[[quoteright:332:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/0060763698.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:332:Larger than the world, or small as in a nut.]]

A [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin series of four books ]] by British young adult fantasy author Creator/DianaWynneJones, best known for Literature/HowlsMovingCastle and Literature/{{Chrestomanci}}. ''The Dalemark Quartet'' is about a country called Dalemark with a troubled history. It differs from Wynne Jones's usual fare, in that it is a quite serious fantasy epic, whereas many of her works, such as ''Literature/TheToughGuideToFantasyland'', are satirical.

There are four books in the series. In order of publication, they are...

#''Cart and Cwidder''
#''Drowned Ammet''
#''The Spellcoats''
#''The Crown of Dalemark''

[[AnachronicOrder Chronologically]], ''The Spellcoats'' takes place first, during Dalemark's prehistorical period. ''Cart and Cwidder'' and ''Drowned Ammet'' overlap somewhat, but ''Cart and Cwidder'' generally comes first, as its events are over before the action really starts in ''Drowned Ammet''. ''The Crown of Dalemark'' takes place last.

[[RotatingArcs Each book has a different protagonist]], although all of the characters appear in the final volume, ''The Crown of Dalemark''.

* '''Moril''' - Short for [[OverlyLongName Osfameron Tanamoril]]. A [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} dreamy young boy]] from a family of traveling musicians. Carries a harp-like instrument with [[MagicMusic incredible mystic powers]]. Do not [[BewareTheNiceOnes make him mad]].
* '''Mitt''' - Short for [[PlanetOfSteves Alhammitt]]. [[PardonMyKlingon Incredibly foul-mouthed boy]] from [[ArtfulDodger the slums of]] Holand. A member of Holand's LaResistance that does nothing...[[ChildSoldier until Mitt convinces them]] to have him [[IncrediblyObviousBomb bomb the earl]]. Is actually [[spoiler: [[RoyalBlood heir]]]] [[spoiler: [[RagsToRoyalty to the crown of Dalemark]]]] and one of the [[spoiler:[[TheAgeless Undying]]]].
* '''Tanaqui''' - Named after the scented rushes that grow on the riverbank. Has four siblings [[ThemeNaming named after birds]]. Skilled at weaving and [[spoiler:able to use magic through it]]. [[PeopleOfHairColor She and her siblings]] are chased out of their village and escape by riverboat, which leads them into an encounter with the king and draws them into the struggle against an EvilSorcerer. Her father was married to [[spoiler:[[SecretLegacy one of the Undying]]]], and Tanaqui and her siblings are ''literally'' the ''[[spoiler:[[GrandpaGod grandchildren of god]]]]''.
* '''Maewen''' - Short for Mayelbridwen, a pollution of Manaliabrid. A normal girl from modern Dalemark who [[TimeTravel winds up two hundred years in the past]]. Looks [[IdenticalStranger like Noreth Onesdaughter]], a girl with a claim to the empty throne of Dalemark. Maewen must [[DeadPersonImpersonation impersonate]] Noreth while keeping her [[SecretIdentity true identity a secret]]. Follows [[TheQuest the royal road]] as Noreth intended, but plans to pass the [[RequisiteRoyalRegalia four royal artifacts]] off to Amil the Great, who unites Dalemark in her own history.

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!!Provides Examples Of:

