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King's Quest: The Floating Castle

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The first of the official King's Quest novels. Unlike the second and third novel, this first was written by Craig Mills.

This story takes place after Alexander's return to Daventry, some point between KQ4 and KQV. As he hurries home to avoid an upcoming storm, he notices what looks like a dark flying castle in the sky above him. Sure enough, after a particularly vicious storm, the dark castle has planted itself right in Daventry's countryside and sends warriors and monsters to terrorize the bewildered land.

The villain in this story, the powerful wizard Telgrin who stole the castle, comes to the castle and demands power over Daventry and its people. When Graham refuses, the wizard steals his soul. Alexander immediately sets out with Cyril, an apprentice wizard to retrieve it.

Many familiar fantasy elements appear here - witches who turn people into frogs and captive princesses.

BackgroundEdit

Behind the scenesEdit

According to the Fall 1995 issue of Interaction Magazine, King's Quest: The Floating Castle is a way to experience the magic of King's Quest without a computer. The books were written by Craig Mills based on the popular series of Roberta Williams. It is the first printed-page version of King's Quest, and allows readers to follow their favorite characters in an all new adventure-fantasy story.

According to Ken Williams, Sierra had little to do with the books other than licensing another company the permission to write them, [1] through special arrangement.

According to the copyright page, while the book is copyrighted to the author Craig Mills (as well as to Sierra On-Line), all original characters introduced in the story are copyrighted characters of Sierra On-line. The name and sierra seal appears on the back of the book.

Fairy Tale & Myth inspirationsEdit

The story leans largely more towards high fantasy than fairy tale and myth. It contains a few King's Quest nods. But there are a few references to fairy tales and myth.. These include the kelpie, an ogre and fairies. There is a nod to dragons. Owen appears to be a nod toward headless ghost/headless horseman motifs such as the Headless Earl, Canterville Ghost, or Dullahan. The Frog Prince inspires a sequence. The hat-and-cloak maybe a nod to the invisible man. The barikar is a Rodents of Unusual Size. The various black knights appear to represent names of kings taken from various myths and history. There is a tentacled creature that is essentially a nod to watcher in the water from Lord of the Rings. A two headed ogre like creature seems to be similar to an ettin.


Chronological placementEdit

it is unclear when the events of The Floating Castle takes place. The Floating Castle is unclear on the exact age Alexander was during the events of the book, however it implies that he was eighteen when he returned to Daventry after defeating Manannan. However according to the King's Quest Companion (and other sources) he was still 17 during the events of KQ3 and KQ4 (there was only about an hour between Alexander's return in KQ3 and the start of KQ4), in a period set during late Summer. They wouldn't turn 18 until a few weeks into autumn. However, the reference in the book would still imply that his age during the Floating Castle would have been at least 18.

The story also makes reference to new harvests[2] in preparation for coming winter[3] (suggesting that events take place before the winter).

The summer is referenced several times (including a reference to Lydia leaving the castle to eat summer fruit[4]). The epilogue takes place during the early summer not long after.[5] These references would suggest that bulk of the story must take place during the spring (just before summer).

In addition most of the scenery is described as being green, with vines, and wildflowers (which would also suggest it takes place during the spring).[6] There are also descriptions of rains (though this may have been caused by Telgrin's magic).

However, it's suggested in See No Weevil, that Daventry becomes relatively dry in the late-summer, early fall (though as it is written by a separate author).

On the other hand, the reference by Owen discussing Lydia leaving the castle to eat summer fruit, and the references to preparations for winter earlier in the book could suggest that the book takes place in late summer, just before winter. In one chapter of the story Alexander encounters an apple tree (which are traditionally harvested during early fall). In SNW, the harvest time is associated with late summer/early fall, which could suggest that the harvest mentioned in the book is one and the same (although references in SNW could suggest that harvests take place throughout the entire summer). If bulk of the story occurs in late summer, this would force the epilogue just after spring (early summer), the following year. This wouldn't fit very well with most of the game time lines (which place the period between KQ3 and KQ7 over about 1-2 years), as it would push almost three years into the period (with the extra spring).

Its not clear when Alexander first met Morowyn, however the book states that its 9 months since he last saw him (actually the book may even suggest that Alexander had been out of Daventry the entire nine months, or least some of them), the main bulk of the book takes place over the course of 15 days, the last chapter takes place sometime after. This would suggest that between the time Alexander last saw Morowyn and the last chapter covers almost a year of time.

The book has to take place after KQ4, as there was no time for anything to have occurred between KQ3 and KQ4 (as KQ4 begins where KQ4 ends). It is possible that Alexander could have met Morowyn during the events of KQ4 (it's possible that Morowyn was one of the "royal physicians" that were powerless to heal King Graham). However, that would still only add a few extra days at the most.

It doesn't seem likely that the bulk of The Floating Castle takes place after KQV since Alexander doesn't seem to have met Cassima yet (he shows no sign of love-sickness), not to mention the fact that the only major event mentioned in his recent past is his escape from Manannan (Mordack is not mentioned). The Royal Family: A Celebration states that he also felt regret for the trouble he put his family (though it does stare his family helped mend his heart). King's Quest 6 also states that Alexander was thoroughly and permanently smitten by Cassima from the moment he first saw her. However even the Companion doesn't leave Alexander too troubled initially as he has brief contact with the princess under mysterious circumstances, and even takes the time to continue his teaching at the Royal University, take a research trip back to Mordack's Island, and write a another book, apparently before the melancholy kicks in. So a return to visit Morowyn, And his apprentices as in the last chapter could fit during that period.

However, there is less than a year's time (to a year at the most[7]) between KQ4 and KQV; there is roughly eight or nine months between summer (KQ3 reference) and spring. Even if Alexander had met Morowyn during events of KQ4 when he is still 17 (ignoring 18 reference) during the summer (23 GC), and then saved the kingdom from the floating castle nine months later during a late spring before the events of KQV (which takes place during spring), the epilogue would still have to take place after KQV during the summer.

If the bulk of the events took place after KQV during autumn harvest, it would be set well after KQV (spring), and would also place the epilogue during following summer. However, that would mean that epilogue takes place far more than a few months (and would pushing almost a year between the end of the main story and the epilogue, and too close to KQ6 time frame). This would seem to make the bulk of the story take place during the spring shortly before KQ5, and the epilogue takes place in following summer.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Sierra had nothing to do with the Kings Quest novels, beyond licensing a company the permission to write them. I asked Roberta if she read them, and she says she thinks she did, and that she thought they were ok, not great. -Ken W, Sierra Gamers 12/8/2003
  2. 8, 12, 80, 84
  3. KQC, 13
  4. TFC, 239
  5. TFC, 294
  6. 60, 61
  7. KQ7 hintbook

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