|Species||Vampire (formerly human)|
|Place of origin||Transylvania|
|Relations||Three unnamed brides|
|Body type||Humanoid shapeshifter|
|Behind the Scenes|
|Created by||Bram Stoker|
|Performed by||Hamilton Camp|
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Count Dracula is a Transylvanian nobleman and vampire created by Bram Stoker for his 1897 horror novel Dracula. As a vampire, he has become an ageless, centuries-old nocturnal creature who must sustain himself by feeding upon the blood of the living. His bite causes his victims to return to life as vampires too after they die.
Although this isn't completely explicit in the book (only speculated), the character of Dracula was partially based on - and is commonly equated with - the cruel 15th century Wallachian prince Vlad III; better known by the nickname Vlad the Impaler, and it's very likely that they're intended to be viewed as the same.
In his first appearance, Dracula is described as an old man with a fearful semblance and white mustache. As a shapeshifter, he can also achieve a more youthful appearance, but his bestial nature is betrayed by some features such as pointed ears and teeth as well as hair on his hand palms.
Dracula's abilities include: hypnotic suggestions, shapeshifting into a wolf, dog, bat or mist; and the ability to crawl on the walls like a gecko. Besides not being reflected on mirrors, vampires in Stoker's novel seem to interact (or rather not interact) with light in strange ways, as they cast no shadow and flames can be visible through their bodies. They're also capable of establishing psychic links with people whose blood they have fed upon.
Furthermore, according to Van Helsing, the vampire is stronger than 20 men and capable of controlling the weather, giving commands to all sorts of animals, changing sizes and even disappearing occasionally. They are vulnerable to sunlight, crosses and garlic; and need to sleep on soil from their homeland in order to maintain their strength. Although they're creatures of the night, they aren't directly harmed by the sun, only weakened by it, and unable to shapeshift during the day.
Dracula lives in an old castle in the Carpathian Mountains with three vampire women who are described as sisters. Their relationship with Dracula isn't made clear, but they're generally referred to as "brides of Dracula" in other works.
In the novel, he seeks the help of English solicitor Jonathan Harker to move over to London, bringing along numerous boxes containing Transylvanian soil. During the trip to England, he feeds on and kills all of the ship's crewmen. He develops a psychic connection with an asylum patient called Renfield, who becomes his ally. As he feeds on the blood of a young woman named Lucy Westenra (who is the best friend of Harker's fiancée), she's afflicted with a strange disease and dies, only to rise from her grave as a vampire and start feeding on the blood of children at night.
The Dutch physician and connoisseur of the occult, Prof. Abraham Van Helsing, who had been called to treat Miss Westenra before her death, recognizes the symptoms of vampirism and, along with Dr. Seward, Harker and two other comrades, opens up Lucy's grave and decapitates her, putting an end to the vampire curse. They also manage to break into Dracula's property and destroy his boxes of Transylvanian soil, forcing him to move back to his homeland.
However, Dracula at this point has also fed on the blood of Harker's fiancée Mina Murray, and the only way to prevent her from having the same fate as Lucy is to destroy the vampire who infected her. With this goal in mind the party follows Dracula back to Europe, using the psychic link created on his victims to their advantage as Van Helsing manages to hypnotize Mina and ask her about the Count's whereabouts. When they finally meet him, they damage his throat and his heart, killing him and causing his body to turn to dust; but not before revealing a peaceful semblance on his face, suggesting that his soul is now in peace as his humanity has been restored upon death.
Despite being killed at the end, the character ended up being used in numerous works by other authors. He's featured as a central character in Kim Newman's alternate history series Anno Dracula, which is set in a world in which Dracula successfully killed Van Helsing and married Queen Victoria, assuming control of England as a result.