This blog is gonna be my part-time job for a few weeks I guess while we haul through the majority of Dracula. Please leave me a tip so I can spend it on bath bombs.

If you have to ask what a reverse harem is, I’m making this joke because anime and such are often replete with a boring anime dude doing nothing of note and ending up with a hundred girlfriends (usually not literally, but they’re all in love with him anyway). Readers unironically call this his “harem.” “Reverse harem” is what happens when the trope is used by a romantic manga for women—one girl and her plethora of male suitors. Again, it usually doesn’t refer to literal polygamy. Usually.

Maybe I should be embarrassed by all this anime knowledge but I do basically read manga for a living.

Dr. Lobotomy opens today, talking about meeting Jonathan and meeting him and how he seems cool.

After reading his account of it I was prepared to meet a good specimen of manhood, but hardly the quiet, business-like gentleman who came here to-day.

“I thought he’d be ripped,” laments a thirsty Dr. Lobotomy. If he wants to get torn in half he’ll have to go crawling back to Renfield.

Once Mina and Jonathan are back together they compile notes and propose to Dr. Lobotomy that Dracula lives next door. Jonathan suggests that he check in with Renfield, who “as hitherto he has been a sort of index to the coming and going of the Count.” Dr. Lobotomy doesn’t get it but does what he’s told.

Renfield seems fine but once they get to talking he tells Dr. Lobotomy he’s thinking of going home, which as far as our doctor knows, he has never suggested before. After talking with Jonathan, Dr. Lobotomy is suspicious that this tranquility has something to do with Dracula, so he advises his staff to keep an eye on him.


Jonathan writes about getting the info about the boxes at Kings Cross, where he tips the delivery guys again even though they don’t complain as much as the guys at Whitby, and then he tips some other dudes too. Jonathan talks to a few who have that deep dialect that Stoker likes to embarrass me with, who basically complain about how creepy Dracula’s new house is. Jonathan is like, “mood.”

Jonathan’s research shows him that all fifty boxes that left Transylvania arrived safely in the house in Carfax, but Jonathan worries that they may not all still be there, for some reason.


We move back to Mina who writes that she’s relieved that Jonathan hasn’t regressed into his trauma since he left for Whitby. Quincey and Arthur show up while Dr. Lobotomy and Jonathan are out, so Mina sees to them, bittersweetly.

Of course they had heard Lucy speak of me, and it seemed that Dr. Van Helsing, too, has been quite “blowing my trumpet,” as Mr. Morris expressed it. 

How many trumpets has he been blowing?

In the interests of honesty, Mina makes clear that she knows everything, sharing her notes with them. Arthur says he’ll accept her testimony now that his faith has already been tested, and because he knows she had Lucy’s trust. Arthur tries not to cry.

Mr. Morris, with instinctive delicacy, just laid a hand for a moment on his shoulder, and then walked quietly out of the room. I suppose there is something in woman’s nature that makes a man free to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side without feeling it derogatory to his manhood; for when Lord Godalming found himself alone with me he sat down on the sofa and gave way utterly and openly.

Yeah it’s kind of a problem, Mina. Look up emotional labor. Then again, it’s New Woman stuff.

Mina comforts him, saying that since Lucy was like a sister to her (COUGH) she could be a sister to him. Arthur bawls his eyes out.

We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the mother-spirit is invoked; I felt this big sorrowing man’s head resting on me, as though it were that of the baby that some day may lie on my bosom, and I stroked his hair as though he were my own child. I never thought at the time how strange it all was.

Man cringes

“A man just wants a mommy wife,” says Mina.

Arthur asks to be a brother to Mina and she accepts.

There’s another line above where Mina takes his hand and thinks “I hope he doesn’t think I’m coming on to him,” and then immediately, “he would never; he’s a gentleman.” So I guess maybe in the polycule, everyone fucks each other except Arthur, who becomes celibate. Maybe he fucks Quincey.

Mina encounters Quincey in the hall and he gives us this shit.

No one but a woman can help a man when he is in trouble of the heart; and he had no one to comfort him.”

woman cringes

Maybe, Quincey, you could step the fuck up and try to emotionally un-constipate your deeply British boyfriend.

