Gamebook store

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A dream to some, a Knightmare to others

Tim Child was a visionary. That’s not unknown among television producers, but what strikes me as rarer is that he was – and is – an innovator. And one with some powers of persuasion, to boot, because he somehow talked the powers that be at Anglia TV into letting him put out a Dungeons-&-Dragons inspired game show in the prime kids’ teatime slot. And it ran for eight seasons. That was Knightmare.

I wasn’t involved in the TV production, but I always enjoyed meeting Tim and taking a look around the studios. I’d been called in to polish a novel of his designed to add backstory to the show. I ended up rewriting quite a bit, though most of the ideas were Tim’s. The only problem, really, was that he’d written it like a TV script, with lots of cross-cutting between scenes that prose doesn’t handle well.

As well as the novel, I added a 105-section gamebook-style adventure. Each year after that, Tim and Transworld (the publishers) came back and got me to do another. From now on I was left entirely to my own devices as regards both the novel and the gamebook part, so I guess they trusted me. All the editors ever asked to know in advance was the title for each book. That's a great way for an author to work!

The first few were drawn from my Dragon Warriors adventures in large part, though relocated in early 13th century Europe. In The Labyrinths of Fear, the hero Treguard got embroiled in a tourney, lost in the wildwood, and encountered the king of the elves – who was freakin’ terrifying, let me tell you. There's a funny story about that and recreational drugs that - hmm, no, better keep it to myself. I didn't inhale, let's leave it at that.

In Fortress of Assassins, which I co-wrote with Oliver Johnson, Treguard went looking for the lost heir of Richard the Lionheart. And his fourth and last outing in an historical adventure setting was The Sorcerer’s Isle, wherein he faced a quest for the Grail in the company of a resurrected Sir Lancelot. Maybe the Grail, maybe Lancelot... you'll get no spoilers here, not even two decades on.

After that the publishers asked me to take the books younger, which meant giving Treguard a back seat, moving the action to present day, and making the protagonists kids. Despite what you may think, The Forbidden Gate was my favorite in the series. I felt I channeled a little bit of Alan Garner and a dash of John Masefield. Enough to satisfy me, anyway. And David Learner, one of the actors on the show, turned it into a stage play. The children who came to see it will be in their thirties now. And that’s scarier than anything in the Knightmare dungeon.

I can give you only this little taste, which comes from Fortress of Assassins. Copyright in the text (both novels and gamebook sections) is not mine but resides with the publishers and Tim Child, so if you find any ripped PDFs online better keep quiet about them ;-)

Tim Child’s daughter once suggested publishing an omnibus volume collecting all the stories together, but nothing ever came of that – and, now that the show is receding into the mists of time, I doubt it ever will. A Kindle edition might be feasible, but you’d have to write to Transworld about that.
The Syrian Desert, AD 1212

The caravan hurrying through the low dunes was not the usual assortment of merchants and pilgrims journeying between Hamadan and Aleppo. For one thing, there were but six people in the entourage and only eight camels – a far smaller party than would usually brave the threatening wastes of the desert, infested as it was with brigands and predatory animals. And it seemed that the party was trying to he as inconspicuous as possible. There were none of the usual gay trappings of bells and colored tassels hanging from the camels' saddles. The bales of silk and silver that they had borne from Hamadan were swathed in a dull, dun-colored cloth. So also were the merchants themselves, as though they preferred to blend against the background of rolling dunes all about them.

The caravan was in a hurry – that much could be seen from the sand kicked up in their wake and the sweat-streaked, dusty faces of the men. At intervals two of the men would stop to cast anxious glances back in the direction they had come. The scene behind them was one to frighten the most hardened of desert travelers: a purple-black cloud, spinning dust devils marking its inexorable progress over the yellow dunes, was bearing down on them from the east. This would have been cause enough for alarm – caravans much larger than this one had been lost forever in such a sandstorm – but it was not the impending storm that filled the men's hearts with dread.

The two who kept stopping to look back were brothers, merchants of Venice – by the look of them too elderly and comfortable to undertake such a journey unless it promised great rewards. Their guards, grim-faced Frankish veterans, were armed with winch crossbows and swords of tempered Toledo steel. They walked with blades bared, anticipating danger.

Over the course of the day, first one and then the others had thought to see a black-garbed figure walking steadfastly in pursuit of them on the very fringe of the dust storm. It had seemed like some unstoppable creature out of Hell. Now, as the sun sank lower in the sky, the shadows at the centre of the storm grew more impenetrable and wind whipped at their cloaks. The storm was upon them.

