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On the Origin of Daventry

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During the production of the games, three or more official explanations for Daventry's existence as well as if the world is round or flat have been given in various Sierra sources. This article discusses various aspects of Daventry's cosmology.

CosmologyEdit

Flat earth or roundEdit

Throughout the series there are a number of references to suggest that the world is Earth, but just in the past. Like earth's past there are those who believed the world was flat or that the world was round. Certain references in games and its spin off material may suggest both. Sometimes flat and round concept appears in the same source.

Roundworld
In the earliest versions of KQ1 the manual mentions that Daventry circles back on itself as if it is on a world globe (and a diagram is shown portraying the world as being wrapped around like countries on a globe). As if the world had been reduced down to Daventry alone by the magics surrounding the kingdom.

One topic that arises is a matter of poles. It might be questioned why a flat world would have poles, whereas poles would be normal for a round earth.

Yet poles are mentioned throughout the series and spin off material. In KQ8 the gnomic terromancer mentions that he has shifted the earth's magnetic pole just a bit, so that Connor can travel to next area (this reference might be a bit odd that it might suggest a single pole on the earth).

In the KQ5 novel in the Companion it mentions that Icebella lives in the world's polar regions. Earth's North Pole and Arctic regions are mentioned in An Encyclopedia of Daventry but mainly within the context of the Other World (parallel earth idea).

In KQ5 the game, there is a compass in the Wizard's Maze which does align to a north pole, and regular four directional compasses appear on many maps throughout the games series, and in hint books. The north pole is shown on a map compass inthe map of King's questions (although in that game the map is oddly upside down).

In KQ6, the Guidebook tells how the compass stopped working, and those on board the ship, the Round About became lost, and ended up crashing in the Green Isles. The Green Isles map shows a marking for the North Pole on a map compass notation.

In KQ8, The Wizard as a celestial globe in his house, which could only exist if the skies were seen as being part of a round world with both northern and southern hemisphere skies.

Maps in KQ3, and in King's Questions also shows longitude and latitude lines, and the map in King's Questions even seems to imply a curvature to the world as well.

However, as mentioned in KQ6 and KQ8 the concept of 'edge/end of the world' is touched on implying a flat earth interpretation of the world, with oceans or lava that fall off the edge of the map.

However this is usually treated as a 'rumor', as no one has come back to prove this the truth. Some believe, that it leads to the underworld, and the next life. Derek Karlavaegen includes an artwork of a ship getting near the edge in the Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles, and marks this 'end of the world' region on a map in the third edition of the Companion. The map of KQ8 shows the world as a flat disk with much of the world dropping off below. In KQ8 when Connor reaches the Frozen Reaches he is told he is at the end of the world. Which also suggests the world was flat during that game (perhaps due to the cataclysm).

However, when Alexander flies over to the Isle of the Dead and later back to the Isle of the Crown. It appears that water exists the entire way between both islands, and there is an implied curvature in both directions as the islands appear on the horizon.

Most maps in the KQ companions avert the issue by marking the edge of the maps as 'unknown', and giving many different rumors and theories of what may beyond. The third edition went as far as marking both an 'edge of the world' (only up near the Green Isles) and an 'unknown' on the same side of the map (to the south, and east of Kolyma).

Oddly, depending on the edition, the 'Enchanted Island/s' are marked in the same general location in the south, but on opposite sides of the map, which could imply possible wrapping of a globe for that location.

Earth's pastEdit

According to the games, manuals, designer comments, etc, Daventry is set on Earth in the medieval past. Many of the manuals, and references within the games, pointed out that the kingdom of Daventry existed during a legendary time, a long time ago, when magic and mystical creatures still roamed the earth. It is surmised the reason why many of the earth's legendary creatures, historical and mythic characters are referenced in earth literature is because they once existed in the world. Even in material related to KQ8, the game is said to be set a long time ago, and the Gnomes refer to the world as earth.

"A long, long time ago, when unicorns still roamed the forests and the merfolk still dwelt in the shallow waters frequented by men, there ruled in the kingdom of Daventry..."-KQ1 manual.

