Odds and DEAD Ends: Resurrecting The Queen

Resurrecting The Queen: Queen Tera in Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars,

When people think of Bram Stoker, they invariably think of Dracula. His novel, The Jewel of Seven Stars, is perhaps overshadowed simply by the importance of the vampire, but it is by no means an inferior novel. Detailing the attempt to resurrect an ancient Egyptian Queen, the novel went on to inspire movies such as Hammer’s Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, and in some ways the Universal adaptation of The Mummy with Tom Cruise. In this article, I will discuss Queen Tera, and the way she is portrayed as a constant threat to patriarchal society.

To note, I’m using a copy of the novel which includes the original ending and the second, revised ending. I’m basing my discussion on the original ending because it’s darker and, presumably, the direction Stoker originally intended. Also, selfishly, because I much prefer it.

Let us first note that, aside from Margaret Trelawny (and a brief mention of her mother), Queen Tera is the only female character in the novel, and she never utters a word. Her characterization is presented through the male characters of the novel; the documentation of Van Huyn’s book, or the recounting of Corbeck and Trelawny. The power that she exhumes, therefore, may or may not be interpreted to be being played up by the male characters to increase the sense of a threat that she poses. Note that before we are given a name, we have the warning that “‘The “Nameless One” has insulted them and is forever alone. Go not nigh, lest their vengeance wither you away.’” (P.84)

With all that in mind, what is initially deciphered from the sarcophagus reveals Tera to have challenged the male-dominated society of the priests, “‘who had by then achieved immense power’” (p.87). “‘In the statement, it was plainly set forth that the hatred of the priests was, she knew, stored up for her, and that they would after her death try to suppress her name.’” (p.88). Their motivation is her strength in being able to combat their overthrowing of the monarchy, “‘They were then secretly ready to make an effort… that of transferring the governing power from a Kingship to a Hierarchy.’” (p.87) The priests, to their own gain, attempt to get rid of her, “‘make out that the real Princess Tera had died in the experiment, and that another girl had been substituted, but she conclusively proved their error.’” (P.88)

Tera, however, shows incredible resilience thanks to her own determination and learning from her father, “‘He had also had her taught statecraft, and had even made her learned in the lore of the very priests themselves.’” (p.87). She even breaks the tradition of a male ruler, though others try to align her to it. “‘In the following picture she was in female dress, but still wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, while the discarded male raiment lay at her feet.’” (P.88). She is very much her own woman, not afraid to show her sex, going against the patriarchy set up for the Kingship, and against the priesthood. “‘She seems to have seen through the weakness of her own religion.’” (p.113)

Her intelligence is noted by the present-day protagonists, who even say that the mummy’s gender may affect their knowledge of the situation, that “Men may find that what seemed empiric deductions were, in reality, the results of a loftier intelligence and a learning greater than our own.” (P.164) Mr. Trelawny also states that:

“We might have known that the maker of such a tomb – a woman, who had shown in other ways such a sense of beauty and completeness, and who had finished every detail with such a feminine richness of elaboration – would not have neglected such an architectural feature.” (P.95)

However, Queen Tera possesses a knowledge which the others do not, which ensures their eventual demise and her assumed resurrection. As is noted by Carol A. Senf, “What makes Tera so overwhelming is her violence and ability to over-power the assembled experts.” (p.107). The science and understanding of all the men in the room cannot save them from Tera’s avenging evil, just as the priests could not stop her eventual revival.

It is this knowledge of another world, knowledge beyond that of the priests and the protagonists, that they fear. Women’s rights movements are slowly gaining momentum at the time, and just a few years before the novel’s publication, in 1898, Stoker’s native Ireland had the Irish Women’s Suffrage and Local Government Association arise from the Dublin Women’s Suffrage Association. Gender politics is on the rise, and the female threats to patriarchal power could not have been far from Stoker’s mind.

This fear of female invasion to the modern patriarchal society is what makes Tera so terrifying. Killing dozens of people throughout the recorded events, based on a combination of ambition and supernatural power, fuelled by a wrath based on gender politics very closely linked to the rising gender politics of Stoker’s time, Queen Tera is an overshadowed classic villain of gothic horror. With gender politics still very much in the public consciousness in today’s world, perhaps revisiting this pushed-aside novel by one of modern horror’s founding fathers, is worth the time for all of us.

Article by Kieran Judge

Bibliography

Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb. 1971. [Film] Directed by Seth Holt. United Kingdom: Hammer.

