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Manannan
Manannan is a powerful and evil wizard of great age. He is a member of the Magicians' Guild. The evil wizard had kidnapped Prince Alexander and kept him as a slave for seventeen years. Manannan is the brother of both Mordack, and the evil witch Dame Hagatha. Manannan is said to have kidnapped the infant Alexander in revenge for King Graham's rescue of Valanice from his sister.[1].[2] He may be the legendary weather wizard Manannan Mac Lir though his personality has become evil over time.

Background

One day when his first slave was 18 years old, he was caught in Manannan's secret magic lab reading his spells. Fearing that the boy would use his own spells against him, he immediately killed him and kidnapped another infant. To prevent such an incident from happening again, Manannan would kill his slaves when they reached their eighteenth birthday and after doing so he would steal a new slave. Sometimes he was forced to shorten the cycle for some of the more precocious slaves. He even promised some of the slaves freedom if they followed orders, but his near perpetual anger and punishment of minor mistakes meant he never kept his promises.

He despised ignorance in his slaves so he taught them how to read and write, but he would only bring them the books that he felt posed no danger toward his safety. He never allowed his slaves to choose their own books from his library.

It was after one of these cycles that Manannan decided to take revenge on King Graham of Daventry, for the king having rescued Valanice from his sister, Hagatha.[3] Manannan cast a sleep spell on the royal family while they were on a picnic on shores of Lake Maylie. While they slept, he kidnapped the baby prince Alexander from his cradle and returned to Llewdor (though some claim he kidnapped Alexander from his crib in the castle nursery)[4].

He renamed the child Gwydion and enslaved him for seventeen long years, all the while intending to kill him on his eighteenth birthday (or earlier if Gwydion got into too much trouble)[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14].

During this time, Manannan was not personally in control of the Three-headed Dragon[15]; however, he found amusement in observing the beast's trail of destruction across the land while on its way to the Kingdom of Daventry.

However in kidnapping Alexander, Manannan made a terrible error. Manannan taught Gwydion to read and write; doing so would lead to Manannan's eventual downfall. Before Manannan could kill Gwydion, the prince was able to find his spellbook, The Sorcery of Old. Using the book Gwydion was able to curse Manannan to be trapped in the form of the cat for the rest of his days. It was believes that the only person capable of breaking the curse was the one who cast the spell in the first place.

Following his transformation, Manannan apparently fled the house in his feline form, wandering the world until finally making contact with his brother Mordack.[16]

In revenge for his brother's condition, Mordack captured the royal family of Daventry in order to force Alexander to reverse the spell. He threatened the boy, holding him over the feline Manannan, who swatted and hissed at him. However, the poor Prince had no idea how to reverse the spell. He even lied claiming that the spell was an accident; however, the wizards knew better.

Graham later encountered Manannan in Mordack's castle.[17] When Manannan tried to get in his way; Graham distracted him with a fish so that he could capture him in a sack.

Manannan was left behind in the castle after his brother's defeat, when Graham, his family, and Castle Daventry were joyously returned home.[18] He was never seen or heard from again and his fate remains unknown. It is quite possible that the sack is still there containing the remains of the cat. However, Alexander returned to the island later and never found the bag. It is also possible that Manannan, was able to escape by clawing his way out. It may even be possible that he was able to affect a cure for his feline condition; and, if this is true, then Manannan may well be hiding someplace plotting his revenge.[19] The fact that nothing had been heard of either Hagatha or Manannan since Graham destroyed their brother Mordack is likely a bad sign.[20]

History in the Other World

On Earth, there are many stories about a most powerful weather wizard by the name of Manannan Mac Lir (son of Lir), after whom the Island of Man in the Irish Sea was named. It was said that Manannan had a magic horse that could travel easily across both the land the waves, and that he also had a magic ship that could take him anywhere without the use of a sail or oar. He was said to have raised storms at will, wore armor which shone as bright as the sun and which could not be pierced, and that he possessed a cloak of invisibility. These are just some of the wonders that surrounded him. It was also said that Manannan had a special fondness for the Irish. There are even stories that link Manannan with a Welsh hero by the name of Gwydion. Curiously, he is said to be the most happy and generous of wizards who brought happiness to all around him. This is quite unlike Daventry's Manannan.[21] Assuming they are the same being, something must have happened when he withdrew to Daventry that changed his personality.

Personality and traits

The malevolent wizard Manannan, lived in a land far away from Daventry. Manannan is immortal he loved watching mortals suffer, and many passages in his grimoire (The Sorcery of Old) could not be read by mortal eyes.

