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Literature / Dragons Keep

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Tropes in Dragon's Keep

  • Addled Addict: Queen Gweneth has always had a thing for Sir Magnus's poppy potions, as a way to cope with her day to day stresses. She gets worse after King Gavin leaves for war, and more so after Lord Faul kidnaps Rosalind.
  • All for Nothing: When Rosalind removes and drops her golden gloves to signify she is Lord Faul's slave, Queen Gweneth has a mental breakdown because of what it stands for: all her machinations, all her hard work to make Rosalind queen of England, have amounted to nothing.
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  • Animal Motif: Yarrow moths. Or rather, their chrysalises.
  • Awful Truth: For some time, Rosalind has always suspected her own mother was the one who pushed Marn into the moat and murdered Tess. But Rosalind could never find it in herself to directly accept it. Even when Faul says it out loud, it's so terrible that she goes into a nervous breakdown. It's not until midway through Part 3 that she musters the courage to write about it so she can finally come to terms with it.
  • Big Bad: Sir Magnus
    • Big Bad Wannabe: Of course, after spending a year as the powerful and short-tempered Lord Faul's slave, Rosalind would beg to argue that Sir Magnus is a pathetic excuse for an antagonist, much less a king.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the climax, Kai and his men put a stop to Rosalind's execution and save her.
  • Big Good: King Gavin, Rosalind's father. After he dies, Kai becomes this, able to restore reason to Wilde Island when they nearly executed Rosalind for being a witch.
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  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Lord Faul doesn't eat Rosalind straight away because he still needs someone (at least a half-dragon) to help him care for his young.
  • Cold Ham: Queen Gweneth. When she's not angry, she acts rather cold and hard.
  • Deceased Knights are the best: Lord Broderick.
  • The Determinator: When Rosalind hears about the healing spring Columba's Tears and the possibility that it's healing powers haven't been used in centuries, she thinks "I would not be turned away by something so small as time." Justified, as Columba's Tears gives her hope her claw can be cured.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: What was Demetra's reason for stuffing a shadow wraith down baby Kit's throat and rendering her a mute for the better part of her life? Because the old hag was sick of hearing her crying.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Rosalind has spent the better part of her life wearing her golden gloves, keeping her claw a secret, and living in fear that others would find out and brand her a witch. Not to mention she has lost so many friends and lost ones, put up with being Lord Faul's servant, and was orphaned somewhere along the way. But by the end, not only has Rosalind become queen and married Kai: her claw manages to fulfill the prophecy. Believing it's a gift from the dragons, the people of Wilde Island embrace it as a precious peace offering from the dragons.
  • Easily Forgiven: As much as Rosalind dreaded being taken back to Demetra's cave, she eventually does forgive Kit for leading her back there.
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    • On a greater scale, Rosalind holds no hard feelings against her subjects for nearly executing her on the accusation of being a witch. (Well, except for Sir Magnus, who she has hanged. But he's a different story).
  • Family of Choice: In Rosalind's eyes, Marn is the closest thing to a mother figure she's ever known. She was even a mother figure to the queen. This makes her death (especially that the hands of the queen) all the more tragic.
    • Downplayed with Lord Faul, who may mistreat and abuse Rosalind to work around the island, but is implied to see her as an honorary dragon.
  • Foil:
    • Rosalind's father King Gavin is very affectionate and indulgent. In contrast, her dragon "father" Lord Faul is very strict and, at best, believes in Tough Love.
    • Marn and Demetra are roughly the same old age and are learned in remedies and such. Yet, Marn on one hand is Rosalind's loving nursemaid and only uses remedies to banish evil. On the other hand, Demetra is a nasty old hag who dabbles in dark magic and the likes.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Rosalind's anecdote about how the royal mouser accidentally killed her cat with Sir Magnus's poison gives a clue of his murderous past, as well as how his ways have not died.
    • The Giant Egg shell found in Demetra's cave.
    • According to a fortune-telling trick using apples, Kit is destined to be a spinster. Yet later, Tess divines that Kit will break a heart. Now how can she be destined to remain without romance yet break a heart, unless she dies young?
