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The ending of Dracula - Elizabeth Miller — LiveJournal
The ending of Dracula
I've been asked a question elsewhere on this blog about whether Count Dracula is actually destroyed at the end of the novel. If not, did Stoker intend to write a sequel?  This, as with many questions about Stoker's famous novel, requires a detailed answer. I thought I'd post it here in case any other visitors to this site are interested.

First of all, the ending of the novel is ambiguous enough to suggest that Count Dracula may actually not have been destroyed. All through the book, the method of destruction is made clear: stake through heart plus decapitation. But when the moment comes, there is no wooden stake. Drac is despatched with two knives and it is not clear whether full decapitation took place. Then there's the fact that he could have shapeshifted into that pile of dust and made his getaway. And there's the "look of peace" on his face at the end - a smug sense of ultimate victory?

The uncertainty grows if one looks at the pre-publication stages of "Dracula."

Below you'll find an excerpt from my book Dracula: Sense & Nonsense (Desert Island Books, 2006) in which I address these issues. [If you find the tone of this passage provocative - believe me, that was my intention. The entire book is hard-hitting, as I attempt to ferret out all the nonsense written about Stoker and his novel. And there's plenty of it!]

(from Dracula: Sense & Nonsense - footnotes removed)

“Bram Stoker attempted to continue his horror story, which had captivated the reading public, by producing an unsuccessful sequel to Dracula.” (Grigore Nandris, “The Historical Dracula” 393)

Poppycock! Stoker did no such thing. To make matters worse, Nandris identifies the “sequel” as Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories (396, n64). Double poppycock!

Whether Stoker had planned to write a sequel is another matter. Author Roger Sherman Hoar is reported to have said that “Stoker told me he planned to bring Dracula over to America in another story” (Haining, Shades 135). This is, of course, hearsay. Eighteen-Bisang and Melton contend that the ending of the novel is less explicit than that of the dramatic reading, an indication that Stoker may have intended to leave open the possibility of a sequel (20). The dispatching of Count Dracula is rendered in the dramatic reading as follows: “Horsemen fight with Gypsies and Morris and Harker throw box from cart and prise it open. Count seen. Fades away as knives cut off his head. Sunset falls on group” (Starshine 192). In the novel, however, Dracula is dispatched by knives through the heart and the throat. For some, the switch from wooden stake to knives is an indication that Stoker was ambivalent about the ending.

        We know that one section of the intended conclusion was excised. The published novel contains this sentence: “The Castle of Dracula now stood out against the red sky” (27:510). According to the typescript [publisher's copy], that line was originally to have been followed by this passage, which was deleted before publication: 

      As we looked there came a terrible convulsion of the earth so that we seemed to rock to and fro and fell to our knees. At the same moment with a roar which seemed to shake the very heavens the whole castle and the rock and even the hill on which it stood seemed to rise into the air and scatter in fragments while a mighty cloud of black and yellow smoke volume on volume in rolling grandeur was shot upwards with inconceivable rapidity. 

      Then there was a stillness in nature as the echoes of that thunderous report seemed to come as with the hollow boom of a thunder-clap -- the long reverberating roll which seems as though the floors of heaven shook. Then down in a mighty ruin falling whence they rose came the fragments that had been tossed skywards in the cataclysm.

From where we stood it seemed as though the one fierce volcano burst had satisfied the need of nature and that the castle and the structure of the hill had sunk again into the void. We were so appalled with the suddenness and the grandeur that we forgot to think of ourselves.

 We may never know why this change was made, or even who made it -- Stoker or his editor. But this raises the possibility that Stoker had a sequel in mind. Belford suggests, “A series, perhaps, not unlike the Sherlock Holmes stories, with Van Helsing as psychic detective?” (268). But given that Stoker wrote no sequels to any of his other works (nor even reintroduces characters from one text to another), this is unlikely.

13 comments or Leave a comment
esmeraldus_neo From: esmeraldus_neo Date: December 9th, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am just at present dealing with the novel and its author as two of the most ambiguous entities in British literature.
thegeneralx From: thegeneralx Date: December 9th, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for your very timely response! It has reminded me, additionally, about the alternative ending that I want to take into account for the piece that I am writing on "that pile of dust" and physics.
From: ads64drago Date: December 13th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
what do people who say bram had a sequel in mind say about mina's mark disappearing from her forehead when dracula dies?
blooferlady From: blooferlady Date: December 13th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Guess they just overlook it! :) To me, that's the deal-breaker.
From: amblerhouse.blogspot.com Date: December 15th, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

A Nice Surprise, plus news of a Dracula sequel

Dear Elizabeth Miller:

I haven't visited this site in a while and when I did, I was cheered to note that I actually have a copy of your "Notes for Dracula," a birthday gift to me by my wife from a couple of years ago.

I also noticed with amusement the part about Stoker supposedly considering writing a sequel in which Dracula goes to America . . . .

... well, I got the same idea myself some years back and so wrote my own sequel "Dragon's Ark" ("They Say He Died in the Land beyond the Forest . . . But They Were Wrong!") "Dragon's Ark" will be published on March 15, 2011 by Ambler House Publishing. You can read more about it at the web address above and my own web page is at www.tbdeluxe.blogspot.com.

I hope you're encouraged to check out my book! I think you'll find it entertaining!

Take care and I'll be by here again!


Thomas Burchfield
Author of the supernatural thriller Dragon's Ark, due March 15, 2011, from Ambler House
Author of the comic screenplay Whackers, available at Smashwords.com.
Follow me at Blogger, the Red Room, Facebook, and Twitter
For editing services, see my page at the Bay Area Editors' Forum
(510) 547-1092

blooferlady From: blooferlady Date: December 16th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: A Nice Surprise, plus news of a Dracula sequel

Thanks for your comments. I'll certainly keep an eye open for your book!
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 22nd, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Story of Dracula

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From: (Anonymous) Date: January 10th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

The Ending

Having just read the novel for the first time, I must say the ending was seriously anti-climactic. Such a powerful villian surely deseves a better send-off than to be dismissed in five lines - how disappointing!

Finbarr, Ireland
blooferlady From: blooferlady Date: January 11th, 2011 10:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: The Ending

I agree. It is my theory (though I can't prove it) that the last couple of chapters were written in a hurry. They contain inconsistencies and as you say, are definitely anti-climactic.
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From: (Anonymous) Date: February 26th, 2019 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)


This evening on "Millionaire" they had the answer that the castle was swallowed up by a volcano at the end of the novel. Until now I was not aware of the alternate ending which was deleted. I'm glad I was able to look this up on your blog.
13 comments or Leave a comment