You fall toward a distant earth.-KQ1AGI

Woodcutters give ...their last earthly possession..."-KQ1AGI

"I'm afraid my time on Earth grows short."-Edward, KQ1SCI

"A long, long time ago, when creatures of myth and magic walked the earth openly with lesser mortals, there dwelt in the kingdom of Daventry..."-KQ2 Manual

"A long, long time ago, when magic was the only science known to man...learned in all matters of the heavens and earth. "-KQ3 manual.

"A long time ago, in a kingdom called Daventry, there lived a King named Edward."- KQ Collection 2 manual (KQ4 chapter)

"Once, in a kingdom called Daventry...According to legend, shortly after Rosella's rescue King Graham decided it was time to pass on his adventurer's cap..."-KQ4 Manual

"Long ago, in the kingdom of Daventry..."-KQ5 Manual

"A long time ago, there was a peaceful and prosperous kingdom called Daventry."-King's Quest collection manual (KQ5 section).

"A long time ago in the castle of a kingdom called Daventry..."-KQ6 intro.

"Long ago, in the kingdom of Daventry..."-KQ6 ("About King's Quest I-V")

"...face of the Earth...Mother Earth...anywhere on earth"-Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles.

"In a time long ago, magic and myth is embodied in every living creature roaming the world. Unicorns graze in forest meadows, wizards concoct mystical spells and kings and queens manage thriving kingdoms."-KQ8 demo/website description

"...the place where the earth meets the sun."-Manual, KQ8.

"I can shift the earth's magnetic pole just a tad..."-Gnomic Terramancer, KQ8.

"Once Upon a Time in a Land Faraway..."-Roberta Williams[1]

"The chronicles of Daventry are retold, these centuries later, as the tales of King's Quest."-Roberta Williams[2]

"Well, ya, King's Quest is on earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams, Mask of Eternity Talkspot Interview, 1998, part 1 (1:20:40 to 1:59:58)[1]

"...no power on earth..."-Kingdom of Sorrow, pg 60

"...right down to the center of the earth."-See No Weevil, pg 103

Additionally in the Mask of Eternity, Connor and a parchment refers to the planet Jupiter as well as the constellation Leo, showing that they are part of Daventry's celestial sky.

Parallel universeEdit

In contrast, Peter Spear, et al, the authors of the King's Quest Companion, insisted that Daventry is located in a parallel universe that exists beyond our senses. They did not have a name for the world, but in time began to call it the "World of Daventry". The citizens of Daventry had withdrawn from Earth (which they call the Other World) and still communicate with us from there. The events of Daventry appeared to more or less occur simultaneously with last part of 20th century's earth history between the early 1980 to late 1990's with events in Daventry representing a time of 20-25 years passing (although apparently both worlds exist at slightly different rates of time). From Companion's perspective Derek Karlavaegen's "present" goes as far as the events just after King's Quest 7 and with any other unpublished material concerning future events that Peter Spear claimed to have received (these appear to occur more or less parallel to Earth's "present", c. 1980's to 1998) rather than some distant future or distant past point in time. The messages would be sent to our world soon after occurring in their world.

However the material Peter Spear received apparently included information about later events about games that Roberta would later go on to make. Derek sent information concerning KQ1-4 before Roberta made the games. He sent information about KQ5 and a few other future adventures (and a few post KQ5 and KQ6 events) before KQ5 was made. He may have sent more detailed information about events of KQ6 shortly before the game was made. KQ7 was an exception as apparently the game came out (or rather Derek learned of rumors of the game from the other world) before he learned of the events in his own world, leading him to think the Great Dreamer was influencing his world and changing it). Peter Spear notes in a few editions that there were material he chose not to publish in the Companion; on adventures he "received" from Derek concerning events that hadn't been made into games "yet" (but may be at some point).