  • Freudian Excuse: Queen Gweneth lived her whole life with the pressure of birthing the prophesied 21st queen of Wilde Island. According to Marn, Queen Gweneth's parents always figured her twin brother would be the one to inherit the throne. So she was treated as though she were "in the way" and promptly sent to an abbey. (This was before her parents and brother succumbed to pox.) The point being, this drove Queen Gweneth to achieve greatness by proxy of Rosalind.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Kit loves animals very much. So much so, in fact, that she nearly drowned in the castle moat trying to save a bird that had fallen into the water.
  • Heroic BSoD: And how! Rosalind seems to have a tendency to go through these often, and one can't blame her.
  • A Hero Is Born: Nearly the whole of Chapter 2 narrates the day Rosalind was born.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Queen Gweneth sees Sir Magnus as a respected magician and soothsayer, despite that he's clearly a charlatan. She pays the price for it later when he steadily poisons her with an overdose of poppy potion.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Rosalind is normally given children younger than her as friends, because the Queen figures if Rosalind makes a friend her age, it will lead to her growing close enough to share her secret about her claw.
  • Internal Reveal: By the time the Wilde Kingdom knows about the dragon (at least one of them) being a female, Rosalind and the reader already know this.
  • Irony:
    • Whilst visiting Demetra's cave, Rosalind notes to herself that although the cave is nice and warm compared to the outside, it feels very unsafe...
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Unpleasant as he is, Sir Magnus has a point for turning down Rosalind's plan to poison the dragon, claiming it would take "too much" poison to kill it. If the poison didn't kill a creature the size of a galleon first, it would certainly be enough to kill a human being.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lord Faul. He may bitterly loathe humans (except for how they taste), but he has a strong sense of honor and honesty. Although harsh at times, he has a fatherly love for his children and does everything to toughen them up for what lies beyond their island. Heck, later on, he momentarily expresses fatherly concern for Rosalind when she claims she took a walk in the dangerous rainstorm.
  • Kill All Humans: Following Charsha's death, Lord Faul's main goal in life is to do this, at least before he goes through some Character Development.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Even Rosalind notes how poetic it is that Sir Magnus, who tried to have her hanged in order to usurp the throne, would be executed upon the very gallows built for her.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Queen Gweneth knew the prophecy of Wilde Island's 21st queen would ride on her giving birth to an heir, and as bad luck would have it, she couldn't have a baby for 7 years. It was only thanks to Lord Faul and Charsha's egg that the Queen was finally able to conceive and give birth to Rosalind.
  • Meaningful Echo: Queen Gweneth only showed Rosalind the long mirror in her wardrobe a few times in the girl's life, telling her "Queen Rosalind Pendragon. Know who you are." By Chapter 35, Rosalind does this one last time, telling herself "Know who you are. Rosalind. Queen Briar."
  • Meaningful Name: Rosalind was named so because she's like a "beautiful rose".
    • Later, Lord Faul renames her "Briar" since (courtesy of having her golden gloves removed) her "thorn" is exposed.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Sir Magnus would've succeeded in convincing the kingdom of sentencing Rosalind to death and become Wilde Island's ruler, had it not been for Kai interfering and bringing proof Rosalind was the rightful ruler.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Cook's testimony (via Purple Prose of how "enchanted" and "under her spell" everyone was with Rosalind) doesn't help Rosalind look less like a witch.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: In a flashback in Part III, Rosalind looks back on how she once asked her mother to look in a mirror and see her 'angelic' face. The Queen, who has committed a total of three murders in the name of her daughter's secret, looks away guiltily and tells her "There isn't an angel in there unless it looks at you."
  • Outliving One's Offspring:
    • Lord Faul's son Kadmir is drowned in the aptly named Chapter "The Taking of the Storm". It's downplayed later, as he doesn't have to outlive Kadmir too long.
    • Alissandra's daughter Kit dies trying to save Ore from drowning.
  • Parental Surrogate: After her daughter Kit dies saving Ore, Alissandra is left childless. However, since Rosalind is likewise left orphaned thanks to circumstances, she looks to Alissandra as an adoptive mother.
  • The Place: Dragon's Keep
  • Posthumous Character: Charsha is killed just prior to the main story, and we never see her in person.
  • The Power of Hate: All dragons are taught to hate and distrust humans. It's how they stave off the sorrow of being on the verge of extinction.
