|Warning! This article contains spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.|
Lenore (レノーア Renōa?) is a major character introduced in Season 3 of the Castlevania animated series. She was one of the four Queens of Styria and a member of the Council of Sisters, where she served as their diplomat. She was charged to convince Hector to help the Council build an army of night creatures.
She was voiced by Jessica Brown Findlay in the English version of the show.
While growing up as a human, she was a child of war. At the age of 5, she had already seen enough war and her life didn't get better after that. It was also implied that she was a noblewoman of high status, as she stated "I grew up in a castle like this" to Hector when referring to the castle of Styria. Her parents were murdered when "English soldiers climbed up the toilet chutes with knives in their teeth".
As a vampire, Lenore eventually rose to become one of the top members of the Council of Sisters, residing in Carmilla's castle in Styria. She was described as being the group's diplomat and used her persuasion and seduction skills to obtain what she needed. As a diplomat, she was in charge of making peace with neighboring countries.
Lenore mentioned that she "was always a night person" and "never much cared" for daylight, preferring the night to daytime.
Lenore first appeared welcoming Carmilla back after the latter came back from Dracula's castle, along with an enslaved Hector. While discussing how to convince Hector to build an army of night creatures for Carmilla, Lenore proposed her assistance.
She then met Hector in the castle's dungeons and asked to be left alone with him. While offering him food through the cell's bars, Hector took the opportunity to try and subdue her. This attempt failed, though, as Lenore proved to be way stronger than Hector and beat him down before leaving.
Lenore continued to visit Hector, eventually bringing him food, clothes, shoes, and even allowing him to walk with her, although with a leash. They started to discuss more and grew closer. As another gift, Lenore transferred Hector to a new, more spacious cell, and offered him books about vampire knowledge.
One night, Lenore brought Hector a blanket and started to seduce him, eventually leading to the two having intercourse. During the act, Lenore attached a magic ring to Hector's finger, coaxing him to promise her he would be hers. The magic ring bound him to be loyal to Lenore, making his night creatures loyal to her in turn. After her success, Lenore gave three more rings to her sisters, stating that it would also make the night creatures loyal to them. Despite Carmilla's resistance, Lenore demanded Hector be given better accommodations and to allow him full access to the castle.
However, what Lenore presented to her sisters and what she explained to Hector were two different things - while Lenore names them "slave rings" when talking to her sisters, to Hector, she denies making him her slave, rather intending for him to be her pet.
Over the next few weeks, Lenore is shown spending time with Hector, where they have respectful, friendly, and even flirting interactions, and it's apparent that they are caring for each other despite the previous events. Hector is a bit surprised that Lenore keeps Carmilla off his back and thanks Lenore for it.
Lenore shares her childhood story with Hector and explains that she'll never accept killing most of the people and caging the rest as a way to end the war.
Later, she discovers that Carmilla's plans have changed from expanding their kingdom until the Black Sea to conquering the whole world. She confronts Carmilla about it, asking whether it will bring her happiness, but Carmilla is reluctant to admit that it won't, saying that she doesn't know and probably doesn't care.
Lenore grows disillusioned with the Council of Sisters increasingly warlike turn and the general course of events. She points out to Hector that "there's no diplomacy involved in making humans stand in line to be bled," and therefore, she feels like she has no more place as a diplomat.
When Isaac attacks Styria, Lenore rushes to Hector's aid, but Hector activates a magic trap that prevents Lenore from interfering with his plan of offering his life to Isaac, which he views as an atonement for betraying Dracula. The magic trap also saves Lenore from the fighting and Hector asks Isaac to spare her life, offering his own without a fight. Lenore watches in shock how Hector cuts off his finger with the magic ring, clearing the way for Isaac to confront Carmilla.
Isaac spares Lenore and Hector, who tells Isaac that he just wants to be left alone and be with Lenore. Isaac grants them that, but he is also holding Lenore as a prisoner of the castle.
Hector and Lenore have a difficult conversation about how power ruined her life. Hector tries to cheer Lenore up saying that it's not over and things have just changed, but Lenore points out that vampires can't handle change well.She talks about vampire virtue being stability and strength, but how strength can be corrupted when turned into power.
Being convinced that she has no meaningful future as Isaac's prisoner and as a vampire, she decides to end her life by walking out into the morning sunlight. Hector attempts to stop her, but Lenore is resolute and tells him it's what she wants. She apologizes to Hector for all that he went through and for not being there to help him through whatever comes next.
