Art by Pablo Marcos
|Created by||Bram Stoker|
|Alias||Dr. John Seward|
|Title||Doctor of Medicine|
In the novel
Seward is the administrator of an insane asylum not far from Count Dracula's first English home, Carfax. Throughout the novel, Seward conducts ambitious interviews with one of his patients, R. M. Renfield, in order to understand better the nature of life-consuming psychosis. As a psychiatrist, Seward enjoys using the most up-to-date equipment, including using a recording phonograph to record his interviews with his patients and his own notes. Several chapters of the novel consist of transcriptions of Seward's phonograph recordings. One of the main contributions made by Dr. Seward is his recordings of the events depicted from his personal perspective as a doctor; allowing the reader to gain a scientific understanding to the behavior of vampirism through his behavioral analysis of Renfield.
He is best friends with Quincey Morris and Arthur Holmwood. All three propose to Lucy Westenra the same day. Although Lucy turns down Seward's marriage proposal, his love for her remains, and he dedicates himself to her care when she suddenly takes ill.
He calls in his mentor, Abraham Van Helsing, to help him with her illness, and he helps Seward to realize that Lucy has been bitten by a vampire and is doomed to become one herself. After she is officially destroyed and her soul can go to Heaven, Seward is determined to destroy Dracula. The novel's epilogue mentions that Seward is now happily married.
Seward often appears in different adaptations of Dracula but in a wide variety of different roles. He is often referred to as "Jack" Seward. The most common change is to portray him not as Lucy's suitor, but as her father (or sometimes Mina Harker's father). This was almost certainly based on the decision made in writing the Hamilton Deane stage adaptation. Sometimes he is portrayed as just elderly doctor with no familial connections to other characters. Such portrayals include:
- Gustav Botz (as Dr. Sievers) in Nosferatu (1922)
- Herbert Bunston in Dracula (1931 film) - here he is father of Mina.
- José Soriano Viosca in Drácula (Spanish version, 1931) - here he is father of Eva (Mina in this version).
- Charles Lloyd-Pack in Dracula (1958)
- Paul Muller in Count Dracula (1970)
- Donald Pleasence in Dracula (1979) - here he is father of Lucy.
- Harvey Korman in Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) - here he is father of Mina.
In recent years, the trend has been to return Seward to his role in the novel, as a suitor for Lucy's hand in marriage, in:
- James Maxwell in "Dracula" (1968) - here he is Lucy’s fiancé.
- Mark Burns in Count Dracula (1977)
- Richard E. Grant in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
- Matthew Johnson in Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (2002)
- Tom Burke in Dracula (2006)
In the 1938 Mercury Theatre on the Air radio production of Dracula, Seward's character was combined with Arthur Holmwood's and renamed Arthur Seward. He was voiced by Orson Welles, who also voiced Dracula in the adaptation.
In other media
- John Seward appears in Dracula,the musical by Frank Wildhorn. Here his portrayal is faithful to the novel.
- In the TV series Penny Dreadful, which combines elements from several works of Victorian literature, Patti LuPone portrays Dr. Florence Seward, a female version of the character.
- The 2011 Young Dracula episode "Therapy" depicts a female interpretation, Joan Seward, portrayed by Thusitha Jayasundera.
- In Dracula the Un-Dead, the official sequel to Dracula, Seward has become a morphine addict obsessed with killing the undead. Seward pursues Elizabeth Bathorie, believing she is a vampire. When he discovers her bathing in blood in a theatre, Seward decides to follow Bathorie. Seward later saves Quincey Harker and Basarab from Bathorie’s vampiric servants; when Seward pursues them, he is struck and killed by a passing carriage.
- The animated comedy series You're Not a Monster, features Jack Seward, voiced by Kelsey Grammer who is depicted as having been turned into a vampire and helps his great-great grandson Max, voiced by Eric Stonestreet.
- Connolly, Kelly (April 25, 2016). "Penny Dreadful showrunner John Logan promises a 'reckoning' in season 3". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 6, 2016.