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Fanfic / The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain

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Art by Isaviel, used with permission

The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain is a five-part fanfic series based on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the film, not the graphic novel). It follows the adventures of the non-canonical title character, daughter to Sean Connery's character Allan Quatermain, and is told entirely through entries in her diary.

Following the events of the film, Elizabeth is introduced to the surviving members of the League. Through a series of somewhat bizarre circumstances, she's not only about to lose her home in London but has also been sent a letter directing her to solve an incomprehensible mystery. The League takes her under their collective wings and as the series progresses, helps her to break out of her shell. There are a few mysteries, some romance, and a lot of historical detail. The author, Lady Norbert, devotes the last chapter of each installment to a pseudo-FAQ in which she attempts to explain certain facts (or Blatant Lies) and give credit to other people.

The first volume (originally intended to be the only volume) carries the series title as its own. The subsequent volumes were given titles of their own prefaced with the series acronym, with the final installment was completed in early 2008. The other volumes are:

In addition to the five main volumes of Elizabeth's diary, there are numerous one-shot side stories, showing certain scenes from the points of view of the other characters; volume four even has an entire companion volume told from the viewpoint of Rodney Skinner, the invisible man. There is also Allan Observes, the Bridget Jones-styled comic edition in which Elizabeth's father Allan comments - quite harshly at times - on the events of the stories from the afterlife.

The whole series can be found at

As of spring 2015, the series is being given the podcast treatment at Good Fanfiction Theatre on YouTube.

This work provides examples of the following:

  • Alliterative Title: A few of the individual chapter titles, such as "Explosions and Explanations," "Terror on the Tower," and "Sun and Stone."
  • Ancient Egypt: The second volume, which takes place in Egypt, references this.
  • Aborted Declaration of Love: Skinner plans to make one in the fourth volume, but gets pre-empted by the villain.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The first through fourth volumes each conclude with an invitation to the reader to look for the forthcoming next volume, giving its title and a small hint about what's going to happen.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Elizabeth and Skinner share two very chaste kisses in the third volume. He kisses her cheek under the mistletoe; later, she kisses the top of his head to thank him for saving her life (again).
  • Attempted Rape: Toward the end of the first volume.
  • Batman Gambit: The villain's plot in the first volume.
  • Beast and Beauty: Jekyll (or, more correctly, Hyde) and Mina
  • Berserk Button: In general, harming anyone in the League presses everyone else's button. Skinner has a particularly large neon-green one when it comes to Elizabeth's well-being and honor, as seen most clearly in the version of volume IV from his point of view.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: Allan Observes is extremely heavy on the Lampshade Hanging.
  • BFG: Allan's elephant gun from the movie reappears in the third volume.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Everyone but Elizabeth. She tries, though.
  • Big Fancy House: Where the series begins.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: A huge part of the plot in volume IV.
  • Busman's Holiday: They may not be called on to Save the World at any given point, but it seems the League can't go anywhere without stumbling onto some local mishap that has to be set right.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Jekyll, in the extra side story where he proposes to Mina, can't get the question out because he's so nervous. Later, Skinner has to be essentially harassed into making his Anguished Declaration of Love, because the words refuse to come until he's practically arguing with the girl.
  • The Cavalry: Referenced by Tom in the first volume, somewhat cheesily.
    Sawyer: As we say in America, the cavalry has arrived!
  • Clear Their Name: The League has to do this for Skinner when he's falsely accused of robbery in the fourth volume.
  • Cliffhanger: The wedding in the fourth volume was deliberately split into two chapters for this purpose. The readership reacted badly when proceeded to crash in such a way that the second half could not be posted for an entire week.
  • Completed Fic
  • Continuation: Of the movie. The story actually begins while the movie is taking place.
  • Cool Ship: As in the movie, the Nautilus.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: The antagonist of the second half of the fourth volume.
  • Dances and Balls: They all attend a ball in Tom's hometown in the fourth volume, which includes...
  • A Day in the Limelight: Apart from Allan Observes, extra volumes and one-shot side stories allow Skinner and Jekyll to narrate events for which Elizabeth was not present; Alexandra takes over as the narrator in the final chapter of the main series. Other stories, from a third-person point of view, omit Elizabeth entirely and focus on the original League members.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Allan, in Allan Observes. Pretty nearly the entire cast exhibits instances of this at least once or twice.
  • Dead to Begin With: Among others, Elizabeth's elder half-brother Harry.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Mina
  • Did They or Didn't They?: It's never made entirely clear what happened when Tom and the vampire Kiya were cuddled together in a coffin in the second volume. Allan Observes gives the impression that Allan, at least, believes that they did.
  • The Dragon: Elizabeth's stalker, in the first volume. May actually be a Dragon with an Agenda.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Skinner, in the version of the fourth volume from his point of view, goes out to get drunk after his heart is broken.
  • Dying Clue: Elizabeth is trying to figure out why she needs to go to Paris in search of a key when the League makes their convenient arrival in the first volume.
  • Everyone Can See It: Tom practically invokes the trope by name when trying to push Skinner into making a move.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Fainting: Just once, and it's reasonably justified. Elizabeth faints in Egypt from the extreme heat.
  • Flash Back Echo: In the first volume, Elizabeth has a trauma-induced flashback to her shooting lessons in Africa with her father, the details of which allow her to kill the man who is about to kill her friends, without realizing she's doing it.
  • Forceful Kiss: It only takes until the end of the fourth volume for them to finally get around to this, crossing it with True Love's Kiss.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Mina does a version of this to Elizabeth in the second volume, when the younger woman is wangsting over the current medical emergency.
  • Go Through Me: Skinner takes his self-appointed role as Elizabeth's "invisible shield" very seriously. In volume II, he takes it to literal extremes, getting between her and a crocodile (and later, a vampire).
  • Great White Hunter: Sebastian de Gaulle calls Allan this in the first volume. In fact, the first volume's unofficial subtitle (as shown in one of the extra stories) is "Legacy of the Great White Hunter."
  • Green-Eyed Monster: A mild example in the final volume. Skinner is rather miffed that his fiancee is spending so much time with another man. He's considerably soothed when he finds out that Elizabeth's main interest in Sherlock Holmes is the fact that he knew her father.