In the various editions of King's Quest Companion, Peter Spear argues that the letters he receives from Derek, represent the real universe of Daventry as opposed to the "programmed world", the "computer games". I.E. Roberta was inspired and wrote a work of fiction & series of games based on her dreams of the universe. The implications of this are that games such as the remake of King's Quest 1 and elements of King's Quest VII may not actually represent the "true" history of Daventry as told by Derek Karlavaegen, but are Roberta's personal interpretations, retellings, and modifications. For example the original AGI version of KQ1 is considered closer to the "truth", the remake is treated to be Roberta's interactive "fiction" inspired by the "true events". In addition KQ7 may not be a "true story" at all, although it might have become truth due to Roberta's influence on the world through her dreams. This is even used to explain differences between KQ6 novel and the game.

Thus the 'truth' might be that Daventry maybe in a parallel world, but Roberta interpreted it to be part of our world as part of her 'creative design' choice in telling the story rather than being the "real" story (as given to Peter Spear). In this sense the games are simply games in our world written by various designers, putting in their own interpretations, rather than being authentic primary sources. Similar to how a movie director may change the events of a story for dramatic effect. Though it is said over time Roberta gained some kind of power to reshape Daventry as her dreams became stronger (and thus KQ7 could represent her changing Daventry's reality).

Peter Spear never gave any specific dates as to when people withdrew, or when the events in the stories took place. In the official timeline the date of the first withdrawal had to have occurred over 10,000 years before Graham's Coronation if not more (if information in Kingdom of Sorrow is taken into account).

Time travel Edit

The only possible scenario that would allow both ideas that Daventry to exist in both the past, but also parallel; would be if the people withdrew from historical earth into earth's ancient past. The universe of Daventry would be the same earth, but in the distant past.

In this scenario time functions parallel other periods of time; allowing communication between people from the past and future. This would also explain why the planet is called earth. Such as the manuals, gnomes and even the occasional human referring to the world as earth.

Derek even suggests that the 'contemporary time' in Daventry, and time on earth function at different rates. This may support the idea that some kind of time dilation exists between both worlds.

Peter Spear even nods to time travel when discussing the universe, and the possibility of the existence of the multiverse, see time warp. Although Derek Karlavaegen never seems to realize he may be speaking to people of another time.

The idea of kind of time travel in which the traveler is actually passing to a parallel universe is a similar ideas found in quantum mechanics. A good example is given in the novel Timeline by Michael Chrichton. In the novel the author stated that in the quantum mechanics of time travel, travelers don't actually travel back in time but rather they slide over into a parallel dimension... As described in the book it is similar to how every loop on a coil of a spring is parallel to every other loop on the coil but still connected to each other from one end to the other. So the term time travel is a misnomer as the person isn't actually traveling back in time but rather crosses over to time that is parallel to other points in time. Even though the time traveler exists in a parallel dimension one can still partially influence the future by the actions committed in the past because time moves forward it will eventually catch up with his original dimension as the coil of time winds up to his original point in time.

Time travel allows for many different anachronisms to work including the KQ8 occurring at year 1000 and having gravestones from the 1600s and 1800s sent into the past. It also allows for explanation as to why Daventry would be using an apparently Gregorian calendar as they exist past the point in time when the calendar was invented.

Meta-fictional game universeEdit

An additional  concept that appears in some of the non-KQ specific sources such as Hoyle I, and Leisure Suit Larry series, may suggest that events, places, and peoples from the KQ games exist in a kind of meta-physical universe inside of a game, a world known as King's Quest (which may crossover into other game universes at times). This concept is not mutually exclusive with the earth's distant past, the multiverse theory or the time travel theory (in some cases elements of all three are used by various characters in referencing the details).

The meta-fictional and multiverse/time travel ideas are also shared with the meta fictional parallel world Larry Laffer explores in the LSL series as portrayed in the first three games, and expanded upon in Peter Spear's LSL Bedside Companion (see Multiverse. In this case Roger is able to meet and interact with Rosella from Daventry, with Rosella visiting from her own world in the multiverse (perhaps a mix of game universe/real dimension mixed together). The Official Book of Leisure Suit Larry also follows a similar approach to Rosella (Al Lowe Interviews Rosella). 

