Holmwood, Arthur

Holmwood, Arthur

(pop culture)

The Honorable Arthur Holmwood, one of the leading characters in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, (1897) was first mentioned in chapter five as Lucy Westenra’s true love, and soon afterward he asked Lucy to marry him. He was tied to two other characters, Dr. John Seward and Quincey P. Morris, with whom he had traveled to various parts of the world. Holmwood did not participate in much of the early action of the novel because his father’s illness called him from Lucy’s side. Later in the novel, following his father’s death, he became the new Lord Godalming.

Holmwood appeared in Whitby soon after Lucy’s first encounter with Dracula. He called Seward to examine her, and gave her one of the needed transfusions. He also joined in the futile watch before Dracula’s last attack. Just before her death, as she was turning into a vampire, Lucy tried to attack him, but he was saved by Abraham Van Helsing, who had been called in as a consultant by Seward. Holmwood was hesitant in responding to Van Helsing’s call to treat Lucy as a vampire, but he finally joined Van Helsing, Seward, and Morris in trapping and killing her. With Van Helsing at his side, he drove the stake into her body and assisted in removing her head and filling her mouth with garlic.

Becoming an integral part of the team to search out and destroy Dracula, Holmwood entered Carfax to sanitize Dracula’s home base of the vampire’s influence. He also went into south and west London with Morris to seek out Dracula’s other resting places. He traveled with Mina Murray and the team to Transylvania and was present in the final confrontation near the castle when both Dracula and Morris were killed. In the movement of the novel to the stage and screen, Holmwood has received quite varied treatment. He, like Morris, was dropped from the stage play as a superfluous character. And, as might be expected, he did not appear with Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931), which was based on the play. However, he came to the center in the The Horror of Dracula (1957) as the husband of Mina and brother of Lucy. In that movie, the Holmwood household became the target of Dracula’s attack in England. He was also present in Francis Ford Coppola‘s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, where his part (portrayed by Cary Elwes) most closely approximated his role in the novel.

Sources:

Holte, James Craig. Dracula in the Dark: The Dracula Film Adaptations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. 161 pp.
Waller, Gregory A. The Living and the Undead: From Stoker’s Dracula to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1986. 376 pp.