* AllMythsAreTrue - It's the "official" history of Dalemark that's in question.
* AllThereInTheManual - The second volume (last two books) is followed by "A Guide to Dalemark," a sort of glossary of terms and characters. It includes supplementary information not defined in the text, as well as juicy tidbits about certain characters' futures.
* AlmostDeadGuy - In ''Cart and Cwidder'', Moril, without even realizing he's doing it, manages to use the magic of the cwidder to keep his father alive as he's dying.
* AlphaBitch - Hildy
* AlwaysChaoticEvil - BigBad EvilSorcerer Kankredin.
* AnachronicOrder - The third book is chronologically the first.
* AnarchyIsChaos - No king means every earl can do whatever the hell he wants in his domain. The North manages fairly well, but in the South...
* AndThisIsFor - Moril.
* AncientTomb - King Amil the Great's tomb in ''The Crown of Dalemark''.
* AncestralWeapon - The Adon's sword.
* ArrangedMarriage - Hildy is arranged to marry Lothian, Lord of the Holy Isles; Robin is forced into a spur-of-the-moment engagement to the king of the Riverlands.
* AutomatonHorses - Subverted by Maewen's horse.
* AwesomeMomentOfCrowning - [[spoiler:Mitt]] ''completely unintentionally'' argues his way into getting the crown.
* BadassBookworm - Navis.
* BadassCrew - Maewen's traveling party (minus [[TheChick Maewen]]) in ''The Crown of Dalemark''.
* BadassFamily - Closti's sons and daughters.
* BadassNormal - Mitt can call on supernatural powers, Moril has a magical cwidder, but Navis...is just ''extremely'' competent.
* BarbarianTribe - Played with in ''The Spellcoats'': both warring peoples consider the other group "Heathens", but they're both equally civilized. Lampshaded when they meet and start calling each other Heathens.
* BattleInTheRain - The climax of ''Cart and Cwidder''.
* BigBrotherIsWatching - South Dalemark
* BloodBrothers - In ''The Spellcoats'', Kars Adon and Hern form this kind of bond...which [[spoiler:conveniently makes Hern Kars Adon's heir when Kars is murdered]].
* BlowYouAway
* BlueBlood - Half the cast.
* BodyguardCrush - Moril and Mitt on Maewen.
* BolivianArmyEnding - It's implied that this is what happens to [[spoiler:Hobin]].
* [[ABoyAndHisX A Boy And His Cwidder]]
* BreakTheCutie - Poor Moril.
* BreakTheHaughty - Earl Keril of Hannart.
* TheBrigadier - Navis post-''The Crown of Dalemark''.
* BrokenPedestal - When Mitt meets [[spoiler:his father]], he finds that he's a truly vile human being.
* [[BusmansVocabulary Busman's Vocabulary]] - Hilariously played with Hildy's use of lawschool slang.
--->This grittling the boys on fayside were at trase with peelers, would you believe! They had sein right too, so it was all kappin and no barlay. We only had mucks. But Biffa was our surnam and you should have seen the hurrel. Now highside is doggers and we have herison from scap to lengday, and everyone looks up to us although we are to be stapled for it. In haste to trethers. Hildrida.
* CallOnMe - Old Ammet and Libby Beer.
* CallToAgriculture - This is what Mitt ''wants'' to do. [[spoiler:TheCall doesn't care what Mitt wants.]]
* ChangingOfTheGuard - Each book has a different main character, although ''The Spellcoats'' is actually set ''much'' farther in the past than the rest of the series.
* [[ChekhovsSkill Chekhov's Skill]] - Tanaqui's talented weaving turns out to be more than just a handy domestic skill.
* ChildMage - Duck, Mori to an extent
* TheChosenOne - He came North on wind's road, with a great one to guide him behind and before.
* CityOfSpies - Just about any city in the South.
* ClingyMacGuffin - The Adon's ring, which adjusts its size to fit ''any'' finger of the rightful heir to the crown of Dalemark.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}} - Moril is a mild example.
* ContemptibleCover - A lot of the covers are bad, but one particular [[http://i50.tinypic.com/2gy395c.jpg Cart and Cwidder]] cover takes the cake.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass - Navis in ''Drowned Ammet''.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome - In-universe, Moril + Cwidder = This
* DarkSkinnedBlond - The people of the North. In ''The Spellcoats'', the Heathens.
* DawnOfAnEra - In two separate books: ''The Spellcoats'' marks the beginning of Dalemark history, with the crowning of the legendary King Hern, the first king of Dalemark; in ''The Crown of Dalemark'', Dalemark's [[EndOfAnAge centuries of interregnum end]] with the ascension of King Amil the Great.
* DeadpanSnarker - Navis, ''so'' much.
* [[DidntSeeThatComing Didn't See That Coming]] - Keril was definitely not expecting to see one claimant to the throne crown the other.
* DirtyBusiness - ''The Crown of Dalemark'' opens with Earl Keril and the Countess of Aberath ordering Mitt to assassinate a claimant to the throne.
* DividedStatesOfAmerica - Or: Divided Earldoms of Dalemark.
* {{Doorstopper}} - The omnibus editions.