Senf, C. A., 2010. Bram Stoker. Wales: University of Wales Press.

Stoker, B., 2009. The Jewel of Seven Stars. United States of America: Seven Treasures Publications.

The Mummy. 2017. [Film] Directed by Alex Kurtzman. United States of America: Universal.

 

 

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KIDNAPPED BLOG, Loren Rhoads: Where Horror Lies 3

halogokidnappednotdateThis time of year, when the veil is thin, is a great time to make a pilgrimage to thank our forefathers in horror.

RLS grave001Robert Louis Stevenson, Vailima, Upolu, Samoa

The author of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde decided to stay in Samoa in 1899.  In December 1894, when Stevenson died of apoplexy (a brain hemorrhage), he was 44. Local Samoans built him a hardwood coffin and stood guard over his body through the night. The following day, they cut a road through the jungle to his gravesite, which they called the “Road of Loving Hearts.” Working in relays, they carried the coffin to the grave. Stevenson was buried just below the 1560-foot summit of Mount Vaea in a tomb overlooking his family estate Vailima and the ocean.

Bram Stoker, Golders Green Crematorium, London, England

One of the oldest crematories in England, Golders Green may also be the best-known crematorium in the world. Over the years, many famous people have chosen to be cremated there. Some remain there in urns in the columbarium or beneath rosebushes in the garden. The current crematorium was completed in 1939. Its three columbaria contain the ashes of thousands of Londoners. London’s Cemeteries says Golders Green is “the place to go for after-life star-spotting.” My hero Bram Stoker is in one of the columbaria, which can be visited with a guide.

Some of horror’s progenitors have no graves.  After H.G. Wells was cremated at Golders Green, his ashes were scattered over the Dorset Coast.  Shirley Jackson’s son was given her ashes after she died in 1965.  Angela Carter’s ashes aren’t easy to visit either. I can’t seem to find where they ended up.

Any list of graves is likely to be deeply personal.  I’m working through visiting the graves of these writers, who have all inspired me.  Whose graves would you visit?

 

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CIMG0977-headshotLoren Rhoads is the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, the In the Wake of the Templars trilogy published this year by Night Shade Books. She’s also the author of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. You can follow her morbid antics at http://lorenrhoads.com

Morbid Meals – Paprika Hendl with Mamaliga from Stoker’s DRACULA

EXAMINATION
My favorite vampire novel ever, hands down without question, is Bram Stoker’s immortal DRACULA.

This Victorian era novel may not be as thrilling as modern stories, but it is a snapshot of its era. Furthermore, part of the brilliance of the novel is the epistolary nature of its telling. For those not familiar with that term, that means it is told in the form of letters, diary and journal entries, telegrams, newspaper clippings, etc. This adds to the feeling of realness not only of the characters but their situation. You are there, glimpsing the past lives of these folks.

As part of his journals, the protagonist, Jonathan Harker, wrote about his trip through Europe, and he noted the meals that he ate along the way.

“I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem., get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called ‘paprika hendl,’ and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians.”

It is from my tattered copy of Leonard Wolf’s excellent The Annotated DRACULA that I long ago found a traditional recipe for paprika hendl (also known by the name chicken paprikash), which itself comes from The Art of Viennese Cooking by Marcia Colman Morton.

Paprika Hendl
1 young fowl, about 4 pounds
2 tablespoons fat
2 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 cup of tomato juice
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sour cream

Later in his journey, he has a breakfast of mămăligă (which is essentially a baked polenta). Here is a traditional recipe.

Mămăligă
3 cups water
salt
1 cup corn meal
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
4 slices of feta cheese (or other sharp cheese)

These two dishes, paprika hendl and mămăligă, have become a staple in my home after I discovered these recipes.  Though they were not eaten together in the story, my family loves to eat the chicken on a bed of polenta, so that has become our tradition. Below I share with you how we prepare the dishes together for one meal.

ANALYSIS
Serves: 5-6 people

Ingredients
Paprika Hendl
1 (5 to 6 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and paprika to taste
1 cup chopped onion (about half an onion)
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup red wine (or white, if you prefer)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream

Chicken broth
Chicken scraps from above
3 oz carrots, cubed
3 oz celery, cubed
3 oz onion, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Mămăligă
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup corn meal
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
4 slices of feta cheese (or other sharp cheese)

Method
To prepare the chicken

  1. If you bought a whole chicken, cut into manageable pieces.
  2. You can keep the bones in the drumsticks, thighs, and wings, if you like, but do separate the breast meat from the rib bones.
  3. Remove as much of the skin as you can. Set the chicken pieces aside. Save all of the scraps for the chicken broth.