Even the Space Quest games plays with meta-fictional approach and time travel to a degree (however it is set in future in contrast to King's Quest set in the past). In contrast to the LSL Bedside Companion, while the KQ Companion is meta-fictional in its own way, the games are treated as separate from the true universe in which KQ takes place (though at least Derek Karlavaegen is aware of the fact that the video games exist in the parallel world, though by the release of the KQ7 related material by Peter Spear, Roberta's game world begins to influence the world). However the meta-fictional aspects in KQ games are generally muted in the KQ world; in others game universes even the narrator is treated as a unique character in which characters sometimes break the 4th wall and directly interact with both the player character and the person playing the game (this is rarely done in the KQ games).

As such as other games exist in their own meta-fictional state; they (and each game they reference within) may exist outside of regular time and space. These additional interpretations of Daventry exist often in the form of easter eggs in other Sierra game franchises.

Thus Larry Laffer of LSL encounters Rosella in Hoyle I/III, LSL2/3 and in Rosella's First Quest (and other encounters mentioned in the The Official Book of Leisure Suit Larry). Daventry and Lytton coexist on similar time frames; news from Daventry is reported on in Lytton. Daventry is part of the distant medieval past in Laura Bow games.

  • In Hoyle, Book of Games Volume I, the game suggests that the world of King's Quest exists, in a sense 'parallel', to the worlds of many of the other Sierra games. Each of those games exist at different points in the Sierra timeline (Space Quest is in the "future", King's Quest in the medieval past, Colonel's Bequest in 1925, Police Quest in the present, etc). So time travel is still suggested.
Rosella: "Tis strange indeed, Sir Roger, that you are trapped in this game! I myself am finding this to be a delightful break from King's Quest."
Colonel Dijon:"Girl, don't you know this is 1925, not the Middle Ages?"-Hoyle Volume I
  • It is also suggested Hoyle I that the designers of Sierra are essentially the great implementers of the Sierra universe, and are able to manipulate the individuals from each of the games series from both time and space. One such programmer, Warren is the one behind bringing all the individuals together into his "game" parlor (via Ken Williams' suggestion), and believes they are all creations in the machine. Most of the characters are skeptical of this detail, believing they are "real". Sonny Bonds believes he came to the game on his own, during his off-duty hours. Roger Wilco believes he was 'kidnapped', and as for Rosella and Graham, they were brought from their home kingdom, but don't mind the fact. Various characters including Rosella acknowledge they are from the game realm of King's Quest (though some see as existing in the medieval period or at least both in the past and a game world).
  • In the Laura Bow universe, Daventry was a kingdom that existed long ago. As stated in Hoyle I, the Middle Ages. The Leyendecker museum has a painting in its collection depicting King Graham suffering an eternity in Hell. Laura Bow wonders if the key attached to the painting opens Pandora's Box (a nod to KQ4). They also were able to obtain the well preserved body of the dead King Edward of Daventry and a Unicorn. In LB1 doing certain things may mention King's Quest III or King's Quest IV.
  • In Police Quest series Daventry appears to be a contemporary kingdom on Earth. The Lytton Tribune was reporting the attacks on the kingdom by the 3-headed dragon, and later on Graham's heart attack. Sonny Bonds lives in California, the original location of the World-Famous Talking Bear. Although note in Hoyle I Sonny acknowledges it being in the past.
  • The Leshy of Mordavia shudders at the mention of Cedric the Owl.
  • Larry Laffer encountered Rosella in LSL2 (who at the time was away from Daventry and running a hair salon) he liked Daventry girls, and in Hoyle I, he also encountered an actress portraying Rosella at Sierra On-line studios, when he crossed the multiverse from his game world to a parallel Earth. A moose in Lefty's in the LSL1 is said to be from KQ3 (this moose has a tendency of showing up in several of the Sierra games), and if you try to climb a box in room with the pimp, the narrator states that you aren't playing KQ3.
  • The Hero of Gloriana once knew the fairy Genesta, and the fairy Erana reminded him of her. Rosella dolls are popular product in the world as well. The Hero pokes fun at King Graham, by calling him King Graham Cracker. The Rosella stone makes an appearance.
  • A familiar looking owl, met his demise just outside the desert town of Coursegold, in the late 1800's.
  • Graham ("Maharg") is seen being carried by a Roc across the skies of the planet Estros.
  • Graham is referenced twice in Freddy Pharkas, first as K. Graham of Daventry on a notice in the General Store Graham of Daventry was no longer responsible for any debts incurred by his wife and children, and second time as a story being told by Whittlin' Willy about the time Graham ran afoul of a wizard.
