February 27, 2018

Blood Countess, and Dracula

What is the fascination with Dracula? 

I don't think most people really know Transylvania, Romania, or its long history with legends and other people, when they talk about Dracula.  However, that being said, digging within the history of Hungary, there is someone else who might just fit the "vampire" persona much better.

By this, the vampire persona, I mean the reference to Dracula drinking blood.  The quest for immortality and the evil results it can bring.  This is especially true of people in power.  Many centuries ago there was a woman who was a royal blood living in Transylvania.

She was known to history-- local history-- as the Blood Countess, or . She feared death or at least the loss of her beauty. To keep it she killed (according to some reports) 600 girls to keep her youth.

Why do we not mention her? 

I write about this, and the fact that because Dacre Stoker (great grand nephew of Bram Stoker) wrote another Dracula book, entitled, Dracula: Undead.  It has been published for many years, but upon re-reading it I have some new feelings.  I don't think he knows much about Transylvania or Romania, although I am sure he's visited it, or knows of the area.  he is passionate about the Stoker name, or more specifically, the Stoker brand linking it to Dracula.  One thing I am certain of: he does however know a lot about marketing.

In this book The Countess of the Blood is the main antagonist.  It's rather fitting in a way that over the years both Count Dracula and Bathory have sought immortality.  However, it is for different reasons and different means that they have done this, and in the end, it's a rather bittersweet moment for all of the characters.  It tries to make Dracula a lot more sympathetic but also it tries to increase interest in our fascination with Dracula.

If Dracula is supposed to be from Transylvania why focus on London?

I think in this case, the younger Stoker wanted to mimic, with limited success, his great-grand uncles' later success.  One must recall that the first book, Dracula was not a success during Bram Stoker's lifetime.  It was the advent of Hollywood and movies, which helped him, or rather his widow, see his book become a success.

Dacre Stoker has argued that his novel was written to re-establish the Stoker name and creative control over the novels of Dracula.  In a sense, he brought too much to the table and not enough backstory to it.  The Blood Countess did not need to be in the book, and she wasn't as strong as one would have thought.

The real blood countess wanted her beauty and would do anything for it.  In this regard, the Blood Countess and Dracula had different motives, and even in their own lives, had different motives for the thing that they did.  The same goes for the land they lived in, and played a role in many of the castles and people there.  Even then, the more famous, Bran Castle has a focus on Hollywood and Dracula as opposed to other parts of the land of Romania and Transylvania.

The world has changed and the focus is on the myths that Hollywood has for these two people.

January 14, 2018

Bran Castle LEGO

I'll admit I love all things Lego.

Though for the longest time I was rather stumped as to how I could mix my love for Lego with my love for Transylvania and add it to this blog.  It's a big of a challenge, but I finally found some really great ideas.  One of them was a build by a Lego lover who would create Bran Castle out of Lego.

Not Dracula's castle, mind you, but the real thing, the one which I can go and visit in Transylvania (for a fee) and take pictures of and just imagine the people and lives lived around there.  I wanted something that would be amazing, and different at the same time....

However, before I found what I was looking for, I did enjoy finding, and it all started with monsters.

I was a bit wary of looking at this, after all, I've seen the official lego version of the Vampyre Castle on Amazon, and I'm a fan of it, for different reasons than my newest love of lego and details.  Maybe because it's the focus on Dracula, even with the Vampyre hearse, so it's a bit of a nod to Bram Stocker's Dracula, and it's cute and has enough pieces to enjoy it, and it's part of a series.

Monster Fighters, as the series is known as gives Dracula his due- in Lego, and combined at around 1,200 pieces I enjoyed the process of making Dracula, and the fighters, and the castle come to life.  I enjoyed the challenge and the time it took to make both.

I do recommend both sets, but at least the hearse is a fast one to build and really one that sort of puts two undead monsters together (Zombie and Dracula.)  I was a bit disappointed that it was Rodney Rathborne, and not some play on Abraham Van Helsing.  However, as much as this was fun to build, it wasn't quite what I had in mind.

I enjoyed the mythos they have created, but I wanted something closer to Bran Castle.  Closest thing I found often times was the 3D puzzle, and while it was fun to create a model in 3D it wasn't.... Lego.

I was able to find that someone had built Bran Castle, along with many photos, and this was amazing to me.  You can find the website here, and he has built many other lego castles in great detail as well. The thing I liked about it was that it combined both the history and the story of Bran Castle.

It gave a very good idea about Transylvania, as it showed the hills around the castle, and had parts of the inside of it done in Lego.  This was nearly 1,400 pieces and it is quite impressive.  It made my lego lover heart feel good, and it almost makes me want to do my own in greater detail.  The bonus?  On the website he does offer floor plans, so it allows one to let their imagination soar.

Ahh, yes Lego and Bran Castle, who could ask for more... except maybe, more details- the villages, and the trees and a few knights.

January 6, 2018

YouTube, Transylvania and Branching Out

Somethings never change and somethings do. A while back I began a YouTube channel and I will be adding a lot of content, I'd love for my fellow Things about Transylvania, Romania readers to get a chance to view stuff like this on YouTube. I'm excited as well about branching out to adding more YouTube videos about Romania and in particular: Transylvania.

Part of the joys of writing on a blog is being able to branch out and it's a lot more fun when people come and enjoy and subscribe to see where this will grow. It's amazing what readers can do, and it is thanks to your kind suggestions I branched out in the first place. YouTube and all its challenges are something that I can learn and grow from.

Above is a frist video, and I hope you'll enjoy watching it. It's about my first blog, Living a Life of Writing, but no fears I will be vlogging about Transylvania and how this blog came to be. I've said it before that there is a wonderful joy in learning and pushing your boundaries and making mistakes.

That's the great thing about branching out, you get make mistakes and learn and become a bit better. Transylvania and this blog need to branch out, not only on topic but also with what we can share as writers of a very impressive place.

It's a land where the life is full of history and people and of places and wars.  It has castles, and influence on many countries: Italy, Hungary, Romania, Austria are a few where the lives of people came together and would effect how people viewed the world.

It was a gateways to the heart of Eastern Europe and in time was nearly forgotten as it is a part of Romania.  It has played host to countless legends and people.  It is where the story, for me, really begins.

Enjoy and subscribe.