He had a frail appearance, as though his skin were made of bleached and weathered parchment. Manannan's impression of fragility lasted only until one looked into his coal-black eyes, which burned with a strange fire. His leering gaze would sometimes narrow his eyes into slits and he would smile with a snaggle-toothed grin. In more detailed images he is also shown to have yellowish eyes around his pupils, and pointy elf like ears.

Manannan had the custom of kidnapping infant boys (usually one year olds, though he occasionally took younger babies) and trained them as his slaves. He is the brother of Mordack, and Hagatha. For many years he reigned as the absolute ruler of the land of Llewdor, and under his leadership brigands, thieves and the like prospered. His pointed hat signified his membership in the Magician's Guild.

Manannan kept a watchful eye upon the kingdoms of the world. With a sardonic grin he watched as the three-headed dragon rampaged its way towards Daventry. Manannan's hatred of mankind had intensified with his great age, and his coal-black eyes burned a strange reflection upon the glass of the crystal as he mirthfully watched another human swallowed whole by the vicious beast.

Preferring his solitude, the powerful Manannan was only allowed to be observed by one servant boy, who maintained his house and performed all of his menial chores. Of course, Manannan could have conjured up spirits to do his dirty work, but he much preferred to see the toil and strain of a young mortal suffering under his thrall. Most would call it depravity, but it was fear that fueled the flames of Manannan's hatred of humanity, a fear instilled by a vision from his prophetic crystal ball. For within its walls of quartz had Manannan seen his own hideous destruction at the hands of a conquering hero.

Time had wrought many changes, and with it much sorrow. The kingdom of Daventry was ravaged by the deplorable dragon, and the young Princess Rosella was abducted. The entire kingdom was overcome by the brutal onslaught of the beast, and though forewarned, found themselves helpless to defend against its supernatural strength. Much weeping and wailing was heard throughout the land. Even with its power of prophecy, the Magic Mirror could provide no answers, not even a clue, for some bearer of black magic had cast a cloud of darkness upon its face... And the wizard watched with eyes of venom...![22]

Chores and punishments, work and sleep; this is all Manannan allowed Gwydion to know growing up. And reading; he allowed Gwydion to read books from his library, although he never allowed him to find them for himself. He believed reading kept Gwydion quiet and out of trouble when he wasn't doing anything useful. Most of the time Manannan had him working on chores. If Gwydion didn't get the job done quickly, he would point a finger of punishment at him. He always warned if Gwydion messed up chores once too often, it would be the last thing he ever did. He warned Gwydion if he ever tried to escape, he would be able to find him at once through his looking glass. His penalty for such an act would be death, a prospect which he enjoyed thinking about. Death too was threatened if he ever caught Gwydion with in possession of his personal things, or in possession of anything that might have any magical use. He told Gwydion to, "Keep his hands clean and his pockets empty." Gwydion tried to obey Manannan as best as he could, but Manannan always found a petty mistake for which to exact punishment. In the final weeks of his captivity, Manannan was looking for excuses to terminate his existance. Often would Manannan speak how none of his prior boys, for whatever reasons, had survived past their eighteenth birthday. On some occasions he promised Alexander release when he turned that manful age. By his words and hateful look in his eyes Manannan took pleasure in his plan to kill Alexander on his birthday.[23]


Manannan was a man of extremely fixed and regular habits. His bath always took two measures of the odd time, his studies eighteen, and his sleep twenty-five--the same as his travels. He would rise at exactly the same time each day. Likewise, he would retire to bed each night at the same time, accompanied by the same three fingers of the same awful brandy that his taste favored. When Manannan slept, it was for precisely the same period of time, and when he traveled, he always returned at the same time. It was as if he were a clockwork person with gears that repeated himself eternally. This routine allowed Gwydion to keep track of when and how long he could avoid the wizard at any given time. Manannan kept in his house a magical clock unlike any known in the world of Daventry. It was similar to an hourglass in that it would measure a certain short period of time and then begin again, then again and again and again, for as many times as one might count. The sorcerer kept the device as a curiosity, for it measured the passing of time on an interval unknown to human kind (created by another race, one that came before the humans or after, Manannan wasn't sure which). The clock could be used to measure Manannan's daily activities.[24]

Manannan was both evil and cruel. He kept a keen eye on the countryside of Llewdor using a looking glass in his house's tower; and from there he could terrorize the people who lived in that country.

