Count Dracula is one of the most frequently portrayed characters in cinema. While myths surrounding him had always floated around, it was after Bram Stoker’s rendition that his legend truly caught fire. This further led to the expansion of the vampire mythology which has resulted in blockbuster franchises and popular TV series. Actors like Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman and Luke Evans have brought him to life on the screen, with the story differing from every version. With ‘Dracula’, Claes Bang gets to add his own flavour to the Count in a story that is revitalised by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. If you haven’t yet seen the show, head over to Netflix. SPOILERS AHEAD
Summary of the Plot
In 1897, Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to meet Count Dracula for whom he has been appointed as a lawyer. His stay is involuntarily extended, and he soon gets caught up in the mysteries of the castle. As the days pass by, he falls ill and the Count grows younger. Knowing now what his employer really is, Jonathan has to find a way to escape his captivity or face certain death. He finally gets away but at a great cost. Conducting an interview with him, Sister Agatha tries to understand what happened to Jonathan while he was with Dracula, and if it could shed some light on how to defeat the devil.
In the last scene of the third episode, we find Dracula feeding on Zoe’s blood. While he kills her, he expects to die too. She is freed of the pain that her illness brings with it and he has finally attained the courage to embrace death. A fitting end to the story, and a satisfying conclusion for both characters. The situation, however, is more complicated than that.
While running away from the Harker Foundation, Dracula finds refuge in the house of a woman named Katherine. Zoe catches up with him and to make him get inside the coffin, she agrees to come inside the house and talk to him. She expects him to not kill her because it would mean certain death for him as well. However, he doesn’t keep his end of the deal and attacks her. He drinks her blood but is sickened by it. He can’t consume it the same way he does with others. Later, he figures out the reason behind it. Zoe has cancer. She is dying and hence, her blood is no good to him. So, in the end, when he does drink her blood, it is only logical that he should die of it, right? Not necessarily.
Why Didn’t Sunlight Kill Dracula?
Before he embraces his fear of death and decides to commit a murder-suicide, Dracula comes across a startling piece of information about himself. He discovers that all of his weaknesses, all the things that his enemies and his victims had used against him were not really there. He was suffering from placebo! The tales and legends surrounding vampires had accumulated over the course of centuries. Starting from the first episode, we see a lot of myths shattered while there are other tricks that turn into facts.
Sister Agatha’s fascination with Dracula was founded on the whys rather than the hows. She was well-versed in vampire-lore. She guessed that Dracula would have to be invited in, she knew that he couldn’t come out in sunlight, she knew that the cross doesn’t ward off vampires but was shocked and intrigued to find out that it worked on the Count. Why did the simplest of tricks hold true? That’s what she wanted to know. And that’s what made her cleverer than her adversary.
Dracula knew of the things that could kill him, but he never bothered to find out why. He never tried to test his own limitations; he just accepted all the rules that had already been laid down for his kind. In the end, he discovers that like everyone else, he had accepted the myths that had no logical basis. The sun couldn’t kill him, but because he so ardently believed in the fact, he thought a single touch of sunlight would burn him to crisp. He could have tried to test the theory, but he was so afraid of dying that he chose not to risk it. And that’s the only weakness he had.
He was fascinated with Lucy because she didn’t care about anything. She knew he was dangerous; drinking blood is a huge giveaway! But she was not afraid to die. That could be because she was suffering from a form of depression, or just that she was brave enough. Dracula didn’t have that flair and even though he had lived for more than five hundred years, he couldn’t stand the thought of embracing the pain that death would bring with itself.
Is Dracula Dead?
On the surface, you could say that Dracula and Zoe are really dead. But then again, placebo and myths. Dig a little deeper and there is a strong possibility that their story hasn’t ended yet. If you think that Dracula is dead, you are basing it on the fact that Zoe has cancer and her blood is poisonous for him. It would be completely true, had she not consumed his blood! The first time he drank from her, she was a normal person. But the second time around, apart from the cancer cells, she had his blood in her veins as well. And that could make all the difference.
We are never told what effect Dracula’s blood can have on others. If we refer to other popular vampire fiction, vampire blood helps you heal and it is also an important element needed to turn someone else into a vampire. If you don’t want to contaminate your facts with alternate versions, consider the fact that is provided to you in the first episode. Sister Agatha tells Jonathan that he had been contaminated with something, which was most probably due to his interaction, sexual or otherwise, with Dracula. In terms of passing on a disease, drinking someone’s blood should be on the top.
Hence, it is safe to assume that Zoe had been infected and that she was very well on her way to becoming one of Dracula’s brides. The thing stopping her from that was death. When Dracula turned Jonathan and Lucy into vampires, he killed them first. Now that he has killed Zoe, she should turn into a vampire as well. And if so, how could Dracula die of the blood that is not entirely human anymore? If his blood has multiplied in Zoe’s bloodstream, how could he die of drinking his own blood?
Read More: Where Was Dracula Filmed?