Toward the end of chapter two, noting that he hasn’t yet seen the Count eat or drink, Harker remarks that Dracula is a very peculiar man. You said it, Bub. Parts of the first two chapters read to me the way the beginning of the movie Scream unfolds. Like the teenagers in the movie, Harker ignores many signs that things may be amiss. And, one assumes, things will wind up going as badly for Harker as for the teenagers. But there is a difference in what’s behind their attitudes, I think. The teenagers are carefree, daring, rash, and enjoying the gift of perceived immortality afforded to the youthful. Whether Harker is merely naive or is guilty of a rather less endearing tendency to write off the natives of the country he’s in as simple and superstitious I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps he’s both, for a tendency to underestimate people can itself be in a way naive.
In any case, it’s a little funny to read. Here’s my condensed treatment of Harker’s observations:
How strange: The landlord suddenly won’t speak to me about the Count even though it’s just achingly obvious that he can communicate adequately with me. Meh, it’s probably nothing.
What’s with the hysterical old lady with the crucifix?
Wonder why the coach driver and the landlady are whispering together about devils and hell and witches and looking at me frantically. Weirdos.
Wow, this coach driver sure is in a hurry. Sure wish he’d let me down to pee. And what’s with the blessings and gifts the other passengers are giving me?
My new driver sure has some crazy teeth.
Why are we driving around in circles? And what about these blue flames?
Those wolves sure seem to like my driver with the crazy teeth.
I think I blacked out for a while there. Anyway, we seem to be at the castle, but my driver just took off and left me here in the dark. Guess I’ll just wait here calmly.
This Dracula guy seems kind of dead.
Oh, and he sure has some crazy teeth and seems to love those wolves.
Dracula disappeared mysteriously for an hour, and when he came back, my dinner was ready. Oddly, there seem to be no servants at all.
I’m starting to feel a little lonely and creeped out.
Hey, Dracula seems not to have a reflection, and he grabbed my throat when he saw blood from where I cut myself shaving. Asshole. It’s ok, though — when he touched the crucifix that crazy old lady gave me, he backed off.
I still haven’t seen the Count eat or drink. He must be a very peculiar man!
Think I’ll have a look around. Wait a minute… this place feels a little like a prison. Wonder if something fishy’s going on here.
Did Stoker make Harker deliberately dim, I wonder, or is this a clumsy attempt to layer suspense in one detail at a time?