The Perilous Gard
is a young adult novel by Elizabeth Marie Pope. The book is set in Tudor England and tells a variant on the ballad
of Tam Lin
. It won the Newbery Honor in 1975.Summary
: Kate and Alicia Sutton are young maids of honor to the Lady Elizabeth Tudor who is confined to her house at Hatfield under the extreme displeasure of her sister Queen Mary.
Alicia, a beautiful ditz, writes the queen to complain about the conditions at Hatfield. Needless to say, Her Majesty takes offense but elects to punish not
the beautiful Alicia (who she's sure isn't responsible), but instead her older, plainer sister Kate. Kate is sent to live under house arrest at Elvenwood Hall in the care of Sir Geoffrey Heron.
She soon discovers she has walked into a somewhat fraught family situation: Sir Geoffrey's small daughter and only child, Cecily, disappeared under mysterious circumstances while in the care of her uncle Christopher Heron, who of course is now Sir Geoffrey's heir.Needless to say everybody draws the obvious conclusion and Christopher's Byronic posturing does nothing to help the situation.
This is followed by the revelation that the 'Elvenwood' really is the haunt of honest to God 'faeries' (or surviving pagans) who pay a yearly teind to Hell (or their gods) of one human life.
Guess why Cecily was taken. Guess what fate is intended for Christopher who has offered himself in exchange for his niece. Guess who has to save him.
Tropes included in this work.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other - Kate and Christopher spend most of their time together arguing - and we all know what that means!
- Beautiful All Along - Kate gets a makeover during her time in the Fairy Hill.
- Breaking Speech -The Guardian of the Falls gives Christopher a Reason You Suck Speech combined with a Nihilistic rant about life in general.
- Cassandra Truth - Randal the bard is very knowledgeable about the Fair Folk, but he's considered to be "touched in the head" and people don't realize that his songs and ramblings include vital information.
- Cave Behind the Falls - One of the entrances to Fairy Hill is behind a waterfall.
- Curtains Match the Window - Alicia whose eyes match her golden curls.
- Cold Iron - Zigzagged The cold iron cross a village woman gives Kate doesn't hurt the Fair Folk, but it does hurt Kate when she cuts her hand with it, preventing her from falling into an enchanted sleep.
- Distressed Dude - Christopher, who is very difficult about being rescued.
- Deep Sleep - when she arrives at the castle, she sleeps like the dead until the next afternoon.
- Dumb Blond - Alicia
- Black Eyes of Evil - The villain, to go with his black heart.
- The Fair Folk - Probably perfectly human pagans. Probably.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Kate's younger sister Alicia has the cuteness, charm, and intelligence of a small fluffy animal, while Kate is intelligent and prosaic.
- Gray Eyes - Characteristic of the Heron family, along with a heck of a stubborn streak.
- Human Sacrifice - The Teind
- Insulted Awake - Kate does this to Christopher while rescuing him.
- It's All My Fault - Christopher blames himself for Cecily's disappearance.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Christopher. Or maybe a Jerk Ass Woobie?
- Must Make Amends - Christopher lives in a leper's hut in penance for Cecily's disappearance, and later offers himself as a human sacrifice in her place.
- No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction/Love Potion of the Love First Person Sighted variety - The Green Lady gives Kate one to use but Kate refuses to accept it because she is afraid of it being fake and would not want a relationship based on false feelings.
- Rescue Romance. Of course the usual sex of rescuer and rescuee is reversed.
- Separated by the Wall: Kate and Christopher really get to know each other after they spend weeks talking through his cell wall in total darkness so he won't Go Mad from the Isolation.
- The Virgin Queen - Kate and Alicia serve Elizabeth during her captivity. She is crowned queen during Kate and Christopher's capitivity.
- Youngest Child Wins - Alicia has always gotten everything.
- Kate fears that Christopher falls in love with Alicia after meeting her, but this trope is averted as he is in love with Kate instead.