe Spall (Dracula)
Corey Landis (Dracula Reborn)
Unax Ugalde (Dracula 3D)
Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Dracula)
John Heffernan (Dracula)
In-universe information
SpouseMina Harker (wife)
ChildrenQuincey Harker (son)

Jonathan Harker is a fictional character and one of the main protagonists of Bram Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula. His journey to Transylvania and encounter with the vampire Count Dracula and his Brides at Castle Dracula constitutes the dramatic opening scenes in the novel and most of the film adaptations. Stoker appropriated the surname from his friend Joseph Cunningham Harker (1855–1920), a set designer at the Lyceum Theatre[1] and father of actor William Gordon Harker (1885–1967) as well as great-grandfather of actress Polly Adams, whose actress-daughters Susannah Harker and Caroline Harker adopted the Harker surname for their stage names.

In the novel[edit]

Harker is a recently admitted solicitor from Exeter, England, who is deputed by his employer, Mr. Hawkins, of Exeter, to act as an estate agent for a foreign client named Count Dracula who wishes to move to London, England. Harker discovers in Carfax, near Purfleet, Essex, a dwelling which suits the client's requirements and travels to Transylvania by train in order to consult with him about it.[2]

At Bistritz, Harker takes a coach to the Borgo Pass where at midnight another coach drawn by four black horses, waits to take him to Castle Dracula high in the Carpathian Mountains.[3] At the castle Harker is greeted by the mysterious and ominous Count Dracula and finalises the property transaction. Soon, however Harker realises he has been made a prisoner by his host who is revealed as a vampire. Harker also has a dangerous encounter with the three seductive Brides of Dracula, whose designs on him are only thwarted by the intervention of the Count. 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. Dracula leaves for England and abandons Jonathan in the castle as a meal for his vampire brides as he promised them.[4]

Jonathan manages to escape, finding refuge at a convent. He suffers a mental breakdown after his experiences with the vampires; his fiancée, Mina Murray, comes to nurse him back to health with the nuns' help and marries him there. He returns home to England and later sees Dracula in London. After learning Dracula killed Lucy, he joins Van Helsing, Seward, Holmwood, and Morris. His clerical skills prove very useful for collecting information and for tracking down Dracula's London lairs by means of paperwork. He vows to destroy Dracula and, if he could, to send "his soul forever and ever to burning to hell[..]!" even if it be at the cost of his own soul. When confronted with Mina's curse, however, he is unsure how to react; Mina asks the others in the group to kill her if the need comes. While Harker says he would, in the privacy of his journal says that if it is necessary, that he would become a vampire himself out of his love for her. However, Harker manages to avoid that because along with Van Helsing and the others he manages to hunt down and destroy Dracula. At the book's climax, he pries open Dracula's coffin mere moments before sunset and slashes open Dracula's throat with a kukri knife, possibly decapitating him, while Quincey Morris stabs him in the heart with a Bowie knife.

In a note following the end of the novel, it is revealed that seven years have passed. Jonathan and Mina have a son whom they have named after all four members of the party, but call Quincey, after Quincey Morris. Noting Quincey Harker's birthday is the day Quincey Morris died fighting Dracula, Mina likes to think that some of Morris's spirit is in their son. Jonathan Harker eventually visits Dracula's castle along with his wife and son and their surviving friends to reminisce. He returns home with his wife and son and is told by Van Helsing that one day his son will learn the whole story.


On screen[edit]

Actors portraying Harker include:

  • Gustav von Wangenheim (as Thomas Hutter) in Nosferatu (1922)
  • David Manners (as John Harker) in Dracula (1931) - in this version, he never goes to Transylvania.
  • Barry Norton (as Juan Harker) in Drácula (Spanish version, 1931) - in this version, he never goes to Transylvania.
  • Bülent Oran (as Azmi) in Drakula Istanbul'da (1953) - in this version, he single-handedly destroyed Dracula.
  • John Van Eyssen in Dracula (1958) - in this version, he is engaged to Lucy and killed by Dracula in his castle and turned into a vampire.
  • Corin Redgrave in Dracula (1968) - in this version, he goes mad after visiting Dracula's castle and transforms into a Renfield-like character, who does Dracula's bidding.
  • Fred Williams in Count Dracula (1970) - he is portrayed faithfully to his counterpart in the novel.
  • Jan Schánilec in Czechoslovakian TV film Hrabe Drakula (1971) - he is portrayed faithfully to his counterpart in the novel.
  • Murray Brown in Dracula (1973) - in this version, he is killed by Dracula's brides in his castle and turned into a vampire.
  • Bosco Hogan in Count Dracula (1977) - he is portrayed faithfully to his counterpart in the novel.
  • Bruno Ganz in Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) - in this version, he is married to Lucy and becomes a vampire at the end of the film.
  • Trevor Eve in Dracula (1979) - in this version, he is engaged to Lucy and never goes to Transylvania.
  • Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) - he is portrayed faithfully to his counterpart in the novel.
  • Steven Weber in Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)
  • Hardy Krüger Jr. in Dracula (2002) - he is re-imagined as modern-day successful American lawyer.
  • Johnny A. Wright in Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (2002)
  • Rafe Spall in Dracula (2006) - in this version, he is killed by Dracula in his castle.
  • Amouri in Dracula (2008) - an Indian television series on Gemini TV.
  • Corey Landis in Dracula Reborn (2012) - in this version he is re-imagined as modern-day American realtor, who sells Dracula property in California. He is killed by his wife Lina, who turned into vampire.
  • Unax Ugalde in Dracula (2012) - in this version, he is killed by Dracula and turned into a vampire.
  • Oliver Jackson-Cohen in Dracula (television series, 2013) - in this version, he is a gauche journalist who is desperate to climb the ranks of aristocracy.
  • John Heffernan in Dracula (television miniseries, 2020) - in this version, he is killed by Dracula and turned into an undead. He manages to escape from the castle into a convent. His undead existence is finished by Dracula after he invites him into the convent. Dracula briefly wears his face as disguise.

A few of the adaptions have Harker succumbing to vampirism (either from Dracula or the brides) and having to be killed.
In most adaptations, Harker's role is reduced from that of the novel's hero and the focus (and sympathy) is drawn to other characters, notably Van Helsing or Dracula himself.
While Harker and Mina are the central romance of the novel and Mina shares no other man's affections, she is often portrayed as Dracula's love interest and not as Harker's.
In most adaptations it's usually Van Helsing or some other character, who kills Dracula, while Harker is either already dead by that time, or plays no role (or little role) in killing the vampire.

On stage[edit]


  1. ^ Bram Stoker, Robert Eighteen-Bisang, and Elizabeth Russell Miller, Bram Stoker's Notes for Dracula, McFarland, 2008, p. 280.
  2. ^ Dracula Chapter 2
  3. ^ Dracula Chapter 1
  4. ^ Dracula Chapter 3
  5. ^