Manannan delighted in killing the boys who served him, and he killed them for various transgressions.[25]

Manannan had unstable temperaments and moods, his slaves never knew from one minute to the next what he would do. Sometimes he seemed emotionless, his face stony and cold.[26] Other times he appeared hateful and angry. Only once in a while did he soften his face a little, and show a touch of mercy without giving any punishment.[27]

He also has a somewhat twisted and dark sense of humor, in particular in the way he chose to pick his punishments for slaves who disobeyed him, and usually had something witty to day, even when giving his victim their final and permanent punishment.[28]

Manannan kept a chicken pen stocked for his weekly chicken suppers.[29] His table manners were atrocious, slurping, grunting, and picking his nose. He shoveled down his gullet anything that was put in front of him (if properly disguised as food).[30]

Manannan was a prolific writer, recording his many ideas and formulas.[31] He used the Eye Between the Worlds to send his messages to others.

Manannan was also for his lack of patience, wanting his commands to be followed promptly, or food brought to him quickly. He could be out of sorts when his food wasn't brought to him quickly enough.

He could often be preoccupied, with many things on his mind, muttering mumbo-jumbos in other languages to himself.

Manannan was very private with his study, and didn't like his slaves poking around there. Although he did teach them how to read books from the study. But only the books he allowed.

Manannan would not eat off a dirty table, and demanded his slaves keep the table in the dining room clean.

Titles and Nicknames

  • Manannan Mac Lir
  • Wizard Manannan
  • Manannan the Kranky Kitty
  • Manannan of Llewdor[32][33]
  • Mighty Wizard
  • The Wizard
  • The Wiz
  • Little Wizzer
  • Enchanted Sorcerer[34]

Notes

Manannankills
  • His home in Llewdor was later occupied by Karlavaegen a few months after Alexander's escape. No one knew what became of Manannan after he was turned into a cat, and before he joined up with Mordack. He did not find any sign of Manannan when he moved into the house, it was totally deserted when he arrived in the house. There was no cat and no remains of a dead cat. He had apparently escaped (this was confirmed almost a year later when Mordack kidnapped Graham's family). Manannan's house is from where Derek communicates with Earth via the Eye Between the Worlds.
  • If Alexander disobeys Manannan six times (on minor offenses) Manannan will kill Alexander on the sixth time. If Manannan catches Alexander with forbidden contraband, moving the volume on the bookshelf leading to the laboratory or forgetting to lock the wand in the safe, he will kill Alexander on the spot. If Alexander takes too long to defeat Manannan, he will ultimately kill him as well (from running out of food).
  • Manannan has several punishments, including hanging Alexander from the ceiling so that that blood flows to his head, making him exercise uncontrollably for several minutes, turning him into a snail, and locking him in his bedroom.
  • Interestingly, the question is asked during events of KQ5 (see NES version)... Has the ruthless wizard Manannan cast another evil spell? This of course can be a nod back to KQ3... But it might also be a reference back to the spell blocking the mirror in KQ3, or the attack by the Three-headed Dragon was brought on by Manannan, or the spell to kidnap Alexander in the first place. But if anything it suggests that Graham and Manannan had a history connected to each other, and that Manannan has previously attacked Daventry. Oddly enough the description given in the KQ5NES article in Nintendo Power also suggests a historical rivalry between Graham and Mordack. Incidently, in the new reimagined KQ universe Graham and Mordack did know each for some time.

See also

Behind the scenes

Manannan was a Celtic god son of Lir and god of sea and weather. Also guardian of the otherworlds and Ferryman of the dead (much like Charon). Manannan's immortality in the KQ lore is likely derived from the concept of him being an immortal diety in the Celtic lore. In Celtic lore he also has ties to the Fae, was married to Fairy Queen Fand, and at leasr one of his sons was a fairy king as well.

The idea of a powerful wizard keeping slaves or young child apprentices/servants (with no intention of teaching magic) is also not an original idea. In many stories Wizards often take on female slaves/brides.