* DownerEnding - ''The Crown of Dalemark'' may or may not have one of these depending on whether [[spoiler:Maewen is Undying or not]].
* TheDreaded - Harchad, Earl Hadd's second son. Mitt brushes Harchad's reputation off right up until he sees him...and then everything he's heard catches up with him and he practically wets himself in terror.
* EarnYourHappyEnding - Good god, poor Mitt.
* EarWorm - In-universe, Dagner is good at composing these.
* EndOfAnAge - Although it's not quite so obvious, Amil's ascension to the throne marks the beginning of an age of reason. Before then, belief in the Undying was pretty much a given, so in Maewen's time, they're mostly considered a superstition.
* EnemyToAllLivingThings - Kankredin
* TheEngineer - Alk
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep - The Countess of Aberath, whose real name is never even mentioned by her ''husband''.
* EveryoneIsRelated
* EvilSorcerer - Kankredin in ''The Spellcoats''.
* FantasyGunControl - Guns exist in Dalemark, but primarily in the wealthy South, where the earls (who have all the money) can afford to finance gunsmiths and arm their soldiers with guns. In the North guns are much rarer, restricted to a handful of moderately wealthy earls, and smuggled from the South. The North's and South's armor reflects this: soldiers in the South wear metal breastplates with exaggerated curves to deflect bullets.
* FantasyWorldMap - ''[[LeftJustifiedFantasyMap Left Justified]]'' [[LeftJustifiedFantasyMap Fantasy World Map]]
* FightingAShadow - Kankredin
* FinalBattle - Averted. The Battle of Kernsburgh that we see in the fourth book is only the ''first'' battle of Dalemark's unification war.
* FireForgedFriends - Moril and Kialian, Mitt and Moril.
* FishOutOfTemporalWater
* FiveManBand - In the third and fourth books.
** ''The Spellcoats''
*** TheHero - Hern
*** TheLancer - Tanaqui
*** TheSmartGuy - Duck
*** TheBigGuy - Gull
*** TheChick - Robin
** ''The Crown of Dalemark''
*** TheHero - Mitt
*** TheLancer - Moril
*** TheSmartGuy - Navis, who is also TheMentor
*** TheChick - Maewen
*** [[TagalongKid Tagalong Kids]]/[[SixthRanger Sixth Rangers]] - Ynen and Kialan
* ForbiddenZone - The old mill across the River in ''The Spellcoats''.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble - Dagner, Brid, Moril, and Kialan
* GeometricMagic - Tanaqui's weaving, which uses a form of writing.
* GhibliHills - North Dalemark.
* [[BoyMeetsGirl Girl Meets Boy]] - Maewen meets Mitt.
* TheGirlWhoFitsThisSlipper - The Adon's ring is said to fit any finger on either hand of the true heir, no matter how big or small.
* GodInHumanForm - The Undying when bound. They still have supernatural powers, but they're ''extremely'' diminished.
* GodsHandsAreTied - The bound Undying, especially the One.
* GoodIsNotNice - A number of Northern earls, especially Earl Keril. Also Navis Haddsson, who is on the lighter side of good but noted by history to have been absolutely ''ruthless''.
* HalfHumanHybrid - Tanaqui and her siblings: human dad, Undying mom.
* HazardousWater
* HellishHorse - [[spoiler:Maewen's horse turns out to be the sorceror Kankredin in disguise.]]
* {{Herald}} - Wend for Maewen.
* HeroicLineage - Left, right, and center.
* HeterosexualLifePartners - Quite likely Mitt and Moril. Fandom ''loves'' portraying them like this.
* HowDoIShotWeb - Moril logically breaks down how the cwidder works, but realizes in the end that he's too young and has too little life experience to use it at all times.
* HugeSchoolgirl - Biffa
* HumanPopsicle - Tanamil turns Gull into one.
* IHaveManyNames - The Undying tend to rack up a number over time, with each name having a great deal of significance.
* IKnowYourTrueName - Old Ammet's true names count though.
* {{Immortality}} - The One has CompleteImmortality, while the rest of the Undying seem to be either TheAgeless or have a HealingFactor. Kankredin, meanwhile, is physically gone, but his soul continues to poison Dalemark by taking root in the land and feeding off of the chaos it causes.
* IncestIsRelative - Pretty much every major character is related, albeit some (much) more distantly than others.
* [[ItsForABook It's For A Book]] - Maewen's father takes her sudden and intense interest in the reign of Amil the Great to mean that she's writing a historical novel. He's just glad she's [[ShownTheirWork doing the research]].
* JadeColoredGlasses - Earl Keril
* JumpedAtTheCall - Mitt, who decides that becoming a revolutionary at the age of ten is a ''grand'' idea.
* KickTheDog - Tholian displays what an utter scumbag he is when he strings Kialan up in a very painful way, just so Tholian can watch him suffer.
* TheKingdom - Dalemark. Missing a king at the moment, but they get there.
* LargeAndInCharge - Alk
* LastGirlWins - Mitt winds up marry....''[[spoiler:Biffa]]''!
