Character Analysis: George

George is a character from Alexis Tolstoy’s Russian tale “The Family of a Vourdalak” [3]; a story telling the chilling account of an older man, D’Urfé, when he had journeyed to a village “the name of which does not matter” [2]. He is the elder son of Gorcha, the older brother to Zdenka and Peter, a husband, and a father of two sons. When D’Urfé’s tale begins, Gorcha is recently turned into a vourdalak and returns to his family after a ten day disappearance. A vourdalak is very similar to the traditional vampire, drinks blood, preys upon humans, and prefers skulking about during the night, however vourdalak “prefer to suck the blood of close relatives and friends, who die and become vampires also” [2]. Gorcha’s adult children and daughter-in-law are frightened and unsure of the state of their father’s humanity and eventually fall victim to the vourdalak.

George is interesting because he actually seems to have a sense of logical self-preservation which is a rarity among horror stories/films. He recognizes that his father, Gorcha, has likely fallen victim to a vourdalak and has returned to prey upon himself and his remaining family. Meanwhile he has a foreign guest staying in his home making sexual advances on George’s sister Zdenka, his father Gorcha is creeping about kidnapping and killing/turning his son, his wife is terrified, and he knows he likely has to kill his undead father. He is a pleasantly strong character who is the true hero of the tragic tale. He attempts to be honorable to his father, protect his family, and politely escorts D’Urfé from the cottage after he attempts to force himself upon Zdenka. Ultimately he fails in saving his family from the fate of being a ‘Family of Vourdalak’, but it is refreshing to see a strong character who is not in the stereotypical Jonathon Harker of Bram Stoker’s Dracula [1] persona while Zdenka fills the feminine eventual vampire seductress who preys upon D’Urfé and Gorcha is the big bad vampire of the story.

[1] Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897.

[2] Tolstoy, Alexis. “The Family of a Vourdalak”. Vampires: Stories of the Supernatural. Hawthorn Books: 1996.


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