'Santino,' cried one of the merchants in a voice edged with fear, 'we must abandon it! What are two hundred ducats compared to our lives?'

'Have you so readily forgotten the precepts of our father?' the other jeered back at him, fearless and indomitable where his brother trembled with fear. 'Never surrender what is rightfully yours – those were his words, Giacommo. Even in these heathen lands, the law of possession must hold. I paid a fair price for the thing and it is ours.'

Just as these words were out of his mouth, a searing blast of hot air struck them as if a furnace door had opened in the east. A wall of stinging sand flew into their faces. They hunched down and struggled through the cauldron of dust towards the fast-disappearing rumps of the camels.

'Close up!' the elder brother, Santino, yelled to their guards. Faint answering cries came back to them through the howling storm. Presently they saw three of the guards urging the camels back against the brutal strength of the wind. Of the fourth guard there was no sign.

'By San Rocco, where's Barthelemeo?' hollered one of the guards. 'He'll be lost – we must follow him! Barthelemeo!'

'Don't be a fool. It would be the end for us all if we did that.' Santino, was still ice cool despite the danger.

A faint answering cry came out of the swirling dust ahead. Before the others could stop him, the man who had called out blundered off into the storm, his cloak snapping about him until he was lost to view. A heart-stopping scream followed a few seconds later. The remaining four stood transfixed, nerveless hands clutching at their weapons. They backed away together, their eyes desperately seeking for signs of attack.

'Over there!' another guard screamed. They all whirled to face in the direction of his shaking crossbow. A shadowy form was materializing with faltering steps out of the storm. It was Barthelemeo, the hood of his desert cloak swept back so they could recognize his ashen face. A gush of bright blood covered the front of his chest, and a bubble of it formed on his lips as he tried to speak. No sound came above the shriek of the wind. Instead he pitched forward at their feet. Now they could see that the man's throat had been cut from ear to ear. He was still trying to say something. The younger of the brothers leaned down. He could just make out what Barthelemeo was saying: 'Master, beware… he is like the desert wind… I never saw him.' The guard twitched once, then lay still.

Giacommo got to his feet hastily. Just as he did, another of the guards gave a cry, his crossbow discharging harmlessly into the air. A jagged black throwing knife protruded from his neck, just under the ear. Even before his dead body pitched forward into the sand, Santino had drawn his sword and launched himself in the direction of the attack.

It was his last living action. As if wielded by an invisible attacker, a scimitar flashed out of the stinging wall of sand, severing his head from his body with one blow. Giacommo stood transfixed as the head rolled across the sand towards him, leaving a crescent-shaped trail of blood behind it. It came to rest against his foot. Santino's eyes stared up at him with the same cold imperious glare they had possessed in life. Giacommo slowly dragged his gaze up from his brother's head, his sword dangling uselessly by his side. He was not surprised to see that, somehow, the fourth of their guards had now joined the others in death. He had not even seen the blow that had opened up his rib cage so neatly that his vital organs had fallen to the ground between his feet. Giacommo heard a whimper of fear; it came from his own throat.

Suddenly the wind dropped, leaving a hollow silence. The swirling dust clouds drove off to the west in the direction of the setting sun, casting an eerie purple shadow over the scene of carnage. Giacommo hardly noticed the storm's passing. All his attention was focused on the figure who stood in front of him — a tall warrior clad from head to foot in the black robes of the Hashishin - the Assassins. The scimitar that had beheaded Santino still swung from one hand, its sharp blade caked with dust and blood.

`Saints . . .' moaned Giacommo. His hand brought his sword up in a hopeless gesture, but he lowered it again under the scrutiny of the assassin's eyes. Partially veiled by the swathes of the burnoose, they were of the deepest blue that Giacommo had ever seen; even the waters of the Venetian lagoon could not compare to their oceanic depths. In the face of that cold gaze, his resolve melted. The sword fell from his fingers and he sank to his knees on the sand.

He sensed the black-clad figure walking closer… and past him. Giacommo stared up, slack-jawed. He had expected to die. The figure stood silhouetted against the sullen glow of the sun as it sank beyond the westward-driving storm. With superhuman strength, the assassin flung aside the boxes and saddle-bags that had been slung over the camels. With a savage downward sweep of the scimitar, the brass binding of a chest was smashed open and delicately embroidered Chinese silks spilt out. These the assassin tossed into the evening breeze like so many worthless rags.