* LegacyImmortality - When he takes the throne, [[spoiler:Mitt takes the name Amil, one of the names of The One.]] This binds him to The One's duty to root out [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Kankredin]] from the land, even after the end of his reign. He passes this name on to his son, as well.
** Also, two of Clennen the Singer's children, Brid and Moril, are named after legendary historical figures, Manaliabrid and Osfameron. Their companion Kialan is [[spoiler:the Adon, the title given to the heir to the earldom of Hannart]]. The similarities between some of their experiences (particularly Moril's) and their predecessors' are referenced a lot in ''Cart and Cwidder''.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis - A note at the end of ''The Spellcoats'' indicates that it's supposed to be a translation of the titular Spellcoats by historians in Hannart.
* LukeIAmYourFather - [[spoiler:Mitt's]] father turns out to be [[spoiler:Al]], which is short for [[spoiler:Alhammitt]].
* TheMagicGoesAway - Averted. Although people in the present no longer ''believe'' in the Undying, that doesn't stop them from hanging around and being as active as they've always been.
* MagicMusic - Moril's cwidder is a magic cwidder. Also, Mage Mallard, Tanamil's pipes, etc.
* TheMagnificent - King Amil the Great, [[spoiler:Hobin]] the Bloody
* TheMagocracy - The Heathens of Haligland in ''The Spellcoats'' aren't ''actually'' ruled by wizards, but Kankredin has pretty much all of Haligland under the control of him and his college of sorcerers.
* MayflyDecemberRomance - Pick an Undying, any Undying. Then pick their lover (or one of them). Old Ammet and Libby Beer are notable exceptions, both being Undying themselves.
* MeaningfulName - Osfameron Tanamoril, Cennoreth Manaliabrid, Alhammitt, ''Wind's Road'', Ynen, Tannoreth...
* MeaningfulRename - [[spoiler:Mitt]] changes his name to Amil when he becomes king.
* TheMole - [[spoiler:Hestefan]]
* MusicForCourage - ''"We are the men of the North, the North, / And I'll tell you how much we're worth, we're worth--"''
* {{Mythopoeia}}
* [[NeverAcceptedInHisHometown Never Accepted In Their Hometown]] - Tanaqui and her siblings.
* NeverGotToSayGoodbye - ''Almost'' played straight in ''The Crown of Dalemark'', then subverted.
* NiceToTheWaiter - Navis does this fairly early on and keeps it up. Notable because he's one of Hadd's sons, who are not, as a rule, known to be nice to ''anybody''.
* ObfuscatingStupidity - Clennen
* OfficerAndAGentleman - Navis
* OlderThanTheyLook - The Undying, who often look quite young, though they shift between this and looking old.
* OneDegreeOfSeparation - Moril is directly descended from Osfameron, [[spoiler: who is, in turn, a direct grandson of The One]]. Mitt is [[spoiler: directly descended from the last king of Dalemark, who was in turn ''also'' directly descended from another of The One's grandsons]]. Maewen is quite possibly of The One's bloodline, considering her uncanny resemblance to Noreth Onesdaughter. Then there are all the earls and the earls' children and grandchildren.
** Maewen is actually descended from ''both of them''. Her father is descended from a line of singers, one of whom was "probably named Clennen," and her mother's line is related to Mitt's.
* OneSteveLimit - The reason [[spoiler:Mitt]] takes on the name Amil.
* OurFounder - Not a statue (although there are probably several), but a painting. The mural on ceiling of one of the rooms in the royal palace hilariously depicts King Amil wearing an absurd pair of violet breeches.
* OverlyLongName - Clennen is overly fond of these, so his children and his horse all have one.
* PalsWithJesus - Mitt, who receives regular visits from Old Ammet and Libby Beer
* ParentalAbandonment - Most of the main cast, to some degree.
* PlanetOfSteves - The city of Holand, where half the men are named Alhammitt.
* PluckyGirl - Brid, Tanaqui
* PointOfView - ''The Spellcoats'' is written in the first person, from Tanaqui's perspective.
* PowerTrio - Brid (Id), Moril (Ego), Kialan (Superego)
* AProtagonistShallLeadThem - Hern in ''The Spellcoats'', [[spoiler:Mitt]] in ''The Crown of Dalemark''.
* TheQuest - The basic plot of the fourth book.
* TheQuietOne - Moril and Ynen are shades of this.
* RagsToRoyalty - [[spoiler:Mitt]], Hern
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure - Kialan in the first book, Navis in the second, Kars Adon in the third, Alk in the fourth.
* RequisiteRoyalRegalia - The goal of TheQuest is to collect four of these: cup, ring, sword, and crown.
* LaResistance - There are numerous freedom fighting organizations in the South, although they're all pretty much ineffective.
