Gormenghast (Gormenghast Trilogy Book 2)

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She becomes romantically involved with Bellgrove. Vain as a child, thin as a stork's leg, and, in her black glasses, blind as an owl in daylight.

She misses her footing on the social ladder at least three times a week, only to start climbing again, wriggling her pelvis all the while, She clasps her dead, white hands beneath her chin in the high hope of hiding the flatness of her chest. Abiatha Swelter: The fat, sadistic head chef of Gormenghast. His profound hatred for Flay leads him to attempt his murder; however, he is killed by his intended victim. Abiatha Swelter, who wades in a slug-like illness of fat through the humid ground mists of the Great Kitchen. From bowls as big as baths, there rises and drifts like a miasmic tide the all but palpable odor of the day's bellytimber.

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The arrogance of this fat head exudes itself like an evil sweat. Nannie Slagg: An ancient dwarf who serves as the nurse for infant Titus and Fuchsia before him. She is somewhat unintelligent, deeply self-pitying and has an inferiority complex. Nevertheless she is kind and loving, and is the only figure who shows any real affection to the children when they are young.

Her peevish cry goes out: "Oh, my weak heart! How could they? Alone in her small room again, she lies upon her bed and bites her minute knuckles. Sourdust: The Master of Ritual when the series begins. He is the one who coordinates the various arcane rituals that make up daily life in Gormenghast. After his death in the Library Fire, his position is taken up by his son Barquentine. His beard was knotted and the hairs that composed it were black and white. His face was very lined, as though it had been made of brown paper that had been crunched by some savage hand before being hastily smoothed out and spread over the tissues.

His eyes were deep set and almost lost in the shadows cast by his fine brow, which for all its wrinkles, retained a sweeping breadth of bone. Barquentine : Follows his father into the role of Master of Ritual. He is lame in one leg, hideous, and unbelievably dirty. He is a consummate misanthrope who abuses and insults everybody he meets, and who cares only for the rigid application of the laws and traditions of Gormenghast.

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He makes the grievous error of allowing Steerpike to become his assistant. The lynch-pin son of the dead Sourdust, by name Barquentine, Master of Ritual, is a stunted, cantankerous pedant of seventy, who stepped into his father's shoes or, to be exact, his shoe, for this Barquentine is a one-legged thing who smites his way through ill-lit corridors on grim and echoing crutch. Bellgrove: School Professor. One of Titus's teachers, who eventually ascends to Headmaster of Gormenghast.

In many respects, he is the standard absent-minded professor who falls asleep during his own class and plays with marbles. However, deep inside him there is a certain element of dignity and nobility. At heart he is kindly, and if weak, at least has the humility to be aware of his faults.

He begins a rather unusual romance with Irma Prunesquallor. He becomes something of a father figure to Titus. He was a fine-looking man in his way. Big of head, his brow and the bridge of his nose descended in a single line of undeniable nobility. His jaw was as long as his brow and nose together and lay exactly parallel in profile to those features. With his leonine shock of snow-white hair there was something of the major prophet about him. But his eyes were disappointing.

They made no effort to bear out the promise of the other features, which would have formed the ideal setting for the kind of eye that flashes with visionary fire. Bellgrove's eyes didn't flash at all. Also known as the Mud Dwellers or the Outer Dwellers, the Bright Carvers live directly outside the castle walls, crammed closely together in hovels of mud and straw.

Their lives are hard and monotonous, and they live solely on jarl root a kind of tree growing in Gormenghast forest , and crusts of bread lowered down from the castle walls each morning. Their sole obsession is the carving of beautiful wooden sculptures, brightly painted, which they present to the Groans on a particular day each year in June.

Only three of these carvings are chosen by the Earl of Gormenghast to be kept and the rest are burnt. Fierce rivalry exists between the Carvers to present the best carvings, and their lives are dominated by this and by their own long-held feuds and grudges against each other. The Bright Carvers are a race apart from the Castle dwellers, living by their own cultural norms and customs, which are impenetrable to outsiders.

Keda: A woman from the Bright Carvers' village just outside the walls of Gormenghast. She is chosen to be Titus's wet nurse, but eventually leaves this position. She has two lovers, Braigon and Rantel, who fight a duel and both die for her, but not before one of them impregnates her. In the film adaptation, she dies in childbirth. The Thing: The daughter of Keda, foster sister of Titus.