  • Graham's Board Game Challenge is somewhat meta-fictional in nature.
  • The questions asked of Alexander and his wife and the Captain in the game of King's Questions are meta-fictional in nature.
  • A merchant in Conquests of the Longbow (c. 1193) was selling fine rugs from the King's palace in Daventry, that had been auctioned off for a fraction of their worth. The rugs were thick, luxurious with a foreign look to them. He also knelt on a thick rug woven in the Daventry style. One shows the crest of Daventry and another has the shield of Lytton 
  • A couple of articles and stories in Interaction Magazine such as Rosella's First Quest, and one involving Bookwyrm of Mixed-Up Fairy Tales also took a meta-fictional approach and referencing the land of Sierra.
According to Graham his favorite book is; "That would be Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott. It has action, intrigue, romance, adventure, and romance--very inspiring!. it's historically accurate, with all kinds of fascinating information about knights and the medieval world. Of course you have to take it with a grain of salt. Whoever heard of a world with no dragons, unicorns or magic?".
According to Rosella she has a favorite book series; "Not book, dragon friend, books. I love The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. It's a seven book series, set in a wonderful fantasy world where horses talk and evil witches live. There's a nice royal family who gets in all kinds of trouble and they always end up going on a quest--hmm, no wonder I like it."[5]
  • A few Easter eggs and plugs for other Sierra games in KQ2, KQ3, and KQ4 play off the meta-fictional aspects with Graham or other character interacting with and acknowledging having seen and being confused by the plug with their own eyes (according to the Narrator). This includes a notice behind a tree, a hole in the rock at the top of the cliffs, the messages behind the tapestry in Manannan's house, and a message bottle in in KQ4.
  • In KQ3 there are references to Half Dome, and in KQ6 the 'world famous talking bear' in the pawn shop.
  • There are only a few examples where the narrators in KQ games break the fourth wall and talk to the person playing the game directly. Usually the narrators play it straight and act more like the thoughts and conscious of the game character (describing what the character has interacted with, and what he or she is thinking). A few exceptions exist such as in KQ4 AGI the narrator references Jim Walls is busy making Police Quest II (if you try to interact with certain walls in the game), and in KQ4 SCI if you try to do anything lewd with Rosella the narrator states that you should probably should purchase a copy of Leisure Suit Larry or 'not in front of the players' (if the player tries to undress her). In KQ6 if the player causes Alexander to fall off the first couple of blocks on the cliffs of logic, he will yell at the player. In KQ5 if you try to use the talk icon on Graham, the narrator will state "Talking to yourself again, Graham?" (however Graham does not acknowledge the narrator).
  • Note: While the narrator in KQ1-KQ4 often describes the character being played as "you" (only occasionally describing the character by their name Graham, Gwydion, or Rosella, respectively); this is the character in the game rather than the player ("you" is Graham, Alexander or Rosella respectively). Later games 5-6 usually specify that narrator is referring to "Graham", and "Alexander" respectively (with almost no references to 'you' or 'yourself' unless specifically referring to the character by his name). In most cases in both versions of narrative POV, the actions or thoughts of the character are being described to the player. In the later games the character's name is used specifically in the descriptions. As mentioned in general the narrator doesn't generally interact with the character (speaking to the character) but takes a more third-person approach. There is almost no examples of the character acknowledging the narrator or the player (other than one easter egg in KQ6). There are also a few narrations in which the narrator explains that an action the player is trying won't work (in particular the first four games) but these are played straight (no direct interaction with the character or response by the character).
  • In Space Quest  series Castle Daventry appears in SQI AGI; as referenced in Hoyle I; Roger can push a button and end up in The Daventry Zone in the castle Daventry's moat (which is fully stocked with alligators), although in the game Ken and Berta are inhabiting the castle. In SQ2 someone left graffiti in the bathroom suggesting that Graham cross-dresses (technically he son can in KQ6). Cedric was included in the game of Ms. Astro Chicken in SQ4 and can be shot for bonus points. In SQ4 the series is still in development by Sierra; King's Quest XXXXVIII: Quest for Disk Space. Graham  is mentioned when talking to an airlock in SQ6 with the narrator mimicking Cedric. In SQ6 it is said that prisoners are sent to labor camps on Daventry VII.
  • Jones in the Fat Lane makes reference to King's Quest XXIX.
  • In EcoQuest KQV is installed on a computer in sealab.