It appears in stories that more closely resemble KQ3, in such as 'The Thief and His Master' (a german fairy tale) (in which a father sells his son to a Master-Thief/Magician, and the story involves the child's various attempts to escape from both his Dad and his magician master). Another story Master and Pupil (a danish fairy tale) has a boy who becomes a servant for a wizard, and learns spells under his nose, and escapes back to his parents. When the wizard finds out he goes back to his father and buys the boy from him to enslave him, and prevent him from using magic. The boy uses magic to escape the wizard, after a chase and magic duel, the wizard turns into a hen, and then boy turns into a polecat, and bites the bird's head off. In an Italian story, Maestro Lattantio and His Apprentice Dionigi, a wizard-tailor takes on a boy as his tailor apprentice/servant, but the boy is more interested in learning about magic than being a tailor, and spies on his master to learn magic. The boy is lazy, and often punished by his master (but the boy bore it, if only to secretly learn magic). The story ends with the wizard turning into a rooster, and the boy a fox cutting off the wizard's head. A similar story appears in the story Farmer Weathersky from the Red Fairy Book from the Andrew Lang's Fairy Books series (which was a huge influence on Roberta Williams). In the story, the wizard Weathersky kidnaps the boy on his magic flying slay, forcing the father to come to his rescue. Later the boy having to defend himself from the wizard, who is trying to kill him by using the wizards own spells against him (ending with the wizard turning into a cock, and having its head bitten off by the boy in Fox form).These stories likely influenced the ending of Wizard and the Princess and the wanderer changing into a cat, to eat wizard Harlin who was in bird form.

Manannan's visual appearance and some of stern appearance resembles the character Yen Sid from Disney's Fantasia. In the story Mickey Mouse, acts as the Wizard's Apprentice and disobeys the wizard by casting spells to bring mops to life to his chores for him; only for Mickey to be caught and punished at the end of the short.

In KQ5 he is said to be the brother of Mordack.

In the official King's Quest Collection trivia game, King's Questions, and King's Quest Companion (1989, made with Roberta's help and blessing), Hagatha is said to be his sister. Though this fact is not brought up in any of the manuals or the adventure games themselves, other scattered clues in the 1st and 2nd Edition, may imply that he is the same sorcerer and enchanter seen in KQ1 and KQ2 (or at least members of the same organization), which would further explain his reasons for kidnapping Alexander.

Manannan can be described as a "magician", "wizard", "sorcerer", and an "enchanter" in KQ3 parser. Perhaps nodding back to parser choices in KQ1 and KQ2.

Manannan is known for his imaginative non-traditional punishments for those slaves who disobey his orders. These include the slave being forced to exercise, being turned into a snail, and being hung from the kitchen ceiling so that blood flows to the slave's head, among others. If a major transgression is made he kills the disobedient slave with a bolt of lightning, which turns the victim into a pile of ash.

Manannan will kill Gwydion if he takes long to escape or makes too many mistakes (i.e. doesn't change him into a cat or carries contraband magic ingredients). This is part of his habit of killing boys who are old enough to pose a threat to him.

While Manannan (nor his brother) may not have directly controlled the dragon as stated in the Companion (in KQ3, it was implied that the dragon made its own decisions demanding Rosella specifically), the KQ4 manual prologue appears suggest he was behind its rampage to some degree (perhaps having summoned it in the first place), and maintaining a watch over it. It is also implied that Manannan may have been behind the clouding of the magic mirror since it states that a bearer of black magic cast a spell on the mirror, but talks about Manannan throughout the entire prologue.

Manannan is mentioned briefly within The Floating Castle.

It is unknown where he goes on his "Journeys" he may be visiting his siblings, or attending meetings with Wizards in his circle; but most likely that he's searching for a replacement slave as Gwydion was to be killed in the next few days or weeks.

Society of the Black Cloaks

Roberta had discussed making the Vizier, Manannan and Mordack all part of the same organization in a future story. However, its not clear in KQ6 that Manannan was part of the Society of the Black Cloaks, nor is his brother specifically said to be either. They are at least associated with the brotherhood through ties to Shadrack and the Vizier.

Appearances and mentions

Manannan appears or is referenced in these sources:

Manannan (unofficial)

Manannan has appeared in several fan fiction including games, see Manannan (unofficial) for more details.

