Bram Stoker books: Celebrating the legend of Count Dracula

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Bram Stoker books are the subject of Thursday's Google doodle. Stoker is best remembered as the creator of Count Dracula and the doodle celebrates the character that has now become an integral part of popular culture.

Count Dracula is the central character in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel 'Dracula'. The Google doodle depicts a scene from this popular novel. The scene features Count Dracula wearing a long coat, which spreads out just like wings of a bat. Other characters from the book are also featured in this doodle. To make the doodle look a bit sinister, the letters of the word 'Google' are written in red, which is the colour of blood (similar to the first edition Dracula cover) while the rest of the doodle is in black and white colours.

Count Dracula is one of the most celebrated movie characters, second probably only to Sherlock Holmes in terms of the number of movies in which the character has appeared. The name Dracula rings a certain image in everybody's mind, but what was the original Dracula like? Amazingly, the picture you and I have of Count Dracula isn't very different from how the character was depicted the very first time he made an appearance.

Here's an excerpt from Bram Stoker's book Dracula, when Jonathan Harker meets Count Dracula for the very first time, as penned in Harker's journal:

Just as I had come to this conclusion I heard a heavy step approaching behind the great door, and saw through the chinks the gleam of a coming light. Then there was the sound of rattling chains and the clanking of massive bolts drawn back. A key was turned with the loud grating noise of long disuse, and the great door swung back.

Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere. He held in his hand an antique silver lamp, in which the flame burned without a chimney or globe of any kind, throwing long quivering shadows as it flickered in the draught of the open door. The old man motioned me in with his right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent English, but with a strange intonation.

"Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!" He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone. The instant, however, that I had stepped over the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed cold as ice, more like the hand of a dead than a living man. Again he said.

"Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring!" The strength of the handshake was so much akin to that which I had noticed in the driver, whose face I had not seen, that for a moment I doubted if it were not the same person to whom I was speaking. So to make sure, I said interrogatively, "Count Dracula?"

He bowed in a courtly was as he replied, "I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome, Mr. Harker, to my house. Come in, the night air is chill, and you must need to eat and rest."As he was speaking, he put the lamp on a bracket on the wall, and stepping out, took my luggage. He had carried it in before I could forestall him. I protested, but he insisted.


Which is your favourite Count Dracula moment?

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