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Making the chicken broth

  1. Into a 7-quart pressure cooker, place the chicken bones, excess fat and skin, giblets, gizzards, small bits of the wings that frustrate people to eat, etc.
  2. Chop the veggies and add them to the pressure cooker, along with the salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf.
  3. Pour in enough water to cover everything completely, but make sure NOT to go above the “maximum fill” line.
  4. Cover with the lid and lock it down. On the stove top, turn the heat to high and bring up to pressure.
  5. When you hear the pressure release whistle, reduce the heat to low, for a steady low hiss. Cook for 40 minutes.
  6. Release the pressure and open the cooker carefully.
  7. Strain the broth into a container. You’ll need 2 1/2 cups total for the recipes here. Save the rest for later use. This will keep in the freezer for up to six months.
  8. Discard the solid bits — they have given their all.
  9. Can you make broth without a pressure cooker? Sure, but it will need to simmer for at least two hours.

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Making the paprika hendl

  1. Place a 5 quart dutch oven onto a stove top burner at medium-high heat. Add olive oil and chicken. Season chicken lightly with salt and paprika to taste.
  2. Brown the chicken on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Add the chopped onion to the dutch oven. Cook until tender and translucent, but not browned.
  4. Stir in sweet and smoked paprika, wine, and broth. Mix well.
  5. Return chicken to the dutch oven, coating all the pieces with the sauce. Bring up to a boil for about a minute.
  6. Reduce the heat, cover the dutch oven, and let it simmer for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked at 165 F (74 C) degrees.
  7. (This is the perfect time to make the mamaliga or another side dish of your choice. The instructions for mamaliga are below.)
  8. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm.
  9. Boil the sauce until reduced, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and mix well. (I like to use a stick blender at this point; just be VERY careful, the sauce is extremely hot.)
  10. Serve chicken on a bed of mamaliga (or rice, pasta, potatoes, or whatever you like), and serve the sauce in a gravy boat or just pour over the chicken.

 

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Making the mămăligă

  1. In a 3-quart saucepan, bring chicken broth and salt to a boil.
  2. Wisk in the corn meal slowly in a steady stream. Add the milk. Cook over medium-high heat, continuing to whisk.
  3. When the mixture starts to bubble, turn down the heat to low, and cover the saucepan.
  4. For about 30 minutes you will need to stir the polenta at 5 minute intervals. A long-handled wooden spoon works best. The goal here is to keep the polenta from clumping and burning on the bottom of the saucepan.
  5. After the 30 minutes of slow stirring, remove from heat.
  6. Grease up a casserole dish. Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C) degrees.
  7. Pour the polenta into the casserole, spread the sour cream on top, and then cover with cheese.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

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DISSECTION
Of course you *could* buy your chicken pre-cut into whatever pieces you like, but this is Morbid Meals! One of the things I want to advocate with these recipes is nose-to-tailslow food cooking. Step away from the boneless/skinless/FLAVORless chicken and canned broth. It doesn’t take long to cut up a whole chicken yourself.

Plus, then you can make your own chicken broth from the chicken bones and scraps. (Especially if you have a pressure cooker, there’s no reason not to make your own broth.) Besides, you can save a fair amount of money buying a 5 – 6 pound whole roasting chicken, or for a smaller family, a 4 pound “young” chicken.

When it comes to seasoning your chicken when you brown it, go with whatever you like. You can do just salt and pepper, or as I like, smoked paprika. In addition to that, my special secret ingredient for cooking chicken is Old Bay Seasoning. Trust me, it’s not just for seafood boils. It perks up the chicken broth, too.

Regarding the mamaliga, we usually do not bake with the sour cream and cheese as it is done traditionally. In that case, it really is pretty much a simple polenta, which is done at step 5. For special occasions, though, we bake it for the traditional mămăligă.

POST-MORTEM
We enjoy paprika hendl so much, my wife and I prepared 100 pounds of it for a medieval feast put on by our local College in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Furthermore, even with my dietary restrictions, I can still make this meal and enjoy quite a feast. With a whole chicken really being the only “expensive” part of this meal, it is one that you can enjoy often, as we certainly do.