** Subverted by [[spoiler:Hobin]], whose role in the series proper is sympathetic and fatherly. He's biding his time until a proper revolution begins, but the [[AllThereInTheManual series glossary]] at the end details what happens to him. [[spoiler:After living under the thumb of vindictive Southern earls for his whole life, he refuses to bow to a king, even when that king is his own stepson. He's credited with leading a violent bloodbath in Holand a la TheFrenchRevolution, and it's ''very strongly'' implied that he murdered his own wife and daughters, who couldn't have been more than five at the time.]] His epithet is [[spoiler:Hobin the Bloody]].
* RewritingReality - Cennoreth the Weaver, one of the Undying, can do this by unpicking and resetting her weaving. She's done it twice. Osfameron's cwidder can also do this, to an extent, by making an idea into the truth.
* RichBitch - While Hildy's attitude is almost redeemable in ''Drowned Ammet'', who didn't seriously want to slap her for how she treats Mitt in the fourth book?
* RightfulKingReturns
* RobeAndWizardHat - Kankredin's sorcerers wear robes that say things like "I sent the hidden death..." and "I tortured the beast..." The claims woven in these robes function as [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast the sorcerers' names]].
* RousingSpeech - Hern's quite good at these in ''The Spellcoats''.
** Lampshaded in ''The Crown of Dalemark'' by Maewen, who's terrified of having to give these while she's impersonating Noreth.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething - King Amil the Great, who united and modernized Dalemark, following the tradition of his ancestor, King Hern.
* SamusIsAGirl - On the road to Adenmouth, Mitt encounters another hearthman named Rith...who turns out to be the girl Mitt has just been ordered to kill.
* SayMyName - An interesting variation, wherein saying one of the true names of two of the Undying causes hurricanes to spring up out of nowhere and ''islands to grow out of the ocean''.
* SealedGoodInACan - Undying can only be bound to godhead if their likeness is taken (portrait, photo, statue, &c.). The One's power was limited this way.
* SequelGap - ''The Crown of Dalemark'' came out fourteen years after ''The Spellcoats''.
* SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids - Earl Keril, whose experiences as a revolutionary in his youth have made him believe that change is pointless.
* SimultaneousArcs - The first book takes place during the first five chapters of the second.
* SingleLineOfDescent - Although there are a number of characters related by virtue of centuries passing during the course of Dalemark's history, [[spoiler:Mitt]] is the only claimant to the throne who is a ''direct'' descendent of the Adon.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism - In the first two books, South Dalemark is horrible and oppressed and North Dalemark is made out to be lovely and free. Then we actually get North in the last book.
* SourSupporter - Earl Keril, Hildy. Possibly other earls and lords of Dalemark were this, since their options during Dalemark's unification were: 1) support it, 2) take a permanent vacation abroad, or 3) dance for the hangman.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS - In-universe example: spelling and dialect vary between the North and the South, such as with Kialan, whose Southern names are Collen and Halain.
* SpoiledBrat - Hildy
* StableTimeLoop
* StarCrossedLovers - Subverted by [[spoiler:Mitt and Maewen]], but played straight if [[spoiler:she's not one of the Undying.]]
* StayOnThePath - Maewen's party sticks to the green roads, since they're guarded by the Undying.
* AStormIsComing - Mitt, Ynen, and Hildy get hit by a ''massive'' autumn storm on their way north. Sure enough, next day, they accidentally rescue the man who shot the earl of Holand.
* SuccessionCrisis - In Dalemark's past, this led to the current situation of the country being divided into its Earldoms.
* SummonMagic - Mitt can do something like this by calling out Old Ammet's or Libby Beer's true names. The effect differs according to which name he calls.
* TimeTravel
* TimeTravelRomance - In the fourth book.
* TrilogyCreep - Kind of. The fourth book was published almost fourteen years after the third after Diana's publishers had been begging her for years, but it nicely ties together all three previous books and is quite good. Also, she never would have written it just because her publishers wanted her to if she didn't have an excellent idea of what to write.
* UnreliableNarrator - The ''glossary'', of all things. Some of it is straightforward history--meaning it was penned by someone who completely discounts Dalemark's [[AllMythsAreTrue myths]].
* VerbalTic - The ''ultimate evil'' has one. Kankredin ends a lot of sentences with "eh?"
** He must be Canadian.
* WhereItAllBegan - Maewen [[spoiler:returns to the present]] just in time to...[[spoiler:fight Kankredin]]!
* TheWisePrince - Kars Adon
* WizardsLiveLonger - Nearly all the Undying seem to have magical abilities of some sort.
* WorldBuilding
* XanatosGambit - One way or another, Navis planned to get [[spoiler:Mitt]] on the throne.
* [[YouCantFightFate You Can't Fight Fate]] - [[spoiler:Mitt]] becoming King

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