Literature: Dragomirs Diary
"Dragomir, youíre gonna be a guard. Thatís your damn name. Dragomir the Guard. We didnít call you Dragomir the Fucking Poofy Writer Boy. Get your head out of your butt and beat your friends with a stick, you need to work on those flimsy biceps of yours.''
—Oswald the Farmer
is a five-days-a-week serial fantasy story written and illustrated by Matt Bird. Created in 2011 and still ongoing, it follows the life of Dragomir, an unwitting guard in a video game-generated castle. He strives to lead a relatively normal existence, but bad things have a way of gravitating towards him - and when he's sent on a journey to cure a plague, Dragomir discovers that he's fated for a great deal more than guarding a cupboard full of cockroaches. The plot is a combination of gag-a-day antics and ongoing epic fantasy, though Dragomir has a penchant for undermining the 'epic' part of that equation with his poor decisions and unwitting references to popular culture.
This story contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Dragomir's father uses every opportunity to berate or belittle Dragomir, often with no provocation.
- Action Girl: Most of the women are, in some way, Action Girls. Eve is well-known for her ability to murder just about anything with ease; her mother, Libby, is a take-no-crap brawler; Queen Daena can kill with her kicks; Antonia is an orcish boxer; Evangelina is good with a whip. The only exception seems to be Bora... though she appears to have freaky talents of her own, being a Non who plucks out eyeballs and all.
- Aerith and Bob: Most people living in Castle _________ have English or English-sounding names. Dragomir obviously does not, even though the other members of his family - Oswald, Martha, Robert - do. Zuhwha?
- Aesop Amnesia: Whenever he's in a pinch, Dragomir has a tendency to lie. This usually makes the situation worse than it already was, and when everything comes falling down he'll vow not to lie again - only to be caught in the same trap a few weeks later.
- Back from the Dead: Dragomir is stabbed and killed by Eve. He is functionally dead for over a month, and is only returned to life by a save game.
- Elephant in the Living Room: Not only does Dragomir's diary smile, its expression changes regularly. It also appears to sleep, and does so in plain sight. Nobody ever remarks on these phenomena.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Kierkegaard.
- Framing Device: The story is set within a video game. Some characters know this, others do not. The fact that it's a video game occasionally has a bearing on the plot, such as when Dragomir was brought back to life, after his death at the hands of Eve, by a save game he had unknowingly made for himself months prior. Also a Framing Device in that Dragomir is telling his story within the confines of a diary... and the device itself is a character.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Though he's often bored by his job, Dragomir constantly moans about the strange events of his life - especially when a good setup is brought crashing down by, oh, say, the complete destruction of his home, as well as his own death.
- It Can Think: The rats, despite pretending to be normal rats to most, demonstrate significant societal smarts. They have their own cities, they can use odd forms of transformative and spectral magic, and they have many and sundry plans for Dragomir. Also extends to Dragomir's diary itself, which, despite being a bit of a dope, can communicate and move around under its own power.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Captain Cedric spends much of the story physically and abusing Dragomir for not doing his job properly. Dragomir eventually discovers, however, that Cedric is secretly a poet, and is lonely because a werewolf bit off his penis. True story. Cedric also, without hesitation, joins Dragomir on his descent into the hole to give the castle's remaining population a chance to escape, resulting in Cedric's grisly - but manly - death.
- Killer Rabbit: Kierkegaard. He's a penguin wearing a top hat. Adorable. That did not, of course, stop him from burning down a city full of rats, as well as hunting those same rats with a penguin-sized trident. Scary.
- Lethal Chef: Libby occasionally tries to bake pies. They don't work out so well.
- Loser Protagonist: Arguably Dragomir himself. When the story begins he's a lowly guard, living in an apartment with no door. This slowly changes over the course of the story, culminating in Dragomir's ascension to mayorship of his own town.
- Meaningful Rename: Castle ________ is so-named because its name changes at King Jeffrey's whim, usually to coincide with some storyline event. For example, when Eve and Logan were set to be married, Jeffrey changed the name to 'Castle Wedding Bells'.
- Not Quite Dead: The Baron is 'killed' by Driscol the Count's suicide flames, receives his own funeral, and his coffin is carried off to be buried. Unbeknownst to Dragomir and company, The Baron is still alive, and continuing to plot his wicked plots - though his face has now been badly burned, leaving his skeletal jaw exposed. Ew.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Baron spends much of the first season manipulating King Jeffrey into digging a hole below the castle to find a door containing... something. Many several somethings. They are surely bad.
- The Caligula: King Jeffrey is a morally repugnant bully. He treats his subjects as playthings, and will happily jail, torture and occasionally execute on a whim. It's no wonder that his subjects go on strike, no less than twice, to improve conditions in the castle. When that doesn't work, they abandon Jeffrey's rule completely.
- Toothy Bird: Though his bill is normally ivory-free, Kierkegaard the Jester suddenly grows several sharp teeth during the conclusion of the first season, when the mystery door under Castle _______ is opening.
- Verbal Tic: Eve either uses dire, doom-and-gloom language that makes little sense in context, or communicates via nonsensical anagrams. Dragomir eventually discovers that his daughter speaks anagrams, without much success, to tell him that she loves him. Despite having killed him. D'aw. Edmund also demonstrates a pronounced Verbal Tic through his constant rhyming.
- Younger than They Look: Dragomir's daughter Eve has aged supernaturally fast, to the point that she was roughly the size of a young teen well before she hit her first birthday. Now that she's one, she looks like a young woman in her early twenties.