Murray , Mina

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Amy Yasbeck portrayed a voluptuous—and funny—Mina Murray in the comedy Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

Murray (Harker), Mina

(pop culture)

Mina (short for Wilhelmina) Murray, one of the leading characters in Bram Stoker‘s

Dracula, made her first appearance in the book through correspondence with her long-time friend Lucy Westenra. As with Lucy, Stoker said very little about Mina’s physical appearance, but she was obviously an attractive young woman in her twenties.

She was engaged to Jonathan Harker, who at the beginning of the novel had traveled to Transylvania to arrange for the sale of some property to Count Dracula. While she was awaiting his return, she joined Lucy in Whitby for a vacation together. The visit went well until Lucy began to sleepwalk. One night in the middle of the night, Mina found Lucy sleepwalking on the East Cliff and thought she saw someone with her. Taking Lucy home, she noticed that her friend had two small prick marks on her neck. Mina began to worry about Lucy and about Jonathan, who had yet to return from Transylvania or write to explain his delay.

Finally, a letter concerning Harker arrived. He was in the Hospital of St. Joseph and St. Mary in Budapest recovering from his experiences in Castle Dracula. Mina dropped everything and went to Budapest, where she married Jonathan without further delay. She and Jonathan returned to England, where they learned of Lucy’s death.

Abraham Van Helsing, who had been brought into Lucy’s case as a consultant while Mina was in Hungary, immediately engaged Mina in his search for information concerning the vampire that caused Lucy’s death. Mina was interested in how Lucy’s death and Jonathan’s condition were related. She volunteered to transcribe Dr. John Seward‘s diary concerning the events leading to Lucy’s death. She was present when Van Helsing organized the men to destroy Dracula. To Jonathan’s relief, having completed the transcription work, Mina initially agreed to “hold back” and let the men do the work of actually killing Dracula.

However, Mina began to have the same symptoms as Lucy before her death. She grew pale and complained of fatigue. During her major encounter with Dracula, mist floated through the cracks in the door and filled her room. The mist formed a whirling cloud. Mina saw the two red eyes and white face she had seen while with Lucy. Meanwhile, as Mina’s fatigue increased, the men went about the work of discovering the locations of Dracula’s resting places.

The men finally realized that Dracula was attacking Mina and hurried to her room. Dracula had entered some moments earlier and, while Jonathan slept, told Mina that she was to become “flesh of my flesh; blood of my blood; kin of my kin; my bountiful winepress for a while; and shall be later on my companion and my helper.” He then opened a wound in his chest with his sharp fingernails and forced Mina to drink the blood. He pushed her aside and turned his attention to the men as they rushed into the room; they held him at bay with a eucharistic wafer and a crucifix. Dracula turned into mist and escaped. Mina had the marks of his teeth on her neck, and her own teeth had become more prominent, a sign that she was in the process of becoming a vampire. Van Helsing, wishing to protect her, touched her forehead with the wafer. Unexpectedly, it burned its impression into her forehead as if it was a branding iron.

Left behind while the men destroyed Dracula’s resting places in London, Mina suggested that Van Helsing hypnotize her. In her hypnotic state, she revealed that Dracula had left England on a ship. Mina traveled with the men as they chased him to Castle Dracula for a final confrontation.

When the last encounter with Dracula began, Mina was en route to the castle with Van Helsing. When they arrived, Van Helsing drew a protective circle around Mina at the edge of which he placed pieces of the eucharistic host.

Among the entities who tried, unsuccessfully, to invade the circle were the three vampire brides who lived in the castle. During the daylight hours, Mina remained in the circle while Van Helsing went into the castle to kill the three vampires, sanitize Dracula’s tomb, and make the castle inhospitable to any “undead.” The next day Mina and Van Helsing made their way some distance from (but still in view of) the castle to a spot safe from wolves, and again Van Helsing drew a circle. From their protected cover, they saw Dracula approach in his box with a band of Gypsies. Close behind were the men in hot pursuit. In front of the castle Dracula was finally killed. The spot on Mina’s forehead disappeared, and she and Jonathan returned to England.

Mina on Film and Stage: As the primary female character in Dracula, Mina generally had a prominent part in both stage and screen versions of the book. Only in the American version of the play by John L. Balderston did Mina disappear and have her character combined with Lucy. In the Frank Langella movie version, Dracula (1979), her role was reversed with that of Lucy. Winona Ryder played Mina in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the movie that most closely approximated Stoker’s original story. Ryder’s portrayal deviated from the book most clearly in the movie’s subplot about her romantic interest in the youthful-appearing Dracula.

Mina was one of the most appealing of Stoker’s characters and almost always appears in the cinema remakes of the novel, though occasionally conflated with Lucy Westenra. She also appears in a variety of stories claiming to be sequels to Dracula or later adventures of the count. Alan Moore included her in his graphic novel, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and she was depicted as a vampire in the cinematic adaptation (2003). Fred Saberhagen sends Dracula to assist a distressed descendent of Mina in An Old Friend of the Family (1987).

Mina was the main subject of several books: Elaine Bergstrom’s Mina (1994) and Bound by Blood (1998) and Dotie Bellamy’s The Letters of Mina Harker (1998), among others. She was a significant character in Freda Warrington’s Dracula the Undead (1997), Victor Kellerher’s Into the Dark (1999), Kimberley Zagoren’s Mina’s Journal (2002), and the sequel to Dracula by Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt, Dracula: The Un-Dead (2009).

Sources:

Bellamy, Dotie. The Letters of Mina Harker. West Stockbridge, MA: Lingo Books/Hard Press, 1998. 221 pp.
Bergstrom, Elaine. Blood to Blood: The Dracula Story Continues. New York: Ace, 2000. 309 pp.
———(as Marie Kiralay). Mina. New York: Berkley Books, 1994. 325 pp.
Kellerher, Victor. Into the Dark. Victoria, Australia: Viking, 1999. 393 pp.
Warrington, Freda. Dracula the Undead. New York: Penguin Books, 1997. 300 pp.
Zagoren, Kimberley. Mina’s Journal. San Jose, CA: Writer Club Press, 2002. 178 pp.