WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Castlevania Season 4, now streaming on Netflix, as well as discussion of self-harm and suicide.
Despite the great array of characters at play in Netflix's Castlevania, Season 4 pulled out all the stops to draw its many storylines to a close. Whether it be redemption, death, or rebirth, each character received a firm ending. Everyone except for Lenore, however, who suffered s disappointing conclusion. While her final scene is certainly cinematic and beautiful, it felt uncalled for and, upon a closer look, rather ineffectual for Castlevania as a whole.
Lenore’s Philosophical Discussion With Hector Didn’t Track
Lenore was introduced in Season 3 as a diplomatic vampire coaxing the forgemaster Hector into servitude, and instantly became a fan fixation. Unlike any other vampire in Castlevania, Lenore’s method of attaining power is elegant, and her talents in negotiation are eloquently psychological. Despite her game unfolding so intriguingly in Season 3, her character arc ended up petering out, and her suicide ending came so swiftly. Lenore deserved better than Season 4 gave her.
Castlevania’s final episode epilogue starts with a conversation between Lenore and Hector. In their discussion over many bottles of wine, Lenore brings up the “Vampire’s Virtue,” a desire for everything to remain the same. Hector calls this “philosophical acrobatics,” but she insists that vampires have a grander scope than humans, saying, “You people spend sixty years bumping into things and call it a life.”
Lenore and her sisters had a strong, stable reign which brought her comfort and safety. But as Hector points out, Carmilla’s power-hungry vendetta ruined their strength altogether and stripped Lenore of her diplomatic purpose. Hector draws a parallel between bloodthirsty power and vampires before Lenore says she realizes what she is and how she’s been “living a lie.”
While the conversation has some fun back and forth, the point doesn’t fully track. Does Lenore hate herself after realizing how vampires innately feed off of power? Considering how she just talked about “virtue,” this conclusion seems unlikely. Lenore knows being an immortal vampire has its merits, especially as a peaceful diplomat, so why would she suddenly see herself as a “lie”? How is this sentiment beyond fixing to the extent of suicide? It seems wrong that she lost her pride so completely that she’d wish to end her long life right then and there.
Lenore's Vampiric & Diplomatic Powers Could Let Her Escape
In her last moments, Lenore also mentions that “King Isaac” is keeping a watchful eye on her in the castle, and she feels trapped in a cage like a criminal. Refusing to exist like that, she says she wants to experience the sun on her skin and goes out to the balcony during sunrise. While Hector initially objects, she assures him this is what she wants so he tells her to “be free.”
Couldn’t Lenore “be free” another way than her own demise? Though the castle did turn into her cage, no attempts to flee or negotiate her sentence are shown. Lenore can literally turn into a flock of bats, as seen in Season 3 when Hector tries to attack her. This bat-swarming technique lets her escape anyone’s grasp instantly, and she’s shown traveling quickly around the castle this way. Isaac’s undead forces are very powerful, but with her elusive maneuvering, you’d think she would at least go out trying to escape alive.
Moreover, Lenore has proven her expertise in diplomacy – hasn’t she tried to reason with Isaac about the terms of her imprisonment? With the way she has Hector wrapped around her finger, couldn’t she try and get him to reason with Isaac, and maybe even let the two of them leave together? Isaac may have reason to detain her -- especially considering how she treated Hector and conspired with Carmilla -- but is what she did really as wrong as something Isaac’s old friend Dracula would do?
Lenore’s Vampire Sisterhood Wasn’t Destroyed
Carmilla might have been the leader of Castlevania's Queens of Styria, but just because she was killed didn’t mean the quartet was destroyed with her. Her sisters Morana and Stringa survived, making the intelligent decision to leave Styria with their remaining forces. The two sensed Carmilla’s death and concluded that trying to retake the castle would be foolish. Instead, the couple took their forces to join other nations as a mercenary company. They assumed Lenore probably died along with Carmilla, and made no effort to reconnect.
But it's never shown whether Lenore theorized what happened to Morana and Stringa. If the quartet had as much strength as she touts, wouldn’t she feel compelled to reach out to her sisters to reconcile after Carmilla’s failure? If Lenore knew what their plans were, would she still have decided to kill herself?
Castlevania's Symbolic Meaning For Lenore’s Death Is Lost
The Lenore depicted in Season 4 seems entirely helpless and without purpose, so her death doesn’t feel so much significant as sad. Earlier in the season, she expresses how much Carmilla overlooks her value as a diplomat, and she’s given no real role in Castlevania except to push conversation with Hector. Does her aimlessness really make sense, or did the writers not know what else to do with her?
In Season 3 she asserted so much dominance as a vampire over Hector, drunk with his magical and psychological servitude and the power of her sister's quartet. Her lines about him being her “pet” and that he wasn’t a “real person” are disturbing, so some likely see vindication in her death. Yet her kindness truly felt genuine at times, especially in Season 4, as Hector appears to still be a close friend, proving he’d always protect her. Additionally, Lenore does apologize to Hector for what he went through.
After all that, wouldn’t it make sense for Lenore to be forgiven? Freed of Carmilla, wouldn’t she have any sort of drive to find her own purpose in the Castlevania world? There really seems to be no significance in her suicide – it’s a needless tragedy. The moment is gorgeously animated and evokes an emotional response as she disintegrates into the wind, but she deserved much more.
For more information on the warning signs and prevention of suicide, click here. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you live outside the U.S., click here for a list of international hotlines.