The Strain Wiki
Jusef Sardu
Status: Vampire
Birthplace: Poland
Family Information
Sibling(s): Brother
Played by: Robert Maillet

Jusef Sardu was a Polish nobleman whose body served, throughout the twentieth century, as the host of the Master.  


As a child, Jusef was afflicted with gigantism.  At age 15, he was seven feet tall, and still growing.  His size was an affliction, since he did not have the muscular strength to support his massive skeleton, and could not walk except with the aid of a long cane.  Yet his affliction also made him humble and compassionate, and he became a beloved figure among the children of his family's village, to whom he often dispensed toys and sweets from his deep pockets.

In 1873, Jusef's father took his son, along with several uncles and cousins, on a hunting expedition to Romania, since Sardu family legend said that eating the meat of wolves (the family symbol) gave great strength and bravery, and the elder Sardu hoped it would cure his son's affliction.  During the expedition, all of the Sardu men disappeared mysteriously, though sometimes their mutilated bodies were found. According to Jusef's diary, which was found years later, he believed his family were being stalked by some predator, and, when he was the only one left alive, he would confront it himself.

Weeks after the expedition was due back, Jusef returned, alone, in a carriage to his family's castle, but thereafter was rarely seen around the village, and never during the day.  It was said that Jusef had acquired immense strength, and was no longer feeble, but still carried his walking stick out of habit.

Jusef Sardu dispensing treats to the children of his village.

When children began to disappear from their homes, the villagers abandoned the town, which fell into disrepair.  Jusef Sardu became a bogeyman, the subject of ghost stories told to children at night.  Abraham Setrakian's grandmother told him the legend in 1923, warning him to eat his dinner and grow strong, "or else Sardu will come."

Later, Abraham learned that the Master had chosen Jusef Sardu as his human host and possessed him.  The first time Setrakian came face-to-face with the Master, inside the Treblinka extermination camp, Setrakian called him by Sardu's name, and the Master replied, "He is not alone in this body."

Later, when the Master poured his consciousness into Gabriel Bolivar, Sardu's consciousness was finally set free.

Sardu's Cane[]

The silver wolf's head of Sardu's walking stick.

"But at night... some claimed to hear the giant walking about the village.  Children, especially, passed the tale of hearing the pick-pick-pick of his walking stick, which Sardu no longer relied upon but used to call them out of their beds for trinkets and treats.  Disbelievers were directed to holes in the soil, some outside bedroom windows, little poke marks as from his wolf-handled stick.... I myself, one night, heard not too distantly the pick-pick-pick--such a powerful, rhythmic noise--and pulled my blanket fast over my head to block it out, and didn't sleep again for many days." - Abraham Setrakian's Grandmother

For the rest of his life, Abraham Setrakian always associated the approach of vampires, including the Master, and even his own impending death, with the sound of Sardu's walking stick. Setrakian tracked the stick to an antiques dealer in Antwerp in 1967. A version of Sardu's silver wolf's head cane was wielded by soon-to-be werewolf Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney) in the classic black and white horror masterpiece The Wolf Man (1941).

TV Show[]

Sardu's tale is told in the first episode of Season 2, "BK, NY". The story is mostly the same as in the books, but there are a few minor differences:

  • It is Sardu's brother who proposes the hunting trip to Romania; in the books, Jusef is an only child, and the hunt is his father's idea;
  • Sardu's cane already has an integrated sword blade; in the books it was Setrakian who converted it to a sword cane;
  • The "pik pik pik" sound associated with Sardu's cane is instead made by his finger tapping on the windows of children's bedrooms, after he becomes possessed by the Master.