Hector lets her go, and to Lenore's question about what he'll do, he says he'll write a book, so future generations know the mistakes they made and that he's been caused to know the value and beauty of things that live longer than him.
Lenore smiles in return and walks out to the balcony looking at the rising sun. In her last moments, she turns back to Hector and says, "Is that all there is to it? Hector, you are a silly man.", disintegrating while smiling at him. Hector can't bring himself to return the smile right away but then walks to the spot where Lenore died and returns his smile while facing the sun.
Lenore's appearance is that of a slender young woman of shorter stature, with pale skin, ginger red hair and red eyes. Like all vampires, she has pointed ears and sharp fangs. The sides of her hair are gathered into a small long braid on her back, with a silver hair ornament and a translucent veil attached, covering part of the hair. The rest of the hair is wavy and worn loose. She wears a dark navy blue dress with teal embellishments and trimmings and partially covered at the shoulders by a fluffy white coat. She has a belt with a bat-like symbol on the buckle, and she also wears a silver necklace and studs.
Lenore is the diplomat of the group and is good at getting others to trust her. While she appears to be kind and honest, she is as shrewd and calculating as her sisters... perhaps even more so. As such, she is not above using underhanded tactics to get results, such as manipulation and gaslighting, which is exemplified when she seduces Hector before making him her slave. She does stay somewhat true to her word, though, as she doesn't return Hector to his cell, but allows him to live in the castle with her and her sisters, although he is still condemned to a life of servitude.
Lenore is shown to take her job as the Styria Council's diplomat very seriously, as seen during her first interactions with Hector, where she made it viciously clear that she wasn't weak and to never assume that she was an easy target to either manipulate or underestimate due to her innocent appearance, demanding respect as an equal from her prisoner.
Due to her duty as a diplomat, Lenore has shown herself to be incredibly tactful, pragmatic, and patient when negotiating with others, as seen during her negotiations with Hector, were she made sure to be both precise and patient during the course of her visits to carefully dissect his mentality and glean the proper method to manipulate him into doing what she wanted, while ensuring at the same time that he remained oblivious to her subtle manipulation and analysis of him.
Lenore also possesses the strong personal belief and value in the practice of commerce, having the firm belief that everyone has to have some sort of desire for whatever action they do, and believes that everyone deserves a proper reward for their services given, as stated by her during her talks with Hector, where she also reveals that she believes this method is the best tool to be used during negotiations, which ensures that everyone involved in the proceedings is content; and believing that other motivational tools, such as faith, are weak tools during negotiations.
It was also noted by her "sisters" that she probably was the kindest and most compassionate of the four, as stated by Carmilla, who mentions that one day, when Lenore found a spider with a broken leg, felt immense pity for it and ravingly tore the castle apart hoping to find the right object small enough to create a splint - an attitude in complete contrast to the typical behavior of a vampire.
However, this sense of compassion and kindness was later revealed to be incredibly warped, as seen where she happily declared that what she always wanted from Hector was for him to be her "pet", as she had come to the conclusion that he simply couldn't handle living on his own without someone controlling him, utterly ignoring his own pleadings for freedom, as she had already set her mind into believing this was what was best for him and what he always wanted and needed all along.
Although twisted, this served to show Lenore's sense of fairness and honor as well. Despite it not being what he initially thought and him essentially being enslaved, Lenore had indeed fulfilled her promise to treat him better than a prisoner and secured him a level of independence, autonomy, and freedom within the castle; something that no human within a castle full of vampires could ever obtain.
Unlike her sisters, the authors portrayed Lenore as a conflicting character whose compassion is pitted against common vampire complexes, such as treating humans as inferior. Lenore also seems to have some feeling of insecurity from her sisters making fun of her compassion or not taking her seriously (as she pointed out to Hector often happens due to her being a diplomat). This makes her true intentions harder to read since she can present a front to her sisters for the sake of a tougher appearance while hiding her true emotions.
One such example is portrayed in "The Reparation of My Heart", where Carmilla presented her plan for turning humans into endless supply of blood. To Carmilla's remark about humans being "self-replicating food", Lenore appeared rather upset - she clearly didn't feel good about such maniacal attitude, but when grinning, Morana noticed her expression, Lenore tried to hide her feelings. Also, Lenore's reaction to the story of the spider was exaggeratedly dismissive since she likely didn't want to admit her compassionate nature to her sisters, who were picking on her for it.
Events of Season 4 provided further insight into Lenore's kinder nature, showing her not being an evil person. Being a child of war and a diplomat Lenore was never comfortable with the idea that the best way to end war is to kill most of the people and cage the rest.
