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Character Information

General
Canon Source: Bram Stoker's Dracula
Canon Format: Novel
Character's Name: Dr. John “Jack” Seward, M.D., Psy.D., M.B.B.S.
Character's Age: 29 30
Conditional: N/A

What form will your character's NV take?

Edison cylinder phonograph ca. 1897 – As in the Victorian era's telecommunications were innovative, the phonograph is something that is quite versatile in comparison to later elements; It serves not only to record, but also to relate sound, via cylinders.

As dialogue is needed, there shall be an additional apparatus—though not necessarily separate—about the size of a Victorian billfold that may be portable, and which, being an experimental technology during Dr. Seward's time, will allow radiotelegraphy/telecommunication with ease, though advanced digital video recordings and/or texts may come out garbled/fuzzy/not come through the wiring unless transmitted via telegraph. If essential, adjustments will be made to accommodate.

Abilities
Character's Canon Abilities:

Medical Inclinations

John is a medico-jurist as well as scientist, and has been described as having the capacity to perform life-and-death operations via surgery, in addition to his more common psychiatric practices. If the need arose he could suture a severe laceration, or execute even more complicated procedures such as extracting foreign bodies from a mortal wound (thereby making the wound retroactively non-mortal), set broken bones, amputate, etc.

Technology

Seward is also quite handy with the more experimental technologies—as he lived in a time period of great advances—more so than his contemporaries and proved to be quite ambitious in his usage of the phonograph; no doubt modern instruments of the medical sciences would afford him all intrigue, which he would not hesitate to become familiar with if not beyond his expertise.

Psychiatric Expertise

In terms of his field, Seward employs innovative techniques unrivaled in brilliance to treat his patients, overseeing the care of a lunatic asylum as Superintendent. He knows the subtleties of the “madman” brain, having seen every manner of mental ailment that might befall a man during the late 1800's.

So devoted is he to the study of the mind that he has converted his home into a facility, possessing the charge necessary to govern a household full of the mentally unsound, and somehow avoiding madness himself. By living amongst them he has become something of an expert on the insane, and has considerable power over his patients, though by no means is he to be termed a “lunatic whisperer”.

Conditional: If your character has no superhuman canon abilities, what dormant ability will you give them?

A healing touch, to some effect, though for a price. He must take on the pain of those whose suffering he heals. It might come to be an instinctive, if not desperate measure, as if by example he had to place pressure on an extensively bleeding wound and there was no other means in which to aid in treatment thereof.

These are his former powers: 

A healing touch, to some effect, though for a price. He must take on the pain of those whose suffering he heals. It might come to be an instinctive, if not desperate measure, as if by example he had to place pressure on an extensively bleeding wound and there was no other means in which to aid in treatment thereof. 

Revision:

I'd like for his healing touch to extend to psychological ailments as well, as that would be fitting for his profession. I still want the healing touch but what I want is for persons with mental ailments, especially those of a severely—or maybe not so severely—disturbing nature to feel considerable improvement around Seward, but only when around Seward. This way he could promote a feeling of well-being, perhaps even help them make progress in his own way (make them want/be agreeable towards treatment, and/or medications or further study) but it wouldn't reflect permanently on their character unless the character in question wanted to use that as a pushing point to do so.

Perhaps this could even work the same way his healing touch works in that he could temporarily take on some of the burden in order to help with a psychological ailment.

It could even be that after he musters some control with this and tries it out voluntarily...With particularly strong mental ailments he will turn temporarily crazy himself. (Every power has its limitations, doctor) BUT we'll see.

So really this could be a mutation of his power rather than a revision but I'll leave that up to you guys. I'd like some feedback, too, in terms of what seems more relevant. I didn't realize how many folks here would benefit greatly from Seward's...gifts. I don't want him to cure psychological ailments via power means, otherwise he wouldn't see a need for his profession anymore.

Weapons:
Surgeon's medical bag.
Silver Lancet.
Syringe.


History/Personality/Plans/etc.

