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DahliaKQ1SMS (cover)
Dahlia was an evil witch living in the woods of Daventry. She disguised herself as a beautiful maiden. Edward found her hidden in a tree, surrounded by wolves. He rescued her, fell in love, and asked her to be his bride. On the night before their wedding she stole the keys to the treasure vault and then stole the Chest of Gold from King Edward. This act of theft drove the kingdom into poverty and the king into a despair from which he never recovered. Graham killed Dahlia by shoving her into her own oven.[1]

Background

Dahlia was an evil hag who coveted Daventry's chest of gold and planned to steal it. To do this she took on the form of a beautiful woman and climbed into a tree. She had a pack of wolves claw at the tree to make it appear as if they were trying to harm her. She waited for King Edward to come upon the scene.

When the group lead by King Edward approached, the wolves scattered and King Edward discovered Dahlia perched in the tree. She descended regally, and thanked the king, claiming that she was the Princess Dahlia of Cumberland. She stated that she was traveling through the land when the pack of wolves attacked her and that her bodyguard fled in terror, leaving her alone with the wolves.

The King was charmed by her facade and brought her back to his castle to visit.[2] He felt new life coursing through his veins, and knew it was because he had met someone who might fill the loneliness left by his late Queen. </ref> He thought she might be someone who could replace his own late wife, Queen Maylie. In due time, Edward asked Dahlia to marry him and she accepted. The people of Daventry were wildly excited at the prospect of a new Queen (and hopeful for the birth of an heir to the throne) and prepared for a glorious wedding celebration.

On the night before the wedding when the air was thick with toasts and merriment, Princess Dahlia bid Edward good night. He never noticed her hand stealing up to his belt and extracting the ring of keys hanging there. Much later, the Royal treasurer approached the King with alarming news. He discovered the treasury door standing open, with the King's own key in the lock. The Princess Dahlia had been inside, holding a small Chest of gold.

The treasurer stood frozen to the spot. The Princess' bright laughter changed to a witch's cackle as her form grew old and withered. She grasped the Chest and mounted her broom to fly out the open window. The treasurer watched in dismay as she swooped up through the clouds that clung to the peaks above Daventry, solid-seeming masses that looked like snow cornices, impossible outcroppings poised out from the mountains with no support, and disappeared.[3] The kingdom no longer had money to buy food or pay its soldiers. Dahlia hid the chest in the Land of the Clouds, giving it to a giant for safekeeping.[4] Before returning back the land below.

Decades later, as the kingdom fell into ruin, Dahlia continued to roam the woods living in her Gingerbread House. She presented herself as a hospitable hag to anyone who nibbled on her house, but her 'guests' were transformed into cookies.

WitchKQ1(1984)

During Graham's journey to save Daventry, he encountered the witch, jetting across the sky, black robes trailing what could only be a broomstick. He was undeniably sure it was an evil witch, and not just any witch, but the witch in question could only be Dahlia for that wicked one was the only cone-crowned cackler reported in the realm for decades. He carefully crouched under a pine tree, sure he had not been spotted.[5]

Graham later trespassed in her house looking for the Chest of Gold or a clue to the whereabouts of the chest. He discovered an enigmatic note in her bedroom. While there, he heard the unexpected sound of Dahlia returning causing him to freeze where he stood; however, she did not go to the bedroom. She began food preparation in the other room--talking to herself aloud about cooking up something "good and human" to eat. Graham peeked out, trying to judge whether he could bolt for the door successfully. He saw her bent-over form of a figure larger than himself. The witch's attention was on stoking her cooking fire. Escape seemed problematic at best.

Graham chose to sneak quickly behind Dahlia and gave her a mighty shove. The momentum form the blow sent the witch headfirst into the fire, where her body immediately burst into flame. It was over so soon, the body might have been made of the driest parchment. Dahlia had returned to the skies from which she had wreaked terror, and an indifferent wind dissipated her ash and smoke to nothing. King Edward and Daventry were avenged.[6]

Other accounts

Accounts vary as to if she was preparing a cauldron of a mysterious slimy, oily, green goop, from which sinister spectres escaped in the smoke every few moments. Or rather that upon being pushed into her cauldron, she melted into her own concoction with some of the slime splattering outside of her pot. In either case, she was dead.[7]

The Gerwain's interpretation of Graham's journey in Kolyma, refers back to Dahlia and her cooking pot rather directly to the stove (although in all fairness Dahlia may have kept a cooking pot in her oven).

The smacking of hungry lips and the sound of tuneless humming brought back dread memories of the wicked witch Dahlia stirring her loathsome cooking pot.

Personality and traits

Dahlia's complexion varies between grey and green skin (but also has appeared with salmon skin as well).

Behind the scenes

In both Dahlia is a name that originates out of the second version of KQ1 manual, it does not appear in any of the main games.

Princess Dahlia of Cumberland is believed to be the assumed identity of the witch who stole the Chest of Gold, as mentioned in the second version of the King's Quest 1 manual. She is also referred to as 'witch Dahlia' in the King's Questions. While she is referred to as the Witch Dahlia in King's Quest Companion. King's Quest Companion, discusses that it is unclear if that is her real name or just part of the false identity.

Its interesting to note that in the original KQ1 manual and within KQ1 the game, the name Dahlia is not even mentioned. In fact in the original version of the manual and the game, there is no indication that the treasures were even stolen from Daventry, but rather Edward just knows of several legendary treasures and wants Graham to find them.[1][2]. The witch in original KQ1, is referred to simply as "a witch", and there is nothing connecting her to any of the treasures mentioned in the game.[8]. She was originally just a generic fairy tale character placed into the game as an obstacle.

