2 comments on “Vlad Țepeș was an awesome, awesome man

  1. I wouldn’t take him as my emblem. I hate cruelty, and he’s probably a pretty strong contender for most cruel person ever to live. He’s hardly an outsider, either — if I were going to populate an allegory with historical figures, I’d probably pick him to represent the dark side of absolute power. A lord of his time owned his people … they weren’t people to him, really. (I’m not sure anyone was “a person” in the sense that I use it to this particular man, but hopefully you know what I am talking about. Serfdom. Persons as property. The literal meaning of words like “objectification” and “dehumanization”. The thought processes required to make a person able to do the kinds of things Vlad Tepes was fond of doing to other people. That’s why, even beyond personal moral revulsion, I would not take Tepes as an emblem for autistic people in general: our biggest problems stem from other people doing that kind of thing — mentally turning us into unpersons whose suffering can be very easily ignored — to us.)

    He was a major badass, though, and I appreciated your rattling off some legends about him that I hadn’t heard. I also liked your idea about the Countess Bathory being a more likely inspiration for the vampire Dracula than the warlord who actually bore that name.

    There is a more recent vampire novel, The Historian, that does explicitly make its “Dracula” be Vlad Tepes. They go into a lot of the history you’ve alluded to here, particularly the on-again-off-again wars between him and Mehmed II. I think the author, Elisabeth Kostova, does a great job of building up an atmosphere of dread as she has her protagonists move closer and closer to Tepes’ home turf, and of establishing just how scary he was in life, so that you’re afraid of him long before he actually appears in the story. (When he actually appears, it can be a bit underwhelming. It’s tough to do justice to a guy like that, especially if your plot calls for him to be defeated by your non-superhuman heroes. If I had to pick someone whose fictional characters do come close to Vlad Tepes’ actual fearsomeness, it’d be George R. R. Martin, who has several characters who rival him in either sadism or cold-blooded, ruthless cunning. I don’t know if you’ve read his A Song of Ice and Fire books, but if you have, I’m thinking of Gregor Clegane, Roose Bolton, his son Ramsay, Aerys Targaryen, and maybe Tywin Lannister. Roose Bolton is probably the closest match, although a smarter Gregor Clegane, who would be a lord rather than a man-at-arms, would be pretty much on the nose.)

    • One of the reasons I choose to view Vlad Țepeș as an example to follow (and his symbol, the dragon, not the man himself, as an emblem) is because he saw a big problem in his homeland and chose to do whatever it took to solve that problem. And whilst it is true that he did own his people to a good degree, he was also part of a despised class when he was a boy. Hence his hatred towards Ottomans, Boyars, and Turks. I have not done a lot of close reading about him of late, but it was my understanding that his brother Radu was literally buried alive because the people holding him, Radu, and their father hostage were Boyars and the three of them were not. So of course, one of his first orders of business when he became ruler was to round up all the Boyars, march them to the site he wanted for his castle, and make them build one (or rebuild some ruins). Sure, he ended up replacing one ruling class (the Boyars) with another (himself). Thing is, I still find him far more emblematic of at least my little branch of the spectrum than I ever will what either the curebie brigade or the niceness police push in our faces and say is us. Although I have not written it yet, the longer story that The Peculiar Visitor will eventually become part of will end with every animal species and Human of a certain type or age migrated away to another world whilst the remainder are left to contend with a world that is dying right before their eyes. In other words, Kronisk will prove the ultimate Powell type and in the process make Vlad Țepeș look very small in scale by comparison. But that’s just an ancillary storytelling point/thing.

      Sadly, the end of Lady Báthory’s life also either lends credence to her belief that drinking the blood of virgins would preserve her youth, or contradicts it, depending on how you look at it. She was literally walled up inside a wing of her castle as an arrest and left to fend, cook, and clean for herself. There were means by which guards and observers could communicate with her, but after communications ceased, they opened up part of the wall, took a look, and discovered that she had been dead for over a year.

      I have actually read one of the …Ice And Fire books, and I have to be truthful about it. I was really quite underwhelmed. I mean, critics went on and on at length about how bloated and overlength The Stand was, but Stephen King has nothing on George Martin. Not helping matters, I suppose, was that the text in the book was literally printed so small that even I, a twenty-something at the time who was by then thoroughly used to CD booklet texts, could not focus on it. The amount of times I flipped back and forth trying to discern the answer to “wait… who is this guy again?” would embarrass any professional writer, in my opinion. I have watched the recent HBO television series, which made it clearer by far who was who and why I loved or hated them, but again, too many characters, not enough space, not enough oomph. I will, however, attempt to track down Elisabeth Kostova‘s work when I get around to it. Although I have attempted to parallel Vlad Țepeș or certain of his acts in some of my writings, the actual ruler figures you see in my work tend to be more based on artists like Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper, Salvador Dalí, or even Andy Warhol. Recently, after watching the 2010 Alice In Wonderland film, I began to base one of the weirder monarchs in my story canon (specifically, Queen Falathien, who also incorporates a lot of attributes of a friend I spoke with a lot at the time I created the character) upon Anne Hathaway‘s performance in that film. But the ironic thing here is that even though I found reading very easy as a boy, certain… difficulties… have made reading of physical books and computer screens a bit of a chore for me. It has not been until I bought the e-reader that I even read for enjoyment in any serious way. But anyway… I better cut this off and get on with something else. I tend to run off at the fingers with commentary. :\

Chuck shit at me here

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