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The following will contain a number of spoilers for the Hellsing series and its prequel, Hellsing: The Dawn.



In Hellsing, no aspect is given a greater weight than the difference between man and monster. It is a motif that transcends the physical, permeating thoroughly into the dimension of the psychological. In Hellsing, there are not only monsters who are monstrous and humans who are humane—there are monstrous humans and humane monsters as well. And then, there are those like Walter—not solidly within the bounds of any of these categories. Walter in particular amongst these characters is one of the few who displays a distinct evolution in his personality over the span of time that the Hellsing series encapsulates. As such, it is more enlightening to explore Walter’s personality as evidenced throughout the different stages of his life than to limit the exploration to a single life stage—as only in knowing how he is in youth and how he comes to be as a grown and elderly man do we truly gain a grasp on who he is as an individual.

As a youth, Walter walks the line between man and monster with an almost effortless grace. A skilled vampire hunter at the tender age of fifteen, Walter is nothing short of a prodigy—and appears to very much enjoy the violent nature of his work. In confronting his foes, Walter expresses a distinct thrill for battle. So, too, does the young man display sheer audacity in the level of his bravery as, whether the opponents are weak but well-armed and numerous or singular and heinously powerful, he pushes through and carries on the fight. He is a youth who grins maniacally when he knows he has the upper hand, no matter how much blood he’s lost in the process of turning the tables to his favour. Furthermore, he even takes a certain amount of sadistic pleasure in the fearful reactions of his enemies.

Even outside the immediate realm of battle, Walter shows a predilection towards the extreme—such as in the instance when he elected to make the jump from the cargo transport flying high over Warsaw without the aid of a parachute—an endeavour that would surely have proved lethal for any normal human being. That Walter not only chose to make the jump in the way he did—and with Alucard’s coffin, no less—but did so after dismissing the suggestion to take a parachute with an air of outright nonchalance shows that Walter is comfortable pushing well past the limits of the ordinary even when the situation does not necessarily call for such measures to be taken.

Knowing his capabilities exceed those of ordinary humans and those of any other hunter in his organization save for the vampire Alucard, Walter is proud of who he is and what he can accomplish. When broaching conversation with a stranger newly in-the-know about the nature of his work, Walter’s mannerisms possess an air of confidence bordering on cockiness. Predictably, he does not take well to being dismissed or belittled. He responds negatively in each instance, his reactions ranging from rebuffing with an acerbic wit when he feels the insult is slight and unintentional to going into a rage when he feels the offense is great and intentional by nature. A perfect example of this is the difference is how Walter reacts to the RAF soldier not wanting to give him a cigarette on account of his age and how he reacts to the Major’s gall in suggesting that he become a turncoat for the Letztes Bataillon when Walter had already made it clear that he was there to destroy the Major and his operation. On that note, Walter is not the sort to brush off and forget an insult. Even forgiving a minor insult takes a bit of effort on the offending party’s part. However, when he is shown true humility and respect—as the RAF soldier does before Walter jumps off the cargo plane—he warms up, and putting aside his resentment shows respect in return.

Looking deeper, one can ascertain a number of other more mundane qualities about Walter’s character. For one, he doesn’t display a tendency to socialize with those with whom he is not already closely acquainted with, preferring to leave them alone unless he desires something from them. But for those few with whom Walter has an established rapport, Walter can be a rather finicky sort. Being the one in charge of cleaning and organizing his master's rooms, Walter is insinuated to possess a fastidious nature when it comes to his household environment. As such, there is little doubt that he and Arthur Hellsing come to conflict over Arthur's appallingly untidy habits. By Arthur's own complaints about Walter in the butler's absence it can be inferred that the young Walter is an incessant hinderance when Arthur gets the inclination to entertain himself with the company of prostitutes. Even the powerful vampire Alucard is not exempt from Walter’s fussiness, for when Alucard intervenes late during Walter's battle with the werewolf at the research facility in Warsaw, Walter chastises him both for emerging from his coffin in such a belated fashion and for the form he initially appears as.

Alucard displays a particular talent for flustering Walter. When, in Warsaw, the vampire announces out of the blue his intent to leave mid-battle and stick Walter with the task of fighting the werewolf alone, he provokes Walter into a tantrum. Walter isn’t the sort to take well to being allegorically “left with the bill”, and—much like his reactions to insults—he isn’t shy about showing his displeasure.