References

  1. KQC2E, 484
  2. Lizard (KQ3): "When he was a baby, he was stolen from his cradle one night by that awful wizard, Manannan, who brought him here and raised him. I hear he treats the boy terribly.", Bird (KQ3): "See that young fellow over there? When that old wizard, Manannan, kidnapped him, I heard tell his real parents were heartbroken over his loss."
  3. The King's Quest Companion, 2nd Edition, 475, 484
  4. Lizards (KQ3): "When he was a baby, he was stolen from his cradle one night by that awful wizard, Manannan, who brought him here and raised him. I hear he treats the boy terribly.", Birds (KQ3): "See that young fellow over there? When that old wizard, Manannan, kidnapped him, I heard tell his real parents were heartbroken over his loss."
  5. KQ3 Manual, pg: "And so he went on, every 17 years kidnapping a small boy from his loving parents, then slaying him on the 18th anniversary of his birth."
  6. Narrator (KQ3):"Manannan...constantly threatening him","You take it with you, knowing it could mean death if he finds it missing.", "Your own death would result from that! He's too powerful for you.","Manannan would be very suspicious if he were to discover...missing.", Lizards (KQ3): "I hate to think what will happen to him if Manannan finds him.", Manannan (KQ3): "You know you're to stay out of my things, I've no choice but to punish you for this.", "Attempting magic around me will always fail, Be gone, you bore me!", "My magic wand is missing!! It's time to teach you a LESSON, boy!", "I tried to be patient with you, but this is the final straw.", "You're up to no good, Never again will you discover my secrets!", "There's no way you could have collected these things without disobeying me.", "You'll create no magic around me.","You've discovered the secrets of `The Sorcery of Old.' Never again will you disobey me,".
  7. King's Quest Companion, Second Edition, pg 437
  8. KQ5 Manual (PC), pg: "It was his wont to kidnap infant boys and raise them to be his slaves, killing each in turn before he was full-grown and could pose a threat to the wizard's dominance. His most recent vassal, a boy he called Gwydion, was, however, unusually bright and perceptive. He mastered several of Manannan's spells and turned them against him to gain his freedom.", KQ5 Manual (NES), pg: "It was his wont to kidnap infant boys and raise them to be his slaves, eliminating each in turn before he was full-grown and could pose a threat to the wizard's dominance. His most recent vassal, a boy he called Gwydion, was, however, unusually bright and perceptive. He mastered several of Manannan's spells and cast one against him which turned Manannan into a cat. With that, Gwydion was free!"
  9. KQ6 Hintbook, pg: "For you see, the noble youth had discovered that Manannan planned to kill him upon his eighteenth birthday. That usually happy event in the young man's life was but scant days away for the prince. In a desperate bid to save his life, the boy used the wizard's own magic against him."
  10. KQ7 Hintbook, pg: "Gwydion figured out that Manannan intended to kill him on his eighteenth birthday...,and that was only a few weeks away."
  11. KQ8 Manual, pg:"...But now your usefulness to him is ending, and a landmark birthday approaches — you are certain that Manannan will choose to end your miserable life that day. With nothing left to lose, you must finally dare to learn the wizard’s magic spells, explore the world outside the tower you’ve called home, and finally challenge the wizard himself to save your own skin..."
  12. Narrator About King's Quest I-V (KQ6):"Before his slaves were full-grown and could pose a threat to the wizard's dominance, Manannan ridded himself of each in turn. However, Manannan's most recent vassal, a boy he called Gwydion, was unusually bright and perceptive. He mastered several of the wizard's spells and and turned them against the tyrant to gain his freedom. Gwydion was, of course, the kidnapped Prince Alexander."
  13. KQ7AG, pg: "In the land of Llewdor, there lives an evil magician named Manannan. How evil is he? Instead of employing servants to cater to his peculiar needs, he keeps a slave, just one, a young boy whom he kidnaps and then raises from infancy. When the slave reaches his 18th birthday, there is no party - Manannan kills him and starts over with another boy. Now that's evil! Gwydion is Manannan's current slave. He's three days shy of 18 and needs to escape. His plan is simple and dangerous."
  14. KQ Collection 2 Manual, pg 18: "...an evil magician watching your every move, ready to kill you for any mistake."-Roberta Williams
  15. KQC, pg
  16. KQC, 2nd Edition, pg 484, 485
  17. KQC2E, 485
  18. KQC2E, 485
  19. KQC2E, 485
  20. The King's Quest Companion, 2nd Edition, 475
  21. King's Quest Companion, 2nd Edition, 485
  22. KQ4 Manual
  23. KQC3E, 89
  24. KQC3E, 90-91
  25. KQC3E, 89
  26. Narrator (KQ3)"...hisses the old wizard, displaying no emotion, his face stony and cold."
  27. ...eyes narrow to slits... I've a good mind to... His face softens as he continues, Well, maybe next time. For now... GO HOME!"
  28. Manannan (KQ3): "Perhaps you'd like a closer view of the ground...", "Try hanging around in the kitchen a while...", "You need to work off a little of that weight...", "Like a bad little boy, you need to spend some time in your room."
  29. KQC3E, 92
  30. KQC3E, 103
  31. Narrator (KQ3)""The desk is covered with the wizard's writing implements: quill pens, jars of oak bark ink, and parchment paper. Manannan is a prolific writer, recording his many ideas and formulas.""
  32. KQ3 box grey version
  33. PQ3 promo on station computer
  34. Narrator (KQ6)
  35. When looking at Beauty, and in About King's Quest I-V

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