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Literature / Delroy in the Marog Kingdom

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Delroy in the Marog Kingdom is a novel by Billy Elm (the pen-name of Jamaican author Helen Williams), published in 2009 as part of the Island Fiction series of stories.

After Delroy and his half-brother Mario play a prank on Delroy's mother Pearl by slipping a frog into a pot, Delroy hears the frog swear revenge on him. A few weeks later, while Delroy and Mario are out fishing, they stumble across a mythical river-creature known as a "River Mumma," and she makes eye-contact with Delroy—something his mother had previously warned him to avoid happening. Then, while swimming in the lake at a Labor Day festival a few days later, Delroy meets a mysterious boy who gets him sucked into a whirlpool...

...and he winds up in the mysterious Marog Kingdom, inhabited by the marogs, frog-like creatures who have chosen him to succeed their king, Nimrod. But before he can be deemed worthy of the throne, Delroy is first tasked with retrieving a mystical zeta stone from a dangerous snake-creature. What follows next is an adventure where Delroy, now as a marog himself, must traverse steep rocky pathways, caves and rivers, avoid menacing rat-like creatures, and fend off treachery on his quest to save the Marog Kingdom.


Spoilers abound.

Tropes present in Delroy in the Marog Kingdom:

  • Abusive Parents: Tevon Gromes, a boy who died by drowning five years before the beginning of the plot, had a drunken father who regularly beat him, his mother and his brothers. It's why Gorem, revealed to be a transformed Tevon, doesn't want to go back to the village.
  • Adult Fear: The possibility of losing one's child by drowning.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Womarogs, blue female marogs armed with spears and bows with arrows, led by Queen Zillah.
  • Berserk Button: Delroy's mother Pearl doesn't take well to being called an idiot. And she really, really doesn't like Dahlia.
  • Big Bad: Bashron, the giant snake guarding the zeta stone. Javan is also a contender for this.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Bogle, Mario's Rottweiler.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Delroy is so frightened of the sight of Bashron that he pees all over himself.
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  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Marogs and womarogs look exactly like frogs (though womarogs are blue), and merats are indistinguishable from normal rats.
  • Cassandra Truth: The reason Delroy doesn't tell anyone about being able to see the River Mumma is because he knows he wouldn't be believed.
    Worse, what if someone found out about it—someone like Aunt Dahlia? Wouldn't she love to know I was some kind of crackpot!
  • Chekhov's Armory: Every single item Delroy and Gorem take with them on their quest becomes useful at some point later in the novel.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Delroy's recorder-playing skill, mentioned in the initial chapters, comes in handy at a number of different points much later in the novel.
  • The Chosen One: Delroy is chosen to succeed King Nimrod as ruler of the Marog Kingdom. However, he's more concerned with finding a way to get back to normal, and as such doesn't really want to rule the Marog Kingdom at all. It doesn't quite become a Refusal of the Call, though, since he agrees to undergo the quest to help King Nimrod, if only to find a way to get back to normal.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Delroy and his mother are Catholic, and Delroy recites a Hail Mary the first time he's transported to the Marog Kingdom, and prays several similar prayers at different points thereafter.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Javan does this at every opportunity. The first incidence of it happens with an attempt to put doubt in Delroy's mind about Gorem at the start of the journey, telling him that Gorem will betray him to get the stone, and its subsequent power, for himself.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Coronella's explanation about how her husband Bashron, the snake who's guarding the zeta stone, will kill Delroy and his companions if he gets hold of them.
    Coronella: First of all, he will singe you with his breath, like this... (blows breath) Except that his breath is hot like fire. Then he will slice you with his tongue to see how you taste. Then he will sink his fangs into your flesh and inject his poison. The poison works slowly, painfully, digesting your organs. The screams I hear from his victims wrench my heart, to the point where I fear for my own safety. After a few hours, while you are still alive, he will swallow you whole.
  • Curse Cut Short: Delroy's narrative about Aunt Dahlia in the first chapter causes this.
    Aunt Dahlia is a real—I tried to stop the "b" word from jumping into my mind.
  • Death Glare: Gorem gives Delroy one when the latter suggests finding out a weak spot on Bashron and coming back for the stone another day.