However, deep down, Walter trusts those he sees as comrades. Though Alucard leaves Walter to fend for himself against the werewolf that had only moments earlier come close to killing Walter, Walter’s first complaint is about the vampire having run away—not that the vampire had left him to die. Neither does he claim that Alucard’s lateness in entering the battle in the first place is a sign of malicious inaction on the vampire’s part. And, given how roughly Walter treats Alucard’s coffin—a coffin which Alucard is immensely protective of—it shows much that Walter in both instances does not assume that Alucard has intentionally placed his life in jeopardy. In the end, he trusts his partner. And, if Walter’s having shielded Alucard’s coffin—and, by extension, his person—from the damage of gunfire during the initial confrontation with the Nazi troops in Warsaw is any indication, he secretly keeps his partner’s well-being in mind despite his sometimes-abrasive attitude towards the vampire.

Decades later, after Walter has become an old man, we see Walter's personality as having shifted away from the profoundly aggressive frontlines-man and into a quieter, more supportive role. He is the one standing off to the side, quietly listening on as Arthur’s daughter, Integra, is instructed in the nature of vampires by her father, and, later on, the one who assists Integra in the administrative aspects of the organization once she becomes the head of the Order of Royal Protestant Knights. He is the butler, the assistant, the advisor, the confidant-- the one people in the inner circle of the organization go to with their troubles and the one who, more often than not, comes up with an exemplary solution to those troubles. When Alucard, having had his first fight with Anderson, desires a stronger, more powerful weapon, it is with Walter's input and by Walter's hand that the weapon is crafted and delivered. When Walter is needed to man the phones while the others go into the field, he mans the phones, and when Integra is in need of tea, cigars, or reassurance, it is Walter who provides. In contrast to the domineering, go-forth-and-kill youth, the older Walter appears on the whole calmer, more reserved, and considerably more inclined towards the concepts of planning and preparation.

However, the traces of his youth still bubble underneath the surface. The old Walter still enjoys battle when he is given the opportunity to partake in it, and still shows a mild penchant for sadism towards his enemies. He is still snippy and acerbic when exasperated, still nitpicky towards those he is close to, and beneath it all still prone to anger, even though the outbursts are smaller and more subdued than those of his youth. Furthermore, despite vast advancements in the ways of etiquette on his part, Walter is still socially isolated even within the ranks of Hellsing; thus, much of what we come to learn of him even in old age is through his interactions with a limited group.

As of 1999, Walter’s oldest and still-intact relationship is with Alucard. The two, having known each other for decades, still get along quite well. The two design weapons together (manga only), critique the organization’s newer members, and discuss on multiple occasions, seen and unseen, the logistical issues regarding Alucard’s fledgling, Seras Victoria. The two talk with an air that can only be described as casual; honorifics and prefixes usually attached to names are noticeably absent when the old butler and the old vampire are alone. The two talk of organization business, old foes, old age (at Alucard’s prompting) and dreams (at Walter’s prompting; manga only).

On the surface, and perhaps far beyond, the two interact as old friends, their comradeship surviving despite being tried and tested over time. But they are not always candid with each other, and some things between them remain shrouded in secrecy even to our eyes. They never speak that we see or know of the events that led up to Alucard being sealed in 1969. Fifty-five years after the events of their Warsaw mission, Alucard blatantly lies to Walter—but later indirectly to the Queen and those present at the meeting with the Queen—about having killed all the enemies they encountered—as Alucard was shown deliberately sparing one—and Walter, either lying to himself or lying to his partner in turn—the truth to this being unknown, as the specific outcome to Walter’s battle was never shown—hesitates before making a misstatement on the facts as well; in actuality, the werewolf he fought made it out of Warsaw alive.

Despite their amicable relationship, they do not appear to trust each other with details that might appear to make them look weak. When Alucard brings up the topic of old age and its negative aspects, Walter—despite having made self-depreciating remarks about his age and ability in the presence of others before and despite truly being concerned by his waning abilities—is quick to dismiss the vampire’s seeming concern and is equally as swift to change the subject of conversation immediately thereafter. Similarly, when Walter asks Alucard if he has had a bad dream when the vampire wakes up after actually having had a disturbing dream about ‘the spirit(s) of the Jackal’, Alucard is just as quick to dismiss Walter’s query. The aura of wariness on Walter’s part persists in other things. He is clearly unsettled about his inability to understand why Alucard turned Seras into a vampire, going so far as to question Alucard himself about his reasons for having done so. Furthermore, though for reasons unknown, Walter took the precaution of installing a remote detonation device in the gun—the Jackal—that he developed for Alucard in the wake of the vampire's battle with Iscariot's paladin, Father Anderson. That being said, it is clear that although the two are close, the older Walter does not hold the same amount of trust in Alucard’s intentions as he once did.