Mina is impressed by the strength with which Quincey endures his broken heart. She asks Quincey to be her friend and he kisses her hand gratefully. She, in turn, kisses him. I assume by that she means the cheek or the forehead, but the prose doesn’t say. Quincey chokes up and goes to Arthur, calling Mina “Little Girl,” as he would call Lucy.


Dr. Lobotomy comes back and is thrilled to see everyone caught up on their notes. Jonathan is still out.

Mrs. Harker gave us a cup of tea, and I can honestly say that, for the first time since I have lived in it, this old house seemed like home.

Surrounded by his boyfriends and some other man’s wife, Dr. Lobotomy finally feels relaxed.

Mina asks to meet Renfield and she is “so pretty” that Dr. Lobotomy can’t refuse her. There’s an extremely funny exchange when Dr Lobotomy tells Renfield. He tells Renfield a woman is coming to visit and Renfield asks “Why?” Dr. Lobotomy replies that she’s visiting and wants to say hi to everyone.

“Oh, very well,” he said; “let her come in, by all means; but just wait a minute till I tidy up the place.” His method of tidying was peculiar: he simply swallowed all the flies and spiders in the boxes before I could stop him. 

Satisfied that the intruder, Mina, can’t eat his flies, Renfield settles in for company. Mina comes in, introduces herself, and Renfield wonders if she’s the woman Dr. Lobotomy wanted to marry. Mina clarifies that she’s married to someone else.

If we pretend that Dr. Lobotomy and Renfield are doing sexy RP, this scene is pretty fun.

Renfield tells Mina if she’s visiting, she shouldn’t stay. When Mina asks why, Dr. Lobotomy interrupts to ask how Renfield knew he wanted to marry anyone. Renfield says this is a stupid question, which Mina refutes. Renfield explains to her that Dr. Lobotomy is beloved in the community and so everyone knows all about his business. Renfield even deploys some Latin, and Dr. Lobotomy gawks. He wonders if this is an effect Mina is having on him. Eventually, Mina asks about his flies.

I used to fancy that life was a positive and perpetual entity, and that by consuming a multitude of live things, no matter how low in the scale of creation, one might indefinitely prolong life. At times I held the belief so strongly that I actually tried to take human life. The doctor here will bear me out that on one occasion I tried to kill him for the purpose of strengthening my vital powers by the assimilation with my own body of his life through the medium of his blood—relying, of course, upon the Scriptural phrase, ‘For the blood is the life.’ 

Dr. Lobotomy comes to his senses when he sees that he needs to pick Van Helsing up from the train, and he and Mina say their goodbyes to Renfield, who says he hopes to never see her again.

Dr. Lobotomy goes to pick up Van Helsing and leaves “the boys” behind, noting that they both seem more cheerful now. As they drive back to the house, Dr. Lobotomy catches Van Helsing up on the news, including Mina’s suggestion that they review events in chronological order. Van Helsing is thrilled.

She has man’s brain—a brain that a man should have were he much gifted—and a woman’s heart. The good God fashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when He made that so good combination.

I really need to read a ton of essays on the use of womanhood in this novel, or maybe write a few myself.

Van Helsing agrees that Mina is the best ever and tells Dr. Lobotomy that they have to protect her from the rest from now on and see it through as men for her sake. When Dr. Lobotomy tells him that Dracula is right next door, he sulks that they didn’t know to help Lucy sooner.

However, ‘the milk that is spilt cries not out afterwards,’ as you say. 

When they arrive Van Helsing asks Mina if she has all notes chronologically arranged “up to this moment.” Mina says she has them “up to this morning.” When Van Helsing asks why not all of it, she shows him her journal from earlier, (with Arthur). Van Helsing tells her to include it, as her husband and friends will love her even more, so she does.


Mina picks up writing as they all sit down after dinner to make a plan.

Professor Van Helsing took the head of the table, to which Dr. Seward motioned him as he came into the room. He made me sit next to him on his right, and asked me to act as secretary; Jonathan sat next to me. Opposite us were Lord Godalming, Dr. Seward, and Mr. Morris—Lord Godalming being next the Professor, and Dr. Seward in the centre.

These seating arrangements probably don’t matter but while I’m reading this I imagine this song playing:

Van Helsing finally lays it all out for the polycule. He laments that they weren’t able to save Lucy before knowing what they were dealing with, but now they know it is a vampire.