Character History:

Brief explanation here.

Of Interest

Through the written correspondences of Miss Lucy Westerna to Mina Murray, Seward is first introduced as an acquaintance whom Lucy had met through Arthur Holmwood, whose worth as a man of good "breeding", wealth, and medical position made him much sought after by young Victorian ladies. He is—as Lucy says—an excellent parti' (parti being a French word for "catch"), having an immense asylum under his own care at only the age of twenty-nine. (This is quite an impressive feat, given we can only assume he must have come into money early on and/or made his career young to become a medical superintendent of a house for the insane.)

His desirability as a talented, young doctor was not, however, enough to win Lucy's fair heart, for when he proposes to her he finds to his unfortunate dismay that she had already fallen for his dear friend Arthur Holmwood. While he leaves extremely broken-hearted,being of a noble nature, Seward respects her decision, and though his love for her might bring him misery, offers his best wishes for her happiness and his friendship.

Henceforth he would treasure her in his own fashion, never venturing to impinge upon her virtues; but, from what later events in the novel indicate and describe, she remained a considerable influence over his heart even after her death. In fact, she was something that ultimately shaped and drove him to want to save her even more when she became Dracula's childer, not only for her future happiness but to ensure the happiness of his good friend Art.

This outcome is significant for it forms the basis of a chain of events leading up to Dracula's defeat, and as we read on, Dr. Seward comes to play a much grander role in the scheme of things; his love for Lucy, his loyalty to his friends, and his dedication to his practice proving to be what fuels him beyond the horrors of the undead.

Initially we are to see that Seward's entries are of much interest, for a great portion of the novel is written in this way. As an intellectual and a psychiatrist, his dictations are extremely detailed, and through the dialogues that are carried on in this way much of the story comes to unfold.

When Lucy falls ill Seward was the one to call on her and look after her so much as he could, until he eventually telegraphed his old Professor van Helsing when all inspection failed to improve her constitution. It is from then on that the story progresses much more quickly, with the fight against death itself leading to the discovery of Dracula's involvement, and how he used Jonathon Harker to obtain an estate near Carfax Abbey, close to Seward's asylum, as part of an overall scheme to infect London with his vampiric disease. (One of Seward's patients also comes to provide various clues as to the comings and goings of the vampire, though it is first unclear as to how Renfield's behavior is linked to that of Count Dracula.)

When Lucy becomes one of the Un-Dead it is Seward who accompanies van Helsing to the graveyard, Seward who first listens to his friend's seemingly mad conclusions, and Seward who remains the support system to all who would come into their circle even until the very end, serving as the unfailing centerpiece to their group as doctor, friend, and colleague.

Of Background

We are not given an explicit outline of Dr. Seward's personal history, but what can be deduced from the various letters and exchanges of his colleagues and friends is that Seward was a protégé in the care of Professor van Helsing prior to his being an independent psychiatrist, having studied under him intensively in Amsterdam.

He spent much time with the good Doctor to the extent that the two became quite close, Seward having had the privilege of his private counsel/tutoring in his personal study. He also had the benefit of his immeasurable trust and respect, given an incident in which van Helsing described Seward as having saved his life. This inspired an undying loyalty that has made van Helsing an invaluable ally indeed, and by novel quotation, he may count on his help whenever he should require it. (This is what brings van Helsing to England when Seward calls on him for assistance in treating Lucy's “illness”.)

Van Helsing mentions several times that Seward's brilliance was unequalled amongst his fellows, and shares in the belief that Seward brings a different light to his field all on his own. His explorations of science and of the mind are of such regard that he was able to graduate at the top of his class, and made his profession young and to date—1897 in the novel—had his own Asylum.

It is touched on that he is of good birth, probably born to a notable family, as in Victorian times in order to attend a medical school admission was nearly impossible without privilege. And since he's been abroad, we can venture to guess his cultural horizons have been sculpted as well as his mind.