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Due to her illegitimacy, she is an outcast who becomes a feral child living in the wilderness surrounding Gormenghast. She is fierce and untameable, living only for herself, and takes her revenge on the Bright Carvers by mutilating their carvings. Believing that she is in every way the opposite of Gormenghast, Titus becomes infatuated with her. She is killed by a bolt of lightning. No: the face was more mask-like than expressive. It symbolised her way of life, not her immediate thoughts. It was the colour of a robin's egg, and as closely freckled. Her hair was black and thick but she had hacked it away, a little above her shoulders.


ISBN 13: 9781470847906

Her rounded neck was set straight upon her shoulders, and was so flexible that the liquid ease with which she turned it was reminiscent of a serpent. In Titus Alone Titus leaves Gormenghast and after a time spent wandering comes to the city, a futuristic place of glass and steel buildings, flying machines and other modern technology.

Titus is disoriented by the huge contrast between the city and his old home, particularly since none of the people he meets have ever heard of Gormenghast or show much interest in it. In his journey through the city Titus meets a large number of characters, some friendly and some hostile. Later Titus leaves the city and travels to a land dominated by a sinister factory beside a lake. Muzzlehatch is a man who drives around the city in a large shark -like car, who comes upon Titus lying faint on the waterfront and brings him home with him.

He initially helps Titus not because he cares for him, but because he hates the city's police authorities, who are pursuing Titus as a vagrant. Muzzlehatch has a zoo at his house, and when not driving his car, he rides about on some of his animals, such as a stag or a llama. Despite his initial indifference, he becomes a mentor to Titus and helps him navigate his way about the city's confusing and dangerous life. The Driver, a great, gaunt, rudder-nosed man, square-jawed, long-limbed, and muscular, appeared to be unaware of the condition of his car or of the danger to himself or to the conglomeration of characters who lay tangled among their nets in the rotting 'stern' of the dire machine.

Juno is a former lover of Muzzlehatch, who agrees to be Titus' guardian when he is captured and put on trial, in order to save him from going to an institution. Although she is twice his age, she and Titus become lovers, in a passionate but brief affair. However, after the initial excitement of their liaison, Titus feels increasingly trapped and leaves Juno to strike out into the city on his own. Juno was a silhouette against the lighted entrance. From the full, rounded, and bell-shaped hips which swayed imperceptably as she moved, arose the column of her almost military back; and from her shoulders sprang her neck, perfectly cylindrical, surmounted by her classic head.

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Cheeta is a woman about Titus' own age, who finds Titus wandering in a fever and nurses him back to health. In the process she becomes infatuated with him, and fascinated by his fevered ravings about Gormenghast. She is the daughter of a scientist who runs the factory where it is hinted at that sinister experiments are taking place. Although Titus is attracted to her, he spurns her advances, and she resolves to take her revenge.

After hearing Titus telling many stories of Gormenghast, she arranges a mocking pageant or parade with grotesque caricatures of the inhabitants of the castle in order to humiliate him and unhinge his mind. For hers was a presence not easily forgotten. Her body was exquisite.

Her face indescribably quizzical. She was a modern. She had a new kind of beauty. Everything about her face was perfect in itself, yet curiously from the normal point of view misplaced.


Her eyes were large and stormy grey, but were set a thought too far apart; yet not so far as to be immediately recognised. As for the curl of her lips, it was like a creature half asleep, something that like a chameleon would change its colour. Her mouth, today, was the colour of lilac blossom, very pale.

The first book, Titus Groan , was published in to ecstatic reviews [28] and the series has continued to grow in its critical reputation since Peake's death. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation produced a dramatization of all three Gormenghast novels. It was first broadcast in as eight one-hour episodes, and repeated in in four two-hour parts. Sign In Register Help Cart. Cart items. Toggle navigation. Gormenghast By Peake, Mervyn.

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London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, A first edition, first printing published by Eyre and Spottiswoode in In a very good wrapper which is clipped and has some light loss to the spine tips and corners. Exceptionally rare signed. Seller: John Atkinson Books Published: Peake, Mervyn. First Edition; First Printing.