This is a foot note to my R.I.P post on Dracula, and my public letter of apology to Mina Harker.
To find out more about R.I.P (Readers Imbibing Peril) and a blog hop that celebrates the spooky, follow the link.
Dear Mrs. Harker,
I can’t remember the exact moment when I first found you offensive. It began somewhere between The League of Extraordinary Gentleman and ITV’s short lived Demons. It reached its plateau with Penny Dreadful and erupted in a climatic hissy fit during the last ten minutes of Dracula Untold.
‘Is it impossible to write a pop culture vampire/gothic story without Mina Harker?’ I raged at my patient, long-suffering boyfriend on the way back to the car. ‘Why is she so special? What about Lucy Westenra who actually gets turned into a bloody vampire?’
‘Yes, dear’, the boyfriend replied, ushering me into the car. People were starting to stare.
Like all witches lead to Salem (there were no witches! That’s kind of the point!) all lady vampires lead to you, Mrs. Harker.
I now appreciate it is not your fault. You are not responsible for the actions of Frances Ford Coppla’s Dracula film.
It was my fault, because the first time I read Dracula I was a lanky teen more interested in the wolves and the crumbling castle than any actual human-shaped character. I was too young to appreciate your strength and forbearance.
I now acknowledge that as female characters from Gothic Horror go, you are very good at not swooning. You drive a coach across Romania, travel (alone!) to Budapest to bring you fiancée home, shoot a revolver and organizes the resistance to the monster that killed your friend while said monster has infected you with his almost cancerous like disease.
As well as all this you deal with being patronized, side lined and constantly congratulated for her ‘man’s brain.’
It’s enough to make anyone start throwing your typewriter about, but you don’t. Sometimes I’d like you to, but I now have a greater understanding of your context I can see why the desire doesn’t even cross your mind.
And I get it. Why wouldn’t anyone want to take you, an amazing character with so much potential out of you restrictive context and give you the power to have control over her own life (undeath)?
So, Mina Harker, I apologise again for defaming you in a public carpark. As with all prejudice it came from a lack of my own understanding.
Of course, that does not mean I can promise not to get frustrated the next time your name crops up in a main stream vampire film/series/book. My new appreciation of your talents will make me short tempered with those who I feel are using your name for credulity without adding a deeper understanding of your character. However, I will not blame you.
I hope you can forgive me and we will become friends in time.
Yours & etc.