  • Happily Ever After: The ending of the last volume implies this is more or less the case.
  • Healing Hands: Jekyll, generally; when he's temporarily felled by dysentery in the third volume, Mina takes over.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Elizabeth tries to make one of these, or something like it, toward the end of the third volume. It doesn't quite go as planned.
  • The Hero's Journey
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The false bottom of Allan's sea chest in volume III.
  • Historical Domain Character: Volume II has the League befriend Dr. Howard Carter, the famed Egyptologist who is best known for the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Volume V introduces them to Queen Victoria herself.
    • A few others are mentioned in Allan Observes, including George Washington, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Caligula.
  • I Do Not Own: Part of the FAQ chapter at the end of each volume; Lady Norbert comments that she can't legitimately claim to own anything except the plot and "the personality of Elizabeth, who says that she is perfectly capable of owning that herself, thank you very much."
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: In the fourth volume, Elizabeth finds herself forced into marrying someone she doesn't like.
  • I Have Your Wife: The villain of the second half of the fourth volume makes a point of letting Elizabeth know that he's holding Skinner hostage for her continued cooperation. Too bad he doesn't realize Tom's listening at the door.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: This being the Victorian era, it's not unusual, so the few instances Elizabeth writes down are highly significant.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: How Tom traps the real perpetrator of the crime for which Skinner is blamed in volume IV.
  • Informed Attribute: Elizabeth's former best friend and her husband are apparently not very nice people, although we're not really shown evidence of it.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: Details are sometimes glossed over because Elizabeth is unconscious, not present, or just has absolutely no idea what's going on.
  • Insistent Terminology: Skinner absolutely refuses to use Elizabeth's proper name, preferring to address her as Bess or Bessie. It becomes significant in the third volume, when he finally calls her Elizabeth and thus prompts her Love Epiphany.
    • In Allan Observes, Allan stubbornly refuses to identify either of his children by their names, simply referring to them only as Son and Daughter.
  • Invisibility: Skinner has the opportunity to be cured of his in the fourth volume.
  • Invisible Streaker: One of the villains from the first volume and, as in the film, Skinner. Lampshaded in Allan Observes (like almost everything else) when Allan comments that Skinner is frequently naked around Elizabeth.
  • It Has Been an Honor: In the final volume, Elizabeth has a conversation of this nature with her foster father Nemo, telling him that "It has been an honour to live as your daughter."
  • It Was a Gift: Arguably, everything given in the Christmas chapter could qualify, but most particularly Skinner's mother's locket.
  • Landmark of Lore: The Valley of the Kings, the Parthenon, Machu Picchu, and Stonehenge all show up during the course of the series, among others.
  • Last-Name Basis: What most of the League remains on, particularly with Skinner, who is never called anything else except by Elizabeth and Alexandra.
  • Last of His Kind: Elizabeth being the last Quatermain is a plot point in the first volume. In the fifth volume, it's revealed that she's also all that remains of her mother's family.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Elizabeth's relationship with Tom Sawyer, eventually.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Skinner in the old mine shaft, in the fourth volume.
  • Love Epiphany: Elizabeth finally stops being Oblivious to Love at the end of the third volume when she has one of these.
  • Love Triangle: The first volume awkwardly establishes two - one consisting of Jekyll/Mina/Tom and one consisting of Tom/Elizabeth/Skinner. By the second volume, it's pretty clear how the first one will be resolved, although it takes a bit longer for the second one to sort itself.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: The villain of the first volume believes himself to be Allan Quatermain's illegitimate son. Word of God says that this is not true and the guy was frankly crackers.
  • Married at Sea: Mina and Jekyll, in the third volume.
  • Masquerade Ball: They attend one in a Dream Sequence Elizabeth records in one diary entry.
  • Medium Awareness: In the third volume, Elizabeth essentially lampshades the idea of her diaries being read by an outsider.
    It may be wondered that I would engage in such a breach of propriety as to travel openly in a carriage with three unmarried men. It should be remembered, however, that Nemo is my guardian for all intents and purposes, and therefore spending time in his company is no more questionable than if my own father were here. I make note of this here not so much for my own awareness as for that of anyone who may chance to read this volume after my death; I can assure the reader that, in the capacity of my guardian, Nemo is a perfectly acceptable chaperone.
    • Also played with in the version of the fourth volume from Skinner's point of view, in which Tom snarks that "this is real life, not fiction."
  • Meaningful Echo: In the fourth volume, Tom tells Elizabeth to keep her "Eyes open, girl. I can't watch you all the time." This is an almost exact quote of what Elizabeth's father says to Tom in the movie.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Skinner's mother's locket; to a lesser extent, the handkerchiefs Elizabeth monograms for his Christmas gift.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Hence the sometimes relatively improbable level of detail in Elizabeth's diary entries.
