No, I’m not on a Castlevania kick. What made you think that?
As I mentioned in the MOAC on Trevor Belmont, the Castlevania Netflix series is loaded to the brim with fantastic characters! Each of them deserves their own analysis (which they will get sooner or later). But none of them come even close to the series main villain. The big bad vampire himself: Dracula.
Of all the various villains I’ve seen over the years, there are few that have gotten so close to my heart so quickly. Dracula is one of these characters! He is as sympathetic as he is intimidating! You want him to fail and for our heroes to succeed! But at the same time, you can’t help but root for him! He is an incredibly lovable villain, one that I will point to and praise for years to come! His absence alone is why I’m even remotely skeptical about the third season!
The other villains are good. But Dracula was leagues ahead of any of them!
The Wound: Burn the Witch!
Netflix’s Castlevania series doesn’t waste any of your time! The entire first episode is dedicated to The Wound! Now that’s what I call storytelling!
After living god-knows how many centuries alone, Dracula was amazed to find a human woman banging on his doorstep. Curious, he took her in and trained her in advanced medicine as she demanded. Sometime later, the two were married with a child. It seemed that happiness had finally made its way into the life of Vlad Tepes.
Until the church burned his wife at the stake.
This Wound is the centerpiece to everything that makes Dracula such a great character. It informs all of the other aspects of his character perfectly! It makes him empathetic, even with his goal being the evilest thing you could possibly think of.
On the subject of which!
The Lie and The Want: They Need to Die…
As with many truly great characters, these two aspects are so intrinsically linked that you can’t even try to separate them! And that’s without mentioning how important they are to the entire puzzle!
One year after his wife’s death, Dracula gathered as many forces of the Night and Hell that he could and began his war against humanity. His goal could be summarized in one word: genocide. With all the might of Hell behind him, he aims to avenge his wife and destroy all of the humans.
Except here’s the thing: that wouldn’t help anything. Not in the slightest.
Revenge isn’t justice. Dracula’s wife wouldn’t have wanted him to go with revenge. She even asked him not to do it in her dying moments! His son, Alucard, knew it just as well! Simply killing those who took his wife away isn’t going to fill the hole in his heart.
What Dracula doesn’t realize is that his efforts were all pointless. He can’t fill the hole in his heart no matter what he does.
Deep down, somewhere in his mind, Dracula knows this. This is why he’s so low on energy and starved during the second season. There is some part of him that knows that he’s wasting his efforts.
Sadly, it isn’t until his final moments that he realizes this.
The Need: I Must Already Be Dead
Most character’s Need is tied to them overcoming the Lie and achieving their Want. But Dracula’s Need is unique in that it is the exact opposite.
The Lord of Vampires can’t be saved. He was lost the moment his wife died. The only way for him to truly set his wife’s spirit, as well as his own, at peace is to stop his war. To realize that he’s been dead for years. Because every moment he doesn’t, he destroys more and more of what he still has left.
His final monologue at the end of his fight with Alucard really says it all.
This is the final speech of the main villain. This is the bad guy.
There are a ton of compelling villains out there. Some are enjoyable simply because they are pure evil and they love it! Others are great because of how easily they could have been the story’s hero. But few can get into your heart and make you sympathize with them half as well as Dracula can!
No matter how many years go by, I will always go back to Castlevania. Everything about it makes returning easy. But Dracula’s presence as a villain makes going back to the show an absolute must!
That is the mark of a truly great villain and a wonderfully written character.