Giacommo knew what it was that the stranger sought. 'There,' he pleaded, pointing to one of the camels. 'Take it; only let me live.'

Striding over to the bundle he had indicated, the assassin tore it down and unfurled the cloth wrapping. A sword lay revealed – a sword whose blade shone with the white light of heaven. A black-gloved hand reverently took up the sword and raised it aloft, holding its hilt up to the sunset. For the last time, Giacommo saw the delicately worked hilt: a lion's head of gold with two amethysts for eyes. They blazed as if on fire in the orange glow.

At last the assassin uttered a sound. It was a feral cry that rang out across the sands like the call of a jackal. Then, uttering a low laugh of triumph, the assassin pulled aside the black veil. As Giacommo slipped into grateful unconsciousness, the sight of the assassin's face lingered in his mind like a brand that had been burned on to his eyes. He would remember that face to his dying day.

The assassin was a woman...


  1. KNIGHTMARE!!! I've had just a handful of favourite TV programmes in my life. Perhaps the first was the Transformers cartoon, shown in 5-minute bursts partway through Timmy Mallett's 'Wacaday'. In my late teens and early twenties, there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was probably aimed at people a little younger than myself. Somewhere in the middle was Knightmare, and 4:25 on a Wednesday afternoon was a hallowed time.

    I have to say a few words about the TV programme, before I come to the books. It was so, so, so, so good! If I'd been able to assemble three friends who knew what the hell Dungeons and Dragons was, I'd have absolutely tried to get on that show. I've just looked up the statistics, and in series 1 and 3 there were NO winners. That's right, not one team won in those series! That's a kids' game show you can respect. You answer every riddle right, and you pick every correct clue item – or you die. That's it.

    Around series four the show got prettier, and a lot of outdoor locations replaced the dungeon rooms. But the show also became easier – it seemed that the characters were too eager to help the teams, and that it was pretty much impossible to 'die' in levels 1 and 2 of the dungeon, so that the teams got to play through (and show to home audiences) more of the 'story' of each quest. Still, very few teams managed to complete that third level. Wikipedia tells me that only 8 teams ever succeeded in beating Knightmare, in the show's eight-year history.

    Plus I was a little bit in love with one of the characters, Gundrada. A chick with a big sword and a speech impediment. Hot.

    Every episode of Knightmare can be found on YouTube, incidentally, uploaded by GaryGarratt. Whoever he is.

    Okay, the books. I'll confess it's been many years since I read the 'story' part of any of the books. Yes, a creepy elf rings a bell... and I remember the resurrected (and unkillable) Lancelot. I'll really have to reread those. On the other hand, I read and reread the gamebook sections of those books many times over, and they were great fun. Sort of 'gamebook lite', if you'd just put down one of the Blood Sword books, say, but great fun nonetheless. The gamebook part of the first Knightmare book seemed, if I may be permitted to say so, a little constrained by the mechanics of the TV show – notably by the ever-diminishing life force, and constantly having to hunt for food like some sort of ravenous beast. Interestingly, that story also had the idea of inherently 'sinister' paths – one sentence said something like, 'If you have a choice of two paths and no indication of which is the best, always take the right path – left is the path of darkness and evil'. I'm paraphrasing enormously, of course. It was, too – at least, it could get you killed pretty fast.

    I think the adventure in Fortress of Solitude was my favourite, maybe because it was the first one I picked up. The focus on 'Honour' in the fourth book was interesting – 'You find a fishing rod lying by the side of the river. Do you want to take it?' And, of course, you do, because it's a gamebook, and you should pick up absolutely everything you can carry. But no! 'You've ruined the livelihood of a poor peasant fisherman. Lose 2 Honour Points'.

    Happy times.

  2. I'm blanking on the Fortress of Solitude - unless we're talking about Superman's little pad - but I remember the emphasis on taking right-hand paths. That was an element of the TV series that they asked me to include in the gamebook sections. The first gamebook adventure was weaker than the others, I think. I had less time because that novel needed a lot of work. I do like some of the others, though not as much as the gamebook sections in my Heroquest books.

  3. I've said it before, but I'll say it again... Knightmare was absolute genius. It was years ahead of it's time when it emerged way back in the 80's, but it still stands up even now as a great production and concept.

    Really enjoyed the couple of gamebooks I bought too - Dragon's Lair and Labyrinths of Fear. Board game wasn't half bad either.

    Bring back Knightmare! Bring back Fabled Lands first though!!