  • The Namesake: Played with in the Christmas chapter of volume III, when all of the League members (except Skinner) present Elizabeth with additional diaries, so she can continue to document their adventures.
  • Nephewism: Gender-flipped version. The last volume added Skinner's niece Alexandra to the cast.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Averted, largely; although the women wear them, it gets mentioned only once.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: The villain of the fourth volume makes one to Elizabeth, using the (fairly believable) claim that her refusal will mean the deaths of both Tom and Skinner.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Egyptian vampire Kiya bewilders even Mina.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: Played for laughs in the fifth volume, when Skinner is able to use two different formulae to become visible or invisible as needed. He forgets to put his clothes back on before taking the visibility serum.
  • Papa Wolf: Nemo, Jekyll, and Skinner all have tendencies in this direction. Nemo and Skinner both behave this way toward Elizabeth; Nemo is also A Father to His Men (as in the movie) and Skinner has his niece. Jekyll eventually has his adopted son.
  • Personal Mook: The villains of volumes I and IV have these, although the ones in the fourth volume are shown to be more personally mookish. This is largely due to Elizabeth's perspective.
  • The Piano Player: Alexandra
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Skinner experienced this after the thank-you kiss Elizabeth gave him on the top of his head. He was literally startled into silence.
  • Power of Trust: Comes into play when Skinner is accused of robbery in the fourth volume.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Little Jonathan Harker, Mina's grandson, once she locates him in an orphanage.
  • Reformed Criminal: Skinner; Nemo and Jekyll, to an extent.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Continual throughout the series, between all the characters as they become more of a family, and particularly between Jekyll and Mina, and later Elizabeth and Skinner. Word of God confirms that Tom and Alexandra eventually get one too.
  • Rescue Romance: Played straight and averted, depending on which character is doing the rescuing.
  • Scotland: Where the series ends.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Much of the final volume centers around locating him.
  • Shipper on Deck: Tom more than anyone, especially in the fourth volume. In the fifth volume, Elizabeth and Skinner become this for him and Alexandra.
  • Shout-Out: To everything from The Hunchback of Notre Dame to Much Ado About Nothing to King Solomon's Mines.
    • Also, Allan Observes includes a Shout-Out to The Very Secret Diaries, as Allan amusedly notes of a number of characters that "Skinner will kill him if he tries anything."
  • Shown Their Work: The author not only researched everything she had the League do, she had Elizabeth explain everything in (sometimes ridiculous amounts of) detail in her diary.
  • Side Bet: The entire crew of the Nautilus turns out to have one of these going about if and when Skinner and Elizabeth will get married. Mostly due to Rule of Funny.
    • Allan, as shown in Allan Observes, has one of his own going on about what Skinner will look like when the invisibility is cured. He notes that he lost on the hair color, having guessed black, but correctly bet that Skinner has blue eyes.
  • Smug Snake: Ben Everett in the fourth volume.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Skinner, at Elizabeth's forced marriage in the fourth volume. Played slightly for laughs, as the interruption arrives a little bit late and they con the minister into repeating the line to get the desired effect.
  • Special Guest: Quite a few literary characters make cameos, including Mycroft Holmes and Becky Thatcher.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Elizabeth has a particularly squicky one of these in the first volume; he's invisible to boot.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Mina's chemistry lab in the first volume. Allan, in the Allan Observes version, is only surprised that Elizabeth isn't the one at fault.
  • True Companions: The League, increasingly.
  • Unbroken Vigil: When Elizabeth is semi-comatose from excessively high fever, Skinner parks himself in the chair next to her bed and the rest of the League can't pry him out of it with a crowbar.
  • Under the Mistletoe: Skinner and Elizabeth end up there when dancing a polka on Christmas Day. It's left to the reader to decide whether this was intentional on his part or not.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In the Skinner version of volume IV, the villain makes a comment about how he's going to "take the blush off your English rose." Skinner's reaction unsurprisingly violent.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Just ask Tom, Skinner, and Dr. Howard Carter.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: After getting out of jail in the fourth volume, Skinner asks Elizabeth if she wants to elope to mess with everyone else's heads. The version from his point of view shows that he was secretly hoping she'd say yes.
  • Web Serial Novel: All told, the entire series rings in around 200,000 words.
  • Wedding Finale: Skinner and Elizabeth marry in the very last chapter of volume V.
  • Wedding Deadline: In the fourth volume.
  • We Need to Get Proof: Tom says this almost verbatim about how they're going to clear Skinner's name in the fourth volume.
  • World of Snark: Allan Observes the story from what could be described as this.
  • The X of Y
  • You Must Be Cold: When Elizabeth follows a troubled Skinner out into the rain in the third volume, he immediately throws his coat around her. Later in the same volume, he covers her with it while she sleeps.