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Basing Your Fantasy Culture on Real Ones....?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by celebathien, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    I love to try and use Roman,spartan,greek(as a whole), and british cultures as a preset to build upon or change and you can even use the witch scare in america(forgot the date) as a preset to throw in witch slaying(and actual witches of course) and maybe vampires, and there is always Vlad Dracul as being a template for dracula(or inspiration/ although I must admit that this is Fantasy character sort of based of a real person......I think).
    The Roman Legions, The arena, the emperor, and Senate and the way the Roman Imperials held themselves can be quite interesting.
    The spartan culture of strength and the will to overcome has always been cool, ever since I learned about them.
    Britain, an ancient place dating back to Roman times is always quite interesting especially over the hundreds of years.

    Now I dont know everything nor do I know a lot but I use what I know in the best way I can.
     
  2. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Vlad Dracula was indeed a real person but nothing like the vampire Dracula. It is implied that they're the same person, kind of, but not definitive and that is completely a bit of Stoker's imagination. Vlad was not vampiric in any way, but he was brutal. He was also from a the same part of the world which was convenient for Stoker. The book was nearly complete before Stoker ever heard of Vlad Dracula. And technically Vlad Dracul was his dad - the a at the end makes a difference - and not the semi-partial-kind of- inspiration for the famous vampire.
     
    ArenRax likes this.
  3. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    Thank you! hence why I posted that i didnt know to much because truth is I dont but I can interpret and say what I still think.
     
  4. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I don't believe that's quite correct. The character of Dracula is pretty well established to be Vlad III Dracula or Vlad the Impaler who was the son of Vlad II Dracul, the first to take the name Dracul after having been invested in the Order of the Dragon. Thus Vlad III was Dracula. Stoker came across the name Dracula and was intrigued by it while doing research on Wallachia and Modalvia well before the book was published and the novel clearly shows that he is familiar with Vlad III's history, as the character Dracula brags of the historical figure's exploits. Of course, at the beginning of the novel Dracula is pretending to be a descendant of Vlad III. But Van Helsing deduces that he must actually be the man himself and believes that part of the reason he became immortal is because he was such an exceptional person in life.
     
  5. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    "Pretty well established" by scholars who were guessing. McNally and Florescu, the most well known Dracula scholars, made this into "fact" in a book they wrote before they had ever gotten Stoker's notes which were later found and the authors took a step back from their previous claims. The book we know as "Dracula" was nearly complete when Stoker came across the name Dracula. Vlad Dracula was just a convenient character that he used as a retcon for the story and he even changed the area of the world because of what he thought was Vlad's locale and how the lore there fit better but he did not inspire the book originally, he inspired a change in it only. There isn't even proof that Stoker was aware of the first name Vlad. He also placed the count in Transylvania when Vlad Tepes was a Wallachian Voivode.

    The Count in his book was originally called Wampyr and he changed it to Dracula because he mistakenly believed that it meant Devil in the Wallachian language.

    Like I said, it is implied but it's not definitive and I meant that his relation to vampirism was entirely a bit of Stoker's imagination. When I said he was from the same part of the world I meant he was from the part of the world that Stoker preferred for the novel to take place in - He originally set it in Austria.

    I've been researching Vlad the Impaler for three years.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  6. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Unless there is a different edition of the book that was published previously to the one that I just finished reading then it is quite clear from the text that in the published book Stoker intended Dracula to indeed be Vlad III Dracula. It doesn't matter what his early notes say or what early version of the story said. In the book itself it's very clear. Obviously Stoker didn't pick Vlad the Impaler because he believed the actual historical figure had vampiric tendencies. But he was researching Wallachia and Moldavia when he came upon the name. Any writer who has been doing research mid-draft and comes across something that seems like a much better idea than what is currently in the draft knows what it's like to make such changes. The existence of an earlier version does not diminish the reality of the final work in the least.
     
  7. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    You are missing the point entirely. The post I originally responded to calls Vlad Dracul (meaning Vlad III Dracula, not his father, I assume) the template or inspiration for the vampire Dracula, which he was not. The point is not that he didn't allude to Vlad in the text or that he didn't decide they would be the same character but that Vlad did not inspire the book or the character. The character was edited to conform to Stoker's minimal knowledge of an historical character whose name has been forever tied to vampires when they, in reality, have nothing to do with each other. By that, since I need to clarify everything, I mean that the legends of strigoi in the area where Vlad lived do not mention him as a person who became a vampire but there are plenty of legends about them in general.

    And you say "mid-draft" when I said nearly finished. The book was not published, obviously, but the addition of Vlad's influence was very late in the writing process. And that's why I said Vlad inspired him to change his work, not to write it in the first place.

    I am not trying to place any negative connotation on Bram Stoker, I am trying to make it clear that Vlad didn't inspire him to write a book about vampires.



    EDIT:
    In re-reading my first post, I think I know the part you latched onto because it was poorly worded:

    I was explaining, in the bold text, that Vlad Dracul and Vlad Dracula are two different people, father and son; as you pointed out, the second and third of a line, and clarifying that the father was not the historical figure associated with the fictional vampire.

    Lastly, you said:

    You clearly think that's obvious but the world does not. Many people believe that Vlad was/may have been a vampire, if not in the magical sense. The novel has led people to false conclusions about a real person, not that Bram Stoker intended as much nor is it his fault.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  8. Zephyr

    Zephyr Scribe

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    With regards to writing about a culture that is not your own, all I will say is this. Do not let your own culture bias your perception of the culture about which you are writing. For instance, in the west we grow up with this idea that the strong central figure is the white, cisgender, heterosexual, middle-class male, and any deviation of that character is considered abnormal. Know that every society has its own perception of what constitutes the "average" and you should be careful not to contradict it with any bias of your own. It is indeed a tricky ground to tread.
     
  9. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    I always base it on real ones for simplicity and making it more complex at the same time. Essentially I don't think that a human mind can make anything as complex as what has grown up in human interaction across the generations, and thus by modelling a fictional culture on a real one I can get lots of stuff free, while at the same time allowing me to go into detail and make it more alive and consistent.
     
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