    If looks could kill, I'd have died right there under Gorem's stare.
  • Disappeared Dad: Delroy's father, after Pearl ditched him upon finding out he'd gotten Dahlia pregnant. Since then, he hasn't been a prominent figure in Delroy's life, though he's still present at the time the story begins.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Delroy doesn't like cabbage. Also, Mario doesn't eat peanuts due to being allergic.
  • The Dragon: Coronella is this for her husband, Bashron, guarding the place where he resides. Except she's not so keen on loyalty to him because he's had multiple wives before her, who he got rid of either by divorce or murder, and because he's very cruel, so naturally she's always watchful for her own safety.
  • Driven to Suicide: In Gorem's back-story as Tevon, he had wanted to die the day he went missing while swimming five years before the start of the plot.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: When Delroy sees the River Mumma for the first time, Mario's dog Bogle can see her too, although Mario himself can't. Subverted later, though, when it turns out that the River Mumma is in fact a servant of King Nimrod.
  • The Evil Prince: Javon.
  • Eye Scream: Delroy blinds Bashron with his poison glands.
  • Godiva Hair: River Mumma.
  • Handicapped Badass: Bashron is deaf. Doesn't make him any less terrifying.
  • Heroic BSoD: Delroy has one in Chapter 13 on realizing that his father might have drowned trying to save him at the lake.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Delroy wants to go back to being a human.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Delroy transforms into a marog when he's transported to the Marog Kingdom.
  • Karmic Death: Javon is shot to death by the Womarog archers during the final battle.
  • Meaningful Name: King Nimrod explains that Delroy's name has significance, which is one reason why he has been chosen to be Nimrod's successor. It leads to a Meaningful Rename, with Nimrod calling him "Roydel."
    Nimrod: As you may be aware, Roy, spelt R-o-i, is French for king.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Bashron.
  • Older Than They Look: River Mumma, who appears no older than Delroy's mother Pearl, is about one hundred years old.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: King Nimrod. Queen Zillah, too, but only to a point.
  • Rebellious Princess: Princess Rana, daughter of Queen Zillah.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Tevon's abusive father had actually tried to save Tevon from drowning, but died himself in the attempt.
  • Reincarnation: What Delroy initially thinks has happened to him, when he first experiences Involuntary Shapeshifting.
    They say that when you die, unless you've been very good, you come back as an animal. I was beginning a new life as a frog!
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Played straight with Bashron. Subverted by his wife Coronella, who Delroy mistakes for the snake guarding the zeta stone at first, but who turns out to be very helpful.
  • The Resenter: After Javan, King Nimrod's illegitimate son, first appears in the story, Delroy suspects that Javan dislikes him because Nimrod chose Delroy as successor to the Marog Kingdom instead of Javan himself.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Rana assists Gorem and Delroy along the latter half of their quest, despite her mother's objections. She helps through her ability to communicate with bats and her knowledge of healing herbs.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Coronella sees that her warnings about Bashron won't dissuade the heroes, she decides it's time to leave, citing that she doesn't want to hear their death cries. She doesn't go too far away, though. Which is a good thing, as she protects Gorem when he tries to hide from a thrashing Bashron.
  • Secret Test of Character: Delroy's attempt to save a little boy (actually Gorem in disguise) from drowning in the lake at the Labor Day festivities? That was one of King Nimrod's tests to find a worthy successor.
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: It turns out that Gorem had once marked a passageway close to the Womarogs' kingdom, and had they found out about it earlier on, they could have come home long ago. Gorem himself groans when he realizes this fact.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Three examples.
    • Delroy's father, who also fathered Mario, quite obviously prefers Mario to Delroy.
    I hadn't discovered anything I could do that would please Papa.
    • Javan, the prince of the Marog Kingdom, is likewise not acknowledged by his father Nimrod, because Nimrod didn't marry Javan's mother.
    • Queen Zillah is a Well Done Daughter Girl for her daughter, Rana.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Gorem warns Delroy against going home while he's still in frog form. Sure enough, when Delroy risks going to the village and heading to his house, he's not recognized as anything but a frog, and his family—thinking him dead—is holding a wake for him.

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