Behind the scenes Edit

Peter Spear and the game designers gave competing ideas throughout the production of the series (up to King's Quest: Mask of Eternity and King's Quest bundle collections) and the the last edition of the King's Quest Companion (up to KQ7). One interesting thing of note is that some of the material in the Companion was created from notes & design documents from the developers.

Game documentation and the games were influenced by many of the game's developers. Roberta apparently wrote the second version of King's Quest I manual. She also worked with Mark Seibert and Cheryl Sweeney on the KQ8 manual. Annette Childs wrote the stories in the manual for King's Quest II and III. Jerry Albright wrote the manual for KQIV. Bridget McKenna wrote the manual for KQV. Josh Mandel wrote the script for King's Quest I remake. Jane Jensen wrote most of the material for KQ6 in-game dialogue and the manual, Lorelei Shannon apparently wrote most of the material for KQ7. Roberta wrote the dialogue and script for Mask of Eternity.

Roberta Williams herself stated the view that Daventry was on earth (see quotes above). But she at least acknowledged the King's Quest Companion books; "The King's Quest Companion is an interesting blend of fiction and helpful information for playing my games. Anyone interested in reading the story behind King's Quest or who just needs to be "unstuck" while playing the game will find this book invaluable."[3], "...a wonderful blend of fact and fiction that brings my games to life in an exciting new way. It adds another fascinating dimension to the entire King's Quest experience. It truly is a pleasure to read and a must have for anyone hoping to explore the series in greater depth and detail."[4]

Mask of Eternity's material never comments on when it specifically takes place in relation to other games in the series, but references to "long, time ago" exist in the some of the related material (the now defunct website), and references to earth exist in the Realm of the Gnomes, and the manual. There are also reference to the planet Jupiter and the constellation Leo as part of Daventry's celestial sky. Although KQC 4th edition may imply it is within 20 or 25 years in the timeline as the game is advertised in the back of the book (going by the original timeline; some 3 or more years after KQ7).

An apparently unused easter egg in KQ1EGA makes mention of 'medieval' flame throwers[5], and a comment made in Daventry in KQ8 if certain easter egg ('leslie') is activated via the debug mode also speaks of the game taking place in 'medieval' times (about year 1000). It also doubles as a Y2K reference.[6] Hoyle I suggests it takes place in the Middle Ages, and Graham notes in an article on Interaction that his favorite book is Ivanhoe and that is historically accurate to the medieval period he lives in except that it lacks magic, dragons, or unicorns.

However note that the tombstones in KQ4 use earth dates and references set as early as 1669 and into the 1800's..

ReferencesEdit

  1. Interaction Magazine, Fall 1992, pg 29
  2. Interaction Magazine, Fall 1992, pg 29.
  3. King's Quest Companion, First Edition cover
  4. King's Quest Companion, 3rd Edition cover
  5. "Even as you are reaching for your medieval flamethrower, the King's agents descend upon you. You are taken away to be torched at dawn."
  6. Leslie Steiner has verified that this product is year-1000 compliant with all medieval standards.

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