The day has finally come when we bridge the gap between the real-life Dracula and the modern-day vampire we love to hate—Edward Cullen.
At first glance, the relationship between Vlad Dracula and Edward Cullen is an impossible connection.
But that’s comparing fact to fiction. Although, even when comparing either the novel or many film adaptations of Dracula, finding the connection between garlic and glitter is like finding a needle in a haystack.
But, once you look to Stephenie Meyer and her inspiration for the Cullen Clan, that connection starts to come into view.
The Brains Behind The Beauty
The story behind Twilight is one that’s almost as well-known as Twilight itself. In one of her blog posts, Meyer reveals the exact day Edward Cullen came to be. That day was June 2, 2003.
Meyer awoke from a hyper-realistic dream of an average teen and a fantastic vampire who was handsome and sparkled. The two had an intense conversation in a meadow where they discussed falling in love and the complications that came with it, like the fact that the vampire was intoxicated with the scent of the girl’s blood.
Sound familiar? This is the lovely scene from the chapter “Confessions” found in Chapter 13 of Twilight and Chapter 17 of Midnight Sun.
What may not be as well known is that Meyer was also inspired by many female authors that came before her time. Meyer paid homage to Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen particularly in the creation of Edward, hence why we have a post-Victorian-era vampire who is sometimes painfully polite.
If the courtship that Edward insists he has with Bella wasn’t enough of an indication of this inspiration, Meyer lists Sense and Stability, Mansfield Park, and anything by Austen, as well as anything by Bronte, as some of Bella’s favorite books.
The Birth of the Cullens
Once the plot of Twilight was fleshed-out in Meyer’s mind, then came the fun part of, unknowingly, creating the next generation of vampires.
Dozens of vampire movies, TV shows, and books came before the Twilight Saga, though.
The Vampire Diaries novels were first published in the early 90s, followed by a TV series adaptation in 2009.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran on TV from 1997 to 2003.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was released in 2012 during the peak of the vampire craze, but none of these created quite a movement like Twilight did. Why?
Simply said, Twilight took on a refreshingly new approach to vampires. No longer were vampires a horror icon, an object of sexual lust, or a combination of the two. The Twilight vampires were, in nearly all ways, the complete opposite of what they had always been.
For quite possibly the first time, vampires didn’t prowl the streets at night for unsuspecting victims. Instead, they roamed [mostly] freely while finding alternative meal sources. They didn’t seduce women and steal their virtue. Quite the opposite is the case with Edward, seeing as he refuses to have any sexual relationship with Bella until they’re married.
There are still some similarities between the original, fictional vampire and the Cullens. One of these similarities is some sort of mind control or at least mind influence, but this isn’t necessarily revealed until Midnight Sun, 15 years after the first novel was published.
The Rebirth of Vampires
The question still remains: How did we get from Dracula to Edward Cullen?
Both are vampires who share some relation but no more of a relationship than you may have to a great-great-great-great-grandparent. Which, if you think about it, is one way to look at the evolution of vampires.
While they may be in the same family, so to speak, vampires have evolved from generation to generation to keep up with the times—which is an interesting concept since vampires can’t age. But, for the sake of this argument, we’ll let that slide.
Think about it: There are likely major differences between you and your grandparents. That’s only two generations that have passed. Imagine nine generations passing since the fictional Dracula first terrorized readers. Then, think about 18-20 generations passing since Vlad Dracula drank the blood of his victims.
So, in that argument, the glittering, vegetarian beauty known as Edward Cullen has absolutely no relation to Dracula—the ruthless ruler or fictionalized monster—other than sharing the same “last name” vampire.