  4. Whoops. Meant to say 'Fortress of Assassins'... Something Freudian there - maybe I thought Treguard would've looked good in a cape.

  5. Actually, he DID have a cape, didn't he? That'll be what's causing me to make the connection, then...

  6. Now there's a leap. I don't think Hugo Myatt would quite be any casting director's pick for the Man of Steel :-)

  7. Several of the Knightmare books are available as free downloads here:
    but not the first two.

  8. I'm sure that Random House, Anglia TV and Tim Child would all have something to say about that, Anon. However, in this instance I guess the books are true "abandonware" in that it's highly unlikely they would ever be republished. Although I will point out that you can buy nice (and legal) print copies on Amazon for only a few pennies.

  9. I got an e-mail today from amazon telling me my order of Mirabilis: Year of Wonders, Vol. 2 hardcover has been cancelled because their supplier says the item is no longer available. Is this permanent? I was looking forwrd to having it in hardcover. Apologies for posting this here, but I don't know anywhere else to get a faster or better answer.

  10. Hi Wanderer - I just put up a post about that on the Mirabilis blog:

    It seems that Amazon's ordering systems got confused because the publication date was changed from Oct 2 to Dec 2. So now they're telling people it's unavailable, but in fact it'll be released in less than two weeks. The strange thing is that it's listed correctly on the Book Depository, which Amazon own.

    Anyway, the short answer is that the email you got from Amazon is wrong. Vol 2 will be out in hardcover in time for Christmas. Btw, thanks for your review of Vol 1 - much appreciated!

  11. This is good to hear, I am relieved. Do you think I would get it faster if I bought it from the book depository rather than amazon?

  12. Technically they're the same company (unfortunately, as monopolies aren't good for the consumer) but I get the feeling that the Book Depository's fulfilment is better for books ordered in the UK and Commonwealth.

    Having said that, I suspect the hold up is mainly due to getting the books from the printers (in Bosnia) to the warehouses (in Britain and Ireland) so not sure how long that will take, but I would still suggest the Book Depository rather than Amazon UK.

  13. I was born in 1980, so I'm one of those thirty-somethings which terrify you so much :)

    Loved Knightmare when I was a kid, and the books were the first real historical fiction/fantasy I ever read.

    I'm afraid I only managed to buy the first four of your books (fighting fantasy was entering its twilight years around that time, and pocket money could only stretch so far...), so I missed out on The Forbidden Gate and the rest. It's a shame they were never reprinted. Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel, as Treguard might have said.

    If you had your 'Alan Garner' moment in those later books, I think you were channeling Robin of Sherwood a bit in the early ones. Saxon versus Norman? That struggle seems sadly forgotten these days.

    My favourite book? Labyrinths of Fear. For the wildwood, the dew drenched water meadows, and the elves.


    Alex McIntosh, Carlisle

    1. Robin of Sherwood was a big influence on Dragon Warriors too. In fact, Labyrinths of Fear could easily have been set in Legend. The wildwood and the dew and the elves - yep, that's where I'm coming from, all right.

  14. Hi Dave... do you remember the Knightmare books well enough to answer a plot-related query? (I'm not even sure whether it's a detail of yours or Tim Child's, if he wrote the original draft.)

    1. Sure, Annie. What's the question?

    2. Sorry for the belated reply - I've only just seen this comment after being reminded of your blog by a fellow Knightmare fan. :) My question is about something mentioned in the first novel: when Leahra was imprisoned by the Gruagach at Knightmare Castle, why was she concocting potions for him? The Gruagach was furious when one of Vestan's henchmen spilt a few drops in the dungeon while bringing them to him. It's never explained what these potions were for, and why the Gruagach couldn't make them himself - can you shed any light on this?

    3. Ooh, that's a tough one. I'll need to dig out the book and Tim's original story outline. Leave it with me a few days, I'll see what I can find.

    4. OK, I took a look and it's a long time ago, but I think the answer is that the Gruagach has had to build up his power since returning to Dunshelm. We know that he didn't just waltz in, so he can't have been as powerful when he first arrived. He's disguised as a friar and is implied to have used hypnosis to trick Horgen into taking him in. He's obviously gathered a lot more power by the time the novel starts -- Vestan is in fear of him, and he says he can raise the dead and that Vestan could not possibly hope to kill him. So I think he captured Leahra soon after establishing himself at the castle (probably using illusions and trickery, because we know she's a powerful witch) and then he forced her to create potions that would restore and/or increase his true powers.

