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In the 2014 film "Dracula Untold" (highly underrated IMHO), Prince Vlad Tepes seeks out the original vampire - a cursed nobleman who cannot leave his cave - and takes on the curse in order to save his people & family. Later he must confront the Sultan who has

invaded his country, killed his people and wife, and kidnapped his son.

Upon entering the tent, the Sultan says to Vlad

I understand you have a weakness for silver...

and then reveals that the entire tent is covered with silver coins. The Sultan then begins to slash open bags of silver to weaken Vlad.

Given that the story of the cursed nobleman was an obscure local legend that even Vlad didn't know (he had to be told the story by a priest), and that the nobleman/Vlad were the first vampires, this leaves me wondering how the Sultan even knew the tales, let alone a weakness to silver.

How did Sultan Mehmed know about Vlad's weakness to silver?

2 Answers 2

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In short:

  1. The legend was not a local, Transylvanian one, but an older, Roman prophecy.
  2. Spies, scholars or scouts could very plausibly have uncovered knowledge throughout various points in the movie, including prior to the beginning (see below).
  3. Vlad's people turn against him and want him killed, fearing him more than the Turks, and that's after Brother Lucian publicly declares a laundry list of Vlad's weaknesses.
  4. Brother Lucian told him everything there is to know about vampires.

In detail:

  • At the beginning of the movie (2-3 minutes in), after the prologue, we find out that Turkish/Ottoman scouts have gone into Transylvanian territory, specifically snooping around the vampire's cave (hence the bloodied, Ottoman helmet that washed downstream into the set of our first scene).

    enter image description here

    This will have started fanning the flames amongst the Turks of dark magic, a monster in Transylvania, and thereby possibly propelled further intrigue into resolving this mystery (sending more scouts, possibly sending spies, contracting scholars to investigate any lore, etc.), assuming they weren't sent there with the intent of investigating based on knowledge the Turks already had in the first place.

  • 8 minutes into the movie, after our protagonist returns to Castle Dracula from his first visit to the vampire's cave, Brother Lucian begins telling the origin story for the so called Master Vampire (played by Charles Dance).

    enter image description here

    BROTHER LUCIAN: The Roman mystics prophesized the coming of a great evil: a vampire – from the Greek word, 'πι', to drink

    This indicates that this is a prophecy with Roman origin. If a Romanian monk has access to this knowledge, occult or not, it's plausible that a scholar in the Ottoman empire (an empire that had just finished conquering Constantinople, and thereby acquired massive amount of trade routes that made them flourish economically and culturally) could get their hands on that knowledge, too.

    This ties into the possibility that the scouts were, in fact, there to check out Broken Tooth Mountain – but even if they weren't, the point is that your assumption that "the story of the cursed nobleman was an obscure local legend" is probably invalid.

  • To lend more credence to the idea that the prophecy is not secret knowledge that only the monks in Castle Dracula know about, there is also Shkelgim, the nomadic Transylvanian (a Romani), who approaches Vlad in the forest (around 41 minutes in the movie) because the bats swarm around him - he infers that, because the bats "recognise own of their own", he is "the one who escaped the mountain".

    SHKELGIM: The night is their kingdom, blood their sustenance, and some, they say, have lived as long as there have been prey to devour.

    VLAD: Spare me your ravings.

    SHKELGIM: They say the one who escaped the mountain hides behind the face of a man.

    He proceeds to slice his hand and pour the blood in a cup as an offering to Vlad, as well as his servitude.

    enter image description here

  • The Ottomans were aware that Vlad was a monster who dabbled in dark magic (52 minutes into the movie).

    GENERAL OMER: The men say that Vlad has become a monster. I fear this will only flame the rumours of the prince's dark magic.

    enter image description here

    Assuming he hadn't before, Mehmed could totally have bolstered his spy network, sent more scouts, and contracted scholars to uncover more knowledge.

  • Brother Lucian's public confrontation with Vlad confirms that: the vampire's weaknesses are known (particularly sunlight and pure silver) and not private to Master Vampire, that rumours of his vampirism have already spread, and that Brother Lucian wants him slain (so, even if the vampire's weakness was originally occult knowledge, it is now, thanks to his loud and public confrontation, not only public knowledge, but important public knowledge).

    BROTHER LUCIAN: The vampire is vulnerable to daylight (raises sword) and to pure silver.

    (The crowd reacts with concern and with worried faces at the affair)

    BROTHER LUCIAN: Yet the Holy Cross exerts no power over you. That can only mean you have yet to seal your fate with human blood. Let me kill you now, my prince, please, before your people do. Rumour has spread of what you have become. You can still repent.

    enter image description here

    So the supposedly occult knowledge on Vlad's weakness for silver is no longer occult, and it is necessarily something everyone had to hear.

  • Once Brother Lucian exposed Vlad's vampirism, his people turned into an angry mob and wanted him killed.

    enter image description here

    Despite being his prince, and probably their only chance at survival against the Turks, their fear of God and Satan overruled all of that. If the silver weakness had not already been uncovered via scholarly research, or by the monks sending word to the Turks, or Ottoman spies intercepting the knowledge, then at least now, at this point in the movie, with the sudden revolt, it becomes very probable that word has made it to Turkish ears (and thereby the Sultan's, who was very concerned with the rumours of the dark magic, considering his order of compulsory blindfolds).

    Especially after the folk see his resurrection from the fire, and he compels them to obey him through fear, it is easy to imagine the monks sending word to all four corners of the Earth, prioritising their loyalty to God and holiness and Transylvania, over the loyalty to their prince.

    Failing all that, the Turks do end up sieging Castle Dracula, and while they kill many, it's not only plausible but highly likely that they captured many inhabitants (slaves, prisoners, wives, etc.) and since they all knew about Vlad's weaknesses, and blamed him for not giving up his son to save them, they probably sold all the information they had to the Turks, either freely due to vengeance, or to leverage against their well-being as prisoners (to buy freedom, to cease torture etc.).

  • We can see Brother Lucian, who knew all of Vlad's weaknesses, and some of his monks in the encampment, safe and sound.

    enter image description here

    They almost certainly told Sultan as much as they knew, either willingly (given their urgency to destroy this unholy monstrosity) or, less likely, to buy them their lives.

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  • Valid points all. Thanks for the answer!
    – Omegacron
    Jul 2, 2017 at 1:24
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Since the nobleman (Charles Dance) was turned into a vampire by a demon and considering that-according to biblical demonology-demons have existed before humans did, I think it is probable that he would not have been the first master vampire in human history since there are legends of similar creatures and figures in ancient cultures such as the Raksha and Sekhmet.

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  • 1
    This only makes sense if Rakshasa were vulnerable to silver, and I don't recall that being the case.
    – DavidW
    Nov 1, 2019 at 18:16

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