This post discusses Dracula and has Game of Thrones Spoilers!
I’m sure we’ve all heard of Dracula.
Every time Average Joe asks me “where are you from?”
And I respond “Romania.”
After a few moments of confusion, clarity emerges “ah…Dracula.” Why yes, kind sir, my country’s whole historical and cultural background can be reduced to a fictional, and thus non-existent character from Bram Stoker’s novel.
I’m fairly sure we’ve all heard of Game of Thrones as well, unless you’ve been living on the moon for the past couple of years. That is not to say that living on the moon wouldn’t be fantastic. At any rate, I think the two, Dracula and Westeros, would fit quite well together.
Dracula – Vlad the Impaler
Dracula, being Vlad III or Vlad the Impaler, a prince of Wallachia, was a fascinating individual… and very much alive. Yes, maybe he wasn’t a vampire, or immortal, and you didn’t have to drive a silver stake through his heart to kill him. But, in the end, he might have been far more blood thirsty than in Coppola’s film adaptation, which is a masterpiece by all means.
After Dracula claimed the throne, he instituted punitive laws aimed at merchants and nobility, but also thieves. Now, the punishment for breaking these laws is probably what made the Wallachian prince renowned – his sadistic and psychopathic method of execution or torture – impalement. I don’t think that Vlad would have agreed with today’s Geneva Convention, but at least Machiavelli would have been proud. However, impalement was also used as a method of psychological warfare in order to deter foreign invaders.
In 1462, Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, a man noted for his own psychological warfare tactics, returned to Constantinople after being sickened by the sight of 20,000 impaled corpses outside Vlad’s capital of Targoviste. (Thomas Garza)
How would Dracula manage in Game of Thrones?
It seems that only Ramsay Bolton, still warden of the North, has Dracula’s desire for carnage. Some argue that G.R.R. Martin was also inspired by Vlad the Impaler to create the Bolton’s flayed man banner. Both Ramsay and Vlad enjoy the public display of their victims in order to dissuade other scheming individuals. Also, the two lords are well versed in the art of war and psychological warfare. The power of fear is embedded at the very core of the bedrock that their kingdoms are founded upon.
Intrinsically, however, there is a great difference between the Bolton and the Wallachian. Vlad III, in a pathological manner, attempted to rid society of blood sucking leeches that prospered on the backs of hard workers. In order to fight foreign enemies, there had to be order under his reign. By impaling the Turks, Vlad III wanted to restrain the Ottoman Empire from plundering Wallachia. A small hint points out that the diabolical, havoc spreading prince carried out harsh deeds for the good of his kingdom.
Ramsay seems to play his part in A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) depending on his self-interest, instead of the public good. Perhaps his frenzy of killing and torturing anyone that stands in his path, including his own father, is testimony enough.
Dracula’s strong sense of loyalty and duty to his kingdom and people suggests another parallel with an ASOIAF character, Ned Stark. Combining Ned’s values with Ramsay’s skills would surely create an interesting pretender to the Iron Throne. Just as the Starks, Vlad III ruled over a passive kingdom that had to fend off conquering kings, but in the end played into the hands of its enemies. Being prince over a harsh territory that must face waves of incoming hordes sounds terribly familiar (Is Winter coming already? Yes, Winter is coming!).
Yes, yes, I know I didn’t touch upon the impaler in Game of Thrones, Joffrey. It’s not because I don’t like to bring him up, but I really don’t like to bring him up. Can we really compare a frustrated child to a warlord? I think not. There is one similarity between the two – they were both assassinated. I personally think that Martin offered us a gift – one of the very few.
Much remains to be discussed. I wonder what you think. How would Dracula fare in Westeros?