This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men; he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages; he have still the aids of necromancy, which is, as his etymology imply, the divination by the dead, and all the dead that he can come nigh to are for him at command; he is brute, and more than brute; he is devil in callous, and the heart of him is not; he can, within limitations, appear at will when, and where, and in any of the forms that are to him; he can, within his range, direct the elements; the storm, the fog, the thunder; he can command all the meaner things: the rat, and the owl, and the bat—the moth, and the fox, and the wolf; he can grow and become small; and he can at times vanish and come unknown.

Vampires can control the weather??

Van Helsing says that if they lose they will not be killed, but become monsters like him that further his agenda, demons that live forever. He asks if everyone is willing to take that risk.They all agree and hold hands in a circle with a crucifix between them on the table.

To fight Dracula they need to rely on superstition, as vampires exist in the shadow unseen by science, but are “known everywhere that men have been.”

Van Helsing gives us a play by play of strengths and weaknesses in a long paragraph. I’ll give you the details. The vampire does:

  • Live on without being killed by time.
  • Flourish and grow younger when consuming living blood.
  • Have super strength (source: Jonathan)
  • Transform into a wolf (source: Whitby)
  • Transform into a bat (source: Mina, Seward, Quincey)
  • Move around in the guise of mist and/or particulates (Demeter Captain, Jonathan wrt the vampire ladies)
  • Become small (as they saw Lucy do) thus, fit into or out of anything
  • See in the dark (?)

The vampire does not:

  • Eat as humans do (Jonathan)
  • Make a shadow or reflection (J)
  • Enter a place without being welcomed (trust me)
  • Have power during the day.
  • Cross over water except at low tide
  • Have power in the face of garlic or holy items.
  • Survive a stake through the heart and his head cut off.

There are a couple more things here that Van Helsing suggests that are kind of interesting.

  • That a vampire can only change shape at sunrise or sunset.
  • He cannot lift his coffin lid if a wild rose branch is placed atop it.
  • He can be killed by a sacred bullet fired into the coffin.

So if they can find where he rests, they can kill him.

Van Helsing has been talking to a friend from Budapest University for local information.

He must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land. 

In other words, Vlad the Impaler.

Lore says they dealt with the devil and “learned his secrets in the Scholomance.”

There have been from the loins of this very one great men and good women, and their graves make sacred the earth where alone this foulness can dwell. For it is not the least of its terrors that this evil thing is rooted deep in all good; in soil barren of holy memories it cannot rest.”

Grave dirt is powerful in lots of folklore and witchcraft but I couldn’t remember if there was anything like this for vampires. Doesn’t look like this one is consistent but it’s important for us to understand why Dracula is dragging around fifty boxes of dirt.

Quincey, who was looking out of the window, gets up and leaves the room without comment.

Van Helsing thinks they should figure out where all the dirt ended up after it arrived in Carfax. Everyone is convinced some boxes were removed but I can’t remember it saying that anywhere… unless the people who heckled Renfield were taking boxes away rather than, as I was assuming, they were moving them in?

Their conversation is interrupted by a gunshot which breaks open the window and the bullet ricochets around the room. Arthur throws open the window and looks out. Quincey is below and says

“Sorry! I fear I have alarmed you. I shall come in and tell you about it.”

This made me laugh out loud.

Quincey claims that while they were talking, a bat came and perched on the windowsill. Quincey says that since the Lucy debacle he has just been shooting bats whenever he sees them, and apparently Arthur has been making fun of him for it. Van Helsing asks if he hit the bat and Quincey says probably not, as it flew into the woods.

Digression complete, Van Helsing goes on saying that they have to capture and/or kill Dracula, and/or sterilize the earth that he brought with him so it cannot be used to hide in safely. They can do it during the day when Dracula is weak, but they will do it without Mina, to keep her safe. Mina is unhappy but doesn’t argue; as depressing as being left out is, she doesn’t want to be completely excluded from the planning, so she tries not to make a nuisance of herself.

Quincey wants to go check out Dracula’s mansion right away and so the boys all pack up to go.

Manlike, they had told me to go to bed and sleep; as if a woman can sleep when those she loves are in danger! I shall lie down and pretend to sleep, lest Jonathan have added anxiety about me when he returns.

“Manlike,” she says.

Parade of men with one leading, pointing at the camera, saying

Leaving the single helpless woman all alone while all the boys are out after the bad guy sounds like an accident waiting to happen, but what do I know?

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