A relative newcomer in the older Walter’s life is Alucard’s fledgling, Seras Victoria. Turned into a vampire as a result of the incident in Cheddar in August of 1999, Seras arrives at the organization headquarters about as fresh as they come in the way of vampires. In many ways, she at first does not seem ready or willing to acclimate herself to her vampirism. Her early unwillingness to drink blood is a subject which prompts Walter’s concern, leading him to consult with both Alucard and Integra, and to bicker with Seras when she attempts to reject the solution the three come up with, as she also holds reservations about sleeping in the closed confines of a coffin.

Walter also appears, as mentioned before, unsettled about the reason Alucard turned Seras into a vampire to begin with—perhaps contributing to the initial rockiness in their rapport. But, even though the relationship between Walter and Seras starts out unsteady and mildly conflictive in nature, the attack on the mansion by the Valentine brothers leads them to overcome their differences and develop the beginnings of a genuine bond, the two expressing—at different points in time—a concern for one another’s welfare preceding and during their first battle together.

Though Walter remains critical of Seras in some respects—namely in her capabilities as an instructor—he is perhaps the person that is most attentive towards the Draculina as an individual, his awareness of her personal history—specifically, her status as an orphan—extending even beyond that of Alucard’s. Furthermore, when Seras is subjected to sexual harassment by the Wild Geese, a mercenary army contracted by Hellsing to fill the void in ranks caused by the Valentine brothers’ assault—it is Walter, and not her master, Alucard, who Seras runs to with her complaints while Integra is asleep; a behaviour demonstrating a level of trust in the old butler’s capacity and willingness to address the fledgling vampire’s concerns, suggesting that their relationship has progressed to better terms.

Additionally, Walter’s concern over Seras’ eating habits continues to persist even after the Draculina concedes to sleeping in the coffin, the butler communicating his concern to Integra even as Seras makes attempts to force down normal human food—which, judging from the multiple courses and the presentation of the food upon the dishes, Walter may have had a hand in making—eventually prompting Integra to take action and order the fledgling vampire to lick the blood from a cut that Integra inflicts upon her own finger. In short, although Walter continues to reserve the right to judge Seras’ performance, he has grown to genuinely care for her well-being.

The last major and intact relationship the older Walter has—and perhaps most nearest and dearest to his heart—is Integra. Though by flesh and blood she is the daughter of his now-deceased former master, Arthur, Walter’s attentions toward her go far beyond what one would expect of a mere family servant. Integra is like the daughter he never had; whom he advises and empowers, to whose defence he leaps whether the assault is physical or verbal. Although he has in the past and for reasons unknown failed to protect her on one occasion, he is quick to come to her defense when the Valentine brothers attack their shared home, even going so far as to climb through the ventilation shafts with Seras in order to prevent their being deterred and delayed by detachments of the hostile army of ghouls standing between them and Integra three floors above. He shows no hesitation in taking the initiative to defend Integra, utilizing whatever methods necessary—whether defensive or offensive—to protect her when her life comes under threat. Whether cutting her enemies apart with his wires, or using his wires to form a protective net against a hail of bullets (demonstrated in the OVA, but easily translatable to the manga even though she isn’t drawn in the exact panel; where she would have been is blocked by a figure in the foreground), or shielding her with his body from threat of fire from a burning but conscious enemy, or sending her away when he knows he cannot protect her, Walter always has Integra’s safety at the forefront of his mind.

Walter’s protectiveness towards Integra extends beyond her physical well-being. When Integra reveals her fears, Walter is quick to assuage them. When she questions her decisions, he affirms her decision without presuming authority, preserving their relationship as master and servant and empowering her to be secure with her choices even during urgent times fraught with moral ambiguity; a necessity when it comes to being the master of a vampire such as Alucard. From Integra’s earliest days as the head of the Hellsing Organization—and perhaps long before—, Walter has served as a bastion of emotional support. And not only does Walter seek to prevent Integra from succumbing to her own insecurities, he attempts to protect her from verbal attacks from the outside on multiple occasions as well. When Sir Hugh Irons (Sir Hugh Islands in the OVA) attempts to guilt trip Integra by putting the sole blame for the Valentine brothers’ attack, Walter reacts angrily before Integra stops him by calling his name in reprimand. This pattern occurs again when Walter reacts to Vatican Section XIII (Iscariot) leader Enrico Maxwell’s minor but ill-timed attempt at manipulation with another display of anger, which is once again put to a stop by Integra’s calling out Walter’s name and explaining her willingness to make the concession the Iscariot leader has asked for (in the OVA, Walter is absent from this meeting). That being said, Integra shows an uncanny ability for calming the old butler when his temper gets the better of him, to which end it is not unimaginable that she is able to exert a great deal of influence on his emotions through the bond they share. But however deep their personal bond may run, most do not get to see how far it goes. What they see is the professional relationship. They see the dutiful right-hand man that Integra can count on to assist in any administrative matters the she cannot personally address, the man who she can bounce ideas off of, the man who furnishes her cigars and prepares tea. And Walter seems to be just fine with them seeing only that.