I may never get to travel through the Carpathians and partake of the local cuisine. Yet with these recipes, I do feel like I am recreating some of that culinary adventure, and that connects me to the folklore that inspired Bram Stoker.

In The Footsteps Of Dracula

Have you ever wanted to experience the trip of a lifetime. Steve Unger has taken that trip and he talks about it in his travel guide and history book: In The Footsteps Of Dracula. The book starts off with Steve Unger describing why he had to write this book. He was vistiting Whitby, England and was on Cemetery hill  where in the Book Dracula, Lucy and Mina sat in their favorite spot as Dracula slept below them. Steve said in his mind’s eye he could see Dracula rising from from the grave to feed on the living. He then felt the spirit of Bram Stoker and the ghost of Vlad The Impaler urging him to take the journey and tell the stories that they no longer could.

In the Footsteps Of Dracula then gets into visiting the locations of Bram Stoker’s dracula. You get to hear the author’s experiences as he visits where Dracula came ashore on the Demeter, cemetery hill in Whitby, The Dracula Trail and locations in Dublin, Romania and London. The author describes what the locations look like now and how they would have appeared in Bram Stoker’s time. He also gives quotes from Dracula to describe it further.

The book also tells Bram Stoker’s story. You get to hear how he was inspired to write Dracula, the places where Dracula was written and you hear about the reactions to Bram’s work when it was first released. I  really enjoyed reading the first review ever written for Dracula and hearing about the staged readings of Dracula before the book was released.

Not satisfied to give you information on Dracula alone, Steve Unger also gets into the history of Vlad The Impaler who Dracula was based on. Steve  gives examples of how Dracula compares to Vlad by giving quotes from Dracula that reference him. Hearing the story behind Vlad Tepes was like reading a horror novel itself. The author talks about how he impaled over 20,000 men, women and children, he boiled people alive, burned down a building full of people and you hear about his battles to keep his throne.

Its also told how Vlad’s father was a member of The Royal Order Of The Dragon which was a branch of The Brotherhood of the Wolf. One of their beliefs was that they could transform into wolves. While reading In The Footsteps Of Dracula, I felt that Vlad Tepes seemed like a much more horrifying character then Count Dracula and I loved hearing his story. Steve also visits all the places associated with Vlad Tepes,  including his tomb and Castle Dracula.

What really makes the author’s story come to life is the beautiful photos in this book. There are 185  pictures which really show a sharp contrast between some of the ruins of various castles to the tourist areas where people are trying to cash in on Dracula.  Some of my favorite photos was of the reading room in the British Museum, cemetery hill overlooking the ocean, Vlad’s tomb on Snagov Island and the photo of the wolf dragon.

If you ever do make this trip, Steve Unger also tells how much everything costs and the best ways to get to where you want to go. This is what makes this book the ultimate travel guide. You get pictures, a history behind all the locations and you hear about the best places to stay. I also loved how you get to hear about the people that Steve met on the way. He tells about how he met several goths on his journey and they here the friendliest people you would ever want to meet. This is an amazing book that made Count Dracula, Vlad The Impaler and Bram Stoker’s stories more fascinating.

Even if you never get to walk in the footsteps of Dracula you can still own a copy of this excellent book. You can either buy one on Amazon or you could win your very own autographed copy of In The Footsteps Of Dracula by answering two questions. What year was Bram Stoker’s Dracula published and Who was your favorite on screen Dracula and why? Email your answers to horroraddicts@gmail.com. The best answer gets the book. Good luck!

British & European Horror News & Events – Episode 71

Reel Music Part VII – The New Blood.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=140847549328945

REEL MUSIC is a club night dedicated to music from the movies. It takes place at one of central London’s premiere venues, the BLOOMSBURY BOWLING LANES. The next event happens on Friday October 28th 2011

It’s that time of year again, where the ghosts and ghouls come out to play, and on this occasion they come out to play the finest tracks from your favourite movies! Halloween is here and it’s time to put on your best horror movie inspired costume and join us for what will be London’s ULTIMATE HALLOWEEN PARTY – REEL MUSIC PART VII – THE NEW BLOOD!


