Literature / 100 Cupboards

100 Cupboards is a fantasy novel trilogy by N.D. Wilson. The three books in the trilogy are 100 Cupboards, Dandelion Fire, and The Chestnut King.

Henry York's parents went biking through Colombia. Bad idea: They get taken hostage by a rebel group. In order to keep him sane, his nanny sends him off to be with his aunt, uncle, and cousins for a while. They live in a tiny town in Kansas called Henry, and they also have a daughter named Henrietta. (Don't worry, it's not too confusing.) Henry has never been so far from home before. He's never spent so much time outside before, or ridden in the back of a pickup truck, or played baseball. In fact, while he was with his parents, he never got to do much on his own at all.

While sleeping up in his cousins' attic, though, he hears a strange tapping on the walls. The plaster begins to chip away—and behind it, Henry and his cousins find 99 tiny doors. Each one leads to a different place. Each one leads to a different time. And it's only with the help of his grandfather's journal that they can be navigated... not-quite safely.

Henry considers keeping them a secret, but his aunt Dotty and Uncle Frank already know—Frank, all too well. And Henry may have accidentally released an ancient witch hidden behind one of the doors. Now he, his family, and even a few friends set off on a world-hopping adventure not quite of their own volition.


This series contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: At the beginning if each book, there is a reproduction of Henry and Henrietta's grandfather's journal, showing where all those cupboards go.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Anastasia to Henrietta and both of them to Penelope.
  • Author Appeal: The emphasis on baseball and the green magic associated with dandelions both seem to have ended up as major aspects of the story just because the author likes them.
  • Batter Up: Zeke, being a baseball player, puts his bat to the test.
  • Baseball Episode: Henry spends one chapter playing baseball.
  • Big Bad: Nimiane, the Witch-Queen of Endor
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Anastasia. Henrietta also shows shades of this sometimes.
  • The Chains of Commanding: By the third book, Henry is well-aware of this, which is why he is less than enthused to become the Chestnut King's heir.
  • Cool Gate: All the cupboards. Especially the 100th, which allows one to actually travel between the doors. Except "Cleave," but that's a given.
  • Cool Pet: The Raggant is one
  • Dark Is Evil:
  • Doorstep Baby: Henry turns out to have been one.
  • Eye Scream: The author seems to have a thing about this. Nimiane's true eyes are just swollen, red sores, and, in the second book, Henry tries to scratch his own eyes out because he believes he's grown a second pair of eyelids.
  • The Fair Folk
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: At the beginning of the story, Henry comes to live with his mother's sister and her family. Then, he learns he's adopted, and has no blood connection to the family he's come to love. Even later, it comes out that, Frank is the younger brother of Henry's real father, making him and Dotty Henry's aunt and uncle after all.
  • Happily Adopted: Played with. Although Henry learns his parents adopted him as a foundling, his home life is far from ideal. By contrast, he quickly comes to love life with his aunt and uncle, to the point of not wanting to leave. However, They actually are his blood relatives, and Henry eventually is restored, happily, to his birth parents.
  • Important Haircut: Henrietta recieves one in The Chestnut King—and complains about it regularly.
  • Loophole Abuse: How Henry designates Franklin Fat Faerie as his heir.
  • Name's the Same: Main character: Henry. Main setting (until about the midpoint of Dandelion Fire), also Henry.
  • One Steve Limit: There's both Uncle Frank (Francis) and the faerie Frank (Franklin). As well as Anastasia (Henry's cousin) and Anastasia (Henry's grandmother), though that's a case of the former definitely being named after the latter. To say nothing of Henry and Henrietta.
  • Shout-Out: The names Dotty (a nickname for Dorothy) and Frank seem to be referencing L. Frank Baum's famous fantasy about American children traveling to a fantasy world to battle a witch. Also, both stories are set in Kansas.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Mordecai, Henry's father
  • Spiritual Successor: It's impossible not to see the heavy influences of the Chronicles of Narnia on this series. Both share a main theme of children traveling between the real world and a fantasy one, Nimiane the Witch-queen has many similarities to Jadis, the White Witch, and both blend traditional folklore/mythology, original fantasy, and elements of Christian theology.
  • Steam Punk: Byzanthamum.
  • Wonder Child: Henry himself was one.

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