|“||I am the dragon, Dracul! I am the Prince of Darkness... I am and will be, forever, a thorn in His side! That... is my vengeance!||„|
|~ —Gabriel as Dracula, to his wife, Marie, in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2|
Gabriel Belmont, later known as Dracula and Dracul, is a knight from the 11th century and the main character of the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow saga.
He was originally a member of the Brotherhood of Light, an elite group of holy knights who protected and defended the innocent against supernatural threats. But after defeating the ultimate evil, losing everything he loved on his quest, and obtaining immense power from an ancient demon, he became the most powerful vampire in history, known as Dracula, and started a war upon the world and the God he had once served.
Gabriel is very tall with a muscular build. His hair is brown and sometimes depicted as curly and long. Though in the actual game, it appears be straight and is about shoulder length (however in the epilogue of the first game, and in Lords of Shadow 2, his hair is shown to have grown past his shoulders).
The armor he wears is based on Simon's from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest but with notable differences. It is emblazoned with a skull, and consists of thick plates that covers all of his upper body. His legs are covered with ironclad boots. In addition, Gabriel's armor also contained a hood which he could wear to conceal his face should the need arise.
Originally, Gabriel's design resembled a classic barbarian, before Kojima then advised the staff to refine him into a character that was more relatable for the player. David Cox mentioned that Robert Carlyle, who provides the voice for Gabriel is a bit similar to the character.
In the epilogue of Lords of Shadow, Gabriel appears to have aged rather significantly and his appearance has changed drastically. He is now bare-chested and only wears a sort of cloak/skirt about his waist held up by a sash with a large face as a clasp. Instead of his old gauntlets, he now wears bits of two steel gauntlets held on by scraps of fabric. He is less muscular than he was in the past, but proves to still be formidable (as seen when he survived the fall from his lair onto a paved street.) His hair is now longer and white, and he now has sickly pale skin. His eyes glow a deep orange and he now has the ability to grow fangs at will.
In Mirror of Fate and Lords of Shadow 2, Gabriel appears as sort of a fusion/combination of his original human form and his later vampiric form. His hair is still long and brown -if anything it is darker than before-, but he now wears shoulder coverings similar to his old armor with the chest exposed with a large skeletal face set in a belt. He has abandoned the Dark Gauntlet and now wears a red cloak. He has also abandoned the Cyclone Boots in favor of simple leather ones.
As a child, Gabriel sometimes fell into dark moods, and had a tendency to brood, which could only be broken with the aid of Marie, whom he came to love deeply. As a man, Gabriel was still morose and moody at times, but he was also incredibly tenacious, noble and faithful, having been raised by the Brotherhood to believe in God and put his faith in Him.
Following the death of Marie, Gabriel was heartbroken and when he discovered a chance to revive her, he was willing to go anywhere and do anything to resurrect her. During his quest he learned that the founders of the Brotherhood were the cause of the troubles of the world, and his faith began to waiver. He was also plagued with nightmares of Marie's death, which prevented him from sleeping, and as the stress grew he ceased sleeping, and soon stopped eating. The death of Claudia, an innocent, made him even more bitter and angry.
At the end of Gabriel's quest he no longer cared for the suffering of others and held his grief and sorrow in place with anger, consumed by his wish to revive Marie. He even consigned a disgraced holy man, albeit a selfish and cowardly one on the brink of insanity, to death by taking a holy relic which had protected him.
When he faced the Lord of the Necromancers, Gabriel learned that Zobek had influenced him with the Devil Mask to make him pursue the powers of the Lords of Shadow to fulfill the prophecy by killing everything in his way, including his Marie. This was the plan, but the Lord of the Dead had not foreseen the darkness within Gabriel, and how terrible he would become, earning him the nickname "Prince of Darkness". He said that Gabriel was a beast, and a cold-blooded murderer.
Following the final battle, Gabriel saw Marie again, but was ashamed of himself and what he had done during his quest. Marie forgave him, saying that while he was flawed, he was as God intended, and she still loved him. The revelation that the God Mask Gabriel had reclaimed could not resurrect the dead was the final blow to Gabriel and, his spirit broken, he wept as Marie left for Heaven.