Neither relatives nor ancestral background are mentioned in the novel, though he shares a very close bond with Arthur Holmwood and Quincey Morris. Through their friendship he comes to meet Lucy Westerna, and eventually Mina Murray and Jonathon Harker.

Point in Canon:Post-novel. Six months after the defeat of Dracula and sacrifice of dear friend Quincey Morris, where Dr. Helsing, Jonathon Harker, Arthur Holmwood, Dr. Seward, and Mina Murray each have returned home to England from Romania, to settle their affairs.

Conditional: Brief summary of previous RP history: N/A

Character Personality:

Devoted beyond measure to study as a student of the brain, Seward is infinitely curious to all medical phenomena, having a quick wit and superior mind to supplement his practice. He swears by science so completely that he is quick to condemn outlandish theory, and remains extremely skeptical of the supernatural until Professor Helsing persists in offering him living proof. Like other men of his era, he would much rather believe science has an explanation for everything, rather than acknowledge the alternative. As a doctor he is of a resolute, indomitable character, whose patience and judgment make him a formidable persona indeed. Yet, he does care deeply about those he treats, but not beyond the degree that it compromises his professionalism.

In the habit of a true English gentleman he is calm and reserved, and almost never quick to anger unless pressed to the extreme. Polite and refined, he follows etiquette to the utmost, following under the principle rules of Victorian England where sexual restraint, high moral standards, and strict social conduct were enforced, with all manners of deviation suppressed. Regarding questionable subjects (pertaining to vulgarities both risqué and unkind) Seward's sensibilities can cause him to become easily flustered, if not offended. For instance, he simply cannot endure nudity. His brain will melt. The shock it would afford him would be too great, given in the Victorian period prudery extended so far that it was considered "impolite society" for a gentleman to appear in his shirt sleeves before a lady other than his wife, thus men almost always wore an informal "sack coat" during the day.

His noble nature prevents him from ever thinking in a cynical or lewd manner, so that even when Professor Helsing's grimly ironic sense of humor shows itself in the midst of Lucy's death he neither comprehends, nor approves of its exhibition, but mistakes his laughter for a regular fit of hysterics, feeling none-too-pleased over the nature given his own inherent sensitivity as well as his regular concern over others during such a trying time.

(Dracula, Pg. 176.)

"Well, for the life of me, Professor," I said, "I can't see anything to laugh at in all that. Why your explanation makes it an even harder puzzle than before. But even if the burial service was comic, what about poor Art and his trouble? Why, his heart was simply breaking."

"Just so. Said he not that the transfusion of his blood to her veins had made her truly his bride?"

"Yes, and it was a sweet and comforting idea for him."

"Quite so. But there was a difficulty, friend John. If so that, then what about the others? Ho, ho! Then this so sweet maid is a polyandrist, and me, with my poor wife, dead to me, but alive by Church's law, though no wits, all gone—even I, who am faithful husband to this now-no-wife, am bigamist."

"I don't see where the joke comes in either!" I said; and did not feel particularly pleased with him for saying such things.


He can be hard in the matters of science, but when it comes to the emotions he is what van Helsing refers to as “a bleeding heart”. In comparison to other men of his era he is far more demonstrative in feeling, putting his whole heart and soul into all that he does to such a point that he can become a little too straightforward at times. He loves so deeply that he was willing to forego his feelings for Lucy in order to allow her her happiness, and when she died, professed that his romantic heart had perished alongside her.

Though well-loved by others Seward seems to be oblivious to this fact, and even possesses something of a low self-esteem, especially pertaining to details in his personal life. What makes him endearing is that he is incapable of letting praise go to his head, as he has no vanity to speak of, which is somewhat of a rarity in men of his profession. He has something of a tragic nature despite his brilliance, with a tendency towards depression that spirals into hopelessness, and often loneliness. He is also an incurable insomniac prone to varying degrees of distress and has an inclination towards morphine addiction. If nothing else, when situations become too much for him he has a habit of relying on work to alleviate his symptoms/ease his anxieties.

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November 2012

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