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Headscratchers / Magic Kingdom of Landover

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  • In A Princess of Landover, when Mistaya conjures the image of Strabo to scare her classmates, why does the principal immediately believe the classmates? Sure, Mistaya was actually guilty, and she did have a history of causing trouble and an attitude problem, but, if I were in the principal's position and someone came to me with such an absurd tale (although magic exists In-Universe, its existence is not generally known, and there is no evidence that the principal knows about it), I would be more likely to punish the classmates, who were apparently (as part of a bullying campaign) making up a ridiculous lie to get Mistaya in trouble. I mean, a dragon?
    • It gets even worse when one considers just who Mistaya's father is. Not Ben Holiday the magical king but Ben Holiday the millionaire high-powered attorney.note  In the increasingly litigious American society, there are a number of parents who take schools to court over disciplinary matters, frivolously and otherwise. Any school that would throw out a student for scaring teenagers by showing them a dragon could reasonably expect to be sued. In fact, the sheer apparent absurdity of the accusation would call into question the veracity of even Mistaya's more prosaic disciplinary violations.
  • Why did Michel Ard Rhi and Meeks want to sell the kingdom anyway? For wealth and power? They were already the High King and his chief counselor. Why would they want to give that up to be merely wealthy men on earth? Meeks charged a million dollars for the throne, and he sold it thirty-two times, which means that they made, between them, thirty-two million dollars. That's a lot of money, but wouldn't even put them within the top 500 richest men in America. Why give up being the two wealthiest and most powerful men in a magical kingdom to be just another two well-off guys on earth? If they wanted high-tech luxuries that Landover didn't have, couldn't they have secretly imported them to Landover without giving up the kingdom?
    • By coming to the then 20thC they get electricity, central heating, and indoor plumbing. Plus they are not just selling it once, they are repeat selling it because they think that nobody will be able to take up the crown. It isn't a one off deal, it is an income. They expect it to be a regular income too. 32 million in 1986 (the year the novel was published) was a lot more money then too, it works out to be about 80 million dollars in today's values. There is also the fact that, along with the lack of indoor plumbing, central heating, electricity, etc, the kingdom does possess a lot of bolshie barons, an evil witch, and a giant firebreathing dragons. Blowing off those responsibilities for a regular million a year income doesn't seem such a bad deal. It probably seemed like a sweet scam, and they fully expected to still have the kingdom in hand to go back to if they felt like. They just did not expect Ben to have the staying power that he did, he was supposed to flake out like the other schmucks and they'd sell it again when they needed some more funds.
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    • Additionally, OP's suggestion of importing technology is out; without electricity, central heating, indoor plumbing, radio networks, satellites, etc., Landover has no infrastructure that that would allow most technology to work (and that's assuming that the magic doesn't interfere with technology). Even setting up the infrastructure would be problematic. Radio, television, and telephone would be out, as cables and telephone lines probably couldn't be run through fairy mists; radio and satellite signals wouldn't go through either. Even electricity, heating, and plumbing would be problematic, as it would be necessary to bring in engineers, electricians, and other workers from Earth to set things up. It would be difficult, not to mention expensive, to get enough workers to listen to wild tales of a magic kingdom long enough to be shown the truth, not to mention the fact that they would have to be personally escorted back and forth through the fairy mists by the king. An additional complication might arise when you have a number of people from Earth, some of them very well educated, who are informed about Landover all at the same time, increasing the odds of treachery or exposure to the outside world.

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