  • The Prophecy:
    Three things the stars say of this queen
    She shall redeem the name Pendragon
    End war with the wave of her hand
    And restore the glory of Wilde Island
  • Prophecy Twist: Simultaneously, both prophecies by Merlin come true. The prophecy for the Dragons claimed there would be peace when a human king offered his sword and a dragon gave its claw. Not only does Kai (a faithful disciple of Merlin and the current king-consort of Wilde Island) break his sword, but the remaining dragon do offer up a claw: Rosalind's claw. Under the guise of magically gifting her a dragon talon, this fulfills the prophecy about Rosalind, including ending war (between humans and dragons) with a wave of her hand.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: "Red clouds without the aid of sun. Travelers beware. The dragon comes."
  • Samus Is a Girl: Rosalind eventually learns that the first dragon who attacked Wilde Island was a female named Charsha.
  • Savage Wolves: In Part 2, Rosalind is attacked by wolves during a hunting trip. Their biting her arm leads to Kai removing her gloves and accidentally seeing Rosalind's claw.
  • Screw Destiny: Played for Drama. Rosalind learns that the dragons were also given a prophecy by Merlin, a prophecy foretelling that man would make peace with their kind. Given the dragons' extensive history of mankind betraying and killing them off, this does not lend credit to Merlin's ability to see the future. As a result, Rosalind starts to wonder if perhaps Merlin was wrong when he prophesied her to be The Chosen One.
  • The Speechless: Kit. This changes after Demetra's death banishes the shadow wraith stuffed down her throat.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Rosalind may have grown up pampered, but when she receives news that a healer was murdered, she takes it upon herself to learn about the healer so her memory may be honored. Heck, her own mother didn't even bother, feeling her daughter is entitled and it was the healer's duty.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: According to rumors, Magnus was sent to Wilde Island as a prisoner because his crime was poisoning his wife for her money. If his helping along Queen Gweneth dying from Poppy Potion overdose is any indication, it turns out those rumors are true.
  • Tempting Fate: On the night Rosalind was born, the nursemaid assured the laboring Queen "You'll have a babe as soon as soon." According to Rosalind, her mother was in labor all night.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Rosalind mentions her plan of going to a healing spring in the mountains, Demetra makes a point that the spring has become an ordinary marsh now. If it were otherwise, she'd be charging people to use it instead of living in a ratty old cave.
    • Later, when Rosalind accuses Lord Faul of lying about her mother being Tess's murderer, he quips "Why lie when the truth is so much sharper?"
    • And a few chapters later, he also ridicules Queen Gweneth for not only killing off his mate, but for drinking one of the dragon eggs Demetra had stolen. The Queen may not have stolen the egg herself, but her drinking it enabled the practice of egg-stealing.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Dragons may be pretty big and pretty powerful, yet the simplest thing in the world can kill them: crying. All it takes is for the dragon to shed even a few tears and it douses their inner flame, leading to their death in a matter of hours. Justified, as dragons negate this weakness by teaching themselves and their young to be too bitter for crying.
  • Wicked Witch: Demetra.
  • With Friends Like These...: Bram the Pigboy is supposed to be the closest thing Rosalind had to a friend outside of Magda and (later) Kit. But during Rosalind's witch trial, Bram is all too eager to spin a made-up story about how Rosalind somehow bewitched his sow to birth a deformed piglet within the hour of petting it. Need we remind you that if Rosalind is found guilty of witchcraft, she will be sentenced to death.
  • Would Harm A Child: Rosalind's friend Magda was snatched up by the dragon and no doubt eaten. If anything, this demonstrates the dragon will eat anybody, young or old.
    • Demetra also falls under this, beating up Kit to the point Ali feels her daughter would be safer if she went to live with Rosalind. And that's before we learn Demetra stuffed a shadow wraith down baby Kit's throat to silence her crying.
  • Wretched Hive: Wilde Island was a prison colony many generations ago, before Princess Yvaine became its queen. Even to this day, its woods are still haunted by footpads and thieves.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Queen Gweneth and Rosalind had hoped that Demetra's "treatment" would cure Rosalind's claw. Instead, comes back as worse as before.
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