~ posted by Lindsay S.
Picture it: Transylvania 1431; a child is born that will inexorably change the course of history. Okay, that might be a flagrant exaggeration, but not if you live in Hungary or are a superfan of vampires and vampire fiction, especially the latter. The child I’m referring to is, of course, Vlad III of Wallachia, better known as Vlad the Impaler and even better known as (Count) Dracula.
Young Vlad would go on to live under the “protection” of the Ottoman Sultan until his father’s assassination. This murder really ticked him off, so he went back to Walachia and eventually took over. For two months. He later he regained the throne (semi-permanently) and that’s when he earned his gruesome “Impaler” nickname… because he liked to impale people. Pretty much any people; he wasn’t picky. After a few tumultuous years in charge (for the most part) of Wallachia, Vlad was killed in battle and everyone (pretty much) breathed a sigh of relief.
Since that time, Vlad has become a sort of folk hero in Hungary (because who doesn’t like a good impaling?) and many, many books have been written about his life and times. Also there are pictures of him, and let me tell you, Vlad was one impressive looking guy. The mustache alone…
If you want to read about Vlad for yourself, you can check out a number of books that we just happen to have at the library. The first is Vlad the Impaler by M. J. Trow. This book is a fact-finding mission, taking you back through history to see what Vlad came to represent versus what he truly was. I also like Dracula, Prince of Many Faces by Radu Florescu. For one thing, the author has a very cool name and for another, it talks about how Vlad influenced future leaders (tyrants). Lastly, I suggest you check out Sundays with Vlad, an e-book by Paul Bibeau, because it talks about Vlad as a cultural force and the influence he had on folklore. I also implore you to read Dracula by Bram Stoker. There is some argument that Stoker didn’t actually base his vampire on old Vlad, but rather just borrowed the name. Still, it’s a classic and we should all read more classics.