In the remake the witch is not directly linked to Dahlia either and is referred as just a witch much like in the original game (nothing in the game directly connects the witch to the Dahlia mentioned in the manual, nor the treasures).[9] However, the game does make a vague reference to "Daventry's loss of the the three treasures" in the prologue (but does not go into detail how they were lost). In both versions is the existence of the mysterious note that links to Rumplestiltskin and indirectly to the cloudlands, but its never clear why she has that note in the first place, and the retcon to the original story in the second manual may have been included to somehow try to explain the note even if it doesn't do so directly.

Its interesting to note that the The Royal Family: A Celebration, also just treats the witch as a generic encounter (in fact stating that Graham may have met multiple witches on his journey).

The King's Quest Companion is the source that links the wicked witch in the gingerbread house as being the same individual as Dahlia who was mentioned in the second version of the KQ manual. King's Questions also confirms that the witch is Dahlia. So while she was originally a minor character, her importance as a villain was made more apparent by later retcons to the series manuals, the same can be said for the Sorcerer/Enchanter, and The Dwarf as well. But Dahlia is unique in that she is the only one of the three main villains of KQ1 that can be defeated. While the other two characters parts are much smaller in scope, and act simply as obstacles (but had somewhat expanded parts in KQ2).

There is a mysterious note the witch's house that offers a clue to Rumplestiltskin's backwards name, but the game doesn't offer any story reason why she would have that note. She doesn't have any direct connection to the gnome, and the gnome only helps those with a good heart, and are on a quest to save Daventry (as stated in the original manual they are opposing forces the dangerous creatures and the friendly creatures). She also doesn't need him to reach the clouds, as stated in the second manual the witch was able to fly into the clouds on her broom. Nor would he have helped her if she wanted it.


The character, as well as the hut, is taken from 'The Gingerbread Witch' character of the fairytale 'Hansel and Gretel' written by the Brothers Grimm. The fairytale, however, doesn't name the witch. She is also in appearance and musical theme based on the Wicked Witch of the West of the Oz books. She is also the reverse of the evil Queen in Snow White, and her appearance on the cover to Sega version is very much similar to the Disney appearance of the Queen after she disguised herself as an old hag.

Cackle

Dahlia's Cackle on the Apple IIGS version was voiced by Roberta Williams herself.


King's Quest Chapter II

A gingerbread witch (KQGS) similar to Dahlia appears on a sign in King's Quest Chapter II: Rubble Without a Cause, next to a sign with Gingerbread Man, and another with the The Wolf (KQGS).

Dahlia (unofficial)

Dahlia has appeared in fan fiction including games, see Dahlia (unofficial).

"King's Quest programmer Carlos Escobar reports, "When Sir Graham falls in the moat and gets munched by the crocodiles, you hear real crunching noises! And Roberta did a great witch's cackle. "

References

  1. KQC, 2nd Edition, 455
  2. King's Quest by Roberta Williams: "The King was charmed with the Princess Dahlia, and brought her back to his castle to visit.
  3. KQC3E, 9
  4. KQC, 2nd Edition, pg 449
  5. KQC3E, 15
  6. KQC3E, 20
  7. Narrator (KQ1SCI): ""
  8. Narrator (KQ1AGI): "It's a witch swooping through the sky... She's trying to catch you! Look out!", "The wicked witch is not interested in chitchat.", "This is not your friendly-type witch.", "The witch swoops down, grabs you by the neck, and carries you off to a fate worse than death". "As the wicked witch flew over her house, she dropped you... in her cage! If you can't get out, you may become the secret ingredient in this witches' brew!", "There is no way to kill a flying witch.", "The witch mutters, "I am going to get my oven ready to cook someone for dinner (yum).", "The old witch is one of the most hideous sights you have ever seen. I would never trust her.", "Courageously, you manage to push the witch into the oven where she flashes and melts into a harmless blob. Congratulations! This little house is surprisingly considerably neat considering that a wicked witch lives here.", "Rats! She has cast some spell to keep you from escaping!. The witch remarks "Oh, how nice of you to come for dinner (cackle, cackle)"
  9. Narrator (KQ1SCI): This is not your friendly-type witch. The wicked witch is not interested in chitchat.", "The witch is holding you with with supernatural strength.", "With a screech and cackle, a witch swoops down from the skies above. look out! She dips and turns and tries to catch you!", "At the moment, it's important NOT to let the witch know you're here.", "You've killed the witch!", "There is no witch here... AT THE MOMENT!!", "You can't kill the witch now.", "You wouldn't want to sleep on a witch's bed.", "The ring doesn't seem to work in the witch's house.", "The witch is in the other room.", "The ugly old witch is one of the most hideous sights you have ever seen. Her eyes are dark and evil, and her crooked smile twitches hungrily. She's not to be trusted.", "...or the witch may have stuck around to try and catch you!", "The witch remarks, "Oh, how nice of you to come for dinner (cackle, cackle)!", "The witch mutters...", "The witch mumbles...", "The witch says...", "The witch sees you!", "With a mighty shove, you courageously push the wicked witch into the pot. Her wild screams are suddenly cut off as she melts away into the oily green slime in the pot. Congratulations!", "The oily green slime spilled over when you pushed the witch into the pot.", "The witch's bed looks hard and uncomfortable.", "This is the table where the witch eats her food, whatever... or Whoever...that is!"

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