Lenore was also shown as genuinely caring for Hector, protecting him from Carmilla's anger and rushing to his defense during Isaac's attack on the castle.
Being a romantic, Lenore preferred happiness to the power that consumes it. She questioned Carmilla whether conquering the whole world would bring her happiness and was very concerned and worried when Carmilla had a strong outburst about her desire for world domination and taking everything from everybody.
Lenore also pointed out to Hector how power is something that ruined her life, probably implying that Carmilla's lust for power and conflict between Carmilla and Isaac cost her stability of life and caused changes she couldn't handle.
Powers and abilities
- Diplomacy and manipulation: Lenore is a very skilled diplomat, capable of setting the premises for fruitful negotiation. She is, however, very good at understanding her interlocutors and building a seemingly even relationship to gain their trust and manipulate them. As Carmilla noted, Lenore has a "sweet little girl act" that has served her well despite her actually kinder nature.
- Administrative skills: After Morana had left with Striga to survey the lands they planned to annex, Lenore was stated to have taken over some of her duties in running Styria's government, hinting that she also possesses the necessary skills to run their kingdom's administration and handle its economy.
- Vampire physiology: Being a vampire, Lenore has several supernatural abilities.
- Immortality: Like other vampires, Lenore doesn't age.
- Physical superiority: Lenore possesses superhuman strength and speed.
- Skilled combatant: Lenore is knowledgeable of very advanced hand-to-hand combat techniques (namely, Martial Arts), which she employs during encounters in conjunction with her other abilities.
- Bat swarming: Lenore has the ability to transform her body into a swarm of bats, which, besides providing a rapid mean of displacement and the ability to quickly gain a vantage point, also allows her to effortlessly escape an adversary's grasp. Lenore has also shown to primarily use this ability as a fast mode of travel around the castle of Styria.
- Air mimicry: Similarly to Chō, Lenore can transform her body into mist, allowing her to phase through certain obstacles (such as prison bars).
- – Lenore: Let me handle it.
- – Carmilla: Really?
- – Lenore: Striga's the fighter, Morana's the organizer... they both have a plan to deal with. Let me solve Hector.
- – Carmilla: Is this going to be like the time you found a spider with one broken leg and you tore the castle apart looking for something small enough to make a splint out of?
- – Lenore: (scoffs, and then pouts) No.
- — ("The Reparation of My Heart")
- – Hector: Has night fallen already?
- – Lenore: You didn't hear me enter.
- – Hector: No. You have a scent. Like... jasmine and wine.
- — ("What the Night Brings")
- "Good boy."
- "I need a chair. I also need you to leave before I decide to kill you for keeping our guest in such a manner. Run." ("Investigators")
- "Why live forever if you're not going to live well?" ("Investigators")
- "It's all right. I'm not here to cause you any more harm. Let's just have something to eat, and talk." ("Investigators")
- "I'm a diplomat, Hector. I make peace. Carmilla thinks you're a useful idiot at best, Striga wants to kill you when she thinks about you at all, and Morana wants to torture you. Not to get information out of you... just because she finds it calming." ("Investigators")
- "Oh, I don't have to lie to you. I have no interest in faith. Faith makes for terrible diplomacy. This is simply commerce, we don't have to have faith in each other, do we? We don't have to guess. It's simple. These are rules. I give you something, you give me something." ("I Have a Scheme")
- "Walkies!" ("The Good Dream")
- "Nobody here wants to harm you. We just don't quite trust you yet." ("The Good Dream")
- "So now we're not all monsters?" ("What the Night Brings")
- "I'm loyal to my sisters. To just fling open the door and say, "Fly, be free pretty human boy"? That-- That would be a direct betrayal." ("What the Night Brings")
- "So, as you know, when Hector forges a night creature, they are loyal to him. But now! He is bound to me through the spell on these rings. When he makes a night creature, they're loyal to me, too. All these rings are linked. Wear the ring, and his night creatures will be loyal to you, too. And if Hector ever tries to harm us or take it off, or run away, his ring will cause him so much pain that he'll think he shat out his own heart. Problem solved!" ("Abandon All Hope")
- "Shhh, The real people are talking." ("Abandon All Hope")
- "I'd seen enough war before I was five years old, and life didn't get better after that. But I will never be comfortable with the idea that the best way to end war is to kill most of the people and cage the rest." ("Having the World")
- – Carmilla: We could take the entire world for our own. Wouldn't you want that?
