The Legend of Vlad

This morning I turned on the news, and during the commercial break between the stories about iPhones, sports stars, and wars, I saw this:

Obviously, I’m going to be one of the crazy people standing in line for the very first showing. But that’s besides the point.

The point is as follows: Contrary to popular belief, Vlad Tepes was not the source of what we call vampires. If that were true, they’d be called draculas. No, vampires existed in Slavic mythology long before Vlad. But while vampires have evolved into sexy, seductive creatures of the night, Vlad himself remains mostly a monster outside the Balkans, which is why I am so happy about this movie coming out–it depicts him as a hero, and truth be told, that’s kind of what he was. It might not seem like it to outsiders centuries removed, what with all the putting people on spikes and so much death going on, but don’t forget the context. Europe was being invaded by the Ottoman empire. They’d already conquered a huge part of it, and weren’t about to slow down for tea and crumpets when they came to Vlad’s doorstep. Vlad’s cruelty and his apparent lack of reverence for life in general terrified the Ottoman forces so much that they tucked tail and ran. They believed he was inhuman, and they didn’t want to have anything to do with a creature like that. Because if he could do all those horrible things to his own people, what on earth would he do to them?? Vlad didn’t just save his own country from invasion, he saved many others.

If there is a lesson to be learned from Vlad’s story, it is the concept of necessary toughness. Sometimes, to defeat monsters, you must become one yourself.

It’s not the PC way of doing things. We like to think of ourselves as a civilized people, often forgetting that deep down, we’re nothing but animals with slightly more efficient brains. We want to believe that kind words and compassion can solve any problem. Well, they can’t. Not always.

I don’t envy Vlad, or anyone else in a similar position, the choices he had to make. I don’t delude myself into thinking I could have done anything other than lie down and die in their place. I am, however, in awe of the story at its core, of what happened, and what didn’t happen, and why we’re all still talking about it centuries later.

I am very much looking forward to watching this new interpretation of it.

Anyway, just wanted to share. =)

Happy Friday, everyone!

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