FrightFest Halloween All-Nighter.

http://www.frightfest.co.uk/2011corepages/frightfestfilms2.html

At the Vue cinema in London’s West End on 29th October. Line up is:

  • Bad Meat
  • Livid
  • The Human Centipede II
  • Faces In The Crowd
  • Cold Sweat
  • The Watermen

Electric Cinema All-Nighter – The Films Of John Carpenter.

http://www.electriccinema.co.uk/comingsoon.php

Our Horror All-Nighter is dedicated to one of the true fathers of the modern horror film, legendary director John Carpenter. Since the 1970s Carpenter has unleashed onto an unsuspecting public some of the most intense, imaginative, influential and downright terrifying films in American cinema. Our epic programme will pay fitting tribute to the master of the lingering take, the spine tingling score and the ruthless, relentless exploitation of our most primal fears.

HALLOWEEN + THE FOG, followed by ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK + THEY LIVE.

Disturbia – BBC Concert Orchestra Halloween Show.

http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/music/classical/tickets/disturbia-60930

As an alluring alternative to mainstream Halloween entertainment, the BBC Concert Orchestra weaves scintillating tendrils of sound with an unforgettable psycho-dramatic musical tapestry.

Horrorthon Film Festival.

http://www.horrorthon.com/

27th – 31st October 2011 at the IFI cinema, Eustace St, Dublin 2

Bram Stoker International Film Festival.

http://bramstokerfilmfestival.com/

Whitby, England from 28th to 31st October. Featuring a vampire ball, feast of blood and A Vampire Tale.

Village Of The Damned.

http://villageofthedamnedfilmfest.blogspot.com/p/about.html

Now in its second year Village of the Damned is a horror film festival held in
the sleepy Scottish village of Auchmithie. Our aim is to bring horror shorts to
a new audience and create a new event within the community. The films will be
screened over 4 nights on Halloween weekend along with an exhibition of horror
themed art and craft.

Weekend Of Horrors.

4th to 6th November in Bottrop, Germany.

Free Fiction Friday: A Dream Of Dracula

For this week’s Free Fiction Friday selection we have to take a trip in our time machine back to the year 1972 for A Dream Of Dracula by Leonard Wolf. This is a non-fiction book that tells the history of the character Dracula. The book starts off by talking about the historic figures that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, such as Romanian ruler Vlad the Impaler and Baron Gilles de Rais who was a French serial killer with a taste for blood.

From there the book talks about the books that inspired Dracula including Mathew G. Lewis’s The Monk and John Polidori’s The Vampyre: A Tale. It also gives a detailed biography on Bram Stoker and talks about his writing process for Dracula. There are even chapters in this book that cover all the plays and movies that were based on Dracula.

When Leonard Wolf wrote A Dream of Dracula, he was working as a creative writing professor at San Francisco State University. He was born in Romania (home of Dracula) and always had an interest in classic horror literature. He went on to write non-fiction books on Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Phantom of the Opera. He has also written several books researching mythological beasts.

A Dream of Dracula was a labor of love and gives a very detailed description of a cultural phenomenon. If you would like your own copy of this book and you live in the United States, just leave a comment on this blog post and let us know why you want to adopt this book. The best comment gets a copy of A Dream of Dracula. Good Luck!

Free Fiction Friday:Dracula Unbound

This Week’s Free Fiction Friday selection is Dracula Unbound by Brian Wilson Aldiss. This book was originally released in 1990. The story is that Count Dracula has a time machine that is in the form of a train. He wants to make sure that Bram Stoker never writes his novel Dracula so he sends a group of vampire assassins to the year 1896 to kill Stoker.  Things don’t go well for the vampires, a man named Joe Bodenland hijacks the train and finds Bram Stoker. The two now plan to use the train to destroy all vampires.

Brian Wilson Aldiss is generally a science fiction writer. He is from England and was heavily influenced by H.G. Wells. He is vice president of the international H.G. Wells Society, co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group and has also won two Hugo awards and one Nebula award. Some of the other books Brain has written include: Courageous New Planet, Ruins and Sanity and the Lady. He also wrote Super Toys Last All Summer Long which was the basis for Steven Spielberg’s 2001 film A.I.

The reviews I’ve read for this book say its an entertaining read but the story is a little far fetched. They also say the depiction of Bram Stoker is the best part. Another interesting item brought up in this book is that vampires are descendants of pterodactyls, have mastered time travel and want to use it to enslave the human race.

So if you want to read a tale about time traveling vampires and find out more about Bram Stoker traveling through time to destroy vampires, then this is the book for you. If you are a U.S. resident, leave a comment on the end of this post and let us know why you would be a good owner for this book. The best comment gets a copy of Dracula Unbound.