When Laura called him to her, asking for help defeating the Forgotten One, Gabriel claimed not to care for the fate of the world, and only agreed to help the vampire so he would not be plagued by more guilt for having failed humanity. After drinking Laura's blood Gabriel relinquished most of his humanity, and claimed that he was now darker and more terrible than the demon he hunted, which became true when he claimed the demon's power and killed him. He then renamed himself Dracul, and returned to the human world.
Dracula's feelings of pain and emptiness became manifest in the Void Sword and Chaos Claws which replaced for him the Light and Shadow magic he had wielded as the Brotherhood's chosen one.
Dracul (known to the people as Dracula) hungered for revenge on the Brotherhood, and wished to remake the world as he saw fit, in revenge for his betrayal. During this time he formed a sort of philosophy on killing based on his nihilistic view of the world; he felt that he had sent his victims to a better place, and he did not care to learn more about them. Thus he denied knowing Trevor's mother when he first confronted his son.
In spite of how dark he had become, he still retained a measure of his old humanity. When he learned of the true identity of Trevor, he was horrified and remorseful for having killed his and Marie's son to the point of crying. He attempted to revive him, but when it seemed to fail, he gave his son a respectful burial. Now even more angry at the Brotherhood's latest betrayal -sending his own son to kill him-, he sent his werewolves to their sanctuary to kill all who live there, and resumed his old plans.
Dracula's voice actor Robert Carlyle admitted that Dracula doesn't relish who he is, and would prefer a more normal life and a better relationship with his son. Also, it was shown that Dracula is fond of his grandson Simon, as he complimented him when they met face to face, stating that he fought well and was worthy of carrying the Belmont name. However, despite being fond of him, he was not beyond trying to kill him, but was visibly shown to be holding back while doing so.
While conversing with Alucard, Dracula further elaborated on his nihilistic and apathetic viewpoint, using his own fall as an example of the darkness that resides in the heart of all of humanity, that even if he were to die now others would simply take his place, and that ultimately evil would prevail, proving itself the natural order of everything. Snapping a disfigured cross he demonstrated his belief that the world was thus, irrevocably broken.
In modern times, Dracula still lived, but had withdrawn from the world out of disgust and weariness, becoming a shadow of his former self, despairing of his undead existence and longing for death. To this end he entered into a pact with Zobek to defeat Satan in exchange for a true death.
On his final quest, he encountered specters of his wife Marie and Trevor as a boy. These apparitions caused a change in Dracula, awakening vestiges of the man he once was. Such was his love for his son that Dracula fought and killed his own servants to keep the boy safe, and searched his entire castle for fragments of the Mirror of Fate, simply because Trevor wished to have it to play with.
When Dracula encountered the spectre of Marie, he espoused much of his feelings for the world. He demanded to know if the Brotherhood had told her of how he would slay her, or of how he and their son would become mortal enemies. He also revealed his bitter feeling towards God for the lot he had been dealt in life and resolved to forever be a thorn in his side. Marie's response was that their suffering had meaning and that she had been sent back to help Dracula, who could not believe that she was real. He also confessed that he wished to leave the castle, and that it was no place for their son.
At his final meting with his son, Dracula promised that when the adventure was over, he would choose his family, and he did so. This kindness was shown when he confronted Victor, the last Belmont. Rather than killing him on principle -as he had tried to do with Simon- Dracula immediately ceased his attack after hearing an infant's cry and then handed over the cure for the demonic plague to Victor. More of his human nature is seen after he faced the Toy Maker, as he was going to kill the man after being possessed to take the piece of the Mirror of Fate, but spared him after he regained his senses and merely requested the piece, all the while telling him to now keep his heart safe, in reference to the Toy Maker's past tragedy.
Dracula's reformation proved to run so deep that it forced the blood of his castle to physically manifest as a grotesque monster called Inner Dracula, and try to kill the apparition of Trevor, because Dracula's love for his son was the only force strong enough to threaten his monstrous side. Dracula defeated his demons and killed Satan himself by bluffing the Devil into thinking that he would sacrifice his own son to kill his oldest enemy.
In the end, Dracula looked one last time into the Mirror of Fate before crushing it, resolving to make his own destiny and live with his son Alucard after all.