- – Lenore: I don't know.
- – Carmilla: The "sweet little girl" act doesn't work on me, Lenore. Try again.
- – Lenore: I really don't know. I... I never thought about anything that big before.
- — ("Having the World")
- – Lenore: Can I just say... that I find this whole blasphemous process disgusting?
- – Hector: Then why are you sitting there watching it?
- – Lenore: Because I want to hate it properly.
- — ("Back in the World")
- (Lenore to Hector): "This is why I like you. You're capable of actually listening to me." ("Back in the World")
- "The four of us support each other. But soon I'll have nothing to do. Nothing to offer. There's no diplomacy involved in making humans stand in line to be bled." ("Back in the World")
- – Lenore: As a quartet, my sisters and I had strength. The strength to enforce a stable environment. Strength can fight a war, yes, but it can also build a shelter. Are you following me?
- – Hector: Just bumping into things along the way. Small shapes are stronger than big ones, Lenore. Carmilla wanted more than a weatherproof shelter.
- – Lenore: In the end. But it all came from that virtue, do you see?
- – Hector: Strength and power are different. You wanted strength. Carmilla wanted power.
- – Lenore: In the end, yes. That's what it turned into. Which is what ruined my life. Power. Big, international, non-diplomatic, projected power is something else. It lends you more might, but it doesn't have the utilities of strength. It lays eggs in you. It becomes a parasite you have to feed. Power does nothing but eat.
- — ("It's Been a Strange Ride")
- Is that all there is to it? Hector, you are a silly man. (Lenore's last words in "It's Been a Strange Ride")
- Main article: Lenore/Gallery
- Katie Silva, the character design supervisor for Season 3, who designed Lenore's character, described her approach as following:
- For Lenore, the biggest challenge was she was essentially my art test, and I was going to school at the time and didn't know one thing about character design, so in a panic I bought some books on the subject with next day delivery, drew a lot on Post-its, and then in the end I just followed my heart and threw a lot of shapes and things I love to draw in one design.
- For a more production-related answer, I really wanted to capture the pretty, warm, big, droopy doe eyes Ayami Kojima draws on some of her girls.
- Storyboards for Lenore and Hector were created by Sarah Stone, who works as a storyboard artist for the Castlevania animated series.
- Lenore's appearance and personality may be based off the Succubus antagonist from the games, especially her appearance in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, as they both have vibrant, full red hair. Katie Silva stating that she tried to "capture the pretty, warm, big, droopy doe eyes Ayami Kojima draws on some of her girls", suggests stylistic affinity.
- Lenore is referred to as "Princess" in concept artworks to convey her aesthetic vibe, but her actual title is Queen of Styria.
- Lenore wears a ring on her hand based on the original Carmilla's mask (particularly, to its depiction in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest). Striga and Morana wear one as well, although the former has it on her hair and the latter on her ear.
- It's possible that Lenore was partially inspired by Lucy Westenra from Bram Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula. Lucy is described there as a young and romantic woman. The book on vampire magic and philosophy that Lenore gave to Hector uses text from Bram Stoker's novel and that paragraph in particular talks about Lucy, which could be a hint.
- Her name could be inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's 1845 narrative poem The Raven, in which "Lenore" is the name of the narrator's lost love.
- Another possible inspiration for her name is Gottfried Bürger's 1773 Gothic ballad, Lenore, which tells the tale of a young woman named Lenore who is waiting for her fiancé to return from war. When she realizes this will not happen, she begins to quarrel with God. That night, a young soldier –much in the appearance of her lover– appears at her house and convinces her to escape with him on his steed, on a journey from which she'll never return. Although the character that returns from its grave in the poem is not considered to be a vampire, the poem has been very influential in vampire literature.
- They also could be connected since Lenore's concept design references "Princess in Mourning" and her namesake in the ballad is mourning her lost love.
- Lenore could also be inspired by the Snow Queen from Hans Christian Andersen's eponymous fairy tale. Lenore's concept design references "Winter Princess", which could be a hint. The Snow Queen also holds Kai captive, which resembles Hector's story.
- Interestingly enough, she did not feel any pain when she exposed herself to the deadly light of the sun. Perhaps willingly exposing oneself to sunlight allows for a painless death.
- The Blood, Sweat and Vampires of Anime Castlevania - Vfxvoice, September 22, 2020.
- Sarah Stone on Twitter, February 19, 2021.
- Katie Silva on Twitter, February 3, 2021.
- @NXOnNeltflix - Twitter, April 7, 2020.