Iceland Mag

10 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


An Icelandic "lost sister version" of Bram Stoker's Dracula to be made into a TV series

By Staff

  • Weekly newspaper Fjallkonan In January 1900 a local newspaper published a unique lost version of Dracula. Photo/Fjallkonan

The Icelandic producer Sigurjón Sighvatsson plans to create a TV series based on a lost version of Bram Stoker's Dracula published in Iceland i 1901 under the title Makt Myrkranna, or The Powers of Darkness. The story came out in an English translation for the first time last week. The Powers of Darkness has been described as a lost sister version of Dracula, a remarkably "modern" version of the literary classic and an incredible literary discovery which adds a whole new layer to one of the most thoroughly researched Victorian novels.

The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV reports that Sigurjón, who has produced such cult classics as David Lunch's Wild at Heart (1990) and Valhalla Rising (2009) starring Mads Mikkelsen, is currently seeking funding for the project. 

One of the oldest translations of Dracula

Makt Myrkranna, Powers of Darkness
Powers of Darkness The 1900 Icelandic version was re-published in Iceland in 2011 

Makt myrkranna, which was published a serialized form in the magazine Fjallkonan in 1900 and then in book form in 1901, remained unknown outside Iceland until the late 1980s. In 1986 a Dracula scholar discovered that the book and serialization included a preface written by Bram Stoker himself.

However, scholarly interest did not extend beyond the preface and the fact that the Icelandic version was one of the first known translations and serialization of Dracula. The Icelandic translation was significantly shorter than the original story, leading scholars to assume it was simply an abridged version of Dracula.

In 2014 a Dracula scholar Hans Corneel de Roos, discovered that the Icelandic version was far more interesting: It was actually closer to a joint project of the Icelandic translator Valdimar Ásmundsson and Bram Stoker. de Roos found that Valdimar had in effect re-written the story, adding new characters, dropping others, and re-working the plot. The result, de Roos has argued, is a story which is far more "modern" than the original. It is more erotic and more suspenseful.

A 117 year old "modern" Dracula
The nature of the changes has led de Roos to argue that they could not have been the work of Valdimar alone. Instead he has speculated that Valdimar and Stoker must have collaborated in some way. Stoker could, for example, have sent Valdimar an older version of his story.

Valdimar's Dracula focuses on the events in Transylvania to a far greater degree than the original text, and presents a completely new version of the events following Harker's and Count Dracula's arrival in London. The Dracula and vampires of Valdimar's story is a "modern" vampire, closer to Anne Rice's characters than the ghouls of the original story.  

Makt Myrkranna, Powers of Darkness

Makt Myrkranna The first installment of the serialization in Fjallkonan began with a preface by the author. Photo/Fjallkonan


Related content

Editor's Picks