AND HERE COME THE SPOILERS…

The true crisis point for Walter’s character happens on the night Millennium invades London, when Walter is eventually revealed as a “traitor”. With his true motives cast into obscurity by various conflicting statements and hints throughout the series, the revelation crosses from hard fact into the headcanon of many. Though many would deign to disagree, it is the opinion of this writer that the crisis point itself is the catalyst for his betrayal (the basis for this is in the process of being analysed in detail the link will be provided here once it is finished); captured by the werewolf Captain of the Letztes Bataillon and brought to the Major and the Grand Professor “Dok”, Walter is essentially faced with a choice; fight Alucard and die later, or die then and there with whatever driving emotions he has unresolved. Though the reasoning by which Walter chose the former is never clearly established, what we do see when Walter faces Alucard is that he does not take delight in it as he has in all the other times he has been shown in battle. Between his treatment of Father Anderson’s remains, his vehemence towards his former partner, and his killing of the one Iscariot nun that gets in his way by pre-emptively attacking him, the artificial vampire Walter is the picture of cold and driven rage. It is at this point where Walter and Alucard’s comradeship essentially implodes, and Walter coerces Integra into giving Alucard the order to kill him, which upsets Integra greatly, both saddening and angering her. Of those who give their parting words, it is Seras who, thanking him for what he has done until that point and wishing him well, manages to visibly shake him, upon which he gives the Draculina a first—and last—gentle smile.

But although Walter is technically working with Millennium at this point, he is anything but a team player for Millennium. There is a strong indication that he was forcibly captured to begin with; even when left to face the Captain alone as per his wishes by Integra, Walter still attacked the Captain, and later, when Schrodinger alludes to his being converted into an artificial vampire he refers to Walter as a ‘toy’ Dok and Major have their hands on. Beyond that, although Major seems secure in his using the vampirized Walter, Dok appears wary and even seems to consider the move dangerous; even with an immolation device implanted in him, Walter is not shown going anywhere on his own he cannot be monitored even a single time (and the only time he is shown on his own under Millennium is when he fights Alucard; the fight is closely monitored).

Still, as he informs Seras upon his reappearance and as the Major later corroborates, Walter is working under his own will. Additionally, the detonation frequency for the Jackal’s self-destruct device has made its way into Millennium’s hands and has even been programmed into one of a set of twin remotes (the label replacing what appears to be the VHD button’s label, according to the remote’s twin; see images of Dok's remote here, here, and here, and Major's remote here), and is subsequently activated during Walter and Alucard’s fight, and up until the time of the fight Walter both strikes down a Vatican attack helicopter before its occupants can kill the Major atop his airship (whilst other Vatican helicopter forces are shooting at English civilians below, it might be noteworthy to add) and later prepares a cup of Van Houten cocoa for the Major at the Major’s command. However, when it becomes clear in Walter’s fight with Alucard that Millennium is about to ‘poison’ the vampire with Schrodinger’s life, Walter reacts with violent opposition, desperate to deal with and to finish off Alucard himself. Once it sinks in that the opportunity to do so has slipped beyond his reach, Walter goes limp in the regenerating No-Life-King’s grasp, the fight draining out of him as he watches the vampire absorb the poison lifeblood along with the blood of millions of fallen Londoners.

Although at first, as Alucard’s body begins to dissolve into a mass of red eyes, Walter acts with remarkable calm, once Alucard’s body disappears, Walter’s composure completely unravels. He catches the strip of red cloth left behind—the only thing left behind of Alucard besides the bloodstain of a seal on the ground—and, miserable to the point of hysterics, laughs as he sinks to the ground. Despite having wanted to kill Alucard, Walter is desolate once the vampire is gone. A full crisis of conscience sets in for Walter, the estranged butler torn between fatalistic depression and the need to accomplish one last task before he dies. And accomplish it he does; in his last moments, Walter confronts the Grand Professor, Dok—the scientific brains of the experiments central to Millennium’s operation who had been at that point preparing to escape—and kills him. Then, his body degenerating rapidly, he bids farewell to the master he has raised before allowing himself to be consumed by the flames alongside the only other Hellsing family affiliate to ever fall under Millennium’s knife—the unfortunate Mina Harker.

All the same, in his final moments, Walter C. Dornez is at peace.

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Walter C. Dornez

May 2014

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