      Both Tim and I were familiar with Tanith Lee's writing, and her novel Volkhavaar is one of the likely influences here.
      Lee's book describes a wizard who slowly consolidates magical power and, when he loses it, he sets out to recover it by stealing from other wizards if possible. I think that's what had happened to the Gruagach. He was an ancient creature who had been defeated and almost destroyed long ago, perhaps by one of Tregard's ancestors, and he'd got just enough power to return in the guise of a friar and start building himself up again. A modern equivalent would be Voldemort in the Harry Potter novels. Not that I'm claiming Ms Rowling was inspired by our little book :-)

    5. Awesome, thanks for the reply! I guessed it might be something along those lines. Great to finally hear an official explanation, along with the info about Volkhavaar - I knew Tim was a big Tolkien fan but I wasn't aware of Tanith Lee as a possible source of inspiration. :)

  15. Hello Mr Morris, I don't know if you'll ever see this but I just wanted to thank you for writing the Knightmare series. I read every one and they're still my favourites to this day. I had a happy childhood inded thanks in part to those books. Despite the fact that some parts of the stories were very sad.

    1. Thanks, Louise. I enjoyed writing them too, and I'm glad they meant something to you.

  16. This is a long one, but the detail I go into will show just how deeply the show and your books sunk into my mind, thirty years ago. I still have all six up in the attic somewhere. I repeatedly read the hell of those books, especially the first two.

    I couldn't see the point of the direction the producers took with the last two (reducing their target age). To me it makes zero sense to do the books accompanying the sixth to eighth series of a show that has run most of its course and will soon be cancelled, with them targeted at a YOUNGER audience, when most of the people who would've bought them would be the ones who bought the ones that came before and who would now be five or six years older than when they read the first book. Baffling. But, I am a born completionist and a Knightmare fanatic, so into the collection they went, anyway, even though I was seventeen by the time the series ended.

    The thing I remember most, are a number of quirks about the second book. The full Adventurer's Code only ran in the first one, so by the time the second book came out that "always take the right-hand path" rule was gone, but in it, unless you went right at the very first paragraph split, (which gave you a choice of left, right, or centre) you could not win the game. Even weirder, the left and centre options had whole planned-out routes with fully fleshed-out adventures for you to take, but it was impossible to legitimately win if you went either way, even though the structure of the text implied you should be able to, with alternative ways of getting past different beasts, like using honey to distract Granth the ghoul-bear, or a Courage spell that made you roar at him, scaring him witless. This one-true route to Arawn the elf-king (is he related to the Celtic god of war, death and smeg-in-general?) also meant you had to fail Lilith's cavern by having a rib-bone to offer her (which put her in mind of Eve in the Garden of Eden, and being Adam's first wife, created independent of his ribs, this annoyed her), and get dropped down her chasm, resulting in two lost Life-Force grades.

    The second book had the strongest and best adventure and although I preferred most of the story of the first book, the final confrontation between Treguard and Arawn was utterly kick-arse. The idea of two guys fighting a magical duel over riddles was amazing.

    I remember, the pages in the second book were incredibly loose and kept falling out, because the glue in the bindings perished super-fast. I ended up using a lot of Sellotape on that one. None of the others had a similar problem. Most confusing of all, there was a riddle carved into a flagstone or something in level 2, in a round room with three exits, left, right and straight ahead. The riddle went.... (yes, I am pulling this out of my memory, because I never forgot this...)

    "Widdershins won't do you,
    Dead ahead, too true!
    Diesel's how you want to go,
    To pass on safely through."

  17. I think the idea here, was to make us kids use a dictionary to look confusing words up, and work out that widdershins meant anti-clockwise (so ignore the right door, which would be first if you traced anti-clockwise round the chamber), dead ahead, too true was easy to understand, but "DIESEL's how you want to go, to pass on safely through"....?
    Process of elimination led me to the correct exit eventually and from there on to victory, but for the best part of one and a half decades I wondered what the hell a word describing a modern fuel made from crude-oil had to do with a medieval dungeon quest. Then, one day somewhere around 2003-2005 I went on holiday to Cornwall with my missus and we visited various shops, some of which sold Wicca-related merchandise. (Cornwall is even bigger than my native-county of Wiltshire for Wicca and New Age stuff.) In one of these a lady was explaining to customers:
    'When we cast spells, we either cast the wand widdershins round the circle of salt, that's anti-clockwise; or clockwise, which we call "deosil"… Day-oh-sill.

    And like a thunderbolt from the outstretched hand of Lord Fear, it hit me! My mind jumped with Rainman-like precision back to 1989, when I was eleven and reading the second Knightmare book.... somebody in the editing department had boobed! They had either corrected your writing of the word deosil, not recognising it from Adam and thinking you'd mis-written "diesel", or you'd somehow got the words "deosil" and diesel" mixed-up when writing the book. Seriously, I made Archimedes running down the street starkers look positively normal and humdrum in my moment of realisation.

    After watching all the series' through on YouTube (which ITV very unsportingly keep blocking on copyright grounds.... c'mon guys, release it on DVD or stop being spoilsports. **** or get off the pot!) and seeing all the puzzles in the books, I can honesty say that no challenge stretches the resources more, no task is more guaranteed to end a prospective adventure in its infancy, than just trying to apply for Knightmare.

    When I was about thirteen, I saw the notice on the last show of the year: "If you want to be on Knightmare next year, write to..... blah blah blah." This was in November or December. I wrote off that same day and swiftly recruited three friends whom I thought were likely not to fluff or faff under pressure. The paperwork for entering our team finally arrived in MAY of the following year, giving us approximately two or three weeks to send it in before the closing date. Seriously, try to get three other disorganised teenagers to get you to hand in their full details and four signed passport photos in around a fortnight? I managed mine and one of my potential team of three advisors also gave me his. There died our quest, stillborn. Seemed rather unfair and capricious to me. Was this the producers' way of keeping the number of auditions down to a manageable number? It seemed to me only people whose parents were behind all the organisation, would ever get their entry in, before the ridiculously close final date. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    So, there it is. I loved the books and if I find the box they're in I'd like to dig them out and read the four novellas of Treguard's adventures again. The stories weren't very long, but it seems to me that

  18. they packed a lot of material into a very small space. Thank you so much for your books, they occupied a very special place on my shelf, for years.

    One last question: why was Treguard often-described in the first book as looking atypically "Saxon", with his black hair and beard, when Saxons, being Germanic in origin and predominantly Aryan, were fair-haired?

    1. Looking "typically" Saxon, that should have said, not "atypically".

  19. So many wonderful memories there -- thank you for sharing them. I put a lot of care into those books, and the publishers certainly never noticed so I'm glad at least some of the readers did!

    Where to start..? I probably wrote "deiseil" in the manuscript (the Gaelic spelling of deosil) and then some over-zealous (or over-tired) editor changed it. They were forever doing that. In one of the Heroquest books a character talks about a sword "that is not obviously of any earthly metal" and the editor changed it to "that is obviously not of any earthly metal" which is not quite the same thing.

    I argued against the switch to a younger readership in the later books. I think the publisher's reasoning was that readers were mostly boys, and their claim was that boys gave up reading after the age of 10 or so. I used to say, "They'll read if you give them something they want to read."

    Arawn was indeed the Celtic god -- a bleed-over from Dragon Warriors, that, where the elves and other faerie folk are all the debased remnants of older gods that have been edged out by the coming of "the True Faith". Years later I saw a riddle-duel between two wizards in one of the Vertigo comics (I think either Sandman or Lucifer; somebody out there will know) but as far as I know the one in Knightmare was a first.

    The manuscript for book 1 came to me from Tim Child, the producer of the show, along with editor's notes that were almost as long as the novel itself. My job was to turn it into a novella, as Tim's experience was in writing scripts. I think the final book was about 60% Tim and 40% me. He put in Robin Hood and the dragon. I made the tone a little bit more dramatic, added the prologue to give Treguard's background more bite, and came up with the Gruagach and the final confrontation. (IIRC in Tim's version the dragon flew by farting, which I thought would be great in a Monty Python story but not quite right for Knightmare.)

    Tim was keen on Treguard being Anglo-Saxon to distinguish him from Norman invaders, a theme I think he got from reading Ivanhoe as a kid. But as you say, the actor who played Treguard hardly looked Anglo-Saxon -- and wouldn't the Normans, being descended from Vikings, be largely blond themselves? So that idea of Saxons having black hair was a trope I kind of got saddled with.

    1. A flatulent dragon? O.O Not so much Bealwit, as Beal***t. :D

      Thank you for taking the time to reply, sir. :)

  20. So... fun news, been playing through these as part of a live stream on Facebook Live for lock down.
    Under the banner of Knightmare Live (of which I am the license holder).
    Would love to know what you think.
    4:30pm Fridays on the Knightmare Live facebook page

    1. I don't go